Marissa Henley
About the Author

Marissa is a Christ-follower, wife, mom, cancer survivor, writer, speaker, and latte addict who loves to share her story of God’s faithfulness and encourage women with the truth of God’s promises. Her book, Loving Your Friend through Cancer: Moving Beyond “I’m Sorry to Meaningful Support, releases in May 2018.

(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. Marissa, thank you for uncovering both your strength and your weakness in this struggle. I love that you call it the wrestling place, and the truth is that all of us are in the waiting room whether or not we realize it. Your story reminds me to be thankful that I’m waiting with a sweet tribe of my people who love me, and that God knows the entire narrative arc of my story.

    • Thank you, Michele! Our good God and loving community definitely make the waiting and wrestling times easier, don’t they?

      • Wow Marissa God met this morning during my quiet prayer time & your post!
        I’ve been wrestling with the care of my 86yr old mom & end of life issues. I never heard of the archangel Phanuel & just read that was who Jacob wrestled with. Praying that you are healed completely & comfort in your spirit over the loss of a friend.
        Love in Jesus, Gail

        • Gail Rea,

          I know right where you are. I have dealt with end of life issues for both my parents. I’m praying for peace & comfort. May God give you a discerning heart to make wise decisions.
          Some days are good, some not so good. Caring for elderly parents is never easy!! Making decisions to put loved ones in nursing homes, or on hospice, etc. Scary to say the least. Both my parents went on hospice, dad was in an assisted living & he had to be hospitalized twice for severe dementia. Now I’m dealing with Stage III Bladder Cancer with my FIL (90 in May). MIL is 84 & not doing well herself.

          Blessings & Hugs from Watauga, TN (Turkeytown)

        • Hi Gail, I’m sorry to hear you are in a wrestling place right now with your mom, and I’m thankful God used these words to encourage you! I’m praying that God will give you strength and confidence in His presence with you.

  2. Marissa,
    Thank you for sharing what must be a painful post to write. Our suffering, like you said, draws us into utter dependence and reliance upon God….that is the good part. Why terrible things happen to good people is part of the inexplainable mystery of God. It is the part that now we will only see dimly and the answers will be revealed in heaven. Some answers we just won’t know in this lifetime. What we DO know is God is love. His very definition is love and He cannot deny Himself. God is good, faithful, trustworthy, patient, kind, long-suffering. This we DO know and that’s what I have to cling to when I wrestle with the why’s that just might not have clear answers right now. Praise for your healing!
    Bev xx

    • Amen, Bev! I’m so thankful that we can cling to what we know is true during those times when we don’t have all the answers we crave.

  3. So neat to see a post of yours here, Marissa. I am so sorry for your loss and for all the hard you have walked through. But so thankful you’ve walked this with God at your side.

    Such truth in what you share. It’s the wrestling times where trust is truly grown. Just this morning I decided to look up the meaning of Phanuel and it is so beautiful and fitting for your post – that we see God in the place of wrestling-

    Scripture Reference—Luke 2:36

    Name Meaning—The face or vision or appearance of God

    It is not certain whether Phanuel was the name of the father or the mother of Anna the prophetess who was the first to proclaim Jesus to be the Messiah. The name is identical with Penuel, the name Jacob gave to the place where he wrestled with the angel.
    Taken from:

    • Hi friend! What a neat insight – thank you so much for sharing. I’m so thankful God always meets us in our wrestling places!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. It challenges and encourages me to trust God even more through the hard. Praying for God to wrap you up in a special way as only He can when you grieve the loss of your friend Julie.

    • HI Anastasia, I’m so thankful you were encouraged this morning. Thank you for your prayers!

  5. Marissa, your words, strength and courage touched my heart this Saturday morning. Sometimes it is hard to understand why people suffer, but it is in those times when I try to lean in closer to God and His tender mercies. Your example has encouraged me to ask The Lord to use my pain to help others. Thankfully, I an on the other side of a many decades long battle with anxiety, panic and depression (Praise God for bringing me through! :->), and I pray God will use me to bring encouragement and hope to others.

    Blessings and continued prayers for you, Marissa. Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow!

    Lara <

    • Hi Lara, Thank you for taking the time to say hello! I praise God that He has brought you through those tough times! I am confident He will use His work in your life for His glory and for the good of those you encourage. Those issues are so prevalent, and I know your story will give others hope whenever you have an opportunity to share it!

  6. Marissa, your words resonate. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart. I loved this: “In that difficult place, God grows my faltering faith into tested trust.” I’ll raise my teacup to that!

  7. Oh Marissa, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your post really touched me: “I never met her friends or family. I had no one to grieve with, no one to share common memories with, no one to answer my questions about her final days. Did she suffer? Did she die in the hospital? Did she have enough warning to say good-bye to her son? I’ll never know.” I think many of us here are hurting with you. We may have never physically met Julie, but you brought her here for us to meet…and for that we are all blessed.

    May God continue to bless you with His peace and love.

    • Thank you, Joey. These comments mean so much to me . . . that Julie’s life has now gotten to touch many others, just as it touched me. 🙂

  8. Marissa,

    Thank you for writing both a painful & wisdom filled post. I pray God gives you, Julie’s family & friends peace & comfort during this time. Everyone has been in answer-less places at some point in their lives. Look at the Apostles. They were shipwrecked, flogged, saw Jesus die & needed answers. God doesn’t always give us answers to our questions. We will all go through trials down here in this sin-filled earth. We need to trust God in our wilderness stations. He will guide us to our eventual Canaan land. I believe all Christians are in a waiting room-for Heaven to be shown to us & spend our eternity with Jesus!

    Blessings 🙂

    • Hi Beth, Thank you for these great comments. It is so kind of the Lord to give us examples of those who have gone before us in those answer-less places and trusted Him in their suffering. It helps to remember that Heaven is worth waiting for!

    • Hi Maria! Thank you for taking the time to let me know you were encouraged. 🙂

  9. I don’t know that I ever heard about Julie…heartbreaking and yet, I see it just another part of your story that is being used for God’s glory! Thanks for sharing, dear friend. I love you!

    • Thanks, friend! You know I’m thankful to be used for His glory alone! Love you!

  10. So so often we don’t have the answers. But it is such a comfort to know the One who does. And to know that His grace is enough (more than) for us, that His strength perfectly counters all our weaknesses. I’m so thankful you and Julie were able to meet. He brings His children together in some of the most amazing ways.

    • Hi Beth, I’m so thankful for the comfort His grace brings! He is so good in all that He does. 🙂

  11. Thank you, Marissa. So much of this speaks to me, as I struggle with the same questions. You reminded me of where I need to place my trust.

    • Hi Meredith, thank you for letting me know this encouraged you! It’s a reminder I need often as well – He is trustworthy!

  12. Thanks Marissa for sharing your grief and being an inspiration. My family and I have had a few losses in the past few months, due to cancer (my younger sister and a friend) and my mum a few years ago. I am also a cancer survivor. But through it all, I find that God has used me to inspire and bless others and empathise with those in similar seasons of life. We may never understand ‘Why?’ on this side of eternity but when we see our Lord face to face we will see things from His perspective. Till then, He will continue to give us grace and bring people our way to help us carry the burdens of grief.
    Praying for your complete healing


    • Hi Susannah, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been impacted by cancer and loss in so many ways. It’s so, so hard. But praise God that He is allowing you to comfort others and grow your trust in Him. I’m confident you are an encouragement to those whose burdens you help carry.

  13. I am so blessed to have stumbled upon your posts this morning. My Blogging email had your post under today’s Scriptures. God brings us to Him through so many ways! Marrissa God is with you and reaching out to the hurting masses in your amazing insights and deep revelations. My heart is heavy and yours is also. Yet you found uplifting concepts and encouraging faith to share! Thank you from the deepest part of my soul!

    • Hi Maggie, God is so good to work even the smallest details of emails for our our benefit! I’m so thankful to hear that this encouraged your heavy heart. It means so much to me that you let me know so we can celebrate God’s work together!

    • Hi Bella, Thank you for taking the time to encourage me right back! I appreciate it. 🙂

  14. I’m reading this post and thinking, how beautiful a friendship from such a bad experience. I am also wrestling a bit with the testimony of His healing power, I have experienced it, I see it on the prayer boards, miracle babies and people coming off ventilators and yet some requests sound like giving up or in, resigning themselves to death but Jesus defeated it. I know how difficult these decisions can be and what it is like to live in pain and fear, nevertheless, He has paid the price for our healing if we can believe, sometimes, we just need someone to stand in faith with us. I know people simply get tired, some people long for heaven, some have lost their reasoning and cannot make decisions. And that leaves families with difficult ones. If you have to say good bye do so in love but please remember nothing is too hard for Him and He still heals, if you have any requests just send me a pin on Pinterest. And I speak life and healing over you today in Jesus name. ( It has been my understanding that Jesus was the Angel of the Lord who wrestled Jacob and the hand under the thigh was like a covenant or contract, I will reread it though, I’m sure it what I was taught. )

    • Thanks for your comment, Rebecca! I can tell you are a faithful prayer warrior for others! I’m so glad you took the time to share your heart here.

  15. I am so sorry for this loss of a friend. Cancer is a word I soon learned to despise of. My father law in law was diagnosed in February of last year and in May, he had surgery to remove the tumors only to never recovered from the surgery itself. He remained in ICU until his passing in July of last year. It took a total of five months for all this to take place.
    Friendship is a wonderful thing no matter how short of a time span it may seem to others. My heart hurts for you and know that God will heal all things. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Maylee, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I hate cancer so much! I take comfort in knowing that our Heavenly Father hates it, too, because He sent His Son to die and conquer sin and sickness and death. I can’t wait until He returns and makes all things new.

  16. Good morning,

    I kind of stumbled upon your post this morning. My daughter, Ansley, is 11. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at age 8 in her left humerus. On her last routine lung CT on Feb. 12, the doctors say, “four new nodules” were found in her left lung. We are scheduled to re-scan April 9. She will be 12 April 2. Please pray with us that all spots will have disappeared by then. She had “spots” before, and God took them away.

    I am so sorry about your friend. I am so happy you are doing well. Thank you for words of encouragement for the day.

    May God continue to bless you.

    In Christian Love,
    Karen Moxley
    Garfield, GA

    • Hi Karen, I’m so glad you found me here. 🙂 I hate that your family is going through this time of uncertainty. Scans are the worst! I’ve been through it many times – each time brings a new flood of anxiety and also gratitude for God’s grace and mercy. But it’s never easy. I spent time in prayer for Ansley and for you and your family this morning when I saw your comment. I’m praying for clean scans, peaceful hearts in the wait, and a joyful birthday celebration in a couple of weeks.

      If you need someone to vent to about how much you hate sarcoma, I’m easy to find on social media. I’d love to connect anytime. xo

  17. Marissa, your story hit home for me. I am a young woman battling sarcoma as well, but made it through chemo, radiation, surgery and more chemo at OHSU, a sarcoma specialty hospital in the northwest. I too just heard of a friend who died and like you wanted to know how, when, why. My take-away is to live each day intentionally with peace and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ. I go to Him minute by minute some days. Until a person faces cancer or a serious illness and death, he/she really doesn’t know the meaning of live every day as if it were your last! Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Carla, I’m so sorry to hear you are battling sarcoma. I hate it so much! It sounds like you’ve been battling for awhile with all that treatment. It’s so, so hard when we lose our friends along the way – the loss would be tough enough on its own, but it is even more complicated when you are in the midst of the battle. I’m so thankful the Lord and His promises are there for us to cling to as we live each day!

      If you need a been-there sarcoma buddy, I’m easy to find on social media, and I’d love to connect anytime. Praying right now for strength for you today!

  18. Marissa,
    Thank you for sharing your testimony. I have also been touched in a profound way by sarcoma…so much so that I have committed my life to allowing God to shine through my broken places in an effort to serve other families throughout their cancer journey. I am looking forward to reading your book as it resonates so deeply with me and so many of the families we serve. Thank you.
    Missy Amschwand Bellinger
    A Shelter for Cancer Families

    • Hi Missy, I’m so thankful to connect with you. I love that you are serving others affected by cancer and know that the Lord is glorified by your efforts!