Susan Wise - Pursuit of the Suburban DreamAt a point when I had everything I thought I wanted, I found my life was empty. An invitation to study God’s Word opened the door to a lifetime of meaning and satisfaction through a relationship with God.
The Perfect LifeAt 26 years of age, I had the perfect life. According to the world’s recipe for happiness, I had it all – a wonderful husband with a good job, two precious children, and a comfortable home in the suburbs.
But in spite of all this, my life lacked direction and fulfillment. On a mission to find that missing personal satisfaction, I enrolled in graduate school, but my educational pursuits still left my life without joy and meaning. I considered a career, but my “Supermom” aspirations prevented me from working outside my home.
Whatever they have, I want itMeanwhile, my next-door neighbor persistently invited me to a weekly women’s Bible study. As a young adult, I had avoided the discomfort and intimidation I felt from the topics of church and the Bible. I had grown up in southern California with an alcoholic father and a family which never discussed spiritual things nor attended church. Eventually my excuses to avoid attending the study waned, and I relented.
I found myself mesmerized by the women I heard speak that first Tuesday morning. The class was studying the book of Philippians from the Bible, and the women described real joy that was independent from their circumstances; joy that came from lives fulfilled by a relationship with God through Jesus Christ; Immediately recognizing that these women had what I lacked, I could hardly wait to purchase a copy of the Living Bible, and I began devouring it. I was hungry to hear from God through His Word. I eagerly anticipated the next week’s study.
As I read from the Bible over the coming weeks, I saw that the ideas of unconditional love and forgiveness – which were so attractive to me from my studies in education and psychology – were originated by Jesus. In the Bible I saw that God in love offered forgiveness from sin through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Praying to God for the first time, I placed my trust in Jesus’ payment for my sin on the cross where He died and committed to follow Him with my life.
Meaning in LifeI now began to see the joy and satisfaction I had been missing all these years. I found a new purpose in seeking God’s answers for how to be a better wife, mother, and friend. I loved studying God’s Word and found my life filled up with joy I had never before experienced.
My new relationship with God influenced changes throughout my family. My husband Paul was a believer in Jesus, but at that time he was not walking closely with Jesus. We had never communicated about spiritual things. As I would excitedly share something new I had learned from the Bible, spiritual interest was re-awakened in Paul. Not long after, Paul also began listening to God and made changes to once again follow God in a personal way. We both realized our need to become involved in a Bible-teaching, Jesus-following church. Having God work simultaneously in both of our lives was exciting and rejuvenating to our marriage and home life.
Through the mountaintops and valleys of family life over many years, we still maintain a strong relationship with Jesus and experience the pervasive joy and satisfaction that comes from a life following Him. In the middle years of my life, Susan finds that she once again has that initial hunger for God’s Word I experienced as a young mom. I begin and end each day talking to Jesus and listening to His Word as I am driven by the satisfaction I know I can find only in my relationship with Him.