I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me. Psalm 120:1

Like the Samaritan woman, Nancy was in need of the living water of Jesus. Like the blind man, she lived in darkness, in need of his light. And, like Martha, she was angry with Jesus because he had not been there when she needed him to save her beloved one.

Nancy was living the perfect life. Her prosperous husband afforded her a life of luxury and she was able to stay home with her three beautiful boys. She was homeroom mom, den mom, school fair chairman. She coached T-ball and other sports. These things she did were to gain favor and to make sure her sons had the best opportunities. She was a corporate wife, hosting dinners and parties to further her husband’s career. She was even nice to people she didn’t care for in order to promote herself and “play the game.” Her kids and her husband were her life. Nancy had it all and she was in control. She had no time for God; she simply didn’t need him.

But then the unthinkable happened; her oldest son Matthew suddenly died at the age of 11. She was not only devastated, Nancy now had nowhere to turn. She had lost control; she felt helpless. She turned to a God she didn’t know in a rage. WHY ME – why did God do such a horrible thing? How could a healthy 11-year-old boy just die?

She sought answers: Where is Matt? Who is taking care of him? She attended grief counseling and read books, but only found more questions.

Before he died, Matt had pulled everything out of his closet for the start of the new school year. In the process of cleaning his room, everything was a huge mess. In the first few weeks after his death, Nancy would go into his room and just sit in that huge mess without moving a thing. The mess was a comfort; it was like the mess in her life. She hated herself, blamed herself. Matt had died of a heart attack brought on by a stomach virus. She blamed herself for letting this happen to HER child.

She wondered whether she could love again, and how anyone, especially God, could ever love her. She wanted to die, but she had two other young sons and a husband who needed her.

Nancy had a decision to make: She could either stay mad at God OR she could learn to love, forgive herself and others – and God. She knew she had to stop asking, “Why?” and instead start asking, “What does this all mean? What good can come from this?” She sought something more, now knowing there MUST be something more.

Little by little, she stopped fighting God, slowly started surrendering to his will. She finally understood that it must be about putting God first and placing herself in his healing hands. She surrendered her control to God, knowing that if she didn’t, she would be bitter and sad the rest of her life.

On her knees one day in Matt’s room, Nancy quietly sobbed, asking God, “What do you want of me?” Completely broken and empty, she said, “God, tell me what you want.”

Just then, a calm overcame her; God’s spirit and love flowed over her. She heard an inner voice say, “I want you to love me, as I love you. I want you to become the person you were supposed to be, the person I intended you to be.”

(To be continued)

Terice Richards is a Kingwood resident, hospital chaplain and pastoral care minister. She is a parishioner at St. Martha Catholic Church. Email comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Terice Richards
Author: Terice RichardsEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am a hospital chaplain with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. I have been writing professionally since 1981 as a radio and television news reporter, anchor and producer. I earned an M.Ed. from the University of Houston and a B.A. from UCLA. I am a certified teacher for Pre-K through 12th grade and completed the practicum for pastoral care ministry certificate from St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. I live with my family in Kingwood.

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