Three years later

July 31st, 2017


If you ask Me, “Why?” I will not answer that question. Ask Me who I am, and I will always answer that question.




When Tommy was still alive, and we were enduring such unremitting pressure that I didn’t know whether we could survive it, I cried out to God, “Please show me who You are!”




My plea was met with more silence from God, more hardship, and then…the utter devastation that Tommy’s death wrought in every level of my being.




Who knows.

Maybe it was in Tommy’s brief, intense life and traumatic death in our family…

Maybe in the terrifying smashing of my former presuppositions of who God truly is, who I am to Him, and how I relate to Him…





Maybe in the long and disorienting aftermath, when all but a tiny, quavering glimmer of faith was snuffed out…

Maybe in my resultant stubborn refusal to accept any part of faith or belief that I didn’t know was absolutely real…





Maybe in the long, dry waiting time, waiting on Him to decide if and when I would ever again feel close to Him, loved by Him, joy in Him…




Maybe in the rebuilding of His connection with the me who is now a broken failure, malfunctioning, empty, no trace of my former strengths left to hold in my hand as a gift back to Him…




Who knows.

Maybe through this journey, “God is changing the terrain of my soul in a way He couldn’t have” if I were untouched by profound spiritual and emotional trauma.

Maybe if He hadn’t first destroyed my idea of who He is, I would have remained unable to know God as He really is.





Who knows?

Maybe in Tommy’s death, and all the aftermath, was the beginning of God’s answer to my plea, “Show me who You are.”




P.S. This week, a friend who has known me since I was about six years old sent me a card.  To it she attached a note I had sent her twelve years ago.  I don’t even remember whether I was quoting someone else or if these were my original thoughts. 

“To an atheist, the ultimate evil is pain.  A Christian who lives as if this were true is a practical atheist.  This falsehood must be rejected and replaced with the truth.  Pain is one of a myriad of tools our good and loving Creator uses to accomplish a myriad of His purposes.  If I reject pain, I reject the Father’s hand in my life.”





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11 Responses to “Three years later”

  1. Jeannie says:

    Amen. One of my mentors challenged me last year when I was talking to her about my anxiety over my children. “Would you rather them have a life free of struggle and pain or know and trust and rely on God?” Not that it’s necessarily a dichotomy, but she wanted me to think about where my priorities lie. It’s easier (not easy, easiER) to accept my own suffering as a good gift than to watch my children hurt. Still working through that one….

  2. Diana Thomas says:

    Susanna, this is very touching and it resonates with me and what I have been through as a mother. maybe we can talk sometime. but at any rate.. I will pray. Diana

  3. Linda says:

    I loved seeing his green tractor included in the planting, a precious reminder of a precious boy.

  4. Ann says:

    Thank you for this. I’m 4 chapters into the book of Matthew having read nothing in my bible for two years. It’s a start.
    Thinking of you and your family as you remember Tommy.

  5. Kat says:

    Thinking and praying for you. You remain in my heart. Tommy’s life changed many of us and is far reaching. I know it’s just an inkling of His walk with you, but his life changed so many. So much love and many hugs from here….

  6. Kris says:

    So good, so true. So glad you’re continuing to share bits of your journey with God.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Oh Susanna. I am so sorry. I have walked a similar valley. Different circumstances – similar doubts and pain. It’s so hard. I haven’t known your pain – but the doubts, the shaking of everything you held dear until you find yourself struggling with the very basics . . . I’m sorry. I know that God will use it for good. But I know that that is a far harder and more painful proposition than it sounds like when it comes glibly from some innocent’s lips.
    I’m praying for you. I prayed for you then, and now that I know that it was so hard – and that you’re still on the way painfully back up – I’ll keep praying. God will hold you. He’s still the Rock.

  8. Carmen says:

    Regardless whose it is — thanks for that last quote. It gave me another piece to the puzzle I have been thinking through lately: how to refute the argument that justifies euthanasia as an end to pain. If pain is the ultimate evil, then ending it would be the ultimate good. However, pain as a tool of God gives us no excuse to break God’s commandment: Thou shalt not kill.

  9. Stefani says:

    Susanna, this is the very path I have been on since Jeff died. You don’t lose half of your heart and soul and not collapse at His feet asking for Him to be real in your life and help….. in the breaking down of what we built comes the building of His design. In destroying our illusion of who He is, He is able to paint the picture on our hearts of His true beauty and it never looks like what we dreamed… it’s beyond that. I am grateful through my pain that never leaves me. He was my HeartSong…..

  10. Cassandra says:

    Other than to say I am so profoundly sorry for your loss, I don’t know what else to say to the parents here who are living life minus somebody you would die for. Except it doesn’t work that way.

    Susanna, I went to the link where the young girl died in an avalanche. Powerful documentary. The young adult is right, maybe we’ve been asking the wrong question. It is easier to ask why rather than Who.

    Today I honor Tommy and remember the family that loved him.

  11. Danielle M. says:

    Susanna, remembering Tommy with you. I am so sorry you have had to walk this hard road. “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. He plants his footstep in the sea, and rides upon the storm.”
    He is always faithful and good. A very good truth, and one I only learned through much suffering.
    Again, I am so sorry. May the God of all comfort continue to be merciful to you all.

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