Coming soon: Final curtain

September 3rd, 2016

From the day in February of 2010 when I sat and wrote the first post on The Blessing of Verity, I’ve been hopeful that this will be a temporary assignment.

The time has finally come when God is releasing me from the obligation of blogging.  After the Thank You Open House on Sunday, September 25th, I plan to do a video walk-through of Josie’s room and post that here as my last blog post for an extended, indefinite period of time, if not permanently.

We are not taking the blog down or making it private; it will still be here for future reference.  Our home address and my personal email address will still be on the sidebar of the blog, and I would be overjoyed to hear from many of you over the coming years.  [Listen to me:  I really mean that.  I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it!  If you want to write me, please do!]

I plan to occasionally add videos to my YouTube channel, TheBlessingOfVerity, and I also plan to update the family photo on the About Our Family page on this blog on the rare occasions that we get a decent family photo.

We can enumerate many reasons that this is a good time to stop and not one reason compelling enough to continue at this point.

If we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was using it in powerful ways for His kingdom, I’d keep it up; Joe and I agree that we don’t see that happening now.

Compared with five years ago, I don’t see God primarily using blogs to accomplish mighty things for orphans.  Most of the advocating and networking that is bearing real fruit for eternity now seems to be happening through other venues and other social media platforms.  At this point in my life, I’m not going there.

God isn’t providing me with the quiet sitting time for blogging as He has one way or another in the past six and a half years.  My days are full to overflowing with other things, and then I sleep.

I love to write, and I love to connect with people, but I do not love publicity.  I must have a powerful reason for putting our family out there that’s greater than providing free entertainment to onlookers, even kind and wonderful onlookers as so many of you readers are.  For six and a half years, I had a powerful reason, but I no longer do.

Keeping the blog open to the public after I’m no longer writing on it may continue to provide an avenue for connecting me with people one on one, which is where we see God using me right now.

Over the past six and a half years, it took a mighty compelling from my Master to supersede my near constant desire to be finished blogging.  Over and over again, just as I was becoming convinced it was time to stop, He would bring the next reason to hang in there.  During the low times, I confess that the only thing quite literally keeping me from bowing out was Joe and Joseph’s superior technological ability.  At the hardest times, the only thing that kept me blogging was the knowledge that the Enemy and his helpers would celebrate if I stuffed a rag in my mouth and crawled into a hole.  Sometimes it was a real sense of responsibility to readers who had given finances to help bring a child into our family.  At the best times, it was the utter joy of seeing God use this blog for the rescuing and welcoming and nurturing of countless orphans with special needs both in the Pleven orphanage and elsewhere.  Life in the face of death.

As you know if you’ve been reading here for a while, I am an all or nothing person who is going to be real and do it justice with my whole heart or not do it at all.

More and more over the past months, I have found myself either talking myself out of writing what I really want to say or having to overcome an aversion in order to write something anyway.

I am all too aware, just as I was when in the public position of being a pastor’s wife, of how effortless it is for onlookers to come to wrong conclusions and how impossible it is to avoid the judgment and misjudgment of others.  Without a compelling from the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of seeing obvious fruit from blogging, the struggle to blog with integrity in the face of the easy judgments of others has become an exhausting burden on me.  Worth it in other circumstances, unnecessary stress now.

There have been more and more details of our family’s life that I don’t have the freedom to write about here due to confidentiality reasons, and my heart is simply not in writing about what’s left.

Blogging only about the happy stuff–of which there is plenty here!–and not about the challenges will inevitably send imbalanced, unrealistic, false messages.  I don’t believe this is pleasing or glorifying to God or loving to the readers, and I cannot do it in good conscience.  Donum veritatis, the gift of truth.

I realized that I have gone from telling God, “No more children,” to asking Him, “Please don’t ask me to do this again,” to pleading with Him, “Please, please, please never ask me to do a public adoption with fundraising ever again.”  I abhor fundraising from the bottom of my heart, always have and always will.  It occurred to me that if I’m no longer blogging when we commence to adopt Josie, fundraising on this blog will be out of the question.  Hurray!

Tommy’s death was clearly the end of an era of serious advocating for older orphans with special needs on this blog.  Two years later, I am very happy to talk one-on-one with anyone who approaches me with questions about any aspects of special needs adoption, as well as other subjects, if I’m able to help.  We don’t see that changing in the near future.  The many words I had already written on the subject of special needs adoption on this blog will still be accessible to anyone with internet.

The association in my mind between this blog and the terrible tragedy of Tommy’s death is so strong.  Everything that reminds me of Tommy’s death makes me physically ill, whether it’s a screensaver showing lavender fields in Bulgaria or hymns I clung to during our adoptions of Katie and Tommy or this blog page popping up on my screen–all immediately make me feel nausea, and I have to look away or turn it off, step away, and take a deep breath.

I’m getting a sense that if I keep writing, I’ll just be repeating myself.  We’re troubleshooting schedules at the beginning of another school year, helping our children through their challenges and celebrating their successes, continuing to learn what it means to love God and one another in the nitty-gritty of everyday life, crying out to Him for mercy on us and on our children, knowing that He is faithful and will remain faithful.

In the irritating manner of born teachers, I’ve about talked this to death.  *wry grin*

 

However, please don’t miss what I’m going to say next.

 

God says that we are to owe no one anything except to love one another.  The Musser family owes an enormous debt of love to the readers of this blog who have taken time to get to know us, have opened your hearts to us, prayed for us, laughed with us, cried with us, reached out to us lovingly, encouraged us, taught us, rebuked us, stood with us, comforted us, counseled us, connected us with others, shared so generously with us–helped us in ten thousand ways to do the next thing God has called us to do.  I have valued every single kind comment, email, and pen-and-paper letter.  Some of you have become solid friends.

It has been an extraordinary journey together, these past six and a half years, and I will miss you.

Please know that you have blessed our lives beyond words, and we could never repay our debt of love to you.

 

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On her way~

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“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

 

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43 Responses to “Coming soon: Final curtain”

  1. Susanna, I am happy to see this post. I think this will be good for you… very good for you. You need rest, you need peace – as much as you can get and while I don’t have a lot of words, it gives me peace that you are closing this door. I have a feeling a great burden will be lifted from you and your life will feel much lighter as you can put your thoughts on those who love you and God has surrounded you with. : ) I feel a new chapter in life is ahead of you. Bless you…

  2. Tracy says:

    Would you consider a Facebook page to post occasional pictures of your family? I have loved keeping up with the children growing into adults. I know my question is selfish. :)

  3. Holly D. says:

    I am going to miss this blog so much. My second blog I ever started reading. I hope you would consider a Facebook page also so we can keep up with Kaitie, Verity and the rest of the crew. Selfish reasons I know since most of your blog readers have probably never met you. You’re so inspiring. You’re an awesome mother. I so wish I could hear the rest of the story and see glimpses of the growing kiddos. I have been dying for a Katie update. Praying that she is walking on her own. Thanks for sharing your life with us.💜

  4. ritalee8383 says:

    I am so sad that I won’t be seeing your family anymore. I love watching everyone grow and have so much respect for you. I check in a lot but don’t really comment. I understand how stressful it must be to put yourself out there.

    I really don’t talk to God anymore and yours is one of the few Christian blogs that I follow. Please know that you do touch people.

    I am so very sorry that your blog reminds you of the heartbreak and devastation of Tommy. I’m heartbroken for you.

    I wish you and your family the best of everything.

  5. Anna A says:

    I am a long time reader who is finally commenting for the first time. I want to thank you wholeheartedly for writing this blog. Over the years you have enriched my life enormously and taught me a lot. Not being a believer I nevertheless loved the goodness, wisdom and generosity your blog emanated, and I am a better person for having read it. Warmest wishes to you and your family for the future!

  6. Rebekah D. says:

    Susanna, I am happy for you to have the weight of blogging removed, to not have to force yourself out dread it anymore. Please know that I am not asking you to reconsider.

    I do want to say what a blessing you’ve been to me. Through your faithfulness in choosing to blog over the past few years, you’ve been a major part of influencing my thinking about special needs.

    I’ve seen that having a child with special needs isn’t as scary as I once thought. That if it ever happens to us, we don’t need to despair.

    I’ve seen the beauty of adopting those others consider undesirable. I’ve seen the faces of orphans on Reece’s Rainbow and ached for them.

    I’ve seen with new eyes the accomplishments of the young man with Down syndrome who bags groceries at our store. He does his work with such excellence that I prefer him over anyone else to bag my groceries. Thanks to you, I realized how proud this young man’s mother must be of him.

    Thanks to all that you’ve shared of Katie and Verity, I felt more comfortable while getting to know a new family at church with a wonderful little daughter with Down syndrome. You’ve helped break down that wall of awkwardness and shown me the reality of these very special people God has created.

    I have been granted the privilege to peek into your life and marvel at Katie’s transformation, Verity’s adorable little self, Tommy soaking in the joy of being loved, and Josie blessing everyone (including me) with her joyful spirit! I have been encouraged and inspired by everything from the way you decorate your home to the way you speak of your children.

    As though I actually know you, bits and pieces of your life have crept into mine. I can’t count the times I have found myself remembering or pondering

  7. Rebekah D. says:

    (continued) something you’ve said, some wise thought, practical way of living life, etc.

    Your family is dear to me and I count you as my sister in Christ.

    Please know, Susanna, that your labor has borne fruit here and that you have made a real impact on my life.

    I do not wish to ask you to do anything you dread or which the Lord has not called you to. I, too, have so much to do for my family that I can’t justify doing all that others might enjoy seeing me do. But please count me among those who would be very thankful to not lost track of you entirely.

    Thank you, thank you, for your faithfulness and for being such a blessing in my life.

  8. Susanna says:

    You all are why I tell people I have the best blog readers ever. Love you all!

    Holly D, Katie has been walking independently for about a year now. That news was buried in a long post about her school class last fall. She’s still unsteady even on level ground and needs constant redirection due to her cognitive, sensory, and behavioral challenges, but she’s getting there. :) I’ll add a recent pic to this post.

    I won’t be expanding my presence on FB, but after having tech issues with YouTube, I’m again able to access and use my YouTube channel, TheBlessingOfVerity, where I plan to occasionally post videos. I also plan to update the About Our Family page on this blog on the rare occasions that we get a good family photo. :) Adding this info to the post as well.

  9. Elise says:

    Dear Susanna,
    Thanks for all your wise and faithful words on this blog. I believe you have a special gift in writing, and I want to let you know God has used you to open my eyes to special needs adoption. I live in the Netherlands and special needs adoption works in a very different way. Adoption parents are on a waiting list not the children. I still have not found out why this is.
    You have been an example for me in your total relying on God for all of your needs. Thanks again for sharing both your struggles and joy.
    I wish you God’s blessing for your family and all the best from the Netherlands.
    Elise

  10. Jo Moseley says:

    I will say only this… I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. I feel this deep pain, like I read that someone in your family is dying. It feels final. I don’t say any of that to make you feel bad. I just have a deep love for you and your family. I want to know how Josie does with her upcoming surgery. Perhaps I sound nosy. How I wish that I lived near you, so that we could meet. Now, I’m going to go and ask the Lord to calm my heart. I really want to be able to write a lovely comment like those above mine. Today, today I can’t. Love to you, Susanna.

  11. I met your blog through Elizabeth DeHority’s blog, Keep on Spinning. I met Elizabeth at Sock Summit here in Portland, OR in 2009. So glad to have known both of you. I have laughed with you, cried with you, prayed with you, rejoiced with you. You have been one of the very best things in my blog reader. Blessings for you and your family; I will miss your blog posts.

  12. Tami says:

    Dear Susanna, I am so glad you are taking this step. I love to see that you are learning to take care of yourself as well as everyone around you. 🙂 I’m guessing it’s difficult for you to do; (because from all I’ve read, I think you and I are similar in many ways) but I think it will make you more effective at what God is wanting you to do. I am so very grateful for all that you’ve added to my life. In fact, not more than an hour ago I opened a package in the mail that I had ordered – Hope for the Caregiver. 🙂 I’m sure it will be another blessing in my life, resulting from your sharing. God does have work for you, Susanna, but I wonder if you also know that even more than what you can do for His Kingdom, God is interested in YOU alone, for who you are and simply for the love journey you are on as He walks beside you through life. He is interested in His work in you, not just your work for Him. I am sure I am not expressing myself well, and am so sorry if that sounds… Well, other than I mean it too. I just mean to say you are so special to Him, whether you blog or not, whether you are saving the world or not … YOU matter!! Thank you for all you’ve done, and I hope you can feel good about all your blog accomplished in it’s time and go forward in joyous peace to concentrate on loving your God, your family, and yes, even yourself! God is so good! We’ve had some hugely difficult circumstances in our family this past year – really more than I could take; definitely the the valley of the shadow – but how grateful I am for what it taught me about my Father, and what it did for my walk with Him. I will never be the same again after last year; I am broken in some very deep ways – but in that brokenness He holds me closer, and it’s worth it all. He is faithful in suffering with us, and redeeming the pain that enters our life into something beautiful. I wish you and yours the very best as you walk through the beautiful story He is writing for you. You will remain on my prayer list, I hope you’ll email me if you’d like prayer for anything specific. You are a dear sister in Christ, and I look forward to meeting you in Heaven someday!!! Much love and prayers! -Gabe’s mom

  13. I totally understand all the reasons why you have been lead to start this blog and are going to end posting on it. Just know I have enjoyed reading it so much. The words you have put down have been orchestrated by God and very often been inspired by the Holy Spirit. I will miss reading all you have to say, are learning, want to share and are being lead to write about. I am so glad you are leaving it up, as it is a wonderful resource in so many ways, on so many topics. Love to you all! God be with you and May you all be very blessed in all you put your hand to!

  14. It occured to me I have not updated you on our adoption. If you would like head on over to http://www.lovinglokri.com. Exciting. I’m happy for you Susanna. I will miss your wise and poetic words. Praying for you guys. Hopefully see you in person again to catch up.

  15. Barb says:

    I have been following you for many years, I think since you started the process for Katie. I wish you and your family only happiness. It has been a privilege to have a sneak peek into your lives. Blessings from Ohio

  16. Dara Nelson says:

    I will be very sad to see you leave but I totally get your reasons. You must be brave with your “no”‘s I just read recently. You have blessed us over and over as we parent our three special needs adopted children along with our large family of both bios and internationally adopted kids. Your steadfastness in difficult times, your faith during grief, and your joy in the Lord have been a testimony to our Great God and Savior.

  17. Kris says:

    Susanna,

    Whatever the future of this blog, I feel compelled to say how much of a personal blessing you are and have been through it. And it is not because I share that many circumstances with you, other than being a Christian homeschooling mom. When I read your posts and see your family pictures, I see so much love. But I also hear that you are not perfect, too, if that makes sense (meaning, I don’t get the feeling that you are only showing the good side of things). I just love the deep, tried faith, and wisdom and strong truth that come through when you write. Your words have more than once fed my soul, pointed me to the deep truths about God, specifically, that He can be trusted in all circumstances, that He’s not surprised by anything, that He is able to provide, that He calls us to places that He truly has a right to call us to, and that we are to be the trusting children/servants.

    Thank you.

  18. Cassandra says:

    Every other poster is much kinder than I am! You’re not going to get rid of me this easily :).

    A few random thoughts – You are wrong that God is not using the blog the way he used to. Your diligence and faithfulness speaks volumes and it takes me about 6 1/2 years to really believe somebody is who they say they are. For that I thank you.

    I’m not sure I’ve seen you write the words death/Tommy in the same sentence with such clarity. This tells me you are taking the first baby step towards healing. Healing is not the opposite of forgetting.

    I for one never tire of real people’s real lives and how they make them work (or not). I find other’s school schedules and other small details help me evaluate my own.

    I know what you mean about how honest is too honest or not honest enough. But from the word go it was what charmed us all about you – your ability to be transparent. It’s sadly too rare even in the christian world.

    For what it’s worth, your willingness to be honest about your pain after Tommy’s death reminded me that pain will, like nothing else can, remind us of who God is and who we are not!!!

    Just yesterday a local teenage Russian/American child, adopted as an infant, committed suicide. I imagine we are an exclusive and elusive group of women who grieve (for whatever reasons) what we cannot heal our children from. You understand, many of your readers understand or are wiling to try. There have been times when some of your readers comments restored my faith in humanity.

    Don’t you ever, not ever, not once, NEVER underestimate the power of your 6 and 1/2 year long testimony.

    And Katie – Katie, Katie, Katie. The little engine that could. By the grace of God, you have been her fuel.

    So much had to go right for each of those kids of yours to land in your home and to me that is every bit as miraculous as having given birth to them. I would say even more so than having given birth to them but I don’t want to offend anybody :). That from me who has both adopted and given birth…

    Sort of tangental but Speaking for myself, I wish the network had kept the Duggars on ONLY so we could follow along as they experienced victory in Christ. That might have validated and made credible their earlier years. Personally I am not interested in the family but dropping out of the public eye after their crisis has convinced many non christians that their life was lie. Very very sad.

    By comparison, by not hiding you and Joe gave us a glimpse into God’s ever present love. And I do not write that in a pithy sort of way. Incalculable testimony.

    I’m going to be in Italy during your open house. Darn.

    Can you post when Josies hair is long enough to be braided? :)

    Yours on the journey,
    Cassandra

  19. MamaV says:

    It’s been a good run. God has used you to change my life more than you or I know. I’m thankful for you, and I know we’re not through ;-)

  20. Jeannie says:

    Without you, we would never have met our sweet and beautiful girl. An astounding number of mamas, daddies, sissies, and brothers could say the same. God has done lifetimes of ministry through you and your family in less than 10 years. I know it cost you deeply. May God continue to heal you and your children, as only He can. Here’s hoping that this change means more giggles, more cuddles, more time to rest in our Father’s embrace. Much love, Jeannie

  21. Cindy says:

    I know we all have mixed feelings as we read this. We love and admire your family. This blog I am sure has been used to challenge and help many, in so many ways. Knowing how you and Joe live out what you believe and walk with the Lord, we can not doubt that it is time to stop blogging. You have taken such risk as you have opened your lives to the world. Only God knows the great “returns” that have come from your sacrificial investment. God bless!

  22. Esther Paris says:

    Just a hug. That’s all. A hug from afar. Long, deep hug. And I pray extra this morning that you shall forgive me if I’ve added to nausea. Misty-eyed, nay downright tearful… a long, deep hug from afar.

  23. Jen says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented, but I’ve been reading for probably 5 years now. I don’t even remember how I stumbled on your blog many years ago, but it is the one that opened my eyes to the special needs orphan crisis. I was admittedly and regrettably completely and utterly clueless. Adoption (or even kids in general) isn’t my calling, but because of your blog I have stepped up and do what little I can, wherever I can, from my little corner of the world. I fully understand your need to step away and concentrate on your family, but know that you will be sincerely missed.

  24. Susanna says:

    Cassandra, you always have my ear! And your insights always make me think. :) Josie is choosing her own hair style, and she wants it to be chin length, so no braids.

    Esther, oh my goodness! You have reminded me over and over of Tommy’s life and joy, not his death! You have been one of the light-bringers in my life. Love you.

  25. Elaine says:

    Sorry to hear but you must do what you need to do for your family. I have connected to many a blog that has gone by the wayside. Often wonder how those families are doing now……thanks for the time you shared

  26. Suvilla says:

    Love you Susanna………your family will always be dear to our hearts.

  27. Heather says:

    Your blog has been such a blessing of light and an excellent ministry to me over the few years since I learned about your family. You have strengthened my heart for orphans and helped me and my husband make the decision to adopt a child with special needs in the future. I have been inspired by your godliness and I wish you and your sweet family the very best! Thank you for sharing your stories — God bless you!

  28. Cj says:

    You and your family are amazing! I will miss reading updates and seeing the kids grow! My recent favorites have been seeing the pure joy on Josies’s face! Take care and I’ll look forward to the videos in the future!

  29. Heidi D says:

    As much as I will miss hearing about your lovely family I can see why you are making this decision. Thankyou so much for sharing your story, you will be in my prayers

  30. Jacy says:

    Reading this brought a lump to my throat. I’m going to miss seeing and hearing about your family so much. But I totally understand and support your decision to stop.

    I only came across your blog a few months ago (from reading about your family in the Samaritan Ministries newsletter, of which I am also a part) but I went back and read nearly every post from the very beginning. You have taught me so, so much. You have given me a more realistic idea of what my life could look like one day in adopting children with special needs. Thank you for sharing Tommy and Katie’s lives with us. They opened my eyes so much. Because of you, and a couple other families’ blogs I came across through yours, I am much more ready to adopt older children, or ones with more “severe” special needs than I was previously. I “wanted to want to” before, now I understand so much more, and I want to when God gives the green light. THANK YOU Susanna, thank you for posting for so long, for sharing your heart, for your honesty, your transparency, for showing us Jesus in you and the process of Him making you more like Him. I will miss seeing you and your family!

  31. Kristina says:

    I, too, will miss your blog posts. I loved that you used so many photos. Best wishes going forward. I look forward to Josie’s room reveal!

  32. Aunt Erma says:

    May I join my comments to those of others. Susanna, I have enjoyed your blog. I hadn’t looked at it for a while and was so glad I did today. If you don’t mind, I still want to stop in from time to time. You and your family are a blessing.

  33. vivienne says:

    Bless you for sticking in there with technology! THis is the third time I am trying to leave a comment and keep pushing some button that deletes it right when I am almost done!
    So instead of the thoughtful, serious comment I was writing, I will go with; love you, you rock, and I can’t wait until we are both 90!!!

  34. Susanna says:

    Vivienne, technology…oh yeah, there’s that. One more reason to forego the Lear jet in favor of the Nordic walking poles, haha!

  35. Bri S says:

    I will miss your family so very much. It has been a blessing to get a glimpse into your life and know Katie, and Verity, and Tommy, and the rest, and you have forever opened a spot in my heart for special needs. This news makes me selfishly sad, but if the Lord is guiding you towards this, I am happy that you are finally getting the break you have wanted for so long. Much love to all the Mussers, Bri.

  36. Kimberly Budd says:

    I will sure miss reading about your lovely family. But I have often wondered how you find the time to do this and happy for you to get those hours back to spend on, who knows, maybe on YOU!

  37. Melissa says:

    Susanna, I am another who has been blessed by your words and your transparency. Thank you for giving us the privilege of laughing, celebrating, crying, mourning, and growing with you and your family. It’s all right to step away and just BE, without any other expectations upon you. I have directed so many to your site over the years, just to show them what the power of love can do. I don’t think you’ll know until you get to Heaven just what an impact you’ve made through your obedience to God.
    Maybe you’ll miss us and be back sooner or later, who knows? ;) If and until, God bless you and your precious family.

  38. Jenny Leong says:

    Susanna~~ I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts, and been encouraged by your inspirational and thoughtful writing. Josie’s bright smile always makes my day!

    May Jesus continue to guide and protect your precious family in the years ahead.

  39. Melissa W says:

    You will be missed, I loved reading about all the family adventures. In this scary world, it is wonderful to read about such a great family. I hope you consider a Facebook page, would love to keep up on your family. Take Care and hug all those kiddos!

  40. Susan B. says:

    Oh, dear Susanna, you have opened so many eyes, and hearts, and doors! Thank you so many times over for that.

    I will miss the blog, but completely understand that you are being called to a different path, and that you are answering that call. Thank you for sharing so much of your family’s life with us over the years, both the triumphs and the tears. That’s been a special blessing for so many, many people.

    love to you all…

    Susan in Kentucky
    Cousin to 2 from U.

  41. Maria says:

    I will miss your blog so much. Wishing you all the best for you & your beautiful family. Xxxx

  42. mamaporuski says:

    Susanna,
    Thank you for writing faithfully for 6 years. I miss the era of blog writing but agree it is not what it used to be. It has been a joy to follow your journey and I know it is still a story worth telling in whatever way God opens for you in the future. Prayers as you adjust your family again, and congratulations!

  43. Gina says:

    Much ,much peace Susanna….thank you for sharing your life with us…You have taught me many lessons….XO

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