Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Friends ~ Susan Stilwell

Welcome to Encouraging Women today my dear friend, Susan Stilwell. I had the honor of meeting Susan at the 2011 NCompass Writers Retreat. Susan's the mastermind behind a lot of the things you see on my blog. Get ready to be encouraged and most likely challenged by her today! Welcome, Susan!

(1) Tell us a little about your family and growing up years. 

My dad is a bivocational Baptist minister, and I grew up in little country churches. My parents loved me and encouraged me to believe I could do anything! I’m the oldest of three girls, and a classic first-born. We moved several times when I was young, so I spent a good part of those years feeling awkward and lonely. Sometimes, that feeling still creeps up on me.

(2) When did you know God was calling you to write? 

Actually, my husband spoke that over me when our kids were toddlers! I got serious when I started writing my own Bible studies and lessons, around 2003. I really consider myself a student first, a teacher second, and a writer after that.

(3) Who is a person that is making and has made a strong impact on your life, and why? 

My husband, Steve. He’s rarely flustered, and can always switch gears and see the big picture. He’s also one of the most generous and gracious people I know.

(4) What is your life verse? 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace 
as you trust Him so you may abound with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
~Romans 15:13 

My middle name is Hope, and I’ve woven this verse into the long-version of my testimony. It's the lens through which I view life!

(5) Other than Jesus, what Bible hero would you like to talk to? 

Gracious, so many - Joseph, David, Daniel, Peter. Since most of your readers are women, I’ll go with two ladies: OT - Deborah the Judge. NT – Lydia from the church in Philippi.

(6) What in depth Bible study would you recommend to my readers? 

An older Precept Upon Precept study, Kinsman Redeemer. (Actually, I’m a fan of PUP studies in general. They’re all great!)

(7) Tell us of how you came to a saving relationship with Christ? 

Growing up in a Christian home, I always believed in Jesus but I didn’t always belong to Him. When I was five years old, I asked Him into my heart because I knew that’s what He wanted to do. But when I was 12, I understood that my sin separated me from God, that I needed to be forgiven for my sin, and that Jesus was the only One Who could forgive me. So I guess my coming to faith had two points: believing at age 5, repenting at age 12.

(8) Please give a word of encouragement and hope to my readers who may be struggling today. 

No matter what’s going on in your life, nothing is outside God’s ability or desire to redeem. NOTHING. Once you fully trust Him with a situation, He’ll bring healing and restoration. It might not look like what you imagine, but it will be something that deepens your faith and reveals His glory.

Susan Stilwell lives in Roanoke, VA with her husband, Steve, and their Yorkie, Sophie. She has two kids in college: Scott at Virginia Tech, and Sarah at James Madison University. When the whole family is home, she makes sure to have three things handy: a pot of hot coffee, a jigsaw puzzle, and a board game.

She's a passionate teacher of God's Word, and enjoys writing lessons and Bible studies. She's also a conference speaker and has helped lead tours to the Holy Land. 

You can find Susan on Twitter (@susanrstilwell), Facebookand her inspirational site,


  1. What a joy to read a little about my friend, Susan Stilwell! (Waving here) Thank you both for all you do to encourage and teach us and draw us closer to the Savior!

    Blessings to both of you today. :-)

    1. Hi Vonda (waving back)! It's an honor to be Jamie's guest today. Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. I love this: So I guess my coming to faith had two points: believing at age 5, repenting at age 12.
    I believe for a lot of believers salvation has 2 parts that aren't always at the same time. And I love Precept studies.

    1. I'm glad to hear that you understand where I'm coming from with the faith-walk, Pat. It seems easier to explain in person than on the page. And I'm glad to find another PUP fan. They're my favorites!

  3. Susan,

    I've enjoyed getting to know you even a little more today. ;) You're a gem.

    Much love, Hester ;)

  4. Blogger Mama!! What a great interview. Thank you for your servant's heart. You are a blessing to the Body of Christ.

    1. Aw, thank you, Nan. That's quite a compliment coming from YOU!

  5. I enjoyed getting to know you a little better too! We had a similar upbringing...luckily you avoided falling apart in your 30's like I did! :) Thanks God for GOD!

    1. I walk in His new mercies every day, Celeste. He is GOOD :)

  6. So neat to read a little more about you, Susan. I am the oldest of three girls, too. Maybe that's why I like you so much! ;)

    1. YAY, Tereasa -- big sisters UNITE :)
      (the younger sisters might add -- "and stop being bossy!" LOL)