Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Thoughts on Billy Graham, good coffee and great conversations

Great Conversation Happened Here
A couple of weeks ago, I had the fun privilege of visiting my friend Kelsey in Branson. My husband and I and our good friends were spending a weekend there. And since Kelsey goes to school in the area I texted her to see if she was available for coffee. She said yes. 

It just so happens that Kelsey’s cousin was visiting from Delaware, so the three of us settled in the local coffee shop to chat. Little did I know that our good conversation would soon turn out to be great conversation. 

Shortly after our trip to Branson, Billy Graham passed away. It’s been interesting reading news articles, listening to interviews and discussing with friends how Billy Graham affected their lives. In a story by George Bush, he describes a one-on-one conversation with Billy Graham that turned his life around. Kathie Lee Gifford tells how Reverend Graham sat in her home and read the Christmas story to her children (for her first ever TV Christmas special). 

Many have pondered who will take Billy Graham’s place. The answer of course is no one. However, we should not be discouraged by that, because the world is full of people who love God like Billy Graham loved God. 


Back in Branson, Kelsey, her cousin and I visited a lot about my new book, A Wild & Wonderful Life. Before long, it became obvious that our conversation was going to a deeper level than I anticipated. Kelsey’s cousin asked me, “How do I begin to have a Wild & Wonderful Life?” At that moment, I realized our good conversation had just turned into great conversation. As the three of us sat and talked about loving Jesus, I couldn’t help but think this is exactly what Billy Graham did: Share Jesus. Talk about Jesus. Or even introduce someone to Jesus. 



Billy Graham certainly made an impact on the Kingdom through Crusades. But, from the stories I have heard recently, his personal conversations were equally important. Who’s going to carry on Billy Graham’s work in the future? We are. We are going to have great conversations with people we care about and share Jesus with them. In this way, all of us will impact our world — just like Billy did.  








 A Wild & Wonderful Life is available 

on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sharing Stories Across the Miles

On November 15, I launched my first book, 
A Wild & Wonderful Life

Since then, I have received countless support through emails, handwritten notes, phone calls, and words of encouragement. I’d like to share a quick story from Kameron, a friend of my son who lives in Birmingham, Alabama. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we were all tailgating before the Auburn/Alabama game when he told me this:
From Kameron:
“On Thanksgiving, I was telling my dad that you had written a new book and I was thinking about giving a copy to my grandmother for Christmas. As we were talking, my grandmother entered the room.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

“My friend’s mom has a new book that I think you would enjoy.”

“What’s the name of the book?”

“A Wild and Wonderful Life.”

With that, my grandmother turned and left the room. A few minutes later she returned, with a copy of A Wild & Wonderful Life in her hand. 

“How in the world did you know about the book?” I asked.

“My friend Laura wrote a blog about it and suggested to her readers that we should all get a copy, so I did.
This Laura, who Kameron’s grandmother was speaking about, is a dear friend of mine from Austin, Texas. Laura traveled to Kansas City to support me at the book launch party. As it turns out, Laura is also a dear friend of Kameron’s grandmother who lives in Birmingham, Alabama.
I love this story because it shows how word of mouth travels. From Kansas City, to Austin to Birmingham, in less than 10 days, my little book made an appearance because someone told someone else about it!

Life is wild for sure, but most definitely it is wonderful when your story includes Jesus. I pray that as you read my new book, you will experience the immeasurably more that a life with Him offers. And then, I hope you will share your Jesus story with someone else. If you do, who knows, I may just hear about it in Kansas CIty!

available on Amazon

Will you help spread the word? If you’re a member of a group (church group, book club, women’s group, or any organization) I would love to share or discuss my book and my Jesus story. Please contact me at susanc@morethanyouimagine.org and I would be glad to schedule a time. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Wild & Wonderful Life Book Launch



Today is the day! I'm officially launching my book, A Wild & Wonderful Life: Say Yes To Your Immeasurably More Jesus Story. 

To say woo hoo! or yippee! would be an understatement. I'm excited beyond measure. 

Writing this book has certainly been an incredible journey. Now I am ready to share my Jesus story with you. My hope is that this book encourages you to pursue your immeasurably more story. My prayer is that when you read it, you will meet Jesus, either for the first time or in a fresh new way. 

A friend asked me today, "If there was one thing you would want me to know about you, what would that be?” 

That’s a great question. 

Without a doubt, the answer is, "I love Jesus more than anything and He makes my life great. And I want you to know how great He is because knowing Him makes your life great too."

What does A Wild & Wonderful Life look like? Most likely, not how you envisioned it. Even when life does not turn out the way you planned, Jesus promises to join you on the journey, especially when it's wild: wildly good or wildly hard. That's pretty wonderful. 

And it’s pretty clear that Jesus wants you to pursue a Wild & Wonderful Life, "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of" (John 10:10b).
So I promise you this: if you are ready to say "yes" to Jesus with your wild & wonderful life; you will have the ride of your life. Happy reading!
(My book is available on Amazon)


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What Makes Me Better

I remember the day. It was the day I knew I loved Steve and he was my forever man.

We were in college. He was walking me from his fraternity house to my apartment. We stopped at my mailbox to pick up my mail. We were laughing and being silly. It was just one of those joyous days.

I inserted the key to unlock the box when Steve stopped me. He looked me in the eyes and very seriously said, “Susan, when I am with you, I am better. You just make me better.”

I’m pretty sure I had already told Steve I loved him several times before. But in that moment, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I was in love with him. I knew his words were true because the same was true for me. Steve made me better, too.

When I was thirteen I had an experience with Jesus similar to the one that happened at the mailbox with Steve. Even though I was nine when I asked Jesus to come live in my heart, it wouldn’t be until four years later that I knew I loved Jesus wholeheartedly.

Our family was taking a vacation in our RV. My sister and I were in the very back and as we bumped down the highway, I asked my sister, “Mary, what does it really mean for Jesus to live in my heart?” My sister is four years older than me and I believed she knew the answer to all things.

“It means that when you were nine, you asked Jesus to be your Savior so you could live a full life with him here on earth and one day be reunited with him in heaven.” My sister went on to say, “But, Susan, to really be in love with Jesus and to follow him, he must not only be your Savior, but he must be sovereign in your life. Everything you do and say must be filtered through him because he loves you and knows what’s best for you. This is how you live a long and full life with him.”

All these years later, Jesus is still both a savior to me and sovereign over me. Because of this, I believe Jesus makes me better. Following and trusting Jesus makes me a better wife, mom, sister, friend. Hanging out with Jesus helps me look more like him. And I think this makes me a better Susan.

Your relationship with Jesus tells your story of how you do the journey. You can choose to trust him and follow him wholeheartedly, even if life doesn’t turn out as you planned.

You can be sure this is true because Jesus says, “My purpose is to give (you) a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10). He wants you to wake up each morning and know he’s joining you in all the moments of your day.


This is what makes life wild and wonderful: seeing your story unfold as you live each day with Jesus.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Immeasurably More Means Jesus Makes Your Life Wild and Wonderful


The obstacle I faced was huge. I couldn’t imagine how God was going to provide a more perfect job for me than the one I had created for myself as training director. It was a dream job. I had just graduated with a master’s degree in adult education, and training was my passion. Working in sales for a large urban hotel, I wanted to create a spectacular training department for our staff.

With a new degree in hand, I proposed to my boss the creation of a part-time position allowing me to teach and train the hotel employees. At the time, I was four months pregnant. I knew the time-consuming schedule of my current full-time job would not be possible as a new mother. A part-time position in training seemed perfect.

Weeks passed after I submitted my proposal and I was called into my boss’s office. He gave me a thumbs-up. The position had been approved.

However, the evening before my boss called me into his office, my husband came home from work and excitedly told me he had been given a promotion. We were moving from Kansas City to Chicago. The part-time training position ended before it even started.

The first few months in Chicago were a bit challenging. With my husband new to a career, he spent a good bit of time working. I didn’t know anyone in my new town or anything about being a mother. Little did I know, God’s good plans for my life were just getting started in Chicago.

My passion for teaching and training didn’t diminish. Eventually, God allowed me to ease into a part-time teaching job at the local college. Then, we moved again. Soon after, God opened a door for me to start my own training company. This was brilliant on God’s part, because my part-time company went with me as we moved three more times. God’s plans for me were marching forward but he wasn’t nearly finished with me and my vocation.

A friend was starting an evangelism ministry and asked me to become one of her national trainers. After several years of training in my own small business, God was opening a door for me to train for him! My passion for training, along with my experience, allowed me to work in God’s business.

As I look back, I’m in awe at how God was able to do immeasurably more than I could have ever imagined. Through this wild and wonderful journey of more than 20 years, I’ve had the remarkable opportunity to teach and train thousands of women all over the country. My passion in training never changed. God knew that. What seemed to be an obstacle earlier in life was really just a training ground for the bigger things God had in mind for me.

Has there been a time in your life when you knew God's good plans were immeasurably more than your own hopes and dreams? 


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Say Yes


“Do you want to go to Africa?” my friend Debi asked when I bumped into her in the hallway at church.

“Yes, I do.”

And that was it. I had no details, no dates, and no purpose for going. Yet I had just committed to traveling to the other side of the world.

I’m not typically a “yes” person. I tend to say “no” a lot more. But for some reason, I knew Africa was calling me.
  
In the months before my friend asked, I had been praying God would open a new door that would take me out of my comfort zone. About to turn 50, my desire was to do something that added a new purpose to my life. Don’t get me wrong. I loved what I was doing, but sometimes life needs to be stirred up so we can see things from a different perspective.

I never dreamed God would ask me to go to Malawi, Africa.

And it all happened because a friend asked, and I said “yes.”

“Yes” is a powerful word because it draws us into activity. Most things we do begin with a “yes” or a “no.” We accept or deny.

•     I gladly said “yes” when my husband asked me to marry him.
•     I eagerly said “yes” when I accepted my first job.
•     I cautiously said “yes” when my neighbor asked me to volunteer at her school.

Sometimes the activity is short-lived and has a beginning and end, like saying “yes” to having coffee with a friend. But sometimes a “yes” can dramatically change the course of your life.

There was one particular time when my “yes” changed everything, because it was the beginning of my Jesus story. I said “yes” to Jesus when I was nine years old. I prayed and asked him to become part of my life.

Saying “yes” to Jesus is the beginning of a wild and wonderful life. Although Jesus doesn't use the exact words “wild and wonderful,” he does make a lot of promises about what a life with him might look like.

Maybe your life is feeling a little unwound, unknown, crazy, or even stagnant. It’s okay; Jesus wants to join you wherever you are. He is not afraid of your mess. He can handle your doubts and fears. More than anything, he wants to be part of all your endeavors and walk alongside you every day.

Jesus wants to do your wild and wonderful journey together.

All you have to do is say “yes.”

If you choose to say “yes,” there’s no guarantee everything will turn out exactly as you planned. And I can’t promise that you won’t experience difficult times along the way. However, saying “yes” to Jesus means he is with you every step of your journey. You won’t be alone as you travel.

And this is what makes life both wild and wonderful.

"Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God's Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us"
(2 Corinthians 1:20-21, The Message).