About the Author

Jennifer Dukes Lee is the author of several books, including Growing Slow. She and her husband live on the family farm, raising crops, pigs, and two humans. She’s a fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She wants to live life in such a way...

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  1. Jennifer,
    Wow…the story of Charlie really cuts through all the fluff and gets to the bottom line. We are all lulled into thinking there will always be tomorrow, but tomorrow may not come. I’ve been praying about what to do in a particular situation. I’ve said what’s needs to be said before and have been stung severely, but I am feeling God’s nudging again through you today. It hurts when you keep extending an olive branch of peace only to have it be swatted away, but I feel God’s urging to keep trying. Thanks for this timely and poignant post.
    Blessings friend,
    Bev xx

    • Sorry it took me a while to comment, Bev. I was away on vacation. Thanks for your continued encouragement here at (in)courage. May God continue to grant you courage, even when it’s hard to extend the olive branch.

    • I hope you don’t get duplicate comments from me, Bev. I have been having trouble with the comments today.

      First of all, I want to apologize for my delay in responding to your awesome message here. You’re always such an encourager to all of us at (in)courage. I’ve been away on vacation, hence the delay.

      Second, I have been praying for you today… praying for God to give you peace and courage to hold out that olive branch even when it’s hard. Praying for God to give you wisdom and discernment. Praying for your beautiful heart.

      • Jennifer,
        I hope you had a relaxing vacation! Thank you (twice) for your lovely response(s) ! I truly appreciate your prayers as I did reach out to extend the olive branch, again, after reading your post…time will tell…

        I have trouble with the Comments section all the time. My comments don’t appear until maybe an hour or more later. I told Anna about it, but we thought it was just my computer or me lol. But, since you are having trouble as well, maybe let her know. If we both are having trouble (and two heads are better than one) then maybe others are having trouble as well??

        Blessings sweet friend,
        Bev xo

  2. I’ve been having thoughts along these same lines, Jennifer, because more and more, my kids are out of my sight and every day connections are getting fewer. So… I’m trying to use the medium they are most connect with, texting little messages or sending a random picture from my phone. A tiny “I love you” message on an ordinary Tuesday takes seconds, but I want to say it whenever I get the chance and in as many ways as I can manage.

  3. Thanks for the reminder. None of us know the number of our days. I pray none are spent in any way but being a Charlie.

  4. These words of yours are definitely landing on my heart!!!! For me, the difficult task on the
    horizon is wanting my loved ones(children especially) to listen. Also ,not sure about the words
    I must use to speak of things related to my own immortality….kids often are not prepared to
    talk about these issues. Thank you for inspiring me to move forward, no procrastination. Jesus
    will give me the words I pray. Delightful, poignant message, blessings to you.

    • Hi Darlean, I’m so glad this post spoke to you and am praying that God continues to give you wisdom and clarity on how to have conversations, and which things need to be said, and which things don’t need to be said. Grateful for you sharing here this week.

  5. When our daughter was diagnosed with a syndrome the Dr told me he couldn’t promise me forever. These words whilst heart breaking were also liberating they made me realise what I should have already known that tomorrow isn’t promised. As a family we made a vow to make the moments matter. We love hard and do t hold back, often people think we are strange but I would rather that than to live with regrets. I love that Charlie left nothing unsaid a great reminder for us all.

  6. Jenn, thank you. My mother heart, wife heart, and friend heart say the words without regret. I feel good about that. But my writer heart needed your reminder today. Sometimes I just don’t know if it’s worth it and I wonder (and challenge) these thoughts weekly (daily??). So my new focus will be: No matter what is produced or what comes of it, living fully means speaking the truth rather than choking on it.

    • Oh Michelle! I totally get what you’re saying! I’ve been right there where you are. I’ve wondered at times if all the time and investment is worth it. I wonder if someone else could say it better. All of this! But let’s keep writing. Let’s keep wrapping words around feelings. Let’s keep telling good, good stories. All for Him.

      Sorry it took me a while to respond! I’ve been away on vacation. 🙂

  7. Yes wow!!!
    Thanks for reminding us with your word pictures what we know but do not act upon. Thanks Jennifer for the gentle nudge today. And Bev thanks to you as well. Lord help me to respond!!
    God’s Blessings to you both!
    Diane

  8. Bev, definitely keep trying as I’ve read your struggles here before. Never give up…

    Jennifer, the story of Charlie hit home as I’ve just gotten home from the hospital and things are heavy on my mind. Things I need to ask my Daughter and hurtful things that I know won’t be easy. It’s never easy trying to talk to those who once we could talk about anything. I think this was just what I needed this morning.

    XOXO,
    Jen

    • Hi Jen, I’m just now getting to your comment here. I apologize for the delay, as I was away on vacation. I hope that God guided you with wisdom and clarity on how to apply this in your own life. And I hope that your words are received with the grace and tenderness they deserve. xo

  9. This moved me to tears and action today. I don’t know how it will be received but I had to write each of my 3 older sisters. I told them I loved them. I told them I was jealous of them. I apologized for any past hurts and asked their forgiveness. I said I wanted them to love me, accept me, be there for me and I for them. This will either be a turning point for good or bad in our relationships, but the move had to be made. Today I could not deny God any longer and I took that step in faith. It’s in his hands now.

    Thank you.

    • I am praying for you Linda. It must have been hard but such obedience is a sweet act of worship, a sweet fragrance offered to your Father. No matter how it will be taken, I believe without any shadow of the doubt that God is proud of you.

    • Oh Linda! This is so awesome. I am encouraged to know that my words brought you to specific action. I am praying for you now and praying that your sisters receive your words with tenderness and grace. Please let us know how it went, and if it’s easier to email, please feel free to do so at jennifer@ jenniferdukeslee.com.

  10. The words I wished I could had said to my best friend pierces through my heart daily. I thought we had time and in a blink of an eye, she was gone forever. From the time she went to the hospital to her passing was two weeks. We barely had time to think of anything as she was in a coma for a week and then the last week was surgery and she was gone. Goodness the last thing I said to her was the day before her surgery and I apologized for not being able to be there for her surgery. I had taken all of my time off from work already and couldn’t take any more days off. I whispered to her gently that I will not be there but will be there the following day after surgery. What I wouldn’t give to be there, to be there when she woke up from surgery. Yes all those unsaid words hurts the most. It pains me immensely to think I should had stayed, should had just taken off work without pay to be there. Tomorrow was too late. Missing you my friend. Thank you sharing this Jennifer…

    • Oh Maylee, I am so sorry for your heartbreaking loss and the regret that you are feeling. But I can see what a terrific friend you really are and were to her. You whispering in her ear is so tender and heartwarming. I hope and pray that God brings you peace. xo

  11. Great reminder Jennifer…and I think with every passing year …and the older I get…this becomes so much more important to me… I don’t want to live with regrets…with the if only!!! Time is so precious!!!

    • Hi Ro, I was saying exactly this to another commenter. I feel like the older we get — and the more often we have to say goodbye to those we love — the truer all of this becomes. Thanks for sharing. I apologize for the delay in responding to you. I was away on vacation.

  12. Been waiting on God to give me words for something very important. Pls pray if this post is confirmation from Him that He would provide…clarity & energy

    • Hi J … Sorry it took a few days to get in here and respond. I was away on vacation. I am praying for you this afternoon, and hoping that you are receiving clarity and energy to do what needs to be done. Would love to hear how it goes!

      • Jennifer….I can’t believe you have replied to this today…and believe God has been specifically using your prayers. Can I direct msg you on your website to update you? Please keep an eye out for my email x

  13. Jennifer,

    God never promises us tomorrow. Do Not delay in talking to family & friends. We all get busy & say “oh I’ll do it later or tomorrow.” Trouble is later may never come. I often text or email friends & family the thoughts I want conveyed. They need to hear “I love you”; “I’m praying for you”-now. Call or visit, if possible, family & friends-especially the elderly. You never know when God will call them home. Don’t waste time. Have fun enjoy each day. You won’t regret it. I remember quitting a good job to be available for my dad. I would visit him in assisted living. Some days we just watched tv. Others we would go sit on the porch & watch traffic. One day he took the activity bus ride up to see the lake. It was fun. He had a blast. Another time we went upstairs to listen to seniors center group sing. He cried his eyes out. I am so happy I was able to have that time with him. I don’t regret it one minute. Encourage your loved ones & friends.

    Blessings 🙂

  14. Your message was on point and so true.
    One needs to express what one feels now not when it’s to late.
    Blessings

  15. Jennifer,

    Thought of a song “only Here for a Little While” by Billy Dean. It expresses perfectly what you are saying.
    Gonna hold who needs holdin’ Mend what needs mendin’ Walk what needs walkin’
    Though it means an extra mile Pray what needs prayin’ Say what needs sayin’
    Cause we’re only here for a little while
    Today I stood singin’ songs and sayin’ Amen Saying goodbye to an old friend who seemed so young
    He spent his life workin’ hard to chase a dollar Putting off until tomorrow the things he should have done
    Made me start thinking “What’s the hurry, why the runnin’? I don’t like what I’m becoming, gonna change my style Take my time and I take it all for granted ” Cause we’re only here for a little while
    Gonna hold who needs holdin’ Mend what needs mendin’ Walk what needs walkin’
    Though it means an extra mile Pray what needs prayin’ Say what needs sayin’
    Cause we’re only here for a little while
    Let me love like I’ll never see tomorrow Treat each day as though it’s borrowed
    Like it’s precious as a child Whoa, take my hand Let us reach out to each other
    Cause we’re only here for a little while
    Gonna hold who needs holdin’ Mend what needs mendin’ Walk what needs walkin’
    Though it means an extra mile Pray what needs prayin’ Say what needs sayin’
    Cause we’re only here for a little while
    Gonna hold who needs holdin’ Mend what needs mendin’ Walk what needs walkin’
    Though it means an extra mile Pray what needs prayin’ Say what needs sayin’
    Cause we’re only here for a little while.

    AMEN!

  16. I need to make a phone call this evening that I’ve been putting off. Thank you, Jennifer, for your loving reminder that tomorrow may be too late!

    • Hi Nancy! I apologize for my delay in responding. I’ve been away on vacation. I’m so glad that these words made their way to you at just the right time, and I hope that the phone call went well!