I love hearing others’ “God Stories”.  I love hearing how God has worked in the lives of other people.  I get a bigger picture of who God is, and how He works, and I get a picture of faith.

I think that is why I love to read stories of faith in scripture—where people have taken God at His Word and stepped out in faith to do what He has told them to do:  Noah building the ark, Moses parting the Red Sea, Joseph and Mary taking Jesus to Egypt to prevent Him from being killed by Herod’s soldiers.

The problem I have, is that I can tend to put God in a box.  “If I do this…. God will do this.”  I can start to put my relationship with God in a “formula”. 

Before my son Sean died, I thought I had the “secret” formula for life.  If I did a, b, c—God would do x, y and z. 

I am here to tell you, there is no secret formula for life.  Isn’t that what Job found out? He lost his children, his wealth, his health, he lost everything.  God never really answers Job’s questions about why? 

Job could have said, “But God, I thought we had a deal.  I obey You.  I worship You.  I follow all Your rules.  You bless me.  You protect me.  You protect my family. You provide for us.”

If I’m honest, this is the scary thing about having a relationship with God.   I want God to do what I want Him to do.  I want Him to act, the way I expect Him to act. He does promise us that He will provide for us.  He does promise us that He will protect us.  He does promise us that if we have enough faith, we can move mountains.  So, I’m left with the belief that maybe if God doesn’t come through—the way I expect Him to– maybe it’s my fault.  Maybe, I’ve sinned, maybe, I’ve done something wrong.

That is what Job’s friends told Job—”It’s not God’s fault that all these bad things have happened to you, it’s your fault, you’ve sinned.”

Yet, that wasn’t the right answer in Job’s situation either.

After Sean died, there were others who thought that if we had, had enough faith, Sean would have lived.  Or there were others who thought that maybe we had “sinned” in some way, and God was punishing us.

When Sean died, I was faced with the question: Did I really love God, because I knew Him, and I loved Him for Who He Was, or did I just love His blessings?

If I’m honest, I loved God’s blessings, and I obeyed and trusted God, because I hoped that I would win His blessings.

When God took one of His blessings away from me, I questioned His existence, His power, His love.

I used to look at verses like Romans 8:18: “For I consider the sufferings of this present time, not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed” and think—what—suffering????—I don’t want to suffer!!!!!

Honestly—who really wants to suffer?  No one that I know does.  In fact, I have tried to escape from suffering most of my life. 

When I would hear others’ God’s stories—in some way, they involved suffering—but they also involved God showing up and revealing Himself in the midst of the suffering—and that is what I liked—I liked the glory that was revealed. God is the glory that was revealed.

That is what happens with suffering—it reveals God to us in a way, we had not “seen” Him before.   Suffering helps us get a bigger picture of God; it gets God out of the boxes we put Him in.

I still hate to suffer.  I still want to escape from suffering. I still would not choose to go through the sufferings I have endured.  I still would not choose to have lost my son.

However, my son is not, “Lost” to me.  I know where he is because I know Who he is with.  I know the Lord that Sean is with, in a way, I would not have-unless I had suffered. 

I think Job’s sufferings brought about a revelation of God in his life that he would not have had unless he had suffered.

And yes—I now agree with Romans 8:18: “For I now consider the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed.”

So how do I put my life in the hands of this God, how do I trust this God—who could choose to take away any blessing from me at any time?  I do so, because this God loved me and emptied Himself of His divine qualities, took on flesh, came to earth and died for me.

This God gave up His life for me, to rescue me from eternal suffering and bring me into His Kingdom and make me an heir to His Kingdom.  This God put His Spirit in my life, and made me a new creature, worthy of His Kingdom.  This God promises to never leave me, never forsake me, to always be with me.

This song–I will Praise You In This Storm– was sung at Sean’s funeral. It still has the power to comfort me. My husband and I held hands and lifted them, when this song was sung at Sean’s funeral.

Therefore, I can join the disciples mentioned in Acts 5:14, who rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer for this God’s Name—so that others might know this God as well. These are hard truths, filled with immense freedom to live for Jesus, love Jesus and let go of all that would hinder us in this race we are in.  May we be encouraged!!

One Day

I dedicate this song to my son Sean James Stanton

June 25, 1997, to September 17, 2013

One Day, Sean James.  One Day!!!

(LYRICS) One day there’ll be no more waiting left for our souls

 One day there’ll be no more children longing for home

 One day when the kingdom comes Right here where we stand

 We will see the promised land

 One day there’ll be no more lives taken too soon

One day there’ll be no more need for a hospital room

One day every tear that falls will be wiped by His hand

 We will see the promised land


There will be healing

 From this heartbreak We’ve been feeling

We’ll sing in the darkest night

Cause we know that the light will come

 And there will be healing Hallelujah

One day there’ll be no more anger left in our eyes

 One day the color of our skin won’t cause a divide

One day we’ll be family standing hand in hand

 And we will see the promised land

We will see the promised land

One day every knee will bow every tongue will confess

One day when our tired and weary bones find their rest

 One day when the power of evil is brought to an end

 We will see the promised land


We are approaching the anniversary of my son’s passing.  My son Sean died 8 years ago.  His accident was on September 16th, and he was declared dead on September 17, 2013.

I want to talk about a difficult subject—the subject of coming along side someone in grief.

When Sean died, others sought to come along side of us and help us—and there was a great outpouring of service and love and help.

But there was also silence from those we “expected” help from.  My mom told me a story, that helped me understand.  You see, my mom’s sister lost 2 of her children and her husband within a 6-month space of time.  My mom said that at times she was so overwhelmed in her own grief that it was hard to help her sister in her grief.  She did help her sister—but it wasn’t easy.

This has helped me to understand that I and my husband and children weren’t the only ones who were grieving when Sean died.  Others needed grace in their grieving as well. They may have been grieving Sean or they may have been grieving something else going on in their own lives.

Also, I came to realize that no one—not my husband, not my other children, not my extended family, no friend—could ever meet my deepest needs—only God could do that.  

That is not to say that others do not have a role to play in helping others who are grieving.

Right now, there is a family who has lost their dad.  Another friend and I have been trying to organize others to help them.  This friend frequently tells me with great passion: “We are apart of the body of Christ, we are His hands and His feet, and God wants us to move and help others.”

She is absolutely right. 

My mom and my Aunt, (who lost her family members), came most frequently to help with–well everything. Other family members also came to help.

After Sean died, a neighbor down the street from us, a sister in Christ, organized meals for us for 2 months—and people from all the churches in my town signed up to bring us a meal.

People came right after Sean died and cleaned our house.

A couple friend, (in the Pastorate), meet with us for over a year, once a week, and provided grief counseling, and friendship.

My best friends took my children on excursions and spent time with me.

All amazing things.

I also experienced rejection, conflicts, loss of friendship, and silence from others.

In reading others’ blogs—the good, the bad and the ugly are all typical and normal things to experience to those who have lost a loved one.

Grief—suffering—these are difficult, difficult things.  Grace, kindness and gentleness with oneself and with others are needed during these times.  Mostly, and above all else—God’s sustaining spirit is what is needed and is available to each of us, for the asking.

One of the worst things for my spirit, was to hang onto bitterness and unforgiveness.  God has frequently pried my hands off these ugly things I was hanging onto and told me with grace and gentleness that He had something better for me to hang onto—Him!! 

In saying this—I do not want to minimize the hurt that is felt by the grieving party, over the lack of caring they may be experiencing.  I understand the hurt.  I too, have felt the hurt.

Rather, I want to give a way for the hurt party to understand that they are not alone—others have walked the same path and have found freedom from the hurt in forgiveness and in the presence of God.

If you are grieving right now, I am praying for you!!  I would appreciate your prayers for my family and myself.  Thank you!

Love Wins

I found this video today and watched it.  It was so encouraging, I had to share it with you’all. 

Lin Smith, tells the story of her son—her prodigal son—estranged for 20 years from her and her husband, and their journey of prayer, faith and mostly—love!!

The message I took from it, is that Love never fails, and never gives up, and that God, who is Love—loves our children more than we do—and He never gives up on us or our children, and He never fails us or our children!!

I also wanted to share a song with you called “Grace Wins” by Matthew West. One of the lines in the songs states, “For the prodigal son–Grace wins” and I thought this song further revealed the message of Lin Smith.

Hope this encourages you as it has encouraged me!!