Pretty Flowers for My Little Girl

Several times Nathan spoke those words as he looked at the flowers friends had given for Susannah Joy.  I can’t describe the emotions raised in my heart each time I heard him say that poignant phrase.

Thursday evening’s visitation was very difficult for everyone. Nathan and Melanie had gone to much effort in the attempt to introduce those coming to Susannah Joy. It was beautiful and heart-wrenching.

There were two tables set up with special things from Susannah’s crib, photos, a poem about Susannah, and Scripture. In a separate room was a projector showing many of the photos from the hospital. Nathan and Melanie were in the chapel with Susannah and spoke with people as they passed through.

For two hours there was a steady stream of friends, neighbors, and Nathan’s clients. The outpouring of love and encouragement was overwhelming. The surprise of the evening was when five residents, who are part of our Families for Jesus assembly, came to offer their love. Four were in wheel chairs and one used a walker. They had a beautiful Bible in a decorative cedar box that they gave to Nathan and Melanie. Their coming and gift, were a special treasure. We were all quite drained as we drove home.

Nathan asked that the graveside service be limited to family. Even then, there were twenty five of us. There was a small tent set up which was needed because it was cloudy with periods of rain.
Nathan shared a number of things from his heart when he opened and closed the burial “service.” We sang “Trust and Obey” and “Trusting Jesus” together because those songs had been sung to Susannah in the hospital and helped sustain Nathan and Melanie during those hours. Joseph, Anna, Jesse, and John sang and played a song called Susannah’s Lullaby written and composed especially for her. Nathan asked several of Melanie and his brothers to read Scripture verses that had been very meaningful to Nathan and Melanie while Susannah was in the hospital. Melanie’s father and I briefly shared some thoughts that the Lord had placed on our hearts. Grandad closed our service in prayer. It was a beautiful time in the Lord Jesus.

In the midst of our grief, we will often speak truth to each other, “God is good.” The rain that fell, at times by the bucket-full, seemed to represent our tears and the unseen mercy and grace being poured out on all of us.

Your comments and prayers have been such a blessing and encouragement to us and Nathan and Melanie. Thank you.

In Christ Jesus,


17 thoughts on “Pretty Flowers for My Little Girl”

  1. Oh, how I have wept as I read the last few entires of your blog. My husband and I also have a little girl in Heaven. She died in 1990 but she is still very much part of me. Reading this brought back a rush of bittersweet memories. Nathan and Melanie, you are in my prayers and will continue to be in them in the days and weeks and months to come.

  2. Thank you Brother for sharing your heart with us during this very private time. It has surely been a real life example of the truth that “God IS our refuge, a very present help in time of trouble.”


  3. Your entire family is in our prayers.

    Numbers 6:24-26 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

  4. This morning I sang a song which has the lines “Jesus, you are the defender of the weak.” Immediately, I pictured Jesus holding Susannah Joy in His arms, protecting her and cherishing her. I was overcome and wept…I so much hurt for you but I know right now Jesus is your Defender as well. It pains us to see those we care about walking through a valley. Please know ALL of you are in my prayers. Thank you for letting those you have never met share your grief. I don’t understand the WHY of this situation but I take comfort that I know the One Who does.

  5. I’m only 11 years old, but I am praying very heavily for you and your family.

    My best friend’s mother miscarriaged a baby a few years ago, and that still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

    Since I am only a bystander, and am feeling such pain for you, I can hardly imagine what pain you must be feeling.

  6. I continue to pray for you all. This baby was first for all of you.. Nathan and Melanie’s first child, Steve and Teri’s first Grandchild and the first niece for all of the Maxwell children. I know this is a hard loss for all you of you and will continue to lift you up to our Father.

  7. We are continuing in prayer for your family. Thank you SO much for sharing with us. I had never heard that hymn Trusting Jesus before. I found it in our hymnal and have been singing it a lot. Now when I sing it, I will think of Melanie singing it to her sweet baby girl.

    Much love in Christ,
    Tina and family

  8. Dear Nathan and Melanie, Steve and Teri and Maxwell family,
    We are grieving alongside you and rejoicing in the certainty of eternity, God is good. We are praying. Why is it when your heart is so full of the things you want to say no words will come? Sending all our love and prayers for the coming days.
    Love Steve and Wendy (Britmom)

  9. We think about you guys so much. Thanks for baring your lives and being such a light for Jesus.

    We will continue to pray for you.

  10. Nathan, We are still praying for you and Melanie, and for your entire families, as I know this has got to be the hardest thing on earth. Your sweet Susannah Joy is playing at the feet of Jesus now, which is something to most certainly be rejoicing about, but that doesn’t hurt your poor Mommy’s and Daddy’s heart back here on earth.
    We love you all, and will continue keeping you all in our prayers.

  11. You are all still in our prayers. I hope that everyone in the family will find comfort in the memories of a beautiful memorial service for sweet Susannah Joy. There are many of us who have posted thoughts here sharing that we’ve traveled a similar road and sincerely empathise with your grief. It is comforting to us to think that God can somehow use our experiences to help us come along side of others who are going through this and, if only through prayer support, help shoulder the burden your family must carry. We are sincerely praying for all of everyone who was touched by Susannah Joy.

    You (Steve and Teri) must be suffering a double grief. You love Nathan as dearly as he loves little Susannah and it must be terrible for you to see him and Melanie suffer such a devastating loss, while at the same time grieving the loss of your precious grand baby. You are in our prayers.

    We pray also, specifically, for Melanie’s physical health and emotional peace. I well remember the feeling that my body, mind and spirit had all gone to war with each other and I was a casualty caught in the middle. There is a great conflict between the body, heart and soul when a Mama’s arms are left empty and her heart broken but her spirit trusting in God. I pray Adonai will comfort and sustain her and bind up her wounds.

    God be with all of you. With love and prayers,
    Lori R. (Pensacola)

  12. Dear Maxwell Family,

    We are so sorry to hear of the loss of precious Susannah. She was beautiful and will continue to be a beautiful and precious memory to all of you.

    I pray that once the notes of encouragement and the shock of grief wears off that you all will continue to cling to Job 1:20-22. I pray that any hints of anger or bitterness will be squelched, and if any unbelief starts to creep in that you will continue to say that the Lord is good and that it is good to be afflicted. Unbeknownst to us, each and every trial that the Lord sends our way is preparing us for the next thing whatever that may be. Therefore, this trial, as heavy as it is, will be a stepping stone in your growth spiritually. This is something that is very hard to realize or even see until after the fact. And something I am just starting to understand better.

    In the last two years and three months, we have lost a baby at 18 weeks of pregnancy, 11 weeks and my father and my grandmother. So I speak from experience. Every time the grief was different and so was my response. But just recently I decided that I did not want to be angry or bitter against God as I have chosen to be in the past. Then just a month ago I was talking with another mom and we were discussing grief and I said,”If only we could come to the point like Job and be able to say, The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Then He will have refined us all the more into His image.” Or something like that, but this is what I wanted to be able to do. Little did I realize that I would lose my dear grandmother the next month, in March. The Sunday after her death, our teaching elder talked about how each trial prepares us for the next thing. And from that hindsight vision that is absent in a trial, I could see how the Lord was preparing me for the big loss of my grandmother through the loss of our babies in utero and my father’s death. But I desire to bless the Lord’s name and be free from the anger and bitterness that can so easily creep in and now can be thankful for all the Lord taught me and brought me through in the other losses. Maybe this will not be helpful right now, but I hope it will be at some point in your grieving process. We all experience grief differently, but if what I have experienced and learned may be of help to you then I desire to pass it along.

    Keep short accounts with the Lord and each other. Keep talking and communicating what you are feeling. May the Lord ever be your comfort and help. This time, with the loss of my grandmother, I found Isaiah 53 comforting – knowing that the Lord knows all about grief and sorrow and understands what we are feeling. (Psalm 147:5) May the Lord bless and strengthen you as you experience all that grief brings with it…… the loss of Susannah, the loss of hopes and dreams, empty arms, nursery and heart and all the unexpectant bouts of tears and memories that can so often catch us by surprise….. Through it all may you allow the grieving process to only bring you closer to Him and each other. You are blessed to be surrounded by family.

    May Jesus be your source of hope,
    wife, homeschooling mother to six here and three with the Lord

  13. I have never seen anything that was terrible and beautiful at the same time. What a testimony you all are to our Lord! “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. You are living this! It’s incredible and it gives me hope beyond measure.

    I continue to pray that the Lord will bring you rest and peace and grace. Thank you so much for sharing so much – you will never know how you ministered and encouraged me.

    Enid in Kansas City, MO

  14. We have prayed for your family as you have faced this situation. The Lord so clearly surrounded you and we were honored to a part of the “brethern” holding you up before the throne.

    With what our family has endured this past year and a half we too can say we would not change one moment as God has ordained it. We gain such a closer walk with Him and He only grows more precious in our times of pain and brokeness.

    Holding you up when your earthly strength becomes too weak, standing beside you when you are strong. God is good all the time, circumstances cannot change His character!!!

    Bless you!!!
    Curtis &Melissa S.
    Elizabeth, Marilyn, Abigail, Emily, Anna, Molly, and Isaac

  15. Nathan and Melanie,

    God IS good. You know that better now than you ever have ! For surely He has been closer than ever to you both-with your porecious daughter ! I have been greatly affected by my sisters ‘ daughters death when I was 17. She was with us only a bit over a day. One so fresh from God…. We want to wonder. But the best we can do is to have faith and trust.

    I have since had the blessing of adopting our first 2 grandchildren, and have just recently had my ‘first grand-child ‘. Our daught had a wonderful baby girl ! While looking at the pictures of Susannah Joy, my heart cried in joy and pain at the same time. And, yes, the memory of losing my first precious one.

    Grandparents are a wonderful comfort: in their own loss, they are still strong for you. They are hurting doubly-for your loss, and for their own loss. God strengthens us all !

    God gives us joy in our journey. He will sustain us. Your slide show was wonderful. Priceless for those in that mind frame. Heavenly. The proof of Gods’ love, hope, and faith was evident throughout!

    God has blessed you, and He will reward your faithfulness to Him ! We will be praying for you !

    Tami 😎

  16. Nathan and Melanie,

    My heart was torn between the beauty of little Susannah and the sadness of her homegoing to Jesus. Your video is just so sweet and the memories will be precious to have. My heart is crying out for you and all of your families. May the Lord wrap His arms around each of you and give you the continued grace and strength you will need each day to go on. What a testimony you are for your strength that the Lord has given you already. We are praying here for you in the coming weeks and months ahead.

    I have never lost a child so I am not sure what to say, not that there is anything to say, other than, I am praying.

    Love in Christ,

  17. I’ve never been on this blog before,but I just read about the loss of your precious daughter. My husband and I lost our first child,Matthew Jr. He died while I was in labor due to umbilical cord constriction. I miss my little son everyday, but I am so thankful for the faithfulness of our Lord. He truly does bind up the brokenhearted. Even now, almost 5 years later, the ache of missing my son can be overwhelming. However, I know I can run straight to the arms of my heavenly father and find peace and comfort. I just pray that you will know that perfect peace that can only come from our father. Love in Christ,Maryfaith

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