Loved Baby: a giveaway for the mama with a grieving heart (Bonus author Q&A)

If you’ve read my stuff enough, then you know I have a heart to bring awareness to pregnancy and infant loss. When I found Sarah in a writing group, I was immediately drawn to her genuine, raw, and honest writing that is grounded in God’s truth. Her book, Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping you Grieve and Cherish your Baby after Pregnancy Loss, is filled with wrought grief that grasps onto hope. It’s a place to bring your anger, fear and doubt so you can release them at the foot of the Cross and walk away feeling hopeful. I am honored to have Sarah here for an author Q & A about her new book.

I am also honored to have a product from my friend Julie and her business partner, Courtney from Wild Cedar Co. These ladies make beautiful hand-lettered designs.  You can have them customize signs for you or buy from their pre-made ones. They have customized a couple of signs for me with a quick turn-around and they turned out beautifully!

Here are the full details of the giveaway.
*There will be two winners.
*Each winner will receive one copy of Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping you Grieve and Cherish your Baby after Pregnancy Loss.
*Each winner will receive one hand-lettered sign from Wild Cedar Co that says “He will wipe away every tear.” (Pictured below.)
*Each winner will receive an adult coloring book full of wonderful drawings that correlate with bible verses from the book of Psalms titled “The Psalms in Color: Reflect, Relax, Rejoice.”
*This is a $60 value and can be yours for free to use as your own as you go through your grief or as a gift set to give to a friend of yours who is going through a loss.
*Giveaway begins at 12:00 PM CST, Monday November 13th until next Monday November 20th at 11:59 PM CST. Winners will be drawn at random.
*Register by entering your email below, plus unlock extra ways to earn entry points!
***Plus, everyone who registers will receive the free printable “I am not the hero of my  own story; God is.” for you to frame and place in your home.*** More details below.

>>>Enter Giveaway Click Here<<<

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.)

And just so you know, I don’t receive any sort of money for writing up this giveaway. This a pure and honest post to bring some encouragement to a mama who is going through a loss. When some of my close friends experienced pregnancy loss, I felt unsure about how to support them. I feel like the items in this giveaway would have been perfect to give her. In fact, I’ve given a friend of mine a personalized wooden sign when she went through a miscarriage and I just recently gave a friend of mine a copy of Sarah’s book. The both have said to me how much these items have helped on their journey of healing. That is why I’m doing this giveaway!

And now, let’s hear from Sarah!

|| Tell us a little bit about yourself. ||

Hi, everyone!  Thank you for inviting me to your corner of the world, Gloryanna.  My name is Sarah Philpott.  I live in Tennessee on a cattle and row crop farm with my hard workin’ hubby (who has been my sweetheart since highschool) and my three children.  We have chickens, llamas, cattle, donkeys, horses, and a host of other beautiful life out here.  We live nestled along the side of the Cherokee National Forest.  I love watching the seasons change—right now the fall colors are vibrant.  But I’m a summer girl and like nothing better than days at the river or beside the pool.

|| How did writing this devotional about child loss change your perspective on grief? ||

I have researched the affects of miscarriage, stillbirth, and ectopic pregnancy for the past three years.  One of the things that most surprised me, although it should not have been a surprise, is how closely aligned the process of grief is both biblically and from a grief research perspective.  We can find countless instances in the Bible of people (such as Hannah) crying out their anger to God over feelings of grief.  It was so freeing to me actually studying the full-range of emotions people display in the bible.  We don’t have to hide these emotions.  And one of these emotions that seems to hit many of us after pregnancy loss is the false anxiety of “I did something wrong.”

You see, after both of my miscarriages I felt this deep sense of responsibility for the loss of my child—as if I was the one who caused the death.  Even though I knew rationally this was not true, I couldn’t shake those misguided emotions of self-blame.  I had to constantly remind myself that I was blameless in this matter.  As I began researching the feelings of women post-loss, I found that my reaction was not unusual.  Most women feel this same weight of misguided blame.  I found this to be true from my own research and found it also corroborated with what grief researchers tell us.  Self-blame is an intrinsic reaction that is often not discussed.  Therefore, in the book I really try to provide tactics—both spiritually and through self-care, that women can use to fight these feelings that try to consume our minds.  These untruths can make the anxiety and depression worse and need to be actively tackled.  Fighting the battle of self-blame is thing women must do in this journey of mourning.  In the book I provide a variety of techniques.  My perspective on grief changed after I saw that we can be active participants in our fight toward resilience.

|| How is your devotional different from others? ||

First, let me just say that I am so grateful for all the other books that are on the market dealing with pregnancy loss.  We have memoirs, medical books, and other non-fiction offerings written by amazing women. These authors have done an outstanding job and all I can say is bravo to them. However the shelf is mostly bare on this topic.  So I wanted to add to the resources.  Some of us need a few books on this journey, right?  The Loved Baby devotional is different from the books that come before it for several reasons.

First, it intertwines research, spiritual truths, and real-talk from myself and other women and men.  But I use a writing style that is extremely easy to read and feels as if you are sitting down with your girlfriend having a good chat and a good cry.  I felt women — post-loss, needed something with short chapters and written in a style of writing that is easy to read. Not because we can’t undersatnd complex thoughts, but because sorting through information when our minds are so full of grief can be taxing.  In my personal experience, pouring through hundreds of pages of heavy theology or medical knowledge wasn’t something my mind could take in the fragile state it was in after my losses.  So I condensed the knowledge into an easier to digest format with manegable tasks women could accomplish.  And I wrote it directly to women.

Another thing that is unique to this devotional is that it is written from the perspective of a woman (me) who has experienced loss in the last few years. So it is a modern retelling of the experience of loss that includes mulit-generational voices and the voices of those who have mostly been absent from the conversation- men!

Finally, I pursposefully poured out my heart in this book with the intent of helping others.  I dug into so much grief research that it would make your head spin. I even took a grief research handbook with me on a family vacation. Sheesh. That is how dedicated I was to truly writing a book that would help women walk through this journey. I know that steping through our grief and not over it is one of the most healthy things we can do following the death of our child.  So this book in itself is journey of walking through the hard aspects while reminding us to stay rooted in Christ. The book not only includes devotions, but also soul work exercises, and a place to commemorate the readers own babe.


|| What was the most difficult part about writing your book? ||

Oh my, Gloryanna! It was all so difficult.  But I have to say that the feeling of “getting it right” kept me awake many nights. I was petrified about saying something that would hurt someone’s heart or using information that was not factual.  I truly dedicated the last several years of my life to this mission and read everything I could about the topic and interviewed a large number of men and women so that I could include various perspectives in the book.  I wanted every woman—no matter how far along she was or the type of loss she experienced, to be able to say “me too” at some point in this book.  I literally started crying when the early reviews came in.  I was so relieved.  I had women, in all walks of loss, be early readers of the book.  They all came back saying how powerful and helpful it was for them to read Loved Baby.  Hearing them say that Loved Baby was helping them sort through their feelings—was the best feeling of this entire process.  I truly know God ordained and helped me write this book.  It is all for his glory.  

From a personal standpoint it was difficult to write this book because I wrote quite a bit of it while I was pregnant with my little boy who is now 16 months old.  Some of the devotionals in this book are written from a very raw place.  I wrote the chapter on being pregnant after loss for me.  I actually wrote it while I was pregnant and was fighting the fears of another loss occurring.  Halfway through my pregnancy I started having complications.  I often would have to go back and read my own chapter of fighting fear while being pregnant.  I would have to force my mind to take my own advice!  That was a strange feeling.  Thankfully our little boy is running around our house now, but being pregnant while writing a book about loss, reading daily the stories of women experiencing loss, and also ministering to women in our pregnancy loss support group was an emotional toil to say the least.  However, it also gives me this amazing perspective of gratitude for the day I have been given.  

|| What is your favorite part about this devotional? ||

The voices from the Loved Baby tribe of women and men are my favorite aspect. These brave souls allowed me to mine their inner thoughts so that I could share them with readers everywhere.  By sharing their stories, they are helping others feel less alone.  I am so grateful they partnered with me.

|| Why would this book be a good choice for a friend to give someone who may be going through pregnancy loss? ||

This book would be a great choice for a friend for two big reasons:
First, showing love to a friend after loss is really important.  The act of you giving a gift shows her you care for both her and her child.  I wanted this book to be beautiful so that it could be given as a gift.

Second, this book will truly help women feel less alone after the loss.  It can help a woman sort through these massive feelings of loss and be filled with love, truth, and hope in Christ.  

|| What is one thing you would tell a woman who is going through a recent pregnancy loss that might be reading this right now? ||

Sweet lady, all I can say is take time to grieve because unexplainable pain must be grieved. And please know that it is okay to not be okay and to just crawl into bed with a pint of ice cream and cry for days.  But, know that we can mourn in hope as well.   I write in the book, “Others might minimize your loss or utter hurtful comments.  But please know your tears are worthy.  Your baby, who resides in heaven, is loved.  You can be sad for this, but know that your little one is now in the state of complete perfection.”  

|| What other resources would you recommend for someone going through loss? ||

There are some wonderful organizations out there. You can check to see if you have a Hope Mommies, Waiting in Hope, MEND, or any other local support group in your area.  We have a private, online Loved Baby Support Tribe that we encourage anyone to join.  

|| Where can we find you online? Or where do you hang out online the most? ||

I have to say, I love FB and Instagram the most.  I also blog on my website and would love to connect at  I love to connect with my readers.  For the most part, you can find me on Faceobok, Instagram and Twitter.



And remember, EVERYONE who registers will receive this free powerful printable, “I am not the hero of my own story; God is.” to place in your home.
Check your email to download it right away!





How to handle grief after a miscarriage. What should you do when you experience #pregnancyloss Read on for more insight on how to grapple with your grief or how to support a friend who has had a #miscarriage

What Should You Do When Your Friend Loses Her Baby?

What should you do when your friend loses her baby? Or what do you do when your friend has a miscarriage?
We had been drinking coffee for about an hour, chatting about our babies, relishing in the moments of motherhood and grumbling about the moments of motherhood, when she said something I had not expected:

“I still can’t believe we’ve lost two others before our Sean finally came to us.”

I had no idea. I didn’t even know how to respond at first. Why is it that we have this feeling of secrecy and privacy when we learn of a woman’s miscarriage, stillbirth or pregnancy loss? Why do we become afraid when our friend loses her baby? Uncertainty in grief can be paralyzing.

Grief is a funny thing and I have learned that it likes to play games with you. Want to cry in the middle of Wal-Mart for what seems to be no apparent reason? Hello, Grief is here! Want to make others feel awkward in a room by discussing what it was like to hear the doctor say they are sorry, but your baby was an ectopic pregnancy? That would be Grief, flowing through your heart.

Many say that grief is not linear but sporadic, raring itself when you least expect it. I have not gone through the experience of losing one of my babies, but I have grieved for the loss of a loved one and I can definitely say grief is not linear.

I am not going to try and compare what it would be like to lose the life of your own child, but I am here to raise an awareness for those of you who do know someone who’s lost their baby or had a miscarriage.

I don’t have a formula for what to do when you are talking with that friend who opens her heart because she found out a week ago that she had a miscarriage. I can’t give you an exact plan for what to do when your friend loses her baby. What I can offer you is my experience as the friend of several women who have had to say goodbye to that small flutter in their belly.

What should you do when your friend has a miscarriage? What do you do when your friend loses her baby? Here are some ideas on what you can do for your friend who has a miscarriage.

These women have been honest to the core about their feelings, and when your friend uncovers her heart, raw with emotion, you can be there to still connect with her.

\\ BE THERE \\

We tell ourselves that we want to be respectful and give them the privacy and space they need. While this may be true with many deaths people have to face, I have found that most women just need to know someone is there when she loses her baby. Instead of not calling or texting because you didn’t want to intrude, try sending a simple, “I’m here. My heart is with you.” A simple text like that alone may do more than you realize. Saying something will most likely be better than silence.


And more times than not, they need to know that someone else has been there too. If you have experienced a loss of your own and your friend is looking at you with tear-filled eyes, I would encourage you to follow that tug on your heart to share with them what it was like for you a year or two ago, when you lost your first and kept it hidden away. Maybe you feel pain for not speaking about it more. Maybe you have regrets. Maybe you realized you needed to talk about it. This is your opportunity to connect, to stay the course with them and help someone not make the same mistake.


When a close friend of mine had a stillbirth in her third trimester, I was at a complete loss of words. I had no experience with that kind of loss and honestly, I felt like it would be stupid for me to try and offer some sort of platitude to make her feel better. I felt like there was nothing I could do to make her feel better. Then I realized, that I didn’t necessarily need to make her feel better. I needed to show her love and support and accept wherever our friendship was at that moment, knowing that grief is pretty much a never ending process. Instead of fumbling for eloquent words, I called her and said, “Wanna go for a walk?”


Let your friend lead the conversation and don’t shy away when she opens her heart. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either in order to connect with her in remembering her lost one. Questions like “What did he look like? Why did you choose that name?” may bring a comfort to her that you did not think would.  Be raw with her. Hold her hand. Cry with her. Be angry with her. Be there.


I have found remembering with them their child they lost is the most encouragement a mother of the loss community can receive. Remembering with her on the birthday of her loss child may lift her heart more than you realize. Telling her in a soft way that today you met a little girl with the same name as her child, will bring a bittersweetness to her that will make her shed tears but make her heart twinge, knowing that her child is not a distant memory to be forgotten.


Be there when the wounds are throbbing. Be there when the healing starts.

Her baby was and is part of her life and remembering that with her in subtle ways will mean more than you can imagine.

This post originally appeared on Her View From Home. Read it here.

What else has helped when your friend has gone through this? What would you tell someone who is friends with a woman who loses her baby? If you’ve gone through this, what else would you add?


To the Grieving Mama on Mother’s Day

I keep cards. I have this box under my bed that’s full of memories and notes from friends and family who have given me wishes on special occasions. I picked up this habit from my mother. She always kept cards we kids gave her.

When she passed away we found many boxes and containers full of cards and memorabilia that she kept through the years. Cards with our names scribbled on them from elementary years. Quick one-liners when we were in high school. Long note filled ones from our adulthood. She kept many of them.

I think she kept them to remind herself that she was loved by her children, even though we didn’t always treat her like we loved her.

I also believe she kept them because she knew one day she would be gone and we would need them. She had a habit during the last few years of her life of giving us things and saying things she wanted us to know before she was gone.

She knew we would need those cards as a reminder of how much she loved us.

Today I went to the store to buy cards for all my sisters for Mother’s Day. This is the first year I am not buying a Mother’s Day card for Mom. Had I known last year was our last one together, I wonder what I would have done differently. I stopped in the middle of the aisle, trying to keep it together. Trying to keep myself from crying. Trying to keep all the memories at bay that come with Mother’s Day.

You know what I remember feeling and thinking the most on Mother’s Day growing up? I always had the abundant feeling knowing my mom loved me. I thought about all that she did for me. All the rights. All the wrongs. The gifts. The notes. The fights. But I always knew she loved me. No matter what, I could come to her as I was, flaws and all, and she accepted me with open arms. We had our fights and we certainly weren’t perfect, but I still knew.

I bought this for mom for Mother’s Day back when I was in high school. She kept it hanging by her chair in her front room.

I often wonder what days like this will be like for me ten, twenty years from now. Will the grief feel as raw? Will the holidays have a small emptiness that won’t ever fill?

A friend of mine once said that the rawness of grief never really goes away. There are times when it becomes less raw but it’s there, ready to bleed with the slightest prick. You might even go days without thinking about your lost loved one. But then the moments come. Moments you can’t help but embrace on days like Mother’s Day.

Maybe you’re a mother who is missing one at her table as you celebrate your day. Your heart aches, wondering if your lost daughter would have had your hair. Or maybe your mom has been gone for years but when you wake in the morning on this day you can’t help but make pancakes to keep up the tradition she started when you were a girl.

Maybe you lost your sister and her family is walking through this holiday without her sweet presence. Maybe you lost your husband and he’s not there to celebrate with you and your children.

Maybe you’ve lost someone close and all you can think about are the what ifs for them on this day.


Know you are not alone.
Know that there is a mother down the road who woke up with tears in her eyes, missing a part of her that is gone from this earth.

Don’t let all the Hallmark platitudes get to you this year.
Throw out all the rules of what you’re supposed to feel on this day.

Instead of walking through this day thinking of all the things you should be doing, just take a moment, stop and breathe.

Even if you don’t feel like. God doesn’t need our hearts to feel perfect in order to come to him with our anger and frustration.

Take your heavy heart to the foot of the cross and nail it there.
Nail the anger of loss. Nail the sorrow that Satan won’t let you shake. If you need to wrestle some more with it, then do it. God’s waiting and He’s not going anywhere. He can handle your grappling.

And as you open your heart, let the One who holds your heart hold your sorrow. Let him grieve with you

You may not feel like being grateful for what you have on Mother’s Day because all you can think about is what you’ve lost.
And that’s OK. The thanks will come.

Our grief doesn’t hang on a single holiday experience.

This morning I took out my box of cards. I have one card from my mom on Mother’s Day. She was alive for my first year of Mother’s Day and it was the last one we had before she left. And while I held that card in my hands, I couldn’t help but look up and nod. Nodding to mom, whispering to myself “I know, Mama. I know.” I now understand the importance of a mother’s love. And I knew I wasn’t alone in that moment.

Who are you missing this Mother’s Day? As always, I love hearing from you. Much love to you friends,

Are you grieving this Mother's Day? Me too. Read on for encouragement and how to handle this holiday.

That Time I Started Crying in Chik-Fil-A

What a busy day. First the bank. Then Wal-Mart, followed by the grocery store. Before I knew it, we were ready for lunch. We ended up at my favorite spot, Chik Fil A. My husband always wonders what’s so great about Chik Fil A. Why do people love to go there? Why do I love to go there?

I love their spicy chicken sandwich.

Bustling and chatting greeted us at the door as we went to stand in line. Teenage girls on their phones. A mother chasing her toddler, his squeals of delight echo.Kids running around in the play area. Another mom yelling over a group of kids trying to get their orders placed. Rushing and quickness behind the counter. Orders come out like a well-oiled machine. Smooth.

The teenage girls burst out laughing, pausing from their phones. My attention is drawn to them as they quickly go back to scrolling through their social media feeds, ignoring the lady with them who scolds them for who knows what. My son sits in his chair, impatiently waiting for our food to be delivered.

That’s when I see it. A woman pushed inside the front doors in a wheel chair.

Her wrinkled hands and creased smile show her age. Her young son pushes her gently inside to the tables. He asked mom what she wanted and she smiled, saying “The usual. And if they can make it extra spicy, I’ll take it.”

And as I was sitting at the table with my son, opening his milk, tears started trickling down my cheek.

I couldn’t help but smile at the mother and son as they rolled past our table, nodding my head with a quiet hello.

I couldn’t help but let the quietest cry escape me.

Images of my mother played in my mind. Images of trips to the closest mall growing up where mom and I made our traditional stop at Chik Fil A.

Images of  me pushing her inside the restaurant in her wheel chair, asking her what she’d want to eat.

Hearing her say a spicy chicken sandwich. Granted she would ask for something unusual, like no salt on the sandwich. Who asks for that at a fast food restaurant? I can see me rolling my eyes and shuffling to the counter with her odd request.

I remember when those moments used to embarrass me. That’s the thing about my mother. She wanted things the way she wanted them. One time she made me drive back to Dairy Queen because they didn’t give her extra fudge like she asked and she was going to make sure she got it. As we pulled back up to the window and they said they would charge us for extra fudge, mom just told them to keep her ice cream and we drove off.

I laugh out loud thinking about the times she asked for the manager while checking out at the grocery store, accusing them of “false advertising” on sale ads.  My lips quiver with reminiscent sadness, hearing her ask managers for a discount on our meal since it took so long to deliver.

All these little moments threaded together, creating my teenage experience with my mother.

These threaded moments woven together, supporting me as the strong woman I am today.

Sometimes I see Grief as my enemy. Sometimes I see Grief as my challenger. But that day, I saw Grief as a sweet friend, reminding me that those moments with my mother are times I’ll have for the rest of my life.

For a brief moment, I was expecting my mom to come rollin’ through those doors asking for a spicy chicken sandwich. Then I looked down at my meal, and smiled, realizing.

I love their spicy chicken sandwiches. I love the feeling of a small, warm tradition that comes with a busy day and a stop at Chik Fil A. As if Mom and I had been shopping and needed our waffle fries.

When Grief comes in those moments and all of the sudden you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with emotion, bursting out of your very soul, forget about those around you. Explore those feelings and where they’re coming from.

Let Grief be a friend to you in that moment and laugh at the unexpected memory in an unexpected place with the reminder of the most familiar feelings you can feel.

As I let Grief pulse through my heart that day, quietly laughing at the memories I have stored away of my mother, I can’t help but find myself feeling pursued by my Father. My heavenly Father who knows every essence of my being and every fiber of my sorrow.

I feel him in that moment. Laughing and crying with me. I see Him nod with approval at Grief for the gentleness that came upon me that day as I allowed myself cry in Chik Fil A.


What do you do when Grief hits you unexpectedly? How I handled grief when it hit me  unexpectedly.

To Those Grieving This Holiday

This morning I woke at about  3:30 and just couldn’t go back to sleep. I didn’t wake thinking about food getting cooked, family gathering and laughing. I didn’t think about Black Friday shopping or the crazy chaos of the day.

I didn’t think about anything other than my mother.

My heart was so heavy I could hardly contain myself. I realized that I was starting to dread the start of the day. When Grief starts knocking, I find myself with one of two choices. Fling open the door and have some kind of party (which could be an ugly party, let me tell yah) or lean against that door with all my might, grunting and sweating, keeping my visitor out.

I have learned that Grief likes to especially whisper lies. Lies that I am learning come from the Father of Lies. He likes to whisper that you’re alone in what you’re feeling. He likes to make you think you’re the only who has felt this way. He tells you over and over that this holiday season without your mama will suck.

Honestly, I find myself believing these lies. I find myself wandering back to that empty grief where I push God out and fill up on nothing.

BUT today I just couldn’t. I couldn’t lay there in bed grieving over my family’s first round of holidays without our mom. My heart wasn’t just heavy for my loss.

My heart was heavy for the so many out there who have to go through this time of year without someone they love.

My heart IS heavy for all of us.

The biggest challenge I find for myself when I am wrestling with grief is the memories. Sometimes I want to walk through memory lane, stop and look at the intricacies of the whens and wheres I laughed with mom, cried with mom, and argued with mom. Sometimes I want to just stuff it all down and not deal with it on that particular day. It’s a constant pendulum that swings with my emotions and I just ride it whichever way it sways.

But through the swaying of emotions I have learned that I cannot allow myself to think God is void in these specific emotions.

And I cannot allow myself to think that I am alone in these emotions.

I just want to remind those of you today who have lost someone that you’re not alone today.

As your family gathers around their table and you get that pinch in your heart because there’s one less seat, know you are not alone.

As you load your children up in the car and think you should have one more car seat this year as the heart wrenching miscarriage you had a couple of years ago replays in your mind, know you are not alone.

If your heart is feeling heavy with grief, let me muster hope for you today. 

I don’t pretend to walk high on some mountain of faith. I’m not here to make you feel like your faith is slipped beyond reach.

I just want to come alongside you today and hold your hand with this gentle reminder:

God is with you in your grief. You are not alone today. You are not ever alone.

This morning at 3:30 when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I heard that Voice that rattles me awake. I heard the One who reminded we are not alone as we go through the times of such bittersweet emotions as we celebrate a joyous time of year with the holidays, yet feel the burden of our lost loved ones.

I kept hearing the word brokenhearted. I felt brokenhearted. I started mourning not just my mom, but the moms of many I know who are gone this year.

But then He came close and gently tugged on my heart reminding me that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He sang a love song to me of the healing He brings to the brokenhearted and the binding up of their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

He picked up my broken heart this morning and we wrestled with the pieces for a bit. I thrashed in my bed not ready to receive my broken pieces, but He is faithful. He stayed with me. He told me it was OK. I didn’t have to take them yet if I wasn’t ready.

And you know, that act alone of reminding me of the choice I have opened the flood gates. I ran to Him with the most open heart, nodding my head with tears streaming down my face, ready for the pieces to come back together.

I saw the pieces of my ratted heart, the pieces of tape and glue from the times I tried putting it back. I saw the pieces in his hands, fully mended, with no traces of my shoddy handiwork.

I saw a heart that was whole in His hands. I saw a broken heart that was healed.

Not only did I see my heart being healed, I saw many grief-stricken hearts that have been healed. I saw the promise of healing to come for many hearts. I saw hearts still not ready, but needing more time.

I saw the hope of healing.

And that my friends is what I want you to remember this holiday season.

The Hope that comes.

The real, in your gut, deep in our hearts Hope.

Peace to you,


To Those Grieving This Holiday Season





What It’s Like to Grieve Without God

It took about fifteen minutes.

From seeing the sun just barely above the horizon, to it dipping down below the fields, signaling dusk, we buried my mother in fifteen minutes on an unusually cool summer evening in Kansas.

No service. No big memorial. Just her children and some grandchildren in a place special to my mother. Just how she wanted it.

It took about fifteen minutes.

Mom had been on hospice for barely a week before she left this earth. The night of her death, I remember it was about fifteen minutes after the last of her six children said his goodbyes when she took her last breath.

It took about five days.

Mom passed on Sunday night and we had her apartment cleaned out by Friday. Grief hadn’t actually hit me yet. I was too busy still taking care of her even after she was gone. Years ago I moved us into that apartment and I was going to move her out. It took us five days to clear everything out, like she was never there.

It took about two weeks.

I had been busy getting all of mom’s accounts in line and organizing everything, that grieving for my mother had taken a back seat. I was avoiding my grief, keeping it at bay. Afraid of the torrential waves that might not stop. About fourteen days after my mother left this world, I realized for the first time that my world was a lot more empty without her. As I reached for my phone to call her during our morning ritual, the truth sank in. Truth that said I hadn’t fully grieved the loss of Mama.

I had had my moments of tears and bursts of anguish. I would see a picture of her and quickly lose my breath. As my son would toddle into the room, my heart would ache, wishing my mother was here to see him. Then it really hit me.

All this time I had been grieving, I had been telling myself it will get better. I reminded myself that God would give me peace and comfort. I remembered the kind words of others to help ease my pain. I worried about the rest of my family and their grieving process, praying for all of us nonstop. Yet. I realized my prayers were empty. My words were powerless. My belief was robotic and formulaic.

Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for everything under the heavens. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance (NIV). And in the New Testament we are constantly reminded that God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5, NIV). When I remembered these verses I saw my emptiness for what it really was.

was allowing myself to grieve without God.

I was expecting Him to fix me. I was waiting on Him to fix my heart. All the while I was blind to the truth that God was actually grieving with me. The Creator of the universe had a broken heart for the loss of my mom and He wanted to grieve with me.

While I truly believe my mother is in heaven, the hole that gets left behind when you lose someone seems unfillable. So wide does that hole seem that I pushed away the only One who could fill it. My Father of the fatherless who has always held me in his hand, even when I was blind to His grasp was pushed to the backseat as an afterthought.

I had placed Him so high on this pedestal as the “fixer” that I forgot the reality of His love.

The moment I decided to actually feel His presence and to recognize His tears for my loss, that was the moment the Prince of peace filled my heart. I had placed Him so high on this pedestal as the “fixer” that I forgot the reality of His love. The love that says I will never leave you nor forsake you. The love that is truly sad when we are sad.

A love that gets angry with us.

A  love that will stand up for truth with us.

A love that pierces through all the darkness that can so easily shroud around us during grief.

When you are grieving the loss of someone that you believe is in heaven, sometimes the saying “well, at least they’re in heaven” gets thrown around as a platitude because, as humans, we don’t always know how to respond to grief. Let me remind you of the great power and real peace that can come from the deep down gut belief that you’re loved one is in heaven. You’re loved one is with the Spirit who holds the world. She is with the One that was with Jesus on the cross when he came to save us just so she could one day join Him. She is dancing with the One who placed the stars in the sky and created a world so full of life and diversity that we may never know the full extent of it.

She’s free and whole for the first time.

It took me countless moments of unsatisfying tears to realize that grieving without God is an endless road, empty with no restoration in sight.

It took me losing my mother to understand what it really means to believe in heaven. And that is something I will never lose hold of again.


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Empty Grief

I forgot to call upon Your name.

I couldn’t see out of this bottomless pit.
My grief felt empty. I felt alone.
Blind. Numb. Empty.

I couldn’t see out of this bottomless pit.
Missing you more than I ever thought possible.
Blind. Numb. Empty.
Wishing I had spent those times with you when I said no.

Missing you more than I ever thought possible.
Wondering if you knew how much I loved you.
Wishing I had spent those times with you when I said no.
I isolated my grief.

Wondering if you knew how much I loved you.
I had cried so much my body was shaking on empty.
I isolated my grief.
I no longer wanted to hear their condolences.

I had cried so much my body was shaking on empty.
My grief felt empty. I felt alone.
I couldn’t see out of this bottomless pit.
I forgot to call upon Your name.