Five Books to Read During Seasons of Grief

Written by Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life, Contributing Writer

Tomorrow is one month since I gave birth to my son.

Except it was not the joy-through-pain experience that I have had three times before. This time my baby was born stillborn at twenty-two weeks. Wholly unexpected and wholly devastating.

We have experienced a lot of emotions over the past month, of course. Our children are young, so they can switch from being sad their brother is gone to waging transformer battles in the living room rather easily. But the grief is still fresh for my husband and me.

Last week, our family was blessed to have the opportunity to spend a week in a cabin in the mountains.

There was no connecting with the outside world in the cabin, there was minimal housework to be done, and two days before our trip I had cooked or prepped all of our food for the entire week. Furthermore, our cabin was atop the steepest driveway I’ve had the pleasure struggle to walk up, so leaving the cabin by foot wasn’t something I wanted to do more than once a day.

All this time without responsibilities and distractions left us with a lot of time to read. My husband and I read MANY books out loud to our kids. We also read many books early in the morning before our kids woke, during the day while they played, and in the evening after bedtime routines and chatting with each other. (No television, no cell service, no wi-fi, remember?).

The week turned out to be as restorative as we had hoped it would be. So much quiet and so many good books were balm to our grieving hearts and minds.

These are the books and words in which I have personally found comfort, rest, and help. This list is no where near exhaustive, but hopefully it will give you an idea of what to turn to during hard days of grief.

Reading While You Grieve


These are the books and words in which I have personally found comfort, rest, and help. This list is no where near exhaustive, but hopefully it will give you an idea of what to turn to during hard days of grief. I would also recommend each of these as a thoughtful gift idea for a friend or family member you know is going through a difficult time. Please just remember to tell the recipient that there is no expectation for what she does with the book. Each person grieves according to her own timetable and some of these books are better at different times.

1. Hymns

During the early days, the first couple of weeks, after my son passed away I did not do much reading. The pain was too fresh and I was too weary from the shock and the tears. I honestly did not even feel like reading my Bible much. Truly, I didn’t touch many books, if any.

What was helpful, though, were hymns. Listening to music rich with truth and sweet comfort was a gift. I could easily turn on an album of hymns and feel like I was being pointed to God and washed over with His grace and mercy.

I have been known to just sit down with my mom’s old hymnal and just read hymns. You should try it.

If you don’t have a hymnal at home (or for the times I just don’t want to get it out), I use this online hymnal. It’s also a part of my favorite band‘s website, so you can listen to most of the hymns there too.

2. The Bible

Eventually, I did begin to open the Bible again early in the morning with a cup of strong black coffee and my journal and pen. While reading was hard initially, turning to God’s word is essential to finding true and lasting hope, comfort, and perspective.

The Psalms, of course, are a great place to start. I am also reading through the book of Job and planning to use commentary on Job following my initial reading.

3. Streams in the Desert

A dear friend of mine who also lost her baby too early gifted me with this book. Before she gave me the book, though, she sat with me for hours and sipped coffee while we shared tears, stories, and laughter. Both the time and the book were priceless gifts.

Streams in the Desert was written by a lady who cared for her dying husband for years. She knows grief. The devotional is full of daily passages, each offering a five minute reading of Biblical comfort.

These are the books and words in which I have personally found comfort, rest, and help. This list is no where near exhaustive, but hopefully it will give you an idea of what to turn to during hard days of grief.

4. The Hardest Peace

I would recommend this book to EVERYONE, whether you are currently grieving or not.

Kara Tippetts was a mother of four who battled cancer in many forms over and over and over again. She graciously shared her story on her blog and then in this book. It is a story of struggle, of hard things, and of MUCH GRACE. Her words drip with kindness and wisdom and there is so much that we can all glean.

It is a life-changing book. It was also one of the most helpful books I have read in my grief. A harmony of beauty and pain.

5. Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected

I purchased this book just hours after we saw the heartbreaking ultrasound’s stillness. I had heard of the book and listened to the author (Kayla Aimee) share her story of how her daughter was born unexpectedly at twenty-five weeks on several podcasts.

I knew it was one I wanted to read and thought that her story would be helpful in the midst of mine. But Kayla’s story is one that ended in life, and at first this was too hard for me to read.

Last week in the mountains, though,  I did read her story. And I’m so glad I did.

Kayla went through months of grief and despair as she watched her tiny daughter suffer and fight for life. All the while Kayla was suffering and fighting for faith. Her battle to trust God in the hardest time of her life and her discovery that no matter what, God would remain faithful, was exactly what I needed to read.


I truly hope that one or more of these books is helpful to you. If you are in a season of grief, I wish I could cry together with you and listen to your story or simply to the quiet if words are hard to come by. Most of all, I hope that you are able to find true comfort and rest in the Father of all comfort and in Jesus, the One who knows the deepest grief and pain and who can walk alongside us in ours. 

Is there a book that you would recommend that has been helpful during a difficult time in your life?

About Lisa

Lisa is married to her best friend and has three inquisitive and energetic kids. She loves crafty things like sewing and painting and actually enjoys cooking with her kids, and making crackers and pasta from scratch. In the busy fullness of life with young children, Lisa strives to live faithfully, remembering the hope of the gospel in all the everyday things. She blogs about a "pilgrim life", living in grace now and waiting for a more permanent, eternal home at


  1. Thank tou, thank you for your sincerity and raw transparency. This is so beautiful and helpful. We lost our Zachary Abel at 14 weeks gestation, the week of Christmas. So he has certainly made friends with your James Henry! I cannot imagine having held my baby in my arms for so briefly, then giving him away and not going totally crazy and running to the farthest cave in the hills. You are so brave! May God continue to bless you as you Light His way for others who are grieving.

    • Thank you Lea for your kind words. I am so sorry for your loss. It is incredibly difficult to say goodbye to a child, no matter how far along you are. I am glad you found these words encouraging. I hope you have a blessed day.

  2. “Streams in the Desert” is definitely a must

  3. I’ve lost count of the number (and the titles) of the books on grief that I’ve read since my teenage daughter Leah died last year from the side effects of her cancer treatment.

    However, I would highly recommend anything by Nancy Guthrie and I am blessed by her daily devotional “The One Year Book of Hope”


  1. […] sharing the books I have found to be encouraging and truth-giving today on Day 2 Day Joys. Some make good books to gift a grieving loved one, some are good to read […]