When Wallflowers Dance
Most mornings find Angela Thomas balancing the roles most moms know only too well . . . breakfast provider, pre-carpool cheerleader, and business woman with emails and deadlines waiting. It’s a daily balancing act she is learning to master as the single mother of four, author, speaker, and most importantly – a woman in pursuit of God.
But what happens in those ordinary days is the essence of Angela’s books. Whether she’s writing about the awkward days of her teenage years, lunch with a group of women from church, or hiding in her walk-in closet just to get a few minutes of prayer away from the demands of life, Angela Thomas is, above all things, real to the women who hear her speak and read her books.
A Change of Plans
Angela speaks with transparency about the struggles all of us face. Those struggles are rooted in the very experiences that launched her career.
After graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Angela began a full-time job in transportation and served as part-time youth director. Back then, she says, her knowledge of God was what she’d learned in church and at FCA meetings during college. But through serving her small Methodist church as a youth leader, she discovered a passion for teaching God’s Word that couldn’t be quenched. She was hungry for ways to learn more about the Bible and to become a better teacher. “This was back in the day when the big books at the time were all by Charles Swindoll,” Thomas says. “I read everything he’d written.” Knowing that Swindoll had attended Dallas Theological Seminary, it seemed like a natural next step for her to study there as well. “I thought to myself, ‘If they teach you to communicate Bible truths like him, then that’s where I want to go. I had no idea he had a gift.”
After finishing her Master’s degree, Angela moved back to her home state of North Carolina to become a Minister to Senior High Girls. The next few years brought marriage and four children, Taylor, Grayson, William and Anna Grace. On the outside, she seemed to be living the life every woman dreams of having. But on the inside, Thomas was keeping all the balls in the air and going through the motions, eventually pretending and becoming what she calls “a church lady.” Then the thing she thought would never happen did - her marriage ended in divorce.
By her own admission, it was a time of sitting in the darkness and asking the hard questions of God. Did he still love her? Could he use her in ministry? In time, the answer came. “Yes, I love you. Yes, I can use you.” God knew even before she did that this would not be the end of Angela Thomas’ story, but the beginning of a new chapter.
God’s Best in Brokenness
“One of the best things I take into my future is my brokenness,” Angela says. “You learn how to love people when you’re broken.” In fact, her brokenness during that time has helped her minister to women with an even greater passion and understanding.
“So many women out there are ‘just living.’ They’re keeping the schedules, running their homes, keeping up with work loads, and going through the motions, but deep inside there’s a nagging emptiness. They think, ‘If I had a different job, lived in a different place, or just get home in time to make dinner, then it would be okay—I wouldn’t feel this way.’”
Called to Dance
From her book, Do You Think I’m Beautiful, Angela compares the life of a woman to the story of Cinderella. So many women, she says, believe they will never be beautiful enough or confident enough for the prince to whirl them onto the dance floor at the ball. These women simply put on their best and remain content to watch from the edge of the dance floor. But our prince, the one who finds us breathtaking, has something different in mind. He longs for each of us to know that we are noticed, known, and cherished. But far away from the land of fairytales, many women have trouble making the connection.
“A lot of women have head knowledge. They know so much. They’ve been to the Bible studies. They know about transformation and freedom, but they can’t believe it’s really true for them,” Angela explains. “They’re content to get just enough to make it to heaven. But for some reason, can’t put on the application that goes into that deep place that allows them to live.”
But, she insists, “I know that I know, this is not the life God has intended for us.”
In the end, that’s what really matters to Thomas—living a life in passionate response to God.” “My constant prayer,” she says, “ is ‘Lord, when I am 65, would you continue to impart to me great passion. Keep me awake and alert for the prompting of the Holy Spirit.’”
“At the end of my life, I want them to say, ‘That girl can dance.’’