Episode #39 Waking Up to the Goodness of God. Susie Larson

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From Today's Episode

Do we truly believe God is good? Susie Larson, author of Waking Up to the Goodness of God, explains how we can move from bracing for impact to anticipating God’s goodness by retraining our hearts and minds to rest in our Savior’s ever-present love. Susie’s deep experiences with the Lord will inspire us to trust God with the most vulnerable parts of our stories. Susie Larson is a bestselling author, national speaker,  and host of the popular radio show Susie Larson Live. 

Just a few of the many Key Takeaways:

I have more of a hold on His promises and His goodness and I never want to go through it again. But I can’t trade it for what God has given me out of it– the blessings out of the battle.

The tables are going to turn because God is on my side!

I have lots of legitimate reasons to fear, but Scripture tells me not to. And the more that I make a case for God’s goodness in my heart, the more I trust His goodness rather than fear the enemy’s badness.

We’ve got to start developing a heart of expectancy, because God is far kinder than we can imagine, far greater than we can fathom, and his plans are higher than our plans, His ways are higher than our ways… He’s a good Father.

Today's Verses
  • Psalm 145
  • Psalm 147:3-5
  • Psalm 18
  • Isaiah 43:18-19
Additional Resources

Waking up to the Goodness of God. Susie Larson

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Unshakable Hope Podcast, where real life intersects redeeming love. I’m Kelly Hall, and this is where we wrestle through faith questions, such as how do I trust God’s heart when His ways and delays are breaking mine? We’ll hear from people just like you and me, who have experienced God’s faithfulness when life didn’t unfold as they expected.

My prayer is that God would renew our hope in His Word and His love through these conversations.

Kelly: Hey friends, I am so excited that you’re here. You’re in for a treat. Susie Larson is my guest and she is one of my favorite Jesus followers on the planet. She has been a source of hope and biblical insights which have encouraged me so much over the years.

For those who might not know her, I want to give you a little of her professional background. She’s a best selling author, an anointed speaker, host of [00:01:00] a popular radio show, Susie Larson Live, which can be heard daily on the Faith Radio Network and around the world through her podcast, which has more than 7 million downloads.

She’s the author of over 20 books and devotionals, many of which are in my library. Susie loves Jesus, loves to laugh and relax with her family. She and her husband, Kevin, have been married since 1985. Together, they have three wonderful and hilarious sons, Three beautiful daughters in love and a growing bunch of delightful grandchildren.

Today we’re talking about her new book, Waking Up to the Goodness of God, Forty Days Toward Healing and Wholeness. One of the reasons I love Susie so much is she is refreshingly authentic. She knows what it is to sit in deep places with the Lord and wrestle through disappointments [00:02:00] and land in a richer place of hope. You are going to be richly blessed. Susie, I am so grateful to be able to have this conversation with you from the bottom of my heart. Welcome to the show.

Susie: Kelly, it’s, I know we’ve been trying this for a little while and I’m so grateful we got a date and it’s such an honor to be with you.

Thanks for having me.

Kelly: One of the things that I love about your radio show is that you always open with a question that is personal to me as well. How has the Lord been speaking to you in this season? And so I want to open this up in honor of your wonderful radio show. How has the Lord been speaking to you in this season?

Susie: Well, I love that question so much because it really speaks of having a fresh walk with God, that you’re not resting on past laurels. And even, you know, there’s times where God gives you a promise in the past because God’s word is living and active and powerful, that he wants you to bring to the forefront of your mind and bring it present.

That’s different to me than getting a fresh word from God years ago and living on that word and not getting a [00:03:00] new fresh word from God. So I keep finding myself. going back to Psalm 145. And I think probably because just my heart has been in you know, I released these two books back to back within months of each other, which I don’t always recommend that that’s like giving birth and then giving birth again a few months later, but it’s what the Lord did.

Closer than your next breath in this waking up book, but closer is about the presence of God. And this is about the goodness of God. And so I find myself returning to Psalm 145 again and again, and let me just read it a little bit and then I’ll just share what’s sticking out to me about this. Great is the Lord, most worthy of praise.

No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts. Let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe inspiring deeds will be on every tongue. I will proclaim your greatness. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness.

They will sing of your righteousness. The Lord’s merciful and [00:04:00] compassionate. Slow to get angry, filled with unfailing love. The Lord’s good to everyone. He’s good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. All of your works will thank you. Your faithful followers will praise you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom.

Listen to this. They will give examples of your power. They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign. For your kingdom, Is an everlasting kingdom and you rule throughout all generations. There’s so much in this, but it implies that we meditate, marinate in the majesty, the glory, the power of God.

And so I often say that if you’re in between miracles, pull one out of scripture and let that be enough for you. Let that be enough. That’d be your testimony to say he is the same God. But I would venture to say you’ve got miracles in your recent past. Pull those to the forefront. And, you know, anything in your story that that was a breakthrough that God clearly intervened in, meditate on it, marinate in it.

And we tend to fall into self pity. Pity in the [00:05:00] times in between. So this is not only saying, let us tell the next generation, which is extremely important to be passing down our faith because he’s the God of all generations. But it also says that his awe inspiring deeds should be on every tongue. We should be so immersed with his goodness that we’re talking about it all the time.

And then it says, give. Examples of his power, and if we have a powerless Christianity, we should ask why we should be pressing into God going the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk. It’s a power. So if I have a powerless Christianity, why is that? Because I want stories to tell and I want to be able to give examples of power.

So this raises the bar for me on so many levels of power. Pressing in, marinating, meditating on the fact that he merely spoke and the heavens came to be, you know, one of my favorite passages is in Psalm and it says he heals the brokenhearted, binds up their wounds. He put the stars in place and calls them each by name.

If that doesn’t speak of the meticulous, miraculous work of [00:06:00] God, that he’s so intimate, that he can bind up your wounds, and so majestic, that he keeps track of all the stars because he put them all in place and calls them each by name. I think as we marinate and meditate on who he really is to not who we think he is, I just think we grow confident in his character.

So that’s where I’ve been landing a lot these days.

Kelly: Oh, that’s so beautiful. I often say I have this written in my Bible in about a dozen places or more. You are immensely powerful and intensely personal. It blows my mind.

Susie: Yeah, that’s perfect. Yeah.

Kelly: Well, I wanted to mention you also released an Advent devotional in the middle of those two books, right?

Susie: No, that actually came out several years ago. I want to say two christmases ago, maybe.

Yeah. But I love that one too.

Kelly: I have told people it’s so rich. You can read it every single year, every single year and get something new out of it.

I was first introduced to you about 15 years ago through your book, Uncommon Woman. I think that’s about when [00:07:00] it came out, you were doing a radio show interview and I have been so deeply impacted by your journey, Susie, and by the hard fought wisdom that you bring to the forefront and that you share. so generously with others.

I know that some of my listeners are not familiar with your story. So I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind just laying out your backstory for us.

Susie: You got it. So I was raised in a large family in a denomination where I knew God was real. I mean, I had a sense even as a child of his presence, I knew he was real, but I didn’t know Jesus was accessible.

You know, the gospel was really never really Preached. And I was a people pleaser girl, five, fifth to seven kids. My dad was the mayor of our city for 27 years. So we are public family. We weren’t well to do. We were middle class at a little bit below. I mean, we looked middle class, but we, we struggled with seven kids and you know, we tried, excuse me, to make our way, but there was a point where my mom needed to get a job.

And help put [00:08:00] food on the table. And I think it was around that time when my brothers started to hang around with some creepy friends and we’re getting into things they shouldn’t. And so in that window of time after school, before my mom got home was not my favorite time. They were just yucky. And I came home and I saw their bikes up front and I didn’t want really anything to do with them.

So I was getting, we have a two story house and I went to the basement and to get something out of the dryer like my sweatshirt. I was going to go up into my bedroom and read a book till my mom got home. And I’m digging in the dryer and the door shut behind me of the laundry room. And I turned around and several of my brother’s friends were there.

No brother. And that wouldn’t be unusual with, we had a two story house, seven kids. Everybody had friends over coming and going. But anyway, there are about four guys teenage boys and I was about nine. And I turned around and they were glaring at me, and I literally don’t remember how I got from my hands in the dryer to my ankles and wrists pinned to the floor, but I suffered a sexual assault in that moment.

[00:09:00] And I, being that my dad was public, and I was so insecure, I, I just didn’t know if I would bring shame on our family, so I didn’t tell anybody, but it opened up just a canyon of grief. A fear and insecurity and confusion about who I was. And when I was about 10, I was walking home from school and I saw those bikes up front.

And I said out loud, I don’t care if this is how God made me. Those boys will never touch me again. And A different group of boys were in the dugout and I had to walk across a high school kind of baseball field and they were in a dugout and all I heard was, get her. And they ran out of the dugout, ran me down, knocked me to the ground and beat me up real bad.

And they laughed wildly as they did it. I, I know they were high because they had this crazy look as they’re kicking me and punching me and pulling fistfuls of hair. And, you know, I just spoke this weekend in San Jose and I told them that. You know, on social media now you see everything. And whenever I see a beating, you know, you see these graphic clips of somebody pounding somebody.

It [00:10:00] sends a visceral terror through my body. So even though I’ve, experienced a lot of layers of healing, obviously I have more healing to go. Cause that’s, Trauma induced, like anytime I see that, I mean, I think we’ve gotten so desensitized to violence, but nobody should take a fist to the face.

But anyway, I was beaten and I was just four feet tall, these big teenage boys and they just beat me up for sport. So I got up and they pushed off of me and they laughed as they walked away. And I had my bell rung, I had a fat lip and scratches on my face and snarled hair. And I was utterly traumatized by that.

And I heard in my ear. I can get you anytime, anywhere, and God will never stop me. And then I knew the devil was real. And that’s really when a spirit of fear came into my life. And I, you know, I just lived with private torment. My family, you know, I’ve been beaten because I came home beat up. But it’s like both of these things to happen at such a young age where, You know, I think it was Dr.

Vander Kolk and The Body Keeps Score. I didn’t get to read the whole book, but I read an excerpt from that book where he said, after [00:11:00] trauma, the world is experienced through a different lens. And while everybody else is showing up and being present in their ordinary life, the trauma person is trying constantly to suppress the inner chaos.

That’s been ignited by the trauma. And that gave such words to just how I felt my whole life, because it’s like fear. And it just, I never felt safe. I never knew what was going to happen. I was profoundly insecure, so fearful, but I had a decent athletic ability. And so once I got into middle school.

I became a gymnast and I sang in the choir and I helped in the office. And, and I often say when I’m speaking on this topic, when you don’t know who you are, you will misuse your time, treasure, and talents to prove things that Jesus has already proven. Because, you know, God did impart certain, you know, physical gifts to me, but I didn’t know who I was.

So I was using those gifts to try to prove that I’m not as much of a lost cause as I felt I was, but you can’t climb, you can’t perform your way out of a lie, you know, you just can’t. And so, but I did that in middle school [00:12:00] because it kept me busy. It was just good for me. It kept me disconnected from my brother’s friends.

And there was a point where my brother disconnected from those friends once we got to high school and he paid a very big price. He didn’t know what happened to me, but I have a feeling. He had a sense, well, he knew they were bad and he disconnected and he paid a big price. And most of my family are Christians now, which is absolutely amazing.

But those early years were tough for me. And I just had a different experience than some of my other siblings did because of what happened, you know? So then you, you get into my young adult. I came to Christ in eighth grade. Just God woo-ed me to himself. And I. Probably don’t have time to tell that story, but he woo-ed me.

I understood what it meant to be a sinner in need of a savior. And I started to read the scriptures and I fell in love with Jesus. I found out about a Bible study in the next community. And because of our particular denomination, we weren’t allowed to go outside the denomination and they didn’t want you to read the Bible on your own and all that stuff.

So I would go to the Bible study and lie about it. I would tell my mom, [00:13:00] I’m going to the library. And then I would go sneak off to this Bible study and I come home and she’s like, how is the library? And I’m like, this whole family needs the library, this whole family needs that. I mean, I just was, I was coming alive.

But even then, Kelly, I knew I was saved, but I did not know I was loved. I, you know, and I would submit to you that many, even. Seasoned Christians who walked with God a long time have theology around salvation, but wrong theology around his love. They just, they don’t, they don’t know that he sings over them, that he loves them, because living loved is everything. If you don’t know your loved, you will be a Pharisee, you’ll be a striver, you’ll be constantly in despair that you’re not enough. But when you know what Jesus settled for you, you can live out of that place. When you jump ahead to my young married years, married my dear husband. Our 39th anniversary is coming up here, so pretty soon.

We got pregnant on our honeymoon. We were going to wait five years to have a baby, but [00:14:00] by God’s grace, we got pregnant. And in the pregnancy, found out I had something called endometriosis. And they said, you will have a hysterectomy in your 20s. So if you want more kids, you need to have them right away.

So pregnancy number two with Luke, I was put to bed rest at six months, and they had to sew the cervix shut. And I was up and down with labor issues and the doctor that delivered Luke hated women. And I don’t, again, don’t have time to get into that, but I wrote about it in my book fully alive. But he had a history of hating women and doing terrible things when the husbands were out of the room just after the woman gave birth and he was evil and in due time because of what he did to A number of women, myself included, he lost his license, which tells you how bad he was.

And then my, third pregnancy, I had to go to bed for six months. So I was three months along, had a one and a three year old. And if you think about all the trauma that I came into marriage with, it’s like, I still had a passion for Jesus. I was serving on five committees at church, but there were so many [00:15:00] unresolved Lies and issues in my soul that when I could no longer perform and I had to go to bed for six months and used up all my friend favors, all of that stuff surfaced because I couldn’t, I could not run it anymore, insecurity, fear and all those things.

So I’m probably three months into bed rest. I’m six months along. And my doctors let me get up and just test the waters. And so I met my old college roommates for a lunch. It was a fall day in the Midwest. We went for a walk and had lunch. It was glorious, but that was too much. And I started to contract again and went to bed.

And two weeks from that outing, I’m still on bed rest, still drinking my water, lying on my left side, doing all the stuff. And friend came to visit and she said, Hey, can I get your water bottle? And I said, yeah, it’s over there. And I pointed and pins and needles shot out my arm. And all of a sudden this buzzing, numbing feeling started at the base of my skull and pulsated around to my whole face was pulsating with numbness.

And my vision started to blur. And I still have three months to go in this pregnancy. [00:16:00] The word of God felt dead on the page. My friends were getting sick and tired of me because you can only call in so many friend favors and have three more months of bedrest and feel so profoundly afraid and insecure.

And to have that overlap with neuro symptoms that were terrifying was almost more than I could handle. And this particular friend was getting. really sick of me. And she just was, she admits later she should have left the friendship sooner because she was just getting tired of me. So she kept helping, but she resented it.

And so she’d said, really now this? All these months in bed rest, and now you have a numb face? She says, it’s not one thing, it’s another with you. And she goes, you know, it’s personalities like yours that most often get MS. Now, I have to tell you, months before my bed rest, she and I were walking down the hall at church, and another gal that we know from church was, you know, Our age and she was athletic like I did.

She would run. And I ran back then. She got MS and spiraled down so [00:17:00] fast that when we saw her in church, she was tremoring down the hall with two women helping her walk. And it was just a terrifying visual. And this is what the enemy often does is he gives you a visual of something that terrifies you.

Then he makes it personal so he can intimidate you. He does that. That’s his weapon of warfare so often. So to see that visual and have a fellow Christ follower say something like that. It’s personalities like you that most often get MS was evil. It was pure evil. And I know she was irritated, but she left.

And I was backing into my couch going, Oh God, Oh God, help me. So the neural symptoms kind of did this up and down throughout the pregnancy. And And again, it’s, there’s more to the story, but I delivered Jordan, he ended up four weeks old with a double pneumonia, it was in the hospital and the symptoms for me were up and down and they had to haul me into the ER at some point.

And they sent Kev home and said, This looks like MS. You’ll just have to start scheduling tests. And so they [00:18:00] did the tests and it was not MS. It was not a brain tumor. And they didn’t know what it was for a while. And a year later, found out that it was Lyme disease. And a year later, Once we found out it was Lyme and they sent out a nurse to get me hooked up to home IV.

So they filled my fridge with IV bags and they hooked up the IV on the broken mini blind and little Jordan runs into the, into the living room. And he’s one year old by this point. And he’s our youngest. He’s got a little diaper on. Speedy Gonzalez runs into the living room and she’s like, what is he doing alive?

I said, well, what do you mean? And she said, well, I’ve taken care of two other women that were likely bit at six months along. Unknowlingly, like you, and started to manifest symptoms about two weeks later and they had three months to go with the Pregnancy and the babies within a few months of birth went blind and died.

She said why is your baby alive? Was he ever sick? And I said, yeah, he was. And the thing is at that four week mark, when he went into the hospital, I was so exhausted because I was staying up all night, taking [00:19:00] care of him, taking care of my other kids. I was literally sleeping one to two hours a night and which is causing all the symptoms to just go crazy in my body.

But I’m like, I have to deal with them later. So when I got him to the hospital, I’m sitting at his little bedside, he’s under the tent, he’s got, you know, tubes everywhere. And I’m just. All of a sudden, I was filled with joy. I was so exhausted. I was so afraid. And suddenly, I was filled with joy, and I wrote in my journal, I don’t know what this is, God, but I’ll take it.

Keep that in the back of your mind. So here we are, a year later. She’s like, Was he sick? And I said, Yeah, he had double pneumonia. She said, What did they use for IV? I told her, and she says, That treated the Lyme in his body before you ever knew you had it. And my knees buckled, Kelly. And God had been so silent

and all of a sudden, I just went to my knees and I, I just cried out to God and I just said, I will never shake my fist at you again. Forgive me, God. I mean, I was going, where are you? Why don’t you care about me? Why do my friends have health and wealth and I’ve got neither? Where are you? And then he showed me where he was.

I [00:20:00] was broken. I was undone by that. And as you well know, the battle was pretty fierce for about seven years. And then I found a way to work through it. , I was a fitness person and I’m a fighter and. God, by his grace, just helped me find a way for about 20 years. I taught fitness classes for about 10 years, but for 20 years, it was cyclical in that about four or five times a year, so every few months, the symptoms would start to flare and I would get knocked over and couldn’t get out of bed.

And I’d feel really, really crummy for several weeks, and then I would start to perk up again, and then the cycle would, you know, so I’d had these windows of time where I’d feel okay enough to do life, and then I’d get smacked again. And then about nine years ago, I had a really horrid. Relapse. And I’ll just say this as I wrap this part of the story up, it’s people with chronic Lyme apparently don’t Can’t also process mold and I had repeatedly unknowingly been exposed to black mold which affected my brain I’m a live talk radio host on live every day So you’ve got to be sharp got to be quick on your [00:21:00] toes and my cognitive ability was going down so fast I couldn’t remember very basic words.

I couldn’t remember how to spell basic words And that in and of itself is its own story, but by God’s grace have come back. And, and God has done so much healing in these eight years. I mean, I don’t know how to say thank you to him enough. And the last thing I’ll say about this, I’m sorry, this has gone on longer than I expected.

But when the surge happened eight, nine years ago, and I was in my bed bathroom, getting ready to go to the station, arms went numb, face, head, neck, piercing, loud ringing in my ears, my head felt like it was going to explode. And I’m like, Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. I mean, it was so bad that I’m like, this is worse than a surge.

This, this is, there’s something really wrong here. And he whispered, the storms reveal the lies we believe and the truths we need. And I’m like, what? And he said, the storms reveal the lies we believe in the truths we need. I’m like, what lie do I believe? And then I heard it rail in my ear. I felt like the enemy had me by the throat.

My whole neck was numb. And every time I’d look down, it would, I’d have an esophageal [00:22:00] spasm. So trying to keep my chin up and I felt like he had me against the wall, like with my neck. I can get you anytime. Anywhere and God will never stop me. God said that’s a lie. You have followed me You have been a faithful follower, but you have believed that your whole adult life and it is not true He cannot get to you anytime anywhere.

You can’t even know how i’ve provided for you. You can’t even know what i’ve done I am not going to let you lose, but I have to let you fight. And I’ll tell you, Kelly, this was a fight to the death in many ways, and especially those first several years of that eight year stretch. But I have The enemy has less real estate in my life.

I have more of a hold on his promises and his goodness and I I never want to go through it again But I I can’t trade it for what god has given me out of it the blessings out of the battle And a number of books have come out of that fully alive strong in battle closer than your next breath Just things that I have learned by army [00:23:00] crawling and wrestling fear and lies to the ground by god’s grace So forgive me for taking so long.

But there you go That’s a good part of my story.

Kelly: Your story is so Beautiful, Susie. Your story is huge, it’s long, and it’s full of endurance and the love of God. God’s faithfulness just shines throughout your whole story. One of the things you said in your story that resonates with me that I’ve repeated so many times is I’m not going to let you lose, but I have to let you fight.

Susie: Yes. Yes. In the bathroom that day.He said, this is not true. It’s not true that the enemy can get you anytime. I’m not going to let you lose, but I have to let you fight. And I’m changed by that. If you look at Psalm 18, the progression of going from a victim to a victor is very clear.

I cried out to the Lord. The enemy confronted me in a moment of my weakness, you know, when it was too much for me, but my cry reached God’s ears. He reached down and grabbed ahold of me. He was angry. He was angry at my enemy, not at me. And he rescued [00:24:00] me because he delighted in me. You watch this progression of me.

Absolutely under your circumstances, your cry reaching God’s ears, he comes to get you, he pulls you out, he lets you rest, he heals you up, but then he trains you for battle. A little later in 18, it says, he strengthens my arms to bend a bow of bronze. He trains my hands for battle. He makes my feet like Heinz feet to walk on high places, which means that spiritual agility, the ability to build a manage warfare.

When all the circumstances aren’t perfect in your life, when you’re in uneven terrain, you got arrows coming from every which way, that’s what it means to have spiritual ability and agility. And then toward the end, it says, I chased my enemies down and overtook them. I put my foot on his neck. And that visual was such a picture for me.

It’s like, he may have me by the throat now, but the tables are going to turn because God is on my side.

Kelly: Oh, I love that so much. Psalm 18 is so precious to me. God gave it to me when I just thought one of our daughters was failing, it was so hard [00:25:00] and really struggling with Lyme, symptoms of Lyme, but it hadn’t been diagnosed yet.

And then she was becoming depressed and suicidal for three years. We couldn’t leave her alone. And God took me to that passage and just promised me, I’m going to pull her out of these deep waters. I promise you I’m going to do it and you can trust me to do it. And so every day I would just walk through the house saying, God, you promised I know I’m going to see your goodness even in this dark place.So I’m going to wait for you and I’m going to look for you and I know you’re going to show up.

Susie: Yeah. That’s so good. Kelly. It’s His word, It’s alive.

Kelly: Yeah.

Susie: I feel like that Psalm 18 is like one of my life scripts as well. It’s such a promise. It’s such a declaration and maybe someone listening today, if you’re in that place where Kelly and I both have been, sit with 18, sit with Psalm 18 and see what the Lord says to you.

Kelly: Yeah. Well, I mentioned our family has walked through three plus decades of life unfolding quite differently than what we expected. And I know you have too. I often say that as I [00:26:00] prayed for breakthrough, as I battled with the Lord, I have become intimately acquainted with that heartache of unanswered prayers and the pain that comes with long delays.

And you and I both know that in those seasons of ongoing disappointment and dashed dreams that it takes a toll on your soul and your soul needs to heal. And you tell a beautiful story is so tender about something your son said he and his wife are walking through this very. deep place of loss. And he responded in a way that just, I was crying on the pages of this book.

Can you please share that story?

Susie: Are you talking about Jake and Lizzie with their infertility? Yes.

Kelly: Yes.

Susie: Yeah. They have battled for seven years. In fact, they had a miraculous IVF story and it ended in miscarriage. I mean, it, the whole thing was miraculous. It was one miracle after another than a positive test pregnancy.

And It was so devastating that they almost couldn’t talk about it. I, I don’t remember one or two [00:27:00] years passed by and they’re in the process right now of embryo adoption. I’ll tell you that, but to go that long and to have that sweet girl, our daughter in law is our daughter. We love her so much and new believer.

And so to have her, Oh. Find such heart hospitality, like we have a huge family on my side. And so lots of young girls her age are having babies and the heart hospitality with which she has shown up at shower after shower after shower with these young women having one baby after another. And I see her, she’s so gracious.

So she’s sweet to them, but I know her. So I see the pain in her eyes. And my son is just a baby. big teddy bear of a guy. So when they decided to pursue the embryo adoption, I just said, honey, I’m going to pray for an acceleration of the paperwork and pray that, that, you know, things go through so fast. And he grabbed my arm and he goes, mom, no.

And he just really firmly, but his eyes were just, you know, Well, the tears in his lips were quivering. He’s no, don’t pray [00:28:00] that. And I said, well, what do you mean? Why? And he goes, he goes, I, I need to heal from this. He goes, I need my heart to have space for hope. Pray for that, that there would be space in my heart for hope.

And I said, Oh, honey, I, I’m so sorry. I will pray for that instead. And he hugged me tight. Cause he, you know, he wasn’t reprimanding me, but a little bit, you know, and I just, yeah. And I asked if I could share that story in the book, and he says, you know, that is part of participating with God in the renewal of all things, is when we share our stories.

And I love them so much. So it’s a very tender spot. That’s one of those places in my story that still not yet, you know, but yeah.

Kelly: Yes. And I can, we have a similar story. Our son and his wife walked through something very similar. And when they lost their little girl, we, you and I both know you have to grieve those losses, but my son was finally able to talk about it.

And he, he said he was just sitting in Psalm 88 and you know, that’s the psalm[00:29:00] where he had lost everything. And it ends with: Darkness is my closest friend and it was just so sweet and tender as David just told God the truth about his pain.

He received so much healing from the Lord over that time period. So grateful, but I love what you say at the end of this story to let your heart rest in God’s goodness, dare to trust him with the most vulnerable parts of your story.

Susie: That’s right. Yeah, the whole reason I wrote that, Kelly, and I don’t know, I don’t think you and I’ve talked about this, but in the in the relapse just the surge of symptoms were so terrifying.

And I mean, there really were points in the story. As a seasoned, serious follower of Christ, where I was pacing the floor in the middle of the night with stroke like symptoms, just surges of numbing going up my neck and in my [00:30:00] jaw, heart beating out of my chest, just terrifying symptoms where I’m like, you have to kill me or heal me because I cannot keep doing this.

Like, I really was, I was so, so desperate. And there was a point where a friend of mine, lovingly, without a hint of judgment in her heart, said, Susie, you’ve developed a posture of bracing for impact. And I’m like, wow, really? And I, I wasn’t defensive at all, but in my just logical mind, I thought that maybe it’s just the natural reaction of an unpredictable disease of living for so long with these surges that hit you out of nowhere.

But she had so much compassion that it quickened something deeper. And I just thought there’s more to this than I see about myself. So I sat with the Lord and said, is there more you want to show me? And he showed me my heart and you know, I, I get up in the morning, I love my time in the word. I, I put a worship playlist on.

I sometimes end up on my knees, you know, and then we have, you know, I have a very active prayer life in the morning and we close our [00:31:00] day with prayer and I love serving the Lord on the, on the radio every day. I mean that with everything in me. But when he showed me my heart in the basement of my soul, I was disappointed in him and I was hurt.

And it was like the wife. Who loves her husband, loves her family. She’s never going to leave, but there’s unresolved hurts that she’s not even sure that she can put words to, but she’s not okay. I wasn’t okay. And when he showed me that, I just, I wept and I cried out to him going, I am hurt. I, at this age and stage in my life, really and , some of the, authors and speakers that are in the industry that I have on my show on a regular basis.

I can’t tell you how often, Kelly, I ask him, how are you doing? I’m great. Everything’s great. And I’m being super raw here, but I would like, what’s that like? You know? I didn’t get it. I’m like, am I, have not, is there something I’m missing? And I got an email from a woman a year ago who said, Susie, you’re a pretty significant leader [00:32:00] and you’re still not healed.

Like, where’s your faith? And I’m like, am I missing something? And so when he showed me my heart, , I realized that I had lost sight of his goodness. it just was so devastating to me to walk through this at this stage of life. And then he just led me out of bracing for impact to learning how to retrain my heart and mind to anticipating his goodness.

I didn’t intend to write that in a book. It was a practice that I needed to do. And because I realized I’d lost sight of his goodness. You know, someone once said, if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today, what would you have? And I realized I was so like immersed in. The symptoms, the sorrow, the frustration, army crawling, feeling crummy, sometimes I was getting one to two hours of sleep a night and then I’d be on live every day on radio.

So everything was exhausting, like lifting weights. And when you don’t feel well, it does just take a toll on your soul. But because of all that was so all consuming, I’d lost sight [00:33:00] of his goodness. So then I just started with that. I just started to look around going, what would I miss tomorrow? If it were gone and I put gift tags basically just metaphorically, but you know, my, my salads, you know, to Susie from, from God, my fluffy pillow to Susie from God, my honey, my husband to Susie from God, my children, my grandchildren, you know, and I just looked around and everywhere I saw his meticulous handiwork and it’s not good for our physiology.

It’s not good for our brains to be in fight flight. And yet I would submit to you. I love that. this before the world went through it and COVID because I was deeply, profoundly working this out before so much of the world got better. Lambasted by what’s happened in the last few years and I’m not saying I’ve arrived in any way But I’m just saying so often he does that with his children He allows us to kind of forerun Ahead of time and go through something so that we’re ready to help those who are walking through it in real time [00:34:00] But the world is bracing for impact The world is waiting for the next shoe to drop, and as Christians, it’s not good for us.

It’s not good for our hearts and our souls. So this Devo, it’s a 40 day journey, is intended to be like a healing balm to your soul, but to make a case for the goodness of God, where you can really go. I, I have lots of legitimate reasons to fear, but Scripture tells me not to. And the more that I make a case for God’s goodness in my heart, the more I can trust His goodness, then I can fear the enemy’s badness.

And it’s just better for us. And my hubby said. As I really start to apply myself to this, he’s like, you look different. Your eyes look different. You carry yourself different. Because I could feel, Kelly, my cells opening up again. Because I was learning to relax, I was learning to rest in his goodness, learning to take every single fear and turn it over to him, going, I am not going there.

I’m not taking the bait. And the enemy lives to bully and intimidate. And to weaponize fear against us. So somehow, some way we’ve got to learn to live in that [00:35:00] joyful, restful place while the nations are in chaos. And that is our birthright. That’s our right as children of God.

Kelly: Yes. Amen. That’s so good. I think you’ve answered my next question.

I know that when our stories go long, our hope gets vulnerable, it’s easily diminished, and I’ve had to fight for hope when my soul was weary, as I know you have. But one of the things I wanted to talk about is how do we resuscitate hope? How do we believe God for the best He can do, rather than settling for the least He can do?

Susie: Well, you know, one of the things if I remember right, recipe for Vitality was one of those that I really, really liked because I feel like When you get worn out, you loosen your grip on the promises of God.

And so basic, I’m looking at the Israelite story and the two things that I think are just so potent that will revive your soul are: deep rest and purposeful faith. And if you look at them coming out of Egypt, God wired in and rewrote in the new narrative [00:36:00] rest. For his people, they were serving under back breaking slave labor, and he set them up for freedom.

He set them up to emancipate them. He loaded them down with the riches of Egypt. The Bible says not a feeble one was among them. There’s no way that that’s possible unless God healed them before they left. There’s no way. As a former fitness person, I can tell you, I studied some of the words that describe their slavery.

Brutal, oppressive, relentless, ruthless. That’s what it was like. Back beating slave labor, you know, in the natural, some of them had herniated discs and, parasites and plantar fasciitis and, all kinds of things like that. So the only way that many people could come out of slavery with not a feeble one among them.

And scripture says they left Egypt like an army ready for battle. I believe as the spirit of death went through the land of Egypt, when they were under the blood, I believe the life. of Christ came into their homes. I just, you know, I might be wrong, but I’m just saying it’s my layman’s opinion because it dead.

There’s [00:37:00] nothing else that makes sense that they could leave like an army ready for battle with not a feeble one among them. And they were loaded down with the riches of Egypt, their, their enemy. God just set them up for success. And he said, and you will rest. And yet scripture says in Hebrews, the promise did not benefit them because when it came It wasn’t met by faith.

So I want you to think about this for just a minute. Our cry reaches his ears. We’re going back to Psalm 18. When you cry out to God, his cry reaches your ears and he’s mobilizing an answer even if you can’t see it. In this case, he mobilized Moses to, to be the person to, To be the catalyst to their freedom, leading them to freedom.

And yet they were, they had so much slavery and captivity baked into their DNA that they did not, when the answer finally came, it didn’t benefit them because they didn’t do anything about their heart in the meantime. So that first generation never made it to the promised land, not because God wasn’t faithful.

They refused to enter the promised land, it says in the Psalms, because they [00:38:00] refused to believe his promise to love and care for them. So scripture says they stayed in their tents and grumbled and refused to obey the Lord. They refused and their fears became rebellions is basically what happened. So when I talk about the recipe for vitality, I’m saying do the opposite of that.

If you’re weary, do some things for your soul that are deeply restful. And I’m not saying binge watch Netflix. I’m not judging. I’m not being legalistic. I’m just saying. That does nothing for your soul. But if you can spend some extended time with a worship playlist on or get a massage or, you know, spend extended time in the word or call a friend and spend some time just lingering with God together and praying together, whatever your soul needs, get that deep rest.

That’s purposeful rest. And then purposeful faith is coming out of that place. When you feel life start to spring up and go, Lord, what do you want me to believe you for? Because it’s not name it, claim it. It’s not like I want this, I want this, I want this. As a believer with the Spirit of God in you, you have faith.

There’s faith in you that God has deposited. It’s [00:39:00] part of your inheritance. The Spirit of God is in you. You’ve got faith to believe for something. But you’ve got to discern what he’s asking you to believe for. So let’s say you’ve got a prodigal. Or you got a sick body or a you know, a rough marriage.

Lord, what are you saying? What do you like Jamie Winship? He’s a regular guest on my show. The two questions he always says to ask, what do you want me to know? What do you want me to do? Those are fantastic questions. Lord, what do you want me to know? What do you want me to do? Speak to me about this. Where should I put my feet of faith?

Because you know, People will tell you all day long, you need more faith, but I would say, you’ve got some faith in there if you’re a Christ follower, so find out what you have faith to believe for and put your feet on it, even if it’s the smallest size of a mustard seed, because when you activate the faith that you have, you’ll get more faith from God, you will, because you’re using the faith that you have, so I would say, That’s what revives us.

Take a new grip with your tired hands, strengthen your weak knees, mark out a straight path for your feet. Why? So that the lame who are watching your life won’t fall out of the race as [00:40:00] well. The enemy, if he can wear you down with fatigue and have you take your hands off the promises of God, where you have no more expectancy that God’s going to do something great, then he can take out your witness and the lame are going to go up there.

It’s not working for her. It’s not going to work for me. But if you can really purposefully steward deep. deep rest and then come up swinging, you know, grab the promises of God that he’s given. You’d say, I am not moving from this place. I’m going to be a pit bull. I’m going to hang on to these promises and trust you, God, because you are faithful, God, and your faith is not in the outcome.

Your faith is in God. But Kelly, we’ve got to start developing a heart of expectancy, because God is far kinder than we can imagine, far greater than we can fathom. And his plans are higher than our plans. His ways are higher than our ways. And it’s great that he doesn’t give us what we want, because he doesn’t know, we don’t know.

What we need. But he does. He’s a good father. But when you don’t imprint his loving kindness on your heart, you don’t default to places of love of faith and hope. [00:41:00] You default to places of fear, doubt, worry and insecurity. And that’s another thing the Israelites didn’t do is they didn’t imprint his loving kindness.

So their default was always accusation. And if you’re not Practicing and purposefully meditating on the majesty of God, like I talked about in the beginning, Psalm 145. If you’re not applying yourself to that, when you have the long delay, when you have the tough trial, the enemy will get in there and he will tempt you to accuse God of things the devil is guilty of.

And I often say this, my husband, , is just this steady, gentle giant of a man. He is just the most non reactionary man I’ve ever known. I just trust him so much because he just is a godly, thoughtful person, and he’s not all over the place with his emotions. So if you were to tell me you saw him at the store haul off and punch someone in the face, I could easily 100 percent say you got the wrong person.

That’s, that’s not my husband. Well, we need to know God so well that when the enemy comes in to accuse God in [00:42:00] your heart to say, did he really say you can put your shield of faith up and say you got the wrong man. I know my father. I know he’s good. But that’s another mistake. The Israelites made. And if we can practice imprinting, building a case for his goodness in our hearts will more discern what he’s saying and discern the enemy’s lies when they come against us.

Kelly: Amen. Oh, that’s so good. And one of the things I know we both know and Jamie Winship talks about this too, we can’t open our hearts to receive God’s love if we are trapped in woundedness and lies, because at the very root of the wound is a lie about God. And I can remember once, About 25 years into our parenting journey.

I realized that I was offended with God It was kind of like what you described earlier like this was the time when things are gonna take off and all my friends kids are launching and and suddenly I realized how very very sick our girls were and They have they’re still recovering all these years later.

And [00:43:00] one of the things that God revealed to me is that I was offended I was so deeply hurt that he would allow additional piles of hardship when they had already walked through so much suffering But he so tenderly ministers to us in those places He always heals what he reveals so we don’t have to be afraid when he shows us something That’s in here that shouldn’t be there That’s right.

This led me to such a sweet place of healing where I was able to surrender this story I wish we had And trust him for the story that he had entrusted to us. And it was such a sweet place of surrender and such a sweet place of healing. That’s what happened. And in that place of healing, I was able to see his goodness and receive his love.

And that’s, I think that’s such an important part of our journey. If we are going to receive and see God’s goodness along the way and believe it.

Susie: Yeah. Amen. So true. So true. You got a lot of wisdom, Kelly. But that doesn’t come from sitting on the couch of ease and getting everything you [00:44:00] want from God. It comes from wrestling for the truth when life has been hard.

And I’m glad your podcast exists because you’re helping a lot of people.

Kelly: Oh, thank you, Susie. I know we’re at the end of our time, but I’m wondering if you could just tell us one more little story, if you don’t mind. I love the story of spring is for real. It’s so many women who are weary. The word God gives them is I’m doing a new thing.

And that’s what starts to pull them out of this pit of despair. This is a beautiful story that speaks to that.

Susie: I love this one too so much, but I want to read the words cause I came out of my journal and I want to misquote myself here.

I think if you’ve walked through a long term crisis or struggle, I don’t know if you’re like me, but especially living in the Midwest where winters are absolutely brutal. And I’m a hot. I like hot climate.

If my family weren’t here, I would move to Florida in a heartbeat because I love the heat and I love the sun. So those winters are long and then physically my [00:45:00] body just doesn’t feel as great in the cold. So , when late spring comes, when the birds start singing and then summer is my prime and I love fall.

And then I groan when the leaves start to fall because I’m like winters can be so long, but when I was in this long, , journey of back to back crises and hardships, this was many years ago, it had occurred to me. I didn’t even realize spring, summer, fall had come and gone several times and I missed it because it was all a winter season of my life and I just, I was.

I was battered from it all and just down, pretty depressed about it. And there was a day where I felt this invitation to hope that maybe something could be different, that maybe God sees, He cares, He knows where I live and could make something out of this mess. And it was March, it was a 60 degree day, 60 somethings, and that now, right now, we’re having a nice winter, and so we’re gonna get a 60 degree day, but back then, the stretches were so brutal, that was just unheard of, it was just a [00:46:00] hard, hard winter. Suddenly, it was a 60, 62 or something like that. I saw some tulips push up through the snow, I heard a few birds singing, and I felt like, is this like a sign , from God, that there’s going to be. A new day in my life and and kids were out playing basketball. They shed their jackets, and neighbors were out walking and waving.

I just felt life spring up within me. And I felt a little flutter of hope. And then the next morning it was gray, sleety. And it was like that this ice storm, you know, the ice kind of blowing sideways. I sometimes describe it as like swear words.

Kelly: It’s like being

Susie: hit by swear words. It was just this angry, howling, icy snow.

And it was just brutal. And I thought that spring day was a lie. That was a lie. It will always be winter. I just fell right into despair and the Lord just thundered in my spirit. And so this is what I’ll read. No, no, no, you’re wrong. This cold winter day is the lie. [00:47:00] The promise of spring still stands.

Spring is for real. Springtime is on its way and nothing can stop it. Learn from this moment. When I deliver my children out of seasons of suffering, the trauma can linger within, making the lies more believable than the truth. Do not look back. Look forward. I’m doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it?

I’m making a way for you. I want you to retrain your thoughts so you’re quick to see the new. And not so pulled back by the old. Yes, the winter seasons come, but winter always has an end and springtime soon follows that sunny happy day. You experienced that was a glimpse of my glory, a taste of things to come, not something I tossed your way to trick you.

I want you to flourish. I want you to believe that I’m always up to something good. The sooner you’re believe it, the sooner you’ll see all I’m up to on your behalf. And then I go back here a little bit. Our God is good. He’s a good, good father. He gives his children amazing personal specific gifts because he knows us inside and out.

He knows what will bring delight to your heart and how to [00:48:00] heal you from all you’ve endured. If you’ve walked through a long stretch of winter, it’s time to remind yourself that spring is coming for real.

Kelly: Mm. Oh, it’s so powerful At the end of each devotional you have a brain retrained statement, which are so powerful and at the end of that one you say god is doing something new in me–Extremely hope giving.

Thank you. Thank you so much for this devotional You just live in these places where so many people live and you hand them hope Out of your journey out of your very deep walk with the lord. So Thank you. Susie’s book, Waking Up to the Goodness of God, 40 Days of Wholeness and Healing. Thank you for sharing this time with us today, Susie.

You’re such a gift.

Susie: Hmm. Well, good to be with you, Kelly. You’re a gift as well. Thank you.

If you were encouraged in your faith today, it’d be great if you’d help get the word out by subscribing, sharing with a friend, or leaving a review. I’d [00:49:00] love to hear from you. You can reach out through my website kellyhall. org and pick up some free resources while you’re there. Thanks for listening to the Unshakable Hope Podcast.

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