Pastor Jeff Little

Uncommon Gratitude

No one can avoid pain, but it’s how we choose to respond that makes all the difference.

Terri Edwards is no stranger to tragedy. In 2007 she lost her first husband after a 13-month battle with cancer and two years later got the devastating news that her 17-year-old son, Jonathan, had leukemia. He spent the greater part of the next 6 months in the hospital dealing with numerous complications and in October of 2009 passed away.


Every parent’s nightmare is to lose a child. Yet in the wake of trauma, God is there helping us process through our pain. Over the last several years Terri and her family have found hope and healing in the context of spiritual family here at Milestone Church. As she’s been faithfully serving in our preschool ministry, engaging in small groups with her husband, and attending services, God’s been mending the broken pieces of her heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Some seasons are incredibly difficult, but when we are grateful in all of them, we find a peace that’s greater than our circumstances. Take a look at what God spoke to Terri through last weekend’s message on gratitude:


“Before I begin, let me remind you I’m not a preacher; however I felt compelled to share from a wonderful sermon I heard last night. Our minister was talking about giving thanks. I at first thought, great, another sermon telling me I should be grateful for everything that has happened in my life including the death of a husband and son. But I listened and I’m so glad I did.

His first verse was explaining that God asks us to give thanks not FOR all things that occur, but IN all things that occur. That one little word makes all the difference.

So I began to make a mental list of things I was thankful for during Jon’s illness. I was thankful that God entrusted me with blessing me with 17 years of raising, hugging, laughing, smiling, learning, and loving the most wonderful son a mother could imagine. I am thankful that God has given me the promise that I will live forever and be able to talk to, hug, watch, and love my children in heaven. I am thankful that my son knew Jesus and was assured of his salvation. I am thankful that my son saw and was comforted by angels in the ICU at Cook’s. I am thankful that I heard a wonderful sermon reminding me that God doesn’t ask that I be thankful for the death of my son, but I am so thankful for the life my son lived and continues to live forever and ever.”

As a pastor, when you study and prepare for a message, you don’t know the impact it will have on those listening. What an encouragement to see God moving in the lives of people like Terri in our church each week. Terri, thank you for your transparency in sharing your powerful story with us.

Pastor Jeff Little

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  • Brenda Hurlbut
    August 17, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Terri, thank you so much for sharing your story about Jon; Bill loved him like a son & I ‘m so glad they were able to know each other thru camp; my blessings & prayers continue for you & your family. Brenda Hurlbut

  • jordan fowler
    August 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm


    Appreciate your vulnerability in sharing this.

  • Liz Wagner
    August 18, 2016 at 1:02 am

    I love this post!

  • Regina
    August 18, 2016 at 3:13 am

    What a great example for all of us!

  • Dee Davila-Estelle
    August 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Terri, thank you so much for those words, I also lost two children in a car accident this past December. I know God blessed me 23 years with my son, and 19 years with my daughter, and I thank God everyday for that time I had with them. I still struggle without them, but I am thankful to know they are now in a place that they will never know hurt or sorrow, but unconditional love and peace. I am thankful for Milestone Church and all the Pastors who have prayed over my family in this difficult time. We take it one day at a time, but I am thankful that we still have one day at a time. I am still growing in getting back to my faith, but reading words like this helps me more then you know. Thank you!
    Dee Davila-Estelle

  • sue schambacher
    August 19, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you! I just lost my 25 yr old son Jon this past June… He was a survivor of a traumatic brain injury when he & a friend were hit by a drunk driver in 2013, his friend did not survive… the past 3 years he pushed himself, excelled and completed Auctioneer School (his dream) opened his own antique resale store and beat the odds… On June 22nd he died in his sleep, later to find out that it was from sepsis, blood infection from stepping on a nail. I could of cursed God and demand after 3 years "Why take him away from us now?" but instead God gave us 3 more years to watch him grow and succeed! He was a walking testimony to so many… He passed away peacefully, no one even knew he was sick (not even him) I miss him with all my heart every single day, hour, minute… I have my Faith and I know he is at peace…

  • Caroline Holbrook
    December 28, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Such a powerful testimony of strength in the face of trials! Thank you Terri!