Gifts for Dad ➔

I often daydreamed about having a Christmas baby in the days leading up to Christmas 2017. Nobody on earth but my husband knew how badly I wanted a baby then. One evening, we tidied our home in anticipation while listening to music about Jesus, a baby born in a manger. How magical to have a baby at this time of year, I thought, and Mary was just a regular girl in pursuit of God’s will.

God had been tugging on my heart, telling me it was time we started a family, and I wanted to follow His will too. What I wanted more than anything was a baby for Christmas the next year.

We were expectant parents less than two months later, and by the end of October 2018, I was a new mom on cloud nine. It didn’t matter that I was sleep deprived most days. Everything about our newborn was extraordinary, and I basked in the wonder that surrounded her. She was better than anything I could’ve dreamed.

I’d seen the warnings about germs and how to ensure she stayed healthy, but we were traveling to the pediatrician for checkups pretty regularly and all was well. I finally relaxed.

But it seemed as soon as I let down my guard, she was sick. Bad sick.

Like PICU on Christmas Eve sick, receiving eight liters per minute of high-flow oxygen, 24/7 oxygen saturation monitoring, deep suction every two hours, breathing treatments, antibiotics, and countless needle sticks and blood draws sick. That’s what Respiratory Syncytial Virus does when you’re 8-weeks-old.

RELATED: It’s RSV Season—Please Don’t Kiss the Babies

It was heartbreaking. I never felt more helpless as a parent than when I fell on my face in the hospital with hands lifted offering up my baby to the God who made her. I had anticipated her arrival for so long, but she was the Lord’s after all. I had faith He would heal her. I just feared it wouldn’t be here on earth.

Our family of three emerged from the hospital six days later, mostly unscathed. Nobody would have guessed our baby had been sick; she didn’t even wheeze! But I, on the other hand, fought those germs and others for the next month. The Christmas season, which was always so joyous, had been tainted in my world.

This year when summer turned to fall, it dawned on me I could pray and ask Jesus to redeem the holiday celebrating His birth—the one I loved so much before the trauma we experienced last year. I wanted to give Christmas back to Him, to take it away from fear. I whispered a prayer, and about an hour later as I was driving to the craft store, the radio played an ad for K-LOVE’s Christmas Tour. You know that means jingling bells and holiday melodies. Instead of sorrow, my heart leaped with joy. Instead of worry, I found excitement. This moment was the start of the healing I’d desperately needed. My hope was only reinforced when I arrived at the craft store to find the Christmas decorations on display and, once again, a rediscovered joy in my heart.

Not all my thoughts about winter and Christmastime are stress-free, but He is working on me—and working in me.

I’m eager to walk into the next season as a mama wearing the armor of God, better prepared than last year, stronger for our experiences, and confident because of Who holds my hand along the way.

Even when we’re worried, even when we’re scared, He is right there with us. He’s as close as a whisper. When we call his name and ask for his help, He is faithful, and He will strengthen us and cure what ails us. He will redeem what’s been broken in our lives.

Ashley Hill

Ashley Hill is a wife and a new mom who writes, paints, and bakes when she isn't chasing after her little girl. After working in New York City for a period of time, Ashley felt God calling her back to a quieter life in West Virginia where she was born and raised. She writes about motherhood at

Dear Introverted Mom, Take that Break

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman outside with book and food

I am alone, in a hotel room, 20 minutes from home, lying back in the crisp bed, feet propped up on billowing white pillows. A good book is in my hand. The large window beside me overlooks the Mississippi River as the sun slowly sets and people unwind for a southern Louisiana evening in downtown Baton Rouge. I’ll probably order room service for dinner. I spent the afternoon at the coffee shop across the street, sipping on a deliciously caffeinated beverage carefully made to my liking. I ate a delicate snack filled with fruits, fancy lettuce, and expensive cheese while...

Keep Reading

As an Anxious Mom, I Remind Myself You Were God’s Child First

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping

I remember bringing that squishy baby home from the hospital. His 9-pound birth weight didn’t label him as scrawny by any means, but he was so small to us. I cringed the first time I laid him in the bassinet beside my bed. I wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on him all night long like the nurses in the hospital nursery. I couldn’t make sure he was breathing every second of my coveted slumber. To calm my worries, we turned on our bathroom light and left the door wide open. The extra light wouldn’t disturb our angel from...

Keep Reading

Home is Holy Ground

In: Faith, Motherhood
Kids and mom at home

Some days, I wake up and walk around my house feeling my chest rise looking at the chaotic mess I didn’t get done the day before.  Trampling over toys, incomplete laundry, and dishes that seem to load up by the end of the day. I pause, I stare, and I wonder which of the objects in each room I should tackle first. I take a deep breath and notice my heart and my mind are overwhelmed with a running checklist. Why can’t everything just get done all at one time? You can talk to a dozen mothers and I am...

Keep Reading

I Want My Kids To Know God’s Always There

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman holding cross in the palm of her hand, color photo

A few months ago, my friend lost his dad. And it impacted our community profoundly. Because he loved SO BIG. Everywhere he went, he couldn’t help but talk to and engage with people—sharing a joke to make them smile or offering a compliment to build them up. He was a connector. And in all the connecting he did, he was quick to remind everyone he encountered that our hearts are ever connected to a God who loves us. It had become his thing to pass out little wooden crosses to those he happily chatted up as he went about each...

Keep Reading

In Motherhood, Grace Makes up the Difference

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young child

Today, I have been the mean mom, the tired mom, the overwhelmed mom, the anxious mom, the impatient mom, and the want to turn in my mom card mom. Mostly, I’ve felt like the I have no clue what I’m doing mom. I have raised my voice 47 times, told children to “suck it up, buttercup” 36 times, and have intervened in approximately 83 sibling disagreements. I have rolled my eyes 59 times, sighed 148 times, and visibly showed other signs of impatience, well, way too many times. RELATED: I’m a Good Mom, You Just Caught Me in a Bad...

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in Motherhood With His No Matter What Love

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother embracing daughter in sunlit room

My toddler was that kid on the playground—the one who would push and bite, erupting into a tantrum and needing to be carried home screaming. As I would carry my child to the car, the other moms looked at me with sympathy, confusion, fear, and . . . judgment.  Parents of challenging kids know this look well. We see judgment everywhere we go. I knew others were judging me, and I knew our challenges were beyond the normal bell curve, but as an overwhelmed young mom, I did all I knew to do: I blamed myself.  At my lowest, I...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Dear Girl, Give Jesus Your Mess

In: Faith, Living
Woman holding Bible, color photo

Oh, dear girl, Give Jesus the mess. Your mess. The mess you think is too much or too big or too unbearable. The depths of the mess. The very worst of the mess. Lay it at His feet. He knew you long before the mess existed. Nobody knows your mess like Jesus. I assure you—this will not catch Him by surprise. Even when you do not understand, even when it is most difficult, even when you have your head buried in your hands. Praise Him, for God wastes nothing.  Even when it feels like opposition is coming at you from...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Is an Endless Pursuit

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child on bike, color photo

I look at him and my heart breaks into a million little pieces. It simply hurts too much to know he hurts. He is my heart, and it squeezes and revolts when he struggles. I want to close my eyes and hold him close, and when I resurface, I want the world to be different for him. Look different, smell different, taste different. But, it remains the same, this pain.   In the beginning, when he was in my womb, I held my hands on my stomach and his tiny feet kicked me back. His bodily imprint on my skin. He...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Brings Me to the Floor and Jesus Meets Me There

In: Faith, Motherhood

I recently came across a short memoir writing competition with the theme, “Places that have made me, changed me, or inspired me.” I could write something for that, I thought. I’m by no means a jet-setter, but I do have a passport. I spent my 16th birthday in Russia on a three-week mission trip. During college, I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for a four-month study abroad program. After my British husband and I got married, we settled in the UK, where we’ve spent the last 10 years. And now, I’m back in my sunny Florida hometown. These experiences and places...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids


Proven techniques to build REAL connections