October 19, 2013
October 19, 2013

When I first moved back to Oregon in 2004 I started working with a girl who had been in a car accident while traveling with her mom and brother to school. She, 11 years old at the time, had suffered a traumatic brain injury and her older brother, 13, was killed. Upon hearing her story and learning more about what had happened I remember being overcome with emotion, not only her and her brother but for her parents. This accident changed their lives forever.

I remember watching her mother work with her and move through this world with such grace. I was in awe of this amazing woman I knew had tremendous faith. Such a role model, so positive in light of her situation and so uplifting. I did not understand how it was possible.

I had faith but I still could not imagine how someone, after losing one child and having another one seriously injured, could demonstrate such a positive attitude and interact with those around them in such a graceful way. Why was she not mad and angry? How was she able to get out of bed in the morning?

Not having any children at the time I could only imagine what she was going through and I remember thinking that I hoped I never had to experience such a loss as hers.

If you would have told me on October 19th that my daughters were going to go to Heaven the next day I would have thought my world was ending. I would have told you that you might as well take me to Heaven too because life as I knew it would be over. I would have been convinced that if I didn’t go with them I would probably be curled up in my room until I withered and died. There was no way I wanted to live if my girls weren’t here.

I’m not sure exactly when it started, it could have been brewing as I stood in the alley the night of the 20th, in total shock that my girls were gone, or it could have started 10 years prior, when I first met my friend who I was going to have more in common with than either of us knew.

I didn’t feel God working on my heart, I just felt sorrow and a pain that was like nothing I had ever felt. I’m sure at some point he, all-knowing, realized the pain I was experiencing was far greater than any mother should endure. I had to lean on him and trust him with every ounce of my being or my heart would wither and die. Leaning and totally trusting him has brought me peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding.

He was not only working on my heart but the hearts of so many around me. He has orchestrated the most amazing support network around us and has prompted people to care for us and those around us. His love has been far reaching.

Some may say that we have made the choice to forgive, to pray and to live our life with an open heart to those who drove through the leaves that night. I guess at some point it is a choice but I can honestly say that I can’t imagine the alternative – so really there is no choice for me. I figure I have, maybe, 40 more years left on this earth and if I choose anger and bitterness and walk away from God and his grace I would be choosing a very empty life without my girls. I know being angry wouldn’t honor them, being bitter would only destroy my perfect memories and turning my back on God would essentially be just like turning my back on Anna and Abigail. I will not do that.

I think a lot about my friend and the grace she has displayed in the past 10 years since her loss. I think about her life now and how she lives so full of God’s love, I now see and feel it.

I know that God placed her and her family in my life for a reason.

He is so amazing!

9 thoughts on “Leaning

  1. Roger really likes seeing you every morning walking your friend’s dog. I’m so glad you’ll have a puppy of your own soon. Wrap yourself in your prayer shawl & I hope you feel God wrapped around you. You are in our prayers at home & in church.


  2. The “path you never imagined you would be on” and the way you are leading your life, has shown so many what an incredibly beautiful person you are. Your belief in God, to me, is like one of those huge spolights in the sky, this is what faith can do. Your girls are so very lucky to have you as a Mom, and they can only be smiling down from Heaven. Karen M.


  3. Susan, I see in you exactly what you mentioned in your post today. You said, “I remember her mother work with her & move through this world with such grace. I was in awe of this amazing woman I knew had tremendous faith.” In your January 2 post you included a picture of you & your two little nieces. In the background there was a poster for shaving lotion with the quip,”shaving grace.” And when I saw that I immediately read it as Susan, (S)having grace. I see you as a woman of amazing grace with tremendous faith! God bless you!


  4. This was a beautiful post Susan. You and Tom and God are an excellent team. Together you have brought out so much goodness in our community and the world. I feel inspired. I look forward to seeing the wonderful things you will do in the decades ahead, even if this is such a very different path than you imagined.


  5. Susan , the same way you look and see your friend and saw her move with Grace and her strong faith and love for the Lord. You and Tom have shown a whole community and beyond the same and also about forgiveness. I thank you for sharing and making me a better person to live a life serving God to the fullest now! Not waiting for when I have more time. Thank you!


  6. I feel the same way about you and Tom as you do about your friend. I am in awe of your grace and faith. I’m sure that Abby and Anna are very proud of you. Love, hugs and prayers…….always!


  7. Your words bring me to tears every time I read them. God is good. Your faith in Him and courage to walk it out daily inspires me to do the same. You have encouraged me to let God have full access to my heart, including the parts that are icky, hurt … even hard. You encourage me to trust Him more….. to allow His love to heal, restore and lead me in new ways. Thank you for Sharing this journey Susan. I am honored to be your friend. I love you.


    1. You are an amazing woman, Susan!
      I met a woman in Ohio( I’m sure God put her in my path) and she told me something that has given me strength in very difficult times. She said that a pastor once said that “God doesn’t give you a ticket till you get on the train”. That super human strength and grace is God gift to those you trust and believe in Him. God bless you Susan and Tom!


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