Susannah’s Life in Pictures

A few days ago, I was unloading flowers from my car after Susannah’s graveside service. On my last trip to the car, I noticed a long, slender, closed lily flower had broken from the stem and was lying on the floor of my car. I picked it up, not sure what to do with it. As I looked at it, a thought crept into my mind that said, “Hmmm, a flower just like Susannah–beautiful, but will never bloom.” I know God had a purpose for Susannah Joy’s life, but little doubts can creep in sometimes. I left the flower in the yard for lack of a better idea.

Saturday, as I was walking through my yard, my gaze was caught by a fully open, beautiful and delicate, lily flower lying in the grass. It was the same one I had discarded only a day before. It had “bloomed.” It was like God showed me again that little Susannah had bloomed. She was here for the perfect amount of time for His purposes.

I wanted to share her slide-show with you. These pictures were scrolling on a screen at the funeral home after people exited the chapel.  A little unconventional probably, but we wanted visitors to see her life. Joseph helped prepare it for posting to the blog. You’ll need a Shockwave plug-in to view it. (http://www.adobe.com and look for the “Get AdobeFlashPlayer” icon.)

  • When you start it, you’ll see controls in the upper right that will allow you to manually advance each picture, or set it to auto-advance. The music you’re hearing is Susannah’s Lullaby written and composed for her by Joseph. It’s played and sung by a number of the Maxwells.
  • In the pictures, you will see Susannah, myself and Melanie, my parents (my mom holding Susannah and my dad participating in a little prayer service), Melanie’s parents, and Susannah’s tallest uncle. In the prayer service “Elder,” a gentleman in the Maxwell’s Families for Jesus Fellowship, came to the hospital to pray for her.
  • You will also notice a number of Bradford Pear tree pictures. When we left the hospital without our little Susannah, we noticed that spring had arrived and that the Bradford Pears were in bloom. The Lord provided this little blessing for us as our hearts mourned the loss of Susannah. We will never see another blooming Bradford Pear without remembering our Susannah Joy.

Susannah Joy’s Life in Pictures:

Susannah Joy's Slideshow and Lullaby
Susannah Joy's Slideshow and Lullaby

Nathan

139 thoughts on “Susannah’s Life in Pictures”

  1. Oh, she is soooo beautiful and sweet…her little button nose, tiny little lips, soft brown hair…all handcrafted by our loving Creator who knew each of her little features before the foundation of the earth. The slide show and lullaby were so precious…I am going to be crying all day now. Sweet little Susannah….love and missed by so many. We pray for you all day and night…May the Lord Jesus who loves us and Susannah more than anyone continue to give peace, comfort and joy to your hearts. We all love you.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing these photos…and all about her little life. Very touching…it’s hard not to cry. You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers. She’s just beautiful.

    Elizabeth

  3. That was so beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart to see the love that surrounded her and still does. She was very sweet. I hope Melanie is recoery well and that your family is blessed with peace that surpasses all understanding.

    Take care,
    Laura

  4. Wow! What an awesome tribute to your daughter. As you stated in your blog entry, this may be a little unconventional to some, but you know what I saw? I saw you glorifying God even though you only got to keep Susannah for a little while. You are glorifying Him by sharing her with all of us. I know what I am trying to say but having a hard time saying it. God is Good! And you all are showing that you truly believe that even in the midst of your mourning by not hiding Susannah or your grief. You are a blessing and a wonderful example to us all.

  5. It is difficult to know what to say. I had left comments earlier. But the last few blogs I have been unable to. Your pain and grief are very real and as fellow mambers of God’s family, we all feel the pain to some measure.
    I have debated whetther to share this. My own niece is going to Edmonton today . She was born with degenertive heart disease, as well her lungs are quit weak. Most every winter she will go into the hospital with Pneumonia. This winter , she entered the hospital with it again. The doctors were quite concerned as her lungs were quite weak. She has been on oxygen 24hrs a day for the past two months, which has helped her alot. She has also been under a certain amount of isolation. She cannot have anyone around her who is sick. She will be having some tests done and will be having a catherization (a blowing up of the arteries) on Wednesday. This is a simple surgery and she has had it in the past. We will find out though if it will be enough help for her. Her parents have been told by the doctors that if this doesn’t work for her that she may need a heart and lung transplant. The risks of this surgery are very high and the survival rate is very low. Her parents have already decided that this will not be an option. Hannah is only 5 years old (soon to be six) and small for her age. They would want her to live out the rest of her life with as little discomfort as possible. We have been praying for a miracle for Hannah, just as you and many others had for your Susannah. We do not know God’s will nor can we know His thoughts. But we know His will is perfect.
    I don’t know if this I have shared will help you at all. Please know that you have still remained in our prayers and we will continue to pray.

    Kara for the family ( in Saskatoon, Canada)

  6. Dear Melanie & Nathan
    Such a beautiful pictures…thanks for sharing. I know how hard it is to post it online…bringing back lots of memories. Looking at these pictures …my heart ache for you both. I couldn’t type for a moment…took my breath away. GOD bless you all!!!

  7. Beautiful…..Thanks for sharing those precious pictures, Nathan.
    We will continue to lift your family to Heaven in prayer.

  8. Thank you for being so willing to share your precious girl with all of us. We continue to lift you in prayer as we know all too well that the days ahead are not always easy-even with the assurance of seeing Susannah again someday-it’s hard to be the ones left behind to continue on. Jeremiah 29:11 is probably over quoted, but it held such promise for us in those days after we lost our Hope Elizabeth-we pray that you too will find comfort in it.

  9. Thank you, Nathan and Melanie, for sharing such precious pictures. You are in our prayers many times a day.
    May the God of all comfort, comfort your hearts.
    Sarah

  10. Thank you for the pictures and update! Susannah Joy has touched SO MANY people-Praise God! You and Melanie both are a continued blessing! Thank you for being God’s instrument- To God be the Glory. We are praying for you and we love you both very much!

    Grow in HIS grace!

  11. Melanie and Nathan –

    May the Lord bless you both abudently for your faithfulness.

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures of your precious Susannah Joy.

    T

  12. Beautiful pictures, beautiful family. Thank you for sharing – I love unconventional if it means something to those who are grieving. You marked and celebrated her life by doing that, and it’s wonderful. I hope Melanie is recovering well, too. May God continue to hold you both closely.

  13. What a rich and priceless testament to the beauty of God’s inexhaustible and abounding goodness, love and faithfulness in your lives. You have caused me to weigh the providence of God versus the extent of the difficulties in my own life. I have been moved to tears and provoked to realign my view of God after reading your blog entries and seeing the poignant and tender peek into your precious Susannah Joy brief season here on this earth.
    I will continue to pray for the whole Maxwell family as this is something that touches each member as well as the whole. I ache for and mourn with you and pray God will bring continual and ever flowing comfort to your hearts.

    Christina B.

  14. Your memorial to your precious daughter is beautiful and touching. How blessed you are that she was with you even for a short time. How reassuring to know you will see her again in Heaven.

  15. I really enjoyed you sharing such personal pictures of Susannah. She was a beauty. The way you are dealing with your loss is such a testamony as to what God can do in our lives. I am in awe every time I read one of your posts. What a blessing your family is to others even in the darkest of days. We will continue to remember you in our prayers.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures of your precious, adorable, Susannah. It brought tears to my eyes, knowing from experience what you have gone through. What treasured memories you have!
    The song her Uncle Joseph composed is also very sweet and touching. I would love to one day meet you all.
    Laura (in Michigan)

  17. What a beauty! Thank you so much for sharing. I must wipe the tears from my eyes as I type. I am reminded to hug my two little ones a little tighter. Love and prayers to you.

  18. Dear Nathan and Melanie,
    Thank you for much for sharing the beautiful pictures. The one thing that struck me was the joy of the Lord radiated in both of your faces. I wanted to share this hymn that has given me great comfort. I sing it a lot.

    Whate’er my God ordains is right:
    His holy will abideth;
    I will be still whate’er He doth;
    And follow where He guideth;
    He is my God; though dark my road,
    He holds me that I shall not fall:
    Wherefore to Him I leave it all.

    Whate’er my God ordains is right:
    He never will deceive me;
    He leads me by the proper path:
    I know He will not leave me.
    I take, content, what He hath sent;
    His hand can turn my griefs away,
    And patiently I wait His day.

    Whate’er my God ordains is right:
    His loving thought attends me;
    No poison can be in the cup
    That my Physician sends me.
    My God is true; each morn anew
    I’ll trust His grace unending,
    My life to Him commending.

    Whate’er my God ordains is right:
    He is my Friend and Father;
    He suffers naught to do me harm,
    Though many storms may gather,
    Now I may know both joy and woe,
    Some day I shall see clearly
    That He hath loved me dearly.

    Whate’er my God ordains is right:
    Though now this cup, in drinking,
    May bitter seem to my faint heart,
    I take it, all unshrinking.
    My God is true; each morn anew
    Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
    And pain and sorrow shall depart.

    Whate’er my God ordains is right:
    Here shall my stand be taken;
    Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
    Yet I am not forsaken.
    My Father’s care is round me there;
    He holds me that I shall not fall:
    And so to Him I leave it all.

    (lyrics Samuel Rodigast)

    I love the story of the lily. What a wonderful message from God. We are continuing in prayer for you all.
    Much love in Christ,
    Tina and family

  19. Nathan and Melanie,
    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful baby girl.
    I’m praying for you both that God continue to bring you comfort and healing.
    ((hugs))
    Jen

  20. Dear Maxwell family,
    I had not been on your blog for several day’s and was so saddened to see the news today about your precious Susannah Joy. I know this is a very difficult time for you all and I will be praying for your family.

    Nathan and Melanie, please know that you will both be on my mind and in my prayers often. We too have lost children, four to miscarriage and our first son, (second child), was still-born at full-term. Even though our son died 18 years ago reading about your Susannah Joy brought those painful memories flooding back. God was so faithful to us during those days of grief, pain and questioning. He is the God of all comfort.
    I love Psalm 139. Susannah Joy was knitted together in her mother’s womb and all of her days were numbered by God; she lived the life that God intended for her. I don’t know why God creates some babies just for heaven, but He does.
    During times like this it is so very hard to know what to say, my heart is so heavy and full of compassion and love for you all.
    Robin (ForeverLearning)

  21. I’m so grateful to see pictures of Susannah. Although her life on earth was short, the time she was with you was certainly full of love. She’s beautiful.

  22. We continue to lift your family up in our prayers. The photographs of Susannah Joy are precious and her lullaby is beautiful. She is a beautiful baby girl. May God Bless You all.

  23. Thank you for the privilege of seeing the beautiful pictures of Susannah. My little children gathered around as I watched the slide show, and I could hardly talk for the lump in my throat, as I explained what had happened. They had been praying for Susannah. It was a blessed opportunity to explain to them that we never know what life will hold for us, but whatever we go through, if we have the Lord, He will take us through in the right way, and with comfort. I feel like it was a real milestone in their faith. Susannah’s legacy will live on in my children’s hearts, and I feel sure they will never forget what we discussed today. Thank you for sharing her life, in the midst of your grief. We will continue to pray for both extended families who are also suffering, and especially for Melanie as she recovers.

  24. Beautiful pictures. My heart is aching for you, but there is Joy. You are an inspiration to all of us to focus on the Lord. Bless you. Bindyxxx

  25. Suzannah is beautiful! Your slideshow is not unconventional at all – just proud parents showing off their beautiful daughter. I was in tears, but also heartened by the joy on your faces as you spent time with precious Susannah. Thank you so much for sharing.

  26. Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with us. Your faith in and love of the Lord is so evident. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    …but the greatest of these is love.

  27. It is so kind of you to share these pictures with us. What a testimony your family is… May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and may His peace and comfort fill your hearts. Please know that you are still heavy on our hearts.

    Grace,
    Mae

  28. What a beautiful and loving tribute for your precious little girl. I don’t think I will ever look at Bradford Pear trees without thinking of her either. We continue to lift you in prayer and pray for comfort for your hearts.

  29. Thank you so much, Nathan and Melanie, for sharing your precious daughter Susannah with us! Around here where I live, people will often do slideshows like you did with Susannah and I love to see the photos. It helps to celebrate the life of the person that has passed on. I loved
    seeing these photos of little Susannah. Thank you so very much for sharing her with us. She is absolutely beautiful and precious. I’m so grateful that you had some time with her to be able to have these pictures to cherish down the road. What treasured memories!

    We will continue to pray for you all as you walk through this! May you feel the calming arms of your Father holding you ever so secure in His very faithful, strong arms!

  30. Such a beautiful tribute to your sweet baby girl. Thank you so much for sharing Susannah with so many strangers. God’s work is evident.

    I loved hearing the song written for little Susannah. Could you post the lyrics? I had a hard time deciphering them all, and would love to have the full understanding.

    We continue to pray for your family.

  31. She is so beautiful. Yes, she’s blooming right now with our dear Lord.

    Tender thoughts and prayers,

  32. Dear Maxwell Family,
    You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for honoring Susannah’s precous life with the song, pictures and graveside service. Many families that lose a little one try to push the sadness aside and “move on” without recognizing that a person has passed from this world to the presence of God. Every life deserves to be honored, especially someone so dear. Stay close to Jesus and each other.
    Sincerely, Tim and Kristyn H. and children

  33. What beautiful pictures of your precious blessing, Susannah Joy. I feel so privileged to have been able to also get to know her, through this blog. I have prayed for Susannah Joy, you and Melanie, and both of your families throughout this time. The lullaby by Joseph and the singing by the family is amazing.
    Please know that you, Melanie and both of your families continue to be in our prayers.

  34. To know that the Lord knows our days, even before we were formed in our mother’s womb, is such a comfort. We will continue to pray for your family in this time of loss. I know there is comfort in God’s amazing ability to minister to your family and hold you tight. As you walk through this sad moment, know the Lord is upholding you by His right hand, and will never leave you to fare alone. God bless.

  35. Nathan and Melanie,

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to lose a child.

    God bless you both and your entire family during this time.

    Tamera in North Dakota

  36. What a beautiful, beautiful baby girl… oh how my heart aches with you, and tears are flowing and flowing with you. Yes, she “bloomed”, and Jesus is holding her close, and you will see her again — next time for eternity. I will pray for your hearts in the mean time. And I will pray for the healing of your hearts, and of Melanie’s body that you may be blessed again very soon; as soon as you are ready. May Jesus comfort you in a divine, complete, and perfect way. Our family has been so blessed by your ministry, so we and our children send all our love, Bob & Erika, Karen (8), Melanie (7), Brandon (4), Anna Marie (1), and Riley (3 mo.)

  37. Oh Maxwell Family…, I am sitting here sobbing. My heart is overwhelmed with your Loss and yet I felt such a strong hope and faith through your trust in Jesus. Daniel 10:19a comes to mind…, “Do not be afraid for you are DEEPLY loved by God, be at peace, take heart and be strong!” (NLT) You will remain in my prayers! Mary

  38. What a beautiful tribute and song for a beautiful little girl. No baby has ever been loved more – that I’m sure. I’m sure you know that you will see her again and just maybe she will be watching over you until then. Heaven always needs more sweet angels.

    Prayers, blessings & love being sent your way!

  39. I grieve with you, and will keep you in my prayers. I lost my little girl, Spring Promise, on March 22. She was stillborn. Her funeral was on Tuesday. Maybe the reasons that she was named Spring Promise will be comforting to you as well. I wrote these words in my journal on the day that you lost your precious little one.

    Why Spring? Because Spring reminds me of so many beautiful things that are treasures to me. Thunderstorms with lightening making the darkness light, diamond raindrops flashing in mirror puddles, trees with tinges of green, pink, and red softening their winter starkness, small green shoots pushing their way out of the dirt, crocuses giving bursts of color in a grey mist.

    Why Spring? Because winter is like death to me. The cold that sinks into your bones, the bushes frozen in stiff gestures. Every year I long for the first signs of spring – sudden rainstorms, that peculiar cast of light that is like light seen through translucent paper, new green leaves showing in the lavendar. Spring has always reminded me that there is life after death, that a new morning will come, that after the end – there is a brand new beginning. That winter isn’t a permanent death. It is just life hidden, dormant. The bulbs that lie hidden in the frozen ground are ready to spring into life anew at the first touch of the sun. The skeleton trees that mourn all winter with their dead arms raised to the sky live again. They are clothed in blossoms and green life, and they dance with joy in the brisk spring breezes.

    Why Spring? Because Spring is the physical representation of all of my hopes, and the yearly sign that my God is a God of life. Death is but a short season, and life is for eternity.

    Why Promise? Because God has promised that from everlasting to everlasting, his covenent love is with my children. And because God does not change, I know that my littlest love is his special treasure also. I know that since she is now absent from her body, she in now present with her Lord. Her little eyes that never saw the light that I see, are gazing into the eyes of the Lamb, who is all the light she will ever need. Her eyes feast on that which I only see in signs and shadows.

    Why Promise? Because God does not break his promises. His words are certain and trustworthy. I know in whom I have believed in, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until the day of His returning. And God, in His mercy and kindness to me, has given me a season each year that is a physical sign of the things that I don’t yet see, but that I long for. I can feel the warmth in the air and smell the blossoms that bring hope. I can see new life springing up out of its cold winter sleep, and remember that even in small things, God does not change. He promised that Spring would follow Winter as long as the earth shall last. And I see every year how He keeps his promises. And he has promised that those of his precious sons and daughters, whom he sings over with delight, who are not present with him here on this earth are present with him in heaven.

  40. My husband and I have been a customer of your family’s resources for a while now and received the mom and dad corners today and I just couldn’t believe what ya’ll have been dealing with in the loss of your precious daughter. I have cried buckets here reading the blog and seeing the slideshow and hearing the sweet song for her. I will specifically be praying for you and your wife in this time of healing physically and dealing with the grief. The photos of her are beautiful. May God Bless you and be with you,

    Sincerely,
    Laura

  41. What a beautiful tribute to you love of Christ. I don’t know what people do without Him in times like these. Your faith and trust will give you the strength you need. As a mom, my heart is with Melanie and I can feel the love she needs now so profoundly. Your parents and family made such a wonderful impact on me at our conference here in CT last June. What a blessing to be raised and surrounded by the love of Christ each day of your life. Susannah Joy is with our Savior now and what a beautiful sight that must be. God Bless you all.

  42. Dear Nathan and Melanie,

    I am so very deeply sorry for your loss. When I received my Mom’s and Dad’s Corners just now I saw the news. I have just buried my own infant son (12 weeks ago) who was stillborn at 39 weeks. He was perfect and beautiful but due to an incredibly rare amniotic band that wrapped around his cord, his life was snuffed out just as he was about to be born. (I actually was scheduled for induction the day before he slipped into heaven, but I cancelled it because I had been exposed to the flu.)
    In the 13 weeks that have passed, my husband and I have experienced the amazing grace of God, the incredible loving arms of our church family and friends and also the deepest pits of despair. Always though, has God been faithful to pull us back out.
    I would love to share with you how He has/is continuing to heal the cavernous hole in my heart that our son left and to just listen as you walk this same road. I can also pass on a few resources that have helped me immensely (I’ll do it here so if others need to see them): Lament for a Son by Nicholas Wolterstorff; Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur; A Mother’s Grief Observed by Rebecca Faber; Empty Cradle Full Heart (I don’t have this book in my possession as I lent it to a friend who is grieving her daughter, so I don’t have the author handy…sorry). I have read close to 20 books, but these are my absolute favorites. Nothing flowery, good grief done by hearty Christians. It has been through journaling, Scripture chewing, reading these books a la carte style, prayer, and being ministered to by my husband, family members and my amazing friends that I can say that I am healing.
    My prayer is that you will also not shy away from this journey but embrace it fully. As Isaiah 45:3 says, “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” No, neither your family or mine chose this road of immense suffering over the death of our children, but while we are here, we might as well mine some of these great riches hidden for us in the darkness. I’ve found some truly amazing things here and I’d be delighted to share more with you. Feel free to email me.
    Yours in Joyfilled Pain,
    amy

  43. May the God of Heaven grant you peace in this difficult time and may your sweet daughter rejoice in joining those in Heaven who chant continuously, “Blessed are You, O God of our fathers”!

  44. I am so sorry to learn of your loss. A little over a year ago my family lost our 11 year old niece it was hard. I learned so many things through it though. I think for the first time I found out what trusting the lord really means. I had trusted him for salvation a long time ago. That was a happy time. This was not. We have a loving a giving Father and there will never be a time you will forget your little one. I guess I just wanted to let you know that I will be praying for the comfort that can only com from Jesus at this time. I also want to let you know it is a testament to our Lord and her life to see you lean on and trust is God at this time. All my prayers.
    Jennie

  45. I haven’t been to your blog for a couple of weeks, so I was hit hard to see what you’ve been going through. I am so grateful to God for the gift of faith that He’s given to you. That you are able to continue to worship Him and bring Him glory in the midst of your pain is a great witness for Christ. It is certainly humbling. My heart hurts so much for you and I will continue to pray. I can’t find the words to express my thoughts…I just pray that His matchless grace will continue to abound to you all as you go through the days/weeks/months/years ahead. I trust the Lord will use you to minister to countless others who are enduring what you have…and we pray many will be saved through your testimony. Thank you for sharing Susannah’s life, the beautiful photos, the song, and your words. May the Lord draw you ever nearer to Himself and give you the peace that truly passes understanding. In His grace, Jodie

  46. I too know the pain/joy of having a child who was so recently on this earth now in the arms of Jesus. Jesus has so much available to you right now, so much love He wants to fill you with, being through this kind of experience just makes us all so able to absorb everything from Him. Take this time to just bask in the closeness of His presence. we love you all, Penny & family

  47. We lost our precious Elizabeth Rose 16 minutes after her birth. We found out she had a terminal birth defect called anencephaly when I was 17 weeks pregnant and chose to trust Jesus to take her on His sweet timing and He did give us a whole pregnancy adn 16 minutes after her birth to hold her before He began to hold her. We know the mystery of suffering and Glory at the same time as you do and pray for your hearts to be ministered to. Thank you for sharing her life with so many.
    Aimee

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