I think the word "amazing" gets way overused, so I try to use it sparingly and appropriately. But here goes. Sue Thomas is one of the most amazing ladies I've met in a while.
At the age of 18 months, Sue suddenly and with no explanation lost all hearing. Doctors wanted to put her in an institution, but her parents were determined for her to live as normally as possibly. She worked diligently with a demanding speech therapist for seven years to learn how to speak and afterwards continued to work with voice teachers to improve her ability to speak in spite of her total deafness. Growing up, Sue was badly bullied and ostracized, which hurt badly because she has always loved people and had a strong desire to be a "party animal.".
Even though she was branded a "dummy" and went through public school in slow learners classes, she graduated from college and later did post-graduate work in counseling and seminary training.
Because of her extraordinary lip-reading ability, Sue was recruited by the FBI. As a special agent, she helped put away many "bad guys" by reading their lips when they thought no one could hear their conversations. Her exploits served as the basis for an award-winning TV series, Sue Thomas, FBEye, which is syndicated in 64 different countries.
In spite of her exciting career, Sue knew that something was missing in her life and she left the FBI after three and a half years. Sue found the fulfillment she longed for through a deep personal relationship with Jesus. Since then she has traveled the world telling millions about how good God is.
I had never heard of Sue Thomas until today when Kathy and I heard her speak and got to spend some time with her. We were captivated by her warmth, her sense of humor, her love for people, and her single-minded commitment to simply tell people about Jesus and about God's goodness. That she can speak at all is amazing. That she can speak as she does with such love and lack of bitterness or pity is even more amazing. Her world is silent, but she is anything but. She lives to share with others.
About three months ago, Sue suffered a serious stroke. It affected her ability to do almost anything including her ability to walk and to see. She now has suffers from bad double-vision. With characteristic humor and wonderfully positive attitude, she says the good news is that "it makes it look like I'm speaking to twice as many people." Amazingly, the one thing the stroke didn't affect was her voice, which she worked so hard to even have in the first place. That meant she could keep telling people about Jesus.
Shortly after her stroke, Sue began physical therapy to try to regain some ability to walk. That first day, she spotted stairs in the therapy area and asked to be taken to them. The therapist explained that it would be at least several weeks before they could began working on climbing stairs. Sue insisted that she wanted to try it that day. Why? Because she needed to be able to climb stairs to get on stages to share God's love. She did it.
As Sue continued to speak today, I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her how much I loved and appreciated her. I'm glad I got that chance and more. After being humbled and inspired by this, yes, amazing lady, I was reminded that I have no reasons to complain and no excuses.