Unburdened Heart Study Week #2: Surrendering means we are no longer stuck

Unburdened Heart

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Today, we are in Week #2, Chapter One of The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.

There are many meanings to the word forgive that we’ll explore over the next few weeks. But let’s begin with one word today that helps us take the first step.

That word is surrender.

We surrender our feelings, our thoughts, our past, so that we are no longer stuck. This is our thought for this week):

Surrendering to God means we are no longer stuck.


The paralyzed man’s friends may have felt that Jesus was missing the point when He addressed the “whole man”, rather than just his legs. Today I want to assure you that Jesus sees us from the inside out. He sees the whole person.

Nothing is hidden (Psalm 139:1-4). Nothing too big for your God (Mark 10:27).

What might happen if you shift your focus from the obvious or exterior issues, and invite God to gently peel away layers to the heart issue underneath?

What does surrendering look like for you today?

Write down our thought of the week. Put it in your Bible. Write it on the mirror. Let it sink in. At this point surrendering might just be, “God, I have no idea where you are taking me. All I know is that I can’t do it without You, but I’m willing.”

That’s an incredible step of faith moving you forward!

Today, read Chapter one.

Share your questions and comments. Gather around the table, and let’s talk and pray together.


  1. Forgiveness to me is surrendering the issue completely to God. Sometimes this really hard for because of trust issues. I feel that the forgiveness process will be complete when I can see that person and truly want the best for that person with no ill feelings or bitterness. I guess that would be the peace that others have been talking about. I appreciate that you stated that forgiveness is a process and not an instant action and feeling. I have been told many times that I am not a good Christian because I do not instantly forgive and act like nothing ever happened. Thank you for your book and study. I am so thankful that God put you in my life.

  2. Suzie, still catching up after reading the PDF several times over last few days. Such good stuff and my book came today. Thank you for sharing hat you have learned and walked through. It’s hard but it is worth it. One thing that struck me and encouraged me was your statement “Surrender to Gd is an active form of spiritual warfare, because you are no longer battling alone. With God’s help, you are resisting the enemy who desires nothing more than to rob you of purpose and joy. The enemy has no choice but to step back when you follow this precept: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (v. 8) James 4
    Love this!! I’ve been blessed and challenged to do bible study with some amazing women. I never felt like I measured up, because I couldn’t just move through things as quickly or as easily as it seems they did. All last year, I prayed specifically that God would grant me a willing spirit and now so many months in the incubator, I believe His time and answer are at hand. I just felt like I wasn’t doing enough, putting on the armor right or something…anyway your statement, “Srrender to God is an active form of spiritual warfare, because you are no longer battling alone…”, really blessed me. I’m there! (in that one sense, not claiming to have arrived), but God is my help and I’m not lone and I’ve not been passive, but active. I’m learning!

    Also love “it’s not about how strong you are. It’s about His love for you and the power of God…”. Amen! I am not strong enough to do this anymore.

    Thank you for these words of encouragement.


  3. Micayla says:

    4 years ago my life was turned upside down. I was forced to take off my rose colored glasses and see the true and real side of my life and marriage. Every step from then on was guided by faith and God. Sometimes me walking and making strives to forgive and understand and other times God carried me. Forgiveness will never mean forgetting the past. For me it has come to mean to allow my heart to heal. I always thought growing up God would never give me more burdens than I could bear. Now I know that this is not true. I had to surrender all of me in order for God to heal me from the inside out. Forgiveness is not easy. Learning to trust again is so hard. God showed me how to give both. My marriage is stronger today than it has been in over 20 years. My relationship with God is more personable today. I look forward to the journey we will take over the weeks to come.

  4. Thank you for walking us through this study. To all the ladies struggling with the idea of forgiveness and/or what it means…remember it is a daily act and patience is required:-) I began this process about 6 months ago. After a busy year of stress and life changes, God stopped me in my tracks and showed me my need of letting so much go, but more importantly for the first time I began to understand that I havent really forgiven the acts and people that planted the bitterness and anger many years ago. I have many layers to peel away to get to the root. It has been painful, exhausting, exciting, freeing. God is fine tuning my relationship with Him, yet again, and surrender is always the key! In Suzie’s words,”forgiveness is and intentional act…it won’t feel natural and may feel painful…surrender”. “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”. Yes, he will! Ladies we are on this journey together. God created us for community and he comforts us so that we may comfort others.

  5. I’m so hurt and upset right now I can not even bring myself to want to even think about forgiving-my son is going through a nasty divorce and his wife’s most recent allegation is that I grabbed my granddaughters arm during her last visit at our house in December that created a large bruise on her arm-This is NOT TRUE! I never touched my granddaughter or even disciplined her verbally during our last visit when this injury is alleged to have occurred-however, my son’s wife is a liar and very manipulative and full of anger and revenge-she took a picture of my granddaughters arm that was bruised and had both grandchildren write a letter that she gave to her attorney stating to the effect that they do not want to ever come visit at grandma’s house again because they are afraid of grandma-This is what I was told by my son’s attorney last week-I have not seen the letter or the picture. This is extremely hurtful not only to me but also to my son who is living with us because the wife is using this lie to keep the children from visiting their fatherwho is living at my house when it is his time to have them for visiation! My son’s wife lied to the police last June when my son and his wife were having a domestic verbal fight about her spending all of the money they had from his paycheck that was to buy groceries and other essentials-she went on one of her shopping sprees-as a result of overhearing the fight my granddaughter called the other grandparents and they came over and sided with their daughter and were threatening to kill my son-so my son called 9-1-1- and as a result the police believed the wife and her parents and arrested my son-his wife alleged that he tried to pick her up and throw her into the trash can-Not true! but this arrest led to the filing of divorce and within a few weeks the company that he had worked for for a number of years fired him-it didn’t look good having a general manager of a big company being arrested-and so my son was left completely devastated financially and unemployed and that is why he is living with us until he can get back on his feet -His wife is angry because I am helping my son and she is using the allegation of my hurting my granddaughter to keep the children away from their father, as well as their grandparents while she is doing all that she can to influence the children negatively toward their father and their paternal grandparents-I know this is long and confusing, it is for me too as I do not understand how false allegations can keep being made and believed from a woman who is so mean and full of anger and revenge-It doesn’t look like there will be a good outcome for either myself or my son as far as having visitation with his children due to all of the lies being spun by his wife

    • What a hard situation.

      As we look at God’s will for you in this situation, where can we turn for wisdom? In Romans 12, Paul is sharing how to live in freedom, and through the Spirit. He says, beginning in verse 17, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see that you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. . .”.

      What do we find in these verses as we “surrender” to forgiving. First, remember that surrendering isn’t a weak word. It’s strong. It’s saying that you are not battling alone.

      As you shared, you shared what your daughter-in-law has done that has hurt you and your loved ones. There is very little we can do to change another person’s actions, but there is SO much guidance and wisdom in these verses for our response.

      We don’t repay evil with evil. This word evil means an opponent or adversory. So we meet adversory with wisdom. We meet it with prayer on our knees. We don’t react, but rather respond in an honorable way, which is a mix of truth, grace, and confidence in who we are, and whose we are.

      In the midst of chaos, a response like this brings peace into a situation, even if that peace is only under your own roof, or in your own heart, or in the presence of a grandchild or son.

      Today may we pray with you? I hope others will join in.

      Father, You see this family situation, and You know the truth. We all see the truth through our own perspective and our feelings, but You see every person involved, and You see this child and families. Father, as Marilyn surrenders today to forgiving so that she is not stuck, bring peace to her heart. Shine in her home. Lead her away from hurt and anger to confidence and truth and wisdom. Fill the places that she humanly cannot fill on her own that are raw and wounded from this battle. Put people around her that will speak truth and Light and peace into her heart, rather than fan the flames of anger and hurt. Be her balm. You promise to give us wisdom when we need it, and today we take hold of that promise. Help her to respond, and not react. Put a hedge of protection around this child’s heart so that no wounds penetrate. Let the adults around her protect her as they pray, love, and reach out to You for help in the time of need. We pray this together, In Jesus’ name.

  6. Two things stuck out to me in the stories of the paralyzed man in Luke 5 and Bartimaeus, the blind man in Mark 10. In Luke 5, the paralyzed man’s friends didn’t let the crowds deter them from getting their friend to Jesus. They went to the roof and lifted him down to Jesus. A great act of courage and faith. In Mark 10:50, when the men told Bartimaeus, “Jesus is calling you”, Bartimaeus got up, threw off his garment and went to Jesus. In my Bible, it says that in those days, blind people wore a bright colored garment as a sign that they were blind. So for Bartimaeus to “throw off ” his garment was great act of faith. In both stories, it was their acts of faith that made them whole. I want that too! Suzie, I don’t yet have my Kindle version yet, but are we going to discuss what “loving from afar” means?

  7. I love what you just said to Holly, Suzie. That’s what I want…to just relax into what God has for me. Wherever you want to take me, and whatever you want to do, Lord. I’m in. Help me to surrender the need to know what’s coming and the desire for the outcomes to be my way. I’m tired of walking backward on the escalator to freedom. Thank you for this study, for this group of ladies, and for your sweet servant, Suzie.

    • Lee, at this point let’s let God do the work (at all points, but especially now). He knows us. He knows what we can do, with His help, who we are, with His touch.

  8. Forgiveness, that’s a lot wrapped up in one word. Recently I’ve begun to learn that for many years I have stuffed hurts and regrets down deep inside so I wouldn’t feel the pain. No with God’s help I am beginning to understand that I really didn’t forgive. What was hidden turned into resentment and then to bitterness. Although now, I can’t even remember what some of the hurts were. The pain they caused still lingers and affects that way I live my life everyday and the way I interact with those who caused the hurt. I thought if I can forget the incidents then I will have forgiven. Now I know that is not always true. Lord help me learn from this study to allow true forgiveness to take place in my heart.

    • Father, I pray with Debora, that the hurts will be replaced with compassion for others who are still in the midst of painful circumstances. Help her see the miracles all around her. The joy in today. Bring up those pains and shine a light on them so that You can call them what they are, and show her how you can move in to those raw and broken places and take up residence, moving them up and out. We ask this in Jesus’ powerful name, amen.

  9. Surrender is a vary scary place. I don’t know if I can even begin. I have trust issues, abandonment issues, anger and bitterness. I feel sick and drained. I pray for gods help in letting it all go. For me, “Surrender” is as strange and uncomfortable as “forgiveness”. I have been hurt by every man I was close to. I want to be free. I want to trust in god to take this burden. My hope is that, with your book, I can begin the journey.

    • Go back to week one. Look at what we shared about risk. It does involve risk — but freedom is taking one step, or shifting one perspective, or realizing that God’s presence is right there, walking with you through the transformation. It’s not easy, and I won’t promise that, because freedom always comes with an openness to go through the hard places and to peel away those things that protected or made us feel more insulated before. . .

      I hear your comment, but I want you to hear it just as loud. “I feel sick and drained. I have trust issues. I am angry. I am bitter. I feel abandoned.” You weren’t meant to abide (stay) in any of those places. We have all experienced one or more of them to some extent, but they are not permanent residences for God’s children.

      Take the risk. Pray the prayer, “I don’t know what this is going to look like, but I’m signing up, God. Wherever you take me, I’m going and I stand before you totally vulnerable and open to whatever you want to show and teach me. Because you aren’t a man who will hurt me. You are my Creator, my Heavenly Father.”

      Your courate to be honest blows me away. But what is more amazing is what God can do inside of us when we begin to pray a willing prayer, right in the midst of uncertainty. He meets us where we are.

  10. Surrender equals freedom…Freedom from waking in the night wondering and obsessing about my husband’s unfaithfulness. Freedom from trying to control or “police” his behavior. Freedom from my thoughts of possible abandonment from him. And from my own thought of leaving the marriage. Believing God has the power to transform my marriage. And the power to help me forgive. Surrender means taking these bricks out of the wall around my heart and letting God in. I do want God’s freedom. And what can be, not what was. Thank you for this opportunity to apply this spiritual study on forgiveness.

    • Week #4 will be your week, Heidi. 🙂 Hang tight with us. It’s all beneficial, and it all builds and weaves together. But week #4 is for you.

    • Oh Heidi,
      I too have been in the same place you are. For the last 18 months, I’ve checked every story, reciept, etc. looking for a reason to trust him again. I need the same freedom you mention, but I know that God is also asking me to seek freedom through forgiving “her” as well. I have fought tremedously the desire to let my heart unleash my feelings to her, because I know it won’t solve anything. I praise Him for the fire I know I’m about to walk through because I’m coming out all shiny and new.

      Heidi, you are in my prayers. Know we’re all in this together.

  11. I learned about forgiveness from Neil Anderson. Forgiveness has changed my life. I stuggle more with forgiving myself. I have been able to change my career path because of the choice to forgive, let go and let God. The choice to forgive impacts your life. Thamks for the study. Blessings.

  12. As one who knows, forgiveness is a choice. This choice leads to freedom. I am still married because In 1995, I learned about forgivess from Neil Andeerson. Walking in forgiveness allowed me to chose a different career path as a nurse. I still struggle at times, especially forgiving myself. I am open to what God is ging to teach me through this study.

  13. I wish your microphone was louder. It may not be possible for it to be any louder. The problem may be in my computer. Thank you for what you are doing. I am on Facebook, but I do not know how to get you on Facebook. Thanks again.

    • I am having the same problem Ruth with the volume on the Suzie’s microphone. I don’t think the problem is with our computers. As far as the Facebook issue…click the Live Free, bright blue square at the right side of this website (it has street signs that say old and new) and it will take you right to her facebook page.

      • The volume is loud on my computer and others that I’ve checked. So sorry it’s not loud enough with your phone or computer. Sometimes putting in earbuds helps. I hope it does.

  14. Robin K. says:

    When I think of surrender, I think that I am going to have to totally let God take control of my marriage. That is a hard, I think what if I forgive and he continue’s to hurt me or that he is not willing to forgive this is gonna be a tough one, I pray the Lord gives me his strength to do so. Thank you.

  15. Surrender…….. please pray for me because I surrender than I take back and I just want to surrender everything and never want it back from God, although God has been working in meI do see my thought pattern changing but I want complete freedom where no thoughts of reveage come in or what is that peroson doing I want nothing except to say blessings and that’s what I have been doing, so this book has came at a good time for me thank you for this study.

    • Heidi,

      The good news is that you are continually surrendering. There will come a time when you walk by that thing you’ve surrendered and you think, “I don’t want you anymore. I want to be free in my thoughts, free in my relationships, free in my heart, free in my walk as a woman of faith”, and you don’t pick it back up. But for now, just keep putting it down. The fact that you are so self aware (spiritually aware of what is happening) is awesome. Put it back down for today. And do that a hundred times if you need.

  16. I used to work with a girl that I didn’t get along with. I usually backed off and that seemed to make her madder. She eventually went another school when her position was eliminated. I continued to see her at meetings periodically but usually just sat far away from her. It bothered me. A lot. Finally I wrote her a note telling her I was sorry that things had been difficult and had never resolved. No blame taken or placed on her, I just said I was sorry about how things had been. She took it very well. I think she was shocked. The weird thing is that I never saw her again. It was like once I did that God gave me an incredible peace. It has been years. We worked and still live in the same community. I have heard things over the years, but I was able to let go of a situation that made me miserable for a long time. I learned so much about the value of forgiveness when I simply wrote a note stating regret.

  17. What does surrendering look like? It would mean giving everything to God…the hurt, the pain, the need to retaliate or to confront in a non-loving manner. Right now, I am struggling to forgive an ex-friend who confronted me when I did not deserve it, when I needed instead for her to take the time to see within my heart. I did nothing wrong. She completely tore into me over this issue and not only that, this situation was reported to one of our pastors. I’m angry and I’m hurt over this situation. Deeply. I feel she strongly that she was wrong. I think here, surrendering would mean a lot less tension when I see her. That I can attend activities where she is at, like an upcoming women’s retreat, without the tension and to be able to enjoy the activity and not worry what she is doing. It would mean letting go of any jealousy of her. I would no longer want to confront her (I’ve already confronted her and had a conversation with her in the pastor’s office. But since that talk, I found out that she reported some things about me to another pastoral staff member). I wouldn’t have steam coming from my ears whenever I see her. I can just feel calm and at peace. I sure hope I can get there!

  18. Forgiveness for me looks like and would feel like absolute freedom, no more thinking of him/memories, anxiety, meltdowns.. Just complete freedom to be able to move on and live the life I am given and to be the best mama to my kiddos.
    My heart is broken and in a million pieces due to my recent divorce. I have GOT to forgive my ex husband for all of the times he stepped out of the marriage and I have GOT to forgive him for leaving me and our kids for another woman. This is going to be probably the second hardest thing I have to do but in order for me to heal inside I have to forgive. It is exactly “Not What Was, but What Can Be”. I know God has a plan for us and this was all part of His plan but it still hurts so bad. I am so ready to surrender and to heal in this season of my life!
    I can not wait to dive further into this book and dive into my relationship with the Lord to “forgive”. . Forgiveness is Freedom! Thanks Suzie for this study!

  19. I am trying to picture what forgiveness looks like from me to the friend that stomped on my heart. I think to truly forgive then I wouldn’t think on the hurts and I probably wouldn’t think about her much anymore either. There would be nothing left to really connect the two of us except the things we know about each other and times that were shared. I would rather remember the good than the bad anyway… As I think about it, unforgiveness really is a way of holding on to that person. But in an unhealthy way. For me it is to think on Jesus and his love for me, not on the hurts. I think part of it is facing.. what was there is gone. It probably wasn’t real anyway. Then comes in.. not what was but what can be. So I can focus on the good things ahead, but there is still that lingering sense of loss. Trying to convince my heart it wasn’t real anyway. I don’t want to live a fake life just to feel some gratification — that really I should be looking to the Lord and not seeking what temporarily feels good to my soul but never satisfies. I know these things in my head but to walk it out takes endurance and focusing in on Jesus I think.

    • Holly, what if you chose, just for this week, not picture what it looks like, but just to surrender to whatever God has for you. It’s letting Him into the heart. It’s inviting Him into the hurt. It’s offering Him the lingering sense of loss. Don’t make it too hard today, sis. Just relax in where He’s taking you.

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