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Tribute

On September 29, 2013, my pal, Susie Muth, left her earthly home to be with our Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity.
This is the eulogy I delivered at her funeral. It is reprinted here with kind permission from Dale Muth.


Susie Muth was my friend. My best friend. A Lucy and Ethel kind of friend. A sister kind of friend. And although we weren’t related by natural birth, we shared an exceedingly better kinship: Susie and I were sisters in Christ.

It’s a daunting task trying to describe in just a few minutes what that blue-eyed, wavy-haired, spunky little fireplug named Susie Muth meant to me. It’s like trying to squeeze a garden into a nutshell or the ocean into a teacup. But here goes.

2014 SusieIMG_2961 - Copy (2)SUSIE MUTH.

Two parts angel . . . one part imp.
Servant to the suffering . . . adolescent prankster.
Queen of random acts of kindness . . . jokester extraordinaire.

To know Susie personally . . . intimately . . . was to ride a merry-go-round through a field of daisies at Mach 10. With Mother Theresa. And Martha Stewart. And Bozo the Clown. But despite her affinity for silliness, far and away the single most significant, most salient quality she possessed was her faith.

I asked a friend yesterday, How do you talk about Susie Muth without talking about Christ? His reply? “You can’t.” To be around Susie was to see someone whose faith in God was so strong, whose commitment to follow Christ was so resolute, whose determination to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in her life was so unwavering, it consumed her. Therefore, instead of telling you all the things I will MISS about Susie, which would be impossible anyway, I’d like to share with you three of the most valuable treasures I GAINED through knowing her.

THE FIRST TREASURE I gained through knowing Susie is that CHRISTLIKE compassion knows no limits. Susie’s life exemplified the simple commands of Romans 12:15 —

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

Susie was the most tender-hearted, selfless, prayerful person I ever knew. If she was aware of a situation, be it sorrow-filled or joy-filled, she was right in the middle of it with you. She endlessly poured out her heart to God on behalf of people who probably never even knew it — likely some of you sitting here today. What I gained from knowing Susie is that to truly love as Christ loved is to demonstrate a life of limitless compassion for others.

Of course, with Susie, there were other things that knew no limits. The mileage she could get out of someone else’s dumb mistake or silly comment was endless. Take, for example, the time several years ago when I told her that I’d had a dream that I was married to Dale. I don’t know how many times she tried to give him back! And of course, if you know Dale, you know that he jumped right on board. Two weeks ago, he wished me a happy birthday, but apologized for not remembering our anniversary.

THE SECOND TREASURE I gained through knowing Susie is that CHRISTLIKE service knows no bounds. Susie had a boundless determination to use her God-given talents to help others. Her life exemplified 1 Corinthians 15:58 —

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in
the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

From her patchwork quilts for the sick and suffering, to a three-day salsa and jelly canning marathon we once got ourselves into, Susie was tireless in giving of herself. What I gained from knowing Susie is that to truly serve as Christ served is to sacrifice yourself for the good of others.

Of course, in Susie’s world, service to others was often taken to a whole new level. Many of you are aware of, or have even experienced, Susie’s flair for using abandoned junkyard debris, such as old porcelain toilets, to create beautiful lawn art. On your lawn. By the way, her children have also inherited this talent. Suffice it to say that to this day a piece or two of glitter confetti still works its way out of my carpet. Six years later. Chelsey.

And finally . . .

THE THIRD TREASURE I gained through knowing Susie is that CHRISTLIKE grace knows no restraint. Like all of us, Susie wrestled from time to time with delicate relationships. Soon after she’d share a personal struggle, she’d invariably send me a text saying she had prayed about it and the Holy Spirit convicted her of the need to love and forgive. Her life indeed exemplified Ephesians 4:31 & 32 —

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.”

What I gained from knowing Susie is that to truly extend grace as Christ extended it is to cover another with love and forgiveness without restraint.

Of course, restraint did not apply to Susie when it came to texting. To Susie, texting was an important and useful tool for totally disrupting someone else’s day with unbridled silliness. Like the time she was preparing activities for Alisha’s bridal shower. She was collecting kitchen tools to use as object lessons for a successful marriage, such as a strainer to demonstrate the need to filter out thoughts and words that can harm a relationship, and a rolling pin to show that lumps–problems–that come up should be dealt with right away. Well, she texts me early one morning because she can’t find a meat cleaver. I’m like, a meat cleaver? What are you gonna do, demonstrate how to cut off Jordan’s fingers if he burns the toast? No, she tells me, she wants to show that you have to keep pounding away to keep your marriage tender. Turns out she meant a meat MALLET. We laughed so hard that we texted about it for the entire rest of the day.

Well, I could go on and on about Susie’s love for her family, her passion for Bible study, or her sheer euphoria shopping at Hobby Lobby. But I think what she would want you to know above all is that at this very moment she is praising and rejoicing with her Lord in heaven, which indeed is cause for great celebration!

If you are sitting here and don’t understand how so many of her family and friends can find joy in this season of mourning, perhaps you don’t know Jesus Christ. If that is you, she wouldn’t want you to experience sorrow and suffering over her passing, but over your sin against a holy God, and for you to recognize your need for a Savior. Nothing would please her more than for today to be the day of your salvation.

If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, you share with her the blessed assurance of eternity in heaven. And although heaven will be a place of no more pain, no more suffering, no more sorrow — a place of complete perfection — I have to think that it will be just a little bit sweeter with Susie Muth in it.

 

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