Good Morning! Today I am featuring an email from my sweet She Speaks Sister, Renee Swope! Please read on and partner with me in this 'forgiveness' journey!
The Unburdened Heart: Finding Freedom in Forgiveness by Suzie Ellner
Posted: 04 Mar 2013 12:56 PM PST
My friend Suzie just released her book, The Unburdened Heart, and I’m so excited about the power and potential of her life-changing message. I had the honor of writing the foreword for her book, and I’d love to share my heart with you about it – today:
I don’t know exactly when it started. I just remember feeling angry and frustrated with my husband – almost every single day – on and off for months. One evening after an argument, J.J. told me that no matter what he did or how hard he tried, it was never enough.
He was right, but I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was tired of being mean and miserable so I started asking God to show me what was going on. To help me figure out how, after seven years of a fairly happy marriage, we had gotten to this ugly place.
Over time I sensed God was showing me that I wanted J.J. to make up for what my dad had never been as a father to me and as a husband to my mom. I think I was trying to create my own version of “happily-ever-after,” and in doing so I became very controlling and critical.
You see, years as a child in a broken home with a broken heart had led to a significant sense of loss and deep disappointment. But I had never processed, grieved or let go of what I thought I deserved yet didn’t have.
My unforgiving heart and unfulfilled hopes had created bitter expectations. I thought if I could get J.J. to be the husband and dad I wanted him to be, maybe my broken past and shattered dreams could be put back together.
I knew I needed to deal with my pain, but I couldn’t just forgive and forget it. It wasn’t that easy. There were layers of hurts and issues I’d never dealt with.
I took the first step by acknowledging my pain and giving myself permission to feel it. Then I carved out time each week to unpack the memories and events that led me to this hard place and then I allowed God to heal them.
I asked Jesus to help me grieve the loss of things I wanted that I would never have from my dad. And I asked Him to walk me through the steps of forgiving my father so I could release the anger, abandonment and hurt that had held me prisoner for so long.
It was a process that took time, prayer and courage, but it was worth it. I was worth it. My marriage was worth it.
Like most people, I didn’t want to face my pain. I didn’t have time and I didn’t want to dig it all up. But I am so glad I did! Through it all, God showed me how to let go of my past hurts so I could take hold of hope and healing I never thought I would find.
As I worked through what happened in my childhood, and how it was affecting my marriage, I realized I needed the help of a friend. I needed someone who had walked a similar road to come alongside me to offer wisdom and another perspective in my healing journey.
Through the pages of The Unburdened Heart, Suzie Eller is that friend. Offering wisdom and a heart full of compassion, Suzie will come beside you and mentor you each step of the way. Yet Suzie doesn’t just share from a place of knowing about forgiveness; she writes from a place of living it and giving it, when it’s hard.
One thing I love about Suzie and the message she lives, is that she’s not a cookie-cutter Christian. She won’t just say, “You need to forgive.” She knows it’s not that easy, but she also cares too much to leave you in that hard place. Instead, she’ll take your hand and walk you through the process, sharing her story as you look at yours.
Bringing depth to the layers of a forgiving-life, Suzie will help you explore the different meanings of forgiveness as she walks with you through your unique journey. She’ll also introduce you to amazing women and men who have offered their hearts, their stories and their courage to help you recover yours!
Chapter by chapter Suzie will invite you, even urge you at times, into a place of hope and healing because she wants you to experience the sacred transformation that forgiveness brings.
I hope you’ll accept her invitation. It will require time, courage and perseverance but you are worth what it takes. You see, forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves when we offer it to others. In doing so, we don’t forgive so we can forget. We forgive, as we have been forgiven, so we can be set free from our past and live with confident hope in our future.
I’m giving away 2 copies of Suzie’s book - The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness. This your invitation to discover the freedom of forgiveness. Enter to receive a copy by clicking “Share Your Thoughts” to share your thoughts or simply let us know why you’d like to win a copy of Suzie’s book.