Many of you know me through my parents, but for those who do not, I am a native Floridian, wife, mother, sister, and daughter. I grew up in a Christian home, and we attended church faithfully.
In 2007, my life fell apart. I began having panic attacks 5-6 days a week. My health deteriorated. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. Eventually, I didn’t leave home much and, being honest, I wanted to die. Despite my upbringing, I didn’t know much about God or faith or His desire to heal the body and the mind. The only truth I knew for certain was that Jesus loved me.
My healing from the damaging effects of fear was a starting point that would propel me into writing. In 2008, I wrote my testimonial book, Fearless, to help others who were in my shoes. Back then, if you mentioned mental health problems, everyone walked the other way. With the exception of a few books and sermons I stumbled upon, I couldn’t find any information on WHAT TO DO to overcome fear.
That lay at the heart of my questions. What steps did I take to become sound and healthy and whole again? Would I ever be happy? Could I go out and enjoy myself without first falling apart? Only God could provide the answers, and He was faithful to light the way.
Truthfully, I didn’t write the book for attention. The first person that asked me to sign their copy, I argued with them. I am no one, the least of the least, in my mind. What was done in me is ALL GOD, 100%. I know how I was, I’ve not forgotten, and He gets the glory, not me.
At the same time, publishing that book introduced me to other Christian writers. When I began writing fiction (on a whim, I might add), I was also asked to write devotionals. I discovered that I couldn’t write them without asking God what He’d prefer to say. Try as hard as I might, any ideas I came up with didn’t flow, and I ended up frustrated. However, if I waited, if I prayed and listened, “fire” lit up my fingers, and what I wrote overwhelmed me.
I had no idea what I was doing, not really. I didn’t know that the “feeling” which caused me to write was the Holy Spirit’s anointing, nor that I was hearing God’s still, small voice speak the content. I had no plan for the future either, past writing fiction or an occasional 1,000-word devotional.
Here, I must back up and tell another story. When I was 15, my youth pastor showed an end-times movie where a girl was beheaded. Yeah. What you’re thinking. Needless to say, that movie scared me to death, and I vowed when it was over that I would never listen to prophecy again. I would never let anyone talk to me about the end times or the book of Revelation.
I kept that promise. I remember leaving a church service once and sitting in the parking lot when I learned that was the speakers’ chosen topic. Despite what you’re thinking, as I grew older, though I remembered that vow, I didn’t consider it anything harmful. What did I need to know prophetic things for?
Signs You'll See Just Before Jesus Comes by Rick Renner
Fast forward, now, to 2020, and here’s me, writing away, surrounded by my stories. One evening, I purchased a book by minister Rick Renner. When it arrived, I said to myself, “I will NEVER read this. WHY did I buy this?” I then buried the book in the bottom of my book basket and walked away. I had no intention on reading it and quickly put it out of my mind. Yet, one rainy Sunday, weeks later, there I stood with it in my hand.
I said, “I’ll read the first chapter and PROVE I don’t need to read this.”
I’m not kidding, and I meant that, too. But I looked up, hours later, and I had read the entire thing. I realized, in that moment, that every bit of my fear of the prophetic was gone. All of it. I even tried to make myself be afraid again and couldn’t. It was marvelous to be free of something I didn’t know was bothering me, and I was grateful. However, I made no new choices afterward. I went back to writing short devotionals and plugging away at fiction.
Yet, something in me, SOMEONE IN ME, had other plans. It was as if I had opened the biggest gift box. When I went to write a devotional that SOMEONE, the precious Holy Spirit, said the most amazing things. Things I KNEW THAT I KNEW were from God because I’d practiced listening to His voice for 12 years. He taught me to write. He corrected me when I got off-center.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” (John 10:1-5)
Sitting there, the rain falling around me, I saw the pattern of my life in clearer detail, how hard the devil had worked to keep me from hearing God’s voice. He’d tried to distract me from God’s plan then he’d tried to destroy my mind. He’d tried to destroy my night hours. Truthfully, sleeping was the last thing to heal. The nighttime hours seemed to last forever.
Looking back at what I’d been through, I realized God had healed me of that, too. I’d learned to pray instead of worry, to praise instead of complaining. I’d learned to make godly decrees, despite how I felt, and the years passing, those troubling hours had become times of great intimacy with my Father. Times I treasured more than anything else.
Now, the Holy Spirit frequently wakes me up to “chat,” and there I’ll lay, in the darkness, listening to God tell me things. I am humbled by it and profoundly grateful. He is faithful and FULL OF LOVE. He’s NOT the mystical figure I thought my parents worshiped, but He is specific and definite and interested in our lives individually, down to where we live and the health of our pets. He cares about our jobs, our cities, our states, and our nation.
I am strictly a vessel He works through, one of many. I take no glory from Him for anything I write and trust Him completely to do what He’s promised He would. I don’t try to figure everything out on my own. I rely on the Holy Spirit to define and enlighten me, and I walk by faith, hand-in-hand with my heavenly Father and Jesus, my Lord beneath the power of the Holy Spirit.
Which I learned to do at my weakest point when I had no choice.
Suzanne D. Williams, Author