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...

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  1. Ann,
    My mother turned 80. This is the same woman who led the conga line at my wedding a year ago. To me, she has always seemed ageless…always able…always there. Lately, however, I have seen some changes in her personality and it has made me come face to face with the fact that she will not always be here. Yes, deep down inside I know that, but when you have to begin grieving a loss (denial, sadness, anger) then you really see what you stand to lose. When you really come face to face with losing what you love, then true love is born. Thank you for putting words to what I’ve been feeling.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev, yes, my heart hurts with you. Rejoices with you. Takes a deep breath with you …thank you for the way you live — all for Jesus, friend.

    • Bev,

      I completely understand what you are talking about. My mother had the beginnings of dementia in 2005-2006 and in 2007 after 1.5 months in hospital, rehab, ICU, etc. She came home to full blown dementia and sundowners. It was at that point that I felt I really lost my friend. She lived 2 more years and succumbed to death in 2009 (at 84). For me death was a blessing in disguise. She no longer had to suffer the effects of dementia and my dad could finally be freed from the 24/7 care of her. Do I miss her? You bet.

      Cherish every moment you can with your parents. Take walks, sit and listen to them talk about good old days, whatever. Do it before the time is gone!

      Now I’m coming to terms with the eventual death of my aging (90) dad. it is hard realizing that in a few years I will be parentless in this world.

      Blessings 🙂

  2. I had to read this three times. Once it was to painful I skipped lines. The second through streams of tears, and the third I finally made it with a lump in my throat. I lost my Daddy in April. He was my best friend, my antagonist, my supporter, my biggest fan, my hero. I am still aching for his physical presence. But I am finding his smile in places I know they would be. And that is refreshing. When we were faced with losing him it seemed impossible. He was ironman! No way! It can’t happen! Now it’s……it still seems impossible. Still feels like he is there. And in the realization that his body is no longer with me, I will never hear that wonderful voice again there is an ache, a hole of you will, that never goes away. But there is a love that is unmoved. A bacon and French Toast on Sunday morning kinda love that brings me a big smile. And And I know he will be with me. So, thank you writing this.

  3. I’ve lived places in my life where I’ve agonized over this inevitable passing, and I’ve lived places where I’ve ignored it completely. There is a place of balance right in between these two that is full of abounding gratitude — that is where the joy and peace can be found. Thank you for your words and for guiding us to that place.
    Jenni@ http://genuflected.com

  4. I understand the message here and agree completely. However, she’s only 61! My goodness you could have decades left with lakeside picnics. This article is about graditude and I feel like it’s bringing me down. I pray that everyone reading this is filled with hope and happiness that only comes from Him. Fear and worry about losing a loved one isn’t coming from our Lord.

    • Thank you…I will turn 57 this year and was feeling a bit down…like my life is coming to an end. Only God knows the number of days I have…and I want to make each one count. I do so appreciate your writing, Ann; your perspective on life always – and the tenderness and honesty from which you write from a wide-open, transparent heart…but I have to say…I was feeling a bit over the hill and am thankful for this comment in addition to the sweet tribute to your mom. Thanks to both Ann and Annmarie!

      • Annmarie and Laura, I completely resonate with your feelings and understand them. I felt them initially the first time I read this exquisite piece at beautiful Anne’s beautiful blog a couple years ago. I’m sixty-two, and, Lord willing, I hope I have more days here to praise Him. I don’t feel that I am at death’s door, and today, so many live vibrantly into their nineties. But I also grasp what Anne is saying. Likely, she is in her forties, and I recall (and it’s so serendipitous, because I literally woke this morning thinking this!)….that when I was forty, I was suddenly aware—truly, aware for the first time, how terribly brief life is. I was struck deeply by its fleetness. Since that time, in just over a twenty-year span, I have lost so many loved ones who were close to me: beloved aunts and uncles, a number of cousins (the youngest of whom were fifty-eight and just last week, fifty), dear friends (one two weeks ago who was “only” sixty-three), and the most precious one of all, my father. It’s true that the three of us are about the same vintage as Anne’s beloved mother, and we don’t *feel* old. We feel inside the same as we did when we were Anne’s mother’s age. So, I think perhaps, when we first read her piece, it made us *feel* a bit antiquated :-), and we don’t, and we’re not. In some ways, we have much more to give at this ripened season than we did when we were physically younger. But the thing is, Anne’s intent isn’t to depress us, but to help us realize that none of us knows how long we will live or how long those we love will live. That’s just truth. Because we don’t, Anne is urging us to savor every moment of life, live it to the fullest with purpose and passion for the Lord, and to savor *those* you love by spending as much time as possible with them. And if God gives us more than *this* day, then praise the Lord! We start to savor and thank Him all over again. We don’t deserve it, and it’s a gift. Anne’s piece is a startling reminder that life is both beautiful and friable, and it’s a wake-up call not to take it or people for granted—not for one moment! Rather than be depressed that it is racing on, we can rejoice that we have been given each day as an opportunity to behold the beauty of the Lord and to live in such a way as to make an eternal difference. I think her piece is a rallying cry to seize the moment and not to succumb to a season of regrets. Again, I understand why this piece, at first glance, may have struck you as depressing. But as we think about it deeply, I hope we can see that it’s not. It is a shimmeringly joyful piece about God’s greatest gifts of life and loved ones. And Anne’s writing rings loudly with Biblical truth. Ecclesiastes 7 says: “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.” When we truly wake up to death’s reality, we will live life more fully. When we realize we will not have our loved ones forever, we fully engage with them in this thing called life. And when we understand that death comes to every man, we become Christ’s most ardent ambassadors, to tell the world about Him. We long for everyone to know him and to be saved.

        • lovely point….from all….thank you
          In my “aged state”….I realize I forgot that feeling Ann expresses so well!! and we have two daughters and a son who are probably starting to notice the lines in my face and the inevitable changes and yes, I have already lost my mom and dad…aged in their late 80’s early 90’s…and for one it wasn’t so pretty. I am sure our daughter’s especially are realizing that there is an inevitable ending to life. Thank you for opening the lens of perspective <3

        • Respectfully, I must answer you from my own life’s perspective. Yes, her mom is only 61, yes, Ann may only be in her 40’s. But the truth is we are not promised a set number of days. My own mother is in her early 70’s but has Type 2 diabetes and has had a brush with uterine cancer and her father, my grandfather, died in his 60’s of a heart attack. My father is 74 but has had two heart attacks this year and has had two bypass surgeries. His dad died when he was 40, when my dad was only 12. I, myself, have two rare autoimmune diseases and related conditions and complications. I have been sick for 16 years. I literally never know when things will go crazy in my body. My husband is 52 and has a severe leak in the aortic valve in his heart. He hopefully will make it until he gets a valve replacement, but he needs to lose weight first. Listening is not his forte. The point is, none of us is given our time written in concrete. Only God knows His plans. That is Ann’s wonderful point here. Take extra care to value and cherish what you have, and make that person feel the valuing and cherishing, while your loved one is still here.

    • Dear Annmarie, oh, sister do I hear you! Maybe it’s when you lose people you love when you’re young, maybe it’s just birthday days and the turning of calendar pages, maybe it’s just watching the sun set over water — there’s just times when you think long about the brevity of this life and that prayer: “Lord, teach me to number my days” — and that all can be God’s gentle hand up — into seeing the startling gifts of grace and now and here!
      Sometimes I think of Madeleine L’Engle’s words: “If we knew each morning that there was going to be another morning, and on and on and on, we’d tend not to notice the sunrise,or hear the birds, or the waves rolling into shore. We’d tend not to treasure our time with the people we love.”
      May you notice His sunset and hear His birds and listen to His waves rolling into the shore— and treasure the time He gives with the people you love, DearHeart.

      • Oh dear Ann yes this is it. When we lose young our heart clings to what is left. Then we may experience divorce, another gone. Terminal cancer another. So for those who haven’t lost young, grace for Godly wisdom to love grand before the end of days. Bask in the love and light of our Lord with your loved ones. All this has me thinking. How often we prepare earnestly for the arrival of a new birth compared to preparing ourselves and our loved ones to meet our King in Heaven. Soon and very soon as the song says. However, we continue to live abundantly in the eyes of the Lord with our loved ones until the day when we or they are called Home. As my dear earthly father now in Heaven would always say “we Live until we die.”

      • Thank you both Ann and Aimee. Aimee your piece was beautifully written and Ann expressed completely what you were trying to communicate. Hold your loved ones tight. Create memories. Live the beautiful life we were meant to live here.

    • I just turned 60 and I hope none of my loved ones feels sad already about losing me. I lost my older brother 2 years ago. I can honestly say that I miss his sweet face, his tender soul and his “Hey Kiddo” greeting. But I can enjoy the knowing of him in complete peace, joy and gratitude in the presence of our Lord. I don’t feel at all sad when I see him there in the most lovely and awesome heavenly realms! I am GRATEFUL for every moment we had together and am looking forward with GRATITUDE for our time yet to come in eternity with our Lord.

  5. Beautiful words! I have a mom that turned 80 last year, thanks for reminding me to enjoy all these days! ~hugs~ You are such a beautiful person, the Lord is using you in awesome ways. I love to see all of this. THANK YOU!

  6. My mom lives far away from me and we see each other once, maybe twice a year. She’s turning 70 this year. And the part that got me? Being numbed out, because I think that is what one does to not deal with saying goodbye..whether repeatedly or finally…it’s disguised in the clothes of brave though.

  7. Thank you for this fresh perspective, Ann. To be honest, what is stealing my joy right now is fear. The same fear that’s always been there, but as I’ve had a tough time being consistent in my quiet times, it seems the fear grows larger… or at least, more pronounced. It isn’t an anxiety-inducing fear, but it is, nonetheless, a fear that stagnates and paralyzes. At first, I thought to be brave, and move forward — choosing path A, which I felt was in some ways the way God wanted me to go at the present time. But the closer I get, and the more real it becomes, I find myself unsure. Path A requires that I lay down a lot of things about my life – very comfortable things – and exchange them for 5 years of a much, much different lifestyle. I never thought I’d be someone who would cling so tightly to her lifestyle, but reality, family troubles, and money troubles have had me guessing twice.

    In any case, the only encouragement I can give others is what I hold to myself — that in the end, God will make all things good. Whatever I do, wherever I go, no matter what — God is there, and His love, mercy, and grace are never failing. I’m lost and confused, and very scattered, but God and His heart toward me doesn’t change.

    • Athena, thank you, just — thank you for your wise and honest words here. Putting on the armor of God with you, ((sister)). He is always good and His will is perfect…you know I am praying with you Right Now?

  8. Hi Ann,

    Recently, my mother made the decision to move to assisted living. We have been going through and downsizing. Part of the journey was taking the trinkets, and asking questions, listening to the stories that are attached to them, from her mother’s day, from my mother’s girlhood day, from the days when my mother and my now deceased father were dating, one of them being the first gift my father gave her; a locket with both of their pictures and laughing how much they looked like babies being only 15 and 16 years old, listening to the stories of when my siblings and I were young, and growing up. crying with her, mourning for what was and is no more, mourning and grateful for this time of remembering. She has Parkinson’s Disease and it is taking her body, and her memory. I have said to her while I am grateful for the trinkets representing the memories, I would prefer to have her. She hugged tighter and understood…….

    We’ve had talks of this will be her last home before she goes home. While I am grateful to have these conversations, I am still grieving and grateful. Grieving for what was, but remembering who she is, grateful that these conversations are taking place.

    I see her room, her life now carefully chosen now in and for her memories as she looks around in her room’s treasures, gifts from her parents, from her godmother, from her husband, my dad, gifts from her children, and now her grandchildren.

    This sorting has led to long nights of conversations, long after the others have left for the day. This is more than sorting and purging. This is the urgency of cherishing her and the time left. We enter these days knowing Parkinson’s Disease is a thief. Yet she is at peace even though this is a physically painful disease and a mentally and emotionally painful disease because the brain is not cooperating with memory and causes confusion. But, the disease does not have the last say how this last chapter of her life is written, how her family’s chapters are written.

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder of life, life lived, the sanctity of life, and cherishing of our loved ones, accepting who they are, and the recognition that love is strong, but this earthly life is finite and frail. Seize the day!

    Blessings,

    Joanne

    • While I appreciate so much Ann’s writing about her mother, your writing completely melted my heart…as a daughter and a mother, both of whom I am. My dear Mother died at 73 and I was 40 years old. As an only child, with my sweet Daddyboy still living then and 88 years old, I turned completely to him and was blessed with eight more years with him. When I returned to caring for the home I grew up in, I shared the days of touching, decisions and memories alone. Your days and hours with your mother bring me joy in realizing how you both are able to value them and you are validating her in sharing the recalling of the life of her family. At 66, I am now turning to my own realization of the days I have that the Lord has numbered, and how He wants to live them out through me. Oh, may I only live surrendered so that He may shine through my eyes and speak through my words. I pray my two adult children will only remember Jesus in me. May God richly bless your remaining time with her and your family. Thank you for sharing and bringing me into your experience with your mother. Dear Ann, I pray the same blessing for you and your parents and family. You bless us so with powerful poignant words of God’s
      grace and gratitude.

    • Blessing to you Joanne~ Last year my 89 yr. old father moved into assisted living. He has dementia, OCD, paranoia, etc. I visit at least once a week and the others call at least once a week or more.

      Treasure this time and share the memories! You won’t regret it!

  9. Cherish relationships. Make time for them even when its inconvenient. People are the seasonings God puts in our life, and who wants a weak, tasteless, thin soup? Zesty! Thick! Rich! That’s how God intends it. No regrets, when you walk away, you walk away full! 2 weeks ago a wonderful man of God passed away. Being with him wasn’t always easy as he had Parkinson’s and was sometimes hard to understand, but it was SO worth it to be with this man! His death was sudden and a shock, but there’s no regrets! No “wish I had….” Or “I should have….”. And what a wonderful flavor he spiced our family with! I know he’s in heaven now and I miss the bear hugs and corny remarks, but as with everyone, he was here for a time and now he’s home walking and talking (and maybe shooting hoops) in person with Jesus!!

  10. Anne, I LOVE THIS PIECE! I did the first time I read it at yourj blog, and I love it more now, especially because more people I’ve loved have gone on to be with the Lord, so it rings so true. I commented at length above to dear Annemarie and Laura, because I understand their initial reaction. But we needn’t be depressed. Your intent is for us to rejoice in life’s beauty, which we can do all the more, if we realize its brevity. And just yesterday, I thought: I need to go *see* Mother. She’s nearly eighty-five, and not in the best of health. We love each other deeply, talk nearly every day, and do things together. But she and I are introverts at heart, and we can so eaily cocoon in our happly little homes, reading, writing, playing our pianos. But I felt burdened that I don’t visit face-to-face enough. We had the most delightful afternoon, visitng, reminiscing, laughing, reading our foreign correspondence to each other (we both write to pen pals), and just basking in the glow of gratitude for each other’s lives and gifts. If I may be so bold, I think that Satan wants to do anything possible to cause us *not* to think about these things . . . to think that life will linger forever. But the truth is that none of us knows the day of our death. All any of us has is today. Yours is a vital wake-up call to help us to remember that and not to live a glib and cavalier life, but one of glowing intentionality, appreciation, and purpose. I’m so glad that you wrote this, first for yourself, and now for us. I’m listening.
    Muchlove,
    Lynn

  11. January 7th my Mama would have been 80. She died at 51. My older sister (now 61) gave me a vacation to visit her at New Years. My DAD remarried 6 months after our mother died and it was special after all these years to celebrate our mother together. Yesterday I visited my Dad. At near 82 he is well, but I cherish each visit as he slips from my view into the life to come. (He still volunteers at our local mission and bakes pies from scratch)

  12. Oh my, what beautiful, tearing-bringing words!

    My heart is heavy these days as I long to get back my relationship with my oldest son (23) whom has chosen to walk away from me because of misconceptions he has about me.
    I divorced his father after a 20 year abusive marriage and to have blame laid on me for the break up of that family drives a dagger into my heart and soul.
    But I cling to the Truth and know that God is redeeming me through all the pain and sorrow.

    And interestingly, this season I’m going through with my son has made me take a closer look at my relationship with my own mother who will be 84. We live many hours away from one another so visits are limited to once or twice a year and my heart aches knowing that one day she will not be here for me to visit any longer.

    Through these difficult, heart wrenching seasons of our lives the soothing balm of God’s love and grace help to make it all easier.

    Thank you for this beautiful post!

    • Reaching over and squeezing your hand, beautiful Amy. Your testimony here? Blazing Light of Christ in the pitch black. Yes — His staggering love and grace — may we never get over it.
      Quietly praying with you right now.

    • Amy
      I can totally relate…….my heart is broken because my two sons……..in their late 30’s have dis-owned me……….I am divorced from their dad for many years………..I don’t know any of my 4 grandsons……..I don’t know anything about their lives……….it has been years since I have had any communication from them. They are both married to two controlling women. It breaks my heart and I must say that I hear you and I don’t have anyone here that can relate………..I believe others think that there is something more to this situation when I express my heartache. God knows that I raised my two sons to have respect and never had any problems with them. I cannot understand why this happened. Praying for you Amy from another broken heart. I really need to get involved with this……….I didn’t realize that there are so many wonderful women here! I certainly don’t need to feel alone anymore.

      I moved back to take care of mom and dad…… I lost my Dad 5 years ago from Alzeheimer’s..which was a horrible experience……..I live with my frail mom at 87 and take care of her. She has COPD and memory loss. I work full time……it is so hard and frustrating to cope being a caretaker………no one here gets it. Sometimes I need to scream……..then I feel guilty………all I do is work and run errands for mom and come home……….it is so hard not having a life. I am single at 61 and need fun in my life some day.

  13. Ann,

    This made me miss my mother more and more. It’s been 13 years without her and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her or want to share something with her. Her presence is with me when I see something that touches me or when I am reminded of her in a myriad of ways.

    Thank you for bringing a sense of grace to all of us. You are a blessing to so many!

  14. Hi Ann,

    Thank you for sharing this. I just turned 55, and yesterday I was feeling it.

    In the past four years I have lost my parents, my Aunt, who was my mentor in the Lord, my husband left me after 25 years of marriage, and all three of my grown children have married, two that are distant from me since the divorce, and lost friends who just couldn’t deal with the incredible loss I was going through, so moved on with their lives.

    I have learned that there is a time to mourn, and it’s good to think of the things you speak of and treasure the ones we have with us now. I know I will see my loved ones that have gone on one day, my heart aches to see them now still. I look back and treasure the times with those who have passed on, sometimes it is the best comfort.

    Thank you for sharing and the reminder to treasure our moments while we have them with our loved ones,

  15. I read this while fighting tears and nodding in agreement. The memorial service for my aunt is coming up this Sunday afternoon and my heart is still heavy with the loss. She was both my second mom and a dear friend, and at 91 was bright and active, despite increasing health issues. We knew her months were numbered, but weren’t expecting to lose her so suddenly. The words of Jeremiah 29:11 are relevant, both for my life (at 75) and for her death…”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

    • Gods peace Carol, I have an aunt that is the same as yours…..im so sorry for your loss. And dread the day my Aunt Kathy passes with all my heart. I will pray a prayer of peace for you!
      Paula k

  16. Ann,
    I have spent the last two weeks in Minessota with my family of orientation making plans for my fathers end of life. I have had to leave my daughter and husband in Missouri to fend for themselves as I spend these last days with my father. There have been good days and bad days but one day a pastor came and visited with my dad and although his heart and mind are failing him, on that day he shared the 23rd Psalm with the pastor. I sat in the hospital room listening to my fathers voice as tears fell down my cheeks. What a beautiful memory for me as I walk through these dark days. I read you everyday and your words and heart help me navigate these waters. Thank you for your voice and for always knowing what to say

    Rebecca

  17. “It comes across the water and I turn to face it directly: It’s only when you realize everyone you love will one day leave you — that you really begin to love. I reach over for Mama’s hand and she squeezes mine softly, and that says more . . . most.”

    The other day, my friend and I (we’ve been through so many years together) were talking about what it’s like to get a little older (we’re both in our fifties which, we realize isn’t old, but it’s not 20, or even 30). The thing that impresses us the most is knowing our children are watching, and remembering what that’s like—to realize your parents are not immortal, and neither is anyone else we love. And so, we ask ourselves, how do we do this well? How do we lead well into the years ahead? You know what we think? We think it has to do with love. That’s where we landed. And so, today those lines of yours about love meets me on the waves, and your words speak volumes about truth and about hope.

  18. I wrote yesterday about taking a “peace day” and it’s such a simple thing but a restorative thing. You simply give yourself a day to be. To be home, to be an explorer, to be quiet, to be boisterous, to putter, to create… whatever. But when I claim a peace day for myself, it means I always invite the Savior in to it too… there’s room in a do-nothing day, for Christ to do-something down inside without distraction… respite and restore happening in the middle of the week… a chance to notice life instead of it whizzing by. Without being self-indulgent or lazy. God says, be still and know that I AM God…
    Loved this tender post! Thank you Ann!

  19. This past holiday as I stood to thank the 20+ beautiful faces of my family for gathering in our home. One face stood out, the face of my father-in-law. As I looked at him smiling, from ear to ear, in his mid sixties now. I had to share with him how I had tears in my eyes earlier that evening, as he left after bringing in the tamales and rice and mashed potatoes for our feast. I had to share how tears gathered thinking that one day he will not be on the other end of the line when I call for help with my leaking toilet or my stopped dishwasher or to find that ladywho makes tamales at Christmas time. I cried because he is the last of my “fathers”, having lost my beautiful father, who adopted and raised me from a baby, 16 years ago, then having lost after finding my patient biological father after 25 years, who waited for me to find him, 4 years ago. He is all I have left of earthly father’s and as I write this, my tears well up with such gratefulness that I was given one more father who takes care of me like his own daughter. I thank God through my loss, for giving me so many wonderful men to protect me and guide me and love me, because so many have no father’s. Gratefulness for His grace.

  20. Dear Ann,
    I want to say thank you! Thanks for your God given words of love! It has changed my life.
    I lost my dearest friend 12 yrs ago, my Momma, Rita Ann Hargrove. I almost lost myself thru this.
    I still cry, still long, and still feel the heartache today. I didn’t lose myself, I found myself through this loss. BECAUSE I fell into HIM! HIS GRACE! HIS ARMS!
    I learned loss can be to LIVE! LIVE in HIM, LIVE with HIM! HIS peace that overcomes all understanding! I was young to lose her, my dreams were unfilled with things I knew we’d do together in this life……so that still “gets” me. But walking this life without her is OK…cause HE said I AM!!!!
    and HE is!
    So I breathe…..and i stand with my eyes closed to feel HIM….and all is GOOD! ALL is GOOD!
    in Christ’s love,
    Paula k

  21. Hi Ann,

    My mama went to be with Jesus in April. She was 60. Oh how I miss her. She was here, we got the diagnosis and three weeks later I whisper-sang songs she loves as she left our world. How I wish that I hadn’t been so busy and hurried with worrying about kids and work. I kept thinking mama and I would have years left to take that trip to the beach or to walk the streets of Paris. I missed the gift of today and living as if time is short and there are no promises.

    Cherish that gift of her presence. Thank you for reminding us all that the way to love life is to imagine losing it. You have never met me, but oh how your words have blessed me and helped me walk through valleys this last year.

    When mama was still here, I gave her 1,000 gifts for Christmas. When I went through her journals after the funeral, she had written down many bits and pieces from the book that blessed her heart. She would text all her grandkids each morning before school with things like, “name 3 blue gifts you are thankful for”. Thank you for reminding us of eucharisteo, even in the darkest place.

  22. Just received news that my mothers cancer is everywhere. Not curable. Without treatment – 2 months…maybe. The loss is real…real close. Hard to see thru tear stained eyes. One day at a time, one step at a time. Praying for comfort and peace and Gods will.

    • Leslie, my heart is heavy for you. May you lean into the arms of our Lord, filled with the sureness that He is ever-present and loves you so much! Praying for you and your mother. Peace be with you. (((Hugs))) – Diane

  23. Ann, This is beautiful. All of it, and this is my favorite:

    “Is there anything more beautiful than the wild surrender to the rock?”

    I read most everything you write twice — once for the message, and once for the pure beauty of experiencing our language through you.

    Oh how you see, my dear friend. Thank you for lending us your eyes, mirrors to Christ.

  24. Dearest sister in Christ-
    Thank you for the beautiful words! It is so important to live like this is our last day on this earth. Even tho we have the grace and assurance that we will see one another again at the feet of Jesus it is still a very difficult time as humans on this earth when we lose someone. My dear sweet sister is grieving the death of her second husband just this moment as he passed away from a heart attack 2 days ago on Tuesday at the young age of 66. My heart is so heavy for my sister right now. This is the second husband she’s buried in her lifetime. The first was when she was a young mommy with a 6 month old baby. Jim was killed in a car accident. Then she married Gordy and the had been together for 40+ years…I cannot imagine the sorrow that she is experiencing right now. I just need to hold her and her hope for her…

  25. My Mom was admitted to ICU, septic and intubated. Last week I traveled 3,000 miles to see her, not sure she would be there when I arrived. It was frustrating in many ways, because of all that could not be said; things that would be selfish for me to try to resolve as she struggles with simply being alive.
    This post is to say the least, timely for me. I appreciate your heart and ministry. I can’t unravel all that my Mom means to me, but I know she is in His hands, loved, forgiven, and part of His eternal plan. Thank you Ann.

    • Praying for you, Timothy. Receive God’s constant unconditional love. I was with my Daddyboy for the last 10 days and nights of his 96 year old life and I just sat at the foot of his bed and softly read Scripture to him. Tears are falling now as I recall how precious for me and I believe for him those hours and days were. Jesus’ perfect peace, comfort and presence for you, Timothy.

      • Thank you Cheryl, the Lord has ushered in His peace, and though I am back in CA. while my mom is in CT. I know the Lord has her in His perfect, loving plan. I appreciate your prayers.

  26. Ann,

    These words spoke to my heart. You truly are a gifted writer.

    The concept of standing by a parent–could be just as well substituted with “God.” He made all things, and if we live our lives as though He doesn’t exist, we will, indeed, become numb to His love and all of His gifts. I’ve been there. I’ve lived, for quite some time, rather numb. Numb seems easy… less messy.

    “Close your eyes long and imagine days without sight. And you open them to a brighter light. Imagine no water. And the next cold glass quenches like desert rain…”

    Sometimes we have to be “broken” to be fixed… sometimes, maybe sometimes imagining it isn’t enough and the losses happen.

    If we are lucky enough, we are encouraged, by the right people to grow stronger in our faith. As a bonus, maybe we come across a blog, a person that we relate to… (:

    Us:
    “He who loses his life finds it.

    God:
    The water keeps giving away to the shore.

    “It’s just a moment in time…”
    One day, all this will be gone.

    “Faith-Grace”
    The sun, it seems so strong now, bright across water.”

    I’m struggling. Thank you for your messages. Praying you continue to reach out through your words because you are truly a gift!
    Much Love,
    Michele

    • When my dad went to Heaven fifteen months ago, it was sudden. His heart had finally given out, but he got to go the way he had asked for–serving the Lord. The morning that God called him home, he had led a men’s prayer meeting devotion, taught the adult Sunday school class, and attended the morning worship hour at his church. Mom made him and my dad’s sister a wonderful Sunday meal. He napped. He got up and said he did not feel well; and he went home to be with his Savior. We do not know what a day will bring forth or how much time we will have with our loved ones. Every day, several times a day if possible, we need to express our love to them. Most of the family was with Dad and Mom just two months before he passed; and we hold dear those moments that we had. Love your family and friends and encourage them in the Lord as this dear lady encouraged and spent time with her mother. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

  27. My Mom is 81. She is a very giving person. I have not always seen that. There was a time in my middle years I was angry with her and said things I regret. It was not until I was desperately depressed, had made some very bad choices, was suicidal….well you get the picture. I was a mess. And I got a phone call one day. “What can I do to help you”‘ she asked. I was overcome with emotion. It was the first hnt of grace. I knew I did not deserve her kindness. But she extended it anyway. And slowly but surely I got my life back together. And in the process, I found God. And my life has never been the same. Having God in my life has made all the difference. I like what you said about seeing with new eyes. As a child I saw my parents as perfect. As a young adult, I realized they were not perfect and I was angry. But today, as an adult, I know they are not perfect and that is ok. Because I am not perfect either. And I can extend to them mercy and grace. Because God did that for me. And now it is my turn to help them out. I love it!,,,

    • Leanna, your words here are a gift, a joy, a hallelujah to Jesus! Has me flat out praising God for doing only what He can do. It’s all gift, grace, that is His that flows on through us and into the world. Your life is a gift that celebrates Jesus!

  28. As I read this, all I could think of was the blessings of know how lucky I am to still have both my Mother and Father. And joy in knowing that I do appreciate every moment and in that I am blessed.
    loved reading every comment.

  29. Dear Anne
    Our mutual friend Paula Rutherford lost her precious daddy Sunday night. She and her family buried him yesterday. Her sweet heart is so broken but eyes full of joy are ever present unable to be hidden by her grief. I am not sure she has been online to see this post. She would be ever so grateful to hear a word from you. Thank you for this beautiful picture. I am giving special attention this year to live without numbing. To embrace the chaos and the laughter. My dearest Paula reminds me daily of His presence as do you.

  30. Dear Ann,
    Thank you so much for this article. This is the second time this week that a story of yours really comes at the right timing. Last week I lost a grandfather and at the day of his funeral my grandmother from the other side got a bad bleeding of the aorta and needed a risky surgery. She’s a life, but we can still lose her. Death and loss came very close.
    Yesterday in my bed I thanked for my mother turning 65 but at the same time I felt fear to loose her. What if I lose her? I can’t do that! What if my children which I don’t have yet, can’t get to know her? I was scared. But this article changed that for little bit. And I try to trust God.
    Thanks for your blogs, your quotes. Bless, Judith

  31. “Not for a moment did You forsake me” lyrics from a song by
    Meredith Andrews

    This reminds me of Grace sooo sweet.

  32. The link I would put in is yours Ann. I am in the same season as your mom. I turned 60 last Sept. and is hitting me like a ton of bricks. There is an urgency to spend as much time with loved ones as possible, and yet, they don’t see it. So I am on a lonely journey on the way home, but being aware, I treasure moments snatched here and there. I wait for an incarcerated son to be released, to have time with him. And I am coming to see that grace covers all of my life, always has, and that God is more faithful than I could have imagined. Thank you with infinite gratitude for your writings.♥

  33. My mom passed away a year ago today – so thank you Ann for this very fitting blog. The doctor called her his “miracle lady”. We almost lost her at the age of 54 due to heart surgery complications. Due to our Heavenly Father’s grace and mercy we were gifted with her presence until the age of 82! My deep appreciation of these extra 28 yrs. was ingrained into me as a deep blessing and gift from God. I often call them “bonus years”! I was much more prepared for her actual passing as a result of almost losing her. More grace from God! Feeling the sadness today, your comforting blog reminds me yet again of the goodness of our God and Father. Another gift. So grace keeps working, multiplying, deepening my love for my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for without His suffering love for me none of these gifts would have been made possible. Your writing today has helped turn my focus to the only place of forever perfect love and peace. Found only in Jesus. The One who gently shepherded my mother into her unique place of resting in Him. “…the God that shepherded me all my life long to this day, the Angel that redeemed me from all evil…..” Genesis 48:15,16

  34. This is so encouraging… A reminder not to take things for granted…. A reminder that there are blessings all around us…. But I find myself overwhelmed with fear and anxiety of the “coming loss” that I can hardly function… And in those waves of panic, I damage every relationship in an effort to protect myself…. The Lord gives and The Lord takes away…. And I can trust in that, I just fear the heartache so much…. Any advice or words of encouragment?

  35. It struck me with a very interesting chord when I read your words “this year turning 61” . That is exactly where i am at in my life’s journey. I am still pursuing. I look out my window asking God what He wants to show me as the trees change during each season. Even though I am in good health, I experience the reality of not enjoying things that at one time were a breeze to obtain. Frustrating at times. What is God telling me? I Am with You. I will NEVER LEAVE YOU. As time goes on grab on to God’s hand. Delight in Him. Do not allow Satan to frustrate you with the fear of loosing. Rather be proactive. Seek God’s Face. He will always meet us. Blessings to you Ann and thanks,

  36. What steals greatful joy???? Wishing for a different moment..Living in the past and wishing things could be different, straining for the future, hoping things would change…. discontentedness with the present moment and all the beauty life offers, as is.

  37. I have just said goodbye to my mother, whom I love but have a difficult relationship with..
    and always pray to God to bless our time together and for Him to continue to open my
    heart and learn to really hear her and how words can come from deep places within her
    soul which pierce those around her, but which show a unique inner strength. I am
    learning to accept her as she is and marvel at her generation (every generation has
    something new to offer the world but I have realised, now just past my 50th birthday,
    that we are influenced so differently and navigate different worlds, the same – but
    different). So, when I came upstairs and saw your beautiful photos of your mother and
    your words, I feel God is drawing me again through your love for your parent, to love
    my mother. To navigate around family and work and friendship relationships is a life
    work, but by the grace of God, who heals and loves us unconditionally, makes this
    possible. You have inspired me to pick up my camera again. Thank you Ann. You are
    in my prayers this evening.

  38. Oh how I love this and you.

    We buried my mother unexpectedly last year at 55, my father at 41 (I was 13).

    I will never forget the night before she died, God singing in my ear- Chris Tomlins song-

    “Sovereign in my greatest Joy… Sovereign in my deepest cry…”

    Walking in to the hospital the next day, back into the ICU only to be ushered out while they tried to save her, I heard over and over and over, “You have to trust Me.”
    Writing her obituary, picking out her casket, doing her hair for the funeral, all I heard was “You have to trust Me.”

    I had an 11 month old and was pregnant with my second daughter at the time and I couldn’t see two steps ahead of me for the sorrow.
    Sometimes all I could do was raise my hands and pour out, “I don’t know anything…. but I trust You.”
    If it weren’t for Grace we’d be consumed in our sorrow and drowned in our tears.

    If not for Grace.

    Much, much love to you.

  39. I lost my mother 3 years ago and though I struggled so to makes sense of the whys and hows, and to reconcile my grief and sense of abandonment with the knowledge of a loving God, I did finally find a peace and even joy through it (and your book 1000 gifts was instrumental!) Now that I am pregnant I find that I am feeling her loss in new ways and am having to deal with new wounds that I had not anticipated. I cling to the knowledge that God is good, all the time, and that His story is so much more profound and rich than what I can dream through my narrow lens colored by grief. I surround myself with His Word, with the encouragement of others who speak truth into my soul, and train my eyes to see the evidence of His love for me in my everyday surroundings. The loss is still there, but it is not primary.

  40. This world is so full of pressures and distractions, most of which steal our joy. I lost my firstborn son, Joseph, to cancer in 2008, and after that I have a different perspective on parenting. These children are little souls entrusted to us to love and nurture, not just people who need to function in society. I’d rather they know they are loved and learn to love well than perform and please and be perfect. Our family resists being too busy and running our kids around from activity to activity. That is no way to spend our short lives. We sure mess up a lot but our focus is on enjoying each day and soaking up the gift of precious time with our kids. Just last summer I lost my baby brother at age 20 and it was another reminder that this world is simply not our home. He was a young man who loved Jesus with abandon and loved others sacrificially and I have full confidence he went directly into the arms of his true love after he left this world. It again caused me to ask myself, “Am I longing for the right things? Do I want to know and enjoy Jesus? Or do I believe chasing other things will fill me up? Where do I find true life?” One of my brother’s favorite hymns, and one that has encouraged me is “Be Still My Soul,” by Catharina Von Schlegel. One of the verses that has brought me immense comfort is this one:
    “Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
    And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
    Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
    Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
    Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
    From His own fulness all He takes away”
    I think these huge losses we all endure can open up space inside us to be filled with Jesus. He is near to the broken hearted and is gentle with our fragility. When only He can comfort our deep sadness it creates an intimacy that wouldn’t have been there without the sadness. I just pray for the grace to always remember where true comfort and life is found.

  41. My heart aches right now with the thought of moving away from my mom at this time in our lives. There are practical reasons for moving and there’s the physical as I have SAD, and with each passing year it gets worse. The south is beckoning me once again, away from the dark, cold, gloomy days of PA. My prayer is that she will go with my husband of 34 years and live with us. No guarantees on our invitation to her. But one thing is for sure, I can see the pain up ahead, coming like a freight train. Could I ask each of you that may read this to lift a prayer for Gods sovereign will for my family as we navigate this decision process. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts Ann.

  42. i let fear stand in the way of joy a lot. Fear my kids will not come home from school one day. Fear my mom will die sooner than she should because of health reasons. Fear I will lose my husband earily because of bad family genes. fear of wrong decision making. I am so fearful all the time. It’s not a good place to be.

    • I have been there too. It is not a good place. Praying for you to see some light through the fear.

  43. I just spent the last 3 days celebrating my Dad’s 90th birthday… I am overwhelmed with just joy and thankfulness…. Our history is long and bumpy at best… When I came to Jesus I was kicked out of my house… It’s been a long journey… The power of forgiveness… Mercy and grace are so very powerful… In my 30’s I could not imagined in my best imagination a good end to our story… But praise be to God…the Author of our Artist of our life… Painted the most beautiful picture… A picture far exceeding any picture I could have imagined…My dad and I meet for lunch weekly… We read the same devotional daily… He blesses my kids and now my granchildren…. Oh I could go on and on of all God’s goodness… Never give up on any relationship… Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father… He still is a reconciler… Working our hearts…those hearts around us… I pray if anyone needs to have hope today… My story breath some hope into their story. Living in full grown Grace… And wow Ann… Your mom and I are very close in age

  44. I lost a dear friend to mental illness almost one year ago. His absence this past year has left me with a deep understanding that we are often not fully aware of our own mortality – grace. Through this loss, I am ever aware of the need to love while you can, because you can – grace. As we receive His Grace we know that in our suffering we truly are able to glimpse in the heart of Christ – grace.

  45. Thank you Ann for your words of encouragement today. In the midst of a possible cancer diagnosis for my husband of 40 years – the reality of how precious our relationships are to us is brought into clear focus. The gift of each moment brings such an acute awareness of how grateful I am for the man the Lord brought into my life those many years ago. Yes, “When you realize that what you have, you will lose — you win real eyes. You win grateful joy.”

  46. I sang this song today while I made lunches for my children. I am lifting up my cup and thanking God that the well, once dry, is filled to overflowing. Your writing touches me like no other, Ann.

    From Richard E. Blanchard —

    Like the woman at the well, I was seeking
    For things that could not satisfy.
    And then I heard my Savior speaking—
    “Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”

    Fill my cup, Lord;
    I lift it up Lord;
    Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
    Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
    Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.

    There are millions in this world who are seeking
    For pleasures earthly goods afford.
    But none can match the wondrous treasure
    That I find in Jesus Christ my Lord.

    So my brother if the things that this world gives you
    Leave hungers that won’t pass away,
    My blessed Lord will come and save you
    If you kneel to Him and humbly pray—
    .

  47. Beautiful reflections. My dear mother of 85 years has lived with us for 4 years. We stand at a crossroad. Her dementia and physical/safety needs are more than this mother of 6 young children can handle alone. In one sense I want to make it work here because I know that one day she will be gone and I WILL miss her. And here, she still knows me. If I surrender her care to others, I will diminish from her memory, which pains me. Struggling with what the Lord would have me do. He will reveal in His time and way. May your words bring realization and awakening of love to others. Bless you, Ann.

  48. Your post reminded me of my mom and what I wrote 2 days ago on the one year anniversary of her death from brain cancer. When we learned of her brain cancer she wanted to see the ocean one more time. So we did that in May 2014 for her 77th bday I between treatments. Thank you for your lovely words about your mamma.
    January 20, 2015
    One year ago today I said goodbye to Mom. Actually it was, see ya later. Goodbye is a permanent word and I know I will see Mom again. How do I know? Because of what Jesus did for us. He came into this world as a baby, to live for us as our example, then He died for us a horrible death on the cross, and was raised again to life. Life eternal. We have that same life eternal because of Christ.

    Today’s “events” are much different than one year ago. Watching someone you love pass from this life is heart wrenching, and was so for me, but glorious for Mom. It was not an “easy” death. I learned through Moms passing that death is a “process” just as giving birth is a process. The body goes through all kinds of “things” passing from this life to eternal life. I watched my granny take her final earthly breath and my dad as well. It was “peaceful” and a wonderful experience knowing where they were going. Being with Mom for 15 months, almost daily, then 24/7 the last 2 weeks was a much different experience. Mom did not suffer, it was just a much different and extended experience. However with her last breath I knew, as with the passing of granny and dad, she was immediately in the presence of Jesus! As a believer in Christ, when you close your eyes in death you open them in the presence of Jesus.

    The memories still appear out of “no where”. Grief is a strange thing. I’ve read the “stages of grief”, but I did not experience the “list” it speaks of. I was never in “denial”. I knew Mom had the worse kind of brain cancer. I was not “angry” because of how she died. I was not “depressed”. I can’t say it’s been “depression”, but I’ve had great sadness for me, for my loss of our relationship. Memories still come in waves out nowhere. Just 2 weeks ago on a Sunday the memories of “what” I was doing, experiencing, one year ago that day, came out of nowhere while I was getting ready for church. It was the Sunday we thought Mom would pass that day, but she lived 11 more days. 11 days I’d rather not remember.

    Moms passing however did hit me much harder than I had “expected”. I was so “wrapped” in the day to day life we had, I hadn’t given any thought to her not being there. I knew the “time was coming”, but the end was not my focus. My focus was Mom and seeing that her life was the best it could be. And boy did we have some great times, during the worst of times! I can’t remain in sadness. And I haven’t. Memories will come and go. And Mom wouldn’t want any of her family to remain saddened. She would want us to live our lives to the fullest in Christ. To live our lives for Him.

    Knowing what Mom is now experiencing makes me smile. Do I miss her? Every day! I think of her daily. I remember all we did together, especially the last 5 years of her life. I dream of going places together only to wake remembering she’s no longer here. The waves of the difficult memories have lessened greatly, but I miss her and always will. Till we meet again.

    That same Sunday when the memories came as a wave again, we sang this worship song at church a short time later.

    I believe in God our Father
    I believe in Christ the Son
    I believe in the Holy Spirit
    Our God is three in one
    I believe in the resurrection
    That we will rise again
    For I believe in the name of Jesus.

    I believe in life eternal
    I believe in the virgin birth
    I believe in the saints’ communion
    And in Your holy Church
    I believe in the resurrection
    When Jesus comes again
    For I believe, in the name of Jesus.

    My heart will sing no other name. Jesus.

    God is so good…always, and I believe we will rise again!

    January 20th is also Tim’s birthday. Mom passed away on the day of her son in laws birth. His birthday today will be much more pleasant than last year.

    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

  49. Ann, a book you recommended, a porch conversation you had. The book “My One Word” I read. My One Word is trust. Oh my…beautiful reminders everyday in the fear, disappointments and rough edges of life of how HE loves me always. 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 is where HE led me today. Oh sweet Jesus thank you!

  50. This morning what is most on my mind is sadness … my husband is dying. But it hasn’t stolen my gratefulness. As you say, Ann, when we face up to the loss we gain so much. This year since we have known about his cancer, and during which I have had breast cancer, has been the richest of our married life. The struggle is the sadness … the thought of him not being here with me, the thought of watching him die, the thought of how I will cope. What I’ve learned through all this – and I know I am not alone – is how to take one day at a time. This can sound a bit trite but it is the only way to live when facing death. One day – this day – count the blessings. When I went through chemo it was your book, Ann, that changed my heart and my whole perspective. Treasure the moments, joy in the pain. Thank you for your faithfulness to honest faith. xx

  51. Hi!
    I lost my dad first and years later my mom, I am married now and my husband is a loving tender guy, when we argue and feel lost without the chance to grab my phone and call my parents to ask for advice, I close my eyes and talk with my dad, he always shows up, he listen, he gives me comfort and sometimes when I am in the middle of that encounter my husband aproach me, we talk and the argument becomes a conversation about understanding. I know they are with me!! Thank you for your encouragement to express our feelings!! A hug! ~CarmeN~

  52. Thank you for your deeply touching words, Ann. They are always a gift warmly received. My Mama went home with Jesus just shy of a year ago. Her Heaven Anniversary is coming up in a matter of days. ‘Twas your writing not long after she left, she was only 78, that drew me to Randy Alcorn’s writing on Heaven when you shared about his Heaven book for kids. I have since read many of his works and had no idea how rich the life that awaits all who embrace God’s Gift. My church experience never taught me these things.

    I am so grateful for your writing that led me to Randy’s writing, that has lifted my eyes. My moments of sorrow, which are really mourning my loss of memory & companionship, are always followed by joy- thanksgiving that my mom experiences such an incredible life in Heaven now and that this is a richness we will both share. I am thankful to have had Randy’s resources in homeschooling my kiddos and in reaching out to family so they too can know the joy that awaits those of us who choose Jesus. That would be my encouragement for others here. Read Heaven by Randy Alcorn and it will soften the sorrow with the promised joys of Heaven.

    This is the world we must walk through- but this is not the world we are living for.

  53. I lost my mom in 2012, she was 86. I miss her every day yet know beyond a shadow of doubt that she is now living her forever life in that Forever Land. xo

  54. I am so afraid of dying. But lately, the fear has been lifting. I’m enjoying my two beautiful girls more. My husband means more to me than ever. My own mom and I struggle with our relationship, but I pray that one day it will be restored. I have been catching glimpses of heaven here and there. My favorite place, much like your mom, is the ocean. Every now and then, although I live 6 hours away, I feel the breeze, my toes digging into the sand, the warm sun shining on to my skin, the sweet, soothing sound. And then in a second it is gone. MY glimpse of heaven. My little piece of grace. I imagine this is where I will be when I die. It makes leaving this world not so scary (and why should I be afraid anyway, I’ll be in the presence of the Lord). Thank you for your blog, Ann. I try to read it daily, and everyday it inspires me. Love and grace to you.

  55. This week I have watched a sweet young couple go through the loss of a child, born without taking a breath. And I couldn’t help but give thanks, for all the days of joy that little”C” gave her family even through the pain. All those wonderful days of anticipation and butterfly kicks. Life is brief. More so for some than others and each and every moment is precious. This article doesn’t make me sad, but makes me want to jump for joy and see the glory in EVERY moment. Thank you for the perspective!

  56. When the fear and the worry come, and they do, when grief doesn’t want to give up its permanent foothold, I reach for anything that lets me create. It could be simple pen and paper to doodle, or paints, or the children’s Crayola crayons to scrawl color onto paper. Sometimes it takes monumental effort to push past the feelings and the belief that nothing will provide relief, but every time I choose the creative outlet I am set free. In the beginning God created…and so, we too are called, this can be our healing.

    • I am soulfully with you MJ. Gardening and more recently crocheting have all been helpful to me.

      Penny

  57. My husband had a bone marrow test yesterday. We won’t know the results until tomorrow or Monday. It has been a hard week as I fight off waves of panic. The Lord has said to me “Fear not” and I am holding onto that tightly while watching everything we do as exceedingly precious. I am trying to not look ahead in fear but take one day at a time trusting the Lord. However, this article was thought-provoking. What if God said to me, “Do you wish more to keep your husband with you, instead of letting me work through this process to bring your children to me?” I am not ready to answer that question. God is not a spirit of fear, so I do not want to believe that he would ask such a thing, but I know that he is working in me to submit everything to him in faith. This is such a hard test.

  58. Ann,
    This is very thoughtfully written….thank-you so much for the love that you have put into it. It has brought back many special memories for me and makes me more aware of how blessed I am and have been.

    The greatest strength of all to me has been in the Lord carrying me.

    Blessings, strength and comfort to all,

    Penny

  59. Dear Ann,
    January 4, 2014 change my life forever- my dad passed away. The shock of losing him with no notice has been difficult. Thank you for this article. Today, I held my moms sweet hand and watched as she and our youngest daughter held hands and got there ears pierced- they chose to do that together. Their adventure- papa knew and had already agreed 🙂 we don’t know when our last day on earth is- I need to live with my eyes wide open!
    Thank you!

  60. Every single one of these comments add another tear and another heart opening. This blog, Ann, is true to my experience. Julie, my Mother passed away due to brain cancer a year ago tomorrow, less than a year after my father. How you describe resonates deeply.

    I am praying with all your names now. May love of God enfold you.

  61. Thank you so much for this post, Ann. Your words speak straight to my soul. Your recent posts have verbalized exactly how ice been feeling lately and I know God has been speaking to me through you to give me comfort and to help me get my priorities straight. Praise God for his grace and faithfulness.

  62. I remember this last year &then it’s posted, it’s more profound today I went to the beach yesterday and took a selfie and thot oh my LORD, my hair is as white as snow, how many ppl live long w/ really white Hair? I mentioned to my kids & they didn’t see this notion yet, but God was GOoD to show me it’s all GOoD, most! Thanks Godchick you speak Truth LOVED!

  63. Oh Ann, thank you for being true in so many little ways to who God made you to be, and for sharing that truth with the rest of us restless wanderers. I am in the middle of 1000 Gifts (I know, a bit behind) 🙂 and am being reminded (taught?) so many beautiful truths about our Jesus. As a mama longing to fill my little ones with joy and to teach them how to create beauty I so often find my questions and wrestlings echoed in your words. Today I am reminded to be thankful for all the glory surrounding us in our regular days…in the love of our families, in a warm shower, in four walls to keep out the biting wind, and in so many many other things. Most of all, I think today I am wanting to fully love those around me…when my days are done I don’t want to have withheld anything. I want to have poured it all out.

  64. Dear Ann Voskamp,

    I have made a list of around 100 people that have impacted my life with the love of Christ. You are one of them! Your books have inspired me greatly and helped me reach out to touch and feel and know the depth of the Savior’s mighty love for us all!

    The Lord has given me an idea to help spread this same love for Valentine’s Day. I believe it is one that reflects a true heart of love. Not what the world tells us love should be, but what God says about it.

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” >>John 3:16

    The extent to which God loves us is unfathomable. It is lasting. It does not fade away along with Valentine roses a couple weeks later. It can never be separated from a Christian in life or in death.

    “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” >>Romans 8:32,35,37-39

    All of this truth inspired me to have a VALENTINE CARD CHALLENGE.

    The purpose is to spread the love of God to the imprisoned children of Uganda that the ministry Sixty Feet {sixtyfeet.org} serves. Their mission is, “Bringing Hope and Restoration to the Imprisoned Children of Africa in Jesus’ Name.”

    People can make a card with the John 3:16 verse written out along with “God loves you” and their signature. Since around 200 children are in each facility and 7 known facilities exist in Uganda, I thought an appropriate goal would be: 1400 cards by February 14th so every child can receive one.

    Why Uganda? Why Sixty Feet? All I can say is that as a sixteen year old girl, I read the story of how this ministry formed to serve the vulnerable children of this country. God placed an intense irrefusable burden on my heart to help these orphans. I had to be their voice. Impressing a knowing deep within my core, the Lord clearly revealed that these children were His call on my life. In October of 2013, I initiated a Cupcake Kids {thecupcakekids.org} sale at my church as a way to raise support for the kids in Uganda. Graciously, the Lord gave me courage to share on several occasions about the passion I had for these orphans and how people could help them in their desperate plight by purchasing cupcakes. With the help of countless people, whose efforts made the sale possible, hundreds of cupcakes were bought that raised enough funds for almost a month of medical care for the ones I loved so well. Providing everything I needed to go in less than a month during early 2014, God had me on a plane destined for the Pearl of Africa so that I could go to those prisons and wrap the children in the arms of His love.

    I think my heart skipped a beat when I saw Entebbe from the air. My first glimpse of Uganda. It was an inky black night with lights from the city glowing like so many fireflies. I fell in love.

    Now, I find myself a year later being eighteen and homesick for this place. I remain in love with this country and the call God has put on my life to this day. I miss it so much that I cry when I think of all the sweet young friends I made. I dream about orphans often. It is my deepest desire to go back. At the same time, there are things I can do right here, right now to fill these kids’ lives with hope. The hope of Jesus, it gives life to the broken.

    I took several brightly colored cards with me on my first trip to Africa. They were made by me, my brothers and sisters, as well as a group of kids from an Awana program at church. Martin Luther once said, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen.” It’s surprising what one piece of paper can do to change the world for one person. I know how much a card can brighten up these kids’ lives, flooding their faces with smiles!!

    I wanted to share this deep dream and desire of my heart. From the heart of one orphan advocate to another–I know we both want the same thing. To be a voice for those who desperately need one. All it takes is ordinary people willing to do what God asks of them to make an extraordinary difference in the lives around them and across the globe.

    Please join hands with me as I spread the beautiful, wide love of Jesus across oceans and halfway around the world to the Pearl of Africa. For more details, visit my blog:

    http://www.uniquelyfashionedforhisglory.blogspot.com.

    Moriah S.

  65. Ann. Thanks for the beautiful words. I am always encouraged by what you write. My mom will be turning 87 in May. She raised 9 children and when she had a fall 2 years ago we realized she can not be on her own. My husband and I moved in with her(we made a coast change) so I could be her caregiver. It is an honor to be caring for her with His love and grace everyday I am filled with deep gratitude because her days her numbered when I no it could be anytime. I know I’m winning:)

  66. The one thing, besides God’s word, that always encourages me during times when I desperately need hope? Laura Story’s Blessings. Every. Single. Time.

  67. I lost my precious Daddy a year and ahalf ago….I still find myslef reaching for the phone to call him. He lead me to the Lord, baptized me & oficiated our wedding. He was my hero, my defender, the first one I went to for advice… I was writing a goodbye letter to him when the call came that he had gone home. As I wept for my loss, I realized that one for whom I cried was the very one who taught me ‘how to grieve’
    That in the face of death we do not lose hope in the One who conquered death for us, when our tears fall we are “to snuggle up close to Jesus.” These words from one who was a Marine, strong & tall with a preaching voice that seemed to,lift one right out of their seats, but with such a great passion for his Savior. He buried a son, a wife & a grandson and taught us all how to live, hope, and rejoice in Jesus no matter the circumstances.
    So what do I pass on? The words my husband taught at our Small Group just before receiving the call that our 28 year old son & father of a 3 month old had died. From John 9-the strory of the blind man, that the disciples asked who had sinned & caused his blindness. Jesus replied that no one had sinned, but this man was born blind so that on THIS day the Father would be glorified. My husband ended with the words, ” when the tragidies of life overtake you, will it be said of you-that on THIS day the Father was glorified in you?” We walked into the house to a ringing phone and the news of our sons death. God in His great love & mercy had prepared our hearts in advance…

  68. Your post leaves me with such mixed emotions.
    My husband is very sick, having had cancer when he was 17 and then again at 42. By God’s grace, he survived when doctors felt he would not survive either time. Two years ago, when he was 57, he contracted sepsis, which left infection around his pacemaker. He survived surgery to take out the old pacemaker and implant a new one despite the danger (danger due to lung and heart damage done by cancer treatments). Now, due to complications from that surgery he has a condition which leaves him in misery every day. Some days are worse than others, but none of them are good. We have no idea how long he will live with this new health challenge, but we know unless the Lord intervenes, the days stretch out long and hard. Yet, I am so thankful he is still here with me. I appreciate so much Ali’s post, just a couple before mine, whose husband has cancer. Counting our days and grateful for what we still have –time together, still loving one another. As Ali said,” the struggle is sadness,” but we look for joy in each day together. We look back on all the Lord has brought us through and know we have received grace beyond measure.
    I have another burden on my heart. Posts like the one you made make me think of my mother, who at 86 is still living and healthy. How I long to have a mother who loved/loves me and cares about my life. We don’t all have parents who love us. I believe she suffers from mental illness, although that doesn’t make it easier to bear. She is estranged from all her children. What little contact she has with any of us is filled with condemnation and accusations. I pray the Lord will change her heart before she leaves this world so that she can find joy in her life.
    Thank you for your ministry and healing, truth-filled words which encourage so many people. God bless you & your family.

  69. So wonderful you’re taking these moments to soak in that love between you. These moments will be precious in years to come. My Mum went home to her Heavenly Father on the 8th of April at 59 years old after a five month battle with brain tumours and I wish I had stopped to cherish the moments more than I did, but am also grateful for those bittersweet memories I have: especially the ones where she laughed with, hugged tight and read to my girls. The look on her face was priceless. Now the moments of grace are both these memories and seeing little pieces of her in my girls: my Em’s bubbly happiness, my Livy’s hugs and kisses, their love for music, books and being silly, even their sparkling eyes.

    Give your Mom a huge hug, hold her tight and keep cherishing those moments of grace together.

  70. I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

    http://bible.com/111/isa.41.9-10.niv
    This verse is my anchor in stormy, turbulent times x

  71. My mom will be 80 this yr. I’m only 5 yrs younger than your mom:). My dad, grandparents, aunts , and family friends are all gone. Only mom’s children and one sister remain. This seems so lonely, scary. I would need a trip to the empty beach. Memories run around like children there. Feel/smell the salt air…so necessary.

  72. Ann – Your posts this week have been so personal to me. I’m starting a stem cell transplant for hodgkins lymphoma and I have not been nice about it… I have an amazing family that would do anything for me and I have let my fear and resentments get in the way of loving them. It seems like it should be so simple… but a wall goes up I suppose. So thank you for this post and for pushing me to stay focused on God and Love above all else.

  73. In September 2010, my little brother (51) called on a Thursday evening to share that mom had called in hospice for my dad…and I’d had no clue he was that close to death. I ordered my plane ticket to fly out the following Tuesday…but on Sunday night heard a voicemail from Mom: “Sweetie, our eagle has flown!” I flew 1,500 miles the next day to look at the shell that had held my father’s spirit. No sweet goodbye…no I-love-you…no “I’ll see you soon, Daddy.” He was gone.

    Only 9 months later I got a call from a cousin who’d taken Mom to the hospital and a biopsy was being done on fluid drawn from her lungs. I flew and drove through the night to be in her room the next day when the doctor told her she had incurable breast cancer…a disease I had battled and won just the year before. I stayed with my mother…1500 miles from home…for most of the last three months of her life. Had she lived 20 days longer, we would have buried her exactly one year after we buried Dad.

    In 2012, my husband and I used the inheritance my parents left to travel to South Africa for a semester. I taught at a Bible college with a missionary friend. We saw the beautiful country and met then even more beautiful people of Durban, South Africa. But on the night we arrived in Durban, a precious friend was found dead 8,100 miles away at home…only 23 years old.

    And last April, my other brother…the middle one…the “different” brother who I’d struggled with and prayed for and eventually forgiven??? He was found dead. Alone. His body lying undiscovered for four-six days before someone noticed that something was amiss.

    Loss…loss…loss…loss. I know loss. And I love what you said in your blog: “WHEN YOU WAKE TO LOSING, YOU WIN LOVE.”

    Everyone I love is now more PRECIOUS…more DEAR…more of a beautiful GIFT FROM GOD. I do my best to waste not one moment when I’m in their presence giving myself away and taking in from them every precious thread God stitched them with to turn them into HIS CHILD. I love the dew on the morning grass…the soft flakes of winter…the silly squirrels racing through the trees to rob the bird feeders. I see what I never saw before…and appreciate it…and wonder how could I have missed it.

    Thank you for this beautiful blog…for a fresh visit to the most heart-breaking moments that God has sifted through His fingers and returned to me as blessings! Knowing that you will lose your mom absolutely guarantees that you will know her love like never before…and she will know yours. I will forever be grateful for the three months of pure loving that Mom and I shared…there was more love shared in those three months than the previous fifty years of up and down mother/daughter relationship.

  74. My life was changed almost 2 years ago when my sister sent me Ann’s 1000 Gifts. Thank you, Ann, for this wonderful book.
    My mom is 87 and has early stage dementia. her short term memory is gone but she still knows her family and is able to go to church. My dad is 91. I treasure each moment with them. Who knows what may come their way. Counting 1000+ gifts has made me see blessings in every day and to realize how much God truly loves me.

  75. My Mama is 72 and she is far away from me. She is sick and no one can figure out what is wrong with her but always working diligently to figure it out. I am scared and sad and sorry. I think, what if she dies and I am not there, that I haven’t seen her in almost a year? I don’t want to think about it anymore. I am grateful to have Ann’s words of wisdom and encouragement and everyone who chimed in too.

  76. Wow! Powerful message. I have experienced quite a bit of loss in my life in the last couple of years – loss of my dad, stolen identity, breast cancer, loss of job – just to name a few. While I can’t imagine losing my mom whom I talk to everyday, I know for certain that my mom will go to heaven and for that I do not worry. My dad was a different story, I wasn’t sure if he believed. I knew that he had several affairs during the 46 years that he and my mother had been married. We always butted heads so we didn’t talk much, my dad was always present, outside of his many business trips, but he was not physically available to me as a father. One of my biggest aha moments was when my friend told me to stop looking to my earthly father to fill my needs and to look to my Heavenly Father for those needs. 10 months before his passing he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It was crazy how one day he was fine and the next he had trouble remembering things. One night I had the opportunity to be alone with him and so I asked him if he believed in God. He didn’t shut me down this time, so I continued. He said that he had been baptized in 1963 and I told him that I didn’t know that. I told him that Jesus wants us to ask him for forgiveness and rededicate our lives to Him because we have all lived a sinful life. I asked him if rededicating his life and asking for forgiveness of his sins was something that he would like to do and he said that he would if I could find the preacher that baptized him in 1963. Yes, he remembered his name! I left that night crying tears of Joy that not only did I get to share that precious time with my daddy, but that he was receptive to rededicating his sinful life to Jesus. I hurried home to google the preacher and to my amazement, but truthfully God just continuing to answer my prayers, I found this preacher and he lived a mile down the road from me. I called him up and he visited with my daddy the next day and called and left me a message that he had a wonderful visit with my dad and that he had no doubt in his mind that my dad believed in Jesus and that he believed that he would go to Heaven. My dad passed away 8 months later and that preacher that baptized him gave the message at his funeral. I believe that God allowed the Alzheimer’s to change my dad in a way that allowed me to know that he was going to Heaven but to also see a side of my dad that I had never seen before. I got to see my dad laugh and smile and tell me stories of WW II and the first time it snowed and he took me outside to see it snow, to hear about my grandparents (his mom and dad) that I never knew and to see his love for my mother in a way that only God could have orchestrated.

    • Such a beautiful example of God’s power and love and sovereignty! Thank you for sharing. That blessed my heart!

  77. I’m afraid of losing that which I’m already losing. My loss is my husband that left me, and my step kids that are rejecting me due to our separation. It’s a different type of mourning, but nevertheless a type of loss. Mourning the death of a loved one is very different. Your post was a good reminder that I have other loved ones that I will lose one day so not to take them for granted because I’m so focused on the ones I’m losing. My husband’s rejection has become a big distraction and fear has gripped my heart of loving. I appreciate your thoughtful words, “When you wake to losing someone, you win love” spoke to my heart. I have friends and family I will lose one day. I need the capture every moment and realize “what I have, I will lose.” Cherish them and be grateful for those around me that I haven’t lost. Thank you for your inspiring words, Ann.

  78. Oh my goodness how I love this post. When the realisation that I didn’t have forever with my daughter finally hit my heart I then realised that loving was for now.

    “The way to experience a moment of unlimited elation — is to take a moment to imagine unexpected limitation.”

    Yes this knowing that tomorrow’s were not guaranteed we learned to try and live unlimited. To pack our moments full of memories.

    It is these memories that I am slowly unpacking now. Holding each one close to my heart. Her smell, her laugh so much I miss.

    I hold on to the promise of eternity but I also embrace the now.

    I’m so glad I made those few years full of moments that I now get to treasure.

  79. Ann,
    Thank you for sharing such an honest and beautiful story. I am a young mother of four. Eight years ago I gave birth to my third child on a Sunday and lost my second child, who was 2, the following Sunday. Having just given birth I wondered how is this possible to welcome one soul into the world and say goodby to such a small one at the same time? I watched all the people I knew look at me with pity as shell shocked, I marched firward with what no mother ever wants to do.

    The lord graced my son with a beautiful, peaceful passing in his daddy’s arms, leaving no doubt that this was all part of his plan. Admidst a crowd of dark suits at my sons funeral I dressed in all white, celebrating the love and light he was. Looking back, the birth of my daughter, taking care of a newborn at this difficult time was a miracle. She gave me strength and purpose to get up and see the light around me. What a blessing

  80. Hi Ann,

    This is such a beautiful post! It’s so poetic. Thanks so much for sharing!

    These words, “When you realize that what you have, you will lose — you win real eyes. You win grateful joy” is so true. I lost my mom when I was twelve. She was 51. I am so very grateful for the 12 years I got to spend with her. But God knows best. Losing my mom at such a young age has really shaped me into the person I am today — someone who is able to truly comfort those who are grieving and never takes life for granted.

    In everything, God has a purpose.

    thanks so much for pouring out your heart,

    Donna

  81. we lose nothing, we gain everything in His presence. the thoughts you hold, the love you hold onto is nothing but the sweet aroma of Him in her, and you shall never ever be apart, you are a part of her, and He is a part of you. sweet communion.

  82. I only have my father left, my mother having passed away in 2008. Of course I dread the day when I will lose my father, he is 94 now and increasingly frail. However, he has a deep faith, he is a retired minister, like his father, grandfather and great grandfather before him, and he genuinely has no fear of death. He describes himself as living in ‘anno domini’ and cheerfully accepts that he had limited time left with us. He talks about how he has been thinking more and more about the magnificent glory of God, and there is an intimation there that he is looking forward to seeing our Lord, face to face, in heaven. At first I found this difficult, I didn’t want to have those kind of conversations; to do so would be to admit the inevitable. But it gives him strength and comfort to show me that has hasput all his affairs in order, to ensure that I understand his wishes for how he would like his last days to be. And, bizarrely, in observing his faith, his surrendering of his remaining days to God’s timescale, I find my own faith strengthened and a deepened understanding of the saying that when you have love there is no fear of death. My mother’s death hit me like a truck and it is only in the last 18 months that I have truly come to terms with it. Because she declined over ten years with dementia it was not possible to have the kind of conversations with her that I am privileged to be having with my father. We cannot help but be anxious about losing those we love, but we should use that emotion to ensure that they know how much we love them, what a blessing they have been in our lives and to honour them greatly for the time we have remaining with them.

  83. Enjoy the beautiful words put together to draw the picture we all imagine for our pleasure.

  84. I lost my mother three years ago this month and I have battled depression ever since. I find myself over obscessing over something tiny for days on end, making myself physically ill, to not face the truth of my condition. Making my husband crazy, kids crazy…..self physically ill. Constant prayers to my Savior for relief. I’m trying to find happiness

  85. Dear Ann,
    Your writing is such an inspiration to me. Thank you! I am a Mama with a broken heart but your inspiration and my Lord’s grace and HOPE keep me walking this wonderful world. I know we are wired for eternity and that this life is a period to tell others to be prepared and love where you are now!
    Your words “Envision life without the loveliness of those you love — and you see how much you love.” if we love we will experience hurt but I’m trying with God’s help to turn my hurt to healing and helping others to heal. Ann once again thank you for your inspiring words and generosity to share. Your words during the second Christmas celebration2014 without my one and only son Timothy gave me the courage I needed to see us continue our walk through this journey of grief. ‘Thank you’ seems such a little word but indeed your work means so much to me! Shalom, Deborah

  86. Yes, you crave the presence of those you love. We do anything to keep them with us, but they slip beyond the veil. In a moment, the gossamer folds fall back into place, and you feel alone. “Steady.” He says. “Hold on.” “Grip as hard as you want onto Me.” In the silence that follows, I find the only way to love is to hope. To have faith in the unseen, in the sweet scent of a tomorrow we can only imagine. The joy is in this moment, walking with eyes wide open, believing that you can walk on the high places, sing, dance, and allow the wind to blow away the hard, hard times. Breathe in, and gratefully turn your eyes to the sunrise.

  87. I lost my mother when I was 41 and my Mom was 76. That was excruciating, yet I couldn’t wish her back to her earthly, failing body. And I have experienced the reverse. At 61, I lost my daughter of 35 years. Losing a mother is natural. Losing a daughter is not! I now face the end of my life eventually with no one who wants my scrapbooks, china, my jewelry, my extensive genealogy records, documents, and data, plus other precious possessions including my mother’s. It has brought a new perspective to what life is all about. And six months after our daughter’s death, my alien spouse found an oncology nurse who comforted him. That was an even more distressing loss. But . . . God. Is. Awesome!! These earthly things do not matter. It is heaven and eternity which matters. When I visit my daughter’s grave, I sing “How Great Is Our God” to her.

  88. My heart broke into a thousand pieces reading this. It is EXACTLY what I have felt; the growing love as the years diminish; the longing to be the child again with my mother so young and ageless; the need to be prepared for the time when I will be grey, alone. My mother who loves every single thing about me. Who will truly love me as she does – every single thing? It is as though HER love grows with the passing years too. I never felt so loved as I do now. Is this her preparing me? Filling me to the brim, but what happens when she goes?
    I don’t know.
    My comfort is in my Lord Jesus alone; His promise to provide for me; His LOVE for me. It is also knowing it is simply the passage of time……. the passage of time. We will be reunited when all of time has passed away…..

  89. Thank you for this Ann!

    The moment I closed my eyes when you said so, the more I opened it.

    At 23, I live a fast life and I think I’m losing genuine happiness day by day. Thank you for somehow turning my head around and appreciate what I have now. I have also realized that I am holding on to distractions that keep me from moving.

  90. My dearest, closest, grandma was just 62 when Jesus took her home. I’m pregnant with my first and have found myself close to tears just imagining losing my mama as I prepare to bring a little life into this world… I can’t imagine my babies not knowing her wonderful strength and I can’t imagine not having her to call for advice. My husband lost his dad to a heart attack this past year. He was 53. Life is just so precious, and tomorrow is never a guarantee. Res this post with dripping tears, I so understand where you were coming from.

  91. THank you ANn so much for all your wonderful words, I so enjoy reading your wisdom and insights. But I read this piece, and wonderful though the insights are, I was left not knowing how to feel as my parents and I have a very distant relationship. WHen I visit, as I try to each month, I really don’t know if they’re pleased to see me or not, and when I leave, whether they are relieved to see me go. They were strict parents and I have never really felt any love from them, so I find it hard to give love back. It’s hard not to ever have any hugs! I never have any meaningful talks with either of them, just the conversations about practical things. I find it so very hard, and often wonder how I’m going to react when they’re gone. So thank you so much for your words, but I am applying them to the people in my life who are more close to me……. but it still made me sad to think what a lovely relationship you have with your mother, and I just don’t have that. God bless

  92. This article turned me inside out. I have not spoken to my mom in almost three months. She is 78, old bitter, angry and opinionated! There is never a nice or clean word that ever leaves her lips. I miss her. My husband wants me to extend Grace to her and forgive. I on the other hand grew up with her abuse as a child and I am in some ways thankful for her silence.

    • Christina, I totally understand. Though my mom is still alive, I lost her about 10 years ago when I made a decision she did not agree with and she disowned me. In some ways, I too have been relieved for the silence, free from the unbearable weight of trying to please someone whose criticism cannot be quenched, whose love cannot be won. She is bitter and hard. I, too suffered under her abuse as a child. I have railed at the commandment to honor my father and mother because truly I could not find anything honorable in either.

      Yet the commandment stands, regardless of whether they are worthy of honor. So I have decided that I will honor them by being the parent they were unable to be, and in so doing, honor my heavenly Father. And I see her as a warning flag to keep me from becoming the same way, and I draw nearer to my (now adult) children, and I do my best to model Christ. And there are days I do not want to forgive, so I have to pray for the heart and desire to want to forgive. And I pray for her, that God in His mighty power, can and will soften her heart before it is too late. Daddy died in March. “Too late” comes too early.

      I feel your pain. May God grant you grace and mercy and the desire to forgive, because that lightens your own heart and makes more room for love to expand to those you love. I keep bringing to mind the scripture in Joel 2:25 about God repaying us for the years that the locusts ate. The locusts ate my childhood and yours, too. But He is healing my heart and that is repayment, paying it forward. Love you, sweet sister!

  93. I just want to say thank you to Lynn for her comment. I completely understand Ann’s post. We lost my MIL just 2 weeks ago and we are still adjusting. She was doing the best she had in 2 yrs after a stem cell transplant from a rare blood condition. She was telling everybody she believed she was healed. We had the best thanksgiving and christmas. And then just just died of a heart attack, they never were able to revive her once she collapsed. She was the classic Grandma and created so many memories with my 4 kids. Just a shock. For our family her church family……and I’m having such trouble wanting to ask why, so Eccl. 7 really helped me. This was right bf Ann posted #stickynotesformysoul that we are all terminal. Any way, thank you body of Christ. Thank you.

  94. Our son flunked out of his first semester of college….we were blindsided. Home now, trying to find work, to find his new path that he hopes will lead him back to the school he loves. We are thankful that door was left open for him. Hard conversations and tears and grieving have been our battle since December 21. We waited long for a decision that came January 12.

    I cried for 3 days when we moved him into the dorms – tears of joy and gratitude and thankfulness for the truly miraculous life of our son and the amazing provision by God for his education. I cried longer when we moved him home last week – tears of confusion and disappointment and sorrow and sadness for hard lessons learned now and more yet to come.

    We’ve not had to fight this hard for joy since he and his twin brother were born 19 years ago at just 26 weeks…pound and a half each of breathless life, with little hope for a future. We know this God we serve is a God of miracles. We know all things are possible. We know we are more than conquerers. We know we must run the race set before us. We know Jesus wept, even as we weep.

    I claimed a life verse during the boys early days as they fought for life. What was true then is true now: God’s Word, living and active is still speaking to me, to my heart, to my family. Nineteen years later, this verse is speaking to me anew.

    “May the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you TRUST IN HIM, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the POWER of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV, emphasis added

  95. Dear Ann thank you for your words. My mom left us last March. I thank God for every memory. I was blessed to have her in my life 67 years. They were not always easy but God was faithful. The last few were the sweetest. All His grace. Blessings.

  96. You cannot imagine how much you will miss someone until they are not there, and you are missing them. My mom dies quite suddenly this past May, just 3 weeks shy of her 85 th birthday, and 5 weeks after their 64th wedding anniversary. Even though I know she’s taken her spot in the The Throne Room, and oh, how much she will have loved the Birthday party this Christmas!, I miss her more than I ever thought possible. It’s been 8 short months, and I can barely recall the sound of her voice – although I hear it every time I laugh…
    She knew her time was short, and I just fluffed off when she would talk about it. Oh how I wish I had paid more serious attention- I would have done so many more things. Yet, I know she knew how much I loved her, how I am more like her than I ever wanted to be, and I know she knew who’s she is. Cherish your time with your loved ones, the day they are not there cannot be delayed long enough.

  97. I did not realize how much I loved and appreciated my parents, now 75 and 77, until both of my in-laws were gone. While I was home over Christmas I said a lot of things that were in my heart to them because I do not know if I will have another chance. My in-laws both left us so quickly and there was no time to say things that should have been said. So say it to them while you have the chance.

  98. “It’s only when you realize everyone you love will one day leave you — that you really begin to love.” YES! On this day–this two-year celebration of my sweet husband’s body being revived–this truth is so very real. We’ve had 730 more days together on this earth. But we live each day knowing that any day could be our last. And we live for the joy in each breath. So thankful for the chance to see with new eyes–God’s eternal perspective. Thank you, Ann, for this beautiful message of love and life.

  99. Ann – thank you for this. My mother just turned 93 and your words re-reminded to value the precious time we have left together on this earth. Blessings to you!

  100. My mama is 73, but I lost her in 2004. That’s when I made a decision she didn’t agree with and she disowned me. Life has turned her bitter and mean, and she flies into rages whenever I send her a card or gift because it reminds her I am still alive. But I pray for her, and I know that her heart is still not too hard for God to squeeze and soften. And her example waves a red flag for me, reminds me of how NOT to be, how NOT to become and sometimes I really need that. It draws me closer to my daughters, draws out words from my heart, draws a picture of precious time to not waste. We lost Daddy in March. I had a partial mastectomy in October. Wake up, it all says. And I have. God is good.

  101. Dear Ann,
    What a beautiful article. Wise words to live by… I found myself reading it through tears also. You sound like a daughter who loves her mother so much and I found myself, once again, wishing I had a daughter like you.. Because my oldest daughter has said and done some very horrible things to me in the last year… I’ve recently( in the past two years) lost my job, my home, and my car and found myself needing a place to stay to try and get back on my feet. So this daughter and I talked and we agreed that coming here( to Florida from Ohio) would be a way to do that. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned- couldn’t find a job at first, and then finding one that’s only part time and minimum wage… So now my daughter( who has emotionally and psychologically abused me since it moved in) has said that I need to get out of her house because she can’t stand the sight of me and wants me gone. And so, because I have nowhere to go, I face the threat of her evicting me and I’ll have to go somewhere. I will be 60 next month and able to start collecting my late husband’s social security benefits. And so this was the time when I thought I would be able to have more time to spend with my children and grandchildren. So her acting this way cuts deep… But what I hold onto is the truth that God loves me and that, as Romans 8:28 says: what the enemy meant for harm, god will turn it into good so that He may be glorified. So even though this hurts, I know that one day, my daughter and I will have a wonderful relationship again and God will get all the praise for His mighty hand in restoring it…….

  102. Dear Ann ~ A little over two months ago I lost my 33 year old son to suicide. He battled severe depression his entire adult life. When he could rise above the darkness he was a delightful servant of the Lord. When the darkness overcame him he was overwhelmed with it. He lived with my husband and me for a year before he moved away, to start over, to begin a fresh life near the sea. He was happy there for a while, but eventually the darkness swept him away. We have so very many memories of him in our home, and memories of spending time with him in some of our favorite places. The freshness of his loss causes those memories to sting right now, but eventually they will be precious gifts to me.

    God is with me, he reminds me that mental illness is not a choice. My son is no longer tormented by his perceived limitations. My son is no longer living in a darkness that others can never understand. My son is living in the arms of the Lord, he is whole and free from the weight of depression. For that I am so thankful. The missing of his presence will always be with me, the reminders and the memories will bring frequent tears for a while. Those same memories and reminders will eventually bring smiles. Right now, this moment, grief follows me everywhere. But I trust my Lord, and I know he puts me in the presence of his comforters.

  103. This touched me in ways I can’t explain. I have been grieving over an 8 year old friendship that has been shattered to pieces over a misunderstanding I don’t even understand. No matter my attempts to reconcile, it feels as though I’m reaching out to a stranger. The sister I once talked to about everything & nothing is gone. I’ve been too busy grieving to acknowledge what a blessing it was to have such a fruitful friendship for 8 long years. I’m hurting, but I will find gratitude in the midst of that pain.

  104. Ann
    This post so resonated with my heart. I am that Mama, now 71 years old and cherishing every moment I spend with my daughters. Life speeds by and in a heartbeat we find ourselves at the far end of a life that at one time seemed like it would go on forever. Your writings and your books have given me a fresh look at all I have to be thankful for because of my Saviors great love and provision. Even in the hard stuff there is Great Grace to come beck to time and time again. The smallest thing….a touch, a call, unplanned moments of time spent together bring me great moments of joy. Thank you so much for the sweet perspective!

  105. I lost my best friend almost 6 months ago. He passed on 8/8/14. It is so hard to mourn someone when you have no one to mourn with. No one to shar memories with etc. We met thru God’s hand. Only God could bring us together. Best friends for over 5 yrs. Me – homeschooling mom to 3 with LOTS on my plate (son w special needs) and him – a black man crippled by muscular dystrophy. I knew the day would come and I would outlive him but it hurts way more than I imagined. Loss as an adult is just hard. I have improved over the last 2 months butFridays are hardest. He died on a Friday. When will I quit counting the weeks without him? It wasn’t anything but brother and sister love between us. So many say he was so lucky to have me take care of him, but they don’t have a clue how he took care of me just by being there. Listening. No judgement. I rest in that I know without a doubt I will see him again in heaven.

    • Melissa, it is okay to hurt and to grieve. Don’t beat yourself up over that. Allow yourself the time to heal and let the Lord wash His goodness and love over you in His time. You obviously loved him deeply for the grieve to be so heavy and that’s something worth noting. I’m sure you were both a blessing to each other and I am positive that you will find ways in your life to honor the life that your friend lived. Sending prayers for comfort and peace through this hard time. <3, Sheri

  106. How I would have liked to have times like this with my mum…she had an awful life with alcoholic husband. I felt so badly for her as she raised 6 children. She was 71 when she died…she had altzeimers….two of my own children acknowledge me with respect two do not and it hurts…after separation from their dad after many years of marriage…all I can do is forgive and show love…it is hard to read your lovely stories but also a joy to know that some people get it…it has taken many years for me to have a closer walk with God but He keeps bringing me back…its always an ongoing process. God is good.

  107. I think of my son…gone to Jesus 12+ years ago….I knew our time was short…his mental illness was winning. Savoring every moment together until he was here no more. Grace to have those moments, now precious memories.. Thanks to putting voice to these memories.

  108. I totally get this. To everyone who is upset about feeling life is getting shorter with you or someone who is in their 60’s I get it. But it’s not about the number. It’s not about turning 60 that brings you closer to realizing they could be gone. It’s the way life shifts and changes all the time and the way that none of us are really in control and how none of us know what day it will be.

    Next week will be the 10 year anniversary since I lost my mom. I was 21, she was 44. My dad died the same year at 41. I just turned 32 and feel this need to live my life to the fullest, because what if I only have ten more years left. 10 more years with days to myself and days to be loved and receive love. 10 more years to see the sun rise and set. 10 more years to spend time in the word with my Lord and to experience this creation He made.

    If I only have 3650 days left on this earth, am I loving enough and giving enough? As each day ticks down to I appreciate what life is really all about or do I let the every day nonsense get the best of me? Life is short, no matter how old you are. Losing loved ones doesn’t necessarily have to be to death, I recently went through a horrible breakup from a guy I was confident was ‘the one.’ It has felt like death and made me realize that I wish I had lived my life differently in this time.

    Beautiful post and reminder, Ann. I always adore your words and often find myself crying as I read because it feels like I’ve found someone who understands the inner parts, the cries, hopes, and joys of my soul and I just adore that. Thank you for sharing.

    Sincerely,
    Sheri

  109. Dear Ann,
    Your words halted me today from rushing into my typicality ravaging schedule. I’m mentally still now and in deep reflection of your profound (as usual) words. I lost my father, by his own hand, 60 years ago when I was three. I cherish flashes of memories of him. I lost a gentle stepfather suddenly 38 years ago. Oh, how I miss him daily. I came close to losing my only child 15 years ago and continue to watch him heal during my caregiving. I almost lost my sister/best friend to cancer during her five year struggle (five years ago). I certainly understand physical loss and I count it precious every day being able to touch and hear voices of treasured ones. But those loses are what caused me to finally give up the anguish, fall on my face and reach up to the One I had not considered previously, although knew in my heart existed and Who yearned for my dependence. He and I are one forever now. My 84 year old mother, who spent practically her entire life lashing out in anger accepted Christ at my beckoning through Holy Spirit-led prayer, four years ago. I had been one of her greatest victims. Today, she is still with me but also with Christ eternel, as evident by her transformation. “New life” in Him, which my graceful Heavenly Father has allowed me to witness in others, is what I, personally, must cling to in order to bear the pain of loss and experience His promised true joy. I wouldn’t have been able to “see” that without the losses.
    Thank you for so frequently causing me to stop in my busy tracks and bask in God’s gifts of unmerited grace. I don’t thank you often enough.

  110. Wow….read this and felt such an understanding of the short time I have left with my precious mother. She’s been fighting Parkinson’s (and very bravely I might add) for 6 years and yet the physical and mental toll is becoming more evident even though she doesn’t see it, I do. So difficult to watch and yet how gracious God has been to allow me to live nearby and spend these last precious years with her. Thank you Ann for always pointing me back to God when sometimes I forget that this time with her is a gift….and something I will long for someday. My mother is and was my best friend and I need to be there for her. Sometimes it’s hard when the demands of life and my own family call louder but I needed this desperately. Thank you.

  111. Makes me think of the song:

    You Make Me Brave

    from You Make Me Brave
    Song Audio
    “You Make Me Brave” is track #1 on the album You Make Me Brave.

    VERSE 1:
    I stand before You now
    The greatness of your renown
    I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
    King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

    CHORUS:
    As Your love, in wave after wave
    Crashes over me, crashes over me
    For You are for us
    You are not against us
    Champion of Heaven
    You made a way for all to enter in

    VERSE 2:
    I have heard You calling my name
    I have heard the song of love that You sing
    So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
    Into Your grace
    Your grace

    BRIDGE:
    You make me brave
    You make me brave
    You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
    You make me brave
    You make me brave
    No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

    You make me brave
    You make me brave
    You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
    You make me brave
    You make me brave
    No fear can hinder now the promises you made
    You make me brave
    You make me brave
    No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

    Read more: Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  112. I had a really hard day today. I cried more than I’ve cried in a long time. I’m young, and sometimes it feels like I am destined to fail, over and over again. That sinning and hating and hurting will just continue until I am all alone and grey and staring out over my own waters with windswept hair, and nothing but loss in my heart. Sometimes it’s all I can muster to remember that grace is a real thing. Thank you.

  113. Mama departed her earthly body 5 months ago – but dementia took her from us in so many ways five years ago. I cry every day, as a friend told me I would – and only recently have I begun to have dreams about her when she was whole and happy and healthy. There is nothing like holding the hand of the woman who gave birth to you as her body gives up – it’s a blessing and a privilege the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. While her physical death was something I prayed for (and if anyone doesn’t get that, they’ve never been through dementia with a loved one and their caretaker), it hit me like a ton of bricks when it happened. But Jesus was there with us! He gave me strength, discernment, wisdom, and happiness enough for my whole family. And now I know Mama is with him. I love how much you love and appreciate every moment with your mother, Ann. Your words inspire me and ignite Him in me every day!

  114. To remember that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called to his purpose – St. Paul. To memorize the scripture – love the psalms – so that is what I can remember when the “other ” thoughts crowd around in my head. To accept, feel and use God’s gifts of His Holy Spirit, His Words instead of believing and letting the lies of the evil one direct my path and my actions and reactions.

  115. Hello Ann,
    A couple years back my cousin suggested I read “One Thousand Gifts”. I knew she loved the Lord and it would be a good book. I didn’t know it was the story of my life. When I was eight years old, my brother was accidentally ran over by a car. What I would like to share is, He gave his heart to Jesus on Sunday and passed on Thursday. My parents and I were singing ” what a Friend”, when the knock came on the door. These things brought comfort to my heart. When we don’t understand why then we rest on his wisdom and love. My father passed at 57 with colon cancer and my mother passed of a heart attach at 61. Through much sorrow I have found the dearest friend in Jesus. I am 64 now but I spend much of my day praising the Lord. I find joy in him. I think Paul said, sorrows on every hand but rejoicing all the while. I have moments of great sadness but also moments of gladness. This life is short but Heaven is eternal. I thank you for all of your writings. They are a blessing to me

  116. My Mama went to Heaven, and part of my heart went with her. I wear something of hers every day, be it her pearl earrings, her rings, a neckerchief, or a favourite cardigan. I hope this doesn’t sound morbid, but we were such good friends and it brings me great comfort. When I take time to rest, her beautiful blanket swaddles me…she’d tease if she could! It’s in these little ways that my sadness is soothed, and my grief turns to gratitude for such a dear Mama and Daddy. We had the most wonderful childhood, my five siblings and I. Half a cricket team there! Thank you for your ecquisitely beautiful writings. You are such an inspiration to so many!

  117. I posted this yesterday but don’t see it anywhere so I will try again….

    Timely… Today is my Mama’s 84th anniversary of her Birth Day.. In a few weeks I will turn 60…
    I lost my parents in many ways through their divorce. My mom moved across the country for 28 years so she doesn’t even know my children
    My relationship with my Dad was almost non existent until about two years before he chose to die. I worked hard to get this relationship back, only to have him choose death, and my relationship was snatched away, yet again.
    So now my Mom has moved back and I live 8 ish hours away and get to see her way too seldom, and we are building a relationship now…
    I’m soo scared she also will be snatched away from me now that she is back in my life…
    This all has taught me many lessons. One of which is, I am a rich, fortunate Mama!
    My children let me be part of their lives and I spend time with my grand babies every few days … I am blessed indeed and I don’t take it for granted, it is a privilege that many don’t have…
    For now I will enjoy the moments we do share together, my Mama and I, and my children and Grand babies, for we never know which day is ours
    Going to make lots of memories while we can
    Signed,
    Verrrrrry Grateful!

    Ps thanks for letting us acknowledge and grieve here if we need to.
    To feel is to heal
    We really appreciate your ministry Ann. Thanks

  118. It is late at night and sleep eludes for now…I walk this path with my Dad, who the week we celebrated his 90 birthday, also learned about the cancer for which little could be done. And having lost our Mom so many years ago, our Dad has become even more precious- and I hold him with unspeakable gratitude, for all he has been in days I recognized this truth or not, for all that he is as I watch and love this man go bravely each day, his life ebbing out, but with all the courage, all the grace, all the gentle love and wisdom imparted, even now, even now, he teaches me and I am and always be grateful for his quiet dignity, integrity, sharp wit, depth of faith, and laughter. He teaches again about grief as his only remaining sibling, my dearest auntie, who called everyday to say she loved him, now my treasured auntie has died. And yet, she showed me how to love well, my Dad teaches at every visit, and it is simple the words “I love you” that start a visit, end a visit and are spoken from the heart. Memories to last a lifetime. Eternity to last forever, and the beauty of sharing that we will meet again. Nothing, no moments are lost in Jesus. I don’t want to loose him. But the joy and gratitude of knowing him, of being my father’s daughter fills me irrepressible joy and gratitude to our Lord for him. Cancer and death cannot separate the love, that will last forever. I am imagining that when the burden of his cancer becomes too heavy, when it is time to leave and he may feel a tap on his shoulder, that he will see Jesus and be gently held in His arms, and may hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done.”
    Thank you, Ann, for your kind and gentle words, for they speak of love that is real, is true and lasts for eternity, “nothing can separate us…” Nothing.

  119. 2015 has been difficult so far. On January 2nd my husband’s brother-in-law died and on January 8th my aunt died. They both suffered greatly towards the end but I found great comfort from a quote from Max Lucado’s book “Before Amen” where he wrote, “He will heal you –instantly or gradually or ultimately.” I have great comfort in their ultimate healing from the Lord! Amen.

  120. Dear Ann,
    I am very blessed to have had a prayer answered before the loss ever happened.
    My dad and I were always at odds. We never were close. He was stern and I craved rebellion because I so disapproved of his disapproval. (or so I thought). Much later when I was in my forties – I think, I realized we had been robbed. I could never relate to my cousin and her being a “daddy’s girl”. I was not.
    But somewhere deep I wanted to have that when my heart was softened and the Lord had moved into that deep place of longing within to make peace with the broken pieces. So I began to pray. And read and expect my prayer to be answered. Not necessarily knowing what that would look like but my prayer did get answered in the most amazing way.
    My parents moved to the property where I lived and our relationship changed – my mom and I have always been like sisters so that wasn’t the issue. But I began to see my dad as a very hurt little boy still not feeling accepted from his childhood. He knew I walked a different walk and we began our walk anew – he became my best friend. He died a slow death and I kept asking how and when he would be taken in my prayers. One day I saw him in a different light altogether: dying. He was in the hospital for a week – moving out of this world and into the next. My brother and mom and I took turns sitting with him – day and night. By the end, it was a relief to know he was no longer suffering and I discovered something about myself.
    I was more like my dad than I had imagined and I realize now that as long as I’m alive – my dad lives on through me. (which helps tremendously when I find myself missing him.) It is such a comfort to know one day we will be reunited and be together always. The peace had to come from Jesus – no where else could I find it. I believe when the time comes you will walk through that valley with Jesus at your side as well. (Psalm 23)
    God bless you and your family. You certainly have blessed me with every writing I receive from you!

  121. ANNE,

    I loved this piece so much! I lost my mother in 2009 at 84 ( I was 44). For me it was a kind of relief. She had suffered from severe dementia and sundowner’s for 2 years and was completely bedridden. I was kind of happy that I didn’t have to see her decline any more.

    My dad (88 turned 89) decided last year to move into an assisted living. He had a little dementia, but was ok for the most part. Since the move he’s had health issues and fell 6 times in 6 months that led to 4 ER visits. It was a tough year for me dealing with that and a job that was super stressful. I can see his dementia getting worse, some OCD, and paranoia. It is hard watching him go like this. I had hoped he would go in his apartment like mom did.
    This time around is tough for me. Losing my dad will make me parentless.

    Last year my neighbor lost her son (46), a friend lost her mother and another friend lost his wife to cancer. All this makes me realize how fragile life is and that we need to number our days. We should treasure each day and the time we can spend with loved ones!

    Blessings and peace to everyone 🙂

  122. Receiving every moment as one ordained for me; every time I visit my Dad, nearly 89 and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 4 years ago, and he still knows me is a reason to rejoice. But truly, when he doesn’t know me anymore, I will still rejoice that we have him. I will rejoice in the Lord always. Always, means always. What a gift! Philippians 4:4-7 has been my life verse for a very long time. Tested and found to be absolute truth. Thank you for your beautiful wise sharing through your blog and books.

  123. What a wonderful piece you have so eloquently put into words how I am feeling. My parents have been visiting from overseas and it was great but also there were a few fights. Feelings again from comments said about my children and me at times that were taken to heart and caused heartbreak. Feelings that seemed to take me back to a child even though I am 35, comparisons between my kids and my brothers (who they see more as they live in the same country) that mine where more wild is the word that was used. I’ve always felt compared like I didn’t meet the cut, a disappointment at times. I hope not to do this with my own children I am by no means a perfect mother or better than my own. What hurts more is that my sister in law saw this and my husband, my parents are God fearing people and I don’t doubt they love me but have got more set in their ways, they are not going to be who I want them to be and as sad as that is I choose to accept this. Your story resonates with me, will this be One of the last times I have with them. When you wake to losing someone you win love, thank you I will focus on the love

  124. I lost my Mother 13 years ago to cancer when she was only 68. I see so much of the love that is greater now that she is gone to Heaven, but I must admit I am at place right now where God is closing all our doors and making huge changes and we are losing so much in our lives that we have had and been comfortable with for so long. I have a different take on this entry today.
    Our adopted “Grandmother” neighbor is moving away, we will also soon be selling our home and moving, my husband is contemplating some changes, our son will soon go to college and my stay at home Mother days will end. We have laid all this at the foot of The Lord’s Throne in united prayer and seek continually His direction and answers physically (because a house isn’t just a dream, it’s an object), jobs, locations, etc. I must admit our minds are spinning and our hearts are heavy because 25 years is a long time to close up in a box for what seems like no good reason.
    But I think back to when my Mother left all she knew at 18 and started out on her own in this great big world. She met some huge successes, made great friends, found heartbreaks, hard times, and after the final down right heart broken in a thousand pieces for the last time picked her children up, chucked everything (including my father, thankfully) and went back home to her Mama and Daddy and found peace and safety and started all over again with nothing but us and God, who greatly provided.
    Thank you for this devotion, Ann, which has taken me through a tunnel of time. I am very sure The Lord led me here today to remind me to live life with open hands, so that we may remember that it all belongs to Him, and we are His Hands and Feet. Always on the move wherever He leads so that His light is shared in the places that need to be lit.
    Thank you Lord for leading me here to find this journey remembered. I am a grateful woman.

  125. I love this. Thank you so much. I’ve been drinking in your books and God’s words for me through have been healing balm and the quieting I’ve needed on my journey to becoming the wife and mother to 9 that best honor Him.
    And, here is a post I wrote about being a good witness for Christ as a mom through joy and health for our families. It’s called “Motherhood with Vitality”. Maybe it will bless one of your readers. =) *hugs* http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2011/10/motherhood-with-vitality-part-1-of-2.html

  126. Ann, I love this post….my mom at almost 89 received a serious diagnosis in the last month, reading this really resonated with me. Watching her over the last few weeks, sometimes with fear, sadness, joy , grief and gratitude, my heart preparing already for a loss, I know will come….but really one of many loses as you said.
    The song “I Need You Now” by Plumb shores me up, over and over and I lean into Jesus daily. God bless you.
    Linda

  127. Ann,
    I have enjoyed your writing and this article is particularly meaningful.
    The ocean, the seaside is a place I love to be. It is a place where time stands still and reminds me of God’s grace with every wave. The waves never stop coming one grander than the one before. They remind me to take hold of God’s grace, to cherish each moment-all the ordinary ones that make life such a miracle. Living in gratefulness is an attitude of the heart no matter how old. I am older now and see God’s hand of grace in my life and am grateful beyond measure. Nancy

  128. Ann, in the midst of wet eyelashes I ceased reading and my memory crowded with the fear and angst you have so boldly shared.
    I have walked the walk and thought the thought as you have while joyfully living moments with my momma.
    We know no end to our joy and in praising our Savior we honor Him with unaquitted love.
    How blessed we are to have known and experienced a mother’s love that must surely be so like our Lord’s love for us. I imagine our love pales in comparison but it is what we know, rich and not withholding.
    Remember God’s promise” …whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster. Proverbs 1:33. We must listen….

  129. You make 61 sound ever so old and that your mama has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Maybe your mother isn’t well and that is why you write that way? I am 71 years old and doing just fine, thank you very much. I always shudder when people write or talk about “old” people who are 55 or 60 or even 65. Yes, we are older than you are, but we still have a lot of life left.

    When will God call me home? I have no idea. I want to live each day as if it is my last day. But at the same time, I want to live life to the fullest extent.

  130. My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year…at 66. They now say she will not make it to her next birthday…apart from a miracle by our God. We are guaranteed nothing. Taking the time to soak in those moments never goes wasted. Never regretted. It is the opposite that we regret…taking people for granted, not savoring the moments, not making time for memories. Thank you. Your words these last few weeks often speak right to where I am..usually through tears. Thank you.

  131. My Mommy, my Mom, my Mother,
    In all of those roles she lived out, I admired and learned. In my 50’s I continue to glean and give thanks to my God who amazes me through her. Looking forward to eternity with her and my Lord!

  132. My sweet sister-in-law’s voice cracks when she tries to respond to my “Hello?”. She cant’t get the words out and then they spill out “Your Daddy is missing.” Words that still stop my heart and bring instant tears. Words I never imagined. My 83 year old father drove over 300 miles the wrong way, into a neighboring state before running out of gas – never realizing he was lost. An Arkansas State trooper stopped to check on him, called my Mother and our mind-knumbing ordeal was over. He was found, he was safe, he was alive. Now our family has begun a new journey. Blood tests, CT scans, MRIs, memory testing… He can’t drive anymore. Life as we know it has changed, again. I pray for strength and wisdom in the days ahead. I pray to understand what we can do for him, how to keep him safe, how to help our Mother care for him without losing her as well. I pray for humor, and the blessing of memories that run through my mind as if they were on a movie projector. I pray for God’s Grace to love him, whoever he may become. And above all I thank God for the blessing of having this sweet, dear man be my Daddy. Thank you for allowing God to use you to send me encouragement today. – M

  133. Hello,
    This blessing crossed my Path Feb 1, 2015. I have heard it said “Coincidence is God’s way of staying Anonymous.” Today is the first day of African American History Month and Langston Hughes Birthday. This is the type of poetic Gift everyone in Humanity can appreciate. I love music so I am going to share some some songs.
    “Prayer Changes Things” Mahalia Jackson, ‘Keep your Head to the Sky” Earth, Wind and Fire and “The Creator has a Master Plan” Pharaoh Sanders. All these songs and lyrics can be found on YouTube.com
    Best Wishes

  134. My dad was a very abusive dad to my sisters and me. We have tried talking to our mom about it but she denies it and says we made it up. Now she’s said it so much she believes it. If she admitted it she would have to admit that she let him hurt us. We always had to walk on egg shells because we never knew when he would strike. Talking to other family members on my dad’s side of the family it is like a family curse that has been carried on for a few generations. Their tempers are awful. My mom and dad couldn’t say a nice word to each other. It was always in a snappy voice which has carried itself over to the next two generations. If you try to talk to mom about her and dad’s relationship with God she will say he went to church when he was a boy. I can never understand why a man thinks he’s good if he doesn’t hit his wife but he can hit defenseless little kids. I married a man that was exactly like my dad. Over the years I have made some pretty bad decisions that I have regretted. Life doesn’t give do overs. My dad passed away 3 weeks ago and the talks we never had but wanted will never happen. I have some medical problems so I didn’t get to go to the funeral. It was almost like when I graduated from high school and dad wouldn’t go to my graduation. He stayed home and watched TV. He went to both my sisters graduation. During my life there has been so many hurts like that. It took me awhile to know my Heavenly Father because of identifying Him with my earthly father. The thing is my sister lives two houses down from my mom and tries to help her but my mom has snapped so long that that is the only way she can talk to her. My sister has son that has been awful to my sister. My sister had them watch him while she worked long hours. His wife and him have played my mom and so far have got my dad’s new truck. He had thousands of tools that my dad had. They got them. My sister told my mom not to sign anything they put in front of her. When they first got married my nephew moved in with her to take care of her mother. They got money from the county or state. They did a horrible job. It stunk so bad. The state or county finally took he son away from her and put her mother in a nursing home. That’s when they moved closed to my parents. They’ve already asked mom if they could move in with her. So far she’s said no but they’ll wear her down. I’m worried about her. She’s 90 years old and will take my nephew and his wife over my sister. My nephew has one child and she feels sorry for them. My parents have bent over backwards to help them with money, and vehicles. I want to help my sister but when she calls she wants to let it all out and I try telling her to give it to God but she says she has to have someone to talk to. What should I do?

  135. Thank you for this profound perspective. Working recently on my will and other final documents, I’ve felt so vulnerable and faced a lot of grief. I appreciated your piece because of it’s length and depth, not something you can express in a quote or a quick thought. You have blessed me today.

  136. Ann, I sometimes save my messages until I have time to read them so I am a little late in responding to your post.

    My Mom died from cancer in 1984 at a relatively young age. One night as I was praying for her, I asked the Lord to take me instead. From things my Mom said, I felt that she was not ready to die. My Mom did die, and a few years later I was sitting quietly with my eyes closed, feeling sleepy in a quiet, warm sunny spot. Suddenly, it was as if the Lord began talking directly to me. And it seemed a question came and He asked me, “Do you remember when you prayed for Me to take you instead of your mother?” and I responded, “Yes, Lord, I remember.” Ever so gently, the chiding came. “You didn’t have to die for your mother; I have already done that.” And with that, tears came flooding in and I knew I had a very personal answer to my prayer.

    Now I am in my 70’s and realizing that my time on this earth is coming to a close. I have loved ones that I desperately want to know the Lord, but I must tread carefully sometimes. Even though I have prayed many years, I see no results, but I believe there is coming an answer! I often write poems and songs and prose – all about the Lord. I am in the process of putting all of these together to leave for my family. The words He has given me flow out in these writings and I pray they will be used for His glory.

    Little Lamb, Precious Lamb, Thou hast redeemed me from my sin.
    Thou hast taken me just as I am, And cleansed me from within.
    Little Lamb, Lamb of God, Without blemish and without spot,
    Atoning blood Thou hast shed. My redemption Thou hast bought.
    Little Lamb, our Passover, Foreordained ere the world was made,
    Thy blood was shed for our cover, All our sins on Thee were laid.
    Oh Little Lamb, Precious Lamb, We thank Thee for Thy sacrifice.
    Oh Spotless Lamb, God’s own Lamb, Thy atoning blood didst suffice.

  137. Our family is in a dark valley presently. It a seems like the enemy has come against us in a full blown war. Each day the battle waged against seems to grow stronger. It is by Gods grace that the enemy hasn’t overtaken us completely. We have lost so much…The enemy is trying to take each one of us down.
    I thank the Lord for giving up his life on the cross. Shedding his blood for each one of us. That the outcome for us is victory because he lived, & died & rose from the grave, & glory! To the King of Kings! He rules & reigns! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
    Instead on focusing on the present circumstances & the loss & fear of what could go wrong, I will give thanks for the gifts He has given us for today, this moment, rejoice in God my Savior & excitedly await his appearing in the clouds.