Continue the Discussion

Your perspective matters. Please leave your comments or click below to join the discussion on the topic/topics mentioned in this Blog. Community matters, your comments make you apart of ours.

When your world is Falling Apart BY Mae Renfroe

 This family photo was taken the first week in April of 2017. Our family of ten of us with our eighth little one born that January. Our oldest was 16 and our youngest at the time was 3 months. Little did we know just a couple weeks later that our precious little family would be shattered.
 The afternoon of Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 our second oldest son, fourteen-year-old Clayton, was looking for something to do to pass time until Sam, at age 12, got off the bus later that afternoon. (We had Sam enrolled in a school that year.) Clayton had been outside walking around, then he came into the house and told me was heading over to the dugout in the woods to look for ducks. I was glad he had found something to pass time, so I told him, "Okay great, see you later”. So out the door, he went and off with the quad, though he hadn’t mentioned he was using it and I don’t recall hearing it start up.
   It wasn’t until about 6:00 P.M. that evening that we realized something was wrong. When Sam got off the bus at about 4:30 my friend Chari arrived at the same time as well with her children Tanner and Kara. Tanner joined up with Sam and together they went out to meet up with Clayton. I told them he was probably over by the tree fort by now. So they headed that way. Upon not finding him there they decided to go into our cow pasture and play with our new calf. Meanwhile, Chari and I enjoyed our visit which included going for a walk enjoying the lovely spring weather. And I assumed the boys met up with Clayton.
  Soon as my friend left, my husband Paul came back from work, and Sam came in and told me they hadn’t met up with Clayton. I was surprised that they hadn’t, and we all wondered why he would be gone so long, though not overly worried. Paul told Sam to go blow the van horn to call Clayton in for supper. Sam also decided to run look for him. This time he went straight out to the far dugout and found Clayton who was pinned under the quad. Sam ran hollering all the way back to the house, though we did not hear him until he burst in the door nearly out of breath shouting, “Clayton is stuck under the quad, and I think he is dead.” Immediately Paul and our oldest son Nathan who was 16 at the time went running out there. Nathan got out there first and flipped the quad off of Clayton. Right off they knew he was gone.
  The next moments and hours were filled with flurry of activity of calling 911, calling family, the ambulance and police arriving, victim services arriving, tears, prayers, more phone calls made, more tears, more prayers, friendly faces arriving, and us being told what would be taking place with Clayton’s body now and what to expect in the next couple days.
 Clayton’s body was taken out to Edmonton yet that night where an autopsy was done the next day. From the autopsy, we were told that he died of a broken neck and back with little to no trauma. That gave us comfort knowing he went quickly with very little suffering and not calling or waiting for us to come help. Late Thursday evening Clayton’s body was brought to the funeral home, and we went in Friday morning to make funeral arrangements. At the funeral home, we were also able to view him which was my first time of seeing him since he had walked out the door on the 19th. Talk about emotional.
 Since Clayton was by himself when the accident we are left trying to figure out how it happened. There was no sign that he had been playing around with the quad, so he must have just got on a wrong angle on the little hill somehow causing the quad to roll. I know in earthly terms we call this an accident. But with God, I don’t believe in accidents and I don’t believe things just happen. I believe as Christians that God is in control of our lives and these things, no matter how hard they are for us to understand, happen for a reason and a purpose. As Romans 8:28 says,“ And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (KJV)
 That is one of the things that kept me going right from the beginning of this was that I believed God had a special plan for us or this would never have happened. Before my mom and dad could make it over to Alberta from B.C. I told her on the phone, “ I know God has a special plan for us.” That is what kept me afloat. Also, one of my prayers right off after finding out we had lost Clayton was this,” Lord if there is anyone who knows us who doesn’t know you, Lord, may this be their moment.” I felt that prayer came more from the Holy Spirit than me and I felt God was going to give life from our son’s death.
 James 4: 13-15 talks about our life being like a vapour, here for a little time and then vanishing away. How easy it is to take life for granted though as well as the lives of our children. More than ever now I see my children as the precious blessings and gifts from God that they truly are. And I view each new day we are granted as a gift and life itself as nothing short of a miracle!
 Our journey of loss has certainly been hard on all of us. I had my highs and lows the whole first year. It was especially hard on me about 6 to 7 months after when nothing miraculously happened to our family. We hadn’t started this great ministry or anything, and no one had come to the Lord because of it that I knew of. And I broke down to God asking what was the plan and where was my miracle? No quick answers came. But His comfort did. And I have been trusting and resting in Him since knowing He has a perfect plan for our lives, though it has not always been easy and the pain still real.
 What I have really been feeling on my heart now is to bring hope and encouragement to other hurting mothers. I want them to know they are not alone and that our stories don’t end with our tragedies. Like the life of young Joseph in Gen. 37 & 38- 50. With everything seemingly going against him with his brothers hating him and selling him into slavery, and landing in prison under false accusations, then forgotten in prison for two years by the butler. Do you think he might have been feeling like his world was falling apart? But we know how the story ends! His world was not falling apart, it was just falling into place! Into the perfect place, God wanted it to be! Joseph was needed at that place at that time and God had a great purpose for him there. Genesis 50:19-20 (KJV) sums it up beautifully. “ But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
  And that is the same for you and me too! Our stories are not over yet!
These hard things in life that we can not understand why are getting us to where God wants us. He has a plan we can not see. And that plan is far greater than anything we could ever hope for or imagine. I get excited just thinking about it! Don’t you? God is going to do great things for and through you and me! Please believe that! 
  I have been blogging about our new journey of grief and hope on my blog/website hoping it will offer inspiration and encouragement to others. More recently I have felt a call on my life and a tug on my heart to reach out to women through the speaking ministry, bringing a message of hope and life. Now I am just eagerly waiting for God to open the doors in that direction. 
~ When you think your world is falling apart, trust God that it's really not, but that it is just falling into place. Into the place that He wants it for His glory!
Mae Renfroe
( Previously written in 2018 for the Above Rubies Magazine)
Mae & Paul Renfroe have 10 children now, Nathan 23, Clayton in heaven, Sam 19, Sarah 16, Anna 14, Ben 12, Daniel 9, Rebecca 7, Faith 5, John 20 months.
Back to blog


Thank you for sharing your story as I read it I had tears rolling . How you kept your faith was extraordinary !!


Thank you for sharing your story. I just want to let you know that I was touched by your unwavering faith. I have lost many loved ones through the years, however, I haven’t experienced the loss of a child. I have friends that have and the one common thread is amazing strength I can sense in the pain and the grieving, When you are going through it, you may not feel like you are being strong but those watching can see the strength that only comes from being held by our God our Abba Father.


Thank you for sharing your story, as I read it with tears in my eyes I also felt encouraged. I love your trust in God and I’m sure so many people see that and have been touched by you and your family even if they haven’t told you.

Anita Rosario

Leave a comment