For years and years and years, I have been hearing the Holy Spirit telling me to write. “What do I write about?” I’ve asked. This summer, God answered. “Start a blog and encourage young women to love their husbands and their children.” That is exactly what God commands older women to do in Titus 2— “Older women encourage the younger women to love their husbands and their children.”
So, this is my very first blog. I am starting it to coincide with my daughter Julia’s birthday. I am hoping she will see in a very clear way what God has done to let her know, He is with her, He loves her, and He won’t let her go, even when at times, it feels like He has.
6 years ago, on September 16th, 2013, my sixteen-year-old son, Sean James Stanton, was hit by a car when he was riding his bike. (This story is not about Sean—that story is to come.) Julia was 14 years old when her brother died.
Before her brother died, Julia was a happy, introverted, practical girl. She had friends, she laughed, she was a calm and almost perfect little teenager.
After her brother died, Julia suffered from depression, withdrew from others, became anxious. Life was torture for her. Life was torture for me watching her and her siblings suffer.
This blog is not about what we did in our own power to alleviate the suffering—this blog is about what God did—something we could not do on our own—to minister to Julia.
God gave Julia a gift—the gift of music.
I had all my first four children take piano lessons. Julia had piano lessons starting at 4 years of age—until she was nine or ten. Then I got tired of throwing money away making my children take lessons on an instrument in which they had no interest.
However, we inherited one of my husband’s Aunt’s violins. The violin sat in Julia’s closet for years, until Julia opened the case when she was 15. Julia asked to take violin lessons. “If you try to learn how to play that violin on your own and practice faithfully for 6 months, you can take violin lessons,” I said. Julia did just that—by watching YouTube. She was faithful and persistent, and she showed her dad and I she really did want to learn how to play the violin. God provided the most amazing teacher for Julia—a woman who was a beautifully talented violinist, but also someone who had been gifted by God in ways that helped Julia’s heart as well as trained Julia’s hands on the violin.
Julia became obsessed, enthralled with the violin, but downcast and disheartened, because she could not play like she dreamed. She thought because she started so late, she would not be able to make up ground. She played, she practiced, she persevered. And Julia has grown and grown and grown as a violinist.
Julia has also had amazing help along the way. She has had wonderful teachers, participated in many orchestras, went to several music camps and this past year was taught by a professor of the violin. This professor is a great violinist and a gifted teacher and a perfectionist, who is difficult to impress.
This professor told Julia and I just last week, “Julia will be a great violinist, if she keeps improving at the rate she has been.”
Words of encouragement by which to live.
To me—this was a God thing—this is what only God could have done in Julia’s life—He gave her this gift to help comfort her, to give her a dream, and a reason to continue with life. God knew just what she would need to come back into the land of the living. (If any of you know anything about the violin—it usually takes 10 years to sound bad at the violin—Julia has been playing for 4 years, and she does not sound bad, she sounds glorious.)
From the time I saw Julia determined to play the violin, I began to see this was her gift from God. She did not play well then, but I saw her passion. And when she would complain that she did not start early enough, I would tell her that if this is what God had for her, she would catch up.
Now Julia is going to college to study the violin. She has a full ride. She is beginning her life in training for a career in music. Julia has lost her brother, the brother who loved her and considered her, “mine” as he held her when he was 2 and she was a newborn. God knows her heartache, He knows her inside and out. He cares for her, and He cares for your children. He knows them inside and out.
So—be encouraged by this story—God is with you, He is with your children. He will do things for them, that you can not do. He has given them gifts, that only He can give.
God will want you to listen to Him, to come along beside Him to help your children become who He made them to be. Know that you will not be perfect in doing this, that you will need to depend on God for His strength and turn to God often for forgiveness.
We know the God who created everything, and He loves us with an everlasting love. We can trust Him. He always keeps His Word. So be encouraged!!