Thursday, March 7, 2013


From Susan Hillis:
I absolutely love to read, and I have read 2 books recently that have me ON FIRE with excitement about loving big and anticipation about praying big!  The first book has helped remind me that there is a way to live FREE FROM STRESS- 
I Am Not but I Know I Am, by Louie Giglio. The second has inspired me to believe God to continue to do immeasurably more- The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  Or, to put it differently, the first inspires me to LOVE BIG and the second, to PRAY BIG.  These have been themes the Lord has had on my heart for these early months of 2013.

Free to LOVE BIG!
In his book Louie Giglio explains how, as he was meditating on Moses at the burning bush hearing the voice of God say, "I AM WHO I AM," it becomes clear that if God's name is "I AM," then our names, yours and mine, are "I AM NOT."  If God's Name is I AM All-powerful, All-loving, All-present, Self-sufficient, etc., then the corollary is that your name is I AM NOT all-powerful, all-loving, all-present, self-sufficient, etc.  But the clincher is this: your life is about you living inside God's story, not about you trying to convince God to come live inside your story. 

This revelation has brought me so much joy and freedom amidst life's concerns in my family and work and ministry:
  • do you face strained relationships?  God is all-powerful and all-loving and it is His story we are in. 
  • do you face a wayward child?  God is all-powerful and all-loving and it is His story we and they are in.
  • do you face more work to accomplish than there are hours in the day?  God is all-powerful and all-loving and it is His story we are in
  • do you face concern over a health or financial problem:  God is all-powerful and all-loving and it is His story we are in
  • do you face a bleak future for someone you care for deeply: God is all-powerful and all-loving and it is His story they are in
When you realize you are in God's story, then you also realize it is not your job to fix yourself and to fix the people and problems in your life; rather, it is your job to allow the love of God to accomplish what He will in and through you and others and in all of our challenges and problems. 
In other words, we love big because we are loved by a big God, who is FOR us and FOR those we care about. 

I particularly have seen this in our daughter who struggled with reactive attachment disorder; she is doing so well now, but her teen years were quite tumultuous for her and for our family. She ran away several times, at times sleeping in the tree house in our back yard; when she would run away, Brian would run away with her, sleeping in the freezing rain at the base of the tree house. She would holler down something like this: "I am running away from home!  Why are you following me?!"  To which Brian would reply, "This is what daddy's do when they love their children; they stay nearby to keep them safe and protect them from harm; sleeping outside all night in treehouses is not safe, so I am your daddy who loves you and will  stay close, so that I can protect you." She was still in his story, even though she was running away. Your children and everyone you love is still in their Father's story, even when they run away. And none of us ever leaves our Father's story!!!

Inspired to PRAY BIG!
So if Louie's book inspires me to love with reckless abandon because I am inside of God's story, then Batteson's The Circle Maker inspires me to PRAY BIG because God supernaturally and mysteriously uses prayer to influence His story!!!!!  This is AAAMAAAAZIIIINGGGG!! The theme of this book is this, "God honors bold prayers and bold prayers honor God." 
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"The Israelites didn't conquer Jericho because of a brilliant military strategy or brute force. They learned how to let God fight their battles for them." (p.31)
  • quoting from Conrad Hilton's (the hotelier) autobiography:  "In the circle of succcessful living, prayer is the hub that holds the wheel together.  Without our context with God [there it is again...His Story!], we are nothing.  With it, we are a 'little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor.'" (p.150)'"
  • "Prayer is the way we escape the gravitational pull of the flesh and enter God's orbit. It's the way we escape our atmosphere and enter God's space....without prayer, there is no escape. With prayer and fasting, there is no doubt." (p.174)
  • "Parents are prophets to their children. And part of our prophetic role is knowing the Scriptures and knowing our children well enough to know what promises they need to circle... So we circle Scripture by praying it. Then Scripture encircles us."  (p. 104)                                 (This reminds me of the story of when one of our children, in the teen years, was hopelessly in love with the wrong person....someone who was noble, with great aspirations, yet missing faith; I knew my child well enough to know this was not the right one for any permanent future; at one point the danger became very apparent and I felt directed to enter a liquid-only-fast until the attraction was severed. The fast didn't even last a week, before my child shared with me, "I don't know what has happened; I was sitting today at lunch with xxxxx and I suddenly realized that all my attraction to xxxxxx had disappeared." It was only at that point that I shared about my fast and that I was not surprised and I praised God for this protection.)

Passion 2013
On January 1 I was sitting in the Georgia Dome for the opening night of the Passion Conference, along with 60,000 college students and young people. Louie Giglio challenged everyone there to believe God wants to do 'immeasurably more' and to ask God in prayer for one or two big prayer requests - the immeasurably more kind. I had two immediate requests: 

1) that I would be able to attend the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in February (because I see He has called me to work both within the government and within the church on behalf of the world's vulnerable children)  and
2) that God would be placing a loving believer in the life of every orphan, to help them see their value and worth. 

Susan with her daughters and granddaughters.
I was both surprised and thankful that the first prayer was answered, and now I am waiting on the second one. For the second one, leaders from governments and churches and businesses will have to work together for the common goal of caring for the world's vulnerable children, who are, in fact the world's future. I have personally seen in our own family that the cycle of sadness and vulnerability can be interrupted -- as our granddaughters thrive in the loving arms of their mamas and daddies. I am praying and believing that, together, the cycle of despair and vulnerability can be interrupted and reversed for the children of the world, because it is true what we used to sing-- Jesus loves the little children,all the children of the world.

We, my dear friends, have great trust: PRAY BIG AND LOVE BIG, for those who are with us are IN GOD'S STORY

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