About the Author

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

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    • thank you, modupe. the Spirit has worked through a great many people over the last few weeks to bring a lot of comfort.

    • I read a quote the other day that said something to the effect of “Life – no one makes it out alive.” I kind of laughed and realized… that’s so true!

  1. Wow, could so relate to your story. When my daddy passed away near a lake, we was with the only friend he had that didn’t know CPR. Random? I too came to look at his passing with the eyes of God who had it all planned out. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the reminder about living life the right way!

    • There’s something about taking the randomness out of death that also takes the randomness out of life. And that means I had better be paying attention…

  2. ‘Because the truth is, if you come in contact with someone you either leave them feeling better about themselves or worse, but you never leave them unaffected.’

    Sara,
    This is great! Thank you for the reminders to get up everyday with this as our agenda. Not the bazillion things that we feel we need to accomplish. I love what you said about we never leave people unaffected.

    I have been thinking also how my life is known to God, everything he is doing in my life is in his plan! He knows when and where I meet the right man for me and my children. He knows if I will get remarried one day. It is my only job to follow him and his nudges or sometimes its a hard push!

    I’m sorry about your Dad. I’m not sure when that happened last year but I will pray that you get through the anniversary peacefully.

    Lisa

    • thank you, lisa… you’re right, God knows all the steps in front of you. i came to realize that a lot of my ideas for my life weren’t going to come to fruition, but I can so see His hand in all the things that have come into my life. and surrendering to Him has been the greatest gift I gave myself.

  3. How truly sorry I am for your loss. And I know that loss is somewhat cyclical. As you round out the year and draw close to the one-year-mark you will be in my prayers.

    Your words are such a powerful way to start the day. A true gift.

    I especially like the way you end your piece by planting a seed that seemingly small and insignificant moments may be the ones where He needs us the most.
    Especially because His intentions are not always clear to us. So much is a mystery. And a small act we perform (that may seem random) may start a chain of events that “click” something into place days or years later.

    • exactly. i look at the bizarre way my life of being homebound had played out, and I realize that it will be small ways I affect others… but my small way could lead to them doing big things out in the world. and that matters.

  4. These words, “The truth is that if you are still breathing, He still has plans for you.” are so true they bring tears to my eyes. I’m not agreeing with God’s plans for me these days. I’m not liking them. I want my own plans… I think I know better, but deep down these words convicted me that I don’t.

    Thank you.

  5. Thank you for sharing those heartfelt words with us, I could feel the Lord speaking to my heart through your words.

  6. That was SO beautifully written!! Thank you for the reminder – the little stuff really IS the big stuff!
    Blessings on you as time heals the pain of your Dad’s passing.

    • thank you, andrea. and YES, the little things matter… you never know where your action may lead for someone else.

  7. Wow…powerful, beautiful, Spirit-filled truth. Thank you for this, Sara. What a legacy your Daddy has in his girl–imagining him smiling from heaven right now. Love you!

    • i love you, too, holley. thank you so much for taking care of our beach house. it has been such a blessing to have a place to come and share and be safe with others.

  8. What an awesome truth. What great wisdom God has given you through something so difficult and unexpected. You are a treasure and a gift to all who are blessed to read your words. Thank you for this word today. Blessings, sweet friend.

    • blessings to you, krissie. i never realized your first name… I always see your picture and think “always alleluia” 🙂 hope it’s nice being associated with praise 🙂

  9. That is a powerful post!! I too love the part about we leave others we come in contact with either feeling better about themselves or worse. This is a daily reminder that we never know when just a warm smile or kind word could make an unimaginable difference in someone’s day. It was also a powerful reminder that our lives are not random with God. He is in control and He loves us unconditionally. Thanks for sharing about your Dad.

    • “He is in control and He loves us unconditionally.”

      These two truths together bring a lot of comfort, don’t they? because it means that whatever is happening is in His control and will result in love. such comfort.

  10. The glory you bring to our Lord is beautiful to behold, Sara. Yes, the awesomeness of our God is not random.

    In this season, His Spirit has been encouraging me to “wake-up” to some things. These words of yours, “We aren’t supposed to have an urging in our spirit and say, “I’ll get to that tomorrow. I’ll visit them tomorrow. I’ll bless them next time.” No. We’re supposed to wake up today and say YES” are confirmation for which I am thankful.

  11. I love this, Sara! Thank you for a sweet reminder to live with intention TODAY! 🙂

    • i think of you often in all of this, Brenda. i so remember hearing of your dad when i was visiting Steve here in Cedar Falls and driving straight home and straight to your house. and then having no words. i just knew i needed to get to you that day.

  12. This is an incredible post, Sara. Thank you for sharing.

    I’m knee deep in the practice of intention and purpose right now. It’s definitely about this little day-to-day things, and we just never know when God will take one of those little things and make it something monumental. We just have to use the amazing gifts He’s given us and keep ourselves open to being used by Him.

    Thank you for the reminder to keep saying YES! It’s what keeps the world turning!

  13. Sorry to hear about the loss of your dad.
    How many times have I used or heard the word “random” when describing someone’s death but now I will be reminded that to God it was NOT random. God knows!

    May we all live our days with intention!!

    Thanks

    • i agree. it has changed the way i’ve looked at so many deaths and life circumstances. nothing is random to Him.

  14. This really touched me…I thought my mom getting a brain tumor and passing away only 5 months after we found it was random. I can see through your perspective that it was far from random, it was God’s plan. Thank you so much for your words, you are wise beyond yours years.

    • i think sometimes we confuse our shock with what we think is random. and it is random to us, but He sees and knows and loves. and there is great comfort in that. i’m so sorry about your mom. sending much love to you today.

  15. Nailed it, sister Sara. Just perfect – each and every word. Thank you. Been praying for you as you’ve gone through this anniversary time. It will get easier, I promise. Never gone, but easier to navigate. But this right here? This magnificent example of your finding and teaching this lesson from the whole experience? THIS is such a strong and powerful picture of the myriad ways in which our redeeming God can work in every situation to bring love/hope/peace/glory. So glad you’re here, so glad you’re writing.

  16. Oh, Sara, how you shine with revelation from the Heart of the Father…
    This morning God showed me my life as a pitcher that He was holding. It is icy blue, and pours out clear, blue water full of bubbles-the Life-giving Holy Spirit. In my mind’s eye I saw Him taking that pitcher and pouring it out, a little here, a little there, as I go through my day, yielded to Him. Also showed me other pitchers, red, green, yellow that He also used to pour life into situations…it’s not all my responsibility! Finally, that as I remain focused of Him, He will fill me to overflow with His life in me, and the dross will rise up for Him to remove…He’s the Master Potter and doesn’t need my help…if there’s something I’m to do or repent of, He will let me know. So I can leave myself alone, live loved and be about my Father’s business as a Beloved Daughter.

    This is how I see your Dad, Sara. Doing exactly that…as a Beloved Son.

    By telling his story, you’ve allowed his life to touch many, many others.

    Thank you and may you feel both your Father and your father’s smiles in a special way today.

    love, Carol

    • it’s such a trick, isn’t it, when we tell ourselves we are responsible for all the happenings of the world? it’s so refreshing to realize that He is in control, and we just need to be obedient.

  17. Sara:

    I am a better person for having the opportunity to read your written word…. You are amazing! Thank you for sharing your story. Everyone has a story but few have the ability to share and reflect the way you do. A heartfelt thank you.

  18. Dear One,
    I’ve been following your blog since I discovered it earlier this year. You have blessed me with your writing, your photos, and your journey! God is using you in wonderful ways. Beauty and grace shine through your day by day suffering. Although I have a chronic, sometimes debilitating condition, it is nothing like yours and some days your words are just the encouragement I need to do ministry even from bed. (speaking of which, please share the name or link to your fabulous bedside computer tableM it looks perfect for me!)

    In reading this bittersweet post about your dad I am conflicted. What a praise you had a father who reflected our Father’s loving kindness! How sad to lose that. Then I think about how I missed out on that experience. I wonder what it would have been like…then I remember: I DO have a Father like that now and His grace is what sustains me daily. Blessed, I am.

    Well, I didn’t mean to write a book! LOL!
    Just know I love your blog and you are often in my prayers. God bless. Maggie

  19. What wisdom you have shared. I needed to hear this today. You bring His words to life.
    I have been a follower of your blog this year as I began to explore Christian blog world for the first time.
    Life has given me a new, sometimes obscured path since December. Major changes due to my health. Not planning then for these to happen. But knowing always a possibility after a diagnosis in Sept 2001. Just as a healing miracle is an even greater possibility.
    I view these circumstances as opportunities to do things I could not (and would not) have otherwise. I possess God-given peace. When doubts come due to my physical limits, I try not to visit there long. Because for every action there is a reaction. In my times of required physical rest, there is a God-placed chance to do something else instead.
    Reflection is key these days. Now I have been gifted with time.
    Perspective is changed to a 20-20 vision with God’s word.
    While I may appear to be a humanly random statistic because my disease affects “one in a ? people,” I am planned by God.
    And that is not a random creation.
    Thank you Sara for being a blessing.

  20. Gitz- thank you for this amazing reminder. I have lost more loved ones here in 5 years in Africa than in my entire 28 years before I got here. The one thing it teaches me is to live each day intentionally and to live with no regrets. I miss the little ones and the leaders I have buried here. Deeply. But we press on to live a full today with no regrets fully present in our present trusting for the tomorrow we can’t yet see. Again thank you for the reminding… in a crazy busy schedule with 100+ kids, writing deadlines and administrative mountains… I need reminding.

    • oh, michele… I can’t imagine all of that loss, but i hope it never overshadows the beauty of the work you’re doing. saying prayers specifically for you today. hope you feel them.

  21. Superb post!

    Excellent reminder to live each and every day intentionally for Him – No we do not know when/how death will hit us! Only He knows.

    Thanks for sharing about your life and how you are living it intentionally – just as your dad did! You are a blessing to us all!!

    • thank you, Beth… and isn’t it a relief to remember we don’t have the control… all we have to do is obey. it’s a great reminder for me.

  22. Sara you are beautiful! Your words, oh how they met my heart and brought tears to my eyes!

    you are such a wonderful example I honor you for living your life the way you do! For sharing such wisdom with us. I am so glad you found this forum to write on!

    feeling blessed by your words and your heart!
    xoTiffany

  23. That is so true – nothing is truly “random” since God is God. I, too, have seen this in the losses of three babies during pregnancy. I believe their brief lives held intention, too, and purpose. Thank you for the reminder, and I am so sorry about the loss of your father.

    • i believe with you, Kristi, that each of their lives held great purpose and meaning. there is no life to brief for God to use for His good.

  24. “All of it matters. None of it is random.”

    We have learned this through my dad’s cancer battle over the past 2 years. Living in the now, listening to His nudge.

    Thanks for sharing this, I appreciate it more than you know.

  25. True, there is no random. And I See the blessing…you lived a hard time to know this. Such Grace to See the truth that All. Is. For. Purpose.

    I am really touched by his truth in the most amazing way.

    Rich blessings to you, Gitz, as you continue to trust you Heavenly Father for purpose in all…

    • thank you, amy… i learned so many of these lessons living through my illness, and it was just remembering what I already knew and applying it to the different situations in my life. it took a moment for me to know that it was true of my life AND my dad’s death… and everything in between.

      • I love seeing how He works this truth in one aspect of our lives and then shows us how we can apply it to other aspects–how we never truly and completely understand and how He uses All opportunities for purpose to teach us how we can Trust.

  26. Thank you for sharing, as I sit here in the midst of procrastination for something which requires intention to complete. God’s nudges come from many a direction.

  27. love this- and it is so encouraging for me as I think of the week ahead. What great words and reminders to listen and intentionally respond. Thanks for the beautiful post.

    • that makes me happy, rachel… praying your week ahead is filled with beautiful surprises as you look with intention.

  28. This is beautiful.

    “Because the truth is, if you come in contact with someone you either leave them feeling better about themselves or worse, but you never leave them unaffected.”

    So very true, and how important it is to be intentional to be a positive touch toward others.

    • it’s the idea of the ripple effect… you just never know what role you’re supposed to play in that big picture…

  29. As much as I missed getting my Riley fix today, I needed to be reminded of this. Sometimes I get so impatient wanting to know what my purpose is

  30. Hi Sara,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Though we have never met or exchanged a single word, he has blessed us, through you, his legacy. I pray that your memories will continue to warm your heart as you wait for the day when you will meet again where there will be no more pain.

    Tomorrow is my birthday and I intend to continue to choose praise, give thanks. my birthday gift to myself. There IS always ,something to be thankful about. Today, I am thankful for your ministry. Amazing grace, amazing love, amazing God.

    Cellina

    • thank you for saying that, cellina. i worry about writing about him too much sometimes, but I want others to know what I had a lifetime of learning from him.

      Happy Birthday to you, friend. It’s a beautiful gift to give yourself… to choose joy, to choose thanks. i have no doubt your little sara will spoil you in her own way as well 🙂

  31. As I shared in a comment on a previous post you wrote about your dad, my uncle died so unexpectedly the same way. But what I wanted to say here is that this is an awesme post! Just the things I have been trying to be mindful of as I breeze through my day and interactions with others. I shared a link to this post on my Facebook wall.

    • thank you, kirsten… it changes our perspective on everything when we shift our focus, doesn’t it? i think it’s a beautiful way to honor your uncle by living with such intention.

  32. I can’t not comment on your lovely thoughts here…although I read most through teary eyes!! I will add my thanks for using the voice you have to bring such honor and glory to God, for reminding us of the nonrandomness of life, and for encouraging us to live fully. This post was a real blessing to me, too, and one I will meditate on for awhile!!
    Rebekah

    • I think you do this quite well, rebekah… look at how intentional and gracious you’ve been to me with your letters. they are appreciated 🙂

  33. I read this last night just as I was sinking in and remembering that 6 years ago today my Mom died.

    Thank you for reminding me to live life like I mean it and thank you for being ‘company’ in this tough club of missing beloved parents on a night when I needed it without even meaning to.

    • Val, I’m glad I can be here with you today. My dad’s year anniversary was on the 9th and i was shocked by how much grief took over. Just know we are here and I am praying for you and your family today.

  34. Sarah-your writing is my favorite! Thank you for this word. So sorry for your loss, your dad sounds amazing 🙂
    Many, many blessings,
    sherri

    • thanks, sherri. he really was amazing. it kind of breaks my heart for the people who didn’t get to meet him because he just made everyone around him better. 🙂

  35. Sarah,
    I was thinking of you lots this am and praying for you. I wanted to ask you if/when you’re going to write a book? I think a book about you and your life would be wonderful but I especially think you should write a devotional. The Lord speaks wisdom to me through you and I’m so thankful for your writing gift and your willingness to share your life with us. You could use lots of your blog writings and I know God would give you and other “supporters” (contributors/editors?) the right direction.
    Just wanted to ask you on the inCourage page, in case it helps give the right person the idea (hint hint)
    Lots of love~ x

    • oh my gosh, stephanie. i’m so thankful that anything i write hits home to you and finds you in the place deep inside where it’s needed. i honestly can’t imagine writing a book… my life hasn’t been all that exciting… just me, day to day. 🙂 but having you say that you’d like one? crazy flattering to me. thank you.

    • OH, OH, OH…I was just thinking the same thing last night after I read this post…a devotional?? Yes, please!! :-)) Just what Miss Stephanie said!!

      Rebekah

  36. Sara, I know you don’t know me, but I think of you often and whisper a prayer for you. I don’t usually leave comments, but I needed to tell you that my heart aches for you in your loss. But can I also just tell you how blessed you were to have a Daddy like that. My dad wanted a boy, and I was a disappointment to him from the start. I have lived with that feeling my whole life. I know you had to let go of your Dad long before you wanted to, but what a blessing he was. In your sadness, cherish that blessing for those of us who never knew a father’s love.

    Penny

    • oh, penny. thank you. thank you for whispering those prayers… there is no doubt i get through life because of them. and yes… i don’t take a moment of having my dad for granted. i grew up cherished and loved, and i know that is a luxury in this world. i’m sorry you didn’t have that, and pray you have found people in your life who show you how worth it you really are.