Ann Voskamp
About the Author

Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 60 week bestseller. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the...

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


  1. Oh yes indeed. Grace does rock and comfort the impossible. Again and again and again. And I’m embracing that with you today Ann. May I remember in every moment–kids arguing, friends with loved ones dying, crazy schedules, and far distant dreams deep in my heart–that no thing blows hard that doesn’t carry hope and blessing, because it is all from Him. And it IS all grace. You’ve helped me see that. And no matter what, His grace is enough. He Himself is enough. Because in every moment of every day in whatever seems to be darkness, He is light. He shines in that darkness and the darkness does not overcome it. And when we follow Him, we have the light of life, no matter what is blowing by. No. matter. what. Love you so. xo

    • Hi Ann,
      I never read weblogs, very rarely at least, but your logs speak to my heart. I am Dutch, living in China (for nearly 20 years now). Can relate to many of your diary-entries. I believe your book was translated into Chinese as well. women in our church (strong, wonderful women, working mothers) struggle with submission in a major way.
      Don’t take on too much, Ann! Coming towards the end of the school year. speaking engagements coming up. Seems a stressful time. Praying for you. Anke

    • you said it so well. thank you! This ties to a Bible study I am doing by Wendy Blight. I have been in the chapter on trials come so that. Grace, hope, wisdom, peace, and God is glorified in us. even when we fail, He turns it into something good. Praise God.

  2. Ann,
    I needed to hear this this morning. My grown children makes mistakes that I can’t fix…but the Holy Spirit can still blow in. I blow it by how I respond to them again and again, but the Holy Spirit can still blow in. When I think all hope is lost, the Spirit carries with it not only hope but redemption and so I must wait…letting my prayers take flight to Him. You express it so beautifully, but yet so real. Thank you…

    • Hurting and hoping with you, Bev. Jesus is a master at fixing and reviving and turning hearts back to Him. I am believing with you for your brood and for mine.

      In Christ’s hope,

  3. “And no wind ever blows so hard that it doesn’t carry hope, that it doesn’t blow in blessing too,”

    These words refreshed me today. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  4. How beautiful! This morning was/is one of those not so strong mornings and the verses of Psalm 20 spoke to me along with the song “King of My Heart” by Love and the Outcome and the reminder that there must be valleys if you’re going to see mountains… they aren’t independent of each other. Every high has a low but we have a Savior to walk through that valley with us. Thanks for your uplifting words this morning Miss Ann : )

    • Oh, Heather. Your words? Nodding yes! So beautiful and true. They really aren’t independent of each other, are they? *Thank you* for this today, friend.

      • Nodding too! Sometimes seeing truth is so very helpful…they aren’t independent of each other! Thank you as well!

        • And you know, it is the Spirit that lets us know our messes aren’t so bad as we think…The enemy wants us to believe it is worse when Jesus says…Ok, you’ve made a mess…lets clean it up together!! and then we pray that the heartbeat of Heaven pulses strongly in both hearts and forgiveness is whole-heartedly extended.

          • Kirsten, your words remind me of a magnet on my refrigerator that ministers to me each day: “His mercies are new every morning because my messes are new everyday.” Remembering this keeps me from feeling defeat and turns me towards thanksgiving.

          • I needed to hear this today. I have a daughter that is so often making messes … 🙂 and I think I often reject her in my heart… This ^^ seems so much like Jesus’ heart. Longing for His Heart to have His way through me to my children… And I think I find many times when I am rejecting this ^^ kind of love from Him, I am also unable to Love others like that…

  5. Thank you, Ann, for this beautiful post. How often I have blown everything, again and again. I’ve been carrying around your words from a post a few weeks ago: “Anger is contagious. So is grace.” So even after I blow it, I am truly grateful for the reminder that its never to late to speak grace. And that makes all the difference.

  6. This is kind of silly, I suppose. I’ve noticed that most of my low points lately involve feeling unloved, ugly, unnecessary. So, when I notice the pain starting to creep in on me, I stop and sing softly, Jesus Loves Me, This I Know. And then I remember I am loved.

    • Yes, this simple song is powerful, and I too have found myself singing it and internalizing those fantastically amazing words, Jesus speaking to our hearts, crying out for us to “BELIEVE THESE WORDS, THEY ARE YOURS!”

    • …and when feel as if our song won’t come: The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing –Zephaniah 3:17…

      • “….take delight?” “…quiet you with his love?” ” “…rejoice over you with singing?”

        I could not accept that those words could possibly be for me… I could not receive them, knowing me the way I do. And then one day, overwhelmed, I held and rocked my first grandchild, delighting in her, quieting her with my love, and singind little songs of rejoicing over her.

        She hadn’t done anything to earn my love. But there it was, real and overflowing from a full heart. And I finally understood a little of God’s love for this undeserving yet grateful child!

        • Margee your words brought tears to my eyes. I have never thought about God’s love in that way, but what you said makes it all make more sense. Thank you!

          • Margie,
            My first grandchild is 11 months…. this touched me so much. I have so much love for my grandson ‘just because’.

      • That is my most favorite scripture, Zephaniah 3:17. HE loves us more than we will ever be able to understand . Our job is to let HIM love us and to be childlike and just receive. We don’t have to strive , we don’t have to be good enough. HE LOVES US !

  7. Penny, your words met me where I am at. That would be grace, right? That would be the soft wind of the spirit blowing through the darkness. I will sing also. Psalm 139!

  8. But now, GOD ’s Message, the God who made you in the first place…..: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you….That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.
    Isaiah 43 The Message Bible

    You’re Mine, I love those words from Our God…reminds me I’m always His even when I blow it or when bring him joy. Jesus covers us with grace and love, and we are His, and Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8). Amen to that!!!

    • Oh MY! Your words sent the spirit with goose bumps all over my arms! LOL Isn’t our LORD so AMAZING!! His sweet spirit of LOVE just makes my face smile with sunshine!

    • Love these words from God… thank you for this verse that goes along SO well with Ann’s beautiful post (that I so needed).

    • Pausing and reading Isaiah 43 just now, friend! *Thank you* Amy. Soul beautiful you, sharing His truth. Your words here are a gift — that celebrate Jesus!

  9. Ann, you ask, “will I ever be the person I already am in Christ?” Yep, this farmers wife often wonders the exact. same. thing. And this morning I read Psalm 73:26 and was reminded, BUT GOD. My flesh will prevail and my heart will fail, “but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” And thank God for that. Thank you for reminding us we really can’t ever blow it enough for grace not to cover us.

      • We are living in a state of grace. Thank the Lord…. it’s an active verb: living– not past tense, not future tense, but now, always now…. Love to all, from a sister.

  10. Sometimes the most impossible person to live with is yourself. 1 John 3:20 That condemning heart, so glad Jesus loves me as I am not as I should be, but He knows the secret, one day I will be. Hopeful.

    • Debbie, yes, yes, always loving us just as we are and where we are. This cross-clinging daughter is grateful for grace right with you today, friend.

  11. Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!

  12. Oh how many days I blow it, but how many more days God forgives and life goes on. When I’m struggling with feeling optimistic and looking up, I open up to the Psalms, and suddenly things don’t seem so bleak anymore.

    “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps 34:18

    What a comfort to know that God stays close by and never leaves me, even when I’m not always very lovable.

    Beautiful words, Ann…you lifted me up this morning.

    • Oh, Amy. You bless. Thank you for sharing His truth. How He loves us so! All this, all and only Him, none of us, but Him at work in us, loving us.

      • To Amy and Ann,
        As I was reading this Holy Experience/InCourage blog today and all the comments, I kept thinking, “Yes, I know, in my head, I know there’s always hope, but what about when I’m blown over by hopelessness and despair??” I KNOW the valleys and mountains are continuous, coexisting, one flowing into the other yet sometimes I’m below the valley floor. I was wondering, “What scripture can I have to cling to, that acknowledges those long moments when I’m in that lowest place?” Thank you, Amy for sharing Psalm 34:18 because it does acknowledge that place, and in acknowledging it, I — we — can wait and get through to the coming hope, that not only am I saved but I can enjoy, perhaps even relish, more moments in this life. Hmmm, not unlike what Christ experienced on the cross?

  13. Sending love to you this morning and this verse “I am The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, who saves; I will rejoice over you with gladness, ANN. I will quiet you with my love, I will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17… Isn’t it true, GOD can speak to us when we are low, when we are beating ourselves up and when we lose it? He speaks louder so we’ll take notice. But gives us tender and soft words in our journey back to gracefulness, back to love and back to letting the previous behind..thank you for the love and words that reflect Jesus in each of your writings..humbled xo

  14. Each Sunday, at the church I attend, we recite aloud, “God is good! All the time! Because that is His nature.” When the circumstances of life drag me into the gutter, when all I see in myself are my “lesser thans”, this saying reminds me that while I may not feel good about myself, He lives in me and He is always working for good in my life. Always drawing me closer to Himself.

  15. “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father.
    There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
    Thou changest not, Thy compassions–they fail not.
    As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
    Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
    Morning by morning, new mercies I see.
    ALL I have needed Thy hand has provided.
    Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

    Somehow, the words of this hymn have become my life breath. When I’m happy, I remember He is faithful. When I “slam the holy moments with frustration”…still, He is faithful. His mercies are new every morning–no matter what I’ve done or will do. His faithfulness…yes, His “Grace rocks…” comforting my brokenness, tending to all of my weaknesses…loving tenderly.

    Thank you, Ann, for your words. YOUR words have soothed many a rough day in the past several years of my life. 🙂 I know they are from the Lord. Thank You for your realness with us and your faithfulness to Him.


    • Love, so love this song. Amidst today’s wonderful, worshipful praise songs, the OLD hymns have so much more meaning again when they are heard.

      • Yes! That is my song as well! My comfort when I know that I may blow it over and over, but He won’t!
        Thanks for sharing that to confirm Ann’s words.

    • Thank you, Sarah ~ This song is one of my favorites, too – for the reasons you mentioned!!

  16. This verse has been coming to me again and again.. and I’m taking it seriously!! Philippians 4:8 – ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’ 🙂 Love.

  17. Thank you for sharing this. Glad to know I’m not the one who feels like they keep blowing it. Like A Mighty Rushing Wind, every time we blow it His Grace Keeps Blowing In!

  18. This is a great reminder. I blow it lots. I continually need the grace of God. Submitting is hard. But something that has really helped me lately is he phrase “who do I work for?” – when I work for myself, I will tend to take the lazy way out when I work for my husband I tend to stress out and always fail, but when I work for Christ, I can do all he asks me to do.

  19. Even when waiting for God to do HIS work, I am impatient. When I consider that while doing the work of the Father. Even Jesus waited three days in a grave and his friend Lazarus died that the Father’s glory would be revealed. Clearly His ways are higher than ours. I must always think on these things.

  20. I was just struggling as such this morning. One moment so very close to His presence, the next drifting away. Clinging to those golden, sparkled moments when His very breath is warm on my face and I am not turning away. Yet, there always comes a moment when my cheek turns to another wind, and I feel ruined. He always graces me with a chin-tilt back to His face. So Thankful….

  21. Thank you for these words! As a home educating mom of 4 beautiful children….I feel I blow it more often than not lately and it’s nice to be reminded I am not alone. It’s so hard in this culture to remember and to teach our children that God and God alone is where we find our true joy and can rest easy that He loves us no matter what.

  22. Dear Ann,

    Will you help me? I am teaching a class of 15 women how to paint a flower journal in which to write their 1000 gifts. Reccently, you published a list that prompts you in ways to be thankful. I can’t find it. Please tell me where to look. THank you. Mary

  23. I so often allow my emotions to out shout the Spirit, the anger overcomes the godly, the “unmet expectations” scream out: “this is too hard, I can’t take it, someone else needs to feel this pain with me, and just like that, I find a poor scapegoat. I forget that Jesus became that scapegoat for me, just as He did for others, that I am not “owed” anything, and if I have unmet expectations, maybe I’m the one with the problem for allowing expectations to trump mercy and grace toward those I place them on.
    Thanks for sharing, your vulnerability humbles and encourages me!

  24. head pounding, stomach nauseous, to-do list going undone….and I sit to take a moment, just a moment to check on replies to something I posted on facebook. Then………………I see this post and think, “yes” I will take time. Evil screams guilt statements at me… are wasting time…..there’s nothing here for you…….you are such a mess…..

    Yes I blow it often and the words that I’ll carry away from this sitting……I can’t blow it badly enough that the Holy Spirit won’t keep coming to find me in the midst of my messes. Thank you Ann. Thank you for obedience to a timing and words that were chosen at least partially just for me. I can weather this day with your words and that Hope.

  25. Goodness….blow it…..I so felt this,strong as our Panhandle wind blows, yesterday!!!
    Your words Ann, they are a beautiful gift from our Savior!! I thank HIM for you! Just when I think Im humble, Im not…this slapped me yesterday, smack dab in my snout! UGH! But HIS GRACE surpasses all! and i pick myself back up and read GODLY words of LOVE and GRACE and know all is GOOD!! ALL. IS. GOOD!!!!
    May God put HIS sunshine on all our faces today ! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!

  26. I descend so low in my moments that I fear I’ll never see hope, love or joy again. That I’ve blown it for tha last time and now everyone will see that, really, I’m just not worth it. The enemy delights and I am flooded with shame of just being me. There is no magic formula or verse that usually hits me. It’s just Gods gentle care through my husbands forgiveness, the hugs of my kids or the voice of a friend. And he reminds me that he turns ashes into beauty and that his power is perfected in my weakness.

  27. Thank you for this post. I think many of us need this reminder. I know I do with a 3yr old in the house. Satan has been attacking me a lot lately telling me in a failure and I’ll never be a good mom. This was a good reminder that the Holy Spirit can still blow in on those rough days.

    • Persevere, dear Stephanie, and allow what you know about God’s sovereignty as a weapon to demolish Satan’s lies about your mothering. GOD made your son wonderfully and fearfully, AND chose YOU as the mother PERFECT for His created one . . . and He who began a good work in you WILL carry it on to completion until Our Lord returns!! Blessings prayed over you . . .

  28. Thank you Ann for reminding me that the Spirit wind re-orders my life in a way to be God honouring, even when I ‘blow’ it into a ‘me’ oriented shape.

    Matthew 11:28 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

    I love the ‘unforced rhythms of grace’. That image picks me up from where I am and delivers me to a redeemed place.

  29. Ann,
    Thank you for this all so real message speaking to my mess. If I didn’t have grace and mercy, I would have quit this life a long time ago. I’m so grateful for your honesty and the way you put perspective on our worst days and our worst ways. You and all the others who have commented inspire me to try harder and not feel alone in my failures.

  30. Oh thank you JESUS for your truth and grace!!! I’m a new momma to a 4 month old baby– goodness it’s hard, much harder than I ever dreamt it would be, BUT He is faithful! And when I sit at the kitchen table and cry because I feel like “I blew it”…His sweet voice of mercy rescues me and reminds me that He is enough!!

    “I will blow it but to repent and return, turn to the Cross. To not resist the turning. To submit to the Spirit blowing in again and always again. This is the only way to take wing.”

  31. Ann, I always look forward to your writings. I needed today to know that I am not the only one that feels like a failure. Today I just read,
    Then I pray to you, O LORD. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.” (Psalms 142:5-7 NLT)
    I read this and see that I am my own persecutor, harder on myself than anyone else. I am low & need to be pulled out of the prison of discouragement I put myself in. Thank you Jesus that you know me & love me no matter what. You are indeed my rescuer.

  32. Oh, the sweet, sweet grace of Jesus. His grace finds us where we are, giving us
    strength and hope for every care of our lives. The cares of this world, the little things and the big pale in comparision to the riches of grace that reaches down to us and delivers it all its wholeness.
    More and More I realize Ann the need to depend fully and totally on Christ to grow us in ways that are so Amazing, thus revealing deeper and deeper what has already been found in Christ if we only grab onto it…
    Thankyou for your encouraging, heartfelt expressions of just one more aspect of God’s grace found in every nook and crany of this journey we call life.
    Life here this side of Heaven!
    In Christ, Nancy

  33. Listening to how he loves right now. Nothing like a reminder of God’s overwhelming love to comfort and still my often aching, racing heart.

  34. Tenth Avenue North’s song and video “You Are More” reminds me that what I’ve done, what I’ve been through, who I’ve hurt, and all the mistakes I’ve made (and continue to make) don’t define who I am as a daughter of the King; a Princess. God’s grace, love, forgiveness, and mercy ALWAYS outweighs my brokenness. Thanks for this reminder today, Ann! 🙂

  35. Feeling very “snappy” lately…may his Spirit overwhelm my being…and may I operate out of His love rather than my fears. Thank you for sharing.

  36. Feeling very “snappy” lately…may His Spirit overwhelm my being… and may I operate out of His love rather than my fears. Thanks for sharing.

  37. I love this for many reasons… it’s all beauty and honesty and grace. Always grace. I love it because my nearly grown only girlie used to do the same thing… she called Dandelions Wish Flowers and they have ever since been that for me. Full of hope and future and grace mixed with Spirit being carried off to wherever He desires. And then here and now and my girlie signed papers and moves out in a week. It’s time and yet still too soon.

    I wrote this post awhile back… after brokeness and healing, dreams dying and having to lay down and let go… What Is It About This Kitchen Floor?

    …and this one… From One Mama to Another…On What I’ve Learned So Far – in case it may help…

    Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

  38. Frustration with my mother-in-law during her week-long visit. A visit making my daughter feel special for graduation. A visit making me feel not-good-enough. Finally, the breaking point. Unkind, ungenerous action on my part. And I feel awful. Even more awful than I let her make me feel. Then the words to the hymn float through my weary brain…
    “Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin.” And I am relieved. Grace!

    • I so appreciate your post. I on the other hand, am trying to be a good “new” mother-in-law, but often don’t feel good enough. I think us “women” to be so sensitive and the dance between us, is at best, a difficult one. “Feeling” may be our problem since emotions has ALL do with it.
      Chin up!

  39. Mary Curry – Ann has monthly Joy Dares on her web page that might fit what u’re wanting.

  40. when I am feeling overwhelmed (which is often) the only place I can steady myself is in the complete surrender of worship. I play songs in my kitchen or bathroom or wherever I can find a tiny slightly bit alone place and I throw my arm in the air and sing love songs to Jesus. It takes the focus off of me and what is troubling me or how I screwed up again or just all the pressure and demands of life and puts the focus right where it needs to be… on HIM. Lately, my favorites have been “I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe and “Almighty” by Chris Tomlin and “At the Cross” by Hillsong. They lead be directly to where I can find peace, sitting at the feet of Jesus.

  41. I hear the savior say thy strength indeed is small. Child of weakness watch and pray, find in me thine all in all. Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow! Oh praise THE ONE who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!

  42. Would be interest in the painting journal information also. Thank you for your encouraging words. I share it with my freinds all the time. It is my favorite site.

  43. This called to mind restores hope: I am a pilgrim and a stranger here…one day I will arrive at my better country…my heavenly home.

  44. Heather..your admonision brought this song to my heart…
    King of my life, I crown Thee now,
    Thine shall the glory be;
    Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
    Lead me to Calvary.
    Lest I forget Gethsemane,
    Lest I forget Thine agony;
    Lest I forget Thy love for me,
    Lead me to Calvary.
    Show me the tomb where Thou wast laid,
    Tenderly mourned and wept;
    Angels in robes of light arrayed
    Guarded Thee whilst Thou slept.
    Let me like Mary, through the gloom,
    Come with a gift to Thee;
    Show to me now the empty tomb,
    Lead me to Calvary.
    May I be willing, Lord, to bear
    Daily my cross for Thee;
    Even Thy cup of grief to share,
    Thou hast borne all for me.
    ….yes, He has borne ALL for me/us…
    So..Let.US.come.with Gifts.of.grace….through our moments when we’ve blown it…

  45. Gosh, thank you for this today Ann. It gives me something to ponder on in my heart as I struggle. I appreciate you.

  46. If we never blew it, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross.
    Because we do blow it, He did die. He has already taken all our
    blowings, even what we haven’t blown yet, and blown them away!
    What freedom! What peace! What joy! Unconditional love! We
    are forgiven. He does not condemn us. We have believed on and
    in His Son, our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Hallelujah! Amen.

  47. As always, Ann, your words and shared aches refresh my soul. I’ve struggled hard this week with failures, busy schedules and torn relationships, leaving me asking “why can’t I just get it right for once? Why am I such a flake?” These questions have left me crushed. But God refused to leave me there. All weekend He has healed my heart. As I shout “Loser! Failure!” He whispers “Beloved.” From a Saturday night sermon spoken directly to me (don’t they always seem to be!) entitled “The Antidote For Real or Preceived Failure: Love and Action,” to a proverbs 31 devotional telling me to drop the label of “Loser,” to this posting today! All ways that God has placed lights at my feet to guide me out of darkness…to show me the way to His GRACE!
    God has used your struggle as part of my journey, as He often does. Thank you for continuously turning me back towards Him, friend:)

  48. I rarely post comments, but I read your blog often. Today spoke such peace to me…. this “season” in my life is so chaotic for so many reasons that are out of my control, that I “Blow It” way more than I want to admit. God’s grace and mercy are so sweet!

  49. wow. sometimes I think I’m the only one messing it up again and again and again {but he keeps calling me back again, and again and again} I really feel this one today. He’s blowing through my world, sometimes a gale force wind, but today it’s a gentle breeze, comforting me, reassuring me. When I get down (which happens a lot) I remember this, ” . . . if it were not so, I would have told you. . .” and that little snippet of verse just steadies me and has pulled me through so many things. Just his very simple voice telling me, “if it were not so, I would have told you” and I believe that and I can keep going. Keep going, because I can’t wait to see what’s he’s prepared for ME! 🙂

  50. It is so difficult sometimes to see/hear/sense the grace, especially when I am faced every day with my failure and sin in a daughter who wants nothing to do with me and wants to destroy herself. Thank you for your encouragement to LOOK UP. I needed this post to wash over me today (and probably tomorrow, too).

  51. Oh how i needed these words today, to allow them to just wash over me. I blow it so many times, my anger seems to come quicker than my compassion. I am tired of not being the best mom i should be. I want my girls to grow up with memories of laughter and patience. Yet when the teenager throws the strop the temper rises.

  52. My attention is drawn to the word “feel” in your blog post title. Feelings will get us in trouble almost always. We will not live up to who we already are if we are guided by our feelings. Spiritual highs & lows based on feelings are never to be trusted. We are to set our minds in truth in every circumstance & CHOOSE to be brave & act like who God says we are even though our flesh has failed. Because when our outsides (flesh) fails, it does not change who our spiritual beings are. We are His. We are chosen. We are redeemed. We are forgiven. We are blessed. We are empowered/indwelt with the Holy Spirit! No matter what we do these truths will never be changed when we are in Christ. Choosing to live by this truth has been a life preserver to me this past year. I didn’t always feel it, but I kept on choosing it. “See I have set before you today life & prosperity, and death & adversity…I call heaven & earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life & death, the blessing & the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you & your descendants …” Duet 30:15-20. Read through the whole scripture and we’ll find our promise land & the heritage we’ll leave depends on our choosing! Love your words Ann…they always speak to me soul!

  53. Ann, what a big task to comfort so many. The reward bigger than us all, you do recieve. The song: Know ye not, Know ye not ye are the temple. The temple of the Holy Gost! Jesus sent the comforter to dwell in and thru us. Lord bless you!

  54. My first time on here…and I had to join you. The past several days have felt completely blown. I needed this….thank you.
    And for all my other sisters in Christ? I haven’t met any of you, but I know I love you and will be praying for all of you, and for all the hurting left by the blown-up days. Will you pray for me, too?
    These are some graces that God uses to pick me up…I hope they’ll be a blessing to one of you.

    Ann’s devotionals from have been my miracle. God used her to open my eyes to all this grace and mercy we’re so often blinded to. It’s saved my life.

    Chris Rice’s ‘Untitled Hymn’

    Mandisa’s song “Overcomer”
    The lyrics are so powerful..and the music is dance-perfect. Couldn’t we all use that? 😉

    Grace to all of you.

  55. Ann, what an encouraging post. Thank goodness when I fall short—and I do, almost daily—the Spirit is enough to pour life into the hearts where my words and actions have drained. I’ve blown it more times than I care to count in my relationship with my husband. I’ve crushed the spirits of my precious boys, and gone back to ask forgiveness. They are so quick to offer it.

    Two verses that speak life to my spirit when I feel like a failure, like I’ll never be enough are:
    Lamentations 3:22-24 ~ “The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.'”
    ~Especially when I’ve blown it with my kids.

    Jeremiah 31:3 ~ “The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.'”
    ~Especially when I feel like I’m not enough. God loves me, always and with an everlasting love.

    Thanks for sharing your heart today.

  56. What helps me when I blow it over and over and over and over and over again? Your writing, and your way with words, your preaching of the gospel to yourself. What helps me is knowing I am not alone. That in Christ I am not alone. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to work in you, sharing that gift and encouragement. Almost everyday I turn to your words, and HIS word to bring my heart back into line. To remember, to reconnect with His grace everyday. Each moment that I stubble, each thought that creates a lie. I appreciate you.

    • Sheri,
      I have found Ann’s “preaching gospel to yourself” and important part of bringing me back from the pit of sin, and feelings of disparagement.

  57. “Consider the lilies of the field ……. they neither toil or spin.”

  58. Thanks for letting us see thee real you… cuz many times that is me too! Appreciate your transparency.

  59. A song that has comforted me for years when I feel ugly or angry. The line that gets me every time is: “you can read my empty page, you feel my rage”.

    I Need You by Sonic Flood

    You know who I am inside
    You know when I lie
    You can tell when I`m amazed
    You can see my faith
    You know when I don`t believe
    You know when I`m free
    You can tell when I need love
    You know I`m in need

    Love, I need love
    You are love
    I need You
    Love, You are love
    I need love
    I need You

    You know of my deepest fear
    You know when I`m scared
    You can read my empty page
    You can feel my rage
    You`re aware of when I dream
    You see when I bleed
    You can tell when I need love
    You know I`m in need

    I know we need You, Father
    Much more than any other
    Your love brings us together
    We need You, we need You

    Love, we need love
    You are love
    We need You
    Love, You are love
    We need love
    We need You I need You.

    You know who I am inside

      • Thank you Ann, you and are I are more alike than different. 😉
        And I thank God that you have struggled with your “skeletons in the closet” so that God can use you to comfort others with the comfort you have received from Him.

  60. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, (Romans 8:1-3 NIV)

    We had this discussion in bible study this morning. I feel that way every single day. And these verses are so helpful in reminding me that I am not condemned and that I am forgiven. I can begin again and sometimes I begin again 30 times a day at least. Thank you Ann for always writing straight from your heart. Your words encourage me many many days. God bless you and your family.

  61. Thank you Ann! Amazing how often your words speak to just what I’m wrestling with. This morning it just so happened to be, “Why do I just keep blowing it?” …and then the swirl of every negative thought that follows on, taking me down. Your words reminded me to TURN to TRUTH & GRACE – Amazing Grace! As my mind was shouting, ugly negative things like, “You stupid, ineffective clod…” the Spirit blew in – GRACE! I turned on a worship CD – Chris Tomlin, See the Morning was in the player, and I sang along, full voice in Praise and Worship!

  62. I woke up this morning feeling like I had blown it – again – because illness kept me in bed – again – and I couldn’t go to work – again.

    Then I read this post and God reminded me that He never stops loving me and taking care of me.

    For all you ladies today:

    “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” – Luke 12:27

  63. This is so beautiful. Submit to one another. I’m learning the hard way of the cross too.

    I’ve recently been writing “honor lists”…all the way that my man is made in the image of God, all the tiny ways I’m thankful for him (it works for my boss, my mother-in-law, etc.)…an honor list for God, all His attributes A-Z and can you believe, so embarrassed…a list for myself. I’m pinning words, images on a private board on pinterest. I’m meditating on truth. Who am I in Your eyes again? I feel like I’m coming to a feast every time.

    Then I can turn away from the table full of love, turn toward the world, bless, break and give to the broken again.

  64. Makes me think of the first day of Lent. Thank God it’s not about me!
    I sit with the ghost of ashes
    on my forehead
    still raw and sore
    feeling the sting and exhaustion
    that comes from vulnerability
    in the face of possible rejection.
    I feel rejected, judged.
    I feel unworthy,
    even as I know I don’t need to be
    I felt under dressed,
    one of my hardest, most shame-filled, pettiest horrors in life.
    Vanity is always my snake in the grass.
    I feel judged as less than,
    even though I do not know that for sure.
    Yet, I feel it is true.
    I feel broken,
    I sit in the ash heap of my life,
    reflected in the broken story I have to tell.
    my truth –
    it’s so ugly
    so jagged
    how can it ever be redeemed?
    how can I possibly be arrogant enough to think that God will use me,
    even bless me?
    Because He already has.
    Because He sees me through Christ
    Because the truth is, I am loved and he is making beauty right in these ashes
    even this moment.
    If I have ever believed that for sure –
    then this is the time to truly believe it.
    No matter the judgement of anyone.
    No matter the temptation which these feelings bring.
    yes, this is the temptation of satan –
    to tempt me to feel unworthy and less than,
    like I don’t belong,
    like I can’t make new choices,
    so that I turn away and give up.
    So I do not risk this feeling
    by just not telling my truth,
    but just dress well and always ‘fit in’.
    So that I just begin taking my life in my own hands and making something happen for myself,
    as I am tempted to do each moment.
    I want to heap the ashes on my head,
    sit in them
    and rip my already hole-y sweat pants even more.
    I want to wail – instead of this civilized way of crying with tissues catching my overactive sinus production.
    I want to run far away and lie on a beach.
    I want someone to tell me I’m pretty,
    I’m the victim,
    Life’s unfair.
    Yes, I am tasting ashes for lent.
    Today, I am very aware of my inefficiencies.
    I bow with humility.
    I bow in gratitude.
    I have nothing in myself.
    Yet! (there is hope!!!)
    The only thing that I truly need to know is that God’s mercy is new for me today!
    My next choice is the only one that matters!
    In Christ I stand!!!
    Thank God
    I already know!
    Easter is coming!!

  65. Oh Ann, you are so real like the rest of us! I don’t like reading blogs; they just make me feel bad about myself and remind me of all that I am NOT. But when I read yours, I feel like I am not alone in my weakness, or in the moments I am too embarrassed to admit, or in the exhaustion and oh the dishes! Reading this entry this afternoon was just what I needed. It’s not a moment, when I will get everything and figure it all out. It’s not this “thing” I will arrive upon. It’s the daily walk with Jesus, the getting down on my knees each day and recognizing my great need for HIM!
    What do I do when I don’t feel overly optimistic??? I sing his praises! “Enter HIS gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with Praise!” Psalm 100:4 or “Bless the Lord, OH MY SOUL!” and I put on worship music and tell my spirit how to think, how to be! Oh and I read your blog, which ultimately points me to Jesus and his words. Thanks Ann for another “incouraging” moment.

  66. I truly can relate on so many levels. I love the transparency of emotions and the vivid images you paint with your writings. I remember my own Mom, marching through the battlefield of getting us all ready for church and the desperation in her face of trying to get us where we were “supposed to be” so she could play the piano for the little ones’ church program. I remember moments of holiness slammed by frustration. I saw and felt her wanting to be joyful but wanting to cry at the same time, of feeling alone in the midst of her own family. I learned at an early age that evil creeps in and works hardest when the greatest blessings are there to be reaped, the most hearfelt joys are there to be claimed. The heart can turn to stone and block the richness that God is offering. My own Mom taught me well, without even realizing she was doing it. Straining against her own internal war I saw the GRACE that God washes us with. I struggled just this morning with it, with that frustration and wanting to blame others in anger for “blowing it”, and have already seen God’s blessings blowing in. He blessed me through you and all the inspired messages posted by His Own on this site. He blessed me with a Mom who sent an encouraging message to me just this morning, not even knowing how perfectly it fit in with His plan. BUT GOD is the strength of my heart!

  67. Ann, every post you write hits me straight in the heart!! Thank you so much for being so honest and transparent! I desperately need to hear from you everyday!! Thank you!!

  68. i needed this. thanks. this is our story too and I feel overwhelmed knowing that He is always forgiving and faithful even when I am not

  69. I’m so very thankful that His grace never ever blows over. I am in desperate need of it, especially these days in the midst of toddler tantrums. Accompanied by mommy tantrums. A word that keeps me going is knowing that I don’t have to try to be anyone other than who God has made me to be. When I really embrace that reality, I am a lot less likely to mess up. (Still do, just maybe not as much!)

  70. This was ‘right on’ today for me. I went to vote (primaries here in the US) and a neighbor was helping at the polling station. She had just had a new baby and my husband was chatting with her and asked her what she needed in the line of baby things so we could gift her something. I didn’t talk. I just headed to the voting machine. I didn’t want to talk. I was tired…so yucky, my demeanor in that polling station. I got home and, as God would design it, I watched a TED presentation on my computer. The Bridge to Suicide was about a police officer whose beat was the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge and of the suicides he had been a part of there (only 2 of which he could not talk down). He summed up his 14-minute talk by saying the best prevention is connection. Hadn’t I just disconnected from everyone at the polling station today? Of course I did. I blew it.

    I gave my mother a jar full of memories from my childhood for Mother’s Day like you suggested on your blog, Ann. When I read about this gift I thought to myself, “I can’t possibly get a jarful of memories. My mother and I didn’t share that many moments.” Well, I decided to make the effort anyway and I discovered I was really wrong. As I sat and thought through my life with my mother, I came up with many memories…so many I did not have time to put them all down before Mother’s Day was upon us. Thanks for always writing. Thanks for being transparent so what you write speaks to me. Thanks for always bringing me back around again to God, grace and gratitude. Now…I must take diapers to my neighbor.

  71. Oh how I loved this post! I think it was because it reminded me of ME! So much wanting to be who God has already made me to be, but so much struggle through the day to day and feeling defeated by the selfish moments that steel beauty. I look at my precious 3 girls, all just wanting more of me, and my amazing husband -wanting ALL of me- and somewhere along the way I choose self so often and in so many little ways…without even realizing it. Then the words and accusations & scenarios build in my head. But I can grasp TRUTH! I can take captive every thought (2 Cor. 10:5) and make it obedient to Christ. When the Holy Spirit whispers you hear it end with I LOVE YOU. With my family, on the good days and the hard days it can always end with I LOVE YOU.

  72. I blew it this morning. Ashamed and embarrassed. “But he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness” Acts 14:17 NLT. Clinging to grace today.

  73. I will be 78 next week. My life seems to be spiraling out of control. Unless God intercendes, we are about to lose our home. Family members are awaiting diagnoses of several life-threatening possibilities. We all need prayer, Bryan, Linda, and Paul especially. Please lift us up so we can faithfully face whatever happens.

    • “Please lift us up so we can faithfully face whatever happens.”

      Gerrie, your words – and clearly, your heart – are truly humble before the Lord. God bless you. May you feel His presence, His strength, and His love.

      For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world!

  74. My beautiful 25 year old son has bi-polar disorder and several other debilitating conditions. He feels hopeless. He is His. BUT he is far away from the center of His will, because God has not chosen to heal him; he feels betrayed. All his peers progress, finish school, marry, start careers, and here he is… so paralyzed by fears & anxieties he cannot leave home. And at age 26 in the US, we lose insurance coverage on him. We fear what the next day brings; he is so despondent. So when you have a moment, lift up my beautiful son Michael that the ONLY ONE who can heal him…give him hope and a future will draw him back unto Himself. Thank you.

    • Sheila,
      HOlding you and Michael in prayer now. I relate to peers moving on, life moving on for others when our own children are suffering and life’s not quite all working out as we had “planned for”. Jesus surround these dear ones of Yours with Love & Light from within. Help us to trust You more in all things, Lord. ~Melody

    • Sheila, there is a response to your comment from Melanie that I want to make sure you do not miss reading – but it is further down on the page, so please look for it! Hoping this comment “lands” in the correct place . . .

  75. These words all breathe life into my soul today! Thank you, sweet sisters for sharing your hearts!

  76. This song, Unredeemed by Selah – listening to this every time I’m going in the van somewhere.

    “Life breaks and falls apart
    But we know these are

    Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
    It may be unfulfilled, it may be unrestored
    But when anything that’s shattered
    Is laid before the Lord
    Just watch and see, it will not be unredeemed”

    Not sure if this link will come through for listening or not…but google it…so worth a worship moment…trust me!

  77. We are ALL on this ‘journey’ my sweet Ann. Thanks for this encouraging message…yep, it was still encouraging… 😉
    Journeying on…
    Much love and blessings on you today,

  78. I am so tired. So very tired. This learning to live with a new, less healthy normal; each day weaker than the day before is hard. The only thing that keeps me focused on God each day is counting the blessings He gives. Sometimes one. Sometimes a dozen. Verses get lost and mixed up in my brain in a jumbled hard to decipher mess but counting always helps. That and praying for others. I seek out the requests of others like a flower stretches its roots to get water because it is in those prayers that I speak for others that I gain the most strength.

  79. Your words are like poems of praise.
    Ahhhh….the grace. I could not live without it.
    And your pictures!!

  80. Thank you! Dealing with a prodigal right now…the one we never worried would stray, a heart so tender to the things of God. I needed that reminder that the spirit can still blow. Needed this today! Thanks again for the way you strive to listen so intently to the Father, and how you share that with so many of us journeying to be more Christ-like. Blessings, Cheryl

  81. Isaiah 40.31 Those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength…

    I blow it daily – but His mercy is new every morning (another favorite from Lamentations). I am a prisoner of His Grace.


  82. Thank you Ann for sharing the real-ness of daily life. And on those Sunday mornings trying to get ready, when life just keeps tripping me up and I’m running late,…we too sometimes say’ what’s the point’, out of frustration. And EGO…because we don’t want to show up in class a bit late,…but then I had a thought…the song ‘Just As I Am’…. and I am messy,….but His blood was shed for me….
    Thank you for being real,…we all have moments of ‘What’s the point’…

  83. Thank you all! A friend posted this and I knew it was for me today too. You have helped me to remember . Through tears I pray I can figure out how to get here again for words of wisdom from ladies that I have never met yet GOD allowed me to see that are so much like me. Thank you

  84. Thank you Ann for this post. When I realize that I am ‘blowing it,’ I resort to my verse and prayer journal and start re-reading it, read the numerous blogs that I subscribe to, listen to K-Love radio, review my DBT accountability checklist and/or read verses from ‘God’s Promises for Your Life. All of these tools redirect me and give me HOPE!

  85. I also have been sing “Jesus Loves Me” repeatedly as for past 3 months, have realized how unworthy I am, living with onset of anxiety after having eyes opened (by Holy Spirit), to how I have lived a life of disobedience for 34 years of marriage by not respecting my husband (always justified it due to way he acted), and now we are bearing the consequences as our relationship is distant -husband says have to move forward & no need to talk about—feel The Lord has got my attention, telling me wants me dependent on Him alone, to trust Him, that in midst of consequences He stilloves & forgives me….that I am to pray to love my husband as He would have me love, whether returned or not. My thoughts question how God could still love, still forgive….all I know is that, in each moment I am praying that He will not let go of me, because as hard as this is, I cannot imagine going through without Him! I want to leave my sins at the foot of the cross and burst into songs of praise for His great grace and mercy……may it be so! Jesus loves me, this I know! Lord, may I see beyond my feelings and the consequences of my sin to singing and praising you for your unfailing love and trust that even now, you can redeem and use my family for your glory!

  86. Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
    I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.
    ~Isaiah 43:4

  87. Two special songs (among so many that I know and love), seem to ALWAYS lift me back up, when I have failed…failed God and failed myself…losing sight of what matters most…losing hope…losing faith. I am often my own worst critic (going way back to my childhood), and can fall into the age-old “pattern” of unforgiveness (of myself), when I have been a disappointment (to myself and – presumably – to God as well). They both remind me of the depth and trustworthiness of God’s GRACE…and that it’s all about Him anyway (not about me and my failures – big or little). Music almost always speaks to my heart, when my self-pity, self-criticism, stubbornness, grief or fear get in the way of (listening for OR hearing) the voice of The Holy Spirit…music often clears away the cobwebs and/or stills the angry storm in me…helping to straighten my crooked thoughts and put me in a grateful state of mind, with a wide open heart…where I long to be all the time.

    (1) It Is Well with My Soul

    The original manuscript[7] has only four verses, but Spafford’s daughter states how later another verse (the fourth in order below) was added and the last line of the original was slightly modified.[8] The music, written by Philip Bliss, was named after the ship on which Spafford’s daughters died, Ville du Havre.

    When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    (Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
    with my soul (with my soul),
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

    My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

    For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

    And Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

    (2) What A Wonderful World (of course, sung by Louis Armstrong)

    I see trees of green, red roses too
    I see them bloom for me and you
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

    I see skies of blue and clouds of white
    The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

    The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
    Are also on the faces of people going by
    I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
    They’re really saying I love you.

    I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
    They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world
    Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

  88. You have been so honest this week, Ann – and THAT I find encouraging. None of us is alone in our struggle – we all struggle but we can find encouragement in the sharing. For me, a lifeline to Him is my accountability group. 3 of us. We share openly – meet and share and pray every other week and almost everyday via Facebook messaging and texts to one another. When I fall, struggle, question, cry, laugh, rejoice – they are there. And I try to be there for them, too. Often we say, “Where would I be without you all?” I learned it late but am glad I learned it – to open to others. I tell my daughters to do it and they are because they know the prayers have worked. Our kids now will tell us, “Get the ladies praying!” so we have taken to calling ourselves “3 Ladies Praying”! I tell everyone, find someone or someones that you can be totally open and honest with and who will be the same to you – it is what you need!

  89. Thank you, Ann, for your raw, real, open heart. This song brings me to my knees – it is the cry of my heart. I hope it blesses all of you who struggle as desperately as I do to be the woman He has called me to be. I, too, blow it every day. Thank you, Jesus, that you are the anchor that holds me and keeps me. Hillsong – Cornerstone

  90. Oh how well I know those moments of irrationality and regret and sorrow and apologizing afterwards. Thank God that He is not human and so far above us that He can flood us with more grace and love than we’ll ever understand!! And He calls us back to Himself time and time again to restore us. For we will always have those moments until Christ returns and it’s all over forever as we shed humanity for Divinity and life everlasting.

  91. At times like these Gal 4:4,5 echoes in my head, in my soul!
    “And when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, Born of a woman, Born under the Law, to redeem those under the Law, so that we might receive the full rights as sons.”
    This is sonship/daughtership right there in Galatians reminding me that our Father had all of His great plan of salvation right from the beginning, and that “when the time had fully come” He sent Jesus to do for us, what we could not do – Hallelujah
    You are a beloved daughter because a beloved Father has said so and He has an amazing plan that He is fulfilling – be at peace beloved sister.

  92. Why is it we feel we must self-protect always?? It doesn’t work and it hurts others and puts up walls between us and those we love. Why is it when we are most broken, we use our words to break against those closest to us? I am so glad God’s love doesn’t depend on me…and that His Love Endures FOREVER! I’ll be needing it that long and beyond! Praise Him!

  93. I can never imagine you angry, Ann. Even when you write about it!

  94. Thank you Ann for your authenticity. I desperately needed to be reminded of this, as I am in the middle of a situation that I did not create, yet am involved in, with my husband who has PTSD, whom I love so dearly. The walls seem to be crumbling, yet this one thing I KNOW, Christ is here, in the middle with me….and He will continue to be.

    • Joetta,

      Father I bring Joetta’s husband to you now. Heal him from his PTSD. Help Joetta to show him how much she loves him. Bring peace to their family. I pray that their world won’t crumble and you can shine in the midst. Shower Joetta with peace and strength to endure.


  95. Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in Spirit.” The song 10,000 Reasons also brings great comfort and a reminder to sing the Lord’s joy no matter what is going on.

  96. Sheila,
    I understand the situation with your son. I have bipolar disorder myself. I know how difficult it us. Please know that I will be praying for your son along with the rest of your family. I have never done this before & actually am not sure if it is appropriate but I feel led to give you my e-mail address. Mel4uofa{at}yahoo{dot}com I would be glad to talk to you about trying to get health coverage & other necessary things for your son. It has taken me 15 years to get to where I am today so I know it might help to have someone that has been down the road you are on.

    Sometimes when I’m having a tough day Matt Maher’s song “Lord, I Need You” is just what I need. The part that speaks to me is the line that says “when I cannot stand I fall on you”. That is exactly where I need to stay until He picks me back up! He’s ALWAYS there to catch us & to hold us up!!

  97. You, O Lord, have made a way;
    The great divide You heal.
    For when our hearts were far away
    Your love went further still.
    Yes, Your love goes further still.

    You alone can rescue, You alone can save,
    You alone can lift us from the grave.
    You came down to find us, led us out of death;
    To You belongs the highest praise –
    You alone.

    You Alone Can Rescue by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman (2008)

  98. Blowing it? Seems every time I turn around I’m blowing it. Satan is just waiting for me to mess up so he can breath down my neck and remind me of my failures. But repeatedly and faithfully “mercy comes running” and tells me that I am His – forever and always – that He chose me on an ‘as is’ basis and that each time I blow it it’s an opportunity for Him to encourage, correct, educate and love me through it. When it is so bad I want to hide in a cave like Elijah and think I’m fighting my demons alone – demons I’ve given credence to; when I’ve stomped my feet and raised my little fist saying I want it my way – and He gives it to me only to come along and woo me back so he can clean up my mess – He reminds me that ‘He was there all the time, waiting patiently in line’ for me to realize that life doesn’t work without Him…. And I get another ‘do over’. Grace, mercy, faithfulness swirling around me causing me to laugh out loud.

  99. This has been a remarkable morning for me! I rarely take the time to read all the comments on blog posts, but I have done it this morning, and it has felt like FELLOWSHIP with all you beautiful sisters in Christ–and I I’m not even WITH you! But my spirit has been refreshed by being ‘with’ you in all your refreshing honesty in sharing your walk with Jesus. I’m 77 years old, and have been struggling with grief over a much-loved grandson who has returned from Afghanistan with PTSD, coming home to more heart-break, trying to discover who he is as a civilian–and me trying to encourage him while my own faith trembles because of watching his pain. I know the Lord loves him even more than I do, and has His hand on his life–but he is hurting, and I hurt with him! So being with you sisters has been a greater blessing than I can describe! Thank you! (His name is Colton, in case you feel led to pray for him.)

    • I say a prayer for Colton. So many men and women have served our country and lost so much. PTSD is so hard to deal with. I have read that yoga helps. I take a class once a week, and it calms my body and mind. Perhaps Colton could try it. Also, taking walks where there are trees. That is calming too. I pray Lord that you touch Colton, so he will turn and know it is you walking this journey with him. Comfort him especially at night when he lies down to sleep. Wrap him in your loving arms of grace. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

      • Thank you, Janet, for praying for him–it is especially meaningful that you pray for his lying down at night. He does have recurring nightmares, and rarely gets refreshing uninterrupted sleep. I pray that for him too. Just last week he went to Alaska–no job in sight–but he said he NEEDED trees and mountains and beauty–so your suggestion about going for walks in the trees is a good one too. Blessings to you and yours.

    • JoAnn,


      I bring Colton before you Lord. Please help Colton with his PTSD. Help him to not have so many nightmares. Bless him with good sleep and help him to discover who he is outside of military life. Shower him with good friends and encouragers.


    • Sharing this link for your grandson – many of the offices that do this Brainwave Optimization give free therapy to veterans especially for PTSD. Look for an office in your location. There is help. He needs advocates like you and others. Abundant peace and wisdom for you & him.

      • Thank you so much, each of you who have offered prayer and help for Colton! In a brief e-mail yesterday, he said he wants to find a good church! That right there was a huge reminder that the Lord has His hand on him! So I’m praying that God will lead him where he needs to go to find encouragement and Truth. Does anyone know of a good church near Wasilla?

        • JoAnn –
          Another precious resource — this healing prayer ministry is led by a British Vet who has a huge heart for soldiers with PTSD. Nigel even has events specific to these ones so precious to the Lord. Please consider contacting the ministry or having Colton call on his own to see how Colton can be ministered to by folks WHO UNDERSTAND. Bless you and God Bless Colton.

  100. 1 John 3:19-20
    The Voice (VOICE)
    19-20 There is a sure way for us to know that we belong to the truth. Even though our inner thoughts may condemn us with storms of guilt and constant reminders of our failures, we can know in our hearts that in His presence God Himself is greater than any accusation. He knows all things.

    This verse brings me comfort and reminds me that I am not the one who knows myself the best, God is, and He loves me no matter how badly or frequently (constantly?) I blow it.

  101. “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” -Nehemiah 8:10b. This is what he told to the Israelites when they realized just how disobedient they had been.

  102. Ann, thank you for your words today. They so encouraged my heart. Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing these words with us. On a day like today, it makes me feel as if I’m not alone.

    This song speaks to my heart when I’m in those moments where I feel like I keep blowing it – it reminds me of my need for Him and His grace that covers me.

    Lord, I Need You (Matt Maher)

    Lord, I come, I confess
    Bowing here I find my rest
    Without You I fall apart
    You’re the One that guides my heart

    Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
    Every hour I need You
    My one defense, my righteousness
    Oh God, how I need You

    Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
    Where grace is found is where You are
    And where You are, Lord, I am free
    Holiness is Christ in me

  103. Ann- So blessed by your posts. I am homeschooling my 3 in the suburbs of Washington DC and regularly feel totally defeated! I am so blessed to belong to a vibrant church during a time of incredible upheaval – right before we lost our church building two years ago, our worship team recorded an album titled “A Thousand Amens” one track is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I have listened to that track and become totally undone – mouthing the words as tears stream down my face, hands reaching for the face I long to see:
    Jesus sought me when a stranger,
    wandering from the fold of God;
    he, to rescue me from danger,
    interposed his precious blood.

    O to grace how great a debtor
    daily I’m constrained to be!
    Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
    bind my wandering heart to thee.
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    prone to leave the God I love;
    here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
    seal it for thy courts above.

    His love is so crazy big.
    ALSO – we have a little thing we say around our house that has a big impact on ME. We remind ourselves out loud: “God’s way is the best way. EVERY SINGLE TIME. And we trust Him. PERIOD.” I find when I’m getting all tangled up in myself – eyes off Jesus – getting back to Him with that simple statement of faith helps. It has also helped remind my kids that God’s assignment of siblings/parents&children/neighbors&leaders is no surprise or mistake. LOVE to you and yours.

  104. Thank you for this Ann-I reread this post twice just now-letting the words flow and revive as they speak softly to my spirit. How often do I blow the holy moments? How often do I feel as if I am, indeed the most impossible person to live with. How often do I come back the the Lord first in frustration-then in humility as he graciously forgives. Then, if I listen hard enough and bow low enough I learning that He speaks to my heart and presents to me the path I should take the next time around. I take His yolk and we share the load as I clumsily move forward and learn how to walk in His ways.

  105. His eyes run to and for throughout the whole earth, proving, showing. He *is strong. We do that too, don’t we? Try to prove strength. In the valley and on the mountain tops. In me. In Him. Meh. The greatness is this though – When I come up empty handed, He is constant. His strength never fades, fails, flails. He is no fraud.

    Your words bless me as my blind strength seeing eyes search for God in the dandelions and Tennessee spring.

  106. Oh, friend . . . ! This was me this week . . . oh the self-condemnation and the mis-management of His economy that fears I’ll never have the peace I desire to accept me . . . as I am. Oh I could have a whole day full of conversation with you about just this. And . . . we’d count it as grace because of how it draws us to Him and keeps us at His hem . . . eh?

    {hugs} and much love to you, Ann.

    P.S. You have no idea how profoundly you minister to me in your raw, real self.

  107. I send an email to my sister in Christ and ask for prayer. I hate to ask……..but am realizing it is the best to do so. Relief comes…….

  108. Lately I have been feeling overwhelmed and like I am blowing it all the time. When I start to feel the anxiety of failure I pray and I put headphones on and listen to Audrey Assaud.

  109. Oh Ann… I know you wrote this for me. Thank you for this, yes Jesus always takes us back and forgives his Grace is unending. I just seem to blow it so often. Thank you Ann

  110. One thing that always makes me smile and feel ready to start the new day is to sing — “This is the day. This is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made. I will rejoice! I will rejoice! And be glad in it, and be glad in it. This is the day that the Lord has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it. This is the day. This is the day that the Lord has made.” This song has never failed me. P.S. I also LOVED the pics from the dandelion run!

  111. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…” Whenever I blow it, I am reminded that I cannot do this thing called life on my own. Without His redeeming grace, I am nothing. Hope blows in when I surrender my broken self to His mercy and accept the gift He so freely gave me on the cross.

    • Oh yes that song works for me and always brings me to tears because of the truth of the words

  112. One of my favourites, Ann. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it and Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!

  113. I’d love to share a painting I did of my daughter called “a wish come true. ” I tried to capture the characteristics that we love so dearly and that point to her diag of Down Syndrome. A curved pinky etc. -her name is Grace. Thank you Ann for reminding me of it. It’s almost 4 years since we flew to Ecuador to adopt her.

  114. All our lives, day by day, the Holy Spirit draws us toward God. He is ever patient and He knows this earthly life is hard for us at times. He never gives up on us, never tires. God knows we will never be perfect in this life, but we don’t have to be. The grace Jesus offers when we come to Him is without limit. It continues renewing our spirit, heart and mind. I’m so very, very thankful.

  115. Thank you for the wonderful reminder that when we fail is always the time for God to shine brightest if we but let Him. I have no children at home, but no matter our age, we always need God’s grace as we learn slowly and sometimes painfully to walk like Jesus.

  116. “We shall need, indeed, to cry to Him who alone can keep the flame burning, to trim our lamps and supply them with fresh oil.”
    C.H. Spurgeon ~ HOW TO BECOME FULL OF JOY ~ No.3272 ~

  117. Grace. It always comes back to Grace.

    And the song ‘Who Am I’ by Casting Crowns
    “Who Am I”

    Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
    Would care to know my name,
    Would care to feel my hurt?
    Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
    Would choose to light the way
    For my ever wandering heart?

    Not because of who I am
    But because of what You’ve done.
    Not because of what I’ve done
    But because of who You are.

    I am a flower quickly fading,
    Here today and gone tomorrow.
    A wave tossed in the ocean.
    A vapor in the wind.
    Still You hear me when I’m calling.
    Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
    And You’ve told me who I am.
    I am Yours, I am Yours.

    Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
    Would look on me with love and watch me rise again?
    Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
    Would call out through the rain
    And calm the storm in me?

    Not because of who I am
    But because of what You’ve done.
    Not because of what I’ve done
    But because of who You are.

    I am a flower quickly fading,
    Here today and gone tomorrow.
    A wave tossed in the ocean.
    A vapor in the wind.
    Still You hear me when I’m calling.
    Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
    And You’ve told me who I am.
    I am Yours.

    Not because of who I am
    But because of what You’ve done.
    Not because of what I’ve done
    But because of who You are.

    I am a flower quickly fading,
    Here today and gone tomorrow.
    A wave tossed in the ocean.
    A vapor in the wind.
    Still You hear me when I’m calling.
    Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
    And You’ve told me who I am.
    I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours.

    Whom shall I fear?
    Whom shall I fear?
    ‘Cause I am Yours, I am Yours.

    And ‘I Am’ by Mark Schultz
    I Am the maker of the Heavens
    I Am the Bright and Morning Star
    I Am the Breath of all Creation
    Who always was
    And is to come

    I Am the One who walked on water
    I Am the One who calmed the seas
    I Am the miracles and wonders
    So come and see
    And follow me
    You will know

    I Am the fount of living water
    The risen Son of man
    The healer of the broken
    And when you cry
    I Am your savior and redeemer
    Who bore the sins of man
    The Author and Perfecter
    Beginning and the End
    I Am

    I Am the Spirit deep inside you
    I Am the Word upon your heart
    I Am the One who even knew you
    Before your birth
    Before you were


    Before the Earth (I Am)
    The universe (I Am)
    In every heart (I Am)
    Oh, where you are (I Am)
    The Lord of Lord (I Am)
    The King of Kings (I Am)
    The Holy Lamb (I Am)
    Above all things


    Yes, I am almighty God your father
    The risen Son of man
    The Healer of the broken
    And when you cry
    I Am your Savior and Redeemer
    Who bore the sin of man
    The Author and Perfecter
    Beginning and the end
    I Am

  118. I am 64 & still think “when will l stop blowing it.” But l DO get quicker to say the “S” word. Beautifully written, A.V.

  119. I sing “It is well” over and over again – out loud – until it is well with my soul.

  120. My husband and I have been married 33 years this summer and I am still late every
    Sunday. And every Sunday I swear it won’t happen again when I see how frustrated he is. Being on time doesn’t matter to me, but disappointing him does. As always, you have reached inside to an inner place and put into words what my heart feels as I fail week after week. Your ministry of words has been a gift from God this year and your life shared openly and vulnerably is a flow of the Living Water in a dry and weary land to this fellow sojourner. May God bless you richly and abundantly for sacrificing your quiet introspection and sharing it with a world that desperately needs to hear God’s voice through your pen <3

  121. When I am struggling…feeling blessed…when I have failed…when I have triumphed…my breath remembers something Ann wrote…”YAH” (inhale) “WEH” (exhale)… I become centered on my Lord…His breath brings me His peace…His grace….His love…I am filled with thanksgiving and praise…to Him be all glory!!!

  122. Blown it again should be my theme song, with humbled again as my chorus. Today I said Thank You, God, because I was in the slippery place of pride and felt a fall was on the way. The fall came through two statements made to another in innocence but they were misunderstood by others. The real me, the one that needed humbling for being so grumpy for 3 weeks, received the needed blow and I wait on Him now for healing. Jesus, forgive me. Grant the strength to confess my ugliness to hubs and not act All TOGETHER. I am not.

  123. A recent blowing it was more of an ugly blowing up with my kids, my little grace teachers. Had me so upset I couldn’t seem to get past thinking of it so God put some verses literally in my face at the house of a friends that I never intended on visiting while in another country doing a visa run… He really has all resources at His finger tips and will go to all lengths to breath His grace Amen?!! It was from Philippians 3:12- 16 … I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. 13My friends, I don’t feel I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14I run toward the goal, so I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 16But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed.’ Coming from Paul another champion of grace it certainly calms my heart, reminds me of His grace and redirects my focus forward in Him. One. Step. At. A. Time. Shalom.

  124. WOW, what an encouraging post, Ann. God bless your artist’s heart. “No one ever blows it so badly that the Spirit can’t still blow in”. Praise the LORD for Him being in the still, small voice, a gentle breeze, the Breath of Life. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts” in Zechariah 4:6 and “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” in 2Cor 3:17.

  125. “Will I ever be who I am in Christ?” Love the present tense of “I am”…in Christ I am who I will be. Wow, that really gives me hope and courage to press on!!

  126. This was for me today. I am on my own 3 little ones. I know I don’t have to be enough He is enough ,yet sometimes I am just not enough to deal with all the needs of this family. When I start to lose it I feel so discouraged because this is not the mom I wanted to be. It is just hard sometimes and well I just needed this.

  127. Ah, dearest Ann. Yes, we blow it — all.the.time. But when we lean into one another, when we let the Wind blow through us — small miracles happen and what was topsy turvy comes right again. You lead us well in these confessional times, my friend. Thank you.

  128. When I am feeling frustrated or overwhelmed God sometimes sends a song to my mind and a favorite of mine lately is “Count your Rainbows” by One Girl Nation

    The hands that paint the sky and lift the sun to rise
    will keep on holding you close through every season
    Mercy and morning light breaks through the darkest night
    so keep believing no matter what you’re seeing
    Just remember…..things are gonna change
    Just remember…He’ll bring you brighter days

    You know the stars can’t shine without the dark
    A fire can’t catch without a spark
    Like sunshine mixed with a little bit of rain
    Beauty begins right after the pain…so count your Rainbows

  129. As I approached my car in the parking lot this afternoon at the school where I work, I noticed that someone/something had busted the back glass. It was spider cracked everywhere, and completely shattered when I walked up to the car. A group of students gathered around, asking, “Aren’t you upset, Miss W?” All I could think of was my uncle’s near-fatal car crash 2 1/2 years ago, and reply, “Guys. we are getting to see shattered safety glass without a car wreck. What a blessing!”

    Sorrow in the past often puts present inconveniences in perspective.

  130. My encouragement for everyone is the song “It is Well with My Soul” by Chris Rice. As soon as I heard it I got the CD. That song speaks to my heart.

    The verse I offer is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.” “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you” “To give you a hope and a future.”!

    I blow it ALL. THE. TIME!!! After blowing it I go back to the person and apologize and ask forgiveness. If God can forgive me then I pray you can also!!

    Blessings 🙂

  131. Thanks, Ann, for your vulnerability; I love knowing that you’re real.

    The scripture I’d share today is the one I’m “pursuing” this week: Romans 13:14 “Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.” If I’m clothing myself with Him, I’m thinking there’s going to be a check in my attitudes and thoughts.

  132. As I connect to say hello, the autumn wind is funneling down the chimney, the trees are being tossed about – a storm feels imminent…..right now I’m cosy inside. Last week it felt like the storm was inside, and yet looking back,the Lord buffered for me. He buffered……..These moments of stillness inside- I want to bottle them for next week. For next month, next year. But His mercies are new every morning. I just need to pick up my mercy-catcher and carry them with me for the day….Holy Spirit remind me, remind me.

  133. “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt, Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt. Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.” Julia H Johnston (1849-1919) – one of my favorite hymns

  134. Reached a new level of “blowing it” today as my son’s BUS DRIVER called to report Big Boy’s errant behavior. Oh yeah, the bus driver. I guess the principal, teacher, guidance counselor, and tutor had reached their quota for calling me. Problem is, Big Boy is a good boy with a brain that doesn’t cooperate. With him, I feel like all I ever do is BLOW IT! More of my story:

  135. Right before I read your blog, I blew it again – over and over, day after day. But I was reminded today that we don’t just serve the only God, we serve a great God and there is nothing too big for him to forgive. All our sins are forgivable by him. And no matter how many times we blow it, our children’s souls, our husbands souls, they are all in God’s hand. In God’s control.

  136. What a blessing to read your words and than to read so many of my sisters praising God and rejoicing in His truth. Gods words sweep over us and we are changed! There is no deeper joy then the joy of the Lord Jesus! He so loves us and wants to comfort us with His unending love! Thank you Ann for heeding his call to write for us, those that are hurting and comforting and being challenged daily. Keep sharing what the Lord has given you so that we remain in His word and feel His love!

  137. I loved this post so very much. I can so relate to snapping out of frustration and then feeling so defeated because I know God created me to be better than that. To answer the question—when I’m not feeling very optimistic, I often grab my camera and start snapping pictures of my blessings. The way the light shines in the windows on my baby’s toes. The flowers in the garden. Even our chickens. My son’s freckles. All of it is SO beautiful and when I start to see the beauty in my simple life, I start to remember that God is in all of this. He created us to find joy in the smallest of things. When I write out blessings or photograph them, I come back around to remembering all of the good things that He created for us to enjoy.

  138. I cry and pray and He makes me whole again. Glues all the broken pieces back together again and sooths my wounded spirit and comforts the disappointment I always feel in myself and He tells me He’s not disappointed in me, but loves me very much and I’m okay until the next time I blow it and run to Him again.

  139. “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” ~ Isaiah 41:13 My life’s verse… *sigh*

  140. Ann,
    Your humility and vulnerability encourage me sooo much! Thank you for sharing your journey! God has really ministered His message of grace to me through Peter’s life. First he is called him the Rock on which the church will be built then a few moments later he is rebuked by Jesus and told he is carrying satan’s agenda. He denies Christ then he is starting the church. God showed me if he can use a quick to speak and slow to listen, emotional, and zealous man like Peter to be the rock of His church he can move through me in the midst of my brokeness and weakness.
    Keep pressing on! Your life is beautiful!!! Thank you for inviting us into every part!
    God Bless,

  141. When I’m not feeling overly optimistic I remember that my expectations aren’t His expectations…it’s more important to love than fill a quota. So easy to get caught up in living a life that is “successful-to-me.”
    I’m grateful for your (almost daily) encouragement- the Lord has blessed me greatly through many of your writings Ann, I give thanks to God for you! Praise Him!!

  142. Last year I experienced life changing trauma in the form of an infestation, not only my body but our home was enveloped in a mysterious affliction. Day and night, my husband and I worked relentlessly to try overcome this but establishing the cause proved to be not only difficult but impossible until repentance began. The experience drove both of us but in particular, for myself, hard into my Saviour’s arms. Backslidden for years, I unwittingly and gradually replaced worship with lesser gods and shamefully, had lost sight of and forgot or perhaps had never really known, the Source of Life. I clung in name only to Christ but my heart and actions were far from him. I had allowed “sin” to quietly invade and then decimate my life and just like these critters, that in reality tormented me, my sins were hidden unseen tormentors separating me from the real life and the gifts Christ was offering through obedience and following Him. All I guess I am trying to say is, that I learned once more that SIN is hidden and very capable of destroying us. A lot of soul searching with the Holy Spirit’s help and many saint’s in prayer and truck loads of GRACE brought my husband and I out of that torment. Praise and Glory to God! He has set us in a better place physically and in every other way. Taking time to actually learn God’s word through a bible class each week is paramount for me now as I am learning God’s word and this is shedding his light upon my life to keep me from SIN. Most importantly though for me I am finding that his GRACE is teaching me to begin to trust God and realise without Him we are blind to our sin …lean not on to your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5.
    I appreciate very much the wisdom and gifts shared on this blog and praise God for the way he feeds us here.

  143. My 7 year old son, as I write this, is in the emergency room. He’s been having panic attacks. He thinks he’s dying, he can’t breathe, that he’s choking and he thinks his life doesn’t seem “real” and he’s terrified. And I wonder what I’ve done wrong? I have 6 children and I pile on the guilt of their sins on myself because I see my own sin so clearly.

    I realize nothing I’m writing is encouraging. LOL! But your post today encouraged me. But for God’s grace and His healing power when I’m so utterly powerless. And I’m hooked on weekend multivitamins on your blog. When I read of someone else’s struggle and/or victory it is a great encouragement to know I’m not alone.

  144. I’m the Mum of a sturdy and strong non-verbal 7 year old boy with Autism. This week has been a particularly tough one in our journey. There have been oh so many “I’ve blown it” moments as we try to ascertain what he needs and when he needs it. His anxiety levels have been high and frustration a constant companion. Reading your words were like balm to my weary heart. Ever so grateful for the unending grace of Jesus and the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit. Ever so grateful God inspired you to write and share such words of life with the body of Christ. Thank you.

  145. As a farmer’s wife of only four months, every day brings up a new trial, a new opportunity to blow it.

    I burnt the roast. I haven’t dusted. I didn’t know which paddock he was talking about when he gave me “the one below the trees near such and such a neighbor’s place” directions.

    Amid the joy of new marriage, I’ve felt more despondent these last months than ever before. And yesterday, “have you been reading the Word?” “No.” “Me either.”

    Blowing it.

    This morning, the only way to overcome, sometimes: make myself. I picked up the Word, and I read it, and life filled my bones. I spoke with God while I washed the dishes, and felt refreshment.

    Sometimes, in the middle of me blowing it and blowing it, the only thing I can do is to Make. Me. Do. It. Make myself draw near to Him – in whose presence is fullness of joy.

    Thank you, Ann. Thank you, all you beautiful women who share your “blown it” moments – and by doing so, remind each one of us that we are not the only ones. And in this moment, reading these wondrous words, thinking about the meals we need to make, the assessments we need to hand in, the mud that needs cleaning off the laundry floor -in this moment, we are not blowing it at all.

    Esther xx

  146. Thank you for this Ann. I always think of you as calm, capable and unruffled in all situations. Thank you for sharing that you face the same challenges we all do and you respond the way that I do. It’s so good to be reminded that God’s grace is sufficient for us all and that I need to be patient with myself the way that God is patient with me. With love, Lou

  147. When I was in my early 40’s my youngest daughter brought home a Mother’s Day card she’d made in her 4th grade class “describing her mother”. I started reading the list of sweet attributes; ” My Mother is beautiful, likes to cook, works hard, is angry, likes to bake cookies,… Wait, is angry? I was appalled that not only did she think that, but that she wrote it for her teacher to see! The plain and simple truth is that I WAS angry at that point in my life; little kids, a tight budget, a husband who was gone a lot – just a lot of stresses in my life. I obviously was blowing it a lot, but thankfully The Lord forgave (and continues to forgive) me my shortcomings again and again, and over time I have learned to forgive myself.

  148. My favorite hymm is “He Walks with Me.” “He walks with me, He talks with, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there non other has ever known.”
    These words comfort me.
    I screw up almost daily. Truly! However, I know I am learning, I am growing, and I am loved.

  149. I am here so often now. My life with many unanswered questions. But I try to remember how God has been faithful to me in the past. It helps me.

  150. Reminding myself that I’ve been here before and I’ll probably be here again BUT God is able to get me through and gives me his Word for comfort.

  151. “No one ever blows it so badly that the Spirit can’t still blow in.” YES! I needed to read this and be reminded of this truth today, Ann. Thank you.

  152. It’s funny- I haven’t read your posts in a while I felt like this was one I should read (you named it right). This is something I fight with myself over all the time, it’s the main thing I want so bad to change for myself. We’ve been going threw the Book of James in sunday school (James 1:26 really hit me- I’m always lashing out), and I started reading Peter, and I read and hear all the things that I need to but yet I can’t seem to apply it. My teen is a trigger for my lack of patience, and sometimes my husband, yet I have all the patience with the most unruly 3 year old? I know it’s my problem and not theirs, I just can’t seem to fix it. I even ordered the love dare for parents book I can’t seem to get past day 1- I need prayer.

  153. This hit home with my life today and I know feelings are not facts, yet the are mine. So very thankful He understands and answers my prayer for “whatever” it takes to keep me coming back to the Cross. IT really is all about Him and He loves me non the less, even with my messes.thank you Ann for allowing God to use you to encourage the like of me, His child!!!!Julia

  154. Yes, God’s unending mercy, grace and love blows across the heart that is sorrowful and repentant to fill it once again restoring and renewing. Just today a short snap to my husband as he leaves for work-caught myself quick-to refocus on God’s mercy and offer ‘sorry’ – just in time. Another moment with aging parents who seem negative and Unhappy- me quick to impatient reply and again caught in time to refocus on God’s mercy and say ‘sorry’. Thanks be to God for His indescribable mercy that blows fresh always.

  155. Julia here again…was just reading more and realized I did it again and wanted to ask, rhetorical , how many times can I type “again”? So thankful He keeps reeling me back into ‘now’. Have enjoyed and can identify with these ladies posts! Julia, again…

  156. Wow! What an encouragement not only to read your blog, but the multitude of women who have responded to it. Real women, who have joys and sorrows, struggles and peace. Women fighting against the tide of this world to get to the ocean of God’s love and grace. I am having surgery tomorrow and have been told to expect a painful recovery. Wrapping my mind around that has been difficult. I have been so grouchy and snappy at my kids with battling my anxious thoughts to get back to that grace and peace place He makes. Thank you for the honesty of your blog and the bravery of so many women who took the time to comment. I now feel so encouraged. Especially by Meredith’s comment,”I read Psalm 73:26 and was reminded, BUT GOD. My flesh will prevail and my heart will fail, “but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” I can stand on the shore and fear the tide pulling me under or look at the mighty ocean. They say it will be painful and hard, yes my flesh may fail, oh BUT GOD…

  157. Thank you for reminding me about making sure no matter what I do and believe me I do some dumb and thoughtless things that there is a forgiving God and his Mercy and Spirit are all arround

  158. What a gift you are Ann!! THANK YOU for sharing your raw, unedited heart! Your words ALWAYS refresh, restore, renew!! THANK YOU!!

    And thank you especially for this!! For “no wind ever blows so hard that it doesn’t carry hope, that it doesn’t blow in blessing too. To kneel and receive both, the impossible made possible by Grace.”

    A valley right now, pulling me backward to valleys that I have already walked through. This heartbreak tearing open deep wounds over the last 8 years. At moments the hurt is completely overwhelming, paralyzing.

    But still: He is jealous for me. If love’s like a hurricaine, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His love and mercy. And all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affection is for me! He loves us, oh how He loves us!!

  159. Psalm 27 is a comfort for me, especially verses 13-14:
    13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
    14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.
    I am traveling down a road and am in the valley at the moment. I’m holding on to the fact that He is good, faithful and as long as I am in the land of the living, He is there. I am waiting for the moment when I can begin to climb the hill back towards the top, but until then, I will wait here in this hard place.
    Thanks for your words Ann, they are always a comfort to me.

  160. There is just something about those Sundays that can trigger everything ..wrong.
    When my kids were little, I like others would lay out everything possible the night before. That was the earthly solution. When that was not enough I changed it up. Instead of getting them ready first I started with me. As I dressed I applied the armor in Ephesians ! I got myself in position. I told the enemy I had authority over him!! Any generational pattern from my family of origin was not, I say “NOT” going to carry over to me and mine! This knocked the block out from his undermining my house because my personal house was in order! Hope this helps somebody!

  161. Oh Ann, I clicked on your blog in a restless soul time-nothing stirring, no joy, only fretting, anxiety, “Lord I can’t do this anymore!! My spirit us numb-so much to do, so many commitments, no power, no oomph!!” My restless soul looking for………..what,who?? Then I read your blog-raw honesty, and the Spirit bloooows into my heart, clears the cobwebs, revives, brings tears-of gratitude, for His forgiveness, His live.Ah Lord, I breathe you in again, life stirs, hope dawn’s, a song is borne on my breath. Thanks Ann, from a sister on the journey.

  162. “God knows”. That’s what I cling to in the midst of life’s craziness. Homeschooling our four sons, a medical student husband on medical leave for a muscle disease we can’t figure out, cancer in our youngest . . . some days all I have is “God knows”. He knows best; He knows me. All will be well and, if I cling to Him along the way, all will be just fine indeed.

  163. When I am feeling not enough, overwhelmed or keep getting it wrong, I am encouraged by this blog and Matthew West’s song ‘Strong Enough’. Thank you Ann for being fearless enough to put yourself out there for me and others who relish your reminders of who we really are.

  164. Whoever wrote the song “Easy Like Sunday Morning” apparently didn’t have to get a crew ready for church every Sunday morning. That’s for sure! Whenever I feel like I blow it, I read something from Ann Voskamp, and I am always brought back to knowing that “all is grace.”

  165. Oh my this just happened yesterday! On my birthday! Not getting for church but just getting dressed in the morning and getting ready for the day. One stress after another from the moment my feet hit the floor, Some stress from outward circumstances but mostly the anxiety in my head and heart on top of the days trouble = DISASTER! Thank you for this! I have read both of your books ANN and love them with my heart and spirit! I also ordered a ECHARISTEO bracelet and it is an everyday reminder to love a life looking for blessings and to be a blessing and to offer THANKS because it always precedes the miracle! EUCHARISTEO!

  166. Here are verses that come to mind: Proverbs 14:1 Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. Also,  Ephesians 2:8-10 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

  167. The song ‘This is Amazing Grace’ always speaks to me…especially the line that asks.’Who brings our chaos back into order?’

  168. Another thoughtful example and real instance of just how easy it is to ‘Blow it’ and how hard to come to terms and make amends. I know that all too well. Your photos reminded me of the scripture and beautiful music interpretation by Fernando Ortega that I call a favorite: All flesh is like the grass, the grass withers and fades away. When we keep that perspective of just how short our time here is, we become more aware of what really matters. Being late is not the worst thing unless it’s being too
    late for the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ.

  169. A verse that has always brought peace for me when I know I’ve blown it – so very many times – when I’ve felt like there is nothing I can do right, when there is no one I can please… when I feel like no matter how hard I try … I’m just one miserable mistake after another
    “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” Matt 11:28.
    When I bring it to Him, He always does give me rest and fill me with peace – He takes the heaviness from my heart and guides me in the direction HE wants me to go rather than the direction I decided to take ( which as it happens is always when I make my most miserable mistakes)

  170. Grace and Gratitude. Those two words change the course of my life and made me realize that I was never going to stop “blowing it” but that I was enough anyway.

  171. “He makes beautiful things
    He makes beautiful things out of the dust.”

    Love this song……

    Watched my little 2 yr old scared struggling under water today after she stepped off the steps of the pool before I got in…… It was only a few seconds but felt like forever…. I Felt so scared and inadequate today….. a failure to my little one.

    Thank you Jesus for saving her, for saving me. Please help me find peace in the failures and learn from them in the future.

    Just another young mother of six

  172. I am always so encouraged by you, dear Ann! Could not get your blog for many days, and have been reading them for 45 minutes! Boy, do I feel full of joy! Am better after another nervous breakdown. Reading lots of His Word has brought me life again including more medication! Jonathan’s family is all settled in New Zealand! God is sending helpers to replace him. Only God can help with this huge transition. Too wet to plant corn here yet. Grandchildren bring me much joy! Praying for you every day! You are a great mother, Ann! God made you very special and thank Him for that mercy and grace! You are so young, Ann. Things will get easier as you keep looking up to Him. Let Him hold you close. He loves you so! I love you, too! Mother of seven sons! 🙂

  173. it’s the Holy Spirit,always Him, reminding me God’s grace and how without that amazing grace we can’t live a real life,and our life can day by day be transformed into grace that will inevitably transform everything around

  174. You read the Word.
    The Word reads you.
    And we all think about the last time we blew it.
    I don’t have to go very far in history. Yesterday.
    My college graduate of one day. So sick.
    Yet he didn’t want the hassle of buying the antibiotic.
    Said the girl behind the CVS counter didn’t enjoy her job.
    Wouldn’t help him. So he left. In pain and empty-handed.
    Not a great way to prepare for his upcoming surgery.
    So, my words fly. Flung far across the phone.
    Why do I think my anger accomplishes what is right and good?
    I love that you want to find God more than solutions to your problems.
    Psalm 20:4 – May God’s pleasure prosper in your humbled hand.

  175. I haven’t been here for a long long long while and boy this post and all the comments, verses, songs encouragement have left me in tears. I can’t say much but I’m glad I’m not the only one who has blown it and even gladder that His grace finds all of us. The devil tells us so many lies – so thankful for the Truth.

    Ann you don’t know how many women you are blessing. God bless you abundantly.

  176. I so identify. God revealing my heart, the ugly that’s still there and the right that is growing there. How hard it is to ask forgiveness. Sharing your struggle is just what I needed today.

  177. Thank you for the very reminder that as long as I am a child of God, I can always return to Him. I know I am always falling short it feels at this time in my life. Satan has made me doubt even becoming a momma these days. it feels everyone isn’t listening, obeying or following God’s ways. I feel like such a mess these days. thank you for your honesty.

  178. Dearest Ann! I so appreciate your transparency. I have done exactly what you did so many times I’m embarrassed to say……blowing up over something that may not even have been that big a deal, because I kept stuffing all those things until a spark ignited the big blast! Most recently I came across a song on You Tube performed by the California Baptist University Choir and Orchestra called “Don’t Worry About Tomorrow”. It has been an absolute LIFESAVER for me.! It’s a very clever rendition of an old song. I never tire of hearing it as it calms my fears and gives me hope that The Lord never created us to know about tomorrow……the manna was only good for one day (except on the day before the Sabbath, of course).

  179. Whenever I’m feeling under-optimistic, frustrated, spent, etc. I just say a little prayer over and over and over. It’s from Max Lucado’s sermon series “What Happens When Grace Happens”

    Dear God of all grace,
    Grant us the grace to receive Your grace and grant us the grace to live it.

  180. Oh, I needed to read this today! I made a mistake–potentially a costly and most certainly a thoughtless one–and I heaped terrible anger and condemnation upon myself. Why is hardest to extend grace to myself?? What helped along with the tears was to ask God to quiet me with His love (Zephaniah 3:17). He did just that and reminded me that I am beloved, that the mistake wasn’t irreparable or eternal, and that it will be okay. Grace, Deb, grace.

    Deb Weaver