She had a frazzled day, that was clear. She had raced through traffic to pick me up at the airport. She apologized for the cleanliness of her car (which resembled mine at home, exactly).
Then we zoomed into traffic.
“Tell me about you,” I said, hoping to put her at ease.
And for the next half hour she did. When we made it to the hotel she apologized.
“I’m so sorry. I took the entire time talking about myself.”
What she didn’t know is that the Holy Spirit was speaking through her. Every word of her story was falling into a tender, hurting place few knew about.
Once upon a time everyone she knew had given up on her. She lost her son due to addiction. She lost her dreams.
Then one day she walked into a church because they had a Celebrate Recovery program.
“They loved me right where I was,” she said.
Over the next two years she learned how to live sober. She regained custody of her child. She married a good man she met in CR. She gave birth to a little girl.
She had discovered how much Jesus loved her, and it completely changed her life.
Sometimes I “read” the Bible in a new way. On that day I read it through a frazzled, faith-filled, beautiful mama who picked me up at the airport.
- Her story reminded me of the power of Christ’ love.
- Her story reminded me that when we wrap around each other, it can lead to transformation.
- Her story reminded me that second chances are real, and God can redeem the parts of our stories we don’t like.
Her story reminded me of scriptures such as these:
They will know you by your love (John 13:35).
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16).
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 3:4).
Oh, that tender part I mentioned. You see, I was discouraged over someone I care about. I’ve been praying for years for her. Honestly, there are times I wonder if she’ll ever be okay.
[bctt tweet=”Because of Christ’s love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. #livingfreetogether #truth #faith” username=”suzanneeller”]
And on that day I saw what answered prayer looks like as sweet, sweet encouragement wrapped around those doubts and tender places.
The word of God is found in the Bible, but it’s also found in the stories of real life people who encounter God and who are changed by Him.
Never, ever underestimate the power of sharing your story. And don’t let the frazzle of your day, or the imperfections of your life (messy cars, messy houses, work-in-progress areas of your heart) keep you from telling others what God is doing in you. He’ll use it in ways you can’t even imagine.
Q: What is one miracle God has done in you?
For teens: Making It Real: Whose Faith is it Anyway?
For you: The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places
Thank you for your blog. I seem to relate to the ones you have written lately more than anyone.
I feel that my life is just penciled in and people some time put the big ink mark over what I would like to do and write their plan over mine.
(I am a mom with for teenagers in my house. People will say “why?” My reply,” I gave birth to them”.
Shalom, a sister follower of Christ
Suzie, thank you for your blog over at Encouragement for Today. I have been struggling with letting go of past disappointments. I feel like I have come to terms with my past failures, but my emotionally exhausting relationship with my mother has left me beyond tired & disappointed in the relationship that I want so desperately to be good. Thank you for the reminder that God will heal things, wipe them away, in HIS time and I just have to remember it. Thank you for your post and wisdom.
I love the Bible and am always looking for fresh ways to read it. Thanks for reminding me of that the Bible really is stories of real people and He is in our stories, too. Blessings!
Three years ago I joined Celebrate Recoveries in our church for help with my weight. I was extremley over weight and had back trouble. The first two years God had to do a work in me with resentment, rejection, rage and other things I didn’t even realize was there. I didn’t lose one pound, as a matter of fact I think I gained. This last year God has help me to overcome my emotional eating disorder, through Celebrate,a b12 program,Healthy eating, water theropy, Made to Crave and lots of other devotions and things.God is always sendinding me things to guide and stregnthen me. This last year I have lost 78 pounds and still going. I am so thankful that I serve a love caring awesome God.
I recently joined an excercise bootcamp class (5-5:45 a.m.!) that requires approximately a 40 minute round-trip drive. I had a “friend” on facebook decide to join in the journey with me. Here we are, week six, and I am more and more blessed that we have become REAL friends. The fourty-minute drive has allowed us to really get to know one another and fellowship together. I think I can safely say that we both enjoy listening to each other’s stories of past or present. Most valuable to me are the numerous times my friend lifts me up spiritually. God knows what he’s doing, and I’m so thankful he put Teresa in my path!
thanks for the devotional today on Prov 31. what a beautiful image of how God renews our lives. although the journaler in me wanted the woman to ‘save’ those penciled in questions so she could remember how far she’s come! but she knows and God knows!
Thank you for this message and your Encouragement for Today! It’s funny that a very special sister-in-Christ of mine has just recently let God into the margins of her life after many years of prayer from myself and many others. It has been amazing to see her life change and the blessing she has received. I say it’s funny because now here I am not letting God into the margins in my life. I am at the point where I know that I need to, but am scared of relinquishing control. Thank you for encouraging me to take one step closer to letting God into the margins of my life.
Thank you for your post on Proverbs 31 today. It was exactly what I needed to hear today!
God is always faithful to give us what we need when we need it. Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit and letting Him lead you. I look forward to reading this devotional every morning when I get to work. I have written many things in my Bible, and they remind me of some of the difficult day that God has carried me through.
I was raised in church, went to camp, had multiple Bibles, and did everything a “typical Christian” was supposed to do. However, it wasn’t until I was on my own in college when I realized how imperative my relationship with Christ was. Temptation began to surround me and I was struggling to make the right choices. It was difficult to get involved in a church and spend quiet, personal time with God. I had choices to make everyday. Was I going to trust in Christ or go down my own path and try to do it alone? I failed and, thankfully,I learned from my mistakes. My faith in God was taken to a whole new level when I decided to marry the man of my dreams and go to Africa all in the same yer. Financially, my husband and I had to plan our budget and save money. In addition, we had to raise $10,000 to go to Africa for a month. I had doubts. I struggled daily, asking myself if all this hard work was going to be worth it. Now I know the answer, yes. In six short months all $10, 000 was raised and we had money left over to help with supplies and food. People who we had never met or barely knew were donating. Seriously, sometimes I felt that the money was falling from Heaven into our account. The only explanation was that God provided and was with us through it all. As far as saving for our marriage, that money fell from the sky too. Job opportunities opened and people around us supported us considerably. God also answered numerous prayers pertaining to peace, comfort, safety, and the ability to love in all circumstances. There is no way I could have remained calm, positive, and loving in 100 degree weather and in the living conditions we had without Christ. I now firmly believe I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. In the sunshine, and the storm, He will remain. I do not try to live my life by my own wishes, but I follow God’s plan for me now.
Loved the blog post. Reading the Bible has been put on the back burner lately and now having a different perspective, I feel like I will be more engaged.
I am one in the number who love the Bible! I am finding fresh new ways to look at it every time I open it. Thankyou for encouraging me to “listen” to others & see the example is already in the Word!
Beautiful story at P31 today. I came to God broken and bruised 8 years after my infertility diagnosis. God has given me a new lease on life and I’m looking forward to being an aunt this month!
Trying to learn to really read my Bible just resulted after loosing my husband at a very young age a few months ago. I lost all earth family upon the passing of my beloved husband.
Suzie, Thank you for your devo today. I look forward to reading the P31 devo everyday. Thank you for your ministry.I am in a bad place in my life. These devos really help. Knowing God is with me, gets me thru every day. God Bless!
Finally I could stop by here to let you know how much of an encouragement you have been to me for quite a while now. Thank you immensely
Thank you so much for sharing your devotion today. God is slowly changing my life around one step at a time and erasing my doubts with answers of his love and mercy for me after making some horrible choices in my life over the years. After a long struggle though, i’m finally learning what it means to love and be loved. Thank you so much for the encouragement each day!!!
Oh how I need for God to write in the margins of my life. I have become stagnant and depressed over many issues in my life. I have felt alone, when I really know I am never alone. I needed this blog today to help me to see that things do change. That God can and will change things in my life. That all the things going wrong in my life now are only temporary. I don’t have to die to have things change. I may not want to live, but God can’t use me dead, so He has written a Letter to me. To inform me of His unconditional love for me. I have known of His unconditional love, but it really is unconditional! It doesn’t change because of something I’ve done or not done. He loves me despite my mistakes, despite my thoughts. He doesn’t change, but He can change me and my circumstances. Thank you for your words of encouragement and enlightenment.
Your entry at Encouragement for Today was very spot on. I am currently in a part of my life when I’m looking at a very possible major change. This decision has been so long in the offing, and it was actually hindered by me. I was afraid. It is a big step, and I will be chasing after a dream which is not really very financially rewarding – unless you become majorly succesful like Nicholas Sparks, etc. I have realized, though, that I don’t have to be afraid because, quite truly, it’s not about me. It’s about God and how He could be glorified through us. Looking at it this way, the fears seem so miniscule. God will make a way. God is with us. There’s no sense in being afraid when it is the Creator of everything who is making the way. I hope to chase that dream, and hopefully, know myself more and how I can glorify God in my day to day life.
I have enjoyed your recent posts, got back out the prayer journal 🙂
thank you for today’s devotional as well. reminds me of my own scratched out questions that have been replaced with other comments once God choose to reveal something to me.
Im still a baby christian going through growing pains but the pains are eased when I hear the stories of how other people came to know jesus and how he can turn any situation around for his glory. Now im just pushing through the hard stuff and sticking close to God until he gets me to the other side of the mountain.
I do love your devotionals. And yes its a journey, walking and growing with the Lord. Hardships and all its so worth it. The joy and Peace of knowing the Lord is wonderful.
Hi Deena, You just blessed me like crazy! I appreciate you.
Ashley, God changes us even though others may not change. I pray that your mom becomes the person God created her to be, but regardless of what she chooses, I pray that you are wrapped in joy and that you grow leaps and bounds in Him.
Yeah for you, Peggy! Cheerleading you on from here. : )
Carrie, what an honest open comment. I dance with you in celebration over your sister-in-law, but also anticipate what God will do as you throw open the doors to your own life. Let him in fully, sis. Grow with Him. Stretch, even if it’s painful and wonderful at the same time.
Kali, Barbara, Jenn, Jennifer — your stories are amazing.
Deborah, my heart hurts with you, sis. I’m so sorry for your loss. I pray that God pulls you close during this time of grief. I pray that He is your joy, your protection, your shelter, your comfort. In the powerful name of Jesus.
Courtney, I love watching God do what only He can do!
Dear Patricia, I have sent a private email to you, but I want you to know that we have seasons in life when things seem so hard that living is a step of faith. Please know that even Paul had a season where the “sun was blotted out for days and days” in the midst of a dark storm, and yet that is where God proved the most faithful. God promises that nothing can separate us from His love, and that is a promise you can hold tight. Today I pray that God will infuse you with joy, with strength, that you will sense His great love and purpose for you. In His powerful name, Amen.
Thanks for the encouragement!I appreciate all of your ideas, such as the prayer journal. I can’t wait to start mine!