The Unburdened Heart: Giveaway with Suzie Eller

Today I’m interviewing my Proverbs 31 sister Suzie Eller about her new book The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness. 

And today, Suzie is also featuring me over at her blog. In her book, she features people who have forgiven even when it was hard. Very hard. My story is featured in her book and she is interviewing me at her place about my story.

Okay—here is my chat with Suzie:

Suzie, what prompted you to write a book on this topic?

I’ve read many great books on forgiveness, but the core of many of them are rich with scripture and instruction to “just forgive”. But that word is multi-dimensional. The deeper I dug into that word, the more I found that forgiving matters to God because we matter to Him. It’s a means of living free. It helps us leave one place – resentment, anger, hurt, pain, sadness – to find another place. It allows God to move into the raw and broken places. It redefines us from a person marked by the past or another person to God’s girl. And there’s so much more. It’s a hard, but beautiful process designed to help us live spiritually and emotionally well, with God’s help.

In what areas do you see women most struggle with forgiveness?

 

As women have shared their stories, I’ve been surprised to see that the past is a much smaller percentage than I thought. It’s definitely a struggle for many, but marriage offered nearly 50% of the struggles, ranging from a marriage that didn’t live up to the happy ever after, to a spouse that demeans with words or actions, to unfaithfulness. This is such a tender area and one in which many women felt pain.

 

In The Unburdened Heart, I share the story of Carlie, a woman whose husband left after 29 years. His unfaithfulness knocked her down. She was not just blindsided, but felt as if she had invested years in a relationship that was not true.

They had been working on their relationship with a counselor, but when her husband left, she intentionally walked into an even deeper relationship with the great Counselor. She sensed from the beginning that forgiving was key, but it was a process, and one that continues even today. She didn’t have her happy ever after with her husband, but she’s whole. Her husband’s secrets could have made her an angry and bitter woman, and no one would blame her, but she found joy that had nothing to do with another person. Her need-meeter during that incredibly difficult time was her Heavenly Father.

What do you hope your readers gain from experiencing The Unburdened Heart?

One word: freedom.

Could you share a prayer with those today who find it hard to forgive?

 Father, you don’t ask that we do this on our own. Forgiveness is hard and it’s a process, but it unchains the thoughts and feelings that have kept us stuck. Today, if there is one woman who says, “I want to be free,” may You encourage her that all things are possible with You. Thank you for your immense gift of forgiveness for us. Help us to discover the joy and power of giving it to others. In Your name we pray, amen.

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32 Comments

  1. Not only is this a deep unto the deep post, but I loved reading each and every Godly response… thank you so much for sharing this post today.. Loved the word choice ~ FREEDOM! … to serve.. to find Hope… to be free to love with His full heart…to love yourself, when feeling unloved… freedom to read the Word and express it with Joy… a privilege some do not have… be blessed and encouraged today!
    Cathy B pbprojecthope at yahoodotcom

  2. This book seems to be coming up everywhere I look…maybe God is speaking to me.

    I recently divorced after 23 years of being called horrible names, told I was ruining our kids,that I had no friends, that I was hated and he thought about cheating on me everyday. After a physical fight between my husband and 17 yr old daughter, I finally left. My daughter turned her back on me and my 3 other children (still not sure why)friends turned their backs on me( he only showed his “bad” side in the privacy of our home. Otherwise, he appeared to be Mr. Wonderful) and both his and my family turned their backs on me(for different reasons) I have been in fight or flight mode most of my life. I had a brother with special needs who was my joy and now a son with special needs who is my joy. I DON’T give up, I keep believing, I continue to HOPE… I have always been a Christian but it wasn’t until my life feel apart that I truly turned my whole messy life over to the Father who loves my unconditionally.

    I ask for forgiveness daily for the ways I mess up. I try repeatedly to forgive those who have hurt me (especially my ex and my earthly father) but I am finding it so hard…especially when they continue to hurt in the same ways. I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I want peace, I want freedom….for me, for my kids and for those who hurt me. I want to get rid of the tapes playing in my head.

    I think i will order this book today!! Thank you for sharing and allowing me to share a small piece of my heart with you. Peace and blessings and hope!!

  3. I often don’t understand how it can be so hard to forgive others when Jesus forgives so much of me. thanks for sharing this new book. Looks like one we could all benefit from reading.

  4. Forgiveness is complicated and not easy to do. It is ,a process that needs to happen over and over sometimes.

  5. This book is just what I need! I too am looking for freedom. I want to forgive and give forgiveness.

  6. I struggle most with letting things go. I keep bringing up the past and haven’t been able to forgive and move on. It is something I need to pray about and work on.

  7. I hold on to things for far too long. Yes, I’ve been hurt, but I need to move on and experience freedom from bitterness. It is a poison. I need to lay my hurts at the feet of Jesus.

  8. thank you for this post. I am definitely going to need to read this book. God knows my heart & He knows how hard it is to forgive others when they have hurt you deeply by words and/or actions. I agree with MJo who said it seems that we have forgiven something & then something happens & you realize that you are still holding on to a grudge.
    Dear Jesus, help me & all the other women who may read this today, help us to forgive others as you forgave us & give us grace to not hold on to the hurt but to let it go & to be able to live free. In Jesus Name, Amen

  9. I find forgiveness hard myself, just when I think I’ve forgiven something seems to happen and that ugly thought of bitterness, hurt, comes back again.

  10. Thank you so much Susie for writing this book! I generally am pretty easy going and a forgiving person but i am still learning a great deal from reading your book. I have a dear friend who is struggling with a guilt issue which i think stems more from an inability to forgive this other person for hurting her. This would be an awesome book for her to read and i think it would help her so much. I would love to win it for her but, if not i will just loan her mine.

    Lord i pray that you will be with those who maybe tend to hold grudges or are just not as forgiving as they should be. Lord please help them to realize not one of us is worthy of forgiveness yet when we cry out to you and ask forgiveness from you, Lord you don’t hesitate, You don’t say forget it they are just going to do it again, You just forgive us. We need so much to be that way with others Lord. Give us a forgiving, gentle spirit and the grace to forgive others as You have forgiven us. Lord you are so good to us and then we turn around and are so unloving toward others we feel have hurt or wronged us. Life is too short to stay angry so please Lord help us to forgive as you have forgiven us. in Jesus precious name, amen

  11. Hi! TY SO much for doing this book! I could really use it right now! Dealing with a couple friends who have totally “dissed” me, if I may use that word! It really hurts ALOT and it is SO hard to forgive and forget! This book, I believe, would really help me! TY and GOD Bless you and your awesome ministry!! Julie
    Proverbs 3:5-6

  12. i had always thought that I’ve been very understanding and forgiving. i realized recently harboring negative feelings comes from an unforgiving heart. It is a process that leads to such freedom.

  13. Forgiveness is essential if we are to walk in the freedom of God. I was abused as a child and in my first marriage and I emerged at age 25 with 3 children and full of scars. It was only my faith and my determination to walk in forgiveness that got me through. I could have chosen to walk in anger and bitterness, but I watched my mom do that and I didn’t want to be that person. I decided to forgive and I spoke it as well as practicing it. It did affect my testimony; people have asked me how I coped with what I was given without going nuts, and my only answer is that it’s been the grace of God and choosing to walk in forgiveness. This sounds like a great book. I look forward to reading it.

  14. This book definitely sounds like something I could benefit from. Know forgiveness is key & at times think I have only to have something bring it all back. Want so much to be free. To not have the walls/barriers that keep others as well as God out.

  15. I could use help with forgiving myself of some things that lurk in my closets- God knows my heart…

    1. Susan, this is the good news. You aren’t required or even capable of forgiving yourself. Sound dubious? You see, in Scripture it doesn’t talk about forgiving ourselves, but it does talk about the tremendous gift Christ gave on the cross to forgive us.

      Today, will you ask Him to forgive you, and receive that abundant grace and mercy and healing? Rather than trying to forgive yourself (I hear your heart), will you let Him take that burden and fill you up and over with purpose, with His love, and with a renewed view of who you are to Him?

  16. Certain members of my family that have take advantage of me since my husbands death.
    Since handing it over to the Lord I am able to forgive them even though it still comes to mind and they still don’t do the right things!

  17. As a young child I lost my father. It was a sudden, massive heart attack, he was 40. I was a daddy’s girl, and did not understand much except dad was gone. Over the years, I realized I had unforgiveness toward God. People say God is in control and I did not have a relationship with God yet, so I blamed him for all the things we went thru as a family. The following year our home flooded with 4 ft of water and it stood for days in that condition. No father, no home, we moved and started new schools at the age of 12. Since that time the grace of God has filled me. God is in control and there are reasons why bad things happen. I may not get all my questions answered until I meet Jesus face to face, but for now God has shown me he provides us with his grace and forgiveness in all situations. I think if we go to God with a grateful heart for all he has done, we will forget what we are trying to hold against someone else.

  18. I struggle with forgiveness in the little ins-&-outs of each day. From the person who cut me off in traffic, to even my 10 mth old that deprives me of sleep! Sounds like this is going to be my next book that I order! :) Thanks for sharing!

  19. Forgiveness is such a big issue. Forgiveness of our family and friends, of our co-workers and acquaintances, of the folks we meet in our day-to-day life, and (the one I struggle with most lately) forgiveness of ourselves. Thanks for this pep talk. Sounds like a great book!

  20. love this… forgiveness is such an unspeakable word in this day… i struggle with it myself ..thank suzy for writing a book so many of us need insight on… love you girl.. YOU ARE AMAZING…pray for me as i am 39 years old and about to start classed at liberty u online in a bachelors in science and psycology for christian cousnseling… i am scared to death…i am struggling to know if this is the area in need to study… my desires to help people is tremendous.. i have a real soft spot for women, abused, teens , just pray im going into the right degree… my DREAM is to work with proverbs 31 ministries.. but i have NO idea what besides this i should major in… i love to write, i can definately seem myself writing devotions or speaking to women… i dont know… lol prayers would be appreiciated…

  21. God gave me the task over 60 years ago to mister to women. Number one challenge I have discovered we have is not forgiving. Through it all God took me down a path to burn away unforgivemess in my own heart. Now,almost 80,. the cycle with women continues and your book will be one I can give to many women who have been wronged by other women who feel no remorse.
    Especially difficult for the wounded one is a friend’s blindness that she has wronged a friend. Prayer is my sentry point. Thank you for your truthfulness,

  22. I’m struggling with the unfaithfulness of my soon-to-be-ex husband and feel like Carlie–how much of our 22 year marriage was a lie?? I’m also struggling with anger at his parents and even his best friend, who I had considered my friend, but did not counsel him against the affair. I know I need to forgive and some days feel I have…but then again I feel the anger, bitterness, and resentment.

    I am so thankful that this hard time has brought me CLOSER to the Lord–and I’ve realized that HE is the one I can count on, NO MATTER WHAT.

    Looking forward to ordering and reading the book!

    1. Carlie walked into an intentionally deeper relationship with God when her world and her body and her thoughts and her family were completely turned upside down. She discovered that by asking her to forgive so early in the process, God wasn’t ignoring her pain, but He knew her well. He was asking to “move in” to the demolished areas from the beginning. Easy? Absolutely not. In fact, no one would have blamed her if she had sought revenge, if even in her thoughts, but I’ve kept in touch with Carlie. Her painful divorce got harder before it ended, and yet she was filled up inside despite the actions of her husband. It took her down a new road as a single mom and single woman, but she found that God’s faithfulness was sufficient to heal and to hold her during that very hard time.

  23. Thank you for this post, Karen. I have been struggling with forgiveness, specifically, forgiving someone who doesn’t feel they have done anything wrong. But with scripture at my church on Sunday (the parable of the Prodigal Son), and this post, I believe God is leading me to it.

    1. Hey Lindsey, the other person often sees it through their lens. Maybe they see it through pain, or stubbornness, or their world view is entirely different, or perhaps there is evil involved, but we can’t wait to uncover the depths of what forgiveness offers — because we may wait a lifetime for someone to see it the way we do, or to say they are wrong. I love that Karen began her journey regardless of whether her dad signed up for it or not (see her story at http://www.tsuzanneeller.com) and deeper in the book, The Unburdened Heart. Karen discovered that another person’s actions or words or inability to say “I’m sorry” defined where she could go and what she could be as a mom, wife, and woman of faith.

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