It’s about Him winning.

January 30th, 2015



Life for me for the past several months has formed a pattern.  I begin to feel almost normal, then something happens, a different trigger every time, and I’m a mess all over again.




Thoughts and feelings I didn’t even know were in there come out bringing along all the grief for all the many losses, then they have to be lived through and wrestled with and sorted out into piles of truth and lies, then the truth has to be accepted and the lies have to be answered.




Then I’m exhausted and have to pull back and rest for several days, literally, mostly doing a whole lot of reading both with the children during the day and by myself in the evenings.







The reading is always calling to me in my search for more meanings of suffering.




He is gently hand-feeding me His richest spiritual food there.




We’re not doing much extra in life right now.

During the down times I could almost think that life was normal, except I seem to be exceedingly fragile.




From the outside, I might appear that all is well, as long as we keep our conversation on a surface level.  If we don’t…

Can you handle floods of tears? I’m warning you.




And of course, I’m always waiting for the next storm to hit, praying that I will endure it with longsuffering and without sinning or charging God with wrong.




In all the stripping away my Heavenly Father has been doing in my life, He has left me so much.  I want to hold this lightly in my hand, knowing He could strip it away as well for His own good reasons.






I’m thankful to know that while He could take everything else away, He will never take Himself from me. Never.




Christmas was a quiet, hurting, sad season for me, as it was for countless others.




Still reeling from the latest emotional storm triggered by making a mistake that could have badly hurt someone I dearly love…

…I lost my last grandmom and went to her burial.




Hurting with a dear friend as the cancer she’s been fighting for many years quickly gains ground in her body.  Grieving with several friends who lost adopted children to death or disruption or suffered other personal tragedies over the past year.  Standing with those of my adoptive mom friends who are enduring very hard times.  Sorrowing with all of them.

The tears remain just under the surface of ordinary life, even of laughter.

Arms full of love, Penny and Katie~



This present life is so transient and this present world is so far from being my home.




Every moment of every day is accompanied by an awareness of the terrible suffering of humanity in its terrible brokenness.




When God pushes us out of our comfort zones into the front lines of battle, the comfortable cushion that shelters us from real suffering is taken away, and we begin to enter into the suffering, as He did.


Outside the Holocaust Museum, Orlando, Florida~



If we don’t harden our hearts against it, we hear more and more of the outcry of agony that goes up to His ears from the writhing world. We couldn’t survive hearing what He hears, the God who suffers with and yearns over His self-destructive creation.




He gives some of us the privilege of being His hands and feet to partly relieve some suffering for a short time.




We as adoptive parents can sacrifice and try to absorb into ourselves the sins done to our hurt children, but the pain is always there. It never goes away, even in laughter.




And our precious ones don’t belong to us, but truly to God; He has trusted us with the charge of loving and accepting and nurturing their precious damaged bodies and minds and emotions, without condition, just as He loves us who don’t give anything back to Him that He needs.




We only truly have brokenness to offer Him.




I look at every child adopted from neglect and mourn inside, even while I rejoice for a little redemption for them for a brief time.




Now we see in a glass darkly, and the redemption of adoption, as profoundly as it affects each person involved, is still just a dim reflection of what God has done in adopting us.




Did I ever have eyes to see the real Christmas so bluntly, so starkly, before?




The birth of the Man of sorrows was about His suffering and death to bring the hope of eternal life to dying people in a dying world.




It makes the thought of His final victory all the more sweet.






It’s why Jesus needed to come. His birth was a game changer. Now, it’s not about us failing, it’s about Him winning.
















“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love.

“Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”

I Peter 1:3-8




Share it!

26 Responses to “It’s about Him winning.”

  1. Joni McComsey says:

    Thanks for continuing to share your story. Your pictures of Verity and Katie are so beautiful. Your ability to continue your faith journey despite great suffering so inspiring.

  2. Barb says:

    Love the pictures. Katie’s joy reflects the beauty of the world as do many of your other photos. Thank you for keeping your “internet friends” updated. One day at a time….that’s all we can do. Continued blessings as you travel the new normal.

  3. Melissa says:

    Loving the photos of all your young ladies and gentlemen. Katie is such a character; her joy is contagious and a testimony to what loving someone who never knew love can do.

    You sound as if you are healing. I have another very strong friend who went through a season of fragility during the holidays, and has had to learn to stop and stay and listen.

    The other day I was confronted with how much suffering is in this world, and I was reminded once again that this is not our home. It’s all we know, like a fish in a bowl or a dog in a kennel, so our ‘real’ home may seem impossible to comprehend (and even a little frightening). Still, it’s the place that really matters. This is temporary.

  4. sabrina says:

    Failing…it’s been a big word for me this month. This post was a huge blessing to my heart today.

  5. Emily says:

    This is so beautiful! Thank you!

  6. Amy says:

    My Life for Yours….every single day. Always worth the cost, but the scars run deep. Love you, my friend.

  7. Lucy says:

    This is so beautiful and so convicting. Thank you for sharing, Susanna.

  8. Lorena says:

    “… the outcry of agony that goes up to His ears from the writhing world. …the God who suffers with and yearns over His self-destructive creation.”

    Yes. So glad His ears are caring ones. So glad He protects me from hearing and feeling the whole of it, but grateful for this new perspective: that what He allows me to feel, is in trust – that He might, through me, begin to right some of what’s wrong and hurting.

    God grant you hopeful endurance, my friend, and the tender strength to both minister and be ministered to.

  9. Lauren S. says:

    I think this is a lesson that God periodically chooses to strategically teach me – that this is not my home, not really, so don’t cling tightly. And it truly is suffering that teaches it best. We long for the reparation that only Heaven can bring when we suffer deeply, and are more willing to see how artificial this world is when there’s not as much shimmer and sparkle. And I have certainly not suffered as you have.

    He brings you to my mind almost daily, not letting me forget you and your family who has taught me so much. I always pray for you in those moments, knowing that He knows your needs and will direct my prayers. I continue to be grateful for what He has done in my heart through your writing.

  10. You are going through so many of the things that I have gone through… It took me until 2012 when we were in Iowa that I quit blaming God for what happened in 2003. So many years He was patient and heard my complaints and accusations against Him. One day it just stopped and one day it will stop for you. You will see light again as I have shared. You are going through your grief in such a good way. Your views on other’s sufferings, I am there and that’s why we want to dedicate our lives to helping others. If I had not gone through what I had gone through, I would not want to pour into anyone but our own lives. But by pouring into others, it will benefit us and our children so much! It is a need I have because I feel for other’s sufferings. The dark place you feel with other’s sufferings will become light as you heal up and more truth comes in to you. You will want to serve more and try to alleviate other’s pain from a new place. Thank you for sharing your place with us all. You are going through this in a “healthy” way. Don’t forget the Lord is patient and long suffering. He knows your true heart of pain when you get angry at Him. He also knows your end and who you will be when you come through this.

  11. I just wanted to add something I just shared with a friend just tonight. I had a grandpa who went through World War II, he was a Sergeant in the South Pacific. He came through it as the most gentle, patient man I’ve ever known. You hear of others who go through war and in the end they are bitter and full of hatred. I hear your concern and anguish over other’s sufferings… you will come out seasoned like my grandfather.

  12. Mel says:

    Everything you are experiencing is a normal part of the grieving process. It’s nice to hear it spoken aloud- what the soul endures. You are beautiful and inspiring. Keep the faith. There is light at the end of the tunnel, although it’s probably the case that the tunnel is different for everyone. Just keep the faith. Hang on tooth and nail. I promise you the waters will get calmer. I promise.

  13. Tricia says:

    Beautiful photos and post! You will feel joy again. It takes time. Don’t beat yourself up–God lives inside you and so if you think about it, you’re hurting Him each time you do that. Try to rest in Him. :)

  14. Tricia says:

    I was just listening to this music I bought recently and thought of you, Susanna. These three songs are so joyful and full of praise that they are guaranteed to lift anyone’s spirits. I’m sure the kids would like them, too. You can find them on Youtube, by Housefires: Joy, Unto Your Name, and Rise.

  15. Anna says:

    I just discovered this beautiful song with a depth that can only be birthed through suffering. And you and what you shared in the post came to my mind. Praying that it will be a blessing to you.

  16. Jaelle says:

    Loved this, friend. Beautiful pictures, too. The Lord’s call on your life has not been silenced by the tremendous loss you have endured. In fact, perhaps it has been made even more real; a brighter light that speaks more boldly of His unfailing love than ever before. Praying for you.

  17. Jennifer says:

    I pray for you every day!! Thanks for posting the pictures and writing such beautiful words from your heart.

  18. Becky says:

    I’m reading Sheila Walsh’s new book about her walk through depression. Grief and depression must hold hands because it is so familiar to what you have shared here over the past few months. As for the tears…yes, my friend, we can handle them. As you would for any of us. Love you!

  19. Missy says:

    In those last pictures did our Katie walk across the bathroom?
    I love the pictures with Katie and Verity together. Remember when Verity was bigger than Katie? My goodness, you have blessings all around you. That’s one of the gifts God gives us. When grief and depression seem overwhelming there are bursts of joy that send light piercing into the darkness. And I thank him for every one of them.

  20. Susanna says:

    Missy, yes. Over the past couple of months, Katie has gone from trying not to walk, to trying to walk. She’s gone as far as five feet independently. You can see how pleased she is with herself, too. :)

  21. Jeannie says:

    Yay, Katie! Love that smile!

  22. Aunt Erma says:

    I love the pictures. My, how Katie has grown! The picture of your girls fixing their hair is precious too. They also are growing into fine young ladies. And, as always, your writing is filled with depth, love, and ethos. We love you.

  23. Linda says:

    How wonderful to see all those photos of your family, especially Katie walking! What a transformation!
    I know you are taking a step back but look forward to an update on everyone, especially Verity and Katie, when you feel able.

  24. Cassandra says:

    Hey Susanna,

    I imagine losing Tommy must feel like both years ago and days ago because that’s how relentless grief is. It’s a time warp and a magnifying glass all wrapped in one.

    I can’t help but to wonder if you subconsciously needed to post a few pictures of the Katie and Tommy in the bathroom setting – to remind yourself that 99.9999% of time, it was Tommy’s happy place. Your pictures bear testimony to that truth and we your readers are witness to that. It is the truth and having it written down (albeit photos) proves that.

    Your home is a place of safety and sanctuary and yet even still, bad things happen. They just do. Sometimes it’s our fault and sometimes it is not but either way on this side of Heaven, bad things happen to good people. I consider you and your family to be good people.

    A long time ago I was responsible for somebody getting seriously hurt. I mean, I was and I wasn’t. But in the end it was cataloged in my mind as my fault as I was closest to the accident. Years and years later, I still tremble some as I pass this place. A billion positive experiences later but with rocket fire speed, my mind lands on that nightmare day.

    I am still ashamed of this but for that entire day I seriously weighed the advantages of suicide. The world didn’t need more people like me and would probably do well with less, was my distorted thinking. Unequivocally the single reason I opted to not kill myself was bc of my children who didn’t need another source of grief in their life.

    Different scenario but has re-opened the wound: Several years ago I was charged by a church member to be responsible for their child’s injury. As in they are suing us for millions. (Child is fine, completely functional). There is not one person that can corroborate their story (not even their child!) but they see $ signs. As our attorney has said, christian or not, money changes everything. So sad. The incredible irony, the incredible searing painful truth is that I was not responsible and in fact, by the grace of God, was the person responsible for saving their child’s life! (God knows I say that with all humility and all the glory goes to Him, I was just the person He used).

    I’m rambling but all to say that I hear you saying you are skittish about – well, just about everything. What’s particularly cruel about this is that wherever we go, there we are also.

    People lie. Time doesn’t really heal the pain but time does make the pain more familiar and so it blindsides us less often. We also get good at compartmentalizing the grief, only choosing to take it out on a limited basis. For me, in some ways time has only underscored and escalated the loss.

    This is just my experience and I respectfully write this knowing that I may be completely wrong.

    You will be o.k. You are enough.

  25. Susanna says:

    Thank you, Cassandra. Skittish may be too mild a word. :/

  26. Sarah G says:

    Precious pictures of Katie walking! You are in my prayers often Susanna. So thankful for the words of the other mamas here who can remind you that you do not walk this path alone.

RSS feed for comments on this post. And trackBack URL.

Leave a Reply