Jessica Turner
About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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

Reader Interactions


  1. I can’t tell you (Angie) what a relief it was to me that you had a chapter on the fear of death. I’ve been a Christian since I was a child, now I’m 30 and a wife and a mother. I’d never doubted that I would go to Heaven when I died. And I still don’t. However, after becoming a mother, the “fear of death” became very real to me. I can easy tumble down the fear trail that I won’t be around to see my child grow up. That I won’t get to raise him, etc. I have no basis for this crazy fear. I’m currently healthy and life around us is normal. However, it’s a fear I struggle with nonetheless. I had tears swell up in my eyes when I got to this chapter of your book because I thought I was the only one who had this fear…. and in some twisted way, I started thinking it was the Lord’s “prompting” or His way of “preparing” me of what was to come. BUT. I’m realizing that’s another lie I’ve allowed myself to believe. I mean, to find out that someone else (and likely MANY someone elses) have this same type of fear put me at great ease. It’s not an “omen” that I’m soon to encounter. It’s just a fear. Just like the other fears we struggle with. And the great encouragement to me was that I’m not alone in this tragic thinking. I can’t thank you enough for allowing the Lord to bring this on to paper. And the idea of setting up boundaries so we prevent ourselves from dwelling on things…. such great advice.

    There is SO MUCH packed into this chapter that I’d love to expound on, because they each encouraged me so much. I CAN trust Him. Fear of dying and not being a part of my son (and husband’s) life is keeping me from truly living in the moments with them.

    Again, I could say so much more about the other areas you addressed in this chapter, but I treasure them in my newly encouraged heart. So, all I really wanted to say here was “thank you”. Thank you, Angie, for being so candid. You helped me see that I’m normal. You helped me see so many things that the Lord has been trying to get through my stubborn head. I’ve almost completed the book and I was just telling my husband last night that this book is going to be a resource I use for the rest of my life… and one that I will continue to pass on to other women. (Just sent a copy to my friend who lives out of state).

    So much Biblical truths and personal insight… the Lord clearly chose the most excellent vessel in talking about the brutal fears we face. I want to hug your neck just for that!

    So if you see a crazy chick at the WOF in Hartford with a tear-stained copy of your book with nearly every paged underlined with a nugget of truth, fear not… it’s just me 🙂

    • Kasey, this statement that YOU wrote hit me HARD: “I had tears swell up in my eyes when I got to this chapter of your book because I thought I was the only one who had this fear…. and in some twisted way, I started thinking it was the Lord’s “prompting” or His way of “preparing” me of what was to come. BUT. I’m realizing that’s another lie I’ve allowed myself to believe. ”
      This is EXACTLY how I feel. We are not alone sister. I am constantly giving this and giving this to God. Trying to not live in anxiety and fear but live my life glorifying God. This is such a struggle for me.

    • Kasey,
      I could pretty much ditto everything you just said. What a blessing YOU are to so many who have just read your response and comment! Thank you for sharing!! You’ve just blessed me 🙂

  2. Kasey, I so agree with you. Angie was just the person God had in mind for writing this book. I’m thankful she was brave enough to face her fears so that she could lead us to face ours. Best to you!

  3. This was a great chapter. I’ve been a Christian since I was a child too, and I’ve always feared death. My dad was a pastor, so I have seen my fair share of death. Oddly enough, one thing that has helped me be less fearful is watching my wonderful father take his last breath as my sisters & I held his hands 3 years ago. The first year after his death was torture for me, but as time goes on, I am coming to better terms with that huge loss in my life and death in general. I follow Max Lucado on Twitter, and one of his tweets this week from his newest book said this: “In heaven, we’ll remember the day we died with the same fondness we remember graduation day.” I was floored by that thought because on this side of heaven for those of us left behind, that day is so very painful.
    Thanks so much for this chapter!

    • Wow, Christi! That was so powerful. Thank you for sharing how God has helped you through this season. It gave me hope and a new perspective. I love Max Lucado. Praying for God to continue to wrap His arms around you and your family.

  4. This was the core chapter for me. I started reading Thursday morning at around 1 AM in the morning because I could not sleep, so I decided to read a little of the chapter to be done before today. One of my biggest fears of death, is dying in a earthquake and we had two in my area yesterday. My first reaction was to think of my children’s safety. They were both at school, I was a block away from the school. I thank God no one was injured in this two earthquakes, so far I have not seen anything major reported in the news report. Last night that we had the second one, I was sitting at my desk checking updates on facebook. I heard the house shake and I knew it was anothe one, my Son, jumped out of the bed and ran to me. He was shaking. I tried to calm him down. My daughter was upstairs in the attic room. We gathered together and watch the news. We slept in my son’s room, with jackets ready, my purse, important documents and bible in a tote bag. I even had my shoes on. My husband slept alone in our room. All night I kept reapeating, “Jesus I trust in You”. Just before I went to sleep, I read the rest of the chapter, and I was more confident that everything will be fine. My son kept waking up, checking to see if I was close by. I read to him, Psalm 23 and Psalm 91. I assured him, that God was taking care of us. And that he should not have fear. This week, I have been reading the book of Romans, and other scriptures that have been talking about being prepared, for we do not know the time and day that Jesus will come again. This experience has many reflect on so many things. Yes, I’m still have a little fear in me. But I’m beginning to focus on God and his will for my life.

    • Rosario – “Jesus, I trust in You” are the exact words you needed to say and your children needed to hear. God bless you for that. Those same words are the ones I repeated as I sat in our bathroom when the tornadoes were upon us. They gave me such a sense of peace. Jesus is in control – we have nothing to fear.

  5. Angie, Jess, and Jenni, this was such a powerful chapter, it had me in tears so many times. One of the things that will stick in my mind is Ellie’s comment to the woman about God’s hands being to big to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I think that a lot of my fears come down to just that, thinking that “I am little in the hand of a big God and I fear He will not be able to make His fingers small enough to hold onto me.” I don’t doubt that God is in control, that He created all things, and that nothing comes to me but through Him, but sometimes I forget that He is a God of the small details also, that He really does know the number of hairs on my head, and He really is in my small details. I also loved the story of Ellie on the bungee jump. How many blessings and joyful moments have I missed because I was afraid to step into the unknown and trust God’s bungee cords and lean into the jump, spread my arms and soar! Now I am going to have to go and stalk Angie’s blog to see if that picture is on there 🙂 Thank you ladies for being such a blessing!

  6. I wrote my comment before watching the video and I just wanted to add, that I like what Angie said almost at the end about Ellie’s experience on the bungee. There are so many times fear has overtaking me, to do things that I’m afraid of, like driving on the highways. This fear is keeping me from driving myself to visit my family and hour away from my home, or taking my children to fun events, family gathering, all because of this fear. The story of Ellie also reminded me of my Son, last year we went to the fair, and they had that bungee jumpie, and he wanted to do it, and I was the one holding on not wanting to let him get on it. To see his joy on the bungee jump was also a moment to cherish. And I also have picture on my phone and facebook. This same Son, that has always hold on to Momy’s hair as a security blanket, was up there on the bungee jump free of any fear. Thank you so much for including that story in you book.

  7. I could relate well to this chapter. It seems like this has been my cup to drink from. In the last three years there has been relative calm in the ‘losing someone’ department. But prior to that, within 6 years, one right after another, we lost my Dad, Mom, brother- in-law, my brother, aunt, mother-in-law and our family pet. It seems like we were in a huge storm and with losing each one… came waves of fear. I started feeling like I could not stand to ‘leave’ anyone for fear they wouldn’t come back. Especially my husband and children.
    I don’t understand why it happened the way and in the timing of one right after another…. but I do know, God was with us through the sorrow and grief and He still is.
    I know to just trust Him and realize He definitely is ‘In Control’ of my life.
    It really is the best place to be… as He is the One who knows what is best for our lives.

    Thanks for this chapter and I too wept when I read it and found comfort in your words, Angie. God bless you all.

  8. Angie, this chapter was so helpful to me. Thank you!!!

    When I was a single gal, my married BFF used to frequently talk about “if her husband died,” and I honestly thought she was a bit over-obsessed and morbid. Now, I have been married 3 years, and the enemy is constantly plaguing my thoughts about my loved ones dying. Just this morning on the way to work, I was there in my head again. I have learned to just start praying out loud and claiming Scripture to get get my thoughts aligned back to what I know is true — God is good. He walks with me, and I need not fear the valley of the shadow of death.

    The story of the kids in the pool blessed me. I loved the paragraph at the bottom of page 100, top of p. 101: “In this life, we are always at the edge of the pool… I decided during that time.. that I want to live my life like the kids were on that hot Georgia day.. The best and most glory-giving thing we can do is to love the water while we have it, always mindful that there is a greater place awaiting us.”

    I don’t want to miss out on what God has for me and my family. Praying for courage to just jump in and keep swimming.

    • I like this part of in the book. Today I heard on the radio a sister who says we should meditate daily on the Psalms, write them on index cards and carry them with us where ever we go.

    • I can so relate with thinking, “What if my husband were to die.” I like you I pray and claim scripture. But not often enough. I really need to work on this.
      Thanks for reminding me of the pool part. I LOVED that part too. I need to work on just living life and being PRESENT with my family. It is such a struggle.

      • Being present is something I want to intentionally do more of also. How said it would be to be at the end of my life wishing I had more time. In God’s Love, sheila

  9. I am constantly worrying about a loved one dying! Any time the phone rings I get kind of a panic feeling! I know it is all in Gods hands and I know when my loved ones pass I will see them again in heaven! It is just that life here on earth with them is great I would miss this so badly! As my parents age this fear is taking more of a hold on me. There are times driving home from my parents house that I wonder if this is the last time I had to talk to my mom or dad. I hate the thought of satan sitting there with a smirk on his face while I deal with this! Thank you so much for this chapter! I think this is a fear so many of us face!

  10. I really don’t have a fear of death anymore (quite frankly, I’m really more afraid of living) – mostly because of some wonderful experiences I have had when God permitted the ‘veil’ to be lifted and for me to see.
    The first experience was a near-death car accident for myself. I so wanted to go and be with Jesus – but my children were still in grade school and I asked to stay back and was told that it would be very painful (it has been) but I’m so grateful that was able to witness my husband’s conversion, pray for my children and see so many prayers answered in recent years. I was in such a good place at the time of the accident – had grown so much closer to God – and I’m still flabergasted that I fell away shortly after that accident and had to battle every day to stay close ever since. So blessed our God is merciful and slow to anger. And so thankful for my many blessings despite my many weaknesses. God is good.

    The next occassion was about 1 year after the death of my father – nearly two years after my accident. I stopped by the cemetery on the first anniversary of his death and I was missing him so much. I had a second – though it seem so much longer – where it felt as if I was transported back to the past and was in our kitchen with my father in his chair looking out the window – and he gave me what I called his ‘fish lip’ kiss goodbye as I was going somewhere. It was bright, beautiful, technicolor – and I knew he was in heaven and that I had nothing to fear.

    So blessed with these wonderful spiritual experiences. Praise God for showing me that’s there so much more than this world. Can’t wait to meet ya’all in heaven!

  11. I have struggled with the fear of death since before I can remember. So many of your stories from your childhood I can relate to. It’s really uncanny because I felt the exact same way and had the exact same thoughts and fears. When I got married I began worrying for my husband’s safety and well-being and since becoming a mother 2 years ago the fear has multiplied a hundred times over. I am so afraid of someone getting into my daughter’s bedroom in the middle of the night and kidnapping her that since the day she was born she has slept in a bed right next to me at night. Some people think that is a little ridiculous but they don’t understand that the reason I don’t let her sleep in her own bedroom is because of this paralyzing fear. During the day I try to convince myself that I can do this. God will take care of her. He loves her more than I do (as hard as that is to comprehend!). But when darkness falls and it’s time for bed all my confidence shrinks and I think “I can’t do this! She will sleep in our bedroom forever! This is just how things are going to be for us.” I am so grateful for this chapter. I nodded my head and cried the whole way through. Thank you for being so open and transparent about your struggles. It helps to know I am not alone. I am really grateful for this statement that you made…”I can listen to the rational side of fear but stop short of obsessing about the possible scenarios. I can have reasonable, healthy guidelines for avoiding danger but that doesn’t mean I let myself get lost in the possibilities.” This will help me to begin training my thoughts and taking them captive. Thank you so much for being an encouragement to me in my walk through fear and for not making me feel like a lesser Christian because of this struggle. God bless!

    • Oh, and I forgot to mention that this weekend I am going to begin preparing my daughter’s bedroom for her to sleep in and trust God to keep her in His capable hands.

      • Lisa,
        I never considered myself a “worrier” until I had my daughter. Being responsible for yourself is so different than being entrusted with a little one to guard and teach. I too have fears that someone could get into her room or I wouldn’t hear her if she was crying even with the monitor on full blast and something terrible happened to her. I know those fears are irrational and I am learning to seek peace from God in those moments. I check on her when I head to bed sometimes for peace of mind, but if those thoughts pop up as I lay there I pray and pray and pray until peace or sleep come. I pray for her safety, her wellness, for working monitors, for her future, and I THANK HIM for the gifts we had together today. That has worked for me every time…my little one is turning two soon.

  12. When I was young I was terrified of death. To the point of shaking so badly my grandma had to take me to the doctor. I was afraid something would happen to the people around me, or to me. As I began to know Jesus those fears seem to have subsided and I hadn’t thought about them in a while until this chapter. Praise God for allowing me not to dwell in that place right now!

    What really struck me in this chapter was:
    “We learn a great lesson by considering how Jesus lounged on the ship. Those around Him knew He could perform miracles, but when it came own to trusting in miracles for their own lives, the trust wavered. I see this more in my life; if someone is ill or fearful, I am the first one to encourage them to have faith. But if it is me, I rend to believe he has fallen asleep.
    At the heart of my fear is the burning question of whether or not I really matter to Him the was I want to believe I do.”

    I have been in this place for about a year now. I so appreciate you putting words to how I’ve been feeling, Ang. I know the truth but when it comes to my own life I wonder if it really matters. Something to keep praying through.

    And Jess, I love that you have your baby with you! It gives me hope that I might be able to work in a way that allows me to live alongside my daughter in these early years instead of apart from her!

  13. I loved reading this chapter. I could relate to so much in it. I remember as a child being fearful about death. I found it really hard to sllep. I was worried that my tongue might slip down the back of my throat, or my tummy button might burst open, or that I would just stop breathing. I have no idea where this all came from. So often I’d lay in bed listening to my parents talking downstairs, and I’d feel safe, but when they went to bed I’d lay in the dark fretting.

    This fear of death seemed to disappear as a teenager/young adult. Once I got married and had kids, it reared it’s head again. Made even worse by the fact that I worked as an ICU nurse (got out of that quick!). Sometimes I feel like I’ve conquered this fear and I can go for months without giving it a thought. Then something happens and I start bargaining with God, you know?

    I chuckled when I was reading about the fear of flying. I loved flying until I had kids, since then I’ve hated it. Last week I was thinking about this and I had the same thoughts. It’s not that I fear flying, it’s that I fear death and I’m not in control.

    When I think about death though, I don’t fear dying and going to heaven. What I fear is missing out on people – like not seeing my kids growing up. I also fear how I die.

    Thanks for writing this book Angie, I’m getting so much out of it.

  14. Every chapter so far seems to touch a nerve for me. This was a big one. So big, I have to admit that I skimmed some of the chapter instead of reading every word. When I was about 4 or 5, I first noticed the sensation of my heart beating. I asked my grandma what it was, and she explained the function of the heart. I asked what would happen if it stopped, and she told me. I walked around constantly with my hand over my heart, making sure it was still beating. I placed my hand over my grandmother’s and mothers hearts, to make sure their hearts were beating. I remember running to my grandmother several times, sure my heart had stopped. As I got older, I got more scared. I was afraid to be in a car, because we might die in a car accident. I was afraid of carbon monoxide, so I every night for 4 years (after I had learned what that was) I waiting until everyone was asleep, then I would go and open every single window in the house. Fast foraward a few more years, and my cancer-stricken grandmother was sitting on our couch, barely breathing. I placed my hand over her heart, so happy to feel a heartbeat. It didn’t last for long, and I felt her heart beat for the last time. Death still scares me. Not mine, but others. I used to run into my son’s room when he would sleep through the night, panicked. I blew in his face so hard to make sure he was breathing, that I would scare the poor guy. I let out a sigh of relief on his first birthday when he the risk of sids was way down. I did the same thing for my daughter (now 14 months). My husband has been through many horrible experiences (shot, stabbed, coma, 80% of his body was burned when he was 13…brain bleed when he fell of a ladder a few years ago…)I get nearly paralyzed with fear when he has long drives for work, or when I know he is working with heavey equipment. I know I should trust God, only He knows what’s going to happen. We are supposed to live in the present, and just trust Him. It is hard to do sometimes.

    • Sabrina, I pray littlie by little you will be able to release these fears to God and allow Him to replace it with truth. In God’s love, sheila

  15. I don’t remember always being afraid of death. When I was smaller (probably around 5 or 6) I had fear of dying and remember asking my dad in particular “What if I die?” I’m assuming that fear was brought on my grandfather’s death. Anyway, the fear pretty much subsided (at least to my memory) till after we lost our baby. For awhile, I wished that God would have taken me too! I’m sure you can understand the overwhelming desire to be with your child.
    I too, felt like a bad Christian for being afraid. I thought maybe that meant I wasn’t really saved. Now, I am afraid to die. The fear of something happening to me causes to me feel unhappy much of the time..the kind of thing where I can’t really enjoy my life. I am a stay at home mom. Since I don’t get out everyday and do magnificent things I feel sort of like I’m wasting my a way..
    I really just need encouragement and this chapter was super encouraging! Especially being able to relate to losing a daughter. I feel like a tree tossed by waves with my faith..

    • Ashley, it’s so hard when we feel lke we are just going throuh the motions and not really living life. Hang in there, God is near. In His Love, sheila

  16. Angie – This chapter on fear I can relate. Also as younge girl I was always afraid of night and something “bad” happening. I was an only child and would have my parents stay up until I fell asleep like you said in my mind “to keep watch” I not till recently started sharing my fears with others. I am now 32 but have always been fearful. Also what you and Jess mentioned in the webcast of walking with friends through things then the enemy using it against you has also happened in my life.

    I was so drawn to your book because in the past few years I have almost been incapasitated by fear and anxiety the fear of something happening to my 2 boys or my parents. The fear of something happening to me I even convinced myself that I had food allergies. I really let my mind get the best of me and how you mentioned about watching the news and letting it sink in. I was getting sick over seeing all these horrible things happening to children at the hands of thier parents it made me sick and anxious. I have praise God and with a confirmation in your book started limiting my viewing of the news or programs that they talk about these horrible things. I have also started reigning in my thoughts with the truth of God’s word and reapeating the Lords word over and over when the anxieties start to surface.

    I have prayed for my fears to vanish but I do understand like you wrote about your daughter Ellie we have to face those fears inorder to recieve God’s best.

    God Blessing upon you all!!

  17. I was that kid that was terrified to watch her parents drive away because I thought something was going to happen to them. In fact, I cried almost everyday of my first grade year of school because I was scared my mom would be killed in a wreck before she picked me up. I never liked to be away from my family, fearing something would happen in the time we were apart. But I never really talked about it with any one. No one truly knew about my fears. My mom couldn’t ever figure out why I cried everyday. To this day I don’t know why I couldn’t share and still don’t share about my fears. I realized the root of this fear while watching this video (I’m not sure why it never occured to me before). When I was 5ish a very close friend of mine, my neighbor who was also 5ish, died in a car accident. That would have been a year or so before first grade. No wonder I was so scared. Death didn’t make sense and I guess I thought it was out to get us all. Wow, I just gained clarity of the last 20 years of my life. Though I still fear the death of my loved ones, I’m learning to look to Him instead of my fear. Your book has played a HUGE role in that! Thank you so much!

    • Wow Jennifer. It’s amazing and scary to me at how much our past, childhood especially, shapes us. In God’s Love, sheila

  18. I have also struggled wih the fear of death, especially since having my children. I worry about leaving them in this world without a mother’s love and guidance. It has really been a struggle for me, as well as fear in other areas of my life. I love what was written on page 93, that God is the safe place I’ve been trying to create for myself. God knows our hearts, better than we even know ourselves. He truly is our safe place, and we could never create the kind of peace and comfort that He gives.

  19. I, too, used to be terrified of my loved ones dying. I remember clearly when the concept first hit me ( I may have been 6) and being raised as an Atheist, this really hit me hard. I’m so glad that, even thought I’m still not secure in my faith, I’m telling my children about heaven; I need them to have a ‘safe place’ for their fears.

  20. God has been doing life changing things in me through this book. I was the child a lot like Angie in this book. The child that had to check the windows. I was afraid of tornados coming and destroying my family, earthquakes, (I live in NJ) fires. Always making sure my family had a plan on what we would do in each situation. By God’s grace my grandmother lived with us. Since my parents were the youth leaders of our church, me and my 4 siblings spent lots of time on her side of the house. When she put me to bed all of these fears of “will my parents come home?” “Will I wake up the next morning” came out. She would pray with me and explain 1 Peter 5:7 to me. I learned early that this is what I needed to do, but didn’t always activate the knowledge.

    I have faced a different kind of death scenario that I haven’t yet exposed to a lot of people, being that I am only 21 I’m not always sure if it’s something to share, or not. I originally found Angie’s blog back in 2009 (I think a year after she lost Audrey). I was 18. I have no idea how I find her. God placed it across my screen. I started to read her story, and in a way I could relate to what she was writing. At the time I was struggling with the dreams I had for my future never coming to be. Without getting too much into the details because I’m not ready to share, however I know it is something others can benefit from, I sat in a doctors room at 18 years old hearing the words, the words I never ever in a million lives thought I’d hear because it wasn’t my “plan A” my plan A was to have at least eight children. And my body physically, I found out cannot do that. And on top of that I have none of the physical characteristics of a regular or average person who get’s this disorder. Usually women who are diagnosed with this are overweight, I am 5 feet 1 inch tall and 115 lbs. What does this mean? God had to have done this. And I wrestled with control for the next 3 years. Earlier this year I came to the point where I let it all go. I was tired of fighting, I was tired of wrestling God with the control, and I finally grieved. I grieved for the children I may never have. I faced the death of my dreams. And this chapter/book has just brought up emotions that are still there, still a little raw.

    On page 90 (I think Jess said this in the video) “It is the recognition that I do not have control of life” God has been teaching me how much I am not in control. I never thought of myself as a controlling person until last December when God revealed this to me. Angie, the words you spoke about your daughter in your blog, this not being your plan A, but it was always God’s. Feeling like maybe He fell asleep (from the video and book). I have felt those things. Sometimes I feel like God had you write this book specifically for me. My future is so unclear, and I am just learning that it is in none of my control and to really let go of some of my fears/control issues and give them to the Lord. He has a plan. And I need to submit to it in obedience and trust Him, really trust Him. My grandmother always says it like this: “Whatever you’re going through allow God to teach you the lesson because whatever He has in the future for you you will need then…He’s preparing you, but He can’t use you there until you have walked through here”.

    Thank you for writing this, thank you for bringing up raw emotions, thank you for walking through that journey with Audrey and sharing your story it has grown me, it has comforted me, and encouraged me as well as this book. This is the 3rd book I’ve done with you guys and each time God has hit my heart in a big way.

    Pg. 92 “We must continually turn it over to the Lord and surround ourselves with people who urge us to trust His goodness.”

    Pg. 94 “Psalm 55 David was still unsure of his future, and yet he turned his fear into an opportunity to trust.”

    Pg. 101 “He could perform miracles, but when it came down to trusting in miracles for their own lives, the trust wavered…” “…I tend to believe He has fallen asleep. At the heart of my fear is the burning question of whether or not I really matter to Him the way I want to believe I do.”

    Pg. 104 “I long to be a fisher of men, one who trusts in the Lord of the broken nets.”

    • “I faced the death of my dreams.” – WOW. So powerful, and so perfectly well-said. I have NEVER had the words to explain the exactness like that of how I feel when I think about the way life has NOT turned out like I had always thought/believed it would. I am now at a place where I feel like I am at an age of a turning point. My dreams need to shift to be more realistic, because I am too old for them to stay the same. I don’t have enough time any more. And, in that, I feel like some of the dreams that I held on to as actual BELIEFS about what my life would be “someday” are dying right in front of me and I can’t help but wonder why?!?! Thank you for sharing what you did – while our stories are quite possibly drastically different – that feeling is a match, and I am glad to not be feeling it alone!

  21. This question is for a site admin. Week after week I have tied to do the videos and they do not show up on my iPad. There is just a big blank spot. I was able to do the Kelly minter and Ann voskamp books from this site. Any suggestions?

  22. Our house got broken into while I was a small child and so I could very much relate to this chapter. I was that child who used to check every door and window, and falling asleep was such a struggle for me because I was terrified that if I was asleep, something bad would happen. Not totally rational, but fear rarely is.

    It’s funny, though. Fear of death never really hit me so hard in situations where I actually might have been in danger. It’s in those quiet moments when I’m alone and the enemy can slip into my head with whispers of, “Who knows what might happen while you’re home alone?” , “Are you sure all the doors are locked?”, or “How safe are the roads your husband is travelling on late at night in the rain?” Those are death fears I still have to pray my way through, while I remember God’s promises.

  23. Good chapter! As a child I was afraid too. I imagined all kinds of horrible things happening. When I received Christ I though I had over come it until my second daughter was born. I shared this in the first video post that I have a daughter with Congenital Heart disease. During both her surgeries I convinced my self that she was not going to make it. I imagined how the doc would tell me and how I would go on. Now she has made it though and I now fear loosing her in another way like an accident or something like that. My mind was going to every crazy thought. I was crippled with fear. Like I stated before in my post I spiralled into depression and anxiety. I got help but I have never admitted to anyone the depth of my fear. Angie your chapter put all my fear into words I couldn’t. I have been on a path of healing but now I can truly see I’m not the only woman our there struggling with this fear and as strange as it sounds that bring me comfort. Thank you!

    • Faye,
      thanks for sharing! I can’t even imagine all that you went through with your daughter. My daughter was in and out of the hospital when she was little and it wasn’t as bad has Congenital Heart disease, but it was scary none the less. It’s so hard with our children. I want to give my kids to God, but I want to hold so tightly to them as well.
      Praying for you!

  24. I am finally writing. It took me a LONG time to get through this chapter and I don’t know if anyone will actually read this by now. But writing is good for me – it’s healing.
    I, like many of the other women, have struggled with the fear of death since I was young. Like Angie, I would be so upset when my parents left because I thought they would die. I used to scratch my forehead, leaving scars because I was SO worried! I let my mind wander and it was a struggle. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned how to control it and it wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I was able to truly give it over to the Lord.

    In High School, I suffered a traumatic experience which left me with PTSD. I feared that someone was going to kill me all the time. I feel like now, I am in a place that I can give it to the Lord and trust that He is going to protect me and my family. In a way, I feel like the PTSD has been a blessing (don’t get me wrong the panic attacks and anxiety are hard) because I have to rely on the Lord. Before, I didn’t need Him like I need Him now.

    As far as the kids go. I struggled with worrying about my first born more than the 2nd and 3rd. Maybe it was because I matured in my relationship with the Lord or it was because I was more of an experienced mom. I am not too sure. But if I fill my mind with bad thoughts or read too many stories about kids dying or getting stolen, then I struggle. I know satan tries to trip me up. I have to remind myself that God wants SO much more for me and my family.

    Angie, the story about Ellie was amazing!! It reminded me that I need to be present with my kids. So much of the years with my first born, I don’t remember because I was in constant panic mode. Worried that something awful was going to happen to her or me that I couldn’t enjoy what a sweet blessing she was and still is. I have to constantly give this to God. I often want to check out and not be present because I am scared.

    Also – if anyone does read this. Could you please pray for my sweet daughter Grace? I have a condition which makes me faint ever so often. I manage it well, but 3 months ago, I was walking down stairs to nurse my son and I fainted on top of him. Grace saw it all and got my husband. They found me on the couch unconscious for 10 minutes. Everyone thought I died. As much as we pray with Grace that God is going to take care of mommy and she isn’t going to die. Grace is struggling. She is fearful if I leave or drop her off. She follows me everywhere and doesn’t like to go to bed because she wants to make sure I am ok. I continue to pray with her and we talk a lot about God. But she still worries. She even asked her grandpa if I died, where they would burry (sp?) me. A 6 year old shouldn’t worry about it. And praise God I am fine. I just don’t want this to be something my sweet Grace has to deal with. I want her to be a little girl, a free spirit and trust that God is going to come through for her.
    Any advice/wisdom would be appreciated too!

    Thanks ladies 🙂

    • I’m praying for Grace. My 6 yr old son asked me the other day if I was going to die and if I thought I would be alive until Owen (his 4 yr brother moved out). I know these fears are to be expected, yet at the same time, it’s so very hard to hear. And I never want to say things that may cause them to question God. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, I may die. That’s the truth, but I also don’t want to scare them. We talk much of heaven in our home and I just reminded him that everyone dies, but I am taking very good care of myself, and I wear my seat belt and I eat health and see the dr., things to reassure them that I will probably live to be a Grandma and then I said asked if they thought Owen would still be living with me then. That made them laugh. In God’s Love, sheila

        • I read it, Sheila! And then I posted, since, apparently, there are a few of us that just need a bit more time! And, I will pray for Grace. She is lucky to have a Mama that loves Jesus and trusts Him so completely! Thank you for sharing!

          • Oops! I meant Melanie! I replied under the wrong name! But – MELANIE, I am praying for Grace, for sure! and SHEILA – I love your post below as well, and I will be praying for your husband!

  25. The fear of death consumed me so much that I needed to stop reading my fav. blogs (Angie’s, Baby Luke’s & Mary Beth Chapmans). I would wake up in the middle of the night praying for these women I didn’t even know, God had burdened my heart for them and their families. I was fearful, fearful for my own 4 sleeping children.

    And then I got ‘the call’, Nov. 3, 11:45 pm, 2008. A house fire, 1.5 miles from my home, my mother’s home, where my 3 nephews were spending the night while my sister worked. I stood outside the house facing my fear. All three boys in the arms of Jesus.
    I don’t have control of life.
    Pg.92 talks about continually turning it over to the Lord, surrounding ourselves with people who trust in His goodness.
    Angie, you may never know how you 3 showed me how o walk this path. God loved me enough to purposefully 6 mths before I needed to know, brought me to you.
    During the weeks that followed, as I anguished and tried to make sense of it, very clearly God brought me to see that I know where they are, without a doubt I know; my own children, I pray they choose salvation, I pray they choose Jesus, but when they are old enough they will need to make that choice themselves. The boys have arrived.
    There have been numerous suicide attempts by my husband over the past 12 yrs, which has always been in the back of my mind. What if this is the time, what if I say enough is enough and he ends is life or hurts himself. I feel very selfish and unchristian, but I am continuing to trust my Lord in this yet, the same time praying my husband is not the cost? Depression is such an ugly disease; yet I know in heaven he will be set free. I’ve tossed back and forth writing the previous sentence, because I fear it makes me look like I don’t love my husband and 2nd because if I say it out loud,maybe God would take that as ‘oh, she can handle it.’
    Lord, give me wisdom and strength. Help me to just keep my eyes on you. How you will bring beauty from these ashes adn make all things new. Than you for this promise. Thank you that I feel I can be so honest with these ladies and I pray for my husband, Patrick. I pray for healing. In Jesus’ name, sheila

  26. It was actually a fear of death that led to me accepting Christ as my savior. When I was very young, my dad tragically died in a car accident. I was 6 at the time, and I can still distinctly remember the way the evening felt before and after the phone rang, when it was the police calling my mom. It was the first time I remember her crying or showing any kind of weakness (I’m sure it wasn’t the first, but it’s the first I remember). After that, I didn’t show any fear externally, but it was eating me up inside and came out in night after night of nightmares about me, my mom or my sister dying too. As a result of that fear, my Mom led me to Jesus and I can honestly say 20 years later I have never again had a fear of death.

    I have to shake my head sometimes that I am not afraid of dying, but inconsequential things of THIS life make me fearful! I am just loving this book, Angie.

    • Thank you for sharing, Amanda. It’s precious and a special testimony you have that in the midst of such loss, the Lord showed you His strength and care for you. His watchful eye has been on you.

  27. This chapter spoke to me on so many levels, just not on my fear on death (which is something that I truly fear and struggle with, even to the point of panic attacks). Using the story of Jesus calming the storm was so perfect for this time in my life. After dealing with many huge things in my life where I struggled with “where are you God?”, I felt that this chapter really spoke to those fears of God abandoning me.

    “People who love Him and believe that He has their best interest at heart, and yet, when the water rises and the darkness comes, we wonder if maybe He doesn’t care after all. Maybe He fell asleep and He is going to allow it to overtake us.” (Page 84)
    “How do you go on believing in a God that allows such a thing happen? How do you trust that He is watching and in control when you have to fold the tiny clothes of a baby that didn’t live to wear them? Who is this God who sleeps while the waves threaten the boat?” (Page 88)

    Those are questions that I have really struggled with over the last 6 years of my life. And seeing that even the disciples, who were in Christ’s presence and saw His face, doubted and questioned him, it gives me hope and makes me feel better that I am not alone on this journey.

    Thanks for this chapter! It has blessed my life in many ways.

  28. This was the chapter I was waiting for. It didn’t disappoint. As some of you may remember, I lost the majority of my family. My mother at 5, all 3 of my grandparents that raised me all when I was 14, then ny only sister and best friend at 21. I have a horrible fear of who is next. Everyone I have loved, I lost. Now I.have my 3 babies and I’m living in utter fear of losing them. Or maybe me dying and leaving them motherless like my mother and sister left theirs. No one can say or do anything to calm this. Because no one knows and tradegy can strike again. So I know that if I let this consume me, I will miss all the beauty of being a mother, a wife, and dedicated homemaker. The worst part is that I’ve been smoking cigarrettes since I was 19 and I’m 28 now. What is wrong with me…my grandmother died of lung cancer from smoking and my mom from complications of emphysema from smoking. Why am I following in these footsteps…I quit so many times but I can’t stay quit long enough. I wish God could take my addiction away but I fear this is part of my destiny. My babies need me and I’m ruining our time here with fear and overprotectiveness. And the irony is that my fear isn’t even used productively to help me stop smoking. I cry to my husband, he wants me to quit but he doesn’t empathize with me. He feels as if I’m allowing a cigarrette to control my life. That I have the power and its all a mind thing. I wish he understood how I’ve tried so much. I fear not how I will die. Just how can I leave ny children in this world without me. I can’t teach them to love Him. I cannot see them grow up. It’s not fair. I deserve that chance like others have. Haven’t I been through enough…its like I already condemned myself to one of us dying. Either me, my husband, or kids..its like to me, its inevitable. Just give me the years to raise them myself. Anything else would be a bonus. I wouldn’t care after that. I’ll die happy…all these crazy thoughts and fears. I wonder if the torment will ever stop. I know I’m supposed to have the faith, as Angie states but its so hard when loss is all you’ve ever known! It has brought out so many feelings I am trying to evaluate. I just think how would my soul ever be at peace if I leave them too early. Or if they leave me, my life wouldnt go on. Losing my family came with an undescribeable empty and sickening feeling. One that still to this day makes my stomach drop and I literally feel the brokeness of my heart. I cannot fathom how it would feel to lose my babies. People have always told me how strong I am. To come through this as a college grad, with my husband of 12 yrs and 3 healthy beautiful babies. How i didn’t succumb. But they don’t know the weight I still carry with me. What effects it has helped shape me in to. Im in such love and awe of myallmighty but sometimes I wonder if he has seen the pain in my heart. Will it spare me from another loss or would it even matter or taken in to consideration….I’m a work in progress, ladies….

  29. LOVED this chapter, again. 🙂 I start out by saying, after I read the whole chapter, that I am blessed by the title. It offers a sense of peace to me about how human life goes, but a beautiful reminder that God is in both and bigger than both, always.

    Now – the rest of this is REALLY long – I don’t know if that is appropriate or not, but I am just compelled to leave it here, in case it touches someone, and to thank Angie for providing me with a space to heal a little bit more, a space to grow a little bit more, and the words to understand my journey just a little bit more, too. If you are annoyed that it’s too long, I won’t be offended if you move on to the next post! 🙂

    p. 84 “I am tempted in my own life to feel as though if I had seen Jesus face-to-face I would never doubt Him or His love for me.” — Seriously! I wonder how many times I have said, “I wish God would ACTUALLY speak to me!” with a belief that if we could have tea together, or maybe even a beer, that THEN, I would trust Him as the be-all, end-all. REALLY, Jen?!?! You REALLY think that’s what it would take?!?!? Don’t give yourself so much credit, ya little control freak! 🙂 I should know better…. and doubt is OK… it grows my faith every time I have to forge through a moment of doubt.

    p. 88 “I know people thought I was brave but I knew the truth: I was terrified and I was weak.” — It has been rare in my life that I would admit this, but often that I have been in this place. For some reason, by the age of 32, I have not only experienced, but facilitated the healing process through more traumatic, life-altering, fatal scenarios than I ever would have dreamed of for my own life. I grew up feeling quite at peace with death, actually. I remember a few years ago, when one of my friends told me nobody close to her had ever died before. I looked at her like she was crazy! We were in our late 20S! When I told her that I couldn’t even count the number of funerals I had been too, remembering them from a very early age, to include the earliest most significant loss happening just after my ninth birthday, she looked at me like I was crazy. We lived in an aging neighborhood, and I went to the funerals of each of the neighbors as they passed – four that I can remember before I left elementary school, I believe. The family friends that were our best friends growing up lost their three-year-old son in a snow mobile accident when I was in third grade. I had several great aunts that died over the years of high school and college, and you didn’t miss family funerals – they were part of being family. I had a cousin killed in a snow mobile accident, leaving behind her four children and her husband. I had another cousin brutally beaten to death. All of these deaths, while painful, just seemed to shape in me the understanding that death was natural (even when it wasn’t?!?!) and not to be feared.

    However, in college, I experienced death in a new way – the in-your-face, your-not-so-invincible-afterall kinda way. There was a campus shooting, where we lost the most beloved music professor on campus – and on a small campus, everyone knows everyone. It was traumatic and unexplainable (even though it was clearly explained with a motive, etc.). Within a month of that, we experienced an earthquake, which was the first of my lifetime – given that I grew up in farm country in ND… no deaths there, but the word “shaken” could be used in about any context possible after that. And, also within the same month, a college party gone bad, when a deck collapsed killing a fellow student. For all three of these college experiences, I was a senior, and I was a Resident Assistant. I remember, vividly, the screams and the students that were more directly impacted at any given moment, coming to get direction, support, comfort. I remember thinking, “How do I support? How do I comfort? How do I provide direction? when I have no idea why this is happening, or what it is going to lead to.” I remember being part of a small team that had to execute emergency plans, three times in one month, and put on a front that everything was going to be OK, even while wondering if I really believed it myself. I remember graduating a month later, so exhausted, and relieved, and yet so INCREDIBLY connected to that place and those people, that I was afraid to leave.

    However, you leave… you move on, knowing that growth has happened, and will continue to, sometimes for years to come. And, each time, you are more prepared for the next unknown – and yes, I have stopped wondering “What’s next?” and just started to convince myself that “What’s next” doesn’t matter RIGHT NOW, because I can’t change it, and I won’t be experiencing it alone anyway.

    So… I moved on. I started teaching…. the year that the Iraq war started…. on a military base… with 31 3rd grade students… 29 of them had parents deployed… 14 had BOTH parents deployed. And so, again, I stood in front of a community, not fearing what death would do to ME, but what it could do to those children that I was so deeply in love with. Ironically, I was in a relationship that had lasted many years, and it ended that year as well – honestly, doesn’t that feel like death sometimes? I mean – losing the “one” and everything/one that comes along with it. Well – it felt as painful (and sometimes I think it was worse because my experiences with death had been so peaceful, and I just KNEW I couldn’t see them on this earth again. However, with an ending relationship, it is like death by choice – choosing to end, rather than having it not be an option… anyway – I digress….) So – I will never forget that one of my students came to my desk on that first day I was at work as a single woman (such a tragedy, right?!) and she somehow knew exactly what was going on and in her 9-year-old dramatic way, she said, “Miss B. if you need to cry, you can cry on MY shoulder. I KNOW what it feels like to have your heart broken, too.” Seriously… the innocence and simplicity of children – she knew – what I needed was a shoulder to cry on when I wasn’t willing to use God’s because he took away my Plan A.

    And so… I moved on… again. I fell more in love with my job, and with developing relationships to strengthen teachers. I became a mentor teacher to two amazing young women. For one year. At the end of the year, we were exhausted. We decided to take the month of July off and reconvene in August to plan all of the ways that our next year together would be bigger and better. And then, I got the call. My first-year mentee, 23-year-old, Emily, had died in a mountain climbing accident. She had made a novice mistake, even as a professional climber. It was unexplainable. It was PAINFUL. I was in ND with my family when I got the call. I flew back to WA, all the while in touch with Emily’s family in NJ. With the help of our third team teacher, we planned a memorial service for our students. We were asked to speak at the memorial service at her church. We chose to spend time with her family when they came out to collect her things. We sorted through her classroom. We ached. It wasn’t death that I feared. It was the pain that encompasses everyone around – the pain that seems to suck the life right out of me because I love so deeply, which is so often a blessing and a curse all in one. My fear is that the pain I feel can’t compare to the pain a mother and daddy live when they lose their daughter in a senseless accident.

    And then, you move on. You simply continue to live – maybe not gracefully. I trudged for along while. I cried, a lot… I still cry, even as I type, knowing the pain that seems to ache from the unknown. And then, you get the next call…

    Emily’s younger sister, and only sibling, was on vacation in India. She was loving on children in orphanages. She went for a swim and was attacked by a crocodile. Another life taken unfathomably, and the wounds are ripped open and exponentially grown. And the conversations with those two parents who have now lost both, all, their children. And the visit to hug and to show them love, even though it feels SO incredibly tiny, is painful. It hurts. And that hurt is what I fear.

    I am a bit envious of all those that have gone before me. Not in a suicidal way, mind-you. I love my life. I am completely blessed. I am living each day as best I can to honor the gifts God provides me with. However, I do live with a little bit of fear not about “What’s next” but more like a dread of experiencing that pain AGAIN. And sometimes, I catch myself thinking, “Seriously, God! Enough already! PLEASE!” and I remember Job, and I know that I am blessed.

    I know that God has grown me through every experience of pain that I have been blessed with. But, I will never forget the day when I was done planning Emily’s memorial and a co-worker said, “When are YOU going to let guard down?” and I said, “I think right now” and sobbed in her arms. And there, in that moment, was God. The same God that provided me the strength, courage, and wisdom to put on the brave front and provide others with a place to mourn was providing me with the comfort of arms around me and a place to hurt where I was not afraid, rather I was doing the only thing I could – living through the pain.

    A few more favorite quotes from the chapter:

    p. 90 “At its core, it is the recognition that I do not have control of life.” Again – for me, it isn’t a fear of not knowing when my last day is going to be. It is a fear of being sprung into the super-painful place. It’s not a place I like to be… anyone disagree?

    p. 97 “We choose to believe in heaven in the same way we believe in God when the phone rings in the middle of the night or the plane bumps in the sky. Not because we can explain it in our humanity, but rather because we trust in His divinity.”

    p. 97 “There is great sadness in the valley, and there is confusion, but I can say with certainty that I trust Him more than I did before having and losing…” – I can say with certainty that I trust God more intensely, and more easily, after every single moment I have spent in the valley. And, maybe my fear is really about admitting that and having it act as an invitation, or be heard as a prideful claim to “bring it on”. Don’t get me wrong, that is NOT the case. But, I have come to a place where even in the valley, I am clinging to an all-powerful, all-loving God, and I am leaving the story-writing up to Him as much as my little brain can, because He will carry me through. I don’t just believe that, I KNOW that. I have experienced it several times.

    Luke 8:25 “Where is your faith?” — I was raised having this question thrown at me in any instance where I was worrying about anything. Thanks, mom! While it drove me nuts and I vaguely remember rolling my eyes in a non-stop twirl of adolescent ridiculousness, it has become an unexpected mantra. Where IS my faith?! It’s here. Alive and well. And, I pray for you, in the moments when Satan has a grip on it, that yours would swell and rise up to carry you as well.

    🙂 j.

  30. Jen, ‘However, with an ending relationship, it is like death by choice”; thanks for this statement. I’ve been talking with my Pastor and he mentioned the 5 stages of grief that my children are in and I can see that I am too. It’s a process.
    “It wasn’t death that I feared. It was the pain that encompasses everyone around’ – How very true this is. We know our loved ones are well and wouldn’t come back if they could, but the separation hurts.
    ‘But, I have come to a place where even in the valley, I am clinging to an all-powerful, all-loving God, and I am leaving the story-writing up to Him as much as my little brain can, because He will carry me through. I don’t just believe that, I KNOW that. I have experienced it several times.’ This is called faith, Lord I pray you would increase my faith. In God’s love, sheila

  31. I was A LOT like Angie when I was a little girl. After my dad died (forgive me, I know I’ve spoken of him a lot), I was terrified of leaving my mother. She said it was just normal “separation anxiety” but it was more the fact that I was scared something was going to happen to her or me, too. I couldn’t spend the night at friends’ houses, even my friend who lived on the same street. I refused to be home alone because I thought burglars and rapists were going to come in and hurt me. I was simply terrified. I, too, am a major control freak, and year by year as I have watched my mom and myself deal with health problem after health problem, I have realized that I have ZERO control of what happens to me. Before I was even conceived, God knew exactly when I would be born and when I will die.

    And even more recently, my best friend Matt and I were having a discussion and I said that I would die to protect him and he said he’d never let me do that because when he’s meant to go, he will go, no matter what I try to do to save him. If something happens to someone I love and it is the day God takes them home, my being there with them will do absolutely nothing to change that fact.

    I have realized that in order to be at peace, I have to accept the fact that when I die, I will be going to the ULTIMATE place of happiness. Death is something that should be celebrated – no more pain, no more sin, no more suffering. I cling to that every day, especially days like today when I miss my dad even more than I usually do.

  32. I am sorry you are sad today. I’ve found that when the waves (grief) comes in, rather than trying to hold it back or ignore it, which tends to ruin my whole day, I’ll allow myself to be sad and in time I am over it much faster, sometimes even the same day. I think it ishuge that you have come to far as to have peace over death. I love to worship God with songs and when they speak of ‘death could not hold him’, my souls just celebrates. In God’s Love, sheila

  33. Walking through the death of all three of my grandparents the past 5 years, the death of my brother’s best friend at the age of 28 from cancer, and the sudden death of my college roommate in a car accident killing a number of kids in her youth group, has impacted my faith in recent years more than anything else. It was a very hard reality of life that I didn’t deal with as a child. I was a child who felt very much like Ellie in the image Angie paints of her on the jumpy thing-a-majig: a child who trusted wholeheartedly.

    My heart is very tender toward this chapter, identifying a lot with the questions and doubts that arose from Angie’s own experience. I long to be a picture of freedom & joy like Ellie, to “love the water while we have it, always mindful that there is a greater place awaiting us.”

    Loving the prayers at the end of each chapter, too.

  34. Jessica, I just have to say that you speaking of how you felt during your daughter’s pregnancy after knowing of Angie’s Audrey speaks straight to my heart! I knew there was more the Spirit brought me to this book than what I’ve been getting out of this book. And I’ve been getting ALOT!

    THIS moment though, THIS is what I was supposed to hear!

    I started my blog when my baby girl was weeks old (she’s 2 now, you met her in the pew in front of you at Sara’s funeral) . I had traveled the journey of pregnancy with an online due date club. We became so close. Two of those mom’s babies were stillborn at term, William and Soren. We were all heartbroken. I was crushed. Only a month from having baby girl I balanced shutting down the internet world to protect my heart and sticking close to my DDC to go through this with them. I created my blog to work through (what I know now as) broken hearted love ( thanks to Molly Piper). I spent baby girl’s first year balancing my love and thankfulness my girl was in my arms with my hurt and pain and grief that my friends didn’t have theirs. And also fear that having my baby girl was only temporary. Something was going to happen. It was just around the corner.

    I sought therapy and worked through my anxiety and grief with a godly woman. I took time and space to blog for my grief for my broken hearted love, honoring babies lost by blogging remembrance days, making cards, facebooking candles, lighting candles…. I spent a year doing all of this (still do some) and immersed myself in pain of others yet created some lasting friendships through it.

    I am a better woman knowing of sweet William and Soren and Audrey and many others whose mamas allowed me into their worlds through their blogs or emails or FB. I am a better woman knowing this deep pain of broken hearted love. Thankfully I now have balance of what is my grief and what is there’s. Though I now have a handle on my anxiety and fear (only by the grace of god) I wouldn’t change anything but one…if those babies could be back in their mama’s arms, I’d choose that in an instant. Thank you for sharing I am not alone in my brokenhearted love and the fear I felt that year. Thank you Jessica for being willing to go there and Angie for being willing to share your story of Audrey with us. This is why community is so important!