My husband and I own matching “Mr.” and “Mrs.” stockings that I proudly display year after year. However, in seasons past they’ve always gone unfilled. During the gift-giving hustle and bustle of Christmas, we always give to everyone else that we hold so dear but we seldom give to one another. This year though, as I sat staring at the vacant “Mr.” stocking, I felt a longing for that to change.

To the man who gives me so much, I knew I wanted to make him a priority, even though he couldn’t care less about a stocking. I could fill it with candy and an array of odds and ends, but I wanted something more precious, more meaningful. Then it came to me. Why not fill his stocking this season with all of the things that have gone unsaid over the past year? Things I was too rushed or too preoccupied to take the time to say.

I tend to overlook so much and fail to let him know how much I truly notice and appreciate about him. For instance, this man of mine gives me a kiss before he leaves for work each morning. It’s an act of love that gives me a special assurance that no matter what the day may bring, we can get through it together. So much devotion is shown through that daily kiss, making me feel solid and whole, yet I have never taken the time to tell him how much it means to me.

I’ve also never truly expressed how I couldn’t balance it all without him. From picking up last-minute items from the grocery store to taking our daughter to school on a snowy morning, he does so many thoughtful things to make my days easier and lighter.

Sadly, he often hears more complaints than admiration from me. He is a man of few words, and he often hears me criticize him for that. However, when the going gets tough, he is the man who can comfort and soothe all my brokenness without ever saying a word. In moments when I feel completely shattered on the inside, he can mend me with his presence and touch alone.

He sees past all of my flaws and continues to believe in me, despite the many mistakes I’ve made. He never pushes me to do more or to be more, but accepts me wholeheartedly as I am. When my insecurities and self-doubts fight to take over my identity, he grounds me by reminding me of all that I truly am. When inadequacy sets in and I feel I don’t measure up, he has faith in me, allowing me to gain more confidence in myself.

When I’m running through my bouts of insanity or putting my hardened edges on display, he sees right past it. He listens to my emotions, whether they come off raw or undone, and he tries his best to understand. He gives me time to work through feelings with a certain sense of patience that allows me to breathe, letting it all pass.

In our family, he is the provider and protector, allowing more peace and contentment to flow through our days. He provides the roof over our heads that we share so much love and laughter under. He gives us a home where we make memories with ease, knowing we are lovingly cared for. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, he makes it easier for us to live carefree and unburdened. I don’t thank him often enough for the comfort and the security he enables us to have.

These are just a few of the things I fail to show gratitude for as I should, and I could come up with so much more. This Christmas, I fully intend to express these unspoken words in hopes he truly feels how much he is loved and adored as a husband. As he pulls slips of thankfulness out of his stocking this year, I hope he feels deeply appreciated. The small acts of love he displays on a daily basis do not go unseen. Through my written words of affirmation, may his stocking be filled with meaning this year that conveys just how meaningful and significant he is to me and our life. I can think of no greater gift than that.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Ashley Chandler

I am a Nebraska resident, living out my life on a ranch. I am a faithful farmer's wife and  a devoted mother to a beautiful six-year-old daughter. My view from home enriches my life in a multitude of ways and I enjoy connecting with so many other voices that are sharing their perspectives from home as well!

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading