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when the holidays magnify heartache instead of joy

    I’m a dreamer.

    Not in the sense that I’m a visionary with lofty ideas or plans.  I’m not that type.

    I’m literally a dreamer. I wake nearly every morning having dreamt the night before and can usually remember large portions of these dreams.  Sometimes they are off-the-wall, make-no-sense types of dreams. Other times, I wake with a deep impression, a clarity, a sense that my dream was not just a dream.

    Sunday morning, was one of those moments.

    I’ll spare you the details, but the gist was that I quickly delivered a baby boy and he only lived for a few short minutes.

    I woke with a broken heart.

    I am not pregnant, we are not trying for another baby, it’s not a story I recently read or watched or had a conversation about. There is no logical reason why my sleeping brain would dream about this. Someone told me once that when interpreting dreams, pay less attention to the details and focus on the emotions instead.  So I woke, thought about my dream and instantly began to pray.

    This time of year is about joy and cheer and merry and bright. There is so much to celebrate, so many delicious smells and cherished traditions, festive parties and happy moments. It is the most wonderful time of the year.

    But the holidays also magnify heartache.

    The loss of loved ones. Broken marriages. Sickness. Financial struggles. Unexpected hardships. Unrealized dreams. Fears coming true.

    These things happen all year long, but it sure seems they pile up during the holidays. Heaps of sadness, heartbreak, struggle, loss come pouring down during this time of year when we should be singing merrily.

    I don’t mean to be a downer. I just know there is a lot of pain underneath our glittery sequins – sometimes hidden masterfully, other times oozing out in the least expected moments.

    You are not alone.


    As I lay in bed on sunday morning, I prayed. I prayed for the mothers who have lost babies. I prayed for the families who are fractured, for those with scary diagnoses, for the heartache and brokenness we all feel.  Will you join with me in praying? For relationships healed and bodies made well, for jobs found and hope restored. But most of all, for an unexplainable peace to cover and comfort in the face of trial.

    I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

    140 thoughts on “when the holidays magnify heartache instead of joy”

    1. I wanted to tell you how much this blog post touched me over the holidays. My husband and I found out just a few weeks before Christmas that I had miscarried our first child. We had planned to tell our families that we were expecting over the Christmas holidays, but instead, we walked around as if we were in the twilight zone. I have this post bookmarked, and have even shared with my Facebook friends, as a reminder that the Lord truly is close to those who are brokenhearted. Thank you for your beautiful blog.

    2. Your blog is a gift. Your honesty and spirit is such a blessing. My marriage broke this year and I will spend my first Christmas divorced. There is so much brokenness in my life and yet all I long for is reconciliation of all things. Thank you for sharing your soul and your thoughts. I feel very broken and yet maybe being broken is where God wants me right now. If you ever need another idea for an art print – I would like one of the psalm verse from this blog post.

    3. This post captures my heart more than any other I’ve read this season. Thank you for having the courage to share your dream. For the last three Christmases, my heart has been burdened for the brokenhearted. I used to feel like a downer, but now I find comfort in knowing that these are the ones for whom Christ came: the broken, the burdened, the weary, the weighed down, the imperfect, the messy, the deserted and defeated. And I’m right there in that mix!

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. xo, Linsey

    4. Thank you for posting this. I am discovering this year how much the holidays can magnify loss. Thanks for sharing the bible verse in your picture. I’m going to have to add it to my board in my office.

    5. Thank you for your faith, for sharing from your heart, for your authenticity. This Christmas is not a Christmas full of joy at my home. Last week, I discovered my husband has been unfaithful to me. He is not in the home anymore and I am trying to hold it together for my 3 year old son. I haven’t been able to open any Christmas cards coming in the mail. They have all gone in the trash this year because seeing other families happy is too painful. My prayer for my family and for all those who are feeling deep sorrow this Christmas is for Jesus to bring healing, peace and comfort. Psalm 23:4
      “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

      1. Lucie,
        My heart goes out to you. I’ve been where you are. I know the pain. The numbing realization. I’ve also known the tender touch of Jesus in the darkest hour. Praying Jesus holds near this Christmas…be strong my sister, He who created you is for you and completely, perfectly trustworthy.
        ((( Hugs )))

    6. EMILY,

    7. I will be praying along with you. I always feel like a belong a little better when a welcom has been voiced for the ill, because for now, that is me. May God be my loyal choice throughout any trial. He is good, but it is also good to feel a little belonging. Thanks for recognizing something real for many people!

    8. As much as I enjoy your blog and the pretty photos of your home, I’m thankful for your willingness to share what God put on your heart. Praying for you and continued boldness, and for the people who commented on this post.

    9. There have been several times this past year when you have shared your heart that have been so meaningful to me. This has been a year of loss for my dear little family. Our family home is gone and my marriage of 37 years has been crushed. I am so thankful that the Lord places moments in front of me with people like you. Thank you so much for letting yourself minister to others.

    10. I am a mother who just lost her baby at four months into my pregnancy. I find so much solace in the holidays as we focus on the Savior. I am so grateful for the peace that my faith gives me. Perhaps the dream was given so that you could have empathy or just so you could write this beautiful piece. Merry Christmas to you! May we all be a little kinder and a little softer to each other. Our unseen burdens can be lightened as we lift one another. :)

    11. Emily, I know the Lord sent me to your blog this morning to read this. My family and I needed it more than you know. Our dad is in ICU with a heart attack and things are looking real good. I know we are not the only ones going through something like this at the holidays. Your words were the encouragement we needed today. thanks again for your beautiful blog. It is by far my favorite. Your home is beautiful along with your faith which makes it extra special. God has given you a great gift and you are glorifying him with it.

    12. Life is an interesting mixture of joy and pain. Christmas time brings me so much joy but there is always a measure of pain. We have special ornaments in memory of our first born daughter who is celebrating her 4th Christmas in heaven. Thank you for your beautifully written and thoughtful post.

    13. You are truly inspiring…. Your words speak volumes in the most kind and sympathetic way… All your words have truth deep within…. Yes, the holiday season is for rejoicing and laughter, but for many these days of joy are muttled by sorrow of a loss, hardship, sickness and tragedy…. It is a time of reflection and resolution. I too pray for those that associate holidays with some kind of pain… For myself loosing my mother has made the holidays so much harder, yet I pray each day that I stay strong to make these days brighter for my children…. I thank you for sharing something that most are fearful to share. I admire you for putting it out there for others to know. We are not alone in this. We have the Lord and those that are willing to open their hearts and share their sorrow to somehow ensure the joy of another…. thank you Emily. Thank you….

    14. I have had dreams about birthing a baby or about being pregnant and in labour pains. When I have prayed about an interpretation for the dream it was always about the birthing of a new ministry or a business venture. This could be about something you have started or about something you are about to start. It may also be in reference to someone close to you that may be starting something new. Keep praying and the Holy Spirit will definitely give you the meaning of the dream. \I love the way God speaks to us in His many ways. It is such a privilege to be used this way.

    15. Absolutely beautiful! I know the Lord gave you that dream so you could identify with all the hurting people, especially now. Thank you for being obedient, and for feeling that pain for/with them!! I love your style, your art, and your heart! Blessings, sister!!

    16. Hi Emily! Thank you for your meaningful & heartfelt blog post. There are so many hurting people in this world We cannot control others but we can control our response to life’s pain. I recently read a book by Beth Moore titled “Get Out of That Pit!”. What a tremendous blessing it was to me. You see, our 27 yo daughter married over 3 years ago and along with her husband, has turned away from our entire family (first started with her father – my husand). Our daughter & her husband refuse and return cards we send to them. No contact – zero. No phone number. They blocked us on Facebook. What a heartache for a parent. We are not perfect parents but we love our children (we also have a son who is very close). Our daughter has zero contact with the entire family as well. We hope & pray to see them someday; it’s been close to 4 years. Our dear Lord Jesus knows first-hand about suffering. He offers & extends comfort in an incredible & super-natural way! Our Lord is AWESOME! The Word of God gives such encouragement and hope. Much of the Psalms are so comforting. Turn to our Lord; seek His face and He will answer – in His perfect timing. Waiting can be so hard – but be of good cheer, for the Lord has overcome the world! Merry Christmas & Blessings to all. Melody
      PS – Emily, I love your decorating blog & witness for our Lord Jesus.

    17. Oh, Emily, you are so right! I have become so much more aware of heartache (and yes, so many different kinds of heartache) at Christmas in particular, ever since my own granddaughter passed away over a year ago. While there is so much emphasis on happy celebrations this time of year, there remains pain for my daughter and her husband, and at times for our other three daughters (the aunties), for close friends who are having babies of their own, and, of course, for us as grandparents as we watch and wait for this season to be over. But it’s never really over. Quinn will always be a part of us and we are learning, be it ever so slowly, to be thankful for what we had with her. Yes, pray for those that mourn! Prayer is so underestimated. And sit with those that weep. Just sit and allow them to weep. Words aren’t always needed or welcome. Also learning that there is joy and peace that comes through the process of grief. Thanks again.

    18. Emily,

      Thank you so much for this. We lost our little girl last March, and this is our first Christmas without her. Your post and the verses you’ve shared are such balm to my soul. Thank you for the encouragement, and being willing to share in another’s burden.

      (I’ve read through some previous comments, and you mentioned you might scan and make available your beautiful artwork. I would really cherish that print if you did.)

      Thank you!

    19. thank you emily. for addressing the truth of my holidays. They are truly magnifying my hurt. This year has brought the loss of my marriage. of many relationships and a new job. The holidays have been a time of such joy and celebration and time together in the past, and this year they seem to magnify the loneliness and my aloneness. I signed the papers yesterday. the ones that change my name back to my maiden name and officially finalize. and I felt such relief but such sorrow. reading this was refreshing.

    20. Emily,
      New subscriber here. Your kindhearted message was a veritable godsend. It uncannily arrived in my inbox when I needed it the most and let’s just say it hit home hard. Basically the message reinforced why I’m happy to have discovered your Web site/company. I do believe that humans are all energetically connected, which is why the power of prayer and positive thoughts/thinking has been proved to be miraculous and wholly beneficial to the receiving party.

    21. So beautifully written, Emily. Yes, I will join you in praying for those who are sad, alone, bitter, scared or sick this time of year. It must be very hard when so many are (or appear to be) joyful, carefree and blessed. Christmas is truly a special time of year, but it can be difficult for so many. I will pray for them. Thank you for calling us to do this!

    22. Three years ago, December 10, 2010, we met with an oncologist and learned my husband had terminal lung cancer and, at best, had 4 months to live. He lived 80 days. This couldn’t have come on a more perfect day. Thank you for thinking of others.

    23. Wow, this really hit home. My mom passed away 2 months ago- very suddenly. I got engaged a month ago. I have really, really struggled with not knowing “where my mom is”. I just can’t wrap my mind around it.
      My mom passed away before she could see any of her 3 kids get married and I’ve found myself wondering lately if she knows that I’m engaged. It breaks my heart that she isn’t here with me and I’ve really dragged my feet planning our wedding because…well, she isn’t here. And it really hurts. Two nights ago I had a dream that I was sitting on my mom’s hospital bed next to her. She was in a coma and I was talking to her (this all really happened, she was in a coma for a day before she was pronounced brain dead and we had to turn the life support machines off). But while I was talking to her in my dream, I took my ring off and held it up to her to tell her that Todd and I were getting married and she smiled and opened her eyes. She just looked at me and smiled. I woke up crying. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that dream- it seemed so real. I know we aren’t “supposed to believe” too much about dreams but to give my heart a little peace, I’m going to choose to believe that was her way of telling me that she knew and that she was happy for me. It was so good to see her smile again.

    24. We lost a close friend last night to cancer. He was way too young to die and was loved by so many people young and old in our community. He touched lives by serving on mission trips in Bosnia and on the Appalachia Service Project. He was a youth leader and mentor. He made connections with everyone he met. His daughter is getting married on Saturday and was hoping her father could live long enough to walk her down the aisle. Over two hundred guests will be there on Saturday. Another of our dear friends had a miscarriage last week and she and her husband are feeling heartache. And, another friend is waiting to hear from medical tests. Was your post something I needed to read? I think so! Pray without ceasing.

    25. This post was beautiful and timely for so many. I received an update from an old blog I used to follow just last night, of a beautiful mommy that lost her precious baby boy just 37 minutes after he came into this world. I went to bed with a heavy heart last night, flooded with emotion over my own loss. I carried our baby girl, Lilly Hope, until the Lord brought her to Himself from my womb just over 4 years ago. Her precious life taught me so much more about our Lord than anything ever has. She taught me HOPE. The true hope that will never be experienced this side of Heaven. The hope we cling to in times of utter devastation. The hope of Christ. That He is Who He says He is. That my daughter is with Him safe and sound. Hope that I too will be by His side someday. The Hope of things not seen, but certainly experienced. The hope of joy. Joy restored, joy perfected. Complete in Christ. Our hearts ache from the treacheries of this dark and broken world. So very thankful tonight for the hope we have been given. Hope in the Light of the World. Praying for all tonight with heavy hearts. Casting them on Him…and knowing through Hope experuenced, He will comfort. Our sufferings are universal. Pain is pain, and loss is loss. Through these things, we are connected with a deeper understanding of what God wants from His children. What an honor and privledge to pray for others…what a humbling comfort it brings on the receiving end as well. Thank you Emily for this word…it’s been on my heart all day.

    26. Thank you for this post Emily. You are so right- the holidays do magnify heartache. Thank you for the reminder of what we can do when we feel helpless- we can pray. Beautiful card too.

    27. Lovely. So appropriate and so needed, especially this time of year. It’s so easy for us to focus on what we may want, or don’t have, this time of year. I am humbled by everyone’s by the comments and will pray for those who are hurting. Thank you for reminding us how lucky we are that Jesus is the greatest gift we could have ever received.

    28. You are so right – when everyone seems to be so happy – there are some of us in pain. Six years ago, exactly one week before Christmas day, my husband of 38 years collapsed and died suddenly. As I’m coming up on the anniversary the pain becomes so intense. It’s hard. But with God’s love and grace I continue to grow stronger every day. Thank you for your prayers!

    29. Emily,
      This was such a wonderful post that moved me to join you in prayer. We know of so many going through various difficulties. What an awesome opportunity that you used this dream and emotion to minister to so many that you will never know! God is Good — All the Time! Thank you for allowing Him to use you.

      Blessings to your Family this Christmas!

    30. Beautiful words, Emily. You have such a sweet heart. I will join you in prayer as well.

      My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are missionaries in Africa. A few months ago, in the boonies and four hours from the nearest hospital, they delivered their baby boy themselves at 27 weeks. He survived only a couple hours and there was nothing they could do to save him– he was simply born too early. Elijah Dale was due this week.

      So this year, our hearts have been heavy with that loss and I can only imagine what Christmas will feel like for my sweet SIL who doesn’t have her baby in her arms. But God has provided their needs in amazing ways. He has comforted, loved, and showed up like never before. It’s still not at all easy but we cling to the promise that God “works everything together for the good of those who love him”, even if we may not see that promise fulfilled until Heaven.

    31. So very timely and heartfelt…I was so touched as I read this. There is incredible pain, hopelessness and despair magnified by the ‘perfect expectations’ around this time of year. Sharing your concern and where our hope is anchored does make a difference thank you!

    32. Thank you, Emily, for praying and reminding us to pray for one another during an often difficult season. Christmas has always been so joyful to me; this Christmas season has been full of heartache. However, I am reminded all the more of WHY Jesus came and I am so grateful he did. Because of him, our sorrow will be turned joy and our mourning into dancing. Merry Christmas to all!

    33. A touching post. I would love to see you use that verse to make some note cards. A meaningful message to send on a number of different occasions.

    34. Thank you for taking the time to post these thoughts, scriptures, and reminders of that which is on Christ’s heart as we celebrate Him. Appreciate you and your heart for Him.

    35. Such a beautiful post. I am a mother who lost 2 babies in the last 3 yrs. I also lost my Dad 2 yrs ago this Christmas…it is true that sometimes the holidays mask the hurt of some. I thank you for your prayer and pray for love and joy for your family this holiday season.


    36. Hi, Emily! We are sisters in the Lord, even though I don’t have the privilege of knowing you in person. I’m just one of the thousands of followers you have & I just wanted to thank you for caring & praying for the brokenhearted! This world indeed aches in unspeakable ways, but that’s exactly why the Savior came to us – to bring comfort & joy. Our fourth baby, Blessing, died in my womb a year ago & while last Christmas was really hard, this one seems much harder. She really will NOT be home for Christmas. But praises be to the Lord Most High, because He has visited & redeemed His people! Blessing is indeed in the gentle arms of our sweet Savior & we cannot bless Him enough for His great mercy! Thank you for ministering to me through this post & blessing many grieving mothers like me with your loving prayers of care during this heartbreaking season of sorrowful joy! May the Lord bless you and yours!

    37. My little family just put our two special ornaments on our tree for our babies in Heaven. Grace & Peace are beautiful gifts in the midst of pain. Thank you.

    38. I’m a widow and all our kids have left the nest and now live miles away. I miss my husband, my best friend so very much even though it’s been several years. He died so young, early 40’s. I haven’t even put my tree up this year or decorated my mantel, hung a wreath. I have forced myself to do so every year, but right now I just can’t do it. Maybe I will – there is still time and that is what I love about my faith. This is advent. A world living in darkness hoping for a great light. Every week when I light another candle there is less darkness. I love the symbolism our faith gives us with the advent wreath. It keeps me centered on the “reason for the season” as they say. There have been years I have put the tree up on Christmas eve while others are hurriedly taking theirs down the day after Christmas! I have left mine up long enough to really celebrate what happened on that day – Mary gave birth to our LORD! And as the scriptures you have written remind us, if he had not been born we would still be in darkness with no hope whatsoever. Well, I’ve gone on too long. Thank you for writing what’s in a lot of hearts. My prayers go out to all who carry such heavy hearts for so many reasons. May they really feel the comfort, love and PEACE only HE can give us. We must remember sometimes it is thru others that He comes to us. I believe he has done that thru you. Thank you again.

    39. Thank you for sharing your heart here today. Your post is timely in the sense that I too have been feeling heavy hearted over the suffering my spiritual brothers and sisters ar enduring as well as my own experiences of loss. Last year around this time, my sister-in-law lost her four month old baby girl. And 9 years ago around this time, I lost my mother. Yes, there is pain beneath the glitter and sequins. But, through Christ our pain does not overwhelm us because He is Good. Thank you!

    40. What wonderful encouragement. I am challenged to reach out, pray for and be sensitive to those around us whose hurts are intensified this season. It’s what Jesus came for after all.

    41. Lovely, lovely words and prayers today. If we ever need prayer, praying and pray-ers before, it’s now. I shutter to think what my life would be like today if it weren’t for the prayers of so many around the globe. They take my name before the Throne of Grace with consistent frequency. That’s good insurance and assurance.

      Happy highways,
      (Manila Philippines)

      P.S. I’m new to your blog. Are your cards your own work? What papers, cards and tools do you like to use? Thanks.

    42. Thank you for letting others know that this IS a difficult time for some of us. I lost my 18 year old daughter several years ago and seeing other moms and daughters at Christmas (her favorite time of the year), sometimes is just too much for me. I pray for my heart to heal and pray that others, no matter what they have gone through or what they are currently going through…will also be healed and find the joy of Jesus. Thank you again, Emily for this post.

    43. Thank you, Emily, for sharing your heart! Your thoughts serve as a great reminder to us of those who are hurting. Thank you for your obedience.

    44. This post really spoke to me. Last night we got some devastating news. When I woke up I had an overwhelming feeling sadness, loss and fear. When I opened up my email this morning and read your post, I felt a sense of calmness. God is in control and this reassures me I am not alone in my family’s struggles. I find comfort in knowing God is walking beside me on this journey and He guides me in love. Love being the most important. Thank you for being vulnerable in writing this because I know that is not always easy. I’m sure I’m not the only mother you helped out there. God bless.

    45. Emily,
      I’ve read your blog for a few years now and I just want to say Thank You. Thank you for your witness to the world and encouragement in Christ. Thank you for keeping it real, and telling us about when you don’t have it all together. And thank you for making beautiful things and showing us how to do it too!
      P.s. Speaking of dreams I had one last week that I met you and got to see your Christmas decor haha :)

    46. Wow. Sunday the 8th was the World Wide Candle Lighting Ceremony for infant and child loss. God must have put the broken hearts on your mind because he knew you’d go to Him in prayer. God is pretty incredible that way.

    47. Finally. A blogger that remembers those of us that have broken hearts and for whom the holidays are very hollow. I lost my only child to suicide one year ago next week. The holidays are now a source of pain. Thank you so much for your post.

    48. emily, is there any way you will consider selling small (like 3 x 5 or 5 x 7 ) prints of your artwork for today? I have someone this would comfort. I’d just print it in b and w and back it w scrapbook paper in a small frame …a blessing she could accept any time. such a precious word of encouragement that so many need! thanks for considering!

      1. yes. It was just a sketch I did for myself, but I would be happy to scan it and turn it into a print to download. I’ll work on that tonight and hopefully have it up soon.

    49. What a beautiful, inspired post. Thank you! I lost my dad 2 months ago and feel the bitter loss of the Christmas day phone call that will not happen. Thank you again!

    50. Thank you for the beautifully written blogspot and verses you reminded us with. My heart is heavy and light at the same time. Two days ago- Sunday evening- my beloved grandmother breathed her last. I was there with her when God called her home. She had fallen asleep the day before, still hanging on, nothing more to be done for her but keep her medicated and from pain. She was so incredibly dear to me and to so many others.

      I miss her.

      And then the very next day was my birthday.

      It was difficult to celebrate and I can say I have no idea how I managed to accept, with grace, the numerous birthday wishes when all I wanted to say was ‘I’m not happy.”…it has only been through The Lord that I have been able to keep on with a thankful heart while caring for my family, my husband, and three children.

        1. I feel and pray for all of you out there. I too am crying day in and day out over the struggle and heartache. I don’t celebrate Christmas but instead do Hanukkah but was unable get my four children ANYTHING for the holiday. But even in their sadness and confusion they manage to stand strong and tell me, “Mommy, its ok.”

    51. Such a timely post it almost scary. This has been a very tough year for our family with a lot of earthly loss but heavens gain. With that said there has been some wonderful memories made and stories shared. This time of year does seem to magnify everything, the good and the bad. Thank you for sharing our words today. Blessing upon you this holiday season and always remember the reason we celebrate.

    52. I’m a dreamer too! And am constantly trying to analyze what my dream meant. This is such a sad reality to the Christmas season and it is EXACTLY what our Christmas message series is about at church this month. Thanks for sharing your heart!

    53. Thank you for sharing your heart with us Emily. My brother and his wife lost 2 babies in one years time, both to heart conditions. My heart breaks for them. As I celebrate the holidays this year with my 4 children, I can’t help but feel their pain and ache with them. Such a hard time of year for sure. Thank you for the prayer.

    54. This post sent shivers ! We are in the middle of unemployment & possible foreclosure issues. This time of year is causing great stress for me as I tire of the grind to make it in this upside down economy. Your post is a reality check for all the gaiety. Not that I wish those who are to not feel the wonderfulness of the season, just that an awareness that many are working very hard to make it and the season can be tough.

      The new “normal” is not fun for this family who has always worked hard and been productive.
      Thanks for putting it out there.

    55. wow…this is how i wake up most mornings right now. heartbroken. this year i lost two loved ones, my father in law in february (diagnosed with cancer in late january and gone february 15); my sister patty, gone unexpectedly on october 20th. the void left by them in my life can not be explained. i cringe at the thought of celebrating the holidays, since they’ve become not about the birth of the baby Jesus but about loud & crowded gatherings…even the idea of my very large family gathering at christmas time makes me cringe.
      i normally don’t share such a personal comment on blog posts, but today you brought this out of me. i will definitely be praying for others dealing with loss during this season…♥

    56. Thank you for praying for my family! You may not have known who you were praying for at the time, but we are at least a few of those.

    57. My heartfelt sympathy for all of you who have had a loss or a loss around this time of year. I have noticed it but never really stopped to think about it. Yes, there is a lot of sadness this time of year. My father-in-law passed away last year just after Christmas and it is hard time for my husband’s family. I also think of my mother, which has been many years since she passed, but this is a time I would have loved my children to share and wish they had known such a wonderful person.
      Thank you for bringing this beautiful sentiment of peace and I think it’s nice to remember and acknowledge, may you all enjoy the blessings of peace and joy.

    58. Thank you for your post and prayers Emily. I Have lost 2 babies this year (June and December) both ending in miscarriage. I’m actually scheduled for a D and C tomorrow morning :(. We are grieving but have peace that our heavenly Father knows all things and loves us and is good in the midst of hard trials. Thank you for you lovely post. The holidays are wonderful and beautiful, a time a celebrating and being with family but they do magnify the sting of loss and heartache as well it seems. It’s a true reminder that we live in a fallen world who desperately needs a Savior. Blessings to you as you celebrate him this season.

    59. A dear friend lost her 1 year old to his battle with HLH. He was hospitalized for nearly 7 weeks. It was agonizing. She buries him today. MY spirit is crushed… I can only imagine how she is feeling. She and her entire family are believers. They were even present for services on Sunday (and he had just passed the Thursday before). Our comfort is in the Lord. They bring such glory to His name in their grief.

      Thank you for taking the time to express what was on your heart. <3!

    60. Beautiful blog post.

      As I comment, they’ve just announced a 2nd boy died, falling through the ice on a pond outside of Tulsa….the first was a few days ago, 6 yr old boy fell through ice on a creek behind his apartment complex, his older brother was able to get out.

      The week before Thanksgiving my grandfather passed away…he was 95, his funeral service was HUGE…there was not a soul in the world who had a bad word to say about him. Sweet, kind, caring, soft spoken man. WWII veteran, life long mechanic….healthy and active until 3 days before he died.

      So many friends struggling in raising their teenage daughters in a world that would love to corrupt them and take their innocence.

      This is put a damper on my usually cheerful holiday spirit. I find myself praying often, making myself do Christmas-y crafts to keep things light for my almost 5 year old. Thankful that we have a SAVIOR to celebrate and clinging to him a little tighter this year.

    61. Thank you for sharing this…my Bible study today was about being a peace-bringer this advent season – pour God’s blessings on others, spread the good news of life, love and peace.

      “I am looking for God in each person I meet, in each situation I encounter, I am more open to God’s Spirit working in me, shaping me into a vessel of God’s peace. Keeping my eyes on God helps me stay open to God’s transforming power and allows God to remake me into Christ’s likeness. I can then become Christ’s heart, mind, and hands in the world”

      Merry Christmas!!

    62. I can barely see through the tears. My mama died on August 1. Yes, she was 83, but she was my mama. As the stocking she made for me as a baby was hung, my heart broke..and yet, how special it is to have that. thank you

    63. As one who has lived that very nightmare, I thank you for your compassionate words today and that I know that Overcomer of which you speak personally. Many families need those prayers during this season and every other day, so I’m also thankful for the reminder to reach out in love to others’ broken hearts as well.

    64. Thanks for this. This Advent, I’m praying for someone who lost their baby this summer. Last week, on what would’ve been his 6 month birthday, she launched “13 days of rainbows” as a way to honor her son. The idea is to do an act of kindness some time during those 13 days or to do 13 different acts if you’re feeling ambitious– all in honor of her Noah. I’ve been doing my best during this busy time of year to participate to honor her boy. But also acting out of gratitude, because it’s only through the grace of God that I have a healthy toddler to cuddle every day, while she only had her boy for 13 short days.

    65. Beautiful, poignant post. Thank you for your sensitivity. There are so many for whom this holiday and every holiday are fraught with memories of pain, abandonment, suffering and unrealized dreams. May the Lord grant His precious peace to those in need of his healing touch. Blessings to you and yours this season.

    66. Emily,
      Thank you for all the heartfelt honesty in your writing. Is there any way you’d consider making the 2 Peter image from this post into greeting cards? I’d love to purchase some (or especially to purchase a PDF, to save shipping to Alaska). Thanks again.

    67. Thank you for touching my heart with this today. You were able to beautifully put into words what so many of us feel. It was a reminder to me to expand my prayers. I always pray for peace this season for myself and my family but I’m reminded by your post that our loss isn’t unique and there are many who feel both joy and grief this season. Thank you.

    68. Thank you for this. I’ve been following you blog for a few months now and greatly enjoy every post. This was so deep and so lovely. Thank you for sharing and reminding us all to pray.

    69. Emily, thank you for sharing your heart. There are many of us out there who live just as you’ve said – masterfully hiding their broken hearts. I’m one of them this year. I delivered my stillborn son at 32 weeks along in September. This Christmas is filled with sadness for my husband and I, but we are trying our best to rejoice and be thankful for the plans we know God has for us in the future. We know that we have our own little angel this year looking down on us and that he is in a far better place than we could ever imagine. Still, many days I go home feeling exhausted from the quiet guarding of my heart, and it’s so nice to know that God is speaking through people like you to remind others to pray for us living this holiday with sadness. :) Thank you!!
      Much love, BreAnne

    70. Joining you in prayer this morning. I have one friend who just had breast cancer surgery and another whose brother was given just 24 hours to live. Many hurts during this season of joy. Thankful we know we can bring those hurting to the One who restores.

    71. Emily,
      Thank you for the reminder that even though the joy of Christ’s birth is upon us, there is a very hurting world. Many do not have the hope we do through these times. I kneel with you in prayer to uplift those who are hurting and for those who don’t know the hope that is within us, that Christ is revealed to them in a mighty way. Bless you and your family. Merry Christmas.

    72. This is so good. I will be praying too, for the many who are hurting and lonely this Christmas Season. Prayer is a wonderful thing…and prayer changes things. We also need to open our hearts AND homes to these dear ones. (how about surprising them with some caroling?:) Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas filled with JOY.

    73. Emily, thank you so much for the thoughtfulness and compassion expressed in your post. Often, people are uncomfortable with others’ pain and don’t know how to acknowledge it, especially during holidays. Our family has struggled with many different kinds of losses, and special days are bittersweet. I’d like to encourage your readers not to be afraid to share the sadness of hurting family and friends. A hug, a card that doesn’t say “Happy Holidays!”, saying simply “I’m sorry, I know this must be a hard time for you” can mean so much when it seems like no one remembers.

      Jesus’ coming into our broken world with us, to give us peace that lasts forever, is the greatest comfort we could have. I love the promise of the prophecy in Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners.”

    74. Oh Emily, you surely touched my heart. This was so beautifully written that I started weeping because of the truth in the message. I felt sad for a moment but I now feel lifted. Unspoken sadness will most certainly be in my prayers. Thank you so much for the Lord’s Word to pen. God Bless!

    75. Thank you so much for this, I needed it more than you know. My parents separated this year after more than 30 years together (both my brother and I are grown adults) and this will be the first Christmas with a “different family”. Although I feel like it should be easier since we are all adults, sometimes I wonder if it isn’t harder. So thank you, thank you, thank you for this timely post :)

    76. Thank you, Emily – I am working, and saw your email came in… Wasn’t expecting to read that :) I am a mother who lost a baby in August – our fourth child, a boy. I should be a month away from delivering him. Thanks for listening to the Lord and for praying for the broken-hearted. We pray with you for so many who are grieving and struggling this season… I am so very grateful for Jesus, who knows are sorrow, collects every tear, and one day will wipe them all away.

    77. Beautifully said, Emily. :-)

      We had a huge loss in August of 2012 where we lost 4 close family members in a 3 week period (my sister, my nephew, my mother-in-law and my aunt – all to different causes) so last Christmas was not a good time at all for us. I felt I needed to put some Happy in my Holidays so I spent time over 6 weeks volunteering with the Salvation Army Christmas Toy Store and Food Hamper programs. It was the best thing I could have done. It felt so good to give back – every day I came home with warmth in my heart just knowing I helped someone less fortunate just a little bit. My sister (the one who passed away) always wanted our family (4 of us plus our spouses and kids) to get together on Christmas Day and, instead of having our own Christmas Dinner, to dedicate that time to serving the less fortunate at a soup kitchen. Sadly, we never got together to do it. So, the time I spent helping at the Salvation Army I dedicated in her memory.

      If you have the time, please consider helping out those less fortunate over the holidays. It’s the best Gift you can give to those who need your help, and to yourself.

      Merry Christmas!

    78. Thank you for being led by the spirit to write this post. I am sure it will touch many hearts.
      My son is in first grade and his teacher was due the first of the year and she delivered a still-born baby last week. Our hearts are all broken.
      Prayers go out to all of those who are heartbroken this time of year.

    79. Oh Emily, thank you. So glad that God spoke to you in such a unique way because you are so right, many are hurting right now in profound ways. The glitter serves as cover, unless they simply hide until the season is over. Echoing your prayers for the (heart) broken.

    80. Thank you so much for this. After praying so fervently and for so long, it sometimes seems that my prayers have fallen on deaf ears. But then I get a glimpse of encouragement (even through something as small as an email in my in-box) with the two verses that I have been clinging to with all of my strength, and it reminds me that I’m not alone. Thank you for the prayers. I’m also praying for others with tears in there eyes today too.

    81. well done sister!!!!…you have the heart of God…whaat beaks His heart is supposed to break ours…I love your blog…’re are a great Mommy and wife……keep being obedient…love from Canada…

    82. Thank you Emily. A few friends are going through huge trials right now and I can only imagine how they must feel a midst all the glitter and gold that comes with the holiday season. Thank you for reminding me to keep them close in my heart and prayers.

    83. I really appreciated this today. This holiday season has been magnifying some painful circumstances in my life this year. Remembering other’s needs and praying for them in this tough season helps bring comfort and joy to us all.

    84. Absolutely beautiful. The high expectations of the holidays alone can make so many feel low. Thank you for encouraging us to rejoice but not forget to lift up others.

    85. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us encounter throughout the holidays, Emily. Praying with you for all those who are broken-hearted this season.

    86. This was a much needed read for me. I am one of those struggling right now. My husband doesn’t have a job, both our cars broke down etc etc etc. Thank you for your encouragement. Prayer is the only thing that has gotten me through this. But knowing others have gone through this sort of thing and made it through is a huge encouragement and strength to me.


    87. I am definitely joining in on the prayers.. I watch the news and I too am filled with sadness because of others’ sadness. The Sandy Hook tragedy is enough to bring the tears on. Thank you for focusing not only on the joy of this season but on the reality that not everyone is joyfully celebrating. Some are missing loved ones or dealing with tough things in their lives.

      God Bless you!

    88. Thank you so much for this Emily. You always speak real truth. I am one of those struggling with Joy during this season. It’s just all so overwhelming. I know my struggles are much smaller than many others, but they are still real. I too will be praying.

    89. Is there any chance that your “grace & peace” note above will show up as a printable? A sweet, sweet friend of mine just lost a baby, and I’d love to tuck a note like this under the bow on her Christmas gift.

      What a special heart you must have – how lovely of you to be praying for those who are hurting during what is known to be a season of joy. xo

    90. I love this Emily! And, will be praying. This is near and dear to my heart as I have a friend whose daughter was struck by a car last week. We tend to forget that while this may be a happy and joyous time for us, for many it is the complete opposite.

    91. Oh Emily. I am going to share your sweet words on my FB page. And also with a dear friend who unexpectedly lost her teenage son in an accident only one month ago.

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