What a gift Suzie has given me, in sharing my story on her blog. I love this woman, so very big! Not only is Suzie my incredible “boss” (she prefers ministry partner), but she is also a beautiful friend, mentor, and inspiration.
Suzie and I go way back. When I was a scrawny thirteen-ish year old, Suzie was a youth leader in a church my family was visiting. I quickly became a regular on Wednesday nights, after realizing the close-knit group of fellow Jesus freaks and it’s phenomenal leaders were exactly what my heart needed.
My grandparents, who lived the love of Jesus, as I stated in my #livefree story, had recently retired from full time ministry and moved to Oklahoma near us. It seemed as though my family (my parents and three siblings) had finally stabilized for the first time in awhile.
While we appeared stable to the outside world, I quickly learned that we were far from it. Over the coming years, the thirty mile drive, an after school job and the madness of my parents’ divorce caused me to float away from that youth group. But Suzie and I came back into contact from time to time, in various ways.
Fast forward several years, a marriage, and a crazy tight budget. Soon after the birth of each of my three children, my mind slipped into a sort of postpartum depression that manifested itself in strange ways. This put major stress on my little family unit, every time it happened. Eventually, emotions and issues that I had covered up since childhood began to surface. I had always been the strong one, the Fixer. I wasn’t sure how to process what was happening inside of me, and everything in my life began to spiral out of control.
My husband is incredible, and he knew that those emotionally messed up years weren’t “me.” He continued to love me, forgive me, and encourage me to pull through. Together, with God’s beautiful mercies and supportive friends and family, we did.
While I felt that God was calling me to write, I was scared. Fear of failure crept up within me like a disease as I started considering this dream. But the more I tried to run from it, the more God confirmed that it was the direction He wanted me to go.
Facebook gave me new contact with Suzie. I had always looked up to her and considered her a mentor, even though I only watched her from afar. Okay, that sounds so stalker-ish… I promise it wasn’t. I was able to reconnect with Suzie on a more personal level after attending She Speaks, a writing & speaking conference under Proverbs 31 Ministries.
Not long after, Suzie requested prayer via email to close friends & family, and mentioned a need for help within her ministry. True to my schoolgirl nature, I wanted to be the first to raise my hand, waving it in the air until the teacher… err, Suzie… called on me. But being in full time youth ministry with my husband, and having three young kiddos, forced my hand at my side. So I prayed. For Suzie and her ministry. For direction with this stirring inside of me to go further. Not long after, I felt the urge to let Suzie know that I was still praying. And that although I couldn’t travel with her at the time, I was still willing to help her in any other small way possible (long distance, of course, as we lived a few hours apart).
Since then, my dance with Suzie has flourished into traveling a couple times a year with her and working as her assistant several hours a week (still long distance). A dream opportunity. A couple of years ago, it even gained me the privilege of reading the manuscript of her most recent book, The Mended Heart, prior to it’s release. It was an assigned task from Suzie, reading the book and pulling “sticky statements” from it for use in advertising.
Little did I know, that it was also an assignment from God.
Here I was, doing my “job,” and ended up being flipped inside-out & right-side-up, and walking a path of healing and restoration that was completely unexpected. I hadn’t even noticed that there was still mending to be had within my heart. But WHOA! There were still so many layers of junk that needed to be sanded down. And….
Once I allowed God to perform holy surgery (a Suzie phrase) on the very core of my heart, I began to step into who He created me to be.
I was restored. And I could feel it.
To sum it up: this book changed my life. A simple assignment changed. my. life.
Suzie is one of the most precious women I’ve ever known. She is strong. She is a grace girl. She doesn’t only lead women in a new direction, but also walks beside you, holding your hand, cheering you right along. She has spoken into my life more than I could ever repay. I am honored to have a tiny hand in her ministry, and more so, to call her friend.
Friend, may I encourage you today? If any part of you doesn’t feel completely whole, if you are carrying past hurt, anger, unforgiveness (against yourself or someone else), loss, hopelessness, bitterness, or brokenness, then you need this book! Even if you think you’re “okay,” you probably still need it. Trust me.
The Mended Heart is bursting with quotes that spoke loudly to me. Among them is:
“When we realize our Savior isn’t afraid to talk about our sin, we don’t have to remain broken anymore.”
Powerful! I’d been carrying the weight of my own failures and sins for so very long, even though I believed that God had forgiven me. Talk about a freeing TRUTH!
For real, this book is smashed full of powerful, freeing truths. I love that Suzie says,
“You don’t have to fix yourself—Jesus loves you right where you are. In fact, He has already completed the work that needs to be done.”
Am I perfect now? So far from it!
Do I have faults and struggles? You don’t even know!
But Suzie’s words in this book helped me walk into a place of healing…. real, deep, sincere healing within the deepest cracks of my heart. Her words are anointed, and the timing in which I read them was God-appointed. I have no doubt the same will be true for you. It’s a must read. Seriously… it’s all the good stuff!
Suzie Eller, I love you big. Thank you. For all of it. Everything. You are incredible.
Thank you, precious Lord Jesus, for restoring my soul. In you, I am whole.