God Will Guide You

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. 
I will guide you with my eye.  Psalm 32:8

Many times when we are in the midst of grief, we don't know what to do or the way we should go.  I remember the day my first husband died I kept saying, "What do I do?  I don't know what to do!  Dear Jesus, help me!"

I would repeat those words often in the weeks and months following his death.

Let me encourage you today that God does know what to do.  He does know the way to go.  Call on Him today.  The Lord Almighty will teach you and guide you.  He loves you with an everlasting love.

In Jesus' love,


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

It's that time of the year again, where the sights and sounds of Christmas are all around us.  Ornaments and lights glisten on trees, the smell of gingerbread lingers in the air, and the melodious songs of Christmas echo in our ears.

But for many this most wonderful time of the year is an intense reminder of their loss.  After the death of a loved one and a special holiday arrives, such as Christmas, we often feel the pain more intensely.  It is a time where the absence of their presence is felt deeply.

What would they have done or said if they were here?  What am I missing with them gone?  How can I go on without them?

While these types of questions are normal, God gives us instruction in how to not only get through the Holidays, whether Christmas, New Year's, a birthday, or any special holiday, but to grow closer to God through life's difficulties.  Here are three keys for the Holidays that will help you unlock the joy of the Lord in your heart both now and all year long.

1 - Know that the Lord, He is God - This is the first key to your understanding of how to deal with hardship.  Psalm 100 is a Bible passage that my dad taught us as kids and it is stuck in my brain like glue.  Read these powerful words of God carefully and let them sink deep into your heart and see what God will do! "Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!  Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing, Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, Be thankful unto Him and bless His name.  For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations."  When we praise God through the difficulties, God will give us a new perspective - His perspective.

2 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart - The second key is a familiar saying from a very familiar Bible passage.  Many people have learned these two favorite verses and put them to memory.  Proverbs 3:5 &6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths."  Trust the Lord.  But how?  You can trust Him by not leaning on your own understanding and by acknowledging Him in all your ways.  And God makes a promise to you that when you trust Him, He will direct your paths.  He will help you and lead you in the way you should go.  He will show you what you need to know to not only survive the Holidays, but to thrive.

3 - See the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living - Yes, if your loved one knew Jesus as Savior they are alive and well with the Lord.  Rest assured in that promise of God!  But what about us who are left on earth in this land of the living?  We hurt, however we need to see the goodness of God.  That is the third key.  Not only do we need to understand that God is good but we need to see His goodness in our lives.  Psalm 27:13,14 gives us instruction.  "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.  Wait I say, on the LORD!"  Waiting on the LORD and being of good courage involves reading the Bible to know what God says.  When you do, God says He will strengthen your heart.  That's God's promise.  Will you claim it today?

Don't lose heart!  Know the Lord.  Trust the Lord.  See His goodness.  And you will grow closer to God and you will experience the most wonderful time of the year.

Remember, I am praying for you.  Jesus loves you with an everlasting love.  Have a joyous Christmas and New Year.



Finding Rest

We don't rest very well when grieving. But God has made us promises about rest that we can believe in - that we can grasp hold of. Do we trust God when like the old hymn says, "the days grow weary, the long nights dreary?"

A few Bible verses are on my heart right now. The first is found in Isaiah 30:15. God says this to His people. "For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not."

God's strength is available to us. What we need to do is be quiet before Him and have confidence in the Lord. When we return to him and rest, He will help us. God is waiting for us to come to Him.

Many nights after my first husband died I would cry myself to sleep. Sometimes I wouldn't sleep at all. But God wants to give His children rest. He tells us to come to Him in Matthew 11:28. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

So how can we rest when we're mentally, emotionally, and physically weak? Ask the Lord to help you. He promises He will. In fact the Lord says this in the very next verse in Matthew, verse 29: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

Sometimes when I can't sleep I will read my Bible. The Lord calms my heart and even in the midst of a storm, He reminds me He cares. I can trust Him.

How about you? Are you willing to trust the One who gave His life to save you? Come to Jesus. He will give you rest - a rest that reaches into the depths of your soul.

I'm praying for you!

In Christ's love,


The Right Amount of Time

"Mom, if I just had one more day with Grammy..."

"God gave us just the right amount of time with Grammy, hon."

"But if I had one more day..." My eight-year-old son's eyes welled up with tears.

I sat on the edge of his bed and smoothed his hair from his forehead. He lay his head back onto his pillow.

"What would you do with that day?"

"I would tell her I love her and spend time with her."

"But you did those things while she was here on earth. And you will see her again one day in Heaven. God promises us we'll all be together one day in Heaven - all who know Jesus as their personal Savior."

"I know, but I want to see her now. I want to go to Heaven."

Cupping my son's chin, I leaned over and kissed his cheek. "I know it's hard missing Grammy. I miss her too. I love her too. She was my Grandmom, my Nanna. But God's ways are always right and when He says it's time to go home to Heaven, that is the right time. God makes that decision, not us. He knows what's best because He is good. He is always good."

I stood up to leave my son's room. My son grasped my hand. I squeezed his hand in reassurance.

"It's time to go to sleep now, hon. There's still work for us to do here and we need our sleep. When God says it's time to go home to Heaven, it's the right time, whether we're young or old. Grammy would want you to know that. I want you to know that."

I looked at my son's face. The night-light next to his bed cast a soft glow across his room.  My son pulled the covers up to his neck and turned to his side, snuggling deep into his pillow.

"Good night, my sweetheart. I love you. I'll see you in the morning."

Last Requests

What happens when you face your own mortality? You think – and PRAY.

I am scheduled to have surgery in two days. Yesterday, a specialist discovered the reason for intense pain I was having three weeks ago. While my prognosis for recovery is good (although lengthy – 4-6 weeks), there’s always a risk with an operation, especially since I’ll probably be on the operating table additional time due to the doctor’s findings.

Even though I’m fairly young (43), fairly healthy (try to eat my fruits and veggies), and enjoy exercising (walks in the park and lifting weights at the gym), my husband suggested I write letters to our two sons, age 18 (a senior in high school) and age eight (in second grade), “just in case.” He also asked me to write down any wishes, for example: What I would or would not like for a funeral.

I have a pretty good idea why he asked. My husband’s dad died suddenly at the age of 44 after going into the hospital for something that was supposed to be routine. My husband was just a little boy at the time – eight years old – ironically the exact age of our youngest son right now.

As you might know from reading this blog, I was married before. My first husband tragically died at the age of twenty-eight in a car accident. We were married six years and my oldest son was only nine-months old at the time. He went home to be with the Lord a couple of months before my twenty-sixth birthday.

I just celebrated my sixteenth wedding anniversary with my second husband. We look forward to many more years together as the LORD allows. And that is the key. God is in control – no matter what happens. So, I will write those letters to my sons. (And one to my husband too, even though he didn’t ask for himself.)

And here on this blog I call Anna’s Place, a place I created for those who are suffering with loss or grief, I will post the words to three special songs I would like people to sing at my funeral one day, hopefully much later than sooner. Don’t worry, if you’re singing them sooner, I’ll be singing a new song in Heaven with Jesus, my Savior!

The other details, I’ll leave for my husband. However, I wanted to share three of my favorite hymns with you in the order I would like them sung (and for my hubby to reference if needed – he likes documentation so I’ll print this for him to keep) and give a brief explanation why I chose these particular songs. Since I like to write, I encourage those I love to share what I wrote about these songs at my funeral one day – just read it out loud for all to hear (and sooner if you would like). It is my testimony.

Song One: My Hope is in the Lord (page 37 in the little red hymnal at our church) There are many songs I love, but this first hymn is special to me. It was a theme song at the Christian high school I attended. Who else can we place our hope and trust in that will never, ever fail? Jesus, only Jesus. He died so we might live eternally when we place our faith and trust in Him. Praise God for that blessed hope – a hope of not “if”, but “when” I see my risen Savior face to face.

My Hope is in the Lord

My hope is in the Lord, Who gave himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin on Calvary.
No merit of my own, His anger to suppress.
My only hope is found in Jesus’ righteousness.
And now for me He stands, Before the Father’s throne,
He shows His wounded hands and names me as His own.
His grace has planned it all, ‘Tis mine but to believe,
And recognize His work of love and Christ receive.
For me, He died, For me He lives,
And everlasting life and light He freely gives.

Song Two: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place (in the little red hymnal at our church it’s found on page 193 entitled No Other Plea)

The reason I chose this song is because there is no other resting place for our faith than Christ and Christ alone. I have no other plea. This is why we live and breathe and have our being – in and through and all for Jesus - to proclaim His Word and share that blessed hope we have in Him. I don’t need any other argument! Oh people try to argue that there are many ways to God. That’s a lie! There is only one way to God and it’s through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Show them John 14:6. Proclaim it from the roof top! He is the way, the truth and the life! Jesus did it all for me. He did it all for you - for anyone who will believe and receive. Remember Romans 10:17 – faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – the Bible!

My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

My faith has found a resting place, Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever living One, His wounds for me shall plead.
Enough for me that Jesus saves, This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him, He’ll never cast me out.
My heart is leaning on the Word, The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name, Salvation through His blood.
My great Physician heals the sick, The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed, For me His life He gave.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died, And that he died for me.

Song Three: Trusting Jesus (page 245 in that little red hymnal)

So why did I chose this song? Well, partly because it became very special to me after my first husband died. I loved to play it on the piano and let the words cleanse my weary heart and mind like a refreshing rain. It is a very comforting song. You’ll see when you read the words. Like the phrase, “even when my faith is small, trusting Jesus that is all.” I love that. Do you want to know why? Because our faith will be tested in this life. Oh yes it will. We are not promised a bed of roses so to speak. And although roses can be so pretty and fragrant, there are thorns that are sharp and can hurt. We are weak, but God is strong. Jesus will see us through when we trust Him. Just trust Him - even when the way doesn’t seem clear. Trust Him every moment - even when it hurts so bad you don’t think you can go on. Trust Him because He gave His life for you. Trust Him because He loves you. Yes, He does. Don’t ever doubt it – even though you might be tempted. What more could Jesus do than give His life? He shed His blood on that cross of Calvary, giving up every drop for you – for me. What else could He give to save us from our sin and give us a home in Heaven? Trust Him. Trust Jesus – that is all!

Trusting Jesus

Simply trusting every day, Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small, Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Brightly doth His Spirit shine, Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall; Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Singing if my way is clear; Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger, for Him call; Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Trusting Him while life shall last, Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall: Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Trusting as the moments fly, Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall, Trusting Jesus, that is all.


A New Project

What do you do when someone you love dies?

Well, you cry - that's a given. You pray for sure. You grieve whether you want to or not. But I found that I needed something to do at night after my nine-month-old baby was safely tucked into bed. My husband wasn't there anymore at day or night. He was in Heaven enjoying his new home that Jesus had built for him.

Nights were the hardest. So, I took on a project - a big project. I went to an unfinished furniture store and bought a solid oak chest of drawers and a new three paneled headboard for my bed. With my new bedroom pieces delivered to my garage, I began to work. Ever so carefully, like I had learned in various house renovation projects that my husband and I had worked on together, I grasped a piece of fine grit sandpaper in my hand and began to prepare the oak.

Night after night, I would put my infant son to bed and night after night I would descend the steps to my family room, open the door to the garage and work on my new furniture. After using a tack cloth to clean the newly sanded wood, I opened a can of stain with a polyurethane mix. The directions said to use a soft rag to wipe the color onto the wood. I dipped my cloth into the gel-like substance and slowly smoothed the stain onto the oak. A pleasant color appeared when combined with the red oak - warm and rich, like the color of honey.

I put my former bedroom set in storage and later gave it to my sister for a wedding present. With my new bedroom set in place, I felt a sense of satisfaction and relief. The project was good for my body and my mind. It was symbol of a new start - not one that I had wanted or planned, but one that I had no choice but to endure.

I am glad that God gives us opportunities to ease our pain when we are hurting. Using my hands to accomplish something new was just one way for that to happen. I pray that you too will find release and a new sense of purpose as you journey the road of grief. May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ grant you His peace today and I pray His blessings on any new projects that you might endeavor to do.

In Jesus' love,


I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
by Henry W. Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th'un broken song
Of peace on earth good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep,
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth good will to men."

Then ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace..." Luke 2:14

Possible through Jesus Christ.

In Jesus' love,

Everlasting Joy

by Susan Kelly Skitt

Thoughts on Sorrow and Joy in December

Joy - what a bright and cheery word! How often I’ve used it to express my feelings about life’s happy moments. Thoughts of joy spring to mind when as a child with sleep tousled hair I would thunder down the stairs on Christmas morning. Gasps of joy would erupt when I saw all the brightly wrapped gifts sprawled under our glistening evergreen.

Joy! But what happens in times of sorrow, when the winds of loss howl across the caverns of my soul? When the bitter pangs of life’s disappointments chill my heart like the December wind? Where is the joy when the fingers of grief cling to my hand and death’s cold eye pierces my heart with its darkness? When the night seems unending and the tears spill unchecked upon my pillow - where is the joy?

Joy comes in the morning, the Scriptures say. But do I have to wait until the sun rises to send its golden rays of light across the landscape of my heart? God has told me in His Word that He collects each tear I shed in His bottle. Will He not hear my plea? Where is the joy?

But joy is here in the night watches where God meets me. When I talk with Him upon my bed, His gentle voice whispers words of peace to my soul. Like King David of old, my broken spirit finds solace in the God of my salvation. In Him I find true and lasting joy, a deep contentment born out of the sorrow He carried when He willingly gave His life on the cross.

Joy came that first Christmas over 2000 years ago, packaged not with bows and ribbons, but in human form fashioned with God’s hands of mercy and compassion. God has come to earth to save the souls of man, woman, and child alike. He has given a gift so priceless and perfect that I cannot contain the joy it brings – a joy that transcends mere earthly happiness found in life’s fleeting moments – a joy that lasts forever because it is found in the person and presence of the Son of God, the God-Man, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Joy – a celebration of life given to this world – experienced by the ones who willingly receive the gift - the fulfillment of what awaits the soul who trusts in the real joy-giver – Jesus. Joy – everlasting joy!


I am His and He is Mine

I just played this hymn on the piano at church on Sunday.

The title of the music is "I am His and He is Mine." The words written by Wade Robinson strike a deep chord in my heart. Those who watched and prayed with me after my first husband's death know how much music means to me. They know how music was a balm to my soul in those weeks and months after our family tragedy - how I would plunge myself into playing songs on my piano, expressing with each note the pain and passion that flowed through my heart.

I still play, but with God's help and healing it is now at a different level than ever before. In a new way, I feel the words of the song flow through my fingers as I play the notes. There is a powerful message to be declared and music can be a beautiful expression of God's love.

You see, God knows us, and we can follow Him. It is possible even through the deepest pain, oh yes, he will meet you there if you allow him to. Jesus will meet our every need. I am His, and praise God, He is mine. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

May the words of this song speak to your heart today. Remember, I am praying for you. God loves you and so do I.

Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to know;
Gracious Spirit from above, Thou hast taught me it is so!
Oh this full and perfect peace, oh, this transport all divine
In a love which cannot cease, I am His and He is mine.

Heav'n above is softer blue, earth around is sweeter green;
Something lives in ev'ry hue, Christless eyes have never seen!
Birds with glader song o'er-flow, flow'rs with deeper beauties shine
Since I know, as now I know, I am His and He is mine.

Things that once were wild alarms cannot now disturb my rest;
Closed in everlasting arms, pillowed on the loving breast!
Oh, to lie forever here, doubt and care and self resign,
While He whispers in my ear, I am His and He is mine.

His forever, only His - who the Lord and me shall part?
Ah, with what a rest of bliss, Christ can fill the loving heart!
Heav'n and earth may fade and flee, firstborn light in gloom decline,
But while God and I shall be, I am His and He is mine.


"But when they saw him (Jesus) walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out; For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, 'Be of good cheer. It is I; be not afraid.' And he went up with them into the boat; and the wind ceased; and they were very much amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered." Mark 6:49-51

Let the one who walks on water speak peace to your heart today. Allow Jesus to come on board the ship of your life and you too will be amazed beyond measure.


"But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD;
I say, 'You are my God.'
My times are in Your hand..."
Psalm 31:14,15 a


That "Mark" on Your Calendar

The day has passed - June 30th. The end of the month for some, but the day that changed my life forever one sunny day in 1992.

For those of you who have experienced the death of a loved one, you know how it is, the day that changed your life is an ever present mark on your calendar, maybe not visibly, but in your heart and mind. You wish it wasn't, oh how you wish, but nonetheless, it is an event, not that we celebrate, but one that we do remember because we cannot do otherwise.

My sister asked me recently when I told her that June 30th had come and gone and that it had now been seventeen years since Gerry's death:

"Sue, does it feel like that part of your life even happened?" My sister handed a fruit bowl to her four-year-old son who quickly picked out a handful of his favorite raspberries.

"What do you mean?" I said between bites of my ham and cheese bagel melt that my sister had made me for lunch. Her three children and my youngest son sat eating their lunch in their swimsuits, anxious to hop in the small backyard pool in my sister's yard.

"I mean with where you are now, does it seem like it (my first marriage and my husband's sudden death taking into account my re-marriage) really happened?"

My heart gave a turn and my stomach tightened. It was a natural question for such an unnatural event in our lives. We had both felt it, cried over it, mourned with it, prayed over it, but I lived it day in and day out, changing my son's diapers, paying my bills, going to sleep at night alone. Death, while inevitable in this life because of Adam and Eve's choice in the Garden of Eden, is never a welcome guest.

"Yes," I replied nodding. "Absolutely. Gerry was a part of my life I will never forget. He was not only my husband but my friend. Besides, all I have to do is look at our son Jared and the memory is there."

A small smile of compassion passed across her beautiful face, quietly, respectfully acknowledging my answer.

I took a sip of water. "He was a part of my life, just like your children are a part of yours. You would never forget one of them."

"I wouldn't." My sister's soft spoken words were said with raw honesty.

"The only way I can explain it to you is that it's as if I was traveling down one path in life and God had me turn onto a different road. My life is moving in a different direction but it doesn't mean I've forgotten the road I traveled."

And so, we live our lives to the full, not reveling in carelessness, but taking those moments with the ones we love, showering them in turn with all the love and tenderness that Jesus bestows on us. Christ died for sinners, you and me, so we might have life and life eternal. Oh how we need to show that sacrificial love to each other every day that we live.

So another year has passed, one more year I am closer to my heavenly home, a home that is being prepared for me by my Savior, Jesus Christ. He wants to prepare a home for you today. Won't you let him do that for you? He loves you and will be with you every step of the way here on earth. That's God's promise.

Remember, I am praying for you. God loves you and I do too. He knows you by name.

In Jesus' love,

"...Grace to you and peace for Him who is and who was and who is to come,... and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,..." Revelation 1:4-6


Let Freedom Ring


They can be like a refreshing walk down a garden path OR

Memories can sometimes flood us with pain.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of joining my grandmother and grandfather at my teenage son’s school. Jared’s history class is studying World War II and the teacher invited my 89-year-old grandfather to talk to two classes about his experience.

Now just to let you know, my grandfather never talked about the war for years. In fact it wasn’t until my son, his great-grandson, was in elementary school and my curious boy took an interest in World War II that my grandfather even opened up about his time serving our country.

After the class, I took my grandparents to lunch. I knew that it had been difficult for my grandfather, not just because he is nearly ninety years old, but because of the emotions and heartache attached to that very difficult time in his life. Yes, even as believers in Christ, we are not immune to pain and suffering.

During class, my grandfather talked about the two battle campaigns he served during his tour in Italy, his injury while riding a tank, how he was a radio man in the 88th Army Infantry Division – how he was told that he was dispensable, but the radio was not.

God in his infinite wisdom and plan saw my grandfather through. He came home, but many did not. What my Pappy did not say in class, my Nanna said at lunch. “You didn’t say how difficult it was to step over the dead bodies of your buddies.”

The moment my grandmother said those truthful words, tears slid down my dear grandfather’s face. He had been doing his best to hold back his emotions during class, however I saw his eyes fill up several times. So did mine. Now his tears fell unchecked as did mine.

“These things bring back painful memories.” My Pappy’s once strong hands shook as he took off his glasses and wiped his eyes then nose with a white hankie from his pocket.

“I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for you, Pap.” I leaned in over the table so he could hear me better. “But, I do understand how difficult it is to talk about painful memories. I have to speak to two women’s groups next week about my testimony and share what happened when Gerry died. That hurts.”

I looked at both my loving grandparents sitting across the table from me. Their gray hair adorned their heads like crowns of glory. Wisdom from years of walking with the Lord etched the lines of their faces and the tenderness of their hearts. Their love and prayers to the God they love and serve, the Lord Jesus Christ, have been a constant source of strength in my life.

“Please pray for me next week.” I stood and walked around the table and squeezed my grandfather’s shoulders and kissed his cheek. “I love you Pap. Thank you for risking your life to keep us safe. Thank you for everything you’ve done.”

The memory of this day is one that I will not forget…

My heart goes out and my prayers go up for all the families of those who are serving our country. Let freedom ring!



It's been awhile since I posted here. But then I only post on this site when I feel a strong prompting. It came tonight.

These are the verses I read to my seven-year-old son as he snuggled into his covers at bedtime. A cool-mist vaporizor is running in his room. He is recovering from a bad case of the flu with a terrible cough.

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus will I bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:1-8

My seventeen-year-old son drove his Jeep to school this morning. He was encouraged by his school (he didn't need any prompting to be by his friend's side) and given an excused absence to go to a funeral for his classmate's mom - a mom I'm sure was probably close to the same age as me. She lost her battle with cancer. But her life was secure in God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The days ahead will be difficult for this dear family. The heartache will be great. Even tonight, I lift them up in prayer as I know how it felt to stand by the graveside and watch the body of one you love being lowered into the ground.

But this life is not the end. It is just the beginning. For those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have died, they are with Christ in Glory. That is the comfort we can offer. Is it a pat answer? Some may say it is. Certainly this fact does not erase the pain, but it is the one thing that I held on to through the pain. It is what kept me going. This life is not the end.

Please lift up my son's friend and his family in prayer. God's lovingkindness is better than life. Are we ready to bless Him while we live?

Remember, I am praying for you. God knows the needs of your heart. Talk to Him. Seek Him. Praise Him. Bless Him. Lift up your hands to Him and God's Word promises that you will be satisfied.



Whiter Than Snow

"With my whole heart have I sought thee:
O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart,
that I might not sin against thee."
Psalm 119:10,11


Peace for Christmas

Christmas is soon upon us. The holidays bring joy to many, but for those who are experiencing intense grief because of the loss of a loved one, this "most wonderful time of the year" can lead to a sense of dread and foreboding. Tears may flow unchecked when you think about the emptiness and void in your life since your loved one passed away.

I don't have any "magic" words to erase that pain. I can only offer you the hope and joy that God has given me.

When the angels announced our Savior's birth, they said this:

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."

Peace. That is what God offers you. Will the hurt still be there? Yes, but God promises to be with you in your hurt. He promises to walk beside you and hold your hand all the way. HE IS OUR PEACE!

Talk to him. Talk out loud. Maybe the silence that has enveloped your house feels like the confines of a cold tomb. It doesn't have to be that way. Jesus came to conquer death. Yes, that little babe in a manger grew up to do His Father's will. He rose up from the grave and gives life, abundant and eternal to all who believe on His name. Let Him fill you with His warmth. Cling to the promises of God's Word.

Is peace possible? Yes, peace that passes all understanding. Won't you receive God's peace this holiday season? Remember, I am praying for you. Let God meet the need of your heart.

With much love,

"So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Luke 11:9,10



Just an update my friends, my new email address is
If you so desire, feel free to contact me and I promise to pray for you. That is a huge part of what Anna's Place is all about, the privilege of praying for others who have experienced hurt or grief.

Today is Thanksgiving here in America and I know how hard it is to be thankful when you are hurting. The loss of that person that you love is very painful. But let me encourage you today to count your many blessings.

What blessings you may ask?

Like I tell my seven-year-old son, think - just think of all the good things that God has done for you and thank Him for each one. I recently helped out my son's school for their Thanksgiving Day party and after reading the children two books about thankfulness, I asked each of them what they were thankful for. Their honest answers were so cute. Family, Mom, Dad, sisters, brothers, dog, cat, God, Jesus, church, my son said "his hair" to keep his head warm, another child said "her ears" to hear.

May each of us have ears to hear God's Word and remember to use our mouths to thank Him for His peace and sustaining power. I promise you that the Bible says it is there available to you if you only ask. And friends, I have experienced God's peace and sustaining power in time of need. He is faithful. And for that I am forever thankful.

Remember I am praying for you.

In Jesus' love,

"Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6,7


A Reason for Gladness

Today at church we studied about the Omnipresence of God.

I feel moved to encourage you here today that in order to cope, in order to make it through these troubled days, you have to believe - you have to know God. When you get to know Him through God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, you learn how much you can trust Him.

Know today that He is with you.

Psalm 139 says this:

"O Lord, thou has searched me, and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising;
thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down,
and art aquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word in my tongue,
but lo, LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before,
and laid thine hand upon me." (Psalm 139:1-7 KJV)

I challenge you today to open God's Word. Get to know Him. He's waiting for you, beckoning you to come. If you don't know where to begin, read Psalm 139. You won't be sorry. In fact, I pray with all my heart that you will be glad.

Remember, I am praying for you. I care about you and God does too!

Blessings and joy,


How lovely is your tabernacle,

O LORD of hosts!

My soul longs, yes, even faints

For the courts of the LORD;

My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Psalm 84:1,2


Moving On

I don't know where you are on your grief journey, but I thought I'd share something with you today from GriefShare e-devotionals about "moving on". Maybe you've thought, "But if I move on, that means I'm somehow dishonoring my loved ones memory." No, it gives their memory honor and it honors God. Let's see what Griefshare has to say on day 253 of their one-year devotionals.

What It Means to Move On

Day 253

Moving on does not mean . . .
• you forget the person
• you never feel the pain of your loss
• you believe that life is fair

Moving on does mean . . .
• you experience a lessening of the pain
• you can treasure your best memories of the person who has died
• you can realistically accept the different aspects of your loss
• you can form new relationships, try new things.

Moving on also means . . .
• you grow in grace and in your walk with God.
• you accept your loss and forgive others
• you understand that both joy and loss are a part of life
• you believe that God is good, even when life isn't.

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:11).

Holy God, sometimes moving on seems impossible. Continue to remind me that I cannot move on through my own strength, but only through an extension of Yours. Amen.

I pray that you are moving on in the Lord Jesus Christ, the sustainer and healer of all our woes. Remember, I am praying for you. God loves you and I do too!



God of Wonders

It's interesting to see how certain events bring back memories.

I'm in the middle of Vacation Bible School right now at our church. You see, my first husband, Gerry (short for Gerald), died the week before Vacation Bible School in 1992. I was the VBS director then. I am the director now.

Many wondered, some outsiders even scoffed at how I showed up and led the songs that summer of '92. All I can say is that I couldn't stay home. There was work to do. And if I had to sit down and cry after the kids left the sanctuary for their class - I did. But I also knew this was yet another opportunity to share the "God of Wonders" with children and their families. People need to know that God loves them. People need to know that Jesus will save them from their sin and give them a home in Heaven for all eternity.

So as I sing and lead children this week at VBS, I stand back in awe at the God of Wonders who has saved me and brought me this far. I leave you today with the words to this song. May you know the God of Wonders who loves you and gave His life for you so you might live! Remember, I am praying for you. Allow your heart to sing...

God of Wonders

Lord of all creation,
Of water, earth, and sky.
The heavens are your tabernacle.
Glory to the Lord on high.

God of wonders beyond our galaxy,
You are holy, holy.
The universe declares your majesty.
You are holy, holy.

Lord of heaven and earth; Lord of heaven and earth.


What God Allows

I just recently read one woman's thoughts about the death of her daughter. She said, "It is what it is." She stopped trying to figure out why.

I'm not sure if I'd go so far as to say, "It is what it is." But, you and I both know that there is nothing we can do to change what happened. I'd rather say, "It is what God has allowed it to be." Maybe that's incorrect grammar, but I believe with all my heart that God is in control. Let me explain.

A few years ago, my niece was in a roll-over car accident. Praise God she walked away unharmed. My husband died in a roll-over car accident. His neck was broken.  He died.  Was God favoring my niece and not my husband? Why did He act on her behalf and not his?

Some answers we will never know this side of Heaven. But I do know this. Both my niece and my late husband knew Jesus as their personal Savior. God did not call my niece home. He called my first husband home.

It is what it is? No. It is what God allows it to be. And knowing (and the subsequent years following my first husband's death) and getting to know the LORD better, I understand this: I may not know God's workings or ways, but I can completely and utterly trust Him from beginning to end. He is the Alpha and the Omega--the beginning and the end.

And that my friends is enough. In that I can rest. And until that day I see my Savior, Jesus Christ face to face, I can say with joy, "Whatever you allow to come my way, dear God, you have promised to be with me. Thank you! You have proven Yourself faithful time and time again."

Remember, I am praying for you. God loves you and so do I!

With much love,



"God sets the solitary in families..."
Psalm 68:6

The first time I read that Bible verse, my heart skipped a beat.

Immediately I thought about all the orphans in the world. My grandfather grew up an orphan. But GOD gave him a family when he married my Nanna. And then two sons, seven grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren.

And then I considered the changes that happen to families when a loved one dies.

When my first husband died, (it's been nearly sixteen years now), much changed. My immediate family consisted of my nine-month-old son and me. My dear extended family surrounded me with their love and prayers and help as they were physically able. But life was definitely different.

A few years later, the dynamics of my immediate family changed when I remarried. And then again seven years later when God blessed my husband Jim and I with another son. We are still very close to my late husband's family. They are very much a part of our lives.

No matter where God is taking you on this journey called life, He wants to give you a "family". Each path God has given us to walk is different. Nobody can ever replace your loved one, no not in a million-trillion years, no not for eternity.

My point is this: "Don't withdraw yourself from family. And if you no longer have a family left here on earth, then become a part of someone's family. Yes, you can become a family to someone."

When I was a baby, my parents lived in a different state from my grandparents while my dad finished up his schooling in Seminary. My dad preached at a small church in Ohio and while I grew up there for the first two-and-a-half years of my life, I had "pseudo-grandparents". My mother tells me I called them "Mamal and Papal". I don't know exactly how I started calling them that name other than this loving couple cared for me and loved me like their own. They were involved in my life. My mom still fondly recalls their memory and has always considered them family.

God puts the solitary in families. Are you willing to let Him continue to work in your life to give you a family?

Remember, there is no better family to be a part of than the family of God. God makes this possible through His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, who died for your sins and offers you life. Rest in His arms today and trust in our eternal Father's never-ending love.

I am praying for you. God loves you and I do too.

In Christ's love,

Life Giving Power

God's resurrection power - the power of life. That is the power that dwells within the hearts of those who know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Claim that power today in your life. Let the Lord work in and through you. Let His wisdom dwell richly in your heart today!

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For from him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:33-36 KJV

Remember, I am praying for you!

In the love our matchless Savior Jesus Christ,


Grief waits for none to see,
The inner workings of the heart.

God waits for us to come,
humbly seeking, set apart.

Wait no more for peace and pardon,
Grasp the gift that given waits,

And on tomorrow's gilded morning,
Joy unfurled at Heaven's gate.


Quote to think about:

"I am convinced that God yearns to be known by us far more than we want to know him, and his great work in us is to increase our passion for knowing him until it is stronger than all other passions." Dr. Larry Crabb from his book Finding God

Lord I want to know You better. You have brought me near to Your heart through my sufferings. You are a man of sorrows and aquainted with grief. But You are also the joy of my salvation and in You I trust all the day long. Please, forgive me for the times I have doubted Your love. You are my faithful God, my Savior, and my friend. Your daughter - Susan


Lamentations 3:32-33

Where's the Good?

Have you ever wondered what good has come out of the tragic loss of your loved one?

I have.

In fact, I recently had someone ask me that question after I shared my personal story at a women's breakfast. As soon as I walked out of the church sanctuary, she asked to speak with me. She told me her son had died in an accident the day before his wedding. The conversation continued something like this.

"Tell me, what good came out of your husband's death? He seemed like a good man; a godly man." I knew she was talking about my reference to Romans 8:28 and the truth that all things work together for good to those who love God. "People tell me good will come out of this. I don't see it."

There are no easy answers to such a pain-filled question. I've cried out to God many times wondering the same thing. I took a deep breath and tried to give her comfort with the same words of life that God has comforted me.

"We don't always know God's ways," I said. "But as we get to know God better through the Bible, we learn that we can trust Him."

"Yes," she answered. "But what good came out of it?"

This woman was hurting. Part of me knew that any answer I would give her at that moment wouldn't be good enough. I've learned that when I am hurting, the only way I've found rest and peace is by turning my eyes back on my Savior Jesus Christ.

"I don't know all the ways God is working this out for good, but I've had many opportunities to share Jesus Christ with people. People need to know that they can have a home in Heaven that lasts forever when they trust Jesus as their personal Savior."

I watched her face drop. I didn't want to keep heaping her with words she wasn't ready to hear. So I left her with this thought. It is where God by the leading of the Holy Spirit takes me when I begin to question His ways.

"I've learned I can trust God because God is always good, no matter what happens. I may not see this side of Heaven the good that God is working, but I know that I can trust Him."

"I guess it comes back to trust, doesn't it?" she replied.
Trusting God was the key point of my talk at this women's breakfast.

My heart ached for this woman in her pain. "Yes," I answered. "I suppose it does."

In preparing my message, I looked up the definition of trust in the dictionary. Trust is: "An assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone." I told the women’s group that in my pain I have chosen to place my confidence, my trust in God.

I believe the key to finding peace in our pain is by simply trusting our Father God. Some may say that's a pat answer, or a simple answer to a difficult question. But it is the only answer that has given me peace.

Are you ready to fully trust God? It all starts with a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

If you don't have that assurance of a personal relationship with God today, you can. Accept the truth that God loves you and that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross to save you from your sin. Believe in your heart that Jesus died and rose again from the dead to save you from your sin and give you a home in Heaven. Confess with your mouth that you need Jesus as your personal Savior. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and your life.

A-B-C: Accept, Believe, Confess - It's that easy. Jesus has done all the work and paid the price for you. He loves you. Won't you trust Him today?

The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:7, "Blessed (or happy) is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is LORD."

Remember, I care about you and I am praying for you. God knows your name. And if you would like to write to me personally, my email address is in the sidebar. Please put in the subject line, "Anna's Place" so I can be looking for you. I don't have all the answers, but I can point you to the One who does, Jesus Christ.

With love,
Susan Kelly Skitt


"He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB)


Day by day and with each passing moment...

Remember the words to that hymn? (click here to check it out)

Trusting God in our grief is a daily process.

I was encouraged by Day 13's GriefShare email which includes thoughts from Women of Faith author Barbara Johnson. Two of Barbara's son's died. She talks about how we live in a broken world and how as a Christian, each day is an opportunity to serve the Lord.

The short devotional goes on to say this:

"You are at a point where you need to decide whom you will lean on, trust, and put your hope in. Now is the time to search God's Word and hold on to this lifeline. God will meet you where you are, at your point of pain. Seek Him, talk to Him, and learn about Him. He is the only way out of despair."

Yes, truly Jesus is the only way out of despair. He gives us life and makes life worth living, day by day!

Love and prayers,

"Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ;" Philippians 1:6


Will I Ever Get Over It?

You may wonder, "When will I get over this? Will I ever truly be free from the grief process?"

I'll be honest with you all. I've had to evaluate a lot of things in the last fifteen years. Yes, it's been fifteen years since my first husband went home to be with Jesus.

If you look back at some previous posts, you'll see I've often said this about grieving the death of a loved one. "You learn to live with it, but you never get over it."

I've questioned myself about that. I've thought "We'll Susan, maybe you should be over it. After all it's been fifteen years." I've wondered if I was wrong for feeling that way. I've thought, "Maybe I'm not fully trusting Jesus." Even though I have moved on with my life, a part of me will always miss my first husband. He was my friend and nobody can ever take the special place he holds in my heart.

So I decided to take some of my own advice. I signed up for the daily emails for grief recovery from GriefShare. (see my side bar for a link to sign up) I'm so glad I did. I'm only on day four but after reading a quote from Dr. Larry Crabb, who I highly respect as a man of God, I feel a burden lifted. I feel like I've been given permission to say, "You learn to live with it, but you never get over it." Well, at least this side of Heaven...

Listen to what Dr. Crabb has to say about his grieving experience:

"It's been seven years, and I'm still going through it," says Dr. Larry Crabb, whose brother died in a plane crash. "I don't know if it's a very holy thing to admit, but when someone says, 'Well, it's been a week, a month, a year--Larry, for you it's been seven years. Get a grip. Where's your faith in Christ, for goodness' sake?' I get really angry.

"Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there's going to be an ache that won't quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain."

Yes, and that's the key, NOT BEING CONTROLLED BY THE PAIN. You never truly get rid of the pain, oh it will lessen in many ways through the years, but I believe with all my heart, we won't have a pain free existence until we go home to be with Jesus. Jesus says in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

So what do you do when those pangs of loss wash over you anew, when those inevitable triggers happen? Cast your burden of pain at Jesus feet. Simply call out to Jesus and ask for help.

I've been reading in the book of Jeremiah and I see God continually reaching out to His people, pleading with them to come to Him. Listen to what God says to Jeremiah in chapter 33, verse 3. It's important to remember that at the time, Jeremiah the prophet was locked up in the court of the prison for proclaiming God's Word.

"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."

Call out to Jesus today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Call to Him next week, next month, next year. Don't let a day slip by where you don't call on the name of Jesus.

Remember, He loves you and I do to. Give it to Jesus, all of it... no... all of you.

With much love and prayers,


A Word of Encouragement

This Bible verse has brought me through many tears and trials. I feel compelled to share it with you today.

"And the LORD, he it is who doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee; fear not, neither be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8

Keep trusting Jesus. He loves you with an everlasting love. Don't give up. He will see you through.

Love and prayers,

Hold Me Up

I just finished reading Brandilyn Collins suspense thriller, Dead of Night.

Without elaborating on the book (I did enjoy it, scary but redemptive all at the same time, just like life), there was a morgue scene in the book.

I debated about writing on this. At first I thought, “I’ve moved past this, God has brought healing, right?”

But then I thought, I want to tell you about the healing he brought through unthinkable pain. Maybe you’re ready to read this now. Maybe you’ll have to put this aside and wait for another time. Pray before you proceed.

After the two state troopers announced my husband’s sudden death in an auto-accident, I was told later that evening that family would need to identify him. Okay, here it goes—sometimes you don’t know how you’ll react until you’re in a situation, but this is what happened to me.

I didn’t want to go. I refused to go, at first. I was afraid. Afraid of what I might see. Afraid that Gerry’s body would be deformed from the accident. Afraid that in his final moments from the trauma of the accident that there would be a look of horror left on Gerry’s once handsome features. I did not want to see that. I did not know what to expect and it scared me witless.

My dad, Gerry’s parents, and Gerry’s brother went to identify Gerry’s body at the hospital morgue. They returned and told me, “It was okay. He was recognizable.”

I don’t remember specifics; I think it was the next day that I went along with the rest of my family, my sisters and brother, Gerry’s sisters and brother. I had all ready decided there was not going to be an open casket for many reasons (more on that another time), so this would be our “good-bye” in a sense. I knew Gerry was a child of God and had accepted Jesus Christ into his life as his personal Savior, so he was with Jesus in Heaven. But this was the last time I’d see his physical body for a very long time.

What happened before and after the morgue is a blur. But I remember sitting in the waiting room, crying silently in my heart to God. My chest hurt, my head hurt, my heart felt like it was breaking in two. My mom and dad came on either side of me, each grasping one of my arms. Together, the three of us walked into the morgue. My body shook uncontrollably.

I had been in a morgue before, when I was in school, training for the medical technology field. One of our educational trips was to the morgue. What was once a detached educational experience, now was real life. It felt like a bad movie, a horror movie, and I was the main character. Could this really be happening to me?

The room was white and green and steel. And there in the middle of the sterile room, with its pungent detergent smell was my beloved. He lay on a cold steel table with a sheet pulled up to his chest. I shuffled closer with my parents holding me up on either side. My knees buckled. “Oh dear God! Gerry…” I gasped for breath. My throat felt tight, just like last night when the officers first delivered the news.

I gazed at Gerry’s face from a safe distance, looking for tell-tale signs of trauma. A few cuts and bruises, I was surprised at how good he looked. But there was something that shocked me even more. Gerry looked like he was sleeping. Yes, sleeping. His face, after all he had been through in the car roll-over and ejection, Gerry looked peaceful. God had met him in that final moment and somehow given him a peace that translated its evidence onto Gerry’s face.

I remember saying, “Mom, Dad, it’s just his shell. It’s just his shell. Gerry’s with Jesus.”

My breath shuddered. My body felt hot and weak and heavy. I wanted to touch Gerry, but I couldn’t. Something within me held me back. I was afraid he would be cold to the touch. I didn’t want that to be my last memory of him. So I held my hand back, stiff, longing to reach out and smooth the soft, wavy hair away from his forehead. His eyes were closed, his beautiful blue eyes that would melt you with one glimpse. His mouth, slightly open would never speak again this side of Heaven. I would have to wait, yes, wait and pray, and trust.

Just like my parents held me up, God has held me up.

He wants to hold you too. Let Him gently take your arms; let Jesus hold you up. He has done that for me, bringing me healing despite the pain. He has continued to hold me through the long days and nights. And even though I may not feel His physical presence, He promises He is there just the same. I know it. I believe it. The Bible promises it and that’s all I need to know.

I am praying for you. Please, let Jesus hold you. He loves you and I do too.

Praying in the Spirit,
Susan Kelly Skitt

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17


Your Solution

How are you feeling today?

Grief and sorrow are heavy burdens to bear. It’s tiresome, draining, and plain old makes you weary. The emotional and physical toll it takes on our minds and bodies is immense.

The Bible says in Isaiah 53 that God understands and He cares.

Listen to what God says in verses 4-6. “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

Jesus came into the world and experienced grief and sorrow like no other. What He suffered while dying for our sins on the cross is without compare. Jesus did that because He loved us. He loves you; He loves me. He did it to save us from our sin.

Author Babbie Mason says this in the Women of Faith Devotional Bible notes on healing. “What is your desperate situation? Your solution is Jesus, the Healer of broken hearts, bodies, and spirits. Now is the time to seek Him for the answer you need. Then obey Him. Your answer is just a prayer away.”

Sometimes we make more sorrow for ourselves. We get lost in our grief and pain and shut the world out. We shut God out. But God is waiting for you to turn to Him in your grief and pain. Jesus, God the Son, was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. But He also conquered death and its sting when He went to the cross and then rose up victorious.

Trust Him for victory in your life today. He loves you. He really does.

Remember, I am praying for you.

In Jesus’ love,