Matthew Russell – A Little Boy with Big Faith

Last summer I had the privilege of helping facilitate a grief support group. Each person’s story deeply touched my heart and helped me write Comfort & Encouragement: A One-Year Ministry Guide for Helping Those Who Are Hurting. Thank you again to each of you who were a part of that group. 

There’s an amazing little boy I’ve thought of almost every day since the group ended, and I’d like to introduce you to him today. His name is Matthew Russell. I didn’t get to meet Matt in person because he went to heaven last November after a car accident. But I feel like I’ve had the blessing of getting to know him through his wonderful parents, Dana and Greg. They shared his remarkable story with me and I’m so honored they’re letting me share it with you. I know you’ll be blessed and inspired by Matt the way I have been.


Matt was born October 23, 1997. He shared his birthday with his twin sister and best friend, Katelyn. During his short time on earth, Matt was an active member of his church, an outstanding student, and an athlete with a “winning attitude” and “coachable spirit.” Matt was dearly loved by his family and known as a “loyal and faithful friend” to his classmates and many others in the community.

Matt became a Christian at age seven and had a deep faith. This became especially evident when his parents looked at a spelling test Matt took during his last day on earth. Matt’s parents wrote on the back of the program for his service…

On the very day Matthew died, he took a spelling test at school. The 20 words on the test all contain ‘ea’ sounds. At the bottom of their papers, the students were instructed to write a sentence using as many of the spelling words as possible. Matthew’s sentence is a gift from God that assures us that Matthew is where his heart longed to be.


A few hours after he wrote this sentence, Matt was home with his Heavenly Father. The teacher said she had never asked students to write a sentence on their papers before but felt prompted to do so that day. With those few words, Matt left a legacy of faith that brings hope to the hearts of all who knew him…and many more who are looking forward to meeting him one day.

The evening Matt died, his grandmother gave Dana the book “90 Minutes in Heaven.” It was sitting by the phone when she received the call about her son. While nothing can take away the hurt they feel, the Russells find comfort in these small reminders of God’s presence even in the midst of tragedy.

Matt spent ten years on this earth. He loved, laughed, and lived to the fullest. He brought incredible joy to his friends and family. He made a difference in the world. Matthew Russell’s life is an inspiration and reminder to us all that it’s not about counting our days but about making each day—and every word—count.

Dana and Greg graciously gave me permission to share Matt’s story and they’ll be reading this page. If you’d like to leave a comment for them you can do so below. I’d also love for you share this page with your friends and family by using the "Send to a friend’ link above so many more people can honor Matt’s memory and be touched by this little boy with big faith.

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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