So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

My boots echoed on the Target floor, a steady tapping with each step. I remember thinking to myself, as long as I can hear that tap, at least I know I’m still moving forward.

It was Christmas, and the months leading up to this season had been filled with unexpected sorrow, grief, and turmoil.

I purchased only what was necessary, and made my way back to the truck which was parked at the far end of the parking lot. I climbed in, laid my head back against the seat, and began to sob.

This wouldn’t be like any Christmas I’d had before. There was no joy, no cheer.

That was years ago now, but I can close my eyes and vividly remember the pain and the heartache.

Have you been there? Perhaps you’re there now.

For many, the holidays are times for friends and family to gather. Times for baking pies and sharing laughter. Times for cheering on our favorite teams and eating too much turkey and dressing. And though the holidays can bring about stress and anxiety, they will typically bring a good measure of cheer and celebration as well.

But for some, the holidays are not so cheerful. In fact, the holidays can be just plain hard.

Some may be gathering around the table this year, but they are gathering for the first time without their loved one. There’s an empty seat at the table and hearts full of grief.

Some are working around custody schedules, each parent hoping for time with their little one. Each wishing that things didn’t have to be this way, and wondering how in the world they’ll make it work.

Some will sit around a Thanksgiving table this year that looks entirely different from the way it looked in previous years. The place, the table, even the people sitting beside you may not be the same.

While some make lighthearted banter about a myriad of topics, others feel heavy with worry as they wait expectantly for test results, as they wonder what their future holds.

For some, the financial stress of everyday life is unbearably hard and the thought of the holidays only compounds the worry and despair.

And others will not be seated around a table at all this year, but rather beside a bed as they visit their parent, sibling, or spouse in a hospital room or nursing home.

You see, for a lot of our friends and neighbors, the holidays are wrought with difficulty and sadness. And it’s so important that we realize this.

I think we can all agree that the core of the holiday season is love. After you take away Santa and toys, cooking and parties, even after you peel back the layers of the beautiful Christmas story itself, we are left with one thing.

Love.

Let’s share love this holiday season. Let’s not get so caught up with shopping, cooking, and wrapping that we forget what’s most important.

Let’s remember the family spending their first Thanksgiving or Christmas without their loved one and take time to write them a card. May we not forget that person who is forgoing the holiday feast this year because their spouse is in the hospital, and take time to stop by for a visit. Let’s call up that friend who’s spending the holiday alone and take time to invite them to our house for lunch.

Because when we TAKE TIME, we show love.

And without love, this Thanksgiving and Christmas season is indeed meaningless.

We’re reminded in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

And friends, if you are hurting this holiday season, if you find this all unbearably hard, please hear this. While so many things in your life may have changed, while so many things may be uncertain, God’s love for you will never change and is always certain.

And because of His great love, there is always hope.

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Originally published on the author’s blog

Here are 4 ways to get through the holidays when you’re grieving.

Ginger Hughes

Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother to Ella and Elam, and a part-time accountant.  She is a Georgia native, but presently calls the foothills of North Carolina home.  She loves coffee, nature, and reading, but with two children under six, she struggles to find time in the day for any of the above!   She is a Christ follower and a fellow struggler on life’s journey who seeks to find joy in the everyday. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace, and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children, that we are not alone in our brokenness, and that we are all deeply loved.  You can read more of her writings at nomamasperfect.com

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

I Will Be a Friend Who Prays

In: Faith, Friendship, Living

You mentioned it casually. They had found a lump in your breast again. You’ve been here before, and maybe that means you better know how to navigate it. Except how can we possibly know how to handle such things? What emotions lie hidden behind your words? You tossed out words like lumpectomy and biopsy as if you were sharing a grocery list. I don’t know you well yet, but as you spoke the words, I had a deep desire to let you know I’m sorry. Seated around the table that night, you asked us to pray for you. I committed...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Could Tell You There Will Be No More Mean Girls

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and two daughters, color photo

Tonight before bed while I was tucking you in, you seemed really down. You are normally bubbly, talkative, full of laughter and life, but tonight you seemed sullen and sad. I asked what was wrong, and at first, you didn’t want to tell me. But then you shared with me what was breaking your heart. You told me about a mean girl. You told me the hurtful things she said and the unkind way she acted and the sneaky way mean girls bully by making you feel left out and less than.  It made me sad and angry. I didn’t...

Keep Reading

In the Hardest Moments of Motherhood, I’m Reminded to Look Up

In: Faith, Motherhood

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, and you know the scene—I step on a tiny Barbie shoe as I’m walking to the sink. I shove it to the side with my foot and release a heavy sigh. I momentarily think about picking it up, but my back is aching from bending down to gather up treasures all morning. I place my half-filled coffee cup into the microwave to re-heat it for a second time. I need just an ounce of energy to get through the afternoon. My daughter heaves another basket of toys up from the basement, step by step. I can...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God’s Glory Shines Brightest in the Hardest Parts of Life

In: Faith, Living
Woman's hand with chipped nail polish

Half of the fingernails on my hands still show remnants of nail polish. It looks pretty awful. People might notice it and think, Really? You can’t take just five minutes to wipe off the chunks of color that haven’t flaked off already?  And I could. It probably wouldn’t even take five minutes. It’s not that I don’t have the time or that I’m being lazy. I just don’t want to.  You see, my daughter painted my nails almost a month ago. She’s five—they were never pretty to start with. They were sloppy with small strips at the edges left unpainted....

Keep Reading

God Tasked Us With Raising Beautiful People in a Fallen World

In: Faith, Motherhood

Today, I watched my little boy put an oven mitt over his hand and mix up an imaginary meal. Like any mother would be, I was touched to see my son enjoying himself—playing fearlessly in the Children’s Museum and exploring with many fun and creative toys. He would open the wooden fridge and purposely put a spatula in a specific compartment. Though his reasoning was not known to me—or anyone else for that matter—you could tell he had a plan for that metal spatula, and it was to be in that freezer. RELATED: The Secret No One Told Me About...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections