10th Day of Christmas with Luann Prater & Suzie Eller

 It is day 10 of the 5th annual 12 Days of Christmas!

Each day I am featuring one of my Proverbs 31 sisters offering a recipe, tradition, memory or idea.

Actually, today I am featuring TWO gals!

Get ready to meet Luann Prater and Suzie Eller of P31 and Encouragement Cafe!

They are a dynamic duo of girlfriends and grace!

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Luann Prater and Suzie Eller believe there is one gift we can all give. . . all year around, but especially in the hectic, sometimes crazy days of pre-Christmas. It’s grace!

Today they share how grace works in their relationship, and three ways we can all practice giving this gift.

Luann and Suzie are not only on the Proverbs team, but work together to host a syndicated radio show that reaches 27 markets from coast to coast. . . even though they live over a thousand miles apart.

Suzie: I remember meeting Luann that first year as a new team member with Proverbs 31. I knew I had made a great friend. At the end of the week she pointed at me and said, “One day we are going to be working together. I just know it.”

Luann was the host of Encouragement Cafe (www.encouragementcafe.com). I had always desired to do radio, but after a few years of praying about it and all the doors closing, I had put that dream aside.

Last year Luann phoned me and said, “Just listen. And then pray.”

But the Lord had already spoke to me that morning. As I prayed for Luann and her ministry, the Lord whispered, “Be prepared to say yes, no matter what Luann asks.”

When she asked me to be a co-host it made no sense. I live in Oklahoma. She lives in North Carolina. The show is taped in a studio.

Over the past several months we’ve discovered that God knew we could do it. . . but with a healthy dose of grace.

Luann: It’s true, there was an instant connection with Suzie. God tapped on my heart and said, “Notice her, she’s very special to Me. Suzie is easy to like.

My cohost of three years felt God calling her into the deaf ministry and I was lost. But as I prayed and asked others to pray with me, Suzie’s name rose to the top.  It seemed like another challenge, but God specializes in those!

Suzie and Luann: Working together is a God thing, but we discovered three very practical ways we could offer grace in our ministry and friendship and in this crazy, chaotic thing called life.

#1: Don’t try to make the other person a clone.

Suzie: Luann is Cher and I’m definitely Sonny in this relationship. She breaks out in song with no warning. She’s in full-blown “go” mode 100% of the time, and she’s an idea person (a visionary).

Those qualities can be endearing and awe inspiring, and sometimes challenging.  She’s exactly who God made her to be and I love her. I love the depth of her prayers. I love that she’s not afraid to dive in deep waters.

Now her launching into song randomly? I’m still working on loving that one. (Just kidding, Luann!)

Luann: Thank goodness God created Suzie to be the peanut butter to my jelly. Her smooth methodical way of approaching life lays a foundation for me to build on. And she never condemns. We have an understanding that we seek the good in one another and rejoice in our differences.

The first time we recorded together it was an obvious fit. Our producer, Adam said, “Oh man, this is going to be good.  You guys have great chemistry.”

If I recall my chemistry class, two totally unique elements can combine to make some dynamite creations!  I honor Suzie and value her contribution.

(Although I’ve got to share, sometimes she has the humor of a 13 year old boy…I’m just sayin’ don’t pass a station called BJ’s Gas with Suzie in the car :)

Suzie: Like I said, Sonny and Cher. This works in our personal relationships as well, whether with family or friends. We aren’t alike. God doesn’t produce clones, and yet when we see the strengths that are so different from ours and appreciate them, we can make a really strong team.

#2: Talk it through

Luann: Since we are so far apart, we don’t have the luxury of jumping in the car for a quick visit or cup of coffee.  Therefore most often email, Facebook and texting become our cord of connection. However, we have discovered that a five minute phone conversation may be all it takes to press out some wrinkles in a twisted thought.

Suzie: When we go for too long without talking, one miscommunication can roll into another and pretty soon it’s a huge downhill avalanche.

This can happen in any relationship.

Rather than silently holding on to your feelings or thoughts, airing them out with a healthy dose of prayer beforehand is important. But don’t wait until it’s a miscommunication. Talk about what matters with those you care about. That’s not nagging, or trying to bend them to your will. It’s keeping the doors of communication open.

#3: Believe the best about each other

Suzie: I know there are times that Luann has to step back and say, “Suzie isn’t trying to make this harder than it should be. Her motivation is to help.”

Grace means that we believe the best before we leap to the worst conclusion. It strips away resentment, leaving room for encouragement and resolution and compromise.

Luann: This year we want to offer you a challenge.

Tucked inside each gift,  slip a paper inside with the word Grace. When the person opens it explain that God is asking you to extend grace before its even needed this year.

Suzie: I love this!

Luann: Can you picture how fast misunderstandings might vanish when someone lifts Grace from their pocket and extends it back to you?

Will you join us? Give the Gift that everyone needs this Christmas: Grace.

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NOTE:  Join Luann and Suzie every Friday on JoyFM or check out the podcast at http://www.encouragementcafe.com/radio/

GIVEAWAY: Okay girls–today’s giveaway is a copy of Suzie’s  book The Mom I Want to Be and a copy of her new book The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness. AND….yes, there is more!…..a copy of the Proverbs 31 Devotional book God’s Purpose for Every Woman to which Luann was a contributor.

To be entered to win, leave a comment telling us about someone who once gave you grace or the name of someone whom you know who is a grace-filled person. Or, if time is tight, just say “Grace”

Remember, you have until Sunday night December 16th to comment on all the posts. One grand prize winner will be chosen from among the gals who post on all 12 days! The grand prize is:

A unique advent candle display depicting Bethlehem, Mary and Jesus, with votive holders and candles nestled inside. A $50 retail value. And, along with it, a copy of my new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith.

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