Cheri Dee Johnson
About the Author

Cheri is a writer and speaker, wife, adoptive mom of five, and grandma of eleven. Equipped by over twenty years with her own children, and hundreds of hours with other nonbiological moms, she leads wounded and weary women in discovering God's heart for them and for their children.

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

Reader Interactions


  1. Cheri,
    What a powerful post!! We just can’t know what it’s like until we walk in those shoes. I believe that sometimes God allows our lives to come so precariously close to the edge of life so that we will appreciate the gift that life is – every breath. And, yes, death where is thy sting?? When we have an eternal perspective we know that death is not the end…that we are in essence changing neighborhoods. But, still, for those left behind to grieve the loss and get through the days – that is where grace is most needed. God offers grace, but we, too, are called to offer grace and mercy to those who have lost loved ones. Thank you for sharing so honestly…

      • I’m so glad, Mary, that God’s grace, mercy, and very presence are there for the asking. Thank you for the reminder.

        And if you happen to be in a place where you are needing His grace and mercy, I know it’s right there. I pray God make it real to you today.

    • Thank you, Bev, for your kind words and thought-filled comments.

      Death and grief: such wild animals, aren’t they? Their impact unpredictable. I join you in rejoicing that Jesus conquered them both.

    • Having lost my husband two years ago, from leukaemia, I find it very difficult to say “oh death where is thy sting.” It still hurts and I miss him so much. I do believe I will see him again and have often felt so low that I wished that time would come sooner but I know my boys need me more than ever right now.

      • I’m so sorry, Joanne.

        My sister and brother-in-law lost their five-month-old daughter several years ago (I think 13). Like you, they too still feel the sting at times. My brother-in-law describes it as wind: sometimes it’s gentle, almost soothing, and other times it’s like a gale force that comes out of nowhere and knocks you off your feet. Grief has a mind of its own and, like the wind, we just have to let it blow at its own will.

        I pray at the same time, the Lord will be your anchor no matter how strong that wind blows. In fact, I know He is, even when you can’t feel Him. Peace, comfort, and strength, dear one, as you sail this difficult sea.

        • Thank you so much Cheri. I know God has been holding me and will strengthen me through these difficult times when my faith is weak. God bless you. Joanne

      • Joanne, my heart hurts for yours. I lost my husband 38 years ago today in a traffic accident – we were 30 and our 2 sons were in 1st and 3rd grade. I was stunned and in shock, but I knew I couldn’t give up because my sons needed me. So…I told God that even though he must think I could handle losing my precious husband and raising 2 young boys alone, I didn’t think so. I told him I couldn’t do it alone, and he had better take my life, help me, and use me for his good purpose. It wasn’t easy. But we made it. My sons grew into amazing men. God gave me some awesome opportunities that changed my life forever – in a good way. Today, as I remember this day in 1979 and the pain that came with it, I can also see so many blessings that God provided to comfort me and to give me the opportunity to grow and become closer to him. The pain that you feel now will change. It doesn’t go away, but you will learn how to live with it, and to remember the really good times you had with your husband. You will feel comfort in knowing that you will see your husband again, and the two of you together will praise God. You are in my prayers.

        • Thank you Wanda for your reply. I appreciate you sharing your painful story with me and it gives me comfort that you got through it. I know that Tom is with the Lord and I know that I shall see him again some day. My sons are a great comfort to me too.

      • Joanne,

        Praying for peace & comfort to engulf you and your soul! Death of loved ones hurt a lot. It is ok to tell God how you feel! Praying you find solace soon and can move along with less hurt! Praying you feel God engulfing you with His warm, loving arms daily!


        • Thank you Beth,
          It’s two years past September since my husband died and despite his illness, we had some precious times together. My sons are a great comfort to me and through it all I know I have a good God.

          Death stills stings however. I cling to the verses in Revelation 21 v 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

  2. This was such a timely post, as my husband’s grandma just went to be with the Lord this morning. Although this was not unexpected, the death of anyone near to you certainly does put things in perspective. What a joy it is to serve a God who always – ALWAYS – gets the upper hand.

    Death has indeed, lost its sting!

  3. This was a beautiful uplifting message. I’ve lost 2 dear loved ones this past year. I watched them take their last breath & drift away from me into the arms of Jesus. Along with so many ways in which God has ministered & revealed to me through this heartbreaking time, one has been the loss of the grip the fear of death has had on me for most of my life – even as a Christian. As you have written so graciously, there will be struggles ahead, losses again; but Jesus has given me a new perspective & strength that will always be available to us through him. Thank you for your post.❤

  4. Thank you, Cheri, for having the courage to become grateful instead of embittered and share the story you have lived through. May God continue to protect, guide, and Use yourself and your husband Bob. I am also grateful you both were given the blessing of caring for Dan.
    We are expecting our second child to be born late in January. I am studying toward an mDiv in Memphis, TN. You write grippingly, and I believe you show great promise with the pen.

    Love in Christ,
    Jonathan C.

    • Jonathan,

      Your encouragement means so much to me. Thank you!

      And what an exciting time for you and your family! Soon that wee one will arrive into your landscape. I was born, the third child, while my dad was working on his MRE (Masters of Religion Education) in Fort Worth, TX. You must have an incredible wife. I know you have an all-sufficient God.

      Blessings of peace, energy, and efficiency in the months ahead.

  5. Thank you for writing this…. right before Christmas I found out I have stomach cancer. To put it mildly, I am trembling in fear at the bottom of a black pit. I am a Christian, but i am in a state of shock…

    • I am so sorry, Marsha. I get that fear piece. Can I pray for you right now?

      Lord, Jesus, I thank you that this diagnosis did not catch you by surprise. I thank you that your plans for Marsha are still for good, not for harm — with a future and hope. I thank you that you are greater than anything the enemy has in mind. Dear Prince of Peace, replace that knot of fear with a sweet calm. Lord, thank you for calling Marsha to yourself, and holding her close as together you walk across this stormy sea. Amen.

      Alas, words sometimes just fall short. I’m glad the reach of the Father does not.


  6. I needed this today. My sweet aunt will be taking her last breath in probably just a few moments. Cancer is an evil beast, indeed.

  7. Oh, my goodness, Cheri — all I can think as I read your words is that God has put you in a unique position to point out the futility of death’s snarl. Having never faced cancer as you have with your husband and close family, those words would sound heartless coming from my mouth, but who was it that said, “I’ve been to the bottom of the pit and the ground there is solid?” You can certainly give that glorious report — which you have done so beautifully here today! Thank you.

    • Michele,

      I LOVE that quote: “I’ve been to the bottom of the pit and the ground there is solid.” Truth! It reminds me of Corrie (or was it Betsy?) Ten Boon’s comment, “There is not pit so deep, that God is not deeper yet.” There is a depth to the love and grace and strength of God we will never know until we’ve journeyed down into the pit.

      Thank you sharing your wise words and your encouragement.

  8. I relate to this post, but reading it still brings tears to my eyes and wonderings in my heart. My sister-in-law died within five days at the age of 44 from a cancer diagnosis on the 1st of August of 2016. My life has been impacted forever. For months, I went through the questions of “what do I believe in?” Eventually, I settled this in my heart; “When I read the Word of God, I will believe what it says.” I will no longer chase doctrines of “will God heal,” “is it his will to heal,” or “God doesn’t heal today.” Does that belief make the pain any less real? Nope. But since settling that in my heart of hearts, I have had a peace like never before and the closeness with my Savior that I’d never really felt before.

    • Rosanna,

      Thank you for sharing your own story. I’m so sorry for the pain of such sudden loss. Wow! That calls for a new kind of grace. I’m so glad God has spoken it to your heart so soundly, and that in all your searching you have found a sweeter closeness with Him.

  9. I agree with Bev that sometimes we may come close ourselves and be allowed to rethink what we really believe. I used to say, I wouldn’t want to live that way, on a ventilator or something. I promise you, even as Christian, knowing you’re going to heaven, you will still know fear and fight all you can. Because as you describe them, cancer, death, even lingering grief are beasts, because John 10:10 is clear, who gives live and who is the thief who comes to kill. I am very glad you still have you husband. And I do know, people get tired of fighting and just go on. But don’t give up, I know, I have seen the miraculous this past year, a woman with a 30/70 chance of life in September visiting her grandchildren, an uncle overcoming cancer, a friend overcoming two kinds just welcomed a new grandchild. I’d suggest Communion, Isaiah 53. He really did bear it all, and if you know someone who operates in spiritual gifts, let them pray or ask for them yourself. I also know a pastor’s wife was just laid to rest at 51. I know most people think it’s just up to God and I know He knows more than we do, but sometimes, I think He says, hold on. I know He’s kept His promises to me.

    • Rebecca,

      I love the way you point to the truth that God is sovereign and can be trusted no matter what. And, I agree, He loves to bring us along in His work.

      Thank you for sharing your heart and the testimonies of God’s work.

  10. Wow – this is just such perfect timing. Thank You so much for the reminder that God has this beast cancer under control. I lost my sister to cancer in 2015 at the age of 34, and my dad is currently waiting on biopsy results to see if he has cancer or not. I have been feeling very shaky, and trying to remember that God does know what He is up to, even when the rest of us do not. I needed this reminder, God bless you! Much love x

    • Sarah,

      I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your sister, and glad you were encouraged in today’s post.

      Oh to have a harpoon to slay this nasty beast once and for all! It’s good to remember, though, that cancer — even death — are not our real enemy. Are they? As for our real enemy, we’ve been given a sword — sharp and double-edged. I’m sure you know this sword — the Word of God. I pray His Word will uphold and sustain you in the days/weeks/months ahead.

  11. A timely post, indeed. Just yesterday I sat at the doctors office with my sister in law. We both heard the words tumor, lymph nodes, bones and on and on….definitely the uncertainty of it all. I keened to God as I drove home, so stunned I couldn’t take it all in nor find the words to pray. My only comfort is that He already knows the rest of the story and in Him we are never alone. I despise the “c” word….

    • I do remember the way that awful word hit the pit of my stomach and stole my breath, leaving me paralyzed in shock. Such nastiness in those six letters. It’s okay to just sit for a bit and let your brain and your spirit revive. You’ve permission to sit and wait because in short order you’ll be able to see God’s grace anew. You don’t have to scramble around looking for it. It will come into focus all on its own — His grace, and strength, and wisdom, and hope. And, oh the way His family will circle around you all. This ugly smear will soon begin to reveal hidden beauty.

      Peace to you and your sister-in-law and all those surrounding her.

  12. In 1980, the Lord impressed upon me to Pray, for death is at the door of someone you know. That night I prayed until the burden lifted. The next day my husband James, was rear ended by a large mail carrier truck and projected into the path of an oncoming semi. Death was on our doorstep. I was in the line of cars behind this delay,headed for my first day of work, as a teaching aid. Before cell phones, so headed to my folks restaurant to call and tell I’d been delayed. The awful truth…what are you doing here,Jim was in a wreck they’ve got him at the hospital. Shock, action (get to him), then prayer as I drove….Please Lord, let me see him alive! A calm assurance that Jim would live. Not how or even how long, but Jim would live. I was able to share that with him as he came awake long enough for me to tell him I loved him. He was 37. He suffered pain, brain injury, and memory loss for the rest of his life. He was diagnosed with ALS in Sept of 2015 and went home to the Lord in June of 2016. We had 40 3/4 years of loving God and each other to share. Why the death sentence spared in 1980 but given in 2015? God’s plan, God’s way, God’s time. Very tough and heart wrenching at times, but the kind of assurance I’ve come to rely on as I seek the Lord in my life each day. Blessed Assurance….look up the verses to that precious song. I pray for all those with illnesses that have that possible death sentence attached to it. Embrace the rest of living with all you’ve got, the best that you can. Love and prayers in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

      • Thank you, Cheri. I just know that as I draw closer to God and surrender it all He carries the load and frees me to do His will in my life. Listening, listening, for that still small voice. He is so good to me!

  13. This comes at such an amazing time in my life, as my Mom, who just turned 80 in December, ended up 7 days later in the ER with a very painful, infected gall bladder. The next day she ended up in the ICU on a ventilator in septic shock and fighting for her life. Who would have thought that a woman who had been so independent up to that point would end up at death’s door. I certainly wouldn’t have. As I would drive home from visiting her during those very critical days and weeks when my Mom was in the ICU, it gave me a different perspective on life. It made me realize that all the material possessions, status, …. mean nothing when you’re facing death. I couldn’t imagine life without my Mom, but know that someday I will have to, or that of someone else close to me. It’s what I do with that grief, and how I live my life that will make all the difference.
    I want to thank you Cheri for a very timely story. It has really touched my heart, as well as all the other stories of those who have dealt with the death of a loved one. May God bless all of you in whatever you face, and give you strength and the peace that surpasses all understanding!

    • Kathi.

      Just this morning I was thinking of my dad who will turn 79 in March. I grew teary as I told the Lord, “I don’t like this. I want my parents to stay just as they are: able to travel and minister and live independently. I don’t want to see them become vulnerable and dependent on others.”

      It doesn’t really matter how death comes knocking, does it? It can still threaten to tear our hearts apart. And once again we are reminded about what’s most important … and we remember that it’s those things of eternal quality that give us the greatest hope and meaning in life.

      Thank you for reminding me and for your kind words.

    • Kathi,

      Our parents age as we all do. It is so hard to watch them as they age. Sure we would love for them to stay young-but God has other plans. My poor mom got really bad dementia and lay bedridden for two years before the sweet Lord took her home at 84. In that time my dad got re baptized (dunked this time). Now he lives in an assisted living in memory care. Just last night I had to take him to ER as he has an infection. So tough to deal with and watch.

      I’m praying for you all as you deal with aging parents and their health-especially mental. May you enjoy each and every day with them and grieve their loss. Praying your loved ones go painlessly and quickly-if they get sick!

      Blessings to all! Have a great 2017!

  14. Cheri,

    God is near to the brokenhearted. For Christians death isn’t the final. We will get to see our loved ones one day “When well all get to Heaven”–Oh what a sweet day that will be! The biggest thing we can do is have faith & live a life pleasing to God! We need to show the world that we trust God and believe He has plans for us!!

    Blessings 🙂