About the Author

Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 60 week bestseller. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the...

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  1. Ann,
    Oh how I needed this, this morning. Recuperating from surgery and having a love/hate relationship with my crutches, I had already determined how this can’t-go-anywhere-can’t-do-anything week was going to go down. At my lowest point yesterday, God sent a sunny yellow finch to the feeder right outside the window where I was sitting. Had I been doing my usual busy work I would have missed him. Trying to take in all the things I miss when I am more ambulatory…reading a book, petting my dogs, listening to praise music as I do my rehab exercises, studying the intricate differences of the flowers in a bouquet friends sent me, writing a note to and praying for a friend who has just moved…all the things I would normally miss if I had two healthy knees. Thank you for this reminder that God is calling me to pray and to let go…otherwise I might miss Him.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev, thanks be to God. Love Jesus in you, always. All of us here send love and tender prayers, sister, circling close.

    • Praying for healing, Bev, Even though your are not physically able to get down on your knees, it is such a sweet and precious gift of “down” time to spend with Him. Relish it and use it fully, until you are well! 🙂

    • Bev, lifting you up, you are close to my mind and heart throughout the day. xo, Joanne

    • Bev,
      I’m thinking of you and hope and pray that you recover quickly.

      all the best,
      Take Care,

      Penny

    • May this time of stillness continue to refresh your spirit, Bev. God bless you for leaning in to receive God’s blessings during this difficult season. Meanwhile, I continue to pray for your healing and knees that behave themselves from here on out!!

    • Praying for a quick, full recovery for you dear Bev! It sounds like you are keeping the right perspective and keeping your eyes open to the beauty and wonder of God’s creation around you. Stay strong!

    • Bev,
      Prayers as you recuperate. God will sometimes “gift” us with down time to slow our pace and make us more aware of life around us. I pray you can relax and enjoy this time and the precious birds and flowers He is sending your way.
      Blessings 🙂

      • Hi Beth. Yes, I am trying to graciously accept this gift of down time…my permission slip to take a little time out for myself. Finding God in the stillness and attempting to soak it up. Xx

  2. Thank you for these – as always – beautiful words of yours, Ann. They strike a chord in all women, I think. We run and push and fairly beat ourselves all the while because we aren’t quite good enough; we don’t have everything for everyone at all times perfectly right, and the inner response is “failure”.
    Yet, He’s there – quiet, waiting – ready to listen and wipe hurts away and fill weary bones with strength, weak hearts with hope. That’s all that’s needed – as you so beautifully expressed.
    Today I purpose to walk slower and softer; to lean in hard on Him, and to watch for those gentle, unobtrusive reminders that He is God; just being still a bit and knowing as Psalm 46:10 so simply describes. Thank you! Wishing you a beautiful week.

    • Karen, smiling tears. Needed your words right now. With you today and I count you gift, gift, gift. Thank you, Lord…

    • I was realizing this morning just how many gentle, unobtrusive reminders he gives me daily…but I’m often too focused on my problem(s) to see the small works that He is doing, which are meant to minister to my aching heart if I’ll only stop and see. I want my eyes opened to those more.

      • As do I, Beth. And you know, it’s something we have to continually go back to. There’s this constant pull to noise and busy and hurry, yet His voice is quiet, steady, unhurried…and unless we purpose to listen, we can so easily miss. I am constantly humbled by His tender mercies. When I notice, I am blessed and chide myself for not abiding in that place. And He is gracious to me – again.

        • Amen. Don’t we always wonder – once we’ve noticed, as you say – why we ever stray from looking for His reminders of His love for us? Looking for them specifically today!

      • Beth I identify with you when you say how many gentle unobtrusive reminders God gives us daily. I to am way to focused on myself…. My beautiful daughter has just moved her family to England and I feel sorry for myself because they are so far… But God is telling me to relax and trust him. This is such a wonderful opportunity for them. I needed to hear your what you have said.
        Restoring my trust and knowing she is doing what is right in his eyes. Thank you for helping me take the focus off of me and back on Him and His wonder.

        • Susan- Children moving far away is hard, no doubt. So glad you can re-focus and fix your gaze on Jesus at this time! He will heal those empty places.

    • One of my favorite verses, Karen! “Be still and know…” Cease striving! A great reminder that God has this all in His control. We don’t have to do His work for Him! We only must do the things He has asked of us. The most beautiful way for Him to be exalted in our lives and in the world!

      • Linda,
        Thanks for your prayers and well wishes. I have been wearing my “Be still and know” necklace by Lisa Leonard…a tangible reminder of how to use this “down” time! xx

      • Absolutely, Linda! And I so often want to grab a snippet from Him and RUN hard to the task, yet He only says listen and obey; not take the ball and run hard to the finish line. He guides in steps, not whole fields.

  3. As I was driving to work, I was talking to God about how, due to circumstances, this is just going to be a hard week. And then in my inbox popped today’s incourage post with the actual words “hard week” in the title….it was as if God was speaking back to me in words I had just spoken to him. Thank you for writing this- and acknowledging the messy, the difficult, the uneasy that our lives naturally are. I am going to pray more than I (try to) produce, and climb down off that ladder and instead get on my knees and give these difficult situations – and week- to Him.

    • Yes, Beth! And to think that we have all we need today? We have Christ and He provides all we need — staggering grace! Love to you today, beautiful sister. Thank you for sharing with us here…praying with you just now.

  4. Ann, I have been in a season of loss. I lost my mom to a brief unexpected illness in January, my beloved furry companian to bone cancer in March, and this past weekend we dropped off our only at college. Reading what you wrote today gives me hope. These sharp edges where I feel precariously close to falling are the very places that He will cushion me with his love. Thank you so much.

    • Oh, Kathleen, know I am hugging you long in my heart just now with earnest, fervent prayers. He holds you close, whispers He will never leave you nor forsake you, says come rest in Me — pour it all out to Me. With you today in so many ways, Kathleen.

      • Thank you so much, Ann. Writing with grateful tears in my eyes. Being reminded I am not alone touches my heart.

    • Kathleen,

      I’m so sorry for your losses and understand your pain. I hope and pray that that pain will lessen for you.

      Take Care,

      Penny

        • Thank-you Kathleen that’s very kind of you. It has helped me a great deal finding this group.

          Take Care,

          Penny

  5. Thank you Ann for teaching us to hammer out thanks when the sun is shinning… when we look around at the plenty… so when seasons of transition come…and the before the contractions and pain bring the the new birth… it’s time to hammer all the more… drinking in the joy of the moment so the unknown of the future won’t rob us of the gift of right of now… of His pure gift of joy!!! xoxox

  6. Ann, oh! Thank you. I needed this. I love your post for its raw honesty, and I love butterflies! 🙂 You know, I’ve stood at my tooth-paste splattered mirror, thinking similar thoughts, but usually they gnaw and claw at my mind in the middle of the night (more often than I like to admit). It’s really lonely then, with my husband, daughter, and dog 🙂 fast asleep. Darts of depression blow in like stiff wind under tent flaps that keep lifting, exposing me to the cold. I keep waking, troubled, trying to hammer down corners of emotional frenzy with pegs of reasoned rumination. Nothing works. I hardly sleep at all. I’m exhausted. I can’t say that as I age it necessarily gets worse (I’ve always been depression-prone), though I seem to have lived more sadness and sleep less. Oh, but Ann, as you so beautifully point out, God sends butterflies. He *always* does! He first started sending them after I had had difficult foot surgery and suffered for a year with its excruciating aftermath, pinned to a wheelchair, not sure I would ever walk again sans such pain. One day, as I sat in the St. Louis Butterfly House as my husband pushed me through it, butterflies spinning and somersaulting like variegatetd colored ribbons, entwining me, God started to give me real hope. They brought such joy that even for those few moments, I forgot my pain and realized that life and freedom always come from death and being bound (you know, caterpillars to butterflies…) They birthed joy in me, and have held such significance for me ever since (God always sends them when I need their reminder most). I’m going through a hard time right now as I continue to view the egregious Planned Parenthood videos. I had an abortion many hears ago (not long after R v W), in my early twenties, as a brand-new Christian. I take full responsibility for my heinous sin, and I know I am forgiven, but it is so hard to watch this horror, so much death, so much evil. Still, I know that I must watch and keep trying to share truth–that there is hope and forgiveness for women like me through Jesus Christ. I so needed to read this today, Ann. Yes, yes, yes! We are the Easter people and serve a resurrected Savior! He will ALWAYS BRING LIFE FROM DEATH–lilies from bulbs, rainbows through storms, butterflies from chrysalides. God abides with us in the darkness, and with Him, our darkness becomes light, our tombs become wombs! I allowed my precious baby to be dismembered and broken and killed. But God can still bring life from her death as I share the truth. Ann, you are precious, and I thank God for you and how you uplift!!! I love you in Him.
    Love,
    Lynn

    • Lynn, a humbling grace to read your wisdom, heart, story — thank you, sister.

    • Lynn,

      I felt your pain & sadness as I read your post.By watching those videos you are reliving a choice you knew nothing of the truth until now.I agree that by speaking about it you may very well be helping others. But please try and forgive yourself.

      Sending you a hug,

      Penny

      • Oh, Penny, how truly sweet and kind of you to reach out. I’m so very grateful for your grace. Many women (Christian) are not kind like you. I’m sorry that I didn’t make it clear in my post that lately, my lying awake at night has been about many things within our family (and I do have to ask God’s constant grace against depression. I’m prone to it and must not succumb to it). And surely I am grieved over those videos. But mercifully, after I did realize truth (and I assure you I did not when I had the abortion)….but several years later when I read Ps. 139 and the Lord lifted the veil, I confessed my sin to him. I knew intellectually that I was forgiven, but not emotionally, deep in my soul. I could NOT forgive myself, and wallowed in grief and guilt. But the Lord healed me in an incredible and dramatic way. . . this has now been nearly twenty years ago. But my self-flagellation too lasted almost twenty years. No, Penny, i’m free of the guilt and shame of abortion. I have forgiven myself, through Christ. It’s just that the videos are still painful. I’m free and forgiven in Christ, so I am not watching them to punish myself. It’s painful, but I feel for me personally it’s important to know what is being shown and said so that I can be fully prepared to know how to share this w/ others . . . as, for example, my nearly thirty-year-old niece who, while very savvy, had not even heard of this! I am now able to share in detail with her what they are showing and saying, and it is making a difference to her. She is changing her mind about abortion. Anyway, I just want to set your mind at ease, to tell you that I know now the lavish grace of God about my abortion, and again, want to thank you for YOUR lavish grace and concern in responding to me! Im so grateful.
        Love
        Lynn

        • Lynn,

          I really appreciate your generosity, thank-you. I am relieved that you have moved on in the sense of forgiving yourself but understand it would still be painful for you. A lot of what goes on is still new to me like it is to your niece. I hope that you find some comfort for your current sleeplessness/depression. Take care of yourself and I will keep you in my prayers….

          Penny

          • Once again, Penny, I thank you. It’s obvious that God has greatly gifted you with a compassionate heart and true encouragement. Thank you. Just keep an open heart and mind and ask the Lord to reveal truth to you, in terms of the “newness” of everything. I’m learning so many things in life, as if for the first time. Amazing. God bless you, dear one.
            Lynn

    • Sweet Lynn,
      I am a sister in that sin of abortions. I have never been able to even connect more than my head to my sin. God recently allowed my heart to be healed thru my counselor. She had a necklace with the name of her miscarried child, Joseph, and an image of his footprint. She knows will see him again. She said Jenny, you know they forgive you right? You know they love you and they can’t wait to meet you! They have never known anything but their true Abba. His Grace is sufficient to Save, He calls me by name and He died for me before I was ever born. Praise His Name.

      • Jenny, I’m so glad that I came back here to read. I’d not seen your post. I”m so sorry that we share this same past–a very difficult one–yet so glad that we share in the deep, deep love of Jesus. His grace covers all our sins, including the sin of abortion, and He buries them in the depths of the ocean to be remembered no more. Praise Him! I love what your counselor told you–and she’s right. I had never thought of it that way before, but our children knew Abba immediately. They departed from this earth, straight into the arms of the Father. Everything is perfect in heaven. There is no more sin and no unforgiveness against sin. Our children will wlcome us, and I can’t fathom it. And yes, not only did the Lord die for you before you were ever born, but He died for you and me while we were yet sinners (amazing grace). AND He chose you to be saved, even before the foundations of the world. We serve an amazing and gracious God. I look forward to meeting your child, too, in heaven, Jenny. Thank you so much for reaching out.
        Love
        Lynn

  7. This is EXACTLY what I needed to read. After having a day yesterday that start to finish was full of challenges and distractions, fear, complete and utter overwhelm and feelings of anxiety, self-doubt and negativity…I managed to embrace the silver lining in one of the “disasters” of many of the day…and as soon as I did I felt it start to melt away. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in everything that is expected of me, needs to be done and pushes me to the breaking point I forget to take a step back, take a deep breath and just pray. Thank you.

    • Just beautiful, thank you, Jessica. You aren’t alone, you aren’t ever alone. He’s got you — and you there’s a whole lot of your brothers and sisters praying with you. Eyes on Him, friend. You are held!

  8. Wow! Good morning, Ann! Reading His Word this morning and reading yours, as well, so many beautiful thoughts are flowing. It’s seems that our “family” is in a season of Homegoings. Beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. A mama mourns her baby boy, a sister saying goodbye, for now, to a dear friend, and a church’s prayer warrior met her Savior face to face after being locked in the prison of a broken body for 30 years. It’s hard…there are no words that can take that ache away. We can’t DO anything to make it better. So no climbing required in these hard times. Just a falling to our knees. No work to climb up to Him, but rather just kneel where you are and rest. Our Savior and Friend will come right along side us in our weariness and sorrow. He will grieve with us and take our “heavy hards” right out of our hands and pray with us, for us. He is the one who will restore our Joy! As you wrote, “always for our good and always for His glory”!
    I was reminded of the song Take Time to be Holy this morning…
    “Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; abide in Him always and feed on His Word. . . . Take time to be holy, the world rushes on.”
    The world may rush on, but we must always take time for our Lord. When He speaks, we feed, we find a safe resting place to abide, being restored by His holy words of grace! Giving thanks for this today! Praying that your heart is healing after this season, as well.

    • Homegoings are bittersweet, knowing your people are with Jesus, and yet still missing the person(s) here on earth. My heart and thoughts are with you.

  9. Today this is for me. With my kids all coming down with the whooping cough and my 8 month old waking up wih horrible coughing spells. This has been a crazy begining of a week. So many things to do that days just seem to short to finish everything here i am just siting here with a feeling of hopelessness and brokeness. And a longing to just mentaly anf physically relax. … Iam just giving it all into Gods hands today and just let go, im gonna let God carry me through.

    • Jesus, I know you are with Alina. In the midst of the hard let Your Presence, sustain her, encourage, and give her the strength for the five minutes at a time. Speak to her the words Your know she needs to hear, of love, of courage, or making the way through the wilderness for her, of carrying her. Heal her children please, and tie them revelations of You too. Children can and do come to Your too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    • Prayers, Alina! And a hug! You are good. Your only job today is to take care of your babies. All else will wait! Remember we can whisper our prayers while we are being mom…and the rest of us will fall on our knees on your behalf.

    • Alina,

      That is a lot to contend with all at once. Prayers for you that your week turns around for the better.

      Penny

    • Oh, Alina, Oh, friend. Can I just lean over, give you the longest hug — and we’ll just pray together? Dear Jesus, Thank You for holding Alina and her dear little ones close today. Thank You that there isn’t a sickness in this world that can separate them from Your unstoppable Love… that can separate them from Jesus’ tender embrace. Amen. You are deeply loved and earnestly prayed for today, sister. ((Alina)) My heart is with yours, tucked close to our Father.

      • Ann thank you for your words of love and understanding. For keeping my little ones and me in your prayers. Knowing that someone is praying for us just gives me peace and a feeling of beloning to the Gods big family. Thank you Ann

    • Alina,
      Prayers for complete healing for your children. Prayers for some peace for your mind, body and soul. May you find rest in your week. God please speak to Alina today and shower her with your grace and mercy! Tenderly tell her that all will be ok and not to stress over tomorrow’s troubles for today has enough of it’s own!

      Blessings 🙂

  10. Ann,

    This is beautiful, and a precious reminder of the messages and whispers I’ve been receiving for the last month(s). Been very hard family situations, and surgeries, sprained ankle, little boys still needing care, grown children and their choices which affect unborn children, etc. I know God works all things for good, but a few truths stood out, leaping off the page, God’s not asking me to produce, He’s asking me to pray, God’s not asking me to climb ladders, He’s asking me to kneel and let go, and the truth the has been leaping and jumping for my attention is God only allows pain if He is allowing something new to be born. From Isaiah the scripture I have held dear is Isaiah 43:18-19. But, as I read all of Isaiah 43, I was told He shall bring my prodigal daughter to Himself in HIs time, and He makes the way, for her for us. He loves and is walking through the water and flames with us. I wept and the tears still keep leaking. Thank you, this post spoke right in my heart and beautifully spoke into my life and reminded me to go back and read His Word that this post reminded of.

    How to get through? I had a dear friend I met through (in)courage to pray, and on Sunday, went to the altar and saw a friend and walked up to her thinking I would meet her need, and instead she met mine, and another friend came up and the three of us locked arms around each other’s waists and prayed for each other.

    • Joanne
      It’s so sweet to read that you were all there for each other praying together. I pray that all goes well for you and your family.

      Penny

      • It was sweet, and we just prayed, cried, listened and lingered. We felt refreshed. Thank you Penny for your prayers, and means much. The lion’s share of anything is on our knees. My eyes are leaking again. Joanne

      • Thank you Ann, Jesus just does this in the way He works doesn’t He? Am humbled telling what He did for me in my small corner touched other people.

    • So grateful for the friends that walk through this with us and become the tangible Words of Jesus just when we need them. He is so good! That’s why we love Him…because He first loved us!
      Praying for you, too!

    • Joanne,
      So glad God brought you three together! I am praying for God to help you with the hard stuff. May God bring about a change of heart and some healing to your family! Prayers for peace and contentment in your mind, body and soul!

      Blessings 🙂

      • Beth, Thank you. Your prayers mean so much to my heart. You have been such an sweet, steady encouragement. So appreciating you! Blessings, Joanne

  11. Ann, thank you. Your words are from His. Truly, you bless so many with your gift. Thank you for sharing this. I think the ‘letting go’ is such a challenge, although He beckons me to Himself. Here I am trying to clasp for control with both hands… Blessings, my friend. P.S I just finished One Thousand Gifts and have started my own list! Eucharisteo…

    • Smiling and cheering you on as you count the ways He loves you, Ruth! Grace upon grace, friend.

  12. Ann,
    Thank-you for sharing your beautifully spoken words and wisdom.
    This summer has felt like three combined in to one. I have surrendered and went along with it.The outcome, I have experienced what I might not have otherwise and learned a great deal.I realize that despite what might seem hard at the time of how fortunate I am.

    Penny

    • Penny, giving a you a real long hug. You are doing beautiful, brave, things and you are His beloved…. Be soul encouraged.

      • Thank-you so much Ann,

        I really appreciate it and I am so grateful to have found this group of warm & caring people. I forgot to mention how much I enjoy your photos.

        blessings to you and your family,

        Penny

  13. Ann, thank you so very much for these words. Last night I couldn’t stop crying, as all these moments of grief and brokenness played and replayed in my mind. Without understanding it, I was grieving a childhood and adulthood of hiding and pressing the brokenness away, of failing to truly live for fear that truly living is unbearable pain. Listening to the worship song “I’m not a slave to fear” broke something in me, as I realized I have lived in perpetual fear and how even though I’m starting to face these fears, leaning into God’s arms, it still has a hold on me.

    And so in my tears, I cried out to God…and then I turned to verse after verse about ceasing to do and starting to receive…and about honestly and openly grieving because grieving is called for. As I read Isaiah 32: 9- 20, I saw myself…I’ve been indolent and indulgent…glossing over, pressing away truth…but God’s cracking me open…to fill me. But He’s showing me more needs to crack…more tears need to flow, knees bowed in brokenness.

    Your words, so raw, so true, help me, encourage me to keep leaning into His arms…arms I’m only just learning to trust.

    • Anna, following Jesus who broke Himself for us, to make us whole in Him… Jesus who whispers: ‘It’s okay that you’re weak — that’s when I get to be the strongest for you.’ He’s got you, Anna. Keep leaning into Him, sister.

  14. Oh how this post resonates! I’ve been on a non-stop hamster circle of getting things done, getting kids to places, and last playdates before school and drum lessons. And my honey strained his back and has been in terrible pain . . . and it’s all seemed overwhelming these past couple days.

    And that 3 inch hair on the chin? Yeah, I’ve lived that. And tried not to beat myself up too badly for it. 🙂

    But I needed the reminder that God’s grace is enough. And in the middle of the crazy is His hope, and His peace.

    And this? “God only allows pain if He’s allowing something new to be born.” Spoke volumes to my heart today. Thank you, Ann.

    • Jeanne, I am seeing more and more the truth God only allows pain if He’s allowing something new to be born. It’s such a fragrant Truth, this breaking, and the lovely new that will follow. You have a challenging job with your boys, I know. My heart is soft for those who have adopted children and they are afraid to love you back because of the hurt they have experienced and can’t bear to be in the possibility of being rejected one more time. So, they reject you first, and constantly test you to see if you love them. It’s a journey we’ve experienced for 23 years. But now, we are seeing little glimmers of breakthrough even in the midst of the heartbreaking choices my daughter is making. I’m not saying you will go through this as long as we have. But, I am saying even in the most fearful and hardened of hearts Jesus does touch them. I have learned and am still learning how to love even when I am having trouble because of my daughter’s and my boy’s actions. That is only Him, certainly not me because I know myself. Jesus gave me Isaiah 41:10 in the Amplified Version. This version not only says He’s helping us but will harden us to difficulties, not our hearts. He upholds with His victorious right hand. Lifting you up, and remembering you to pray for you. Blessings, Joanne

      • Bless both you, women of God, for your devoted love to your adopted children. There is a depth of pain that only God can reach and heal. Praying His love will pour out of both of you…even or perhaps especially when you’ve reached the end of yourself. May God bless you both richly with a joy that holds you in the hard.

      • Joanne, the busy-cycle didn’t stop until today. I wanted to say how encouraging your words are for me. I know exactly what you’re saying about the boy testing, hurting, to see if he is still loved. Each child comes to accept his/her adoptive situation in their own way. Some sooner than others.

        And yes, I agree and embrace the truth that God allows the pain when He’s bringing something new to birth. Thank goodness He has a purpose in all of it. Thank you for your words!

  15. I get up everyday trying to give thanks being shouted at thoughts of doubt.I don’t have a regular job anymore,my husband watches TV constantly.Today is growing old already.I want to do something for God.I want to pray,I want to do right,but the day goes by fast,and I sit in my chair doing the same stupid games.I feel kind of lost,then I read your blog and it helps but I need God telling me he loves me more than anything.Sorry I didn’t mean to rant.Thank you Ann Voskamp,you really do inspire me,one of those weeks,lol

  16. It has been a hard week , as I wait for a dear friend to pass I to something new (heaven) I am reminded of something new

    • Tammy,

      I’m thinking of you and I understand how painfully hard that can be.

      Take Care,

      Praying for you,

      Penny

  17. Sometimes, we think we’re the only one. Thanks for sharing and adding humor to it. I know about toilets, listening impaired people and laughing laundry. I am willing to kneel and let go.

  18. I so needed this on vacation with my daughter ,her husband and my three precious grandchildren.Arguing sunburned children and frustrated parents…..so glad God doesn’t ask me to fix only to pray

  19. What a beautiful post, Ann! And oh so needed for this tired soul of mine. My fibromyalgia has flared up so bad this week… and work is more stressful than ever. But I’m trusting that God is going to use it all for good. Just as He always does. He never fails us and I will ever praise Him for that! Blessings to you!

  20. Thank you, Ann, for highlighting that sweet promise of “good and God’s glory”–no matter what. One way that promise is fulfilled during a hard week: We get to see what a hard-working God we have! Sometimes he miraculously removes items from a long to-do list (like a cancelled meeting). Or, God brings others alongside to help–people we didn’t even ask. And for the rest of the commitments, he gives us the strength to power through, and supplies humor and kinship to ease the stress. By Saturday, we have much more to be thankful for than we would after an easy week. (Lord, remind me of these truths the next time I’m staring down a long, over-full seven days!)

  21. In the midst of a torn up kitchen due to cabinets being painted (1 gift) I have taken time (#2 gift) to sift through old pantry items and purge (#3gift). I would love to wave a majic wand and everything go back where it belongs but I think God is using this event to show me the junk that builds up in my heart when I forget to be grateful for the day. (#4 gift) Working through each kitchen item brings thankfulness for all I have because it ALL belongs to HIM.
    Thank you Ann, for sharing your everyday life as I’m reminded we all need to use our messes to encourage another. 🙂 Blessings, ET

  22. Postpartum depression and anxiety…I have dreamed of being a stay at home mom for years…now I’m getting to do it and I’m terrified, absolutely petrified where I stand. My daughter is 6 months old and I’m so weary of only getting 4 hours of sleep at a time. So frustrated and feeling abandoned that my prayers for rest aren’t being answered. On top of that, I’m pregnant with another, and scared to death of how on earth I will care for two babies at once. The anxiety has turned my body into one giant tense knot and I’m in a constant state of pain and terror. I pray but feel like God doesn’t hear. I am literally pushing back the dark every day, but it feels like it’s swallowing me.

    • Oh, Sharon…Been there years ago. Enjoy that sweet baby and everything else can wait. I had one daughter who got up 3 times a night for a year! I truly believe it was because I have fibromyalgia and had to get up so much while I was pregnant. I know how exhausted you are, especially with another on the way. Did that, too. This is a tough job, motherhood, but it will be ok! Play soothing music and thank God for His gifts of little ones to love. Perfection as a Mom is not required. Will pray for you. Love, Ann

    • Jesus says,”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
      He has answered your prayer and desire to be home with your babies. You are giving such a gift of love and sacrifice to your daughter. He will be your strength to get you through the long nights. He will be your rest, as well, both physically and emotionally. Breathe and breathe deeply! Breathe in His grace for each day and breathe out His praise in each moment! I’m sure Ann would encourage you to start your own list of 1,000 gifts…Start with # 1 knowing that you are His child. # 2 Your husband who has given you his love and let it spill over, giving you a beautiful daughter and another wee one on the way.
      #3 & 4 Your daughter and the new life growing inside you…
      Keeping you in prayer. You are doing a wonderful job!

      • Thank you so much. Reminding myself to breathe and breathe deeply…your encouragement carried me through last night.

    • Sharon, I had severe ppd. I know what an awful nightmare it is. It brought me back to the lord. Please reach out for support and get help. You’re not alone even though it feels as if you are.

      • Thank you. i hope mine brings me closer to the Lord. Then, it will all be worth it. I have made an appointment with a Christian therapist.

    • Sharon,

      I hope and pray for you that each day there will be a glimmer of hope. And that you will be able overcome your fear. You can do this….

      Blessings to you all,

      Penny

  23. ahh, thanks, Ann! I look at the start of college next week and wonder why oh why have i not taken time this summer to prep for the class I am teaching. i can’t get that time back, but I can move forward and pray. I am covering my students with prayer that this be an exceptional semester for them in so many ways, and although I can’t really talk much about my Christian walk, I can display my faith by my actions and love for this new crop of kids.

  24. Oh, my – the chin hair was the clincher! I’ve been spending my evenings and nights with my 80 y/o mother since her hip replacement surgery on August 6, and, listening to K-Love every morning on the way to work for ‘balance’. I’m dreading the return home, where only one of the three ‘men’ are acquainted with laundry, dish-washing and general clean-as-you-go activities. Back to the hair, though; I found that long hair waving from my jawline yesterday afternoon – it was even more noticeable since I had on the short wig. I wondered, while attempting its removal, how many co-workers wanted to wave back? Then, upon sweet removal success, wondered if the chin, upper lip and jawline hairs could be transplanted. I’ve stated throughout this cancer ordeal that “God’s got this” – hoping He (and you) can enjoy the humor that I find in the results. And, please pray for both my mother and me as we have our follow-up appointments tomorrow.

  25. When I call myself pouring into people only to have them poring over me–over my imperfections, my faults, my simply-not-enoughs–in the midst of that, with a tough week ahead of me and a rough road behind me, and God calling me to do two things: #1 Be Still and #2 Know God is God. And, in the praying and in the knowing, God is producing something better, something more worthwhile than I ever could.

  26. “And by Thursday, you’ll pull a three inch hair from the chin and you’ll replay who you talked to on Monday and Tuesday this week who must have saw it at an inch and a half!’ This is why you are believable when you speak Life into our Days!!

  27. This is pointing me toward IF:Pray. In the middle of organizing a local gathering that night, and you say, God is not asking me to produce, but asking me to pray. Which is exactly why we will be praying all across the country on September 14. To pray, is to hope.

  28. I am pushing back the dark today. This week. This year has been the most difficult of my life. I lost my beloved Mother in Law and two weeks later, her beautiful son, after 23 years walked out of our family for the arms of another woman. It’s been almost 3 months and I am not sure why these 2 days have been so hard to live in, but they have been. I am praying that the Holy Spirit moves in me soon. I need the peace of the Lord so desperately today, this year, this life…

    Thank you Ann, you page has provided me with so much encouragement these months.

  29. I needed this, too! With starting a new business and my oldest starting kindergarten and friendships being torn apart- this week isn’t looking like a good one. I’m trusting in a never- failing God this week!

  30. Thank you Ann! Hard week? Giant YES!! Trying to adjust to new home in urban environment after 13 yrs of Mountain living. Dropped daughter off for first time to school and taking son to out of state college just days before his 18th. All this after 11yrs of homeschooling. Trying to stop the ground from shaking underneath me and the pressure in my chest from ripping me wide open. Older, barely healed wounds are threatening to burst open. I could use a lot of prayer as I stand up in this darkness. Thank you for being the gift to all of us.

  31. Ann, Reading this and feeling the proverbial light bulb trying to come on at about the point where you say, “More than needing schedules and productivity, this week will need a Savior and a prayer. God’s not asking me to produce — He’s asking me to pray. God’s not asking me to climb ladders — He’s asking me to kneel and let go.” Could it be true? That’s all that is needed? And I’m so caught up in doing what I do and going where I go and wondering what’s next and what the future holds… Sending my son to first grade in public school after two years of homeschooling. I see God’s hand in the decision but my heart holds out fearful of the future.

  32. Thank you for your words today. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last month and though it has been a difficult time, the Lord has showered us with blessings and I have felt him carry me through this. My big surgery is this Thursday and I have let the fears take over. Thank you for reminding me : God only allows pain if He’s allowing something new to be born. I will get down on my knees everyday and thank Him!!

  33. Ann, Josie here, thank you for these words. They were just what I needed today. While I sit here and write the little boy in my tummy dances and bounces and kicks like there is a party going on. My husband and I will get to meet him soon as I am 32 weeks along, and wow am I scared!! My husband is very much a go with the flow kind of person and me not so much, I’m a thinker, I like to ponder about all these little things {smile} This will be our first child and he is such a grace and sweet miracle and I am beyond ecstatic! But there is this fear that is stealing my joy, fear that I won’t be ready { Is anyone ever ready? }, fear of failure, fear for our marriage and this new chapter coming into it, fear of quitting my job and moving to one income living, and the list goes on. Then your words “God’s not asking me to produce, He’s asking me to pray, God’s not asking me to climb ladders, He’s asking me to kneel and let go” ……oh this. Just this. Such a sweet grace to be reminded. He knows my deepest thoughts and fears, He goes before me, He has prepared the way for me and my husband and this sweet little one. Whatever happens it is for my good and His glory…many thanks for this….such grace

  34. I so needed this. Opening up to his grace…I’m grieving the loss of my baby girls identical twin. I’m missing my mom-my constant companion- who left on a trip to Europe for 8 days. Now I have to watch my 4 kids, my handicapped father. I’m scared of the next few days. My mind can’t focus. Hoping this experience helps me realize I’m more self sufficient than i realize.

  35. Oh how I needed this! Stay at home mom, hubby works, I homeschool our three sons. SOMETIMES it’s a blessing to be home, other times being home feels like my mind is bombarded and imprisoned with obsessive thoughts about my appeArance. The pull to look on the mirror at all my flaws. I feel like Paul, I don’t want to do this obsessive self destructing behavior!!! How do I overcome?

  36. Thank you Ann. What a great reminder this week. I have been in mental wrestling match with having to have siuegery Thursday to have my gall bladder removed. I am caught in the turmoil of my own thoughts and what~iffs bombarding me mentally and spiritually. You remind me He is in control. The God of the universe loves me.

    Terri

  37. Six and a half long hard years of life stolen by fear and uncertainty. Prayers whispered, prayers cried, prayers screamed-thought ignored and unheard. Pride and Selfishness via for top billing. Why should I have to pick up the pieces of some one’s messed up life? I don’t want to do this!!! I want to do what I want-finally now that the kids are grown and all on their own. It’s time for me. I struggled, knowing what God had called me to, but not sure I was perfect for the task. I prayed to be willing. I prayed to be humble. I prayed to extinguish the selfishness. I prayed to be accepting. I willed myself to be it all. I re-buked the spirits of pride and selfishness, and so wanted to gracefully accept. HA!!! I laid it at the feet of Jesus, many times. But to no avail– or so I thought. It is only in His time that our life unfurls in the direction He sets in motion. It is only when His work in our heart is accomplished that the frayed ends can be repaired and hold fast-standing firm against the pulling, heave and drag of the evil one’s lies. We can lay it down over and over again, but until we truly relinquish our grasp over to our only True Strength-our Steadfast Rock- we will continue to struggle as He accomplishes His good work in us. When we are broken and cannot stand on our own, He will come through. When we indeed say, “His will be done.” Then our prayers are answered. Soon our Grand-daughter will become our daughter. Soon the uncertainty will end and we will be secure, not only legally-but first and foremost in His hands.

  38. OMG I needed this. It’s Wednesday morning here, and I wanted to give up by Monday. I’ve lived in Japan for a year, spent a little over 2 and a half weeks vacation with my family in America, came back last week, and almost immediately ran straight back to work. (This time of year, I’m helping students practice for the upcoming speech contest.) Last night I realized that I hadn’t been staying up because I wasn’t tired, but because I was tired yet anxious. I wasn’t sure how I’d get through this week of more brain power than I’m normally asked to use the rest of the year. (And jet lag doesn’t help.)
    And this morning, I read about the week crouched like a monster, ready to pounce. But that, like that end scene from A Bug’s Life where the scary, frothing monster tried to attack the little girl, we have Someone behind us who is so much stronger than anything before us.

    Thank you for posting this. 🙂

  39. <3 We're in a season of change, of so much unknown and fear of it. The peace is coming, we know it, but the journey is hard. Thanks for this reminder!

  40. Joy? Is it the same as happiness? If it is, I not sure there’s much to steal…when everyday is the same as yesterday, when yesterday is the same as last year…when you’ve been stuck waiting on your life to begin…when you’ve cried yourself to sleep, when you look into the dark hard deep…when life just says NO…no..no…what do you hope on? My hope is in Him, in Him I live…His promises are true…he cannot lie… I’m waiting on you God but if you’re waiting on me…I wish you would tell me. Beauty in your words Anne

  41. Six and a half long hard years of life stolen by fear
    and uncertainty. Prayers whispered, prayers cried, prayers screamed-thought
    ignored and unheard. Pride and Selfishness via for top billing. Why should I
    have to pick up the pieces of some one’s messed up life? I don’t want to do
    this!!! I want to do what I want-finally now that the kids are grown and all on
    their own. It’s time for me. I struggled, knowing what God had called me to,
    but not sure I was perfect for the task. I prayed to be willing. I prayed to be
    humble. I prayed to extinguish the selfishness. I prayed to be accepting. I
    willed myself to be it all. I re-buked the spirits of pride and selfishness,
    and so wanted to gracefully accept. HA!!! I laid it at the feet of Jesus, many
    times. But to no avail– or so I thought. It is only in His time that our life
    unfurls in the direction He sets in motion. It is only when His work in our
    heart is accomplished that the frayed ends can be repaired and hold
    fast-standing firm against the pulling, heave and drag of the evil one’s lies.
    We can lay it down over and over again, but until we truly relinquish our grasp
    over to our only True Strength-our Steadfast Rock- we will continue to struggle
    as He accomplishes His good work in us. When we are broken and cannot stand on
    our own, He will come through. When we indeed say, “His will be
    done.” Then our prayers are answered. Soon our Grand-daughter will become
    our daughter. Soon the uncertainty will end and we will be secure, not only
    legally-but first and foremost in His hands.

  42. Hi Ann, This was right on time! My week started today (Tuesday) actually and your post is my selah moment at the end of the day! I’m also reading 1000 gifts and doing the Joy Dare and moment by moment and inch by inch my soul is being revived and renewed. Thank you for your beautiful gift of words for these oftentimes parched souls and spirits. Your words and your gifts are truly inspiring.

  43. You have a way of saying a thing as if you took a peek into my own heart and mind. How many times do I start a week with dread, telling myself over and over all that is overwhelming and tough about the week. Then I have take in a Word of hope, the Living Hope, and pray. And it helps to look for the nuggets of good in the moments. It is the butterfly reminding me the way I see the week isn’t the full story. My view can sure wreck a week, but it isn’t directing me to see what is true and worthwhile, the surprises God has for me. Always, thank you for being vulnerable and for making a difference.

  44. Ann your words touched me to the core. I have alot of things in the air right now, decisions will come especially as I continue to seek Jesus and His leading. The words let go have been coming up for about a week and now again, God’s not asking me to climb ladders, He’s asking me to kneel and let go.

    Thank you,
    Great is HIS faithfulness
    Heather

  45. Ann, thank you. This hits me deep where I live right now. After 2 1/2 years of unemployment, God has blessed my husband with a job in a ministry helping the homeless. We are grateful. And yet, the financial toll is at its peak, we may have to sell our house and start over, only ten years from retirement, with a daughter and grandchild and disabled son depending on us for a home. The mountain looks so big, and my urge is to work harder, add another job, wrack my brain to figure out a way to make the pieces fit. I hear His urging through your words, He’s asking me to kneel and let go.

  46. I love the way you write. It’s like you called me first thing in the morning to tell me the latest, like a best-friend, and we share together. Thank you and blessings.

  47. I really really needed this today. I feel like you just watched me for the last 24 hours and so beautifully wrote everything I’m feeling and thinking. The lord has led me to homeschool my 3 of 4 children. I’m excited but scared to death. But I trust Him and I want to obey Him above all else. To be nearer to Him wherever and whenever He calls me, I want to go there! But fear and yes that dark war waging in my head can make a tired momma weary. So thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone in this and that He has given me abounding Hope and joy.

  48. Fighting technology and changes in my teaching profession are so demanding! I’m getting closer to retirement age and knowing God can fight this battle with me, but I’m tired and school just started. My body is in rebellion in so many ways. I just want to have faith to stand and fight!

  49. I speak encouragement to ever one who has shared this post. I speak love! Imagine a cool, fresh glass of living water…it is yours for the taking! Just open the book and it will reveal…we worship Him in spirit and truth! We can take the burdens of the day and just hand them over to him. And he in turn will hand us a cool, fresh glass of living water!

  50. Ann,

    I needed this more than words can say. This week has been difficult with work and last minute planning for my wedding (18 days away) I feel like I need a recess. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I am broken & always in need of His grace– thank you for reminding me that pain is birthing something new, something good. Bless you!

  51. Hi Ann, thanks for this post. I “battle slanderous voices in my head” all day, every day.” I know God can free me & bring joy because I’ve experienced it in the past, but not now….Needing prayer. I also wanted to ask where those fun rapids are in your pictures? We are from s/w Ontario & I think my kids would love them.

  52. The more pain I experience the more precious every little blessing is……the stillness of the morning, the sunrise of a new day, His PROMISES that I cling to.

  53. Ann,
    I am fairly a newbie at all of this social media stuff but have such a blessed heart by the writings that you post. There are times that it meets me SPOT ON where I am walking. If I answer what has been steeling my joy ……..hands down…….without having to even think about it would be this heart that grieves over the loss of a child. For a year now I have walked a road that I did not/would not choose/have chosen. It is one hard place to walk ….. AND breathe. It has taken EVERY OUNCE of strength that God gives to plow through tears, memories and those left behind………a dad, a mom, a sister, a wife and 4 small children. The evil one has been nipping on all our heals this past year. His greatest desire…… to see a family who knows the I AM to run away and crater as if we had NEVER BELIEVED. THE WORD OF GOD stands STRONG with the weak. I have tasted & have seen the goodness of our God. To steady the broken………uphold the weak and give MUCH GRACE to the weary. I have pressed hard into a loving God who never leaves or forsakes. My desire is that I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. I press on to the high calling of God……..knowing that eternity will reveal the face of my Savior and a son who lived as a “kingdom man”……….honoring God with his life. Thanks be to God who causes us to triumph.

    Blessings & much Grace
    DianeW

  54. Casting my cares on Jesus this week. From 8 pm tonight, I will be working 18 hour days til Saturday at 2 pm. I work at a motel, so I will be staying in one of the hotel rooms as I won’t have enough time between shifts to go home and return and be able to get enough rest. My husband will be able to come visit me while I’m at work. I’m asking God for His strength to keep me awake and alert.

  55. Thanks for sharing your heart and how we can get bogged down by the big and the small in life. I just made my fourth move in four years of marriage. It was necessary for my husband’s job, but I didn’t want it. I left a great job, wonderful church and some dear friends. It is hard to be thankful right now and live in that “spirit of power, love and self control” instead of fear and worry.

  56. With 4 kids under barley 5 and a husband gone for weeks for work and the newest sweet infant up all night- I am constantly taking deep breaths and asking God to sustain me AND show me His heart in this chaos. His presence in my weaknesses (which feel plentiful) and His direction in the sliding out of control days. We might just be in survival mode now but I’m learning how to trust in new ways! Thank you for the reminders!

  57. I think I’ll make it thru the week! I sometimes look into the early, dimly lit, morning mirror and think “How did this weathered, wrinkled old face get to this point in life so quickly. What’s the point! I’m such a mess with all the things left unsaid and undone. How can I make up for this and that? How can I set it right?” Then a feeling of joy usually occurs. I realize that God has a purpose for me. He’s allowed me another day in his magnificent creation to appreciate all the miracles that are occurring, right in front of me, that bring glory to HIs name, and each one says “Give thanks to YAHUAH, praise God for all the small, holy tasks that we are given. I mostly thank Him for his Son that allows Forgiveness and Grace. What’s the point?!!!! We’re the point! Give thanks and glory to His name! Yea, I think I’ll make it thru the week!

  58. Ann,
    Thank you for your words. I am a never been married 44 year old woman who hasn’t even had a date in close to twenty years. I am very lonely and having a difficult time trying to be content with life. I never saw myself in this position, but had promised myself I would not be bitter. Well, I don’t think I have kept that promise. This past year has been more difficult than any and my mind is not where it needs to be. I have read your book alll the way through and am reading it again. Keeping the list has been hard for me. I started it but find I struggle with finding things to add. Suggestions and how to keep at it and not just quit?
    Deana

  59. Ann Voskamp! You are full of Jesus. I’m a professor in an English department at a major university–I read and teach a lot of writers. You’re my favorite. You get me through the messy academic world that is without Him. All glory to God.

  60. What has been stealing joy and hope? What a big question…. In the daily ways my life has fallen apart for years, so has my faith. My belief that the savior is going to save, allows pain for good, is working on my side. With a father that committed suicide, a mother that consciously states at times that she chooses a boyfriend over her child, a brother who is lost and homeless, and past of abuse and darkness. I spent years as a child, teenager, young adult in church. Years begging and praying for healing. Years doing my very best to be the daughter God would desire. Nothing. No healing, no palpable presence. I continue to want and desire but have lost the faith that it will happen. And some days, when I push on the darkness, it pushes back harder. And some days that steals my joy. But I will say, reading about your hope helps, so thank you.

  61. Your writing always gives me hope and reminds me to look again at the Savior, Ann.
    Thank you.

  62. Isn’t this just like God?! My week has been so busy preparing for students here at school, I haven’t opened the email link to this post until just now. And now – I’m sitting at my desk, 6 minutes until I have a roomful of little souls starting this new year with me, literally crying out to God after reading these beautiful words. Those last 3 lines……..oh my. It’s been a sharp, harsh start to my heart this school year, and I’m so grateful for the reminder that there are wings. Blessings, and thank you, Ann!

  63. Thank you for this! I’ve been going through some trying times lately with uncertainty about the future. For a worrier like me it’s not good. God is pushing me towards prayer and more prayer every day. It’s what gets me through. I was reminded at church on Sunday that even though we ask God to deliver us from the fire, most of the time his answer is no because he wants to teach us to allow him to walk us through the fire. We are in the middle of it right now, boy are we ever!

  64. Ann,
    I have recently come across your website and now share it with others. You are a drink of water, no, streams of living water from our Saviour. I read a book this week called Storm, by Jim Cymbala and it blessed me. I got on my knees (with a pillow) and cried out to God who hears me. I prayed like Hannah did and am continuing her desperate intimate conversation with Father. It helps me to sing and listen to praise and worship music because I know He inhabits our praise.

  65. Thank you so much, Ann. I so need to let go of some things, the feeling angry, the guilt and remember God, that He is there in the middle of the mess. I need to take time and stop and know that He has it all planned out. I don’t need to worry. So many times, we are reminded in the Bible to NOT WORRY! My humanness keeps getting in the way. I am sitting down right now and letting His grace and mercy wash over me. Holy Spirit, be in my life and guide me and help me to really listen. In Jesus name, Amen.

  66. The mid-week crisis: My husband’s b-day #78. When he woke up I tried to ask him what he would like to do today. He said nothing but lured me back to the sheets. What a sweet snuggle! more symbolic than not. But what about the rest of the day? I hope I can figure out what will please his palate, That is changing. He use to love anything I fixed… or said nothing against. But what of when he leaves it on his plate? I wonder?? are his tastes changing, his needs changing. I want to feed healthy. There are so many good-byes, these days. Relentless changes even from day to day, or minute by minute. God pours an unprecedented love into my heart for this man who cared for me so specially for 54 years. I have much for which to be thankful. The blessed habit I am still learning to be thankful, even for the hard! That’s what keeps me going for the week. His strength, His plan, His grace.

  67. Oh my goodness I needed this so much. I’m a newlywed who is feeling all sorts of overwhelmed. I’ve got a wonderful husband who is pretty much perfect and a job that I love, but my hormones are all out of whack from my birth control and I am just not myself. In this season I know that I’ve got to hang on to the Lord and give myself grace, but that’s proving harder to do with each passing day. Thank you for the reminder to pray without ceasing and continually give it over to Him who is always victorious and never leaves our side.

  68. Needing this today, really always. Sitting with my newborn and struggling through the morass of postpartum and grief for my first little one – knowing now what I have lost
    I feel guilty for grieving one child while holding a new life, like I’m starting each day at a loss.
    But like a knight raising a banner I’m reminded “for our good and for his glory”

    So I start again
    1. A new miraculous life in my arms
    2. A husband’s love and prayers
    3. Hope

  69. I have been listening to the slanderous voices in my head for so long, I’m not sure I know how to stop.

  70. Just getting around to reading this so that describes my day and week. I just keep looking to my grateful list and keep writing it. That’s how I get through

  71. How I needed to read that Ann – thank you – waking to battles in my mind and then I read your words “anyone who wakes up had to push back the dark”. It’s so good to expose what goes on in the hidden places moment by moment and to know I’m not ( we’re not) alone. I guess it’s part of our humanity and our needing Jesus.

  72. Ann you always always bring Gods grace to the Table. Thank you. I love you!
    Bev I agree with my sisters in prayer that you heal quickly and perfectly inside and out.
    I am facing knee surgery this fall so I am working to strengthen my legs before surgery.

  73. Ann, I really needed this because my son and his wife are talking about splitting up. This has just broken my heart, especially for my 3 grandchildren. I have of course been encouraging them to do counseling and praying constantly. I however have also been talking the whole situation back and contemplating what I could do or say to fix it myself. The mom in me wants desperately to correct my son, to make him mind as if he was a little boy again. I know that’s not possible, but I still want to try. Then yesterday when I woke up after not much sleep the night before, feeling like the heartache would kill me. I heard that still small voice say (Some things only change with prayer and fasting) So I began to fast and pray with renewed fervor. In the afternoon my son and his wife went to their first counseling with our Pastor, even though he said up until the very last minute he wasn’t going to go. After it was over my daughter in law said he had agreed to continue going. I rejoiced feeling it was all going to be okay. Last night I went to our regular mid week prayer meeting and while I was praying the Lord spoke to me again He said ( Don’t be dismayed when something breaks that you in your arrogance believed to be unbreakable, You don’t have to be afraid, because I allowed it to break, so I can put it back together the way I want it to be!) Today my son is back to saying he doesn’t want to do the counseling. So I am praying and trying not to let the fear take hold. Trusting that when the breaking is done. He and He alone will put it back together as He sees fit.

  74. Ann,
    Loved this: “God’s not asking me to produce — He’s asking me to pray.
    God’s not asking me to climb ladders — He’s asking me to kneel and let go.” Women push themselves hard to produce and do it all. We must be good at everything and fail at nothing. Really all God wants from us is our time. Stop rushing around trying to do/be more just be yourself and give Him your time and problems. He wants us to slow down and see the wonders & gifts He’s providing daily. Yesterday God put a little rainbow in the sky for me. Women we need to slow down and breathe with the rhythms of life!

    Blessings 🙂

  75. Thank you for this. I needed every word. There are some very new and seemingly large mountains this season and it was all I could do today to stay engaged in the present without letting my fear or heaviness trump the beauty in our midst. It’s the fear of the mountain that flattens a precious moment, and I begged God all day for His help to stay present with my children while schooling so I wouldn’t “miss it”. He was faithful. We made it, and we enjoyed the moments, but it’s what you said about the mirror that is resonating in me. Why? Why is there always this mountain? Why the acute awareness of my failures? I don’t know how or what it will look like but I’m asking Him to show me, “how do I let this go and be free? Where is the root and well, who cares, just chop it up and out!” I don’t want to just survive this season, I want to FLY through it with vibrant colors springing up! I don’t know how else to say it because I’ve never experienced it, but I’m asking. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are always to me a very timely friend whom I’ve never had the privilege of meeting and I’m so thankful for you…

  76. Ann,
    It’s Saturday morning and I’m just reading your post and the amazing, encouraging conversation. I felt all week that struggle to keep my head up. I had to talk to my soul much like David, in fact as I read Eph. 5:19 I asked myself, what is speaking a Psalm to encourage others? I turned to Psalms 116:5-7 and as I read I just felt comfort. Again I spoke David’s words “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for The Lord has been good to you.” In this land of more than enough, I feel guilty for having to do battle with my mind and emotions. Prayer is my rope to the anchor of my soul, Jesus. Thank you for your raw honesty Ann, it helps me know that I am not alone in this battle.
    Prayers and Blessings for us all.
    Elaine

  77. Dear Miss Ann, I guess what is stealing my joy has been myself. I have been having a very hard time dealing with being homeless. In the midst of everything the only words of comfort I now have to keep saying I am a child of God who happens to be homeless.

    I never thought this would be my life. I would love to clean a toilet. Not several others in a one day. I read where when you are going through pain God is trying born something new in you. Not the exact wording I believe you know what I mean. I do not see my situation ending. I keep saying the words now I am a child of God who happens to be homeless. I don’t have ladder to climb, I am believing in His promises. The only thing I know is I am His even being homeless.

    In God we Trust.

    Until the whole hears.

    Pamela B
    1 Samuel 16:7

  78. Thank you for this. I am currently undergoing chemo therapy for breast cancer. This will be followed by radiation. Right at the time of diagnosis the Lord gave me the verse from Joshua 8:1. To not be afraid, not be discouraged (and I have been both) and take my whole army (prayer warriors, doctors, nurses and technicians) to take the land of Ai (my cancer). He has been with me every step of the way…even when I’m to sick to pray…then others pray for me.
    Friends and neighbors keep coming through the door with food, offers to do housework and yard work and always at exactly the right time. It has been amazing. I pray for continued strength and courage to get me through this battle and I trust that He, the Almighty Healer, will give me that. Wings for one more day, one more week..Great is His faithfulness.

  79. Oh how I am touched as a similar surgery is right around the bend and a sweet 3/12 yr old stays with me to watch and be Jesus to me. These are awesome words after our sermon today and realize some of our congregation go thru much worse. I am blessed every time I read this blog and long to lift up others in a similar way. God is good all the time

  80. This week, anxiety encroached and began to stake out its territory in my mind and body.
    As in your beautiful story, God used nature to realign my focus.
    While sitting on a bench by the lake at my parent’s house, I became keenly aware of the wind
    rustling the leaves in the trees surrounding the lake. For me, the wind has always been a
    symbol of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. God drew my attention to the wind to
    remind me that He is sovereign. The things that I had been anxious about faded into the
    background.

  81. Anne,
    Thank you for this encouraging post. I just got married and have moved 11 hours from all my friends and family. While I love my husband dearly it has been extremely hard being away from all my loved ones. My prayers have been for comfort in my new life and family and to savor this special time. It can be hard to slow down and appreciate this huge change, but change can be good especially this change.

    -Emily

  82. I’m just sitting here crying and i’m wondering if this is one of those comment threads where you post and no one ever responds? My beautiful daughter just looks at me with such hate filled eyes. I know that her struggles with college (she hates it) are not my struggles but I have to live with her. Or try to live while she’s stomping around. She says she “can’t” do anything else, but why does she have to be so mad all the time? She says God doesn’t hear her prayers. But why does she have to take that out on me? I’ve been reading Ann for awhile and I try to tell her “why not look for the joy in life?” She says that’s dumb 🙁