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Chasing Joy This Christmas Season

We will always feel the loss in moments like these. In every family picture, in every family dinner. Everytime we go out to a restuarant and are no longer, "Walker, party of six."

Often times, the feelings we resist the most are the ones that have the most to teach us.

Even if you are facing painful trials, heartbreak, grief and loss, there is still joy to be found during this Christmas season.

I remember reluctantly throwing up our Christmas tree last year. I don’t think we even put any ornaments on it. We have this collection of family ornaments from every year Josh and I have been together, with every person having a spot for their name. It was always one of our favorite family traditions. We would go to the mall and pick out a new one and it was so much fun hanging them all up on the tree.

Last year, we didn’t even want to look at them. They were just another reminder of what we were missing.

A reminder of when we felt whole.

A reminder of what we had lost.

We left them sitting in a box in the garage.

We have a Christmas gift from two years ago, still wrapped, with Eleanor’s name written on it. We had forgotten to give it to her, not knowing it would be her last Christmas. We still can’t bring ourselves to open it.

Despite the sadness, this year does feel a little more hopeful for us. While it won’t be the very first Christmas without Ellie, it will only be our second. I’ve had to give myself permission, over and over again, to not try and bury my feelings. I’ve had to remember to have grace for myself, and our kids. I’ve had to dig deep down when my kids ask me questions like why we would still put out Ellie’s stocking. And what we were going to put in it.

We have felt more of the Christmas spirit in our household this year. We unloaded bins and bins of Christmas décor, stuff we haven’t seen in years. We looked over each of our family ornaments and remembered the good memories they brought. That in itself is progress for us.

 I’ve learned as we’ve stumbled upon all of the “firsts” without Ellie, that every day, all we can do is strive for progress. To never discount the small things and to celebrate those little wins.

When you are in your suffering, finding the joy may not come as naturally to you as it might have before. You may have to fight way harder for it. But I’ve made it my desire this Christmas season to chase the moments of joy. To intentially look for them.

Just because we’ve faced hardship doesn’t mean we are meant for a life full of misery. That is not God’s desire for us.

The Christmas season is about celebrating the fact that our savior was born. That He came down from heaven to walk with us. Because of that, He knows what it feels like to suffer. To face hardship. To grieve.

There was a lot of grieving for us last Christmas. There is still grieving this Christmas, but we are learning to grieve and simultaneously chase the joy.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw one of my favorite speakers/authors speak in person. She spoke at a women’s conference I attended and looking back at my notes from that day, I was reminded why it’s important to chase the joy.

When I was little, one of my favorite things to do was to go in my mother’s closet and play dress up. My sisters and I would make up dances to the Spice Girls wearing all of my mom’s clothes and high heels.

Now that I’m a mom to young girls, I’ve seen my own kids do this. Maybe not the Spice Girls part, but I have seen them sneaking on my clothes and shoes.

The same way they clothe themselves in mom’s clothes, they are also clothing themselves in what is being spoken over the home.

As the women in our homes, one of our roles is to clothe our household.

If your closet is full of depression, full of anxiety, full of jealousy, full of anger and bitterness, that is what you are clothing household in. That is what you are clothing your children in.

If you are constantly putting yourself down, focusing on your weaknesses, letting the lies of the enemy hold truth in your heart, that is what your children are wrapping themselves in.

I don’t want my girls to walk in my closet and see that, when they lost their little sister, they lost their mom too.

I don’t want my girls to clothe themselves in the broken pieces that grief left in its wake.

I want them to walk in my closet and clothe themselves in the promises of God.

I want them to walk in my closet and clothe themselves in the truth rooted in scripture.

I want them to walk in my closet and clothe themselves in strength, in greatness, and in the ability to chase the joy, even in the midst of their suffering.

As parents, we are the thermostat in our home. We are responsible for setting the atmosphere.

We want our home to reflect Jesus Christ.

To reflect a strong faith.

To reflect permission to cry, permission to doubt, permission to question, just as Jesus did.

But even then, to also reflect hope. To reflect joy. To reflect peace.

This season of grief and loss brings with it a lot of pain. So many memories come flooding back during the holiday season. Good ones, sad ones, funny ones.

But we must remember to choose to fight for our eternal perspective.

We must remember to choose to fight for the peace that only Jesus brings.

We must remember to always continue chasing the joy.





Ashley Greene
Ashley Greene

Biggest hugs, I too want to dress my children in the word of God. Thank you for this in particular. I have missed chasing the joy since my child also passed away. Thank you for sharing your hope. It helps me find a little more then I did on my own. 🖤🖤🖤




Again, I can't imagine losing a child, but I see that you're handling that loss as best as you can by giving that sorrow, pain, and suffering to the only ONE that can give you peace.

As I've stated in previous posts, I lost my wife over 10 years ago, and it was the hardest thing that I've ever done.

Trying to pick up the pieces after a tragedy like we've experienced is impossible without HIM to lead and guide you through it.

I didn't always do it well, an made a lot of mistakes that not only hurt me, but affected my children and grandchildren.

However, I'm on the good side of things now, and have remarried, and…



So good! Such great perspective and wisdom!


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