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Author’s transparency helps women see God’s love

EDITORS’ NOTE: This is the third of a four-part series profiling LifeWay Christian Resources’ women authors and speakers.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“Buckle up!” author and speaker Angela Thomas laughed as she described the joyous journey of a lifetime that awaits anyone willing to take it.

Thomas was referring to the amazing changes women experience when they begin to understand how much God loves them. The confident laughter revealed her comfortable assurance of God’s love and her passion to share lessons learned.

“Once women come to recognize that God’s crazy about them, it’s like they get set free,” she says. “He is wildly in love with them. He is coming across heaven and earth for them.”

It is an empowering message that has become the cornerstone of Thomas’ ministry. Women are astounded at what they can do with their lives, she says, once they tune out the voice of “the accuser” and listen to the voice of the Father.

“If we can get them there, then we can work on: How now shall we live to the glory of God? How shall we mother? How shall we love? How shall we live our secret lives?” said Thomas, author of several books, including the recently released “When Wallflowers Dance” and her best-selling “A Beautiful Offering.”

In her Bible study, “Living Your Life as a Beautiful Offering,” available through LifeWay Christian Stores, Thomas encourages women to learn to live in a way that reflects the Kingdom of God to the world through the compassionate instruction Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount.

Thomas, who also is among the featured speakers for LifeWay’s Daybreak women’s conferences, can relate to women like herself who have been in the church all their lives and know all the rules “but don’t know about this passionate love of the Father.”

It’s hard to imagine the shy, hesitant church lady Thomas describes as her former self, because today she exudes confidence. The story she tells is about her brokenness from the devastating heartache of divorce. It was then that this mother of four also learned that by surrendering in that brokenness God would use her.

Thomas’ ministry resonates with women of all ages and backgrounds, underscoring her ability to get to the heart and to shed God’s light on the purpose of life’s various challenges.

“Angela is a great Bible teacher,” said Faith Whatley, LifeWay’s director of women’s ministry. “Her strongest gift is her storytelling ability. She is very transparent. One of the beautiful things about her ministry is that she is able to share a message of hope for hurting women related to her own journey.”

Thomas said when she began writing about her story, she didn’t realize so many other women would relate to it as their own.

Women make comparisons with “completely false and unfair” images of airbrushed magazine covers and surgeon-sculpted physiques that have no relation to how much God loves them, Thomas said.

Thomas said she even once received a phone call from a woman who was about to commit suicide, who instead picked up her book. “I’ve had women go home and let their husbands off the hook because they finally realized the Lord is their Savior,” she said, “and their husband is just a fun, cool man they get to spend this lifetime with.”

She added, “I don’t think the women who have shown up [at Daybreak] expect they’re going to meet with the Lord during a beautiful time of directed prayer. It’s very exciting.”

In her speaking engagements, she meets women who tell her they wish they had heard her message 20 years before, because they would have avoided such things as anorexia or sexual promiscuity.

“When your soul is empty, you fall into the temptations. Unhealthy poor choices take a lot of women very early into deep woundedness,” she said.

A new DVD study by Thomas for teenage girls, “Wild About You,” is slated for release in February. Whatley said the study will be the first-ever girls’ curriculum produced by LifeWay, a Southern Baptist entity.

“Wild About You seeks to answer a question that lies in the heart of every teen girl: ‘Am I really beautiful?'” said Pam Gibbs, an editor in LifeWay’s student ministry publishing area. “This study is designed to help teen girls answer that question, and in doing so, discover a foundation upon which to build their lives — the foundation of God’s amazing, unrelenting and faithful love for them. We want to encourage, challenge and empower teen girls to live in confidence because of who they are as God’s beloved.

“This study is unique in its approach,” Gibbs continued. “Instead of utilizing a traditional member book, we’ve created a magazine that girls will use in a weekly Bible study setting, but that they can also read at home, at school or on the bus headed for a football game. It contains more than 300 photographs and illustrations, along with quizzes, feature articles and an ‘Ask Angela’ advice column.”

The product also contains a DVD with teaching segments featuring Thomas and interviews with BarlowGirl, a popular Christian rock band.

One of the reasons Thomas developed a teenage DVD curriculum for LifeWay was “to get to as many young hearts as possible,” she said. She also reminds that the Lord’s forgiveness is sufficient to stop them from letting guilt and shame hold them back.

With all of her travel for speaking engagements, writing deadlines and being a single parent, Thomas said she is often asked how she accomplishes everything.

“I just fly by the seat of my pants, and somehow the Lord works it out,” she says. “I’m just doing what every other woman is doing, running carpool back and forth, trying to meet deadlines.”

But in recent years, while reading 2 Timothy, when the Apostle Paul writes about keeping a clear conscience, Thomas realized there was more to it.

“What Paul was making Timothy know is that there is power when your life is clean. It takes a lot of your emotional energy to think through the dark things. If you’re clean, you can move a whole lot faster, with passion and abandon. When you’re clean, nobody can have you. We call it life at warp speed,” she said.

Buckle up, indeed.
DayBreak women’s conferences scheduled this year are March 3-4 in Seattle; April 21-22 in Baltimore; June 2-3 in Decatur, Ala.; Aug. 4-5 in Denver; Aug. 18-19 in Austin, Texas; and Nov. 17-18 in Little Rock, Ark. For more information, go to www.lifeway.com/women.

    About the Author

  • Andrea Higgins