About the Author

Sarah E. Westfall is a writer, speaker, and host of Not My Story, a conversational podcast about faith and the unexpected. Her writing invites readers into a life of authenticity and deep communion with God and with each other. Sarah lives in Indiana with her husband Ben and four sons.

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  1. Wonderful and timely truth, I get the unsettled despite seeing Gods hand in many darknesses and knowing I have and will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

  2. Sarah, thank you for sharing this. I’m so glad you had a friend who reminded you of the truth that dissipated the shame. I’m thankful we are known and we can know a Father who loves us always and is with us always. I need that reminder too.

  3. Thank you for sharing about this frightening experience, Sarah. I love your line about darkness being no match for his light. Your vulnerability in sharing about your faith will hit home with many and be such a great reassurance. Great post!

  4. I lost my four-year-old daughter to cancer 30 years ago. I can imagine the freezing fear that gripped you!! When we know the reality that He lent us these children. . . But yes!! He is faithful to get us through even the worst and reveal Himself to our hearts. A bonding like no other, I think.

  5. God’s Love is bigger and grander than we will ever begin to imagine or understand, even in our lowest places…. thank you for sharing ❤️

  6. Sarah thank you for sharing your story. I know God gave you the strength to be there for your we son. Yes it was hard. You as Mum your Husband as Dad. Watching your son go through all he went through. All the age he was plus all the size he was. You both trying be strong for your we song at that time. Put your trust in God at the same time. It hard. Just think how God felt when he looked at his son on Cross in son much pain. For us all the whole world. For our sins because he loved us all. What would God have been going through. What pain would Jesus have been put through and went through for all mankind. Jesus did that because he loved us all. Wanted us all to have a second chance of having our sins forgiven. So when we die we can if saved rain with him forever. That is just amazing. Look at the love you had for your son to see him like that would have been heart breaking. For God to see his son on the cross would have been even more heart breaking. But God knew he had to put his son through that to prove to the world how much he loved us and wanted us to have a relationship with him and our sins forgiven. God with you guys when your son was ill. God will be with you guys and your son all the days or your lives and his we life. I tell you what happened me when only 7 years old. My late Mum and Dad not saved. But did send me and my sisters to Sunday School. My Dad still not saved. I am the only one in my family saved. Glad to be. Too this day I know this was of God. In February 2021 I will be 50. Only for God doing this I wouldn’t be here today. I pray for my families Salvation. You can’t tell them they need to get saved. I was off school because of tummy pain. My Dad would have sent me to school. Only my Mum said let her have one more day of. It was as well she did. I was on my bike. I looked ok as if nothing was wrong. They were my Mum and Dad friendly with their Doctor. He has passed away since. He hardly ever came up to see or visit my Mum and Dad. This day he did. It was as well he did. My Mum said what brings you up here. He said I thought I just call to see you both. The next thing my Mum could here me roar in the most offal pain. My appendix had burst. There friend who was as Doctor. Went to see me with my Mum said Mildred who was my Mum pick her up. He ran to the phone. Phoned the Hospital told them get theatre ready. I was coming. I need my appendix out right away. If not I would have died. The Doctor said to my Mum get into to my car. He told my Dad what had happened. Then my Mum. I was rushed to theatre. I had my appendix out. I was in such pain. If the Doctor Friend had not called that day. Done what he had done which was the Unexpected that day. I might not be here today to tell the tail. So I believe to this day. That was of God. That God sent the Doctor Friend up to see my Mum and Dad. He hardly ever visited them. So it was God perfect timing. I believe God will see your son ok too. God will look after him. Like he did for me. Don Moen song a brilliant song. You get it on YouTube it is “God will make a way were there seems to be no way”. Do listen to it. It will help you and your Husband Sarah when the unexpected happens. I will say a prayer for you. We have great big God. Plus claim Psalm 103 verse 3 for your son. Love Dawn xx

    • Hi Dawn. I have often found comfort in God’s deep understanding of my pain as a mother, both in this situation and in losing our other son ten years ago. Thank you for that reminder. All grace and peace.

  7. Too often we’re looking for God to reveal himself in grandiose miracles when most often he comes to us in the small moments and simple pleasures of life, just as you describe here. He provides opportunities for us to seek him out, just as scripture prompts (Jeremiah 29:13, for example). We can see his tenderheartedness, compassion, kindness, and goodness every day if we live aware. Praise God though, even when our faith is not neat and tidy, God is still near. And soon barren ground does become a place of remembrance if we hang on. Thank you for telling your story, Sarah, and for affirming these important, life-altering truths to us.

  8. God really does often show up in the small pleasures and in small ways. The words of a friend. Ice cream. I was thinking the same thing today with my husband. Yes he can irritate me, but daily he proves his love in the small things. Places sometimes I forget to look and notice.

  9. Sarah, I too lost a child. I share the feelings you had regarding the questioning of your faith at your time of loss and in the harrowing experience with your son in the ICU. I have found that the Lord IS there for us although when we cry out to him we do not always hear Him. This was a wonderful post and it really touched my heart. God Bless you and your family and have a tremendous New Year!

    • Oh Michelle, I hate that we are part of the same horrible club, and yet I marvel again and again at how God gentle shows up in our brokenness. I am sorry you have had to experience the pain of losing a child. That just doesn’t go away. But I thank Jesus for how he has met you (and will continue to meet you and me both) in that. Thank you for taking a moment to say something.

  10. Sarah,

    Each day God sends little “ah ha” moments of His grace & love. About 4-5 years ago I went through a major trial with my aging dad’s dementia/psych. He was in geriatric psych unit of hospital for 1 month. Some days were good & others not so. I remember a few times walking out of the unit crying. I would have to sit in the lobby, crying & trying to calm down. Shouts went out to God to either heal or take him home. Just let him die if this is the end. 1 month later he was healed & able to return to a semi normal life in assisted living. Like you said there were no neon signs or grandiose visions. I know for certain that God was there with me each & every time. He caught my tears & heard my pleas. He had other ideas. While it may have seemed dark for a bit-His light shown through the prayers of friends & family. I got to have him back for 1 year. Then I put him back into the hospital & he died there. God once again met me with little glimpses of His love. Some of the nurses at assisted living would check on him & even went to see him. My little church provided a mini funeral & fed my family even though dad wasn’t a member or attended much. More glimpses of His grandiose love!

    Blessings 🙂

    • While I imagine that season was tinged with darkness, what a gift of that extra time with your dad—and I love how you describe how you saw him through the tangible hands and feet of other people. God is so good in using flesh to reach our flesh on his behalf. What a beautiful communion. Thank you for sharing this sacred piece of your story. I do not take it lightly.