In the Middle of the Mess
Strength for this Beautiful, Broken Life
by Sheila Walsh
Nelson Books, an Imprint of Thomas Nelson
Publishing Date: November 2017
In her new book, In the Middle of the Mess, popular author and Bible teacher Sheila Walsh reveals her life-long deep shame over her battles with depression and suicidal thoughts, and how learning to bring the mess to God and to confess to Christian sisters helped her deal with her depression. She does not teach how to overcome the depression, but how to live with it through God's grace.
Sheila teaches that every Christian has things they hide. Things we don't want brought out of the dark. Things we deny we deal with, much less want to acknowledge them before God, let alone our Christian sisters. However, she explains that the Bible over and over again teaches that we are to help each other bear our burdens. And how else can that be accomplished than by revealing our burdens to someone else, so they can share our load? She teaches that we are not confessing or sharing to be absolved of our burden, but merely to have the load shared. She warns, however, that we wisely choose who we share our burden with. We certainly don't want to share with someone who will take it upon themselves to share with others!
There is a truth about salvation, God's plan of redemption, that most people don't think about. Salvation is in the past -- when you accept Christ to save you from your sins and hell. That's a one time lasts forever deal. But salvation is also a gift that is in the present. Sheila quotes Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity Church in London, as saying "'Salvation'. . . is a huge and comprehensive word. It means 'freedom' . . . There are three tenses of salvation: we have been set free from the penalty of sin, we are being set free from the power of sin, and we will be set free from the presence of sin" (my underlining).
Sheila explains throughout her book, using her own story, how Christians forget this principle of salvation. We forget that God wants us to share our burdens with Him and with fellow believers. We wander through life with so much guilt and shame, mistakenly believing that Christians should not be burdened this way, making us feel alone. There must be something wrong with us! All the time forgetting, or maybe not even knowing, that God has created a way for us to find relief.
I have to say that this book was incredible. There were several times when tears came unbidden, and even a gasp or two. I have heavily underlined the book. Even if you don't battle with depression and/or suicidal thoughts, this books is excellent. Although depression and suicidal thoughts are heavy throughout the book, that is not the theme. The main theme is summed up in the last paragraph in the book -- "God's love is hope and life. It's confession and prayer and silence and gratitude. It's telling the truth and exposing the secrets. It's being known and coming into community. It's life! It's saying out loud, 'I am not alone. I am loved, and I am strong.'" I would highly encourage Christian women to grab this book, study it, and apply it's truths!
In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Handlebar Publishing.