Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

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.


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.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Order Now

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

God Had Different Plans

In: Faith, Motherhood
Silhouette of family swinging child between two parents

As I sip my twice-reheated coffee holding one baby and watching another run laps around the messy living room, I catch bits and pieces of the Good Morning America news broadcast. My mind drifts off for a second to the dreams I once had of being the one on the screen. Live from New York City with hair and makeup fixed before 6 a.m. I really believed that would be me. I just knew I’d be the one telling the mama with unwashed hair and tired eyes about the world events that happened overnight while she rocked babies and pumped milk....

Keep Reading

This Will Not Last Forever

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman looking at sunset

“This will not last forever,” I wrote those words on the unfinished walls above my daughter’s changing table. For some reason, it got very tiring to change her diapers. Nearly three years later, the words are still there though the changing table no longer is under them. While my house is still unfinished so I occasionally see those words, that stage of changing diapers for her has moved on. She did grow up, and I got a break. Now I do it for her baby brother. I have been reminding myself of the seasons of life again. Everything comes and...

Keep Reading

God Calls Me Flawless

In: Faith, Living
Note hanging on door, color photo

When I look in the mirror, I don’t always like what I see. I tend to focus on every imperfection, every flaw. As I age, more wrinkles naturally appear. And I’ve never been high maintenance, so the gray hairs are becoming more frequent, too. Growing up a lot of negative words were spoken about me: my body, my weight, my hair, my build. Words I’ve somehow carried my whole life. The people who proclaimed them as my truth don’t even remember what they said, I’m sure. But that’s the power of negative words. Sticks and stones may break our bones,...

Keep Reading

Your Husband Needs Friendship Too

In: Faith, Friendship, Marriage
3 men smiling outside

As the clock inches closer to 7:00 on a Monday evening, I pull out whatever dessert I had prepared that week and set it out on the kitchen counter. This particular week it’s a trifle, but other weeks it may be brownies, pound cake, or cookies of some kind. My eyes do one last sweep to make sure there isn’t a tripping hazard disguised as a dog toy on the floor and that the leftover dinner is put away. Then, my kids and I make ourselves scarce. Sometimes that involves library runs or gym visits, but it mostly looks like...

Keep Reading

This Is Why Moms Ask for Experience Gifts

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter under Christmas lights wearing red sweaters

When a mama asks for experience gifts for her kids for Christmas, please don’t take it as she’s ungrateful or a Scrooge. She appreciates the love her children get, she really does. But she’s tired. She’s tired of the endless number of toys that sit in the bottom of a toy bin and never see the light of day. She’s tired of tripping over the hundreds of LEGOs and reminding her son to pick them up so the baby doesn’t find them and choke. She’s tired of having four Elsa dolls (we have baby Elsa, Barbie Elsa, a mini Elsa,...

Keep Reading

When You Just Don’t Feel Like Christmas

In: Faith, Living
Woman sad looking out a winter window

It’s hard to admit, but some years I have to force myself to decorate for Christmas. Some years the lights look a little dimmer. The garlands feel a bit heavier. And the circumstances of life just aren’t wrapped in a big red bow like I so wish they were. Then comparison creeps in like a fake Facebook friend and I just feel like hiding under the covers and skipping it all. Because I know there’s no way to measure up to the perfect life “out there.” And it all just feels heavier than it used to. Though I feel alone,...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

To the Woman Longing to Become a Mother

In: Faith, Grief, Motherhood
Woman looking at pregnancy test with hand on her head and sad expression

To the woman who is struggling with infertility. To the woman who is staring at another pregnancy test with your flashlight or holding it up in the light, praying so hard that there will be even the faintest line. To the woman whose period showed up right on time. To the woman who is just ready to quit. I don’t know the details of your story. I don’t know what doctors have told you. I don’t know how long you have been trying. I don’t know how many tears you have shed. I don’t know if you have lost a...

Keep Reading

I Was There to Walk My Mother to Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Hand holding older woman's hand

I prayed to see my momma die. Please don’t click away yet or judge me harshly after five seconds. I prayed to see, to experience, to be in the room, to be a part of every last millisecond of my momma’s final days, final hours, and final moments here on Earth. You see, as a wife of a military man, I have always lived away from my family. I have missed many birthdays, celebrations, dinners, and important things. But my heart couldn’t miss this important moment. I live 12 hours away from the room in the house where my momma...

Keep Reading

God Sent Me to You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Newborn gazing at mother with father smiling down

I was a little unsure As I left God’s warm embrace: What will it be like? What challenges will I face? There were so many questions Running through my mind. I asked around for the answers I was hoping to find. Who will hold me And cuddle me tight? Who will rock me To sleep at night? RELATED: The Newborn Nights Feel As Endless As My Love For You Who will comfort me When I’ve had a rough day? Who will be there To take my worries away? Who will nourish me And make sure I grow? Who will read...

Keep Reading