Unburdened Heart Study Week #1: not what was, but what can be

Welcome to week one of The Unburdened Heart study.

Unburdened HeartYou may not have the book yet, but no worries. It’s in stock at Proverbs 31 if you want to order it today! And Amazon has it in the warehouse, and Kindle will soon be live, so you can preorder it and it will soon be on the way.

Here’s a free gift for you while you wait: Introduction and Chapter One of The Unburdened Heart.


Today’s Study

Read the Introduction of The Unburdened Heart.

Answer these questions.

  • “There will be risks, but there’s an opportunity for growth.” What does this statement mean to you as you begin this study?
  • I described ziplining as a means to overcoming my fear of heights. What is one thing you prayerfully desire to overcome?
  • As you read the introduction, what is one thought or comment that you have?

Each week I want to leave one thought with you.

Here’s this week’s thought:

It’s not what was, but what can be

As you begin this study, there will be moments that you’re not sure if it’s the right time, or perhaps you’ll hit a brick wall of emotions. Prayerfully remind yourself of this phrase. Write it on the mirror. Put it on the dashboard of your car, or on a sticky note on the computer screen.



  1. Hi Suzie,

    I’m just catching up with the study and watching videos today. When you prayed that we are marked by God to participate in this study, my spirit said Yes, its true. The God who sees is one i have become well acquainted with and i know that Hes at work in this for me. When I first emailed about joining this study, I thought it was my marriage/husband needing to forgive. Soon after I had this experience where a friend who knows my situation asked how I was and what came out of mouth was powerful and surprising. It was “I’m not moving out, but I’m moving on!” and I actually with my body “dropped a rope” and took a physical step back. I literally felt 30 lbs lighter and we laughed. I know it was the Lord. That isva marker for me. Then my Grandma got really sick and through chain of circumstances I’ve been thrust into a position of required interaction with all of my immediate family that I had forgiven from afar and kept a good distance from…lot of hurt. Anyway, the risk…I already feel like God is doing open heart surgery on me while I stand. What I want to overcome…being so easily offended and the flood of “righteous” anger that takes so much energy and causes me to sin in my heart and sometimes seen in my words/attitudes. Intro from the book is challenging…intentionally pursuing forgiveness to be able to view my parent with compassion. I know what unforgiveness and bitterness in a life looks like. I don’t want that for me or to hand that legacy to my daughter. I love my Grandma and it makes me sad to see her hurts unhealed even as I know the Lord loves her and has saved her. We are a lot alike. I want to be the best of her and see what God desires to do in me for the next generation. Not what was, but what can be…hopeful. Thank you!

  2. Only read the introduction but I am looking forward to reading more this weekend.

    Growth always includes great risk. I need to learn to successfully moved past the emotional abuse that I still receive from my mom.

  3. I have always regarded myself as “quick to forgive and forget”, but the past few years have brought several events that have caused me to feel anger and resentment toward family members. My husband has cheated repeatedly, that is one issue. The other is that my stepdaughter and son-in-law have done extremely hurtful things and told many lies in the past year regarding the birth of our first grandchild. Other members of the family are very unhealthy and I find myself searching for my role in these situations, hoping to grow and heal and also learn to deal with the nonsense being thrown at me. I know I can’t control people with compulsive lying problems so I am looking for a way to forgive and yet set boundaries with my stepchildren (there are two other grown step children), my spouse, and his ex who also likes to “stir the pot”. Thank you for providing this study, I am THRILLED to be able to participate and am looking forward to much growth!

  4. I am loving this study so far as well even though we just began. I have had some unforgiveness that I hadn’t even known really existed. I always thought that I had ALREADY dealt with my ex-husband cheating on me. Then turning his back on our 2 beautiful daughters for 10 yrs. Now the youngest of the 2 is trying to have some communication with him and I can feel the resentment I have towards him. How does a father do that? He missed his oldest daughters graduation, wedding, forbid his family to take part. I now know there’s work to be done. I also was mistreated by my mother. She showed favoritism towards my sister growing up. I read your first chapter before we started this study and also doing a deep bible study on Genesis and I am doing better about understanding Gods purpose with all of that. Not that it doesn’t hurt as well. My mother still to this day thinks se hasn’t done anything wrong. She and my sister neither one will speak to me. They think JM jealous of their relationship.

    • My prayers is that you’ll discover joy in a fresh new way, and the ties to the past will no longer have a hold on your heart or thoughts. I’m so glad you’ve joined this study.

  5. I want to grow. I’m tired of treading water. I’m weary of the same feelings over and over and my life never really changing. I’m willing to take some risks to have a happier life.
    I prayerfully desire to overcome my fear of being poor. I prayerfully desire to overcome my misguided ideas about money and what it means in life. I prayerfully desire to overcome my broken heart feelings when it comes to my husband and one night when we fought and it got physical. I prayerfully desire to overcome my feelings that I cannot provide for myself. I know this is more than one thing, but I actually could go on and on!
    As I read the introduction I realized that my progress has been great, but I have more work to do.

  6. The Holy Spirit is definitely at work! I answered one of the questions stating that I wanted revelation of anything holding me back from all God has to offer, I am ready to relinquish those things for His Glory. Old wounds that had been “forgotten” are coming back, not to haunt me but for healing. I am greatful for this blessing and look forward to the journey!

  7. I’ve been struggling with forgiveness for sometime, not realizing that is what I needed to do. Thought I had already done that, but obviously I wasn’t seeing the real “forgiveness” (if you will) that needs to happen. After reading the Forward by Renee Swope I feel I’m in the right place. I came upon this website quite by accident, I thought. God brings us to where we need to be.
    So after reading the Introduction I am encouraged. Your statement “Each new step presents the possibility of learning a truth about yourself that may feel uncomfortable; but is also presents the possibility of growth and real change”. I know this is going to be uncomfortable, but I so want the growth and the real change!! So God I pray for each and everyone of us on this journey for your courage and grace!! to get thru the “uncomfortable” to that wonderful growth and miraculous change”!!
    Thank you Suzie for sharing what God has put on your heart!!!!
    of change!! After reading the

  8. After watching Suzie’s video this morning, I can’t stop crying. When she asked if she could pray with us…it felt so personal, so heartfelt. It was God’s love coming right through her to me, to all of us. Thankyou.
    I’ve been reading the words over and over from the introduction, “you’ll discover how forgiveness can grace you right where you are and unburden your heart so that you can heal and live free!” The thought of living free…what an amazing gift that would be. I am hopeful.

  9. Sadly I have already started out behind as I have yet to take the time to read the introduction, but I hope to post answers later tonight. 🙂

  10. I begin reading the book and applying the teachings before the study began. I can honestly say it has been both liberating and transformational. Although separated, my husband and I have now had dinner and/or lunch together three times, and they have been some of the best we have had in years!!! Considering that just a few weeks ago we couldn’t even be in the same room without hurdling insults and accusations, the ability to talk and laugh for a couple of hours or more is nothing short of a miracle. It’s amazing what God can and will do in your heart if you will allow Him to! Thanks so much Suzie for your willingness to embark on this journey!

  11. SO EXCITED for this study! My risk? Learning “uncomfortable” things about myself and seeing my contributions to conflict. I want to live free in the life He has for me. I want to be free of many years of emotional and spiritual abuse, control and manipulation. I want to see my (broken) parents with compassion, even though in their eyes, I am not good enough. I’m a grown adult with a husband and family of my own, yet still yearn for their unconditional love and acceptance. I too have heard the “just forgive” sermon (from a family member who is a pastor). It just made me feel even more rejection and failure. Thank you for your gentleness and compassion, Suzie. The statement that “forgiveness is a choice” that you “intentionally pursued” really spoke to me.

    • It is a risk, and yet one that helps you grow in relationships, or give grace where its needed, OR accept what is and where it comes from as you see yourself through a lens of truth rather than through the eyes of broken people, or even just people who are a work in progress. We shift to receive what we need from our Need-meeter instead of people, because event the strongest and kindest of people shouldn’t be responsible for filling us up, but rather we fill each other up out of a heart that is full to the overflowing from our Heavenly Father. Love, love your honesty, and we’ll keep growing together, okay?

  12. I have some major resentment and bitterness towards my husband and the military. He chose the military over our children and me. The military brainwashed him into what they needed him to be, took him away, then sent him home so broken that he felt the need to break our family. I try to forgive. I want this burden lifted so the children and I may move on in peace.

    • Lana, my prayer is that this resentment becomes secondary to God’s healing for you, your marriage, and His plan for you and your family. Father, we pray together today that You will fill up this home, this place where Lana feels alone and angry. Give her hope that today is a new day, one where You begin to speak to her, to mend her marraige, and to mend her heart and emotions. Cover her with Your love and direction and let Your powerful Word begin to speak gently and clearly in her heart. In Your name we pray, amen.

  13. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that the biggest changes occur when I take the biggest emotional risks. I prayed the “Whatever it takes” prayer a while back, and God always answers that one. I love the idea of having an unburdened heart. Sometimes, my heart feels like it’s being crushed by my self-condemnation. I wish I could forgive myself as easily as I forgive others. Looking forward to this journey with you all.

    • LeeBird – I had to take a moment to respond to your comment as I was reading through and playing ‘catch-up’. As I prayed after reading the introduction my prayer was to overcome my self destructive behaviors. For me this includes, negative self talk, repeating behaviors that ultimately hurt me, ie. anger, lack of self control and just in a very general way doing things that stunt my growth. When I am not organized I am not as productive as I want to be and then I beat up on myself for not being organized/productive etc. and the cycle begins again…..I want to learn to forgive myself more as well and let you know that I will be lifting you in prayer as we take this journey as well.

  14. “Forgiveness” has always come too easy for me. That’s because it came and often still comes from a place of insecurity, a need to not be left behind unimportant. I am ready to take steps of faith by redefining my importance while aligning with God’s plans for me. Thank you so much for this study.

  15. I received my book in the mail today. I ordered it from Proverb 31 and it only took a couple of days to get. Thanks guys, I am SO ready to get started!

  16. I read both intro & chapter 1- I want to lift my heart up to God and let him do a real Spring Cleaning- I am ready to get rid of these burdens and pains and guilt and anger and everything else that is cluttering up my relationship with God- I seek his forgiveness for letting all of this stuff build up and dominate My every thought and action

  17. Read the intro and first chapter last week, and re-read the intro today. I am so ready to get rid of this resentment, bitterness and pain I’m carrying around and be able to forgive myself and my friend for what has happened, it has really encompassed my life. Most of all I’m ready to have a closer relationship with God, and with his guidance learn to get through this situation with compassion and grace.

  18. I feel at home with kindred spirits already! I loved the Intro and first chapter and am ready to move forward leaving behind the resentment and hurt feelings. Loved the video and am certain I have been purposely placed here with you all.

  19. I, too, am really looking forward to delving into forgiveness with you. There are some situations I deal with on a daily basis that I find very difficult to forgive and let go… You know, Let Go and Let God. However, something else that is extremely hard for me is to forgive myself – for things from the past and for every mistake I make now. I believe that God forgives me, but I can’t let myself off the hook. I wonder sometimes if that could be part of why I have trouble forgiving some of the people in my life.

  20. I’m excited to get started with the study. I read the introduction and feel a little nervous about thinking about some of my “stuff,” but am so relieved to put some things behind me. I’ve had a number of things happen to me during my life and have always been a good little soldier and just kept pushing through. I felt like if I didn’t dwell on it and think about it, I’d be fine. I’m seeing now that I have a lot of pent up pain and resentment toward the different people who have been instrumental in causing those situations in my life. To highlight the issues I’m needing to deal with…..an emotionally unavailable father, a mentally ill mother, parents’ divorce, a rape as a teenager, a boyfriend who left me when he found out I was pregnant and never looked back, two marriages to men with addictive issues. When I look back, I see how not dealing with those things as they came along has created somewhat of a domino effect and the mistakes just keep on coming. The bright side? Despite the things that have happened, God has taken my brokeness and has worked these things together for good in my life. But better yet, God led me here and helped me know that I need to deal with these issues and forgive the people that may have created hardships in my life.

    • One day I want to write a book called, “We All Have Stuff”. 🙂 Because we do. And yet I hear your heart of faith as you share what is, but with a heart towards what can be. My prayer is that forgiveness shows you that there are chapters yet to be written in the story of your life.

  21. I happened to come upon this study and after listening to you on the radio in the Encouragement Cafe I am convinced that God had a hand in directing me to The Unburdened Heart. I have been trying to find forgiveness for 13 years now regarding my husband having an affair and leaving me and my two kids. I have been trying to ‘just do it’ and sometimes I think that I am there, and then another Facebook post or comment from someone brings all of the resentment back like it was yesterday, and I find myself making snarky comments to myself or others. God is telling me that I have some work to do, and I am looking forward to getting started, although I know that it won’t be easy. I want to let the unforgiveness out of my heart so that God can fill me up with his promises, and I can be the person He wants me to be. Thank you Suzie, and God bless you for being such a wonderful help in this struggle that so many of us have.

    • What does God have for you? So much! After 13 years my prayer is that it’s time for the next chapter for you. I can’t wait to go through a future chapter with you, one that I believe has your name marked with the words beside it “healed”.

  22. I think I am a pretty forgiving person over all. However, I have had instances where the very friends I want to be closest to (and the feeling was mutual), I seem to offend them. In that, I think the hardest thing is when they don’t seem to accept my apology and then they act distant. When you love someone and they don’t love you back. Then there is that whole awkwardness I feel inside when around them. I know it is the flesh… but I also think I must not have truly forgiven them and let go of any expectations. This is the hardest most painful thing I’ve ever had to overcome. Trying to act godly in the face of rejection.

    • If the core of forgiving is to “cease to feel the burden of resentment”, then that’s a gift your Heavenly Father desires to offer. Hard in the face of rejection, right? But if you gently ask them to honestly share why they are offended, what is their response? I don’t think forgiveness is about “acting godly”, though I hear the heart of what you are saying, because it sounds more like you are just hurting and stuffing, and hoping that resembles forgiveness. If their answer to your gentle question is “we just don’t like you”, then you are free to forgive and move forward, accepting what is, or what was, so you can move to what can be in relationships with others. But if it is, “you did this and it made me feel bad” then there’s something that can be worked through. I’d love to hear the answer to your question to your friends, but for now I pray that God gives you courage and comfort and shows you how much He loves you.

      • Thanks Suzie,

        With this particular person, It’s a long story, It always seems to end up open ended to where she has no offense or problem, yet her actions say the opposite. Ranging from being indifferent to occasionally being friendly, but by then it’s such a surprise I don’t know how to respond and she probably gets annoyed at me all over again.

        I think you are right I need to release the burden of resentment, and I am also hurting and stuffing. Thanks for your feedback, I’m looking forward to learning all I can in this study. Thanks!!!

  23. Hey Kristen, Isn’t that the truth? We do stumble over giving it, but we’ll talk about that more. I love your word for 2013.

    • Susie,

      I am looking forward to it! And I cannot wait to get my copy in the mail 🙂 I am so excited to dig in I van hardly stand it 😉 Thanks Susie!

      Blessings to you!

  24. I am excited and yet filled with dread to begin this study. As a “seasoned and mature” Christian (I’m 65, Christ-follower since the age of 8), the area of forgiveness is something I desire to understand and be able to put into practice, and yet I know it will be extremely challenging. There is an ongoing situation in my family that involves false memories and unspeakable accusations coming from a sister. I’ve always been able to forgive other things, but this one is tough, and I think moreso as it is ongoing and current. Want to hear from God on this. Thank you for doing this study.

    • Barbara, Did you know that excitement and dread come from the same place. It’s the fear of the unknown. My prayer is that you shift to “what can be” and allow excitement to take up residence where dread wants to live. It’s only day one, and that’s just of this study. Forgiving is a lifetime of learning and growing and being free, one person, one instance, one event after another. It’s accepting what is, so you can discover what will be. And it’s listening to the Holy Spirit, letting Him sort out what is true and what is not, and moving forward.

  25. I have only read the intro to this book and I already cannot wait for more! So excited! I pray this book sol help me to forgive and let go of some things I need too. The one phrase from the intro that really got to me was this: “We accept God’s grace and then stumble over giving it.” This was eye opening for me. I chose Grace as my one word for 2013. I have been wondering why I chose that word as I was not really sure what made me pick that word. Now I know! I cannot wait to dig deeper!

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