Today show co-host Kathie Lee Gifford has reflected on the strong faith of her late mother and encouraged others who may be mourning the loss of a loved one to "take hold of God's hand because He's real good at carrying things for you."
On Tuesday, Gifford took to Twitter to announce that her mom, Joan Epstein, "went home to JESUS & my DADDY this morning" at the age of 87. Her mother's death comes two years after the death of Gifford's husband, Frank Gifford, in August 2015. Gifford's father, Aaron Epstein, died in 2002.
Speaking on the Today show Wednesday morning, The Emmy Award-winning host said that like her late husband, she believed her mother "saw Jesus and Jesus took her breath away. And it gives me great comfort."
"I know a lot of people are hurting in the world today, a lot of people are going through so much, there's a lot of fear in the world today. I just suggest that you take hold of God's hand because He's real good at carrying things for you," Gifford said on the morning program. "Perfect love casts out all fear and He loves us perfectly. And nobody knew that more than my mom."
Gifford said that while she's mourning the loss of her mother, she's "so happy" Epstein is in the arms of her Savior.
"I remember Frank, the last year of his life saying to me, 'I'm not afraid honey. I'm not afraid at all. In fact I'm starting to really get curious,'" Gifford said. "My mom had no fear. She had the strongest faith of anybody I've ever known and I'm grateful for her every day of my life, even when she was driving me crazy, because she was such a lady."
To celebrate her mother's life, Gifford said she intends to throw Epstein a "huge party" in the coming weeks, similar to what she did for her late husband, Frank.
"She lost everybody in her life: her mother, her father, her brother, her grandmother and only her sister was left, whom she also has lost. She lost her husband almost 13 years ago and she's lost so many family members," Gifford said. "But you know what she always remembered? What she had - what she still had. And she had the Lord in a deep, deep way. And you know what guys? If He's all you got, He's all you need."
After losing her husband in 2015, Gifford shared with Dr. Oz during a February episode of "Faithful Fridays" how her faith sustained her in the midst of grief and despair.
"Faith becomes such a natural rhythm in your life, and it has for me since I was 12 years old," she told Dr. Oz.
As she mourned the loss of her husband, she felt the Spirit of God say to her, "Kathy, I love you and I have a purpose for your life, if you trust me we will make something beautiful out of it."
"And He's never let me down," she testified.