Sara Frankl
About the Author

Sara Frankl entered into the arms of Jesus on September 24, 2011, but her legacy of choosing joy lives on. Her blog, Gitzen Girl, is about her commitment to embracing the story God had for her. Her illness stripped her of the potential for a job and family and status,...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


  1. I get overwhelmed alot. And then I remember that His yoke is easy and my burden is light. Looking intentionally for beauty all around me is key to living live free from feeling overwhelmed. Praying for your family today.

    • you are so right, barbie… it always comes down to being intentional, doesn’t it? taking action always comes from being mindful…

  2. Thank you for your words. Going to bed needing to hear your and His words. Today I am thankful for my husband, children, and my health. Will continue to pray for healing.

    • I’m thankful you have those things right under your own roof… it’s lovely when we have to look no further than the edge of our fingertips when it comes to gratitude.

  3. Beautifully said Sara, as usual!

    I get overwhelmed at the losses my husband and I have endured and it is easy to let it overtake everything else. When it threatens to overwhelm I hear the words ‘just breathe’ and I am comforted and the pain eases.

    Wishing you many blessings xox

  4. He IS using your life as it is now, to make beauty in ways you can’t see, Gitz! One of them is in my own heart as I read your words. We’re ALL blessed–whether in sickness or health. ALL. Is. Grace. Yet, it’s what we do with it that changes everything…the turning our attitudes into gratitude, that’s acknowledging the grace and the purpose beyond our understanding, and it’s trusting that there’s purpose in it all, even when it’s hard. The strength just to See this is so amazing.

    Rich blessings, Gitz, as Our Father continues to show you the ways you can trust Him…

    • Ann says something in her book that I know to be true, although I hadn’t put it into words until I read it from her… that is the action of giving thanks that brings the joy. it’s so so true. We don’t need to know how God uses our circumstances, we only need to trust that He does and thank Him for it… the joy comes.

  5. I am thankful for the absolutely beautiful weather we have had giving me the time in the evening after work to take the kids to the park with our dog. I am thankful for my job even though it is chaotic right now, it is a job and its a job that I do love! I am thankful for my friends who listen to me or read my many emails to them asking them for help in understanding something or for help in navigating yet another twisted road in the relationship with my ex husband. I am thankful for the friends who have become my family, who love me deeply, who correct me when needed, who encourage me, who pray with me. I am thankful for my children and our health, for our home and all our belongings. I’ve just returned from Joplin and there are so many in need down there, homelessness, sickness, death. I am thankful for a website such as this that brings women together to share the love of God and to encourage one another, cry with one another, lift one another up. I am so very thankful that words are not enough for God giving his son Jesus to die on that cross for me and you. I did not deserve that kind of love from him but he thought so. I am thankful for the storms he has placed me in to wander through so that I would eventually make it to this side of things and be able to see all that I am thankful for instead of only seeing the storm with no end in sight.

    Gitz, I hope you have a splendid day today!

    • This was a GREAT list, Lisa… I hope you print it out and tape it to your mirror for the days you get overwhelmed, because you show great beauty in your heart and life here.

      • Gitz it is so amazing to me as I look back across the last 4 years of my life. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement! I read this list that came pretty easy to me this morning when I typed it out and I can vividly remember a time not so long ago where that list was simply I was thankful God helped me get out of bed! And quite honestly there were some of those days I wasn’t thankful about that at all! But he is true to his word, and my verse for this year became ‘he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ’
        Phil. 1:6 I began to believe that he started this process of healing in me and he wouldn’t stop. I began to open my eyes ever so slightly and he began to show me all kinds of things! I still have days where I am overwhelmed and I know that will always be but He has let me see the good and its a little easier for me now to seek those things out when I need them!

  6. Very well said. I love the reminder that despite Jesus’ pain and crying to His Father He took action! What a great reminder for me in the everyday yucky stuff. While I cannot control what happens day in and day out I can control my response…. I can take action. I can choose to stop, reflect, pray and hand my burdens over to Him. Thanks for these great words. Great way to start my day!

    • EXACTLY, Brittnie… you summed it up perfectly. It’s amazing to think of the burden of Christ in those moments and how He showed us exactly how to handle our own burdens. We just have to chose.

  7. Thanks for sharing your heart with us My Friend :). This is just the devotion I needed today! Have A Blessed Day! Love, Stacey

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I too have an illness, a life-long illness, that often strips me of my energy and love for living. Giving thanks is an imperative for people like us to make it through those days.

  9. Saram

    I am so thankful for your heart and that you shared this post today. This was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I so often forget overwhelmed by life to thank God for all of it, not just the good that I can see.


    • I think you’ll find, Bindu, that He is most present in the middle of the hard stuff… we so often want to run from the hard and push it away, but when we stand right in the middle and thank Him, we feel Him with such power.

  10. Sara

    I am so thankful for your heart and that you shared this post today. This was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I so often forget overwhelmed by life to thank God for all of it, not just the good that I can see.


  11. Having lived in a chronic illness…I know these words are not written lightly…these are the true hard eucharisteo…
    Blessing for you courage…you are always an encouragement.
    May His nearness comfort and fill….

  12. You touch my heart. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially truly agonizing situations. You’re thankful heart is so encouraging because it’s evident you have choosen to take the harder road. Bless you, girl!

    • You know, it often seems like the harder road at the start of it… in those first steps, but then you feel Christ with you on the whole journey and it becomes easy to give thanks because it’s an easier walk with Him.

  13. Thanks Sara. You are a blessing – sowing seeds of beauty through your life, your words. You are an encouragement – showing us how it is to be real, to flesh out, what we say we believe in. Thank you.
    Wish I could go by your window and wave hello!

    I am thankful for people who reaffirm how God is real and meets us where we are – geographically and spiritually.
    A song I love…..
    He’s the Lord of the sunshine,
    Lord of the rain
    He ‘s the Lord of the good times,
    Lord of the pain!


  14. Thank you….today I am in the hard. And yet, while I’m in that difficult place, there are good things going on for others around me who I love deeply. So that helps take my eyes and mind off the hard thing and focus them on other areas where beauty is blooming.

    I will give thanks in these hard times, trusting, as you say, that God is making beauty in places that my eyes cannot yet see. And being thankful for Him giving me some immediate distraction by what’s right in front of me that I can choose to enjoy.

    • what you’re doing, Beth, is beautiful. I’ve found a lot of my days to be easier when I focus on the joy of others… when I let myself feel their blessings as my own. Because we are meant to live in community, I think He meant for it to sustain us in this way.

  15. Thank you for sharing this. I needed the reminder. I live with daily phyical pain. I am practicing finding things to be grateful for…it take the focus off of self. I am truely blessed today by your reminder. May God fill you with His joyful presence today.

    • I’m sorry for your pain, Sallie… I know the exhaustion it brings. But I am proud of you for walking through it intentionally – it’s a beautiful choice. I’m praying for you today.

  16. So thankful for your words that speak clearly the Truth He wants us all to hear. He seeks to transform our hard – love that. Thankful for his mercies that are new today and will be again tomorrow. That even when my circumstances, location, attitude change – He never does. Thankful that my kids love Him and eagerly pray and praise Him.

    • it’s amazing to be loved like that, isn’t mela? that no matter where we are, He sticks through all of it with us… just waiting for us to reach out to Him. once we embrace that love, nothing is ever the same.

  17. Sara, your heart and soul shine thru brilliantly in the words you wrote. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Blessings!

  18. I really needed to read this today. Also Briittnie’s response. Our pastor has left our Church for another Church. He is following what God is leading him to do and people of our Church have been very ugly. I need to remember that amoung the ugliness I am still very blessed. I also need to remember what Brittnie said that I can not control what happens and what others do. I can control my response!! Me not going to Church so I can avoid these people is not the right thing to do!! Thank you for your encouraging words!

    • The truth is, Cindy, that you going to church and acting on your own choices of gratitude and love might just change some other hearts without you even knowing. God uses us in these situations, not by us trying to fix others, but by us simply living in the way He has called us to.

  19. I, too have AS. so reading your story under chronic illness was something that really spoke to me. Thanks for sharing your story.

  20. As I’ve said before — you are a beautiful person and writer — you really make us stop and be thankful for what God has given us especially our families. You and your family are in my prayers daily. Your Aunt Mary gave me a little frog a long time ago and told me what FROG stands for — Fully Rely On God and that’s what I do. I wish you’d let me do something for you — let me know! Love, Great Aunt Donna

    • Hi, Aunt Donna. Do you know where that phrase originally came from in our family? When Mary Jo’s granddaughter Kaitlyn was fighting cancer it was how they ended every Caringbridge entry when they updated about her. I told it to mom and then mom kind of made it her motto with her business. It’s neat how it all comes together, isn’t it?

  21. the scripture that relates and confirms it for me is…”the joy of the Lord IS your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) . it’s what reminds me to give thanks in all circumstances, to find joy even in pain, and to sing when there’s not a song in my heart. this scripture has saved me because it’s a promise from God that He’s got this…if i will give it to Him.

    happy wednesday gitz girl…you are a blessing!!!

  22. Overwhelmed – yes I get that with chronic pain in my body and in my heart having lost my partner to suicide – things can feel overwhelming and I feel I can’t take any action. But you have reminded me that I can – I can give thanks and trust God to work things through. Today I also give thanks for you – you are a true blessing.

    • my heart aches for your loss, Caroline. praying for you today and giving thanks that we found a place to share it here.

  23. oh boy were these words true of me today. i was overwhelmed at work: with emotions i didn’t like that were surfacing because i was weary in the midst of a battle that has been going on for months. i cried out to him and to others for help. it didn’t really feel like it helped much before i had to reenter the battle. but as i pressed forward, i began to sense that i was being held. did my emotions vanish? no. but i felt as though i was not weathering them in my own strength. that was good, because i knew i was very weak and susceptible to the sins of the flesh. i wish it was more natural for me to remember eucharisteo in those moments, but i’m trusting that God’s at work doing something i can’t see. thanks for the reminder, gitz. it’s beautiful what you’re allowing God to do through you.

    • your crying out to Him, Jenn, was your first step of thankfulness… even if you don’t realize it. because you made a choice to let HIM into your circumstances rather than let them ruminate in your own heart and your own power. once you invite Him in, you can thank Him for carrying your burden. you did better than you realize, sister.

      • thanks, hon. i’m not all that good at the grace thing either. 🙂 thinking of you today and all that you’re carrying, and believing what you said is true for me is true for you too.

  24. I love the picture you create of taking gratitude, breaking it into pieces, and passing it around to all of us. You make our Daddy proud because you are willing to do this with the hard eucharisteo, and we are encouraged even more. You *are* a hundred kinds of beautiful, Gitz. Love you so much!

    • you know,this (in)courage sisterhood is one of the best things to come from the pain. sharing life with all of you is a huge blessing!

    • I love you, sweet friend. and I know celiac has been hugely overwhelming for you, but I pray there are many blessings surrounding you in your journey.

  25. Dear Sara, I am thankful for you! Seriously. I found you through (in)courage, and I read your blog every day. I don’t often comment, so you probably don’t even know who I am, but I am thankful for you. Your words and your joy touch my heart and encourage me to keep on keeping on even when life is hard.

    I have an illness called dysautonomia, and it has been getting progressivly worse for 12 years now. Because of the severity and progression my illness has taken, my doctors believe that I actually have a mitochondrial disease as a root cause for the dysautonomia (‘m still in the process of being tested for mito). I’m not completely homebound yet, but I cannot leave the house without help, and outings are becoming less and less frequent. Time in bed increases more and more. Sometimes I wonder about the future and how my illness will progress. I wonder when I am going to become homebound and no longer able to go on an outing in my wheelchair because I won’t have the strength to sit up. I wonder how I will handle being stuck in an apartment all the time, and not just for a few weeks at a time. And then I think about you. I think about the joy and life that exudes from you and the great ministry that you have on your blog. You touch so many lives, and you live so joyfull despite such suffering. It encourages me to press on and not give up, to not be afraid of the future, but to embrace whatever challenges, suffering, and opportunities God brings my way. I am thankful for you and for your example.

    It’s a hard road, and not one I would have chosen, but it has been a great opportunity to learn to be content and to trust the Lord. Even in the midst of suffering, God has a plan and a purpose. If living a life with a disabling form of dysautonomia will bring the most glory to God, then so be it. Suffering from dysautonomia (or mitochondrial disesase) for a few years on earth is a small sacrifice to make in light of all that Christ has done for me. It is worth following God and obeying Him at any cost!

    Thank you, Sara, for your example of patience and joy! You are a blessing to all who know you and to all of your blog stalkers like me. 🙂


    • this was a beautiful and humbling note, Rachel. i am so glad you found me here and that you took the time to write. i know when a person is exhausted that even a comment on a blog can take a lot out of them. i get it and i appreciate it.

      what i’ve learned the most, rachel, is to not let myself worry so much about the “why.” everything for me, journeying through this, has boiled down to trusting Him. trusting that He will make beauty even if i never see it come to fruition. that all i’m meant to do is live the best life i can with what i am given. i pray that you keep living your best life in your moments, and let the future come as it will. you’re doing beautifully.

  26. As one who more recently began following your writings and story, your words once again make it into my personal journal, as part of God’s word to me today. Ann’s quote is also especially powerful-I just reserved a copy of her book from the library. Thanks for always directing my spirit-eyes up, to the only place I will find the rest and solace we all long for.

    • you will love the book, angela, and it too will point only to the direction of Him. it’s the perfect place to keep our focus 🙂

  27. I too have a crippling pain from a chronic illness. This past week the pain has been more intense than I have ever felt it before. I have been in bed for most of the past few days, thankfully sleeping some of the time. The pain takes away the sweet relief of sleep on most nights. As I lay awake I often pray, asking God what He has in mind for me. Asking him to tell my soul what He wants me to learn. Asking Him for His strength. Asking for the will to go on. Thank you for writing this story. For those of us in the midst of trials we sometimes must give in and accept that our bodies need rest or time to heal, we must accept that we are not as strong or capable as we once were or thought we were, we must realize that some of our dreams were not in alignment with God’s plan for us. It is not the same as giving up, this giving in, but it is a necessary part of our growth. I appreciate your testimony and your willingness to share your journey with us. We are with you in our hearts!

    • And I’m with you in my heart today, Aimee. It’s hard to let go and let ourselves rest… it’s so in our nature to fight and push, until one day i realized i was fighting against myself. it seemed so silly to be in a boxing ring with my own self, just beating myself up over and over again.

      so rest, know i’m praying for you right now and that you are not alone.

  28. Roman 8: 16-17 so speaks to our sufferings…The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so we may also be glorified with Him.
    I too suffer with a chronic illness and this verse has been my daily medicine. To know He took on this frailness full of suffering and gave us the very thing that helped Him bear it, the balm of thankfulness gives me assurance I can bear up. I so often pray, Lord conform me to your image…just the good part of it please….can you leave out the suffering. To suffer with Him is to know Him at His fullest. It’s only when I make my daily chronic suffering all about me that I feel the fullest weight of it. When I allow it to become my friend…it then becomes a tool in the Master’s hand to be used to glorify Him. Thank you Sara for being a tool in His hands. I am starting my day half way across the world as you end your day and I will dwell on your post all day especially this part and apply the balm of thankfulness that I can enter into His suffering in some small way.
    I give thanks to a Savior who was willing to go through the pain so that the hard I live through could also be redeemed.

    • “apply a balm of thankfulness” … what a BEAUTIFUL way of saying it. and that’s really what it is, isn’t it? a balm to soothe our every hurt.

    • Kristen… your life and the way you are living for the Mercy House is such an encouragement to me. I hope you know how much your own life reflects Jesus.

  29. Girl, I needed to read this today. Thank you for using your life and your heart to speak His words to us.

    Also – praying for your family (per your post on your blog). Love you!!

  30. Sara,
    “…He took what He had left of His life and gave thanks.” It would take too many words to explain, but today I have spent much of the day with an earache, sitting with Him, seeking…asking if this promise He has offered to me is truly His voice or too good to be true…And then this one sentence…this one sentence a beautiful holding out of God’s hand…filled with promise and courage…and the rest of life.

    Yes. I take the rest of what I have left of my life…and I give thanks…

  31. I’m thankful for the kids I work with-they are my constant reminders of why I do what I do (especially on days like today when I want to give up), for people around me who care and listen to me even when I cry at being so overwhelmed, for the promise that God is always right beside me and that He will be my strength. I’m also thankful for a God who knows me so well and provided this as a source of encouragement on a day where the title sums me up perfectly. Thank you for allowing God to use you to speak His truth into my day!

    • it helps sometimes to know we’re in it together, doesn’t it kristy? i’m sorry you had an overwhelming day, but am thankful we can be here together and know that He provides!

  32. Oh yes…one of my favorite passages in the Bible is Habakkuk 3:17-19.
    “though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, YET I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God the Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the deer’s he makes me tread on high places.

    I am so thankful that even in suffering or times where i am beyond words, I can trust God and find my joy in Him no matter what my circumstances may be.

    • what a perfect verse {aren’ they all?} … life is so different when we truly believe that God is good ALL THE TIME.

  33. Beautiful words…He takes our hard and turns it into beauty. I needed to be reminded of this tonight. Been in a hard season but my Father has lovingly and graciously walked with me every step of the way. I am thankful that He gave it all so that we could have a relationship with our Father. I am thankful tonight for this hard season – the joy of the Lord is my strength.

    • sometimes it’s in the hardest seasons that we feel most close to Him… and that in itself is such a gift. praying you feel Him as close as I know He is.

  34. Wise and wonderful Sara. I’m sitting here at the end of a long day, holding your hand across the table as we give thanks – for crazy kids, for chaotic homes, for meaningful work, for beautiful community, for real friendship.

    Thank you. Thank YOU

  35. Sara, I am so glad to have found your post in today! Needed these words. I clicked over and browsed through your blog, so encouraging! And though I don’t know your pain, I too suffer from chronic illness, that had me bed ridden for quite some time. And still does at times. But I am so thankful that it is a part of me, but does not define me. And through my pain and illness, I found my God. Yes He was always there, but oh what a relationship we have now! Amazing how I see life now! I pray for healing and blessings for you, Sara!

    • the gift of knowing how to FULLY rely on Him when all else is taken away is a great gift. i’m so grateful that you have had the chance to know Him like that.

  36. Sara what word of power you speak. Potent word that give healing . As Monday came I was overwhelmed with the day it was. Three years ago a good friends who God had brought into our life now a pastor in California called early morning informing of the home going of there son. My man and I so cried out to God to take this cup from them to not allow this suffering to have to be lived through. They had been at our home church when we had our son taken to those streets of gold 14 years now. I have walked through this time with her in prayer

    Sharing hard eucharisteo in those moments with the mom. Gods grace on the season breaking that bread with her sacrifice of offering to our savor as his grace carries. I have grown in the Lord so through this time together praying at first at least twice a week to now once a month. As I was preparing to call on Monday I gave God the praise for what I have been so blessed to walk with her through. Yea hard but so blessed to his glory.

    • what a blessing you must be to them, celie, to be able to fully understand and empathize in their grief. i’m so grateful you have allowed yourself to be used in this way. praying it has brought you as much peace as I am sure you have brought to them.

  37. Wow. Completely blown away by this post!

    I hope you don’t mind, but given how I was feeling I really wanted to also share with my readers about how I’d been feeling overwhelmed, but also wanted to share your post. Please check it out and let me know what you think, and whether or not I attributed it to you correctly. I want to make sure I’m following correct blogging protocols. 🙂

    Blessings to you Sara! Thank you SO much for your words, they really resounded with me and brought me to my knees. I really needed that word from the Lord yesterday, and again today.

    Thank you Jesus!!!!

    • i’m so glad the right words found you at the right time… it’s great how God gives us those little blessings, isn’t it? and i’m glad you could use my words to help describe how you feel 🙂

  38. Lately sometimes all I can manage to pray is “God, Father, I need you.” And he meets me right where I am, in the middle the heartache and pain, and reminds me “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”
    Thank you for the reminder that He transforms that hard, that pain as well.

    • i seriously pray simply like that often. it’s not about the quantity of the words… it’s in the sincerity of our worship.

  39. Wonderful and timely – thank you for sharing this, the reminder that Jesus took His life, gave thanks, and then shared it and poured it out. At the end of a day where the tears are brimming because I have been overwhelmed by the challenges of my 3 small, gifts-from-God children, thank you for this reminder. I will give Him thanks for those 3 little boys, and continue to pour out. Because He poured His life out, I can do the same!

    • (((hugs))) Being a mom is such a tough job… I’ve seen my friends w/tears brimming at the end of the day sometimes. praying you get poured into as you pour out to many.

  40. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I am thankful for you right now and Ann Voskamp whose link brought me to this page. I have been struggling lately with many things in my life and my family. This reminds me that no matter what we are going through here on this earth, this is not our home.
    I am thankful for my family and all that it brings, good and bad. For all the beauty God gives us, if we will just open our heart and our eyes to see it.
    May God Bless you!

  41. I thank God for the wonderful privilege of sharing with Jesus’ sufferings that we too may share with the inexplicable joy and glory that is yet to come. I thank God for the life Sarah lived. She has enabled me to look at the bread and the cup so much differently.