It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Today, I am excited to welcome you to Sue! I found her via Compel Training and read her story, and I knew I needed to pursue her for this series! Hearing her story shines God’s faithfulness and love.  Sue has become bolder and more faithful through her experiences! I’m so glad she is sharing!

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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year? Problems, sadness, loss, grief, sickness, everything that makes this time of the year hard. What if our Christmas isn't full of joy? Tips and passages to help you traverse the hard of this Season. #HeartBreakHoliday #pain #cancer #death #grieving

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?


By: Susanne Suranyi

17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
    and call on the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:17, NLT).

Some of you might say to yourselves, I’m not sure I can give thanks.  It’s too much of a sacrifice and an offering!

Why is Your Heart Breaking?

You might be sitting at the bedside of a dying loved one, or perhaps looking at one side of your master bedroom closet that now sits empty. Maybe your holiday table has an empty chair or there are no noises of children filling your home as they spend their time with the one who left you. Perhaps the room destined to become a nursery is still empty. Or the one that had been occupied is now silent. Maybe you just left the hospital, doctor’s office or cemetery stunned that your world could be turned upside down in an instant. Everything you had built your hopes and dreams on is now shifting sand.

You are grasping at anything to make sense of it all and maintain some semblance of control.  Perhaps the holidays highlight the fact that you are estranged or far away from family. Or the thought of spending time with them evokes panic.

I won’t presume to understand all of these scenarios, but I have experienced enough to understand that this time of year has often not been the most wonderful time of year.

My Story of Loss: Cancer, Dementia, Death and Divorce

I am 47 years old and in the span of 13 years, I have lost my mother to cancer, my father to dementia, and my 42-year old sister to respiratory failure last December 23rd. Eight years ago my husband drove off with his belongings and my dreams of an intact family. I lost my control, my financial stability, my social network, my future, and my pride. After 12 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I was forced to work full-time again.

Then God gently reminded me that He was sovereign. He was not shocked or wringing His hands wondering how I was going to make it. He saw all this before the beginning of time. I had a choice to make – I could either trust Him or become bitter about the losses and rejection He had permitted in my life.

14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm (Exodus 14:14, NLT).

 It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year? Problems, sadness, loss, grief, sickness, everything that makes this time of the year hard. What if our Christmas isn't full of joy? Tips and passages to help you traverse the hard of this Season. #HeartBreakHoliday #pain #cancer #death #grieving

Clinging to Jesus

He did fight for and protect me in ways I couldn’t imagine and He answered my prayers but not in ways that I expected. In spite of my best efforts, I still became a single mom.

The fall used to be my favorite time of year but all my major losses have occurred between September-December.

If I am not careful, I can allow the enemy to steal the joys of today as I focus on the losses of yesterday or the fears of potential losses tomorrow.  I have sat through dark and painful “celebrations” where the best I could do was just take the next breath and put one foot in front of the other.

105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
    and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105, NLT).

God promises to guide us one step at a time. We cannot see around the corner and we dread the Mount Everest that looms before us but remember that He has called you to just do the next thing, to be faithful in the little things.

A Fresh Perspective: Your Pain is the Reason Jesus Came

As you look around and imagine all those other seemingly careless and happy families enjoying their “Norman Rockwell” holiday experiences, remember that Christ did not come to save us from our beautiful picture-perfect life.


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year? Problems, sadness, loss, grief, sickness, everything that makes this time of the year hard. What if our Christmas isn't full of joy? Tips and passages to help you traverse the hard of this Season. #HeartBreakHoliday

He came precisely for what we are experiencing – to rescue us from the brokenness, grief, loss and rejection that accompany this sin-filled world.

Christmas is more about your story than it is about the earthly happiness that you are coveting. He has conquered death!

He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair (Isaiah 61:1-2, NLT).

Some practical tips for surviving the holidays:

  1. Immerse yourself in God’s Word. His truth will provide a solid rock on which to stand.
  2. Be proactive: plan ahead and surround yourself with some friends or family so you are not alone.
  3. Create some new traditions. Get out of your house if you need to. The old traditions might be too painful.
  4. Limit or eliminate your time on social media. Comparison opens the door to self-pity.
  5. If your spouse just moved out, check out:
  6. If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, check out:


fullsizerender-9I am a married stay-at-home mom of five children ages 4-20. Some of my favorite things are books, chocolate, coffee, friends, journal-writing, quiet times, rain, hikes, dates with my Love, hugs, texts and calls from my children. I’m not who I could be, I’m not who I should be, but I’m not who I




To read other posts in the Heartbreak Holiday series:
Dysfunctional Disaster Holiday 

It’s the Wonderful Time of the Year

 A Barren Womb at Christmas

Finding Joy in the NICU at Christmas

How to Choose Joy When Deployment Separates Us

Joy In A Hot Christmas Mess

I Feel So Sad And Lonely This Holiday Season

The Empty Seat

44 thoughts on “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

  1. Thank you, Susanne, for allowing yourself to be guided by that lamp for your feet even in a most painful and heartbreaking season. Blessings to you, and thank you, Julie, for introducing this new friend!

    1. Susanne, thank you so much for sharing your heart and reminding us: God is a lamp for my feet and a light to my often difficult path. The only way to move past our fear is to draw close to Jesus and ask Him to guide our every step. I liked how you said: Don’t let Satan steal the joys of today or focus on losses of yesterday or fears of future loses. I am going to focus on not losing my joy to fear of stepping out and writing. So glad you replied on my post yesterday and wrote this very encouraging post today. Blessings to you and your family, Anne

      1. Thank-you Anne! You have been through a lot and I know it is frightening to put yourself and your heart out there. God will use your story and your writing to encourage someone else. I am sure He already has :).

    2. Thank-you Michele! The best way is trusting Him one step at a time but we are human, so it’s not always easy. Three steps forward, two steps back…Thankfully God is gracious and every morning He gives us a fresh start. God bless you and your family too.

  2. I hope these practical tips are helpful to your friends, Helene. God used His Word, my friends and these support systems to navigate through the valleys. God bless you and your faithfulness as you walk through the crisis alongside your friends!

  3. Sue- thanks for sharing your story! God uses everything to change us, doesn’t He? We find such hope in your story. When circumstances are bad and our bodies feel we can’t take it anymore, we find Him. Our pain isn’t in vain and when we share, we show Him. Find Him and show Him….thanks for showing Him in a big way!

    1. He sure does! Sometimes we have to get to the end of our rope before we look up. Thank-you for prompting and encouraging me to share, Julie!

  4. Sue, your story is one of pain, sorrow and trauma. Through each dark time you have declared that God was there. His foresight went back to before time. How profound and true. It’s hard to grab that concept in the midst of our troubles but if we can only hold on to that truth we will survive. Thank you for the tips for survival. Your testimony is a blessing to us and your methods of survival will transcend time as we your readers share it in the days to come.

    1. Thank-you so much for your kind words. Yes, holding tight to those truths is the only way to have hope when the rug is pulled out from under us. It is my prayer that someone would find encouragement and be able to navigate through this season and beyond using some of these strategies. God bless you!

  5. You’re welcome Elizabeth :). I remind myself all the time! Aren’t we fortunate we have the hope that comes with knowing Jesus?! God bless you!

  6. Suzanne, I very much appreciate your willingness to write about the trials you’ve experienced in your life, thereby fulfilling Paul’s biblical exhortation to comfort others with the comfort you’ve received. It’s my honor to feature this post, along with a complementary one, at A Divine Encounter on Friday. I’m so glad you shared this with us at Grace & Truth!

  7. Sue, I am so sorry for your losses – so many all at once. I love your practical tips. Perhaps I could suggest two more that have kept me going through my losses and difficult times – keep God to his promises, and pray, pray, pray.

    1. Thank-you RJ – Yes! Absolutely. I felt like every exhale was a prayer during the darkest valleys. Faithful friends continued to remind me of God’s promises when I lost all perspective. Isn’t it great that we have a community of believers who can walk alongside us?! Thank-you for your thoughts and God’s blessings!

  8. Thank-you so much Jennifer. I feel humbled and honored! Your site, A Divine Encounter, Is filled with encouraging resources and articles. I look forward to perusing more :).

  9. Hi Sue,
    Thanks for your transparency, honesty, wisdom, courage and perspective. You are amazing. We are grateful for who you are and the story of God’s grace in your life.
    Tom (and Denise)

    1. Thank-you Tom and Denise! You were both instrumental in teaching me God’s Word during my college years and I will forever be grateful. Have a joyful 2017 :).

  10. How hard it must be to face the holidays without a loved one, whether from death, or worse, from divorce, which is a living death. May God bring hope, joy, and healing to all who are suffering during the holidays!

  11. I love the reminder that the Lord will fight for us. We are blessed to have a God that is intimate and involved. This is such an encouragement.

  12. Pingback: 10 Tips to Help Boost Sadness and Loneliness this Season #HeartBreakHoliday
  13. The holidays definitely seem to be painful reminders of what we think could have or should have been. I had a miscarriage 3 years ago and should have been due Dec 30th, so this time of the year brings back those memories. I love what you said about Jesus not coming to save us from our picture-perfect life. Every day I see Him redeeming part of my story, and, when things get really hard, I look to the future, when all things will be made new. He has conquered sin and death!

  14. I love that you say “your pain is the reason Jesus came.” When I pray, I often pray, “God don’t let Christ suffering be in vain because of me. Help me to give my burdens to you.”

  15. What a wonderful reminder Susanne! “HE CAME PRECISELY FOR WHAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING – TO RESCUE US FROM THE BROKENNESS, GRIEF, LOSS AND REJECTION THAT ACCOMPANY THIS SIN-FILLED WORLD.” That line gives so much hope and comfort. Thank you for the post!

  16. “If I am not careful, I can allow the enemy to steal the joys of today as I focus on the losses of yesterday or the fears of potential losses tomorrow.” >>> This is so true in myself. Satan likes to whisper and generate fear in our hearts. Joy steals are not only applied to loss of life, but a many number of things! We have overcome by the blood of the Lamb!

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