Tag Archives: Brennan Manning

New Podcast! Susan Shull, A Vintage Farmwife




I can’t wait for you to meet my friend, Susan Shull!

She is so much fun and encourages and inspires me! She is married to a farmer and her daddy was a farmer and her son is a farmer and it’s generation after generation! I just love seeing her pictures and hearing her stories.  I have a special place in my heart for farmers because I grew up in DeKalb, Illinois in the middle of farmland.  She is in Illinois too so we are kindred spirits. (Mom…you will love this one with all the farm talk (: )

She is a loving wife and mother and grandmother. She loves her three sons and her two beautiful daughters-in-law! She has 5 granddaughters and is so grateful that her family has gone from one girl (her) to 8!

She was an 8th grade language arts teacher for years and now she is creating a life she loves by following her passions and believing that God is always inviting her into MORE. She has so much joy and gratitude – I love talking to her! Listen in to find out how we met and her top 5 pieces of advice.

Susan and her friend have started a non-profit ministry called The Push Ahead. The Push Ahead is a nonprofit ministry for women in our county. It is a mentoring program with the following goals:

To provide an environment where women can find friendship, inspiration and education.
To create a community where all women are encouraged to discover their unique gifts and purposes.
To become passionate women of purpose with strong faith, living an abundant life.
To celebrate and enhance the quality of life in our community.


For more from Susan, check her out on her website at www.avintagefarmwife.com and on instagram @avintagefarmwife. You will love her!

As promised, here are some notes from our conversation:

Here is the quote she read on the podcast:

If I were your enemy, I’d devalue your strength and magnify your insecurities until they dominate how you see yourself, disabling and disarming you from fighting back, from being free, from being who God has created you to be.  I’d work hard to ensure that you never realize what God has given you so you’ll doubt the power of God within you.  

– Priscilla Shirer, Fervent

The book she mentioned she just finished reading is:  “Abba’s Child” by Brennan Manning

Are you a Ragamuffin?

I just read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.  OMG. LOVE this book! All of the pages are marked up and underlined and starred.  I write things like “YES!” in the margins with lots of “!!!!!”


This book is about Grace.  This book cracks open the shells that we have built around ourselves through our perfectionism and our striving and our “I have to do this to get to heaven” beliefs and lays God’s promise out bare.

Jesus offers us Grace.  We don’t need a special invitation to an elite club, we don’t need to perform in order to earn His Grace, we don’t need to have the right outfit or hang around with the right people.  He’s not asking us for a document showing how worthy we are, He’s not saying you are too fat, too drunk, too dumb, too broke, too lost.  In fact, He is saying, “Bring it!”.  He is saying, bring your messy, dirty, scary, fearful, doubting, lost hearts and open them to me.  I want all of you.  I want you now…as you are…not when you get it all together and look perfect.

Before reading this book, I would not have called myself a Ragamuffin. In Mirriam-Webster dictionary it defines Ragamuffin as a poorly clothed, often dirty child.  By the world’s standards, I am not poorly clothed or dirty.  But through the eyes of grace I now realize I am often poorly clothed – in pride and judgment and fear and performing and striving and lack of gratitude.  Sometimes I am dirty in excess and gluttony and fear and a sense of entitlement and guilt and that feeling of “not enough”.

Turns out I am a Ragamuffin.  After reading this book, that is exactly what I want to be.  It is in my awareness of my brokenness that I seek Jesus and His message of Redemption and Freedom.  If we are always perfect and capable and clean and sinless, then why would we need a savior?

I love every word on every page of this book but here is one that sums it up: “Do you really accept the message that God is head over heels in love with you? …If in our hearts we really don’t believe that God loves us as we are, if we are still tainted by the lie that we can do something to make God love us more, we are rejecting the message of the cross.”

Manning talks about the Prodigal Son a lot which I love because it’s my favorite!  He says that “the emphasis of this story is not on the sinfulness of the son but on the generostiy of the Father”.

Manning talks about Jesus saying, “His ministry was to those whom society considered real sinners.  They had done nothing to merit salvation.  Yet they opened themselves to the gift that was offered them.  On the other hand, the self-righteous placed their trust in the works of the Law and closed their hearts to the message of grace.”

What about you?   Is your heart open to the message of grace?

Are you a Ragamuffin?

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved