Icing on the Cake

Recently, I was having coffee with my sweet friend and mentor, Charlene Stamper. Charlene and Ed are in their retirement years and have been extremely intentional in how they use their extra time. If you spend much time in the Atlanta area, you will undoubtedly run into young couples, here and there, who have been impacted by Charlene and Ed’s choice to be time investors.


From a place of deep humility, Charlene will share with me some of the incredible things she sees God doing in these precious young lives. I love to hear about that and can’t help but ponder the exponential benefit to future generations.

In my brief coffee encounters with Charlene, there is always a rich takeaway. Although she doesn’t necessarily mean to, she invariably says something that God uses to penetrate my heart and propel me to make a change of behavior or thinking.


Lucky for you, I’m about to drop an awesome Charlene-ism on you!

“When our children know the Lord, and walk with Him, anything else is bonus – icing on the cake.”

For me, in this season of having three college kids, this lifted a weight off of my shoulders that I didn’t even realize I was lugging around.

Here are a few questions that tend to nag at my heart:

  • Are my kids in the right schools?
  • Have they chosen the right majors?
  • Are they making wise choices?
  • Are they careful about friends?
  • What if they marry the wrong people?
  • Will they be able to get good jobs and opportunities?
  • Are they taking their vitamins???

While these are certainly valid questions for a mother to ponder and pray over, they are not ones over which to obsess. God loves our children far more than we do. He created their inmost beings. He knit them together in their mother’s wombs. Their frames were not hidden from Him when they were made in the secret place. Every day ordained for them was written in His book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139).

Yeah. I think I can rest in that.

Thank you, Charlene!

(And, thank you @candipshelton for the awesome cupcake pic!)


  1. says

    Hi Sandra!

    I really enjoy reading your blogs! We are moving and our eight year old is switching schools. In a season where I seem to be a little more stressed and worried for her (than normal-lol)…this particular post was a good reminder for me and my heart, thank you.

    Cindy :o)
    STAR 94

    • Sandra Stanley says

      I’m so glad, Cindy. Stopping to pray right now for a smooth transition for all three of you! Hope to see you soon.

  2. Susan Rubin says

    I LOVE YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND! Thank you for ALL you (both) do. As a mother of a 16yo and 11yo girls, wife for 20 years- I learn tons from you. Great role model

  3. Chebsis60 says

    I had 1 in college and 1 is currently in college. Both have called me on the phone crying telling me that they felt they were betraying God by having to do certain essays, etc. that are required in public schools. I told both that God knows their heart and what they were/are going through. I mostly just listened with love. I have realized that I have to stand back, sometimes (one of the hardest things for me to do when my children are hurting), and let them go through their trials and tribulations because it hones them and brings them closer to God. I trust in HIM. HE is Sovereign over all, which includes my children.

  4. Tifani Thompson says

    I loved reading this! I’m just so so grateful to be able to be home-educating our three girlies. The deep intimacy that is gained together as a family is such a special gift,,,,It all does help so much with the questions that do tend to nag at my heart. We are raising our sweet children to shine His awesome caring serving love to the world.

    You and Pastor Andy are the family where me and my husband always say to ourselves,,,,”we want our children to be just like their children”.

    We are so thankful for you both!!!!!!

  5. Angie Hurst says

    As a parent who is also in the “college season” I needed this “Charlene-ism!” I worry about things that the Lord already has in control. Because He draws my kids to Himself, anything else is–icing on the cake! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Carina Morton says

    I love your posts! Thank you for being a great role model. I wish you could have retreat for moms. Have you ever thought of that? I would be the first to sign up.
    Love you and Andy!

  7. Sam Stafford says

    Just started following your blog! I’m 26 and my husband is 29. We just had our first baby! We feel as though we are being mentored by you guys! The sermons that have had the greatest impact on the way we live are Staying in Love, Guardrails, and in this new season of having a baby, Future Family (the one with you both talking is our favorite). We keep saying “I wish they would write a book on parenting!” I’m so glad to have found this blog. You both grow our faith, give us a greater desire to seek the Lord, and set an example of the kind of family we want to have! Thank you for that! -Samantha

    • Sandra Stanley says

      So glad you found it, Samantha. And, congratulations on your baby! May God continue to bless you and your family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *