When your view of God is all messed up

loved by God

Meet Melanie Davis Porter. She once had a twisted view of God and it messed with everything that mattered to her.

Today she has a new word written on her heart. She’s loved. Plain and simple. Loved by God for exactly who she is. ~ Suzie

I Am Loved

Melanie Davis Porter

My view of God was warped. I was a broken, little girl with a constant hurting heart. Raised in a legalistic, caustic atmosphere, I became a loner and stuffed the hurts under my smile. Unconditional love was foreign. I was taught that God would get me for everything.

I lived terrified that God stood watch waiting to take something or someone away because of my sin.

Feeling unloved caused me to excel in performance.

I found admiration and attention free of criticism and constraints.

Feeling unloved caused me to abandon God’s will.

Life changing decisions now redeemed by grace, threatened my motivation to endure specific seasons of life.

Feeling unloved ham stringed my marriage.

Doubt shadowed me for years.

Feeling unloved, hindered my ability to be the parent God wanted for three precious little boys.

I held on so tight. I smothered to the point of dysfunction. I wanted them to feel the love I never felt. [Read more…]

#livefree Thursday: When my “but” gets in the way {{linkup}}

Live carefree before

Does your “but” ever get in the way?

I want God’s best, but. . .

I want to be physically fit, but. . .

I want God to work in my relationships, but. . . 

I want to take a step toward that calling, but. . . 

 Not too long ago I was listening to a woman share her deepest desires over her faith  and in her family. There was no doubt of her sincerity. She was desperate for change.

We prayed together and I asked her this question, the one question that I’ve felt pressing on my own heart.

The one question behind every conversation that you and I are having this month:

If Jesus offered you a mended heart and asked for {{fill in the blank}} in return, what would that be?

She knew the answer. She said she’d known it for a long time. She shook her head. “I want to give it to Him,” she said, “but. . . ”

And there it was.

A big ‘ole but. 

Perhaps you believe that I should have never asked her this question. After all, Jesus came to give us a mended heart. There’s no price attached. We don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to perform for it. We don’t have to twirl away and dance a dance a for it.

He just gives it.

Yes, He does. This gift has no strings. Instead, it’s a gift that continues to be opened and treasured and personalized over time.

It’s a carefree way of living as His girl.

We believe that this gift is ours to receive. We trust that behind every layer, every treasure inside, that God is waiting to show us something new because He cares for us.

Live carefree before God because He is most careful for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (The Msg).

Every time we offer up our “big ‘ole but,” we are holding up our hands for what He desires to give.

All of it. 

I want Your best, so here’s that one thing I’ve held on to for way too long.

I want You to work in my relationship, so here’s that resentment/hurt/pain/anger/lashing out/stuffing in/whatever fills this blank.

Not too long ago I was given a gift that surprised and delighted me,  a handcrafted kaleidoscope.

Like a child I held it up and looked through the stained glass treasure and I spun the wheel, the colored jewels creating a different masterpiece with every single spin.

My first instinct was to put it up in a cabinet where you could only see it from a distance, because it was fragile. Such a treasure.

It was only when I sat side by side with friends, with my grandbabies, with my grown children, and I held and touched and shared that gift freely that I was able to fully experience the joy of the kaleidoscope.

Giving up our “buts” allow us to live the gift. To enjoy it. To unwrap it. To experience it.

Are you ready to give up your big ‘ole “but?”

Suzie

 

 



 

She is rescued and repaired

rescue and restore

There’s nothing that delights me more than watching a woman discover who she is to Christ.

I met Jana Kennedy-Spicer online, but I’ll never forget the day that she showed up at a Texas event just to hang out. She was a delight! Since that time, I’ve loved getting to know her. Today it’s my honor to introduce you to my friend, Jana Kennedy-Spicer.

 

What does a mended heart look like?

w/Jana Kennedy-Spicer

If breaking commandments was an Olympic sport, I might have earned a gold medal. My bad decisions and poor choices often landed me in places where I did not want to be.

Two failed marriages, both abusive, and two sweet babies later, God reached down and pulled me up out of my mess.

I remarried, gained a son and spent the next fifteen years living a Christian life but lacking a real relationship with God.


janakennedy

 

Ten years ago our family imploded and everything that had seemed important in one moment lay in rubble the next. My daughter had been sexually abused by her (step) father.

God – again – reached down and picked up this child of his and delivered me to safe ground, delivered my children to safe ground, and repaired and restored our broken hearts and broken lives.

One of my favorite scriptures, Daniel 3:27, tells the story of King Nebuchadnezzar throwing Daniel and his friends in the fire, and this is the truth I found in that story.

God went into the fire with them,
God protected them in the midst of the flames
God delivered them from the fiery furnace
God removed any trace of evidence they had ever been in the fire
They didn’t even smell of smoke

That is what God did for my family!

My families’ ordeal brought me to my knees and back to the feet of Jesus. Our relationship was restored and grew into something I had never experienced as a teen.

Three years ago God brought a wonderful godly man into my life and called me to serve the Kingdom, that is when “Sweet To The Soul” began.

God took the worst thing that happened to my family. He rescued and repaired us, and turned it into a testimony and ministry.

Blessings Soul Friends,

Jana

I hope you’ll visit Jana on her blog, Sweet to the Soul. You’ll fall in love with her, just like I did.

Suzie

When it feels like you’re caught in a storm

You are my hiding place; you will

It was the middle of the night when the sirens went off.

Welcome back to Oklahoma. 

I crawled over my beautiful, sleeping granddaughter and scooped her up and headed for the closet.

Jane had been looking forward to our sleepover all week and her mom and daddy were excited to have a date night.

We colored in coloring books. We played outside on the swing. She climbed me like a jungle gym for a couple of hours and then, when her eyelids were heavy, she asked if I’d sleep with her in her new big-girl bed.

I longingly looked at the couch, but said yes. Sleeping with Jane is all about the memories and nothing about sleep. [Read more…]

#livefreeThursday – When it’s not in my control

doily

We’ve all experienced it.

Holding a dream in our heart. Working, doing everything right so it will all work out. Then something out of our control happens and there’s not one single thing we can do about it.

Not.one.single.thing.

That’s what happened with The Mended Heart. While I wrote this book, I drove to little coffee shops or a local prayer room, and for hours I prayed for the right words to come. I prayed for the women who would one day read it.  I carried that book and those women in my heart for nearly two years as it went through the writing, editing, marketing, and finally the birthing process.

A few weeks after the book was released, the publishing house was bought by another.

And just like that, The Mended Heart was launched out of an exciting birthing process into a warehouse.

I learned a long time ago that there’s lots of twists and turns that come with pursuing your call. There are a myriad of things that can happen that derail a dream (or at least it feels that way).

Several weeks ago, a year after The Mended Heart was released, I found out that it had been chosen by Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study for their summer study.

I wept. I twirled in my living room. I danced. I wept again.

Just as much as the sudden loss of my dream was out of my control, so was this. I couldn’t make this happen. I hadn’t even imaged it possible.

But what if, Suzie? What if this hasn’t happened?

To answer that question, I want to share a picture. It’s one of my greatest treasures.

photo

Her name is Claudia. Her words, so deep and private, rocked my world as she shared how God was mending her heart in ways she never thought possible. She sent me a picture of my book sitting on her bed alongside the Bible, sticky notes with words that were speaking to her heart.

If The Mended Heart hadn’t been selected for the OBS and it had only reached Claudia, then it would have been enough.

In fact, way more than enough.

If my “out of my control” moments have taught me anything, it’s that God doesn’t measure what we do by numbers, or success, or “likes” or sales or how many people fill a church or conference, but by weight.

If my motivation is to impact the heart of women who feel broken, then whether it’s one or one million, that matters to God. It weighs something.

If I am focused on success and keep trying to make it happen when it’s clear that it’s out of my control, or try to make it happen in my timing when it’s obvious it’s not, I might have missed the point of why I do what I do.

I’m writing book #8 right now (I can’t wait to share news about that with you later).

Who knows what is on the horizon for those words? I’m going to work hard, work smart, dream big, and then place it like an offering in His hands and watch what He wants to do with it.

And that’s enough. It’s my right now. It’s what I can do with His help. 

I hope you’ll join me in the summer OBS. You can sign up today. Tell a friend about it. Share it with your women’s ministry or small group.

We’ll connect on June 22. I’ll be the one twirling in joy as we watch what God can do, together.

Suzie

I also have a group of friends dropping by today. Several Compel writers are slipping in to say hello. For my Compel friends, the tip used in this was to write from a place of vulnerability.

When you’re tired of being a debt collector

eyeforeye

If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome! I’m so glad to see you.

He came to live with us for a year or so. He needed a safe place. We didn’t realize that taking in “D” also meant that we were going to deal with some pretty awful debt collectors.

One called daily. He threatened. He bullied. We had nothing to do with “D’s” finances, but his threats turned personal against us.

We explained that “D” was working hard and paying off his debt, that his life was turned in a new direction. That living with us offered him safety and stability, but there were also requirements involved. One was getting his finances in order.

Richard and called the guy to let him know that “D” was one payment away from being square.

The debt collector asked to come to our home to pick up the payment. . .

We had no idea who we were dealing with.   [Read more…]

7 Tips to Hold on to Your Freedom {{giveaway}}

christineditchfield

 

So, you are free! You are rescued, on the path to wholeness, fillchristined with anticipation and joy over where God is leading you. Yet there are still things that God is asking you to let go, as well as things that He’s asking you to hold onto — like Him, like truth, like freedom.

Today I am excited to introduce my friend, Christin Ditchfield. She just wrote a new book called What Women Should Know About Letting Go. She’s sharing 7 tips on how you can hold on to your freedom. She’s also graciously offered to give away one copy of her new book.

7 Tips to Hold on to your freedom

Christin Ditchfield

Jesus said if we believe in Him and continue in Him, if we’re faithful to His Word, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

Then later He said, “I AM the Truth.”

Though I’ve never been good at math, even I can grasp this equation:

Know Jesus = know Truth = know freedom.

Galatians 5:1 tells us, “Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free . . .”

Learning to stay free, to walk free, to live free… that’s a process, a journey.  [Read more…]

An open letter to moms in waiting

An Open Letter

Today might be hard for you.

In some churches, well-meaning and loving people will give roses to some and bypass you.

In other churches they will ask the moms to stand while you remain quietly in your seat.

That relative, the one who has no idea how long you’ve waited, might make you feel less than with the “wink, wink” that goes with, “And what’s keep you kids from taking the plunge?” questions. [Read more…]