UPDATE: Thank you for leaving such great comments! I’ve decided to give away 2 gift packs instead of one. Each winner will receive a copy of Suzie Eller’s new book, Unburdened Heart and a Starbucks gift card:
Email me (Leah.Proverbs31@gmail.com) your mailing address so I can send the gift packs to you. Congratulations!!
I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend and ministry mentor, Suzie Eller. She just released her book entitled, The Unburdened Heart: Finding Freedom in Forgiveness. If you are struggling with unforgiveness, or know someone who is, this book is a must have.
Maybe someone has hurt you deeply and you can’t find the strength to forgive them. Or, you thought you had forgiven them years ago, but seeing that person or even hearing their name mentioned, reopens hidden wounds in your heart. Maybe there is someone in your life who you love deeply but they won’t forgive you.
Do you want freedom? Freedom comes through forgiveness and Suzie will show you how to begin the steps of healing through her book, The Unburdened Heart. Through her tenderness and transparency, Suzie shares with us her insights about forgiveness below.
I’m giving away a FREE copy of Suzie’s book, along with a Starbucks gift card. So, after the interview below, be sure to leave a comment sharing why you’d like to win. If you tell a friend about the drawing, post something on Facebook or Twitter, mention it in your comment and your name will go into the drawing twice.
Take it from here Suzie….
Suzie, why is forgiveness so difficult?
It’s difficult because it involves people and it involves the way we feel. If we could just live in isolation, then maybe we’d never run into a difficult person, or open our hearts to love someone and they disappoint, or maybe we’d never feel bad. Which is why many do isolate or retaliate when they are hurt; it makes sense.
But it also traps you, and keeps you stuck, and maybe no one sees that, but it plays out somewhere, whether in your relationships or inside where no one can see.
Why are you offering a free online study?
One of the things that I pray that The Unburdened Heart–and our online study–does is to help shift our perspective from “what was, to what can be”.
We know up front that we are going to face head-on some difficult challenges, or that we may crawl over a hurdle that has stood in the way for years, but one of the most powerful meanings of the word forgive is “to leave one place to go to another”.
To leave bitterness for joy.
To leave anger for peace.
To leave being stuck to discovering what God has for you today, rather than what you carried yesterday.
What does forgiveness mean? Is it letting someone off the hook for what he/she did?
The foundational meaning is to “cease to feel resentment.” In a sense, we are able to get out of the debt collection business, which is freeing.
But there’s so much more to this word.
When I started my own personal journey to discover the diverse and powerful meanings of this word, I did so because it seemed like people would say something like, “just forgive”, which only made a hundred more questions come up, like “does it mean they get off the hook?” or “they’ve changed but I can’t forget what they did”.
The deeper I got into this study, the more I realized that forgiveness is important to God, because people are important to God.
In the book, using the power of story and scripture, I share several different multi-layered meanings of this word found in scripture, and all of them lead us to freedom. It might not necessarily fix another person, or make them say they are sorry, or even provide justice that should have taken place, but the door is unlocked and you and I are free and no longer chained to an event, a person, or a time.
Why should we forgive, especially when we’ve been hurt badly and/or the offender isn’t sorry for what he/she did?
First, it’s important that we acknowledge that it’s hard to forgive when there’s no remorse, and you long for someone to say they are sorry. I don’t know how many women I’ve talked to that I’ve wrapped my arms around and said, “I wish that hadn’t happened to you. I’m so sorry that it did.”
But there are a lot of walking wounded whose offender may not be sorry, may not be remorseful (maybe they see it a different way, or through their own filter of pain, or maybe they don’t care), and yet this beautiful woman is still tied to that person or that period of time.
When I looked at my beautiful newborn child, I wanted her to have a healthy mom who wasn’t tied to the past, or filled with bitterness. I wanted to put a line in front of me and say, “it stops here.” I wanted my sweet girl to grow up in stability. But if there were cords that still tied me to the past, I was going to struggle to give her that.
It wasn’t easy. I didn’t know what or how to do it way back then. I just knew that for some reason every time I prayed that God would help me give my child something greater, the word forgive seemed to be the most important first step to take.
So, regardless of another person’s willingness or unwillingness, we offer up what we have to God and that might just look like this: God, I have no clue where you are taking me, or what you want me to do, but I’m willing to take this journey. So I offer up my heart to you today, regardless of whether anyone else has signed up for this journey or not.
To me, surrendering to the process is the most incredible act of faith.
What about when we think we have forgiven, but negative thoughts and emotions still keep coming up. Why is this, and will your book help us with this?
When I was in the beginning stages of forgiving, I would let thoughts just pour over my heart.
I thought about what I would say next. I would think about setting a person straight. I would put myself in a good light, and the other person in a negative light. Pretty soon I was in stuck in those thoughts and emotions. It wasn’t a healthy place, because it didn’t do anything to work through the conflict. It didn’t do anything but feed my anger or bitterness.
One day I felt God asking me to leave that unhealthy place.
I promised God that when I went to that unhealthy place where nothing was ever resolved and it kept me stuck, that I’d recognize it as such.
When that took place, it was a good time to look at why I felt the way I did, and if there was anything in my power that I could do. And if not, then how could I invite God into that moment and that feeling, where He could take up residence and fill in the raw places in my heart.
Suzie, thank you for sharing with us today. I am already hearing from other women how your book has given them the faith to forgive and receive freedom!
Friends, if you want to know more about Suzie, please visit her blog and check out her on-line study by clicking here.
Please don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Suzie’s new book and a Starbucks gift card! I’ll be announcing the winner on Monday so be sure to stop by then to see if your name is listed as the winner.