Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Listen to the Whisper of God!

It’s the end of another year and so many thoughts go swirling through our minds. For many, it has been a difficult year – job loss, loss of friends, loss of a home, loss of health, and possibly one of the most lasting losses of all – the loss of a child. For some there will be no celebration at the end of the year – only a lot of tears for those dreams that were stolen away so unexpectedly.

How does a person move on? How can a person move into the New Year with joy when so much sorrow surrounds the heart? It’s not easy, but it helps to remind yourself often that you are never, ever alone in your pain. There are times when we feel alone, but the truth is that we are surrounded by hope and it is there for us whenever we call out for help.

Look at nature in any season and be reminded of the One who is in charge. Look at the majesty of the starry sky at night and know that you are counted among the stars. Listen to the sounds of the wind rustling through the trees and hear the whisper of God letting you know He is by your side. Look for the rainbow painting the sky and be assured that you have not been forgotten. Remind yourself often that hope is stronger than your pain! –Clara Hinton

“For every tear you cry, there is a seed of hope being watered.” --Clara Hinton

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.” --Psalm 61:a

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trust, Wait, Hope! Your Day of Joy is Coming!

There is so much dismal talk about the economy, the sad state of affairs of the family, new illnesses being discovered weekly……..that it leaves a person feeling so discouraged and hopeless. Then, when the blow of the death of a child hits, it seems like the pain of this life is almost too much to bear.

Please remind yourself often that you have a Shepherd watching over you and He will never leave you alone. Your pain does not go unnoticed. In fact, every hair on your head is numbered. You are held close to the bosom of God – even when it doesn’t feel that way.

Look at the mighty heavens and remember who made them. Watch the babbling brook and remember who is in control. Cast away fear and be comforted by the fact that you are not alone. Others have walked your difficult, lonely path and are here to tell you that you will make it!!!!

There will be a day when something or someone will awaken the hope inside of you and you will know that you are going to feel life once again. There will be a day when you will rediscover joy, and it will be doubly sweet because you will see with new eyes and feel with a new heart. Trust. Wait. Hope! Your day of peace and joy is coming! --Clara Hinton

“My heart feels gratitude when I am filled with hope.” --Clara Hinton

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” --Psalm 23:1

Monday, September 29, 2008

We Have Been Given the Promise of Hope!

Why do things happen as they do? Why are jobs lost? Why are relationships broken? Why do children get involved in drugs? Why do people have to suffer through painful illnesses? Why are children taken from us?

I won’t pretend that I can give you the answers to these mind-boggling questions. What you’re faced with right now is way too big, too overwhelming, too personal for anyone to step in and say they have the answers.

I can tell you this for a fact, though. You are not alone. God is alive, and He proves it over and over again by leaving His signature in all of life. Look to the mountains and see His majesty. Look to nature and feel His creation. Look into the eyes of a loved one and feel His breath of life.

We have been given the promise of hope, and of knowing that we are never alone. We are provided just the right amount of love, of faith, and of hope to carry us through the darkest times of our lives. Turn to Him. Trust Him. Listen to Him as He whispers words of love and strength to us every day. You can make it, and you will make it! Hope is alive and will carry your through! -- Clara Hinton

“Every new dawn delivers new hope.” --Clara Hinton

“To Thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in Thee I trust.” -- Psalm 25:1

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hope Knows There Will Be A Better Tomorrow

Has life been a series of ups and downs lately? Have you been tossed to and fro in the sea of grief and feel like there is no way out of the churning waters? If so, then you are in need of some rest and replenishment. You are in need of some encouragement and a reminder of the sincere promise that there is joy beyond grief. You are in need of hope.

Hope is not pretending that there’s never any sorrow. It knows that our sorrows will not be this deep tomorrow. It’s knowing that we do have an inner strength to call on to help hold us together until our sorrow finds its proper place in our hearts where it also allows room for love, joy, and peace to abide. Hope knows that there will be a day when we will feel alive once again.

Look to the heavens and be filled with awe as you take in the majesty of nature. Look at the tiny butterfly fluttering around and understand that he is a reminder of hope and a new day. Look at the changing seasons and be reminded that every season has its place, and spring will arrive once
again. Be assured that you have not been left alone! --C. Hinton

“Claim a miracle just for you today and rest in the fact that hope is alive.” --Clara Hinton

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” –Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

When despondency creeps in and you feel like there is no way out of the dismal state that you’re in, it’s time to stop and look about you. Take in the sights and sounds of nature and be reminded Who made the earth and all that is within it. Remind yourself that every creature, both great and small, has meaning and is genuinely loved and cared for by his Creator. That means you, too!

Many times we fall into a state of feeling hopeless because our hearts hurt so much that we cannot ever imagine life without pain. Take time to reflect on past joys and remind yourself often of the rainbow. It is a promise of hope from our heavenly Father. Think of the butterfly that emerges out of the dark cocoon at exactly the right moment. Remind yourself that hope is stronger than your fear.

I, like you, have gone through times of despair and darkness in my own life. To help me remember that I have a loving Father who watches over me, I began planting and caring for flowers. I also photograph those flowers and scenes from nature and as I look at those pictures, I am reminded that hope is alive! Place visual reminders of hope all around you, and when you do you will feel your heart replenished and filled with new hope! --Clara Hinton

“A picture is worth a thousand words, so choose your pictures wisely.” --Clara Hinton

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” --John 14:27

Friday, September 12, 2008

Your Father is Always Watching Over You!

Has life let you down? Are you feeling alone in your pain? Do the clouds seem to remain hovering above your head like a constant threat of another impending storm? If so, then you are walking this path we call grief. It can be a long, hard walk, but……….the good news is that for every step you take, you are one step closer to finding a place of peace and rest and comfort in this “new normal” that you now must live.

Nature has beautiful displays of hope and inspiration that have been placed on this earth for us to use for comfort, shelter, and inspiration. There are trees that have been weather-beaten, yet they remain standing tall. There are flowers that have been stepped on, yet they bounce back. There are seeds that have been dropped and forgotten about, but they take root and bloom.

Remember that you, unlike the forgotten seed, have a Father watching over you who will never leave you alone. You have a special strength planted deep within your soul known as “hope” that will never leave you. Take time today to reflect on nature and feel the peace that overrides your sadness. Take a moment every day to allow your heart, mind, and eyes to soak up some of nature’s beauty and be encouraged. There is joy beyond this day of loss. There is peace to be found. There is a very special gift waiting for you. There is hope. –Clara Hinton

“A day with nature is a day of hope.” --Clara Hinton

“In quietness and trust is your strength.” --Isaiah 30:15b

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Winter of Loss Will Not Last Forever!

Part of the beauty of nature is found in the changing seasons. We know without a doubt that spring always follows winter, and with spring comes the indescribable beauty and joy of the plush green grass, springtime flowers in bloom, and the humming of birds. During the winter months, we anxiously await the coming of spring because we know with absolute assurance that spring will arrive.

And, so it is when we go through the winters in our lives. Following the cold, dark loneliness of winter that we experience when we go through loss, we can look with full assurance to the months ahead knowing that at just the right moment and in just the right way springtime will arrive. And, with spring will come new meaning, new peace, and a new sense of the beauty of life.

Can we extend the same trust in our loss that we extend to the knowledge of the arrival of spring? Can we watch the flowers blooming in spring and wait for the flowers to bloom in the garden of our heart once again? Can we trust saying an earthly good-bye to our loved ones knowing that they will still continue to be present with us and continue to love us? Can we rest in the knowledge that our love will continue to grow because we are grounded in faith and hope?

The winter of loss will not last forever. Hold on to the hope that your season of spring is soon to come! -Clara Hinton

“In the changing of the seasons, I find new hope.” -- Clara Hinton

“ There is an appointed time for everything. And, there is a time for every event under the heaven……….a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Jer. 3:1, 4

Monday, July 14, 2008

With Hope, There is a New Tomorrow!

Nobody knows exactly what you’re going through when grief hits your heart. They may say they know, but that’s impossible. But, I know with full assurance that we have examples of others who have traveled this lonely, difficult path we call grief, and they have come through the tunnel and they do see light again. And, you can do it, too!

I don’t have all of the answers; in fact, nobody does. Loss is far too difficult to understand, and the depth of pain we feel can’t be explained by words alone.
We “feel” pain, and that can’t be found in the dictionary. But, there are signs of healing that we can see that are visible and real.

Did you notice the sun come up this morning? Did you watch the leaves gently swaying in the breeze? Did you look at your food and know that it was going to taste good? Did you choose your clothes with care when you dressed today? Did you look at the sky and compliment the blue? These are all signs that hope is penetrating your heart and you are going to make it!

With hope, you will bear this difficult time, and you will rise to a new tomorrow! No, you’ll never be exactly the same, but you will be a “new you”, and that you will include joy and purpose! –Clara Hinton

“Every new day is a promise of a new beginning.” --C. Hinton

“In quietness and trust is your strength.” --Isaiah 30:15b

Monday, July 7, 2008

There is Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Even during the sunniest days, it can feel like the middle of winter when we are experiencing grief and loss. We don’t understand all of the emotional changes, but we know that we feel terrible. Nothing seems right because everything is so new and different. Loss brings about so many changes!

One of the most helpful things we can do when going through that period of adjusting to a new normal is to give permission to feel the pain. Allow the tears to fall knowing that the pain you’re feeling today won’t always be this intense.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a rainbow following the storm. Summer always arrives after winter. A caterpillar emerges from the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly. Hope will replace your sorrow, and when it does you will be able to smile again!

Tomorrow is a new day with new hope. Tomorrow brings the promise of a sunbeam. You will soon be able to hear the distant sound of the songbird chirping his happy melody. Hope cannot be snuffed out. It lives on forever, and hope will find you, too! --Clara Hinton

“Hope is the heart that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” --Clara Hinton

“Cease striving and know that I am God.” --Psalm 46:10

Monday, June 9, 2008

Winter Does Not Last Forever!

“The sun is shining, there are sounds of joy all around, yet I do not feel spring in my heart. Instead there is the lingering cold of winter and I don’t know what to do about it.” Any person going through grief and loss has expressed those very words. Grief is a lonely word and it puts you on a journey to a lonely land – for a while.

The good news is that this feeling of winter does not last forever! God, in His infinite wisdom, has provided HOPE for us when traveling this difficult path. Hope comes to us in ways too numerous to count, and comes in the most surprising ways to provide comfort and hope to our hurting hearts.

The butterfly that you saw was bringing you a message that there is a new life waiting for you. Give it time to emerge. The rainbow brings promises of blue skies and the truth that this storm will not last forever. The robin brings tidings of spring – assurance that winter will end and flowers will soon bloom!

Today if you feel afraid and lonely, take a step back and look at nature – God’s gift to us. Nature doesn’t worry, nor does it remain in a state of cold bleakness. Nature sprouts forth new life, new joy, and a promise of a glorious array of splendor for you to enjoy! Hope assures us of that!Your spring is coming, and when it does, it will be wonderful! --C. Hinton

“Hope helps me remember how to live.” --Clara Hinton

“But Thou, O Lord, art a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.” --Psalm 3:3

Monday, April 7, 2008

Robert Frost Said It Best

Robert Frost said it best when he penned, “The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day when the sun is out and the wind is still. You’re one month on in the middle of May. But, if you so much as dare to speak, a cloud comes over the sunlit arch, a wind comes off a frozen peak, and you’re two months back in the middle of March.”

So it is with grieving. One moment we are feeling good, being warmed by the sunshine of life. We are active and happy and humming a happy melody that’s coming from our heart. Then, without warning, the storm clouds roll in and suddenly we find ourselves in the middle of bad weather. We are seeking shelter from the storm, and we feel cold, afraid, and so alone.

These sudden steps back into grief will not always be so intense, and the spells of grief will grow farther and farther apart. We won’t linger as long on our grief, and we’ll feel more in control of what is happening.

We will probably never be totally free of the bad weather storm clouds of grief, but neither would we want to be because those periods of longing are really those times that keep us connected with the one we love.

As for those times when we leap into happy moments? I remember the joy I felt watching the vibrant colors of the rainbow following my storm! --Clara Hinton

“Hope is what we count on when the storm clouds hover nearby. Hope gives us the strength to hold on! –C. Hinton

“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in Thee.” – Psalm 39:7

Monday, February 25, 2008

When Someone We Love Dies, We have a New Relationship with the World!

When someone we love is snatched away from us by death, we often wonder, “Is there ever going to be any relief from this pain? Is there any place that I can go to find some relief from the loneliness? Will I ever feel like smiling again?”

What we long for the most is for our world to return back to how it used to be. We miss the sounds, the smells, the laughter, the activities that now seem so far away. We wish that we had never taken life for granted, and we long to savor those moments that we once had. We miss life as it used to be!

Deep within our heart, we know that the world as we once knew it no longer exits. Our grief experience has changed our world, not just for today, but forever. Yet, we continue trying to remember. We keep trying to make things as they were. We keep praying that something will happen to give us back that same joy, those same experiences…………..we wish and we hope, but we know that can never be.

Little by little we grow braver in facing our new life, and we realize that we now have a new relationship with the one who has died. And, we have a new relationship with the world, as well as with ourselves. We realize we are no longer in the past, but we have come face-to-face with making a choice to keep moving in the only direction that is an option of us – forward. We slowly move forward into new territory, a new land, and new place and we do so with an inner strength called HOPE. And, deep inside our soul, we know we’ll make it! --Clara Hinton

“I will wait for the light to break through the darkness because I know that eventually the clouds will part.” --Clara Hinton

“I waited patiently for the Lord, and ………He put a new song in my mouth.” - Psalm 40: 1a and 3 a

Monday, February 18, 2008

Are You Tired of Feeling Tired?

Are you tired of feeling tired? Are you waiting for the next piece of bad news to hit? Do you feel like the storm is never going to pass? Has life hurt you so much that you’re too afraid to let go and try to feel again? If you answered “yes”, then you are in the middle of a full-blown grief attack.

Grief comes at us with a vengeance, and it immobilizes us for a while. We don’t know what to think – sometimes we don’t even know how to think. We don’t know who to call on that can really listen and understand. We’re all mixed up and we know that life is terribly off-balance and will never feel the same again. So………what do we do?

When you are in the black hole of despair, it is so important that you lift your eyes upward toward the heavens. After all, that’s where you can find light. There are displays of power and strength all around us, and that’s what we need when we are feeling battered and bruised from the battle fatigue of grief.

We may not know we have it until we’re deep into the race, but we do have the inner strength to get through the dark days of grief. That strength is called hope. HOPE. Hope gives us the strength to peek into the future with a new view. It helps us to hold on when all sense tells us to give up. It helps us to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It helps us to not give up.

When the load feels far too heavy to carry, lay it down and rest. Rest today. Rest tomorrow. Rest the next day. And, as you rest, your hope will build up inside until it can carry you through! -- Clara Hinton

“Hope is that invisible force that keeps us strong when we feel like all strength is gone.” -- Clara Hinton

“Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk by my side.” --Psalm 23: 3 (The Message)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Faith is Believing Your Rainbow Will Appear!

Sometimes things happen to us that cause us to ask, “Why, God?” and all we can do is look to Him in faith. We don’t understand. We can’t understand. We get no answers that seem to fit the pain that we are going through. And, so we hold on. We hold on tight, hoping and praying that we’ll make it through just one more lonely night.

Nobody really has the answers – at least not the ones we’re looking for. Not the answers we want so desperately to hear. There is no easy way out of pain. It takes courage and stamina to withstand the daily drain – the reminders, the regrets, the agony of losing what is precious to us. Yet……we still hold on. We know that God is sovereign and He is still in charge, even when our world is spinning out of control.

We may not know we have it until we are well into the race, but when we find the strength to go on, we begin to understand that inner strength. It is called hope. Hope meets our greatest needs and keeps us going when our own strength fails.

Hold on. Don’t give up. Believe that your rainbow will appear because it surely will! --Clara Hinton

“Hope is believing when nothing at all makes sense.” --Clara Hinton

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” - Psalm 91:1

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Trust in God's Promises!

Are you afraid right now? Does your heart feel heavy and broken? Do you feel like you’ve lost your very best friend and you have no one who truly understands you?
Do not spend anxious moments worrying and being afraid to face each new day. If you stop and get very quiet and still you will feel the very presence of God within you.

As you come to those dark places in your life, just reach out for the hand of the Shepherd, and He will take you under His wing and give you protection and help during the storm.

God promises to take care of your soul and to give you replenishment. He said He will take you to a cool, sheltered place where you can rest. And, no matter how steep the hill or the mountain, you never have to climb it alone.

Hope is believing in what you cannot see and trusting when all else tells you to stop. You have a Shepherd, and He will never, ever leave you. Rest in the arms of your Father and your soul will find nourishment.

You will gather strength from everyday things….a smile, a warm hello, thoughts from friends and loved ones. God is near, and hope is alive. You will make it! --Clara Hinton

“Rely on hope because it will keep you steady and strong during the storms of life.” --Clara Hinton

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

Monday, January 7, 2008

Hope Helps Us to See Beauty!

“When will I get relief?” “Will this empty feeling ever go away?” “Am I ever going to get over this loss?” What we’re really trying to say is, “I wish this never happened, and I want to turn back the clock and go back to how things were before this loss.”

But, the world as we once knew it no longer exists. Our grief experience has changed life as we once knew it forever. We now live in a new place, and it’s up to us to work very hard to find a new normal. Yet, we still keep on trying to turn the clock back. We keep wishing and hoping and remembering. The pain feels like it is just too much!

Little by little, though, hope begins filtering in through the cracks in our heart and brain, and we realize that even though our world is now totally different, we must find a way to go on. We begin to establish new traditions, find new ways to place peace in our souls, and we realize that we really aren’t alone at all.

Hope pushes us forward even when we feel like we can’t go on. Hope helps us to see the beauty in small things such as a smile, a babbling brook, or a gentle snowfall. We understand more fully how to cherish the small moments in life, and we are so thankful for every ray of sunshine
that touches our heart. Hope is alive, and hope teaches us how to live again! --Clara Hinton

“A hopeful heart is a peace-filled heart.” --Clara Hinton

“The Lord of hosts is with us.” -- Psalm 46:7