About the Author

Jo Ann is simply wild about words, God's grace, and her grandchildren. She also loves peppermint herbal tea & a great organic salad. Her book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice releases in October.

Recent Posts

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. I am blown away by your openness and honesty in this post. THANK YOU for sharing your heart with us. Even though our paths are different, I can relate to your story on a primal level. These periods of waiting are the toughest to accept, at least for me. Seriously, cannot tell you enough how much your words reached down inside me, resonated and I think even healed some spots. Just feeling that connection… feels like God led me here today as an answer to some of my own prayers. God Bless You and I am praying for you!

    • What a joy to connect, Shelly. I’m thankful that God is pouring his healing balm in any lingering hurts. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for those prayers. This tired mama/nana can sure use ’em. 🙂

  2. You would not believe HOW timely this post is for me. Just a few hours earlier I asked 2 friends to be praying for me as I am preoccupied by a visit to my doctor coming up in a couple of days. As well as dealing with depression/anxiety and hypothyroidism I have other symptoms of pain and aches and stiffness I need to talk to her about. I have my suspicions as to what it is but need to deal with it. Frustratingly it is all slowing me down (I’m 39) and making it much harder to do much more that just about look after my 3 sons (age 7, 10, 14) and husband – even the house is way down the list. I have dreams God has put on my heart and I feel selfish for wanting to put my energy into that. I have a big suspicion that God is using this all for a purpose but it is taking a lot of adjusting to… and the thought of letting go of some of my dreams is disheartening. I know that God has a purpose etc but it’s hard to see it. Thank you so so so much for your words – I will be printing them out to read when I need reassurance that God is indeed here in the middle of it all. I truly believe that this is one of the ways he is answering my prayers and those of my friends. xx

    • Within hours? Wow, God does do things in a timely manner, no? I’m so thankful he could use any part of my story to encourage you in any way my new friend. Funny how he does that sort of thing.

      Alex, I know he has a plan. I do. And that’s not a pat answer. That’s a heart answer. I know it’s hard. I do. But I also know somehow, even in this, he is working on your behalf {and mine}. I pray healing and strength and joy in those hard places!

  3. Jo Ann, Every day I have heart-dreams for the next phase of my life. I am so grateful for the “Loves” (read children) He has given and I find that my battle is staying in the “now”, feeding those that are right in front of me. I am leaning in to Jesus more than ever because I am incapable of living today and tomorrow at the same time (Hmm, new post?). The women’s ministry I crave will be an unfolding of His grace as He does the work of tomorrow and gives me the heart-focus for today. Your words are so beautiful and they speak to my heart. Thank you for sharing – I will not forget to pray for you, when I pray for me. Bonnie

    • You, my friend, are beautiful–and a true inspiration to me to stay in the “now!” Thank you for sharing, thank you for loving, thank you for praying.

  4. Beautifully written and honestly said Jo Anne. Loved this – “What if the aches, they are somehow equipping me for what’s next?” as it reminded and reinforced what I was reading in Holley Gerth’s book today (Made for a God’s Sized Dream) – that we need to look at where we are at as part of the journey that God wants to use for what is up ahead. I can see Him building that in you now as you journey. The dream may not look like what we plan but His plan is truly all we need to look for. Blessings to you!

    • Thank you for your beautiful words of encouragement. And I <3 Holley and her book! Yes, let us all look at our current seasons as part of the journey that God wants to use. Rich blessings my friend.

  5. Hi Jo Ann,

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I was reminded of Corrie ten Boom’s quote that everything in life is training for higher service.

    I can relate to the experience of having to lay down self in order to care for a loved-one, from caring for my late husband for five years (from age 35-39). That was a very difficult season in my life, but it was also spiritually rich, as I had to lean hard on the Lord. I have been able to share lessons learned and verses and quotes collected with many people since that time.

    Below is a little poem I wrote during that time, from the depths of my struggle with the feelings that my life “should not” be what it had become:

    The sheep THINKS IT KNOWS where it SHOULD BE be going;
    The clay pot THINKS IT KNOWS when it SHOULD BE be done;
    The vine THINKS IT KNOWS when pruning SHOULD BE over;
    But THE SOVEREIGN LORD DOES what’s BEST FOR EACH ONE.

    In Him, Ann

  6. Jo Ann I love your authenticity. I understand because I too did this for 2 of our grandsons. Our daughter needed full time “Gram Care” so I put my life on hold to watch these 2. There were days that I craved the companionship of an adult, but now that there are 13 and 7 I know that it was well worth the sacrifice.
    I have been the one who taught them about Jesus, who has taken them to church and I have been at times their stability. I love what you said: “There are those lessons you learn only through sacrifice, like how the wounds of a loved one’s heart can heal when you give God room to work. When you’re willing to step into the uncomfortable, willing to help when you feel you cannot, willing to trust your unanswered questions to a God who knows, who cares—those are the sort of real-life actions that make a place for God to move.”
    I believe that God always gives us strength for the journey and when we are obedient He will give us the desires of our hearts.
    Blessings to you

    • On Cindie, what an encouragement you are too. I love that you were {and are} Jesus to them. What a beautiful sacrifice! That’s my consistent prayer is that somehow, she will see Jesus in me. I know there are those days when he would have to be flashing neon green, though, for her to see him through my mess. 🙂

      Rich blessings to you!

  7. I love your heart, sweet friend. You shared some things that many of us are to fearful to reveal. Brave is one of many adjectives I use to describe you. Thank you for paving the way for so many of us to reveal our own struggles and the imperfect mess that we are. Love you!!

    • Oh girl, if there be any ounce of courage in me, it is only the slices I take from God as he offers. You know he’s funny that way — calls us to “take courage.” His. Not ours. <3 You are such an encourager and I love you so.

  8. Isn’t it funny how God teaches us His ways by sometimes starting with what we lack the most? – thank you for those words!! Now it makes sense. He is trying to get me to grow and change through my greatest weakness first. Its been 16 hellish months and now I understand why Im getting nowhere. I have to tackle that “thing” I dont want to. Thank you for this beautifully written piece of art. You have answered a question (surely from God) that I have grown tired of asking. Time to suck it up and do what Ive been putting off. Brilliant words and thank you!!

  9. Love this post. I find it to be so true that we often learn more from our aches & they really do seem to prepare us for what is coming. I think too often we tend to not give voice to what we are really feeling & lacking. You show us that it is ok to give voice to our fears. God already knows it, we might as well say it. I felt this was exquisitely written. thanks

    • Oh, thank you sweet Crystal. You cannot know how you just warmed my heart with the words that i gave you the “ok to give voice to your fears.” That, that is my passion! God wants us to overcome life’s hurts and use our stories to make a difference!

  10. Beautifully written. I feel like you took my heart from my chest on this one. I am learning in this walk that selfless acts cannot be pleasing until they are selfless. I spend my days cooking and cleaning and wiping and preparing. I think for everyone. I brush everyone’s hair. I cook everyone their meals. I clean up. I push when my legs are crying out for rest. I wake up before my family to prepare my heart for the days’ events. I am exhausted. Weary even.

    At the end of every day, I battle with the enemy who is always trying to convince me to scream, “What about me?!?!” I pray that selflessness can be something that comes naturally to me and not something I battle with daily. Just this morning, in my quiet time, I found myself thinking, “Is it really honoring to you, God, if I am doing all the things a honorable and Godly wife and mother does, while all the while expecting a return for my work?!?!”

    Praying for a sister who struggles with the same battle. Ephesians 6:12 hit me like a ton of bricks when I prayed the raw prayer in the paragraph above. Keep on fighting the good fight, sister!

  11. This is just beautiful…the honest words of the journey with God wherever He leads…and we live in this upside down kingdom…where a cup of cold water has great value…where becoming like a child is maturity….so may you continue to find daily grace to walk this path right through the heart of God…into the unknown…but what will be known in His kingdom~

  12. I just wanted to tell you that I am praying for you and your sweet granddaughter as I type, Jo Ann. May you feel the deep, deep love of Jesus underneath you and all around you.

  13. Jo Ann – this is so moving, so honest and raw and full of heart. I want to reach through and give you a big hug. You echo the words in my head – the words that say “It’s not me, people! I’m not this selfless!” For I know that it’s God working, nudging me forward when I’d rather focus on me me me. I know it’s Him pushing me to reach out when I’d rather turn in. It’s ALL Him in these selfless moments. Beautiful, Jo Ann. From one writer mama to another, thank you. I find myself waiting to see which of these dreams in my heart is His dream for me, waiting to see which path He will provide, and where He will lead me. So many dreams I have – writing, leading, ministering, loving, and encouraging. Happy Wednesday to you!

  14. Your words are so honest, so poetic and so divinely inspired, Jo Ann. The ‘return to motherhood’ you describe is so REAL. And there is not “what if” about it – the aches are absolutely equipping you for whatever is next. I applaud you for your openness and your grace. Your sacrifice – your surrender – not only strengthens you and your family – but also inspires and empowers all of us. Thank you, my friend!

  15. Thank you for these words, Jo Ann– all of them, but I particularly love these — “There are those lessons you learn only through sacrifice, like how the wounds of a loved one’s heart can heal when you give God room to work.” Amen and amen. Great post. Blessings on your daughter and that sweet grand!

  16. So inspiring. There are days when I wonder if they are all passing before me and it’s going to be too late to really chase after my dreams. I’m reminded God’s timing is perfect and all our delays, all our interruptions are divine and holy because He has ordained each and every one. Thank you.

    • Yes, Suzie, YES! “All our interruptions are divine and holy . . . ”

      Thank you for such a sweet and beautiful reminder. God has your dreams (our dreams) right in the palm of his hand, waiting on his timing.

      Great to connect here.

  17. I’m reading this 2 days later and God knew I needed to hear this. I’ve been going and going and going and now I’m home sick with a head cold. Everything in me knows I need to be at work and then I say to myself that I need to rest. Though I know that God is not causing this cold, I know that He reminds us many times to slow down in the times when we are well and in the times when we are not. Friend, I am blessed by your honesty and willingness to share all the pieces of you, even the seemingly broken ones. It’s when we open our hearts that we can do the most for God’s Kingdom. This walk of faith is not always sunshine and rainbows. Yet, we need to show all the parts of who we are and what faith and Jesus can really do. We are walking this journey together my friend. In Christ. He will carry us.

  18. Just what I needed today. Thank you for sharing your heart, it has been a huge blessing to me today!!
    Thanks again friend
    Have a beautiful day!

    • Hey Farrah,

      Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad that you found encouragement. May your day seem lighter as you press into what God has waiting . . .

  19. Jo Ann, your words, as always, touch my heart as they ring with truth, grace, and faith. This was perfectly timed for encouraging me. I will hold out the hope I have received from this and I know that others will also be blessed by this message!

  20. Consequently, after spending much time on the internet at last We’ve revealed an individual which definitely will know what they may be discussing many thanks a great deal amazing post