• When I Hold You


Many new mothers are overwhelmed with the love they feel for their children—an experience they cannot quite put into words. Where does such all-encompassing emotion come from? Directly from the heart of God! With lyrical rhyme and Scripture throughout, When I Hold You is a gentle, joyful, celebratory poem that draws the comparison between a mother’s bond with her child and the nurturing love God has for us.

A perfect gift for any new or existing mother, When I Hold You captures the universal experience of a mother’s love for her children. As children listen to the words, they will relish the reminder of both God’s and their mother’s abiding love for them. Both mother and child will be invited to worship their heavenly Father, whose everlasting love sustains us.


the author

Ashley Huffstutler and her husband, David, have two children and live in Birmingham, Alabama. Ashley has a degree in Christian Studies from Ouachita Baptist University. She obtained her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Alabama and specializes in treating children, ages 0-3. In 2017, during her second pregnancy, Ashley was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Through the trials of surgery and treatment, Ashley’s faith in Christ has grown and the gift of motherhood has become all the more precious. Even though cancer has changed the trajectory of her life, Ashley’s heart to share the gospel has been strengthened even more. This is Ashley’s first children’s book.

author q&a

Why did you write this book?

I wrote When I Hold You out of obedience to Christ. As I started recovery from my initial surgery and treatments, I never set out with the intention to write a book. I just wanted to put my words together for my daughters for them to have something to read and know that God is ever present. The further I got into the process, the more I questioned God on if I could write When I Hold You.  As I struggled with my words and my thoughts, I questioned if it was even possible to finish. Yet, God called me to step ‘out of the boat’ and pursue Him all the more trusting, with faith, in His plan and in the words He allowed me to find. At the end of the process, When I Hold You became more about being encouraged with God’s Word in motherhood and wanting to share that, not only with my own girls, but with others as well.

What do you hope other mothers will get out of this book?

I really want other moms to know that regardless of circumstance or emotion or situation, God is right beside them. God has ordained every moment with their children. In the ups and downs, in the happy moments and the tougher moments, He is a rock and He is present.  That holding our precious littles is such a gift and that through these tender moments, God is giving us such a special bond with Himself.

What do you hope children will understand because of this book?

When writing this book, I wanted it to be something that my children would love seeing visually and would be a springboard for conversations about Jesus. Certainly, my youngest would probably not connect so much with the words to begin with, but when we settle in to read a book together… it would be those sweet moments that we share looking through the different pages and connecting them to how God provides and relates to us through His word. For my older daughter, who understands a bit more of what we are talking about, I wanted it to be a way to connect the love I have for her to the love God has for his children.

How did the idea to write this book come about?

As part of my journey with brain cancer, it was (and still very much is) a real possibility that reading, writing and the ability to speak could be gone in an instant. Where my tumor is located could cause me to lose those at any moment. After my initial surgery, it was apparent that my future prognosis was likely not a good one as it relates to my time on earth; I wanted to put my feelings and thoughts into words. I wanted my girls to know that I love them. With them being so young and not really able to comprehend the gravity of this disease and what it will likely mean for them in the years to come, I wanted them to have these words as a reminder that being their mother is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been blessed with. The deeper into the writing I got, the more I saw God connect the blessing of being their mom to the joy of being His child.

How does being a mother yourself show you more of who God is?

This question has many different answers. I would say on the surface, I see a lot of the words I wrote for my children as really being for me as I look at how I am a child of God. I see a lot of the tender moments of motherhood as a very present reminder that God the Father is tenderly sharing with me as well. With everything ranging from the highs of hearing my babies giggle and the valleys of the late night sleeping struggles, being blessed with the ability to even have these moments (considering the journey my family is on with my cancer) with my girls is a reminder that our God is so good and that He richly provides.  His mercy, grace and compassion are always available. 

The illustrations in the book are beautiful. What is your favorite spread and why?

Is it even possible to pick a favorite? Being my first book, I didn’t really know what to expect when it came to having illustrations put with my words. Can we just take a minute to talk about how incredible Airin’s illustrations are PERFECT for this book. It is such a blessing that God connected us on this project. I really don’t think I can pick a favorite. There are so many perfect details that go with each turn of the page. I will highlight that the spread of the red-head mom tucking in her oldest while holding the baby (also both red-heads) is near to my heart because it is a nod to me with my girls. When my family reads through this book together, we will forever point to that page as “our page”.

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