My Mother Named Me, and God Knows Me

My Mother Named Me, and God Knows Me

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I’m the first born of nine children, and my mother gave me her dad’s name but spelled Gene.

I love my mother, who passed away twenty-two years ago, but my mother struggled with addictions and insanity. She was not the model of womanhood. But God gave me several women in my life as examples of godly women.

I married young and even though people tisked their tongues at me being only seventeen, this was another way God spared me. After I left home, my family came completely undone. I found out years later, drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity were rampant in my former home.

At the altar, not only did I commit to my husband for a lifetime, but I vowed to raise my family different than my parents raised me.


Our family at our daughter’s wedding, from left top, Jason, Jami, Joshua, and below Jim and me.

Very little went wrong in my new life, until my son, Joshua, at age nineteen suffered a nervous breakdown. My first question was did he inherit my mother’s traits? I became frightened at the idea.

I clung to Lord God even tighter from here on, and then Joshua died by suicide at age twenty-five by a gunshot to his head.

How could this be? Where had my plans gone to be a happier family than the one I was raised in? And then, two hours after Joshua died, Satan whispered in my ear, “Now where is your God?”

As was my habit, I ran into the arms of Jesus. Over and over in my mind, I chanted, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Right away, blessings from God surrounded me daily. Even though I couldn’t feel God in the early grieving years, I clung to Him. Once in a cry for help, I told God, “I may not feel You, Lord, but You will never be rid of me. I have to have You in my life.”

Through all the loss, I learned honesty with God was best. He already knew my heart, so in my boldness I would express it in words. I had nothing to lose, and I longed to draw closer to Jesus.

The one conversation I remember best went like this. “Lord, I know rain falls on the just and unjust, but I don’t like what You’ve allowed for Joshua to have died by his own hand. I miss my son. I need my son. But, I will continue to trust You.”

Yes, my mother named me, but my Father in Heaven knows my heart and we walk together through this life of sorrow and joy. I’m grateful.


Jean Ann Williams About Jean Ann Williams

Jean Ann Williams lives in Southern Oregon with her husband Jim. Although one of their children has passed on to the Great Beyond, their two remaining children have blessed them with thirteen grandchildren, their Baker’s Dozen. Jean Ann keeps up two blogs: the first is about the writing life Jean Ann Williams: Author, and Love Truth where she writes of how God continues to encourage and bless her after her son’s suicide in 2004.


  1. Jean, this post speaks to my soul. I can relate to this so much. Thank you, sweet lady, for sharing your heart and perspective with us. I’m with you in that God wants our honest selves. The crying, the grateful, the petulant… whatever we are going through… He just wants the real US.

  2. Jean, thank you for your venerability. Although I can’t relate exactly to your story, I do know how it feels to grieve for the passing of a loved one. Holding onto Jesus is our only hope. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. I’m so very glad, Cherie. Isn’t this what it’s all about? Us helping one another through Jesus? Hugs, Jean

  4. Hi Audrey. Sometimes, all I have is venerability. I’m sure you can relate. God bless you! Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

  5. Oops I meant to say “vulnerability”. 🙂

  6. Well, oops, Audrey, I just copied you! :))

  7. Thank you for sharing this difficult story. I know others who have given in to Satan’s lies in similar situations, and I plan to share this story so they may see there is hope in the midst of their sorrow.

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