the best of (the worst that was) 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I’ll admit it – I love year-end top 10 lists. Books, movies, you name it, I read it.

So each year I enjoy seeing what were the most-read posts here on Mothering Spirit. And since it’s a quiet week in the blogosphere, I thought you might enjoy catching up on any you might have missed…

a miracle months later

10. You Can Imagine. Let Me Help You. – This remains what I think is the most important post I wrote this year. It got me thinking about all the language we use around grief, suffering, and sympathy. And it made me even more careful to watch my words and use them wisely when speaking to those with hurting hearts.

9. A Eulogy for Maggie and Abby – The fact that so many of you would take a deep breath and read a eulogy for babies you never met gives me overwhelming hope for the human race. Seriously, you folks are the finest on the Internet. And the way you showed up for our family in spades this year – and in home-cooked meals, cards, surprise packages, phone calls, texts, and messages – is burned on my soul.

8. What To Do When A Friend Loses A Baby – I was both heartened and saddened to see how many people shared this post in 2016. It’s now a permanent part of resources I’ve gathered to help After Loss (including ideas of what to do for kids when their sibling dies).

7. The Dark Side of Light – Getting to know so many bereaved parents this year, in person and online, has taught me the power of each person’s story and the staggering resilience of the human spirit. But this dad’s story will haunt me forever in the best way. He reminded me to always remember the flip side of every tale I tell.

6. Stay Close to the Stories – I could not be more grateful for this refrain that got me through the year. If I ever needed to make the case to steep my life in Scripture, this remains the proof.

5. The Bravest Baptism – This story sums up nearly everything I adore about my husband. So I loved when my friend Emily found encouragement in this post for the young women she works with, to hold out hope for a man this strong.

4. The Other Side of Fear – This post is secretly my favorite. (Well, maybe after #1.) I still think about it every morning. All I have to do is get myself one step past fear, and then I can face whatever comes next.

3. I Want Them To Be Mine – Oh my heart. I still do.

2. The Yes that Breaks Your Heart – This post on the strange coincidence of the Annunciation of Jesus’ birth falling on Good Friday was one that resonated (much to my surprise) with many readers.

1. This is the Story I Have to Tell You – I love that the year’s #1 post remains Maggie and Abby’s story. As it should be. It went viral. It crashed my website 7 times in one day. Ann Voskamp featured it on her blog, and Aleteia re-ran it in English and Spanish. More people have now read these words than anything else I’ve written.

And every day since, I have stopped and wondered what happened to us in that hospital room. Why we got such a strange miracle, such overwhelming joy, and such lasting proof of God. I can only hope to spend the rest of my days sharing what it might mean.

. . .


After a top 10 list that heavy, I should have a funny cat photo or a round of spiked eggnog for all of you. (Maybe a round-up of the best 2016 memes?)

2016 memes

But I’ll simply end by thanking each of you for helping to bear this hard year with me. We’re days away from calling 2016 history, and I’m grateful to have made it here. Cheers to what comes next!

One last thank-you: every month on the 27th, I give away something beautiful on Instagram in honor of Abby and Maggie’s birthday. If you haven’t joined us already, come see what I’m giving away this month – a gorgeous gift from a mother after my own heart. (And a way to remember the good – because there was light and love here, too! – from 2016.)

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