Get those words out there

shespeaks

 

Every week I receive emails from women who feel called to communicate.

Maybe it’s a blog.

Perhaps it’s a book.

Or the desire to speak.

I remember over 15 years ago holding that same calling close. [Read more…]

#livefreeThursday: When mercy is all I have

mercy

Can I be real with you?

I don’t always have answers.

I don’t always have a plan.

I don’t always know what to say.

I don’t always know what it’s going to look like or how it will turn out.

Do you relate?

Thank goodness. I’m not the only one. ♥

But that doesn’t mean that God can’t use my life or my words. And it doesn’t mean that He can’t use your life or words, either.

Because we have mercy and it’s enough.

It’s enough because we’ve been given mercy. 

…Immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Ephesians 2:1-6 (The Message)

Think about it. In those times when you needed help or encouragement, you didn’t want pat answers.

You didn’t want anyone to fix you.

You didn’t want to step into someone else’s one-two-three plan to success.

Maybe, like me, you just needed to know that you mattered and that you hadn’t messed up so bad that you were beyond reach.

Or perhaps you wanted to know that tomorrow would be better.

Maybe, just like me, you wondered out loud if God had a plan for you.

And that’s exactly what mercy offers all of us.

Sometimes, sweet friends, we have nothing to offer but mercy to our children, to our loved ones, to strangers, in our marriage, to our world, to our community, to our neighbor, to ourselves. . .

. . . and it’s enough

Actually, it’s more than enough.

Because it helps us love a person right where they are.

It helps us hold up our anger anger or resentment or burden of the past and ask God to replace that woundedness with His presence.

It helps us to close our mouth and just.be.there.

micah6_8

Sure, there are times when mercy will lead you to speak or to act. Certainly, there are times that mercy will lead you to walk beside them as they find their way.

And yes, there are times that mercy will lead you to wrap that child in your arms or draw you to your knees on the behalf of someone you don’t even know.

But you don’t have to have all the answers. You aren’t required to fix anyone else.

Instead you simply receive what Jesus gives and then you turn around and offer it to another.

Suzie

 


Running smack into empty

running into empty

If you came over from (in)courage, welcome! I’m so glad you are here.

In today’s (in)courage post, we talked about hitting those hard crossroads. I take that a little deeper today as we discover what we might find in those harder places. ~ Suzie

 

This past week I ran smack into the end of myself.

You ever been there?

I was juggling words and deadlines and pressing family needs and “boom” — I was all out of me.

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 

Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10 (NIV)

In this passage, a burdened people didn’t know which way to go.

God had rescued them.

But there was more that He had for them.

On the other side of empty was full. 

But they had not reached for that gift so even though they were out of slavery they still weren’t free.

Open your mouth. And I will fill it. 

Don’t turn to other things. Don’t try to fill those empty places with more activity. Don’t try to feel better temporarily.

Choose Me. 

When we run smack into empty we have a choice. We can keep on going. We can run and run and do and do until one small incident sets us off and we implode inside.

Or worse, we explode and it affects everyone around us.

We can try to make ourselves feel better in a thousand different ways, but if we are truly empty on the inside none of that is going to fill us up.

Not.even.close.

So, what do we do?

crossroads

Jesus pulled away from the crowds to cocoon Himself in with His Heavenly Father. He recognized that pouring out and pouring out without filling back up has little merit if you lose yourself in the process.

Maybe, like me, you know what it feels like to run into the end of yourself. Maybe you are in a crossroads today and you don’t have a clue where to go from here.

Close out all the clutter and listen to this promise:

But you would [will] be fed with the finest of wheat; 

with honey from the rock I would [will] satisfy you. Psalm 81:16 (NIV)

 Before we take on one more task. Before we make one more decision. Before we take one more step, let’s open our mouths and let Him full us up. Let’s create sacred space where we get alone with Him — no matter what that looks like for you — to fill back up.

Matthew 6_8

For me, it’s shutting everything down if only for a few moments and seeing where that leads. It’s being honest with God and trusting that He knows what I need before I even ask (Matthew 6:8). It’s acknowledging that I’m not super human and I need Him.

Will you do that with me today?

And if you are in a crossroads or a hard place, I’d love to pray with you. I have an amazing ministry team who will also join in praying.

The prayers of a righteous man (woman) are powerful and effective when we join together.

Suzie

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Dear friend: How do I live free if someone I love is a mess?

brokenness

Dear Suzie,

How do you live free if someone you care about is addicted? I was raised with an alcoholic mom. When she drank she said terrible things. She was out of control, sappy, and stupid.

I’m a mom now and she’s still drinking. If I forgive her, then she will think she can be in my life again and that of my children, and I won’t let that happen. ~ Not sharing my name, but I want advice

[Read more…]

#livefreeThursday: Why worry?

Why Worry

Every Thursday a group of brave girls who have discovered what it means to live free gather around the table for #livefreeThursday. I hope you add your voice through a linkup or through joining us in the conversation through the comments or visiting the sites of the women who shared their stories.

This week’s topic is “why worry?” and next week’s topic is “when mercy is all you have.”~ Suzie

 

I’ve talked a little with you about my guy and the fact that he’s facing cancer. I shared with you that I’m a cancer survivor (nearly 24 years ago when I was a young mom) and how hard it was to hear that we were going through this again.

I told you that my guy is the one who makes me laugh until I race to the bathroom, squeezing my legs, laughing so hard that tears run down my face, and that I’d rather it be me again then him.

What I didn’t tell you is that he’s facing surgery next month. 

It’s a big surgery. An hour in pre-op, five hours in the operating room, and two to three hours after. We’ve been in a honeymoon phase for the last several weeks, not having to think about it other than a few tests and the bills that showed up in our mailbox afterwards.

Now it’s a month away and it occupies a space on my calendar. It’s something we are planning for because he’ll be home for a while afterwards while his body heals.

Now that it’s on the horizon, worry wants to slip in uninvited and whisper in my ear all the things that could go wrong. It wants to remind me that my healthy guy, the one who loves nothing more than an early morning run, is going to need a little extra TLC. It wants me to worry about hospital bills and insurance and all the things that come with cancer.

But I’ve made a promise to myself.

It’s what I say out loud when worry knocks on my door like a bossy solicitor who won’t take no for an answer.

I’m not going to be a worrier, because this girl’s a prayer warrior. 

I’m a Jesus follower and He’s promised to lead me through the valleys and on the high tops of mountains steeper than I can climb alone.

So I’m not going to spend one more minute on “what can be” so I can live in what “is.”

I’m going to laugh, because cancer doesn’t change the fact that this man I married is a funny, funny guy.

I’m going to treasure every single moment we have — before, during, and after — because there are a lot of beautiful little faces (aren’t our five little monkeys beautiful?) who will take their cues from us on how to face harder times.

richardkiddos

I’m going to hit the floor with my knees because that’s my Source — where I find everything I need. Where I can be real. Where I can weep or celebrate or scoop deep into His peace.

So, why worry when it produces nothing but angst, and prayer produces strength?

I’ll let you know as we get closer the actual day of surgery.

I’d love for all of you around the table to join me in prayer for this sweet man I love. But for today, I want to hear your story. I want to talk about worry and how it affects us and how we can live free in times that might tempt you to worry. And I want to pray. If you’re in a hard place and you just need a group of brave girls to circle around you, well we can do that too.

Why worry when we be prayer warriors together, right?

Suzie


Is conflict bad?

conflict

Sometimes when we grow up in conflict, we avoid it at all costs. I’ll never forget the day I realized that conflict isn’t a bad thing.

That conflict is normal.

Really. Seriously. Normal people have conflict. Normal situations produce conflict. It’s something that we all face.

It’s how we handle it that is key.  

How we handle conflict has the power to change the direction of a conversation. It can deepen or weaken a relationship. It can resolve or repair a problem, or it can ruin any chances of compromise or resolution.

Are you struggling with conflict today?

Here are three things that have the power to turn unhealthy conflict to healthy resolution. [Read more…]

What’s our response to racism?

racism

Our entire #livefreeThursday conversation was about living shame-less, but I have to be honest.

I’ve wrestled with shame this past week.

When the video was shared of Oklahoma college students chanting a racist song, I wanted to hang my head. As a long-time Oklahoma girl, I’m ashamed that an entire, beautiful people created by a divine God was talked about in this way. I’m ashamed of the lyrics that make light of a phrase that once marked fear in the heart of men and women just because of the color of their skin.

But my shame goes deeper.  [Read more…]

#livefreeThursday: Shame-less audacity

shame_less audacity

Thank you for joining us today on #livefree Thursday. Pull up a chair around the table. Get out your Bible. Hold out your hands as we pray together and laugh and talk. Today’s topic is shame-less.

 

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].  Hebrews 4:16 Amplified Bible

Fearlessly

Boldly

With confidence!

Really?

That seems to go against some teachings that I’ve heard that makes God distant. You know, the million-miles-away God.

But this scripture tells me to strip away shame. To become shame-less. To have boldness, may I even say audacity.

What would that look like?

With shame_less audacity, I walk right in to His presence because that is where I will find Him. I run toward His guidance, His mercy, His love, and even His rebuke when that is what I need to course correct so that I walk toward destiny and joy instead of falling into things that mire me down.

With shame_less audacity, I don’t hang my head, though I respect Him as God. He is waiting for me.

With shame_less audacity,  I call out the names of my unsaved loved ones because He loves them even more than me.

Shame-less audacity:  To be without shame. To be bold in spite of how you feel.

I know all the English majors out there are saying, “Suzie, shameless doesn’t have a hyphen.”

I know. I really do.

But when you are free to run into God’s presence without shame, when you are free to sit in His presence to learn and soak in His majesty and be changed because of that relationship. . . well, then it does have a hyphen.

hebrews 4 16

So you can just call me shame-less.

And I hope you call yourself the same.

Suzie