Spring for SusannahSpring for Susannah
Catherine Richmond
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With no prospects for marriage and her parents recently deceased, Susannah Freemont agrees to go west to the Dakota territory to marry her minister's homesteading brother, Jesse. But Susannah is painfully shy, doesn't see herself as worthy of love from either a husband or from God, and lives in constant fear that Jesse is going to ship her back to Detroit.

In spite of her petite size and the fact that Susannah doesn't look like she could survive on the prairie, Jesse quickly discovers that his new wife is a greater blessing than he even hoped for. The years she spent as her father's veterinary assistant allow her to save Jesse's ox and twin calves and to help neighboring farmers with their animals.

But Susannah's feelings of unworthiness are deeply rooted, and she can't believe that Jesse's praise-or the tenderness and love he shows-could possibly last. The thawing of her heart seems almost as distant as Spring in the midst of the winter blanketing the Dakota prairie.


 Spring for Susannah Discussion Questions: Catherine Richmond


1. Susannah and Jesse marry after exchanging a few letters. How long were you in a relationship before committing? What discoveries did you make after committing? Are there any surprises left for long-time couples?



2. Susannah is intimidated by Dakota's emptiness. What frightens you when you travel?



3.  Susannah wants privacy, but Jesse craves intimacy. How do couples work this out?



4. Jesse refers to their marriage as a two-piece puzzle - different, but fitted into a whole. Is he right? Do opposites attract? Do you believe there's someone for everyone?



5. Susannah wants to confide in Marta. How important are girlfriends? What can you say to a girlfriend that you wouldn't discuss with your spouse?



6.  Victorian culture blamed women if they were attacked. In what ways does today's culture blame victims? What should our stance as Christians be toward victims?



7. Jesse tells Susannah to forget the "shoulds". What "shoulds" does today's culture impose on us? Do "shoulds" point to a more Christ-like life or restrict our freedom in Christ?



8. Jesse's expectations for his wife don't include fancy meals or a spotless house - he wants to know her. How do expectations affect relationships? How do expectations change over the years?



9.  Jesse keeps trying to coax Susannah into expressing her opinion, debating with him. On what issues should couples agree? And where are differences of opinion acceptable?



10. Susannah stopped praying when God didn't give her what she wanted. What other ways to people react to disappointment with God? Have you had a similar experience with unanswered prayers?



11. Jesse thinks the grasshopper invasion is a lesson or punishment from God. When Susannah learns the extent of the plague, she remembers Matthew 5:45, God "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Who is right?  In your life, which problems do you attribute to God's discipline and which are 'just life'? Are some problems both?



12. Susannah renegotiates her marriage. Have you had to do this? How did it work out?



13. When Susannah has to make a decision, she struggles to hear God amidst advice from friends. What role should friends have in discerning God's will?



14. Jesse's love for Susannah opens her to believe God loves her. Who in your life has helped you understand God's love? How can our actions show God's love?




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