My friend Tracie Miles just wrote a book titled Your Life Still Counts.
Perhaps you’ve asked that question. . .
Does my life still count?
Have I disqualified myself from your plan for me?
With vulnerability and insight, Tracie shares her own story of how God answered that question with a resounding yes.
Today Tracie joins me to share a little more about her story and her powerful new book, Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past to Create a Beautiful Future.
Interview with Tracie Miles
author, speaker, and woman whose life counts
Q: You are vulnerable in YLSC. How hard was it to share your story?
Tracie: It was hard at first, I’m not gonna lie. Especially years ago, when the first time I ever shared my story was when while speaking at an event. I didn’t really want to, but God had impressed upon my heart that I was supposed to.
I’m sure it wasn’t an eloquent message from the stage, but God changed my heart that day as I saw women’s hearts being changed as a result of my transparency. I realized that my willingness to share my own mistakes and brokenness somehow gave permission for others to do the same, without fear of shame or judgment.
Q: You say: Christ doesn’t want anyone living in the shadow of their past, but in the light of His future for them.
What does that mean for the women who made a mistake and felt like God didn’t want her anymore?
Tracie: What it really means is that God wants us to all embrace the truth that He loves us more than we could ever understand, and that nothing we have done affects our value in His eyes. Instead of judging for our past mistakes or hardships, God sees a beautiful future ahead, IF we are willing to let Him use it to glorify Him and give us a special purpose.
I’ve found that we have so many benefits by living in God’s light instead of the regrets of the past. To name a few:
- We benefit from being fully healed from the pains of our past through seeing God using them for something amazing, and seeing that our pain has holy purpose
- We gain a deep personal satisfaction knowing our life matters to God and always has, and that we matter in this world.
- We have the blessing of doing something we are passionate about, and seeing God change hearts and lives, including our own.
- We will have the privilege of seeing how God uses our past to create a beautiful future we would have never imagined.
Q: How has God used your past to create a beautiful future?
Tracie: The day I walked out of the abortion clinic, was the day I decided God could never love me or use me. I spent 14 years believing that lie, and I know so many other women do too which breaks my heart.
Now to see how God had used that very experience to speak healing and truth into my spirit, and to give me a passion to help other women overcome the heartaches of their past, is almost hard to believe. He used that one mistake to really draw me to Him and give me a purpose I would have never imagined. I never wanted to be a speaker or a writer, but God had different plans.
Q: Why do you think we hide our struggles from other believers?
Tracie: There is a part of us, especially as women, that will always fear being judged or criticized. We want to be liked and approved of and accepted and we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t worry about judgment from others, especially if what we have to share is not too pretty.
But God can help us have a faith that will overcome that fear, and it starts by realizing how precious we are to Him. Once we recognize that His approval is really all we need, and we see how powerfully God can use our story to impact hearts for eternity, the fear of other people misunderstanding you takes a back seat.
Even though that fear may always stay in the back of our minds, I speak from experience that once the passion for doing what God calls you to do really takes off, the anxiety about what some people might say seems much less important.
Q: What if you share your struggle and you are judged?
Tracie: It’s a sad reality that there will always be people that judge. Even believers, who think their heart is in the right place.
But what I’ve experienced is that countless more people love on me and connect with me, through my willingness to be vulnberable, than do people who judge me. In fact, I’ve never had anyone rebuke me or dislike because of a mistake I made. Not saying that could never happen, but when we are willing to trust God, I think He protects us as well as we walk the journey.
And even if someone does criticize, its easier to let it roll off our backs when we have seen proof of the power of Jesus at work in us and through us and helping others come to know Him.
Q: What is one thing you want women whose past is painful to know about themselves?
Tracie: That they are adored and treasured by God, and that nothing they have done or anything that has been done to them makes them any less worthy of God’s love and forgiveness. I want them to know that no matter what their past holds, God has a purpose for it and that their lives have been divinely designed since the day they were born.
I also long for women to open the door for God to show them how He can use what the devil meant for evil something good, and that when we witness that happen, it changes our perspectives entirely and gives us an incredible passion for a purpose we didn’t even know was tucked into our spirits.
Q: What is one thing you want them to know about God?
Tracie: Its hard to believe that God is so merciful, and that He forgives our sins and doesn’t hold them against us. But Jesus died on the cross for us to enjoy that grace. Not because we deserve it, but because we are that valuable to Him. I want them to know they are precious, and that God’s heart broke when they went through difficult times, but that nobody is beyond His ability to love and forgive and use for mighty purposes in His kingdom – from the biggest dream, to touching a woman’s heart that you bumped into in the grocery store and shared honestly.
Once I realized that Romans 8:28 had come true in my life, which says “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”, I became passionate about wanting to helping women learn that the pain of their past was not for nothing either. God can and will use our past for His purposes if we will only say yes.
Share your comment below to enter the giveaway of Tracie’s new book, Your Life Still Counts.
If you need prayer, Tracie and I and a strong group of praying friends will circle around you with prayer.
Tracie, I can’t wait to read your book. Suzie, your books have helped me on my recovery road and I’m finally at 60+ learning who I am in God’s eyes. Thanks you both.
I love this, Pam! <3
Thank you for this encouragement. I’m gonna need to read this over and over this week. I worked really hard all my life, but unemployment the past two years has shown me that I measured my worth in what I do not who I am in Christ. 3 more interviews last week, spilling my guts to strangers. Praying one of those will work out, but if not God does have a plan.
please pray for me.
Tracie is right, the fear of being judged by others is always at the back of my mind and heart. But when I hear that inner voice speak, I feel the urge to share. It is later that I worry about the judgements and I need to just let it go. I love to help others and as a nurse I need to remember boundarys.
I was just praying God would slow my work down, when I read the first post from Deena. I was reminded of being thankful for my job, thanks Deena. I don’t know your line of work you do, but the health field could always use a caring person to take care of others. There are so many needs to be filled taking care of the elderly in their homes. May God bless you soon with a job.
Tracie , thank you for your encouragement. I have read alot of your books and they have really helped me. I have a pass that I regret and wish I didn’t do but I have ask God to forgive me and. He did. I was saved six years ago. I Love the Lord with all of my heart. He is good all the time.
Tara, you are the winner of Tracie’s book! I’ll privately email you.
Thank you for your honesty and willingness to help others.
GOD LOVES US WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE. HIS Love is unconditional. He gives us grace and more
grace with the power to overcome. Yes we still matter to God. SHALOM
Tracie, I would love to read this book. I have a really hard time embracing God’s love and grace for me. I need to fully realize who I am in Christ and that my past does not make me a failure.
Sounds like a great book. Thank you for reminding us that we are all loved and treasured by God
I have a very sweet friend who is really going through a hard time right now. she worked for many years handling the financial part of a business. Times got hard at her home and even as a Christian woman (at the time away from God), she chose to take money from the company to help her family. She did this for a few a while and finally got caught & arrested. I know this sounds terrible and the world places judgement on her. Unfortunatley, even though she has repented and returned her heart and ways to the Lord, she still condemns herself. She is facing a court sentence, possibly a lengthy one. Her husband has left her with thier two children for another woman, taken all the money and left them with nothing. She is broken and feels as though any use that God could have had for her is lost forever, that what she has done has brought all of this on her and her family. She needs to read this book. I want her to see that God can use all of this for His glory, and that one day this trial and error can be a huge testimony. If I could afford it, i would just buy it for her, but I can’t at this moment. Even if I don’t win the book for her, please please keep her and her family in your prayers.
Angela – I will definitely keep your friend in my prayers. I cant imagine the weight of regret that she is carrying. Praying that she can release that to Jesus and let Him give her a new start and fresh dose of hope for the future.
Thank you for being a friend to this woman. Thank you for showing her that God can use even the most broken pieces of our lives to reflect His glory. I don’t always understand how it works, but it’s the story of my life. It’s the story of so many. I pray that today your friend feels God’s love in a measure that absolutely covers those feelings as she walks through a hard time. Yes, she’s facing consequences of her actions, but she’s also in His hands. I pray that she will sense that today.
As I read your words it brought tears to my eyes.. Thinking back All the things from even childhood up until know I know like you God can use all of that for His Glory to help other woman … I have often thought about writing a book myself.. In hope just to help other people..
Lisa – we all have a story, and God calls us to share that story! If He has impressed upon your heart to write about it, that is a great place to start. He has a plan and purpose for everything we go through, and our stories are what help people see God really at work. I pray He fills you with passion and inspiration to share and grows your desire in Him to help others find healing and purpose.
I can’t wait to get my hands on this book, there have been so many struggles, mistakes, and life just happening!
Suzie books have been exactly what I need when I’ve needed it. This seems like a great one too!
thank u for being open m honest n sharing your study. I will buy your book and God will use it to heal me and others in my life. God bless you
Please circle me in prayer, thank you.
Lord, today women from around the nation gather around Debi. Women from our prayer team. Myself. Others who stumble onto this blog. We stand close together and breathe your name over Debi. Over her heart. Over the brokenness so clearly see and long to mend. Thank you for a woman who is so strong that she knows exactly where to call for help, and that is on the name of Christ. We ask this in that name, amen.
Debi – I pray God fills your heart with an overwhelming sense of His Presence and love for you. And fills you with a sense of peace that brings relief from your burdens. No matter what you are facing, and what hurts you are shouldering, God wants you to know how much He loves you and that you are precious and treasured in HIs sight. Praying for you friend.
My daughter just called me today fearing that because her father left when she was seven she didn’t deserve to be treated special by any man, For sixteen years she has carried the hurt and anger of this abandonment until she can’t believe why God would love and bless her. She is a beautiful lady and needs prayer that what God has started today will continue until she knows without a doubt that God loves her and that her life counts to Him in so many ways. thank you.
Oh Father, thank you for the heart of this mom. It mirrors your own for her daughter. Your love is magnified by ten thousand for you are her Creator. Draw this daughter close to you today. Thank you for filling the gaps a man didn’t. Thank you for showing her a love that never leaves, never forsakes, never denies, never harms. Surprise her with peace today. With confidence. Show her the Source of that peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I felt like Mary’s daughter for years not understanding what it meant to be adopted and wrongly believing that I must somehow be defective because my mother gave me up when I was 13 days old. God ministered to me through Psalm 27:10 which states: When your mother and father forsake you, the Lord will take care of you. This gave me something new to think about and I wanted to know more about this God who loved me when I didn’t even know him,
As a “Gaga” to two beautiful little adopted boys who are my heartbeat, I pray often for the ones who chose to give us these little guys. I couldn’t imagine life without them. I couldn’t imagine not knowing our little guys, and the nuances of their smiles, or how one leaps from the couch to “love” his Gaga, crushing me to the ground with hugs. Or how my youngest moves his hips when music starts. I love everything about them.
It’s such a picture of how God sees us as His adopted children. Grafted into a vine that seamlessly grows because of the choice of a Heavenly Father.
Thank you for sharing. Thank you for allowing us to hear your thoughts.
Mary – what an awesome day it is that your daughter confided in you with her own vulnerability and fears. That is certainly a turning point in her beginning to let God show her how much He loves her and gradually draw her closer. I pray God fills her with peace and comfort and acceptance as she begins to walk in faith and trust Him and His promises for her.
Powerful message! Thank you for being so open with your story. Not sure I could because of the reasons you gave. One day I hope to be secure enough as a beloved daughter of God to not worry so much about the judgement of others. It’s tiring to hide the ugly from people. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.
Oh Linda, one sentence you wrote leaped from the page for me: “It’s tiring to hide the ugly from people.”
I pray that today you begin with holding up that “ugly” to a God who loves you like crazy. That you see how He somehow takes the broken and makes it whole. How He uses our stories to move us from stuck in the past to running after Him, and inviting others to follow.
I’m so glad you stopped by here today.
I am late for your link party but love your hashtag so wanted to contribute. Freedom is a big theme in my narrative and writing about this topic helps me to figure stuff out. I love what you said about knowing who you are and not making an agreement with someone else’s judgement of you. I am learning how to do this and it is freeing. Is there a way to get your writing prompts before thursday? Thanks for your ministry.
I too am a 10 year cancer survivor, have had numerous back surgeries, almost bled out from a hysterectomy that required 2 surgeries in 1 day with blood transfusions afterwards. When people say, “You’ve really had more than your fair share”, I honestly feel like I have, but I respond with, “I am OUTSTANDING! Outstanding; in the street, in my house, in the warm sun, because I AM STILL STANDING! GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR ME AND THAT IS WHY I AM STILL HERE! We all often feel forsaken at times though, truly we are not as God NEVER gives you more than you can handle EVEN if we don’t understand why at the time. Knowing this is one thing, practicing it during difficult times is what is hard. We all need, including myself, to have a more gratuitous attitude about everything in this life our Lord blessed us with. We are all unique. Your devotion hit me like a ton of bricks today, as yesterdays did that I prayed, petitioned and received from Proverbs 31 to republish as I am divorcing after 23 years next month and in my comments to Proverbs 31 I SAID, “MY STORY IS NOT YET OVER!” My children are almost grown (turning 21 & 18 by July). When I counsel my children; I explain that I am not smarter than them but rather wiser having life experiences, that I have been their age, knowing how often teens can have rebellious attitudes NOT caring what the world thinks(I certainly did), & with the internet (I DO NOT CARE FOR FACEBOOK AT ALL!) and Social Media, how the things they post CAN come back to haunt them later, especially career wise. I receive anger from my son who is almost 21 and doesn’t live at home as he CHOOSES to live with his girlfriend. Though I don’t support this, it definitely doesn’t mean that I don’t love him unconditionally, as both of my children are the very best and worst parts of me. As I endure starting this process all over again; and have no desire to rehash the emotional vomit as it is NOT good for me; and God has taught me the sooner I stop thinking about something the sooner I will forget it, I truly believe that this book WILL help me guide my children, as they will always be my babies no matter their age nor mine, and make the navigation process easier. I pray I am fortunate to receive it. God Bless you all at Proverbs 31.
I have gone through a lot of heart-wrenching things, but I praise Jesus for them because he has grown me. I understand struggle, pain and heart ache and because of this I can relate to others. I so deeply want others to find release. I commend you, Tracie, for encouraging all women in this pursuit. It is such a worthy cause. We don’t need to fear our past, but proclaim the riches of the work of Christ Jesus’ redemption through it!
My heart is broken from an answered prayer of NO. I do not understand and it is testing my trust and faith. Please pray for me.
Really look forward to this study.