AGS Student Turns from Grief to God’s Grace

Chelsea Smith was walking through Walmart with her baby boy Clayton when an elderly lady stopped and asked if she could pray for her son. Smith, who didn’t know God at that time, thought it was odd, but welcomed it. The lady said a short and sweet prayer, and when she gazed up, Smith thought she was one of the most beautiful people she had ever seen.

“She had a very warm embrace about her and she had a light that could shine for miles,” Smith said.

The lady told her that Clayton would do very big things and that God is always with him, his mother, and the rest of the family. Smith was very moved by the incident, but the lady left before she could inquire more.

Two weeks later, Smith spent the day with her friend Beth who had lost a baby less than a month after he was born. Beth told Smith no matter what happens in life, you can’t be mad at God. Smith wondered how Beth could keep her faith in such circumstances.

That night, tragedy struck Smith’s own house. Her son Clayton, four months old, passed unexpectedly from SIDS.

“It was the hardest and most terrifying thing I had ever gone through. You literally feel like your heart has been ripped out and you will never get it back,” Smith said. “My children are my world and without them, I thought I would be nobody.”

On that horrible day, she remembered the lady in Walmart. Smith believes God was preparing her for Clayton’s passing.

“God sent her to me. I think she was an angel and she wanted me to know that change was coming and it was coming from God. If I ever wanted to move forward I would never be able to do it by myself.”

A pastor was by her side, and lovingly explained that God didn’t take Clayton, he received him. She prayed and gave everything to the Lord.

“My life has never been the same since that moment. I started seeing things differently. I could feel God reshaping my heart and it was something that I couldn't explain,” Smith said. “I wanted to know the Man that came into my house and carried my child to Heaven.”

A few weeks later, Smith began attending church, and she shared her story with the congregation.

 “I knew I was where God wanted me to be and I knew that I loved the feeling of serving him. It was there that I learned that I want to become a minister.”

Now Smith is studying Pastoral Ministry through OCU’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies.

“OCU has been a wonderful place and has shown me that I am not a victim, but a creator. I have the ability to do wonderful things in the name of Jesus and be a wonderful person for my family and community.”

If God allows, she wants to run a “come as you are” ministry where people know they will be shown love, not judgment for past sins. Smith shares her story with her fellow cohort students and wants everyone to know that tragedy can’t be overcome without God.

“I want people to know that there is nothing that can come between you and God. Clayton did amazing things for sure, and he still is.” Smith said. “Clayton came into this world in pure love and left in pure love.”

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17