Winter Hall with her new devotional, Made for More: Finding Hope in the Midst of Darkness Credit: Whitney Lavoie

For the past 16 years, Winter Hall has had a stirring in her heart to write a book.

This year, that dream finally came to fruition with the publication of Made for More: Finding Hope in the Midst of Darkness. The book is a devotional to help readers through moments of despair or hard times.

The stories in the book each come with a paired Bible verse, and Hall’s goal is for the short stories to bring hope and inspiration in those difficult times — light in the darkness. The stories themselves stem from Hall’s own struggles, and she hopes that one message rings true to all those who read it: you are not alone.

Read on to learn about how Made for More came to be and to see an excerpt from the book.

Daddy’s girl

Hall was always a daddy’s girl growing up, and when she lost her father to cancer in 2006 — just a year after he walked her down the aisle at her wedding — she felt lost and alone. He had been so instrumental in her life growing up, and the loss was devastating. He was only 55.

“My dad, Jimmie L. Burke, was born September 5, 1951, in Millen, Georgia. He graduated from Jenkins County High,” Hall shared. “In April of 1973, he went to work for Akins Construction Company located here in Statesboro, Georgia. He loved his job and Mr. and Mrs. Akins [Paul and Jo Akins] even more.”

Winter Hall
Jimmie Burke with Winter in 1983 (Photo Courtesy Winter Hall)

He was a dedicated family man, working hard and going without so that his family could have more than only what they needed. He tended the family garden, never met a stranger, and was always on the go. Even after tiring workdays, you could find him in the yard for hours helping Hall to become a better softball player.

“He worked his whole life to make everyone else happy,” Hall said. “He really was an amazing man who was loved by so many.” 

This November 7, Hall will mark the 16th anniversary of her dad’s passing.

Winter Hall
Dad and daughter on her wedding day in 2005 (Photo Courtesy Winter Hall)

“Even now, every time I go to my childhood home where my mom still lives, that he built with his own two hands in 1984, I still look for that white Ford truck with the blue Akins logo on the side in the driveway,” she said. “Even though I know he’s no longer here, it hits me every time it’s not there.”

Writing her own story

During her time of loss, Hall looked for a book that was written to help daughters who had lost their dads, but she came up empty handed. That’s when the idea to write her own story was born.

“This was 16 years in the making,” Hall said. “But I’d never gotten past the first couple of sentences until recently.”

Hall kept this ambition somewhat of a secret over the years, although she says she always felt God telling her to write and share her story throughout that time. Earlier this year, she finally revealed this stirring to her husband, and he gave her his full support.

“You should do it,” he said. And with that, she went home that day and just started writing.

Winter Hall

The book contains 30 to 45 days of devotions, depending on how much you want to read per day, and it does not have to be read in order. Hall says readers can pick and choose which stories to read when, and she hopes that each time they open the book, they find something new to connect with.

“I wanted people to know where my heart was,” Hall said of writing the book. “I tried hard to be real, and when you read it, I want it to be like you’re talking to me.”

When we run into hard times, it’s sometimes difficult to believe that anybody else is feeling the same pain as we are. But Hall’s hope with this book is that it is a reminder that others have been there — and more importantly, made it through.

Publishing fell into place

Hall had a clear idea of what she wanted as far as the design of the book went, so with her stories finally written and in hand, all she needed was a publisher.

She reached out to a couple of different publishers online, but she ended up making a connection with the person she talked to at Westbow. He, too, had also lost his dad.

“Everything kept falling into place,” Hall said of the publication process. “I told God as long as doors keep opening, I will go — one step and one day at a time.”

She says she trusted the process and listened to God’s voice, and now it’s surreal to have the book in her hands. She has already had people begin reading the book and reach out to her to connect, and she hopes there is much more to come for her and her book.

“I’m willing to open up the pages of my life if it helps someone else,” she said. “I would go across the United States to tell people they’re not alone.”

Seeking light in the darkness

Hall knows from her own experience that it can be hard to ask for help when you’re in a dark place. She sincerely hopes that the book will provide readers with a light in their own darkness and remind them that they are loved — even on their worst days.

“If I can overcome this darkness, then so can you,” Hall said.

Winter Hall

Below is an excerpt from one of the devotional stories in the book.

Encouraging words from Made for More:

I can’t see God’s plan. I can’t see His reasoning, and I definitely can’t comprehend how and why this happened, but I do believe that God has a purpose and a plan for every smile, for every laugh, for every tear, for every pain, and most importantly, for every life.   

Sweet friend, my heart hurts for you. I’m praying for you. When you don’t have the strength to stand, kneel. When the pain is too much to speak, let your tears be the words of your heart. It’s hard! But I pray you always remember that God loves you. He will be the strength you need to make it. You won’t always feel him near, but He will never leave you. You are surrounded by people who love you and want to help you through this. You may not want to speak, but our shoulders are here. Our ears are open to just listening—even to the same questions or the same whys. There are no judgments—only open arms with open hearts to help in whatever ways we can.

I pray for peace and comfort as you face the uncertainties that lie ahead.

–Winter Hall

In addition to the devotional stories, the book also contains resources that make it easier to seek spiritual or professional help if needed.

A message from the author

My hope and prayer is that these stories of hope will inspire you to seek a deeper relationship with God and realize that even though the darkness seems too much to bear, you are stronger and braver than you know. You are loved by someone who died for you. You are not alone. Your story isn’t over. You are worthy. You were created with purpose. You are beautiful.

I would love for every word in this book to sink into the depths of your soul and light a fire there; however, if you get nothing else, my deepest prayer is that you, my friend, know you are not alone

About Winter Hall

Winter Hall is a devoted wife, mother, friend, and follower of Jesus. She is compassionate, caring, and loves wholeheartedly. Through her worst heartache, the death of her father in 2006, she found herself struggling. As her relationship with God grew, she realized that He was the only one who could sustain her. Her relationship with the Lord continues to grow. Learn more about Winter and her work on her website.

You can purchase a copy of Hall’s book on Amazon or through the publisher’s website. She hopes to have it available with a local seller soon.

Whitney Lavoie

Whitney Turner Lavoie is a Statesboro native and freelance writer/editor. She is an active volunteer with her children’s school PTO and Girl Scouts of America. Whitney previously worked in health communications...