So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

My husband and I put up our Christmas tree up on November 1st.

Some people think that’s a little ridiculous.

Some people think it’s funny.

Some people think I’m ready to skip Thanksgiving . . . and so what if I am?

RELATED: Dear Holiday Season, We Need You This Year Now More Than Ever

For my family, Thanksgiving isn’t the most favorite holiday anymore.

You see, on November 28, 2014, my momma took her last earthly breath in the middle of our living room, on Black Friday.

The day before, we were trying to stomach our Thanksgiving feast as she lay lifeless in a comatose state.

Months of slowly dying to cancer and entering into the final days of “lasts” really put a damper on the whole Thanksgiving celebration.

Don’t get me wrong, we still get together as a family, cook the turkey and sides, reminisce on past memories, and praise God for our blessings, but that doesn’t mean that the day is not difficult.

When I think about Thanksgiving, I think about losing my best friend to the most horrendous disease I’ve ever witnessed.

When I think about Thanksgiving, I think about how we changed all of our usual traditions, so that we could create a “new normal” since the glue of our family isn’t here with us anymore.

When I think about Thanksgiving, I think about being robbed of future Thanksgivings with her, and how she will won’t be able to see her grandbabies running around barefoot in the kitchen and demanding snacks.

When I think about Thanksgiving, I go back to that empty, helpless feeling I experienced, as I helped her bathe, carried her to the bathroom, rubbed her feet, cried when she started refusing to eat, listened to her utter her last words, and watched as my once vibrant momma’s body slowly decay right in front of my eyes.

Honestly, most of the year, I am fine. I remember that she is in Heaven with Jesus and that I will see her someday.

Normally, when I think about her, I smile and remember all of the beautiful conversations, fun adventures, and wise lessons we shared together.

But for some reason, November hits, and a flood of painful, scarring memories plague my mind and I find myself having random crying outbursts.

This is why my family decided to bring our Christmas stuff out early.

After almost six years of struggling in November, I decided to change it up.

Our Christmas decorations always seem to bring us extra cheer, and I’m pretty sure I saw an article awhile back that science proved that early Christmas decorating makes people happier.

So, as you see some of our friends on social media put up their trees early, just smile or scroll away if it bothers you.

Some people struggle with the holidays, some people may have lost a loved one like me, and some people just may need extra joy with some pretty lights and tinsel—because 2020.

Whatever your reason for putting your tree up now or not until Christmas Eve, remember that it’s not about what we do or don’t do, it’s about Jesus.

No amount of decoration can bring you true joy like Jesus, and I’m thankful I have a personal Savior who walks beside me, comforts me, and corrects me every single day of my life.

Even if a Facebook memory from 2014 pops up and I have a crying outburst, Jesus will be my comfort, and I pray He will be your’s too, friend.

Be kind to the brokenhearted during the holiday season . . . they’re doing the best they can. 

Leah Lewis

Leah is a passionate follower of Jesus, wife to her best friend, and momma to a silly boy and a sweet baby girl.

How Grateful I Am for a Mother Who Believed in Me

In: Cancer, Grief
Mother and grown daughter, color photo

It was a hot summer day sometime in the middle of high school. I was young and naive, but the ugly six-letter word was looming over our family: cancer. Although I didn’t know it then, this would be our last normal summer before my mother’s health would worsen. Cancer would give way to terminal cancer. It’s funny how something so big can seem so small in those moments. My mom and I were sitting on our back porch, encased in a narrow hedge of yew bushes. It was a yellow, lazy Saturday, and my brothers and father were at Cub...

Keep Reading

A Medical Diagnosis Challenges a Marriage

In: Cancer, Living, Marriage
Bald woman holding clippers over husband's head, color photo

It is no secret now that Albert Pujols and his wife have announced their divorce shortly after she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. As a breast cancer survivor, this news hit me in a special way. As I was reading through an article from Today, there was a quote that hit me hard, “But a marriage falling apart is far more common when the wife is the patient, researchers have found. A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is...

Keep Reading

Dear Grandmother, I’m Not Ready to Lose You

In: Grief
Elderly woman and granddaughter touch foreheads

I had a visit from my grandmother the other day. It wasn’t a regular sit on the porch with a cup of tea kind of visit. It was more of an “I have something I need to tell you” type of visit. She’s been unwell for some time, and I guess I had sort of hoped she would get better, and she would be back to herself soon enough. I noticed when she sat down and tears filled her eyes that it wasn’t going to be a normal conversation. Her eyes widened and she struggled to get her words out without...

Keep Reading

Love Carries On in the Ones We Raise

In: Grief, Motherhood
Mother and son hug

From a very young age, two of the most important men in my life were my grandpa and my brother. I never could have imagined that I’d lose them both within nine months, nor could I predict the profound effects the magnitude of those losses would have on my life. My grandpa was my father figure and shepherd. I have endless memories of him— from splashing in the ocean together to shopping each Easter season for my Easter dress. He was always there. Every choir concert, musical, or school ceremony, I could easily find his face in the crowd. I...

Keep Reading

Friends Can Be a Sanctuary

In: Friendship, Grief
Group of friends hugging

A sanctuary is defined as anywhere people go for peaceful tranquility or introspection. My friends became my sanctuary when my husband, Frank, died. They became my refuge and my safe place. Friendship is one of the most wonderful gifts in this world. It is beautiful, comforting, ever-changing, and, for me, a fixed point.  My friends seemed to know exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Their love and constant support got me through the worst of times and gave me the courage and confidence I needed to move forward.  I could never give an adequate thank you to...

Keep Reading

All I Wanted Was For My Baby To Stay Alive

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Sad woman with head in hands

Today is the day I’ve dreaded and resisted for almost a year: the day I face going through the white plastic bag the hospital sent home with me after my D&C, 10 months ago. This bag held my clothes, shoes, and wedding ring for the short time I was in surgery, but I rescued all of those precious items soon after waking. The items that remain show the paper trail of that difficult day—receipts from my hospital admittance and anesthesia, general post-operative care instructions, and a consent form for “treatment of incomplete abortion.” That last part brings tears to my...

Keep Reading

My Husband Makes Me a Stronger Woman

In: Grief, Loss, Marriage
Daddy standing over hospital crib with infant, black-and-white photo

A little over a year ago, my husband and I went through the unimaginable. We lost our child, Lillian, to a congenital heart defect. The days following that, and even to this day, people will comment on how strong I am. How well I’ve dealt with this darkness. How they can’t imagine what I am going through. The truth is I was never alone. From the day we found out I would give birth to a child who had complex heart defects, my husband has been there. Always in the background of what others saw but ever so present in...

Keep Reading

Mothers Don’t Teach Us How To Live Life Without Them

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss, Motherhood
Woman in dress with corsage, smiling color photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of marriage, children, a career, and memories that you will cherish forever—and you want your mother by your side at all times. Our mothers teach us how to live a life we will enjoy, but they never teach us how to live a life without them in it. Our mothers don’t tell us that one day they will not be here to answer the phone when we call or go on spontaneous dinner dates. My mother never told me there will come a day when she will be gone and how bad it...

Keep Reading

When Mother’s Day Feels Awkward, Find Comfort in Community

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood

Mother’s Day can be beautiful for some women. It can be hurt filled for others. Or in my case, it can just feel plain old awkward. I felt eight years of awkward Mother’s Days. In my late 20s to mid-30s, I felt like the woman no one knew what to say to or what to do with. I felt a double whammy on Mother’s Day. My mother was home in Heaven. My womb was empty and always would be. My desire to have a child was filled with an intentional choice to go a non-traditional route to motherhood and was...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Mother’s Day Hurts

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding baby near grave, black-and-white photo

I see you moms. I see the moms who will never see all of their children together on this earth at the same time. The moms who dread the question, “When are you having children?” or “Will you have any more?” The moms who pray for that second line, month after month. The moms who are seeing that positive test and don’t know how they are going to make this work. The moms who can’t shake the blues or depression, who feel guilty for not feeling happier about their baby. The moms who feel as though they are doing it...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids


Proven techniques to build REAL connections