Devotional is written to help people 'Battle Fear and Win'
Harold "Marty" Zimmerman III has battled anxiety all his life and is now sharing his personal "weapons" with others in a 30-day devotional.
"Battle Fear and Win: A 30-Day Devotional for the Fearful at Heart" was released in mid-July.
It is the second book for the 32-year-old Greencastle resident.
"Life Interrupted: The Story of a Young Stroke Survivor" recounts more than a year of his life after he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke on March 7, 2013, as the result of a birth defect known as a brain AVM.
"It nearly took my life, but God kept me here for a reason," said Zimmerman, noting he suffered new concerns and worries after his stroke.
Everyone struggles with anxiety, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zimmerman said. He is not an expert and his book is not a 12-step process, rather it is his way of sharing the tools he himself finds helpful when facing anxiety.
"I'm terrible at devotionals myself," Zimmerman said, explaining he does them for a couple of days then stops.
"I wanted to write something people would want to come back to," he said,
The book is written for people who identify as Christians and contains biblical references, but Zimmerman said he believes it can be helpful for anyone.
Zimmerman dedicates "Battle Fear and Win" to his parents, Marty and Marcie Zimmerman.
"They've been a calming and encouraging presence all my life," he said. "They believe in me so I wanted to say, 'Thank you.'"
In the devotional
In the 30 devotionals, Zimmerman weaves his personal story with strategies for overcoming fear, meaningful Bible verses and stories, poetry and interactive opportunities.
"All my life I have been anxious, from a small boy to the man I am today. I suppose you could describe me as a professional worrier," he explains in the introduction. "This is a place for you and me to give voice to those closely held fears, to look at them from a different vantage point, while in the presence of our Heavenly Father ... So, as long as you are willing to leave Anxiety behind, then I say we are on the same page. I hope that this simple, daily devotional will encourage you, empower you, and bless you."
The reader moves with Zimmerman as he talks about fears from childhood through adulthood, from getting a bad grade to finances, and ways he has addressed them.
For example, on Day Two, he talks about wearing a mask and putting a smile on his face to keep people at a distance.
"Do you typically wear a mask during any part of your day? If so, what kind of mask do you wear most often? Why? What is the mask hiding?" he asks. "Make a list. We will examine your answers tomorrow."
Day Three includes writing down the list of setbacks people keep in their heads.
"Get them on paper where you can see them. Do not drag yourself through the insult heap, or lambast yourself for the flubs or errors you have made. Instead, take your list and fold it in half. In the blank space, write in big bold print 'Shame has no hold on me,'" he advises.
On other days, he shares more strategies, activities, suggestions for inspirational music, relevant biblical stories, including the tale of David and Goliath, and Bible verses concerning anxiety, fear and worry.
He is hoping to do a launch party in the fall, depending on the COVID-19 situation.
The book is available on Amazon in print for $24.99 or as an ebook for $10.
Zimmerman is available to speak to groups, and is scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. Oct. 29 for the community Bible study at Mission Hill Church in Chambersburg.
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Words and photos
The poems in "Battle Fear and Win" along with the cover photo reflect key aspects of Zimmerman's life now.
For nine years — both before and after his stroke, Zimmerman was well-known to shoppers at the deli counter at Kline's Grocery in Shady Grove.
"They treated me superbly, especially with the stroke, but I had an itch to pursue something else," said Zimmerman, who felt it was time for a transition and left Kline's in March with the encouragement of family, friends and people at the store. "I had a peace going forward."
He's thrown himself into the writing and photography he's always enjoyed.
Over the years, Zimmerman has written upwards 600 poems and is on his fourth-volume of self-publish poetry.
"Writing poetry really helps me process, especially in the aftermath of the stroke," said Zimmerman, who still continues his recovery. He noted his mobility issues are gradually falling away and cognitive connections are still being made.
For example, until recently it was difficult to walk down the stairs carrying something in his hands while not holding onto the bannister.
Zimmerman explained he would freeze at the top of the stairs because "my brain couldn't comprehend what it had to do ... a couple of month ago, it started to click again."
He and his mother took a photography class at Hagerstown Community College last fall and the teacher helped him fine-tune his skills. The cover of "Battle Fear and Win" is a shot he took of a cannon at on the Gettysburg battlefield, a place Zimmerman, who holds a bachelor's degree in history from Messiah College and a master's in public history from Shippensburg University, visits often.
He's working on a calendar which includes a photo from Gettysburg and images from Greencastle and beyond, as well as greeting cards with local scenes and flowers.
"I'm just enjoying myself," he said.