Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hope is Alive!

The pain of loss is something that cannot be explained by words alone. How does one explain a pain that runs so deep that it makes the heart bleed? How does one tell others what it feels like to have a cloud always hovering above with reminders of the life that no longer exists as we once knew it? How can we possibly share the personal pain we feel to the extent that others understand? It cannot be done. Grief is too personal.

How then do we move forward? How do we find our place in our new world – the world that has been created by our loss? How can we find a way to bring joy back into our hearts that hurt so much each day? Is it even possible to reclaim joy?

This world is full of pain and grief. That is a fact. But, it is also brimming over with joy and blessings. When we are in the pits of grief, we feel alone and abandoned by all blessings. But, as we allow hope to ignite within us, it acts as a magnet drawing the blessings of life closer and closer to us until finally we reach that point where we can see joy again. No longer does grief rule our lives. It is there. We will always feel that sting of loss, but no longer will it govern our every thought and action.

Hope is alive, and it is bigger than any pain we are feeling right now! Cling to hope and it will ignite a fire within your heart so that you can find your way out of the darkness into light! –Clara Hinton

“Be still and allow the hope within to warm your heart with joy.” --Clara Hinton

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer.” -- Psalm 18:2:a

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Healing and Hope Come One Day at a Time

Grief is a journey, and every person experiencing grief knows that. What we don’t always know, and cannot fully grasp, is the phrase, “one day at a time.” Wow! That’s so hard! How do you only look at this day – today – when so much of yesterday and so much of tomorrow has been taken away?

Living in the “today” is often the griever’s biggest heartache. Learning to grab hold of today and enjoy something about it without sorrowing about the future – the things that will never become part of our today – is often the most draining part of loss. Yet, we know that it’s a necessary part of our healing. Living just for today is hard work, but we must learn how to do it if we choose to live this life with renewed joy.

At first, one thinks only of making it through the lonely days and nights. Then, our walk becomes a bit more “normal” as we call it in the world of grieving. We come to understand that our normal is a new normal. Things will never totally be the same again. Then, our final step in this journey of grief is the total understanding of what has happened, and learning to live just for today and grasp the joy and renewed hope of today.

This change doesn’t come right away. It may take many long months, which reach into years. But, you will know with full certainty when you are living in the joy of this day.

When you can hear the birds singing their morning song and your heart whistles along, you are beginning to heal. When you can see the sunrise and smile with assurance knowing this is going to be a good day, you have begun to heal. When you hear laughter from others and you give yourself permission to join in, you will absolutely know that you are beginning to learn to live in the joy of this day!

Joy will return. It will be different than before your loss, but your new hope and joy will be deeper, more meaningful, and you will live in the presence of the gift of this day! -- Clara Hinton

“I will not try to bypass the pain of grieving. I will take it one day at a time until hope and joy return!” -- Clara Hinton

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” --Psalm 37:7

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Newness of Grief

Facing change under the best of circumstances is difficult and a bit frightening, to say the least. What will it be like? How can I be prepared? When wills this awful feeling leave? How long will it take me to get to a place of feeling normal again? Change brings about many new things for us, and the loss of a child is perhaps the worst change one can ever go through! We no longer can find the ground beneath us, much less travel the road of grief we have now been placed upon!

Mercifully, the sharp edges of pain that accompany grief will not always be there. With each passing day, we are making progress in finding our way through all of the new grief – even if it doesn’t feel like it. Time stops being our enemy and actually begins to help give us what we need to help navigate through this dark, winding path called grief.

If you are in the newness of grief right now, life is not at all routine for you. Everything is different from the rising of the sun to the close of the day. Hold on! Millions have walked this path you are now on, and they, too, struggled. They searched. They fell down. They suffered battle fatigue. They asked hard questions. They cried millions of tears, but they made it. And, you will make it, too!

Hope is stronger than the grief you are experiencing today. Hope will eventually help you begin to feel alive again. Hope will emerge strong. Hope will light your path. Hope will brighten your journey. Hope will calm your fears. Hope will give you purpose again. Hope will carry you through! -- Clara Hinton

“Hope is stronger than any grief, and when my aching soul surrenders to hope, I will begin to see light once again!” –C. Hinton

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

Autumn's Grief

Grieving has its seasons, and autumn seems to be a particularly difficult season for those who have gone through loss. Maybe it’s the visual of seeing the flowers stop blooming and the leaves falling off of the trees. Perhaps it’s feeling the warm summer sunshine fading and suddenly feeling the lingering chill in the air. For most of us who have experienced loss, autumn is a time of reflection and bracing ourselves for the days of winter that lie ahead.

What if – what if we viewed autumn a bit differently this year? What if we reminded ourselves of how beautiful spring will be when it arrives again? What if we took the time to plant flower bulbs in the fall so that we can look for our spring following the dark days of winter? What if we promise ourselves to keep focused on the beauty of spring and summer rather than facing autumn with fear and dread?

Many years ago, following the loss of a baby boy, I went through a terrible autumn of grief. Winter was even worse, and I was not certain that springtime in my life would ever again return. I’m not sure what moved me to plant daffodil bulbs that fall, but I did. As I planted them, they were watered with my tears. The more I dug into the chilled, barren earth, the more my tears fell. Yet, I continued to dig and plant. Dig and plant. Dig and plant.

Autumn passed, the ground lay frozen and covered in snow for months in the mountains of Pennsylvania. And, my sorrow remained heavy. Little did I know how much spring would awaken my soul that year! Little did I know how much my grief would be lifted when I saw the first signs of those daffodils breaking through the ground that was now beginning to thaw! Little did I know how much of my grief would be lifted as I saw those first springtime blooms of daffodils! Hope returned! MY hope returned!

Are you facing autumn with dread and fear? Why not buy a bag of flower bulbs and plant them now? And, then wait……patiently and knowingly wait for your spring to return! And, when it does, I can assure you that it will be more beautiful than ever! –C. Hinton

“Grief endures for a season, and spring always returns!” --C. Hinton
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matt. 5:5

Clara Hinton
Mom of 11 living children
Mom of 1 stillborn son
Mom of 6 angel babies
Author of Silent Grief

Monday, September 13, 2010

How Will I Get Through the Next Day?

How will I do it? How will I get through the next day when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel? Who really understands? Does anyone want to sit down beside me and help me through this mess in my life? I feel so alone, so broken, and so helpless!

Every person who has experienced loss has felt those same feelings of helplessness and abandonment. Life feels shattered and it seems to us that we will never be
put back together again. Our burdens seem far too big for us, and so many times we give up searching for hope.

Hold on! Take a moment to stop and breathe slowly. Close your eyes and reflect on the moment. Listen to your own heart beating and know that as long as you have life inside of you, you have HOPE!

We each have had deep moments of pain and darkness, and during those times it is hard, if not impossible, to imagine ever seeing the light of day again. But, God designed us in His image, and He has not left us alone. Our Creator has sent us the sun, the moon, and the stars to shed light even during our darkest hours.

Take a walk outside for a moment every day just to listen to the sounds of nature. Do you hear the gentle breeze blowing through the trees? Can you hear the songbird singing a song of thanks and praise in the distance? Look to the heavens and follow the clouds. Stare at them until you can see beyond the misty blue to find the breaking of a new dawn. These are gifts of hope for us! These are our daily reminders that each day brings new hope and new strength! We have not been left alone in our pain! Rather, our heavenly Father has wrapped us in His arms of love and will never let go! --Clara Hinton

“Every sunrise is a personal reminder of new hope!” -- C. Hinton

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” -- Matthew 5:4 (From the Sermon on the Mount)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Our Heart Can Smile -- Even in the Rain!

The weather is so unpredictable. Sunny and warm one day, and then the next day there could be mighty gusts of wind with torrential downpours. We never know quite what to expect or how to prepare for the unpredictability of the weather!

Grief is so much like the weather. Some days the sun shines and we feel so warm and good all over. Then, without any warning, a storm begins brewing and before we know it, we’re running to find shelter.

The life touched by grief never really knows how to dress for the weather. Will it be raining today, or will there by only sunny skies? Will laughter touch my heart, or will my tears flow fast enough to fill a river?

One thing we do know, and that is that the sudden flashes back into intense grief will not always be that way. There will be a day when our grief no longer is the focus of our entire attention. We will be “okay” if a brief shower comes because we know that soon the skies will part and the sun will shine once again.

What triggers the rain in our lives? It could be something as insignificant as seeing a baby kitten rolling around in the grass. Or a butterfly fluttering to and fro. Maybe it’s a song that comes on the radio that reminds us of the emptiness in our lives. And, we weep tears of sorrow.

We’ll probably never be totally free of these grief flashes, but there will be a day when hope overrides our deep sense of loss and our heart will wear a smile – even in the rain! –C. Hinton

“Somewhere in the middle of my grief is the complete trust that spring will come again!” --Clara Hinton

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my help and my God.” --Psalm 42:5

Monday, August 23, 2010

And, the Clouds Reach Out to Me in Hope!

Today is another day in the 365 days that make up a year. I find myself being swallowed in a sea of grief and pain today, yet I have an inner knowing that somehow, someway it is still going to be good. I know because I have seen another sunrise. I know because I have experienced the joy of hearing the birds in the distance chirping their songs of praise and thankfulness. I know because I’ve seen others fall into a similar sea and come out onto dry land strong, and filled with new hope.

My greatest moment of “knowing” comes when I look at creation. Not all of us have the opportunity to walk along the sea, or to pick wildflowers from a field, but
each one of us has the sky! Can you even begin to fathom the expanse? Study the moods of the sky by following the clouds and their many changes from dark to white and fluffy billows of cotton floating through the air.

When I look at the heavens I am filled with hope! I know that I have a Creator who takes great pain in every detail, including the very details of my life. I can feel His presence in my life, and I am comforted. I can see His workmanship and know that He is very involved in my life. I can see His mighty power in all of His creation and I feel embraced in His strength.

What are you going through today? Pain? Doubts? Loss? Fear? Look to the heavens and allow the Maker of it all to hold you in His strong arms and to keep you safe! Hope is near. Strength is yours. Peace is your gift today! --Clara Hinton

“Beneath the vast expanse of the sky, I can sense the order of the world and feel secure in the arms of my God.” --C. Hinton

“My soul clings to Thee; thy right hand upholds me.” -Psalm 63:8

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grief is a Roller Coaster Ride!

We need to constantly remind ourselves that grief is not a smooth path, but is often rocky, bumpy, and takes us off course for a while. There will be setbacks, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not making progress in your journey towards finding hope and joy once again. Every step that you take is a step closer to finding new hope and strength!

Rather than waste precious energy beating yourself up about not doing better, why not remind yourself daily that you are doing the best that you can. You’ve been pushed into a place that is foreign territory, and you had no choice. Expect some setbacks, accept them when they come, take time to get the tears and pain all out, take a deep breath, then move on.

Life is fragile for each of us, and we’re all in this thing together. Remember that hope is nearby, even when we cannot see it. Trust that the One who created you and this universe knows you intimately and cares. He knows your every joy, and He suffers with you through your every heartache.

If today is one of those not-so-good days, then take heart, allow the pain to be released, and know with full assurance that when you do that, you’re opening up the door to new hope! --Clara Hinton

“Go to sleep knowing that God is awake, and He will take over the things that you cannot do. You are never, ever alone!” --Clara Hinton

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” -- Psalm 37a

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nature Speaks Volumes to us about Faith and Hope!

There are times in our lives when our faith seems to fly right out the window. Life can hand us some brutal circumstances and we’re left feeling like we’re drifting out to sea without a life jacket or a captain to steer the boat. It’s a terrible feeling of being lost and shipwrecked.

If you’re facing some of the harshness of the day such as job loss, financial insecurities, broken relationships, or the loss of a loved one, that’s the time when you most need your faith and hope. But, how does that happen when all looks dark?

During my own desert times of faith I’ve done two things that have helped me, and I’ll share them with you. I’ve saturated myself in the Psalms. There are cries of hopelessness followed by the assurance that God is alive and real. And, that’s just what we need whenever the unrelenting seas of grief and pain are battering us.

I also walk among nature. Just seeing the many wonders of nature is calming to my soul. Nature is God’s display of His wondrous love and care and power. Nature speaks volumes to us about hope. The seasons come and go, and we know that there is always a spring that follows the depths of winter.

Hope is alive, and hope is the key to restoring our faith. Faith and hope are the keys to survival! When obstacles and trials seem like prison walls, we can break free by clinging onto our hope in the power of the Almighty! --Clara Hinton

“When there seems to be no chance of being set free from my grief, hope bathes my soul with new strength and I am set free!” --Clara Hinton

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10

Monday, June 7, 2010

When the World has Broken You Down -- Trust!

Do you feel like your life is falling apart? Broken relationships? Illness? Bills stacked higher than the sky? Out of work? Nobody to talk with who really cares? Mourning the death of a loved one? If any of this is your life, then join the ranks of millions who are walking the lonely path of grief and are looking for help.

Grief is so difficult to explain and even more difficult to get rid of once it invades the inner being of your heart. The pain takes residence there and seems to take root and spread faster than a wildfire. Except. Except when you place your hope and trust in a loving God who cares.

At first that might seem trite and so commonplace that it doesn’t even
register. “Place your hope and trust in God.” We’ve heard that hundreds of times. We’ve read it even more. Yet, when it comes to practicing that one principle, we fall so short because we give up too soon.

Trust? How do we do that? We trust by letting go of our fears and allowing somebody who is bigger, stronger, and mightier that we are to take us and hold us in the protection of His mighty arms.

Does that mean that the storms that are raging within our lives will come to an immediate halt? Most likely, the answer to that question is “no”. The storms will continue to touch our lives. The winds will be so strong they will threaten to knock us down at times. The pouring rain of tears will often drench our pillow, yet we will hold fast. We will be anchored to the Rock that is strong and secure. We will weather the storm and remain safe until the sun comes out once again. When we trust, our fear leaves and we are filled with hope.

Let go of your fear today. Trust in Him for today. Be filled with hope today. And, feel yourself grow stronger today! --Clara Hinton

“When the world has broken you down, He will lift you up!” --Clara Hinton

“In my trouble I cried to the Lord and He answered me.” -- Psalm 120:1

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You Can Make it Through Today!

When we’re going through pains, trials, and loss, it seems like there is no end in sight. The bills continue to pile up. The work seems to fall more and more behind. The clutter builds until soon we can’t even find a chair to sit in. And more than anything, that overwhelming feeling of loneliness seems to be worse than ever!

Does it ever end? Does the sadness ever go away when we’ve lost someone? Do we ever find a place in our hearts for joy again? Can we ever feel whole when we’ve been torn apart by disaster and pain? Grief pushes us onto a new road that we’ve never traveled before and the path seems all uphill, rocky, and impossible to climb!

Hold on! Stop right where you are and take a few minutes to reflect, to catch your breath, and to understand that today is one day, and you can make it through! You can take things hour by hour, until you can say with positive affirmation, “I’ve made it!” That’s all we’re ever expected to do. We need only to make it through today.

Expect the sunrise to come with brilliance and strength and new hope. Today is almost gone, yesterday is over, and tomorrow is a brand new beginning with opportunities for new hope and new miracles.

Don’t confuse mourning your loss with forgetting how to live. It’s a difficult climb to reach that point of getting there, but when you do you will know it. The flowers will gain back their brilliant colors. The sky will once again look bright blue. The warmth of the sunshine will touch your soul. And, you will no longer feel alone.

If you are struggling with loss and pain today, take some time right now to pause and rest your soul. Remember that tomorrow is a brand new day with new strength and new hope! You can do it! – Clara Hinton

“I can live today, and I can place hope in a brighter tomorrow!” --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

Monday, May 24, 2010

When All You Do is Worry

Life can be so difficult, and there are times when things seem to pile up and get way out of our control. The bills. Sickness. Family problems. Depression. Broken relationships. The death of a loved one. Worse is when these things come at us in rapid succession without giving us any time to catch our breath or gain any new strength. We’re left feeling exhausted and depleted of all hope!

What do we do when we’ve lost every ounce of energy, every bit of desire for life that we once had? That’s a sure-fire sign that we are experiencing life-burnout and we need to step back, take a long, hard look at the real picture, and then call on God for extra help.

God has given us promises of being our very present help in trouble. He says that He is our shield and protector. He tells us that He is our Shepherd and cares so deeply about each of us that he even has the hairs on our head counted! But, when we’re going through painful sorrow, it’s hard to believe all of this is true! That’s when we need to hold fast to our Father even more, and cling to His word and make that our security blanket.

Look to the skies and be reminded of the One who created the heavens. Feel the gentle breeze against your face and know that it is the whisper of God reminding you He is near. Watch the sunbeams dancing and know that God is touching you with His very breath. God is real. He is alive. And, He will carry you through whatever problem and pain is touching your life! He gives the hope and peace to carry on! --Clara Hinton

“Worry never accomplishes anything except giving you extra wrinkles and a big headache! Let go and let God!” --Clara Hinton

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

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When Hope Seems Distant

Whenever grief enters our lives, it is often described as feeling like a hole has been placed right in the center of our hearts and nothing in the world can ever fill that void. That’s grief at its worst, and for a long time it hurts like nothing we’ve ever felt before. Loss touches every area of our living, and we feel drained, and devoid of all hope.

Well meaning people urge us to move on in life and our grief will diminish. While this is true to a degree, the one thing we need the most is hope. We need some kind of assurance that tomorrow will be a better day than today. We want to know that we will not always feel so alone and sad. We need something to assure us that joy will come in the morning.

God, in His infinite love and care for us, knew that we would need to know with absolute assurance that hope is still alive within our grieving hearts, so He gave us daily reminders to serve as hope boosters. All we have to do is look to the heavens, and we can see the mighty works of God. We see the sun, the stars, the moon, the clouds, and the vast expanse of the sky. All of those are reminders of what a mighty God we have as our Father.

God did not design a world of chaos and despair, but rather a world of beauty and miracles. When we look at the intricate makings of a flower, our hearts fill with hope because we know that if God cares that much for a flower, He truly cares for each one of us! We are never alone. Hope lives within our hearts forever! – Clara Hinton

“Every new day is a gift of hope sent from God.” --C. Hinton

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” --Psalm 19:1

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Even in Loss, We have Choices!

Most of us don't like change. We get to a place in life where we feel comfortable, and we are fine with staying there. Then, out of the blue, there comes something that knocks us flat and leaves us wondering if we'll ever get to a place in life where all feels okay again. Loss brings about so many changes in our lives!

Are you struggling with finances today? Broken relationships? Loss of health? Lost dreams? Loss of a loved one? The unthinkable - the loss of a child? If so, please know that you're not alone in this pain. Countless others have walked the lonely path of grief and pain and have been faced with many changes, and they've made it. The good news is that you, too, will make it to a new place of peace and joy!

While dealing with all of the changes that come about due to a loss, surround yourself with others who can support you. Look to those who have gone through similar circumstances for some much-needed guidance and encouragement. Above all else, lean on your heavenly Father for strength!

Remember, too, that we have choices all along the way. We can choose to place ourselves in the dark corner of hopelessness forever, or we can choose to look for new hope in the everyday happenings of life. Look at the sunrise and the sunset and find the miracle in each one. Study the beauty of a flower ready to burst into full bloom and reflect on how much God cares about details. Listen to the sounds of nature singing a song of hope just for you!

Slowly but surely, changes will take place, and you will find yourself once again able to enjoy the small blessings in life. Day by day, the sun will begin to shine once again, and you will find yourself able to face the day with renewed hope and strength! - Clara Hinton

"Hope places new life into every soul who asks for it!" --Clara Hinton

"Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my soul." -Psalm 54:4

Rest in Him for Your Strength

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We Don't Live in a Perfect World

In a perfect world, life doesn't hurt. There is no pain. We don't have to shed tears because all is perfect and well. Reality tells us, though, that we don't live in a perfect world. Instead, we do have pain, sorrow, and tragedies that come into our lives quite unexpectedly. Life isn't always fair, and we are left asking that age-old question, "Why?".

I don't think we'll ever answer the "why" question good enough to satisfy us, BUT we can understand that we are not alone in our pain. In this world, there are many sufferers, and we each can learn from one another and gain new strength and hope as we travel this road of grief.

As has been said before, sorrow is a new language that we must learn, and it gives us new eyes in which we view all of life. At first we feel like foreigners struggling to find our way without a map. After a while, though, we begin to struggle less until finally we find a new place to call home, we learn the new language, and we have keener, sharper eyesight in which to view life's beauty.

If you are struggling today in the land of sorrow, hold on and continue putting one foot forward until you find your place of level ground. Trust that as you travel this often lonely path, you will find others along the way who will reach out and help you. They will speak your language, and you will no longer feel alone.

You will be filled with new hope each day until finally your small flicker will turn into a sunbeam of hope that will light the way for you from the dark path of sorrow into the healing light of new-found peace and inner joy!

A thought: "Yes, things are different now, but they will get better! Hope is alive, and will lead the way!" -- Clara Hinton

"Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my soul." --Psalm 54:4

NOTE: It is my sincere hope that you've found a bit of sunshine in these words. Visit often as I continue to all hopeful messages, thoughts, and Scriptures.

Clara Hinton

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getting through Mother's Day during Child Loss

Mother’s Day will soon be here, and while that day is an awesome day of celebration for some, it is also one of the most painful days of the year to get through for the many mothers who are living with the heartache of child loss.

I have been a mother in grief. Twenty-two years ago on Mother’s Day I was carrying my son who was to be born in July. Instead, I found out that he had died inside of me, and I spent Mother’s Day carrying my little boy knowing that his heart had stopped beating forever. He was delivered “still” on the Thursday following Mother’s Day.

Having “been there”, I can tell you that there is no right or wrong way to approach Mother’s Day when grieving. Do what is best for you, and don’t spend countless hours trying to please others around you. If you want to take a walk among nature to reflect, then do it. If you want to skip family meals and all reminders of Mother’s Day, then do it. And, remember that you don’t owe the world an explanation. This is one time when it’s necessary to be selfish in your actions. You know what is best for you, and this is a time to take care of yourself.

Remembering your child is a very personal thing, and you might find that others will not remember, or if they do remember your child, they might not mention your child by name. Others don’t like to see us cry, so they avoid the obvious. “My child isn’t here, and I’m in pain.” Cry. Journal. Scream. Sleep. Light a candle. Release a balloon. Write a poem in memory of your child. All of these are ways to “get through Mother’s Day” when you are missing your child. Again, this is very personal. Do what is best for YOU to get through.

Lastly, remember that this day will pass. You will make it, and when you do you will have accomplished a big step in your journey we call healing. – Clara Hinton

“My child, I love you, and I always will.” --Clara Hinton

“In the day of my trouble I shall call upon Thee, for Thou wilt answer me.” --Psalm 86:7

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hope is an Amazing, Powerful Strength!

In our grief, sometimes we feel so isolated and alone that we feel we’ve been singled out. While our grief is unique and is totally ours, we do belong to a family of people traveling that same difficult journey called grief. Many times, we need to remind ourselves of this or we can sink into a hole of despair that is so dark and lonely that we cannot find the light of day.

Grief is unique, but it is also universal. I cannot feel the same intensity of pain as you, but I can offer you encouragement through my pain. We have not been left alone even though there are times in our walking with grief that it feels that way.

How can I cope? How can I get through this day, or even this hour when I feel this alone? It often helps to walk among nature and to see the communion we have with all of life. Soak up the beauty of the flowers and trees and birds, the sky, and all of nature. Our heavenly Father has not left us alone in our darkest hours. He is near, and He will give us rest from the weariness of pain and grief if only we will lean on Him. If He cares for every detail of nature, does He not care more deeply for us?

Hope is an amazing, powerful strength that lies within us. For a while, it lays dormant after a loss, but then slowly our hope is ignited and it grows in proportion to our belief an understanding that we have not been left alone. Hope heals. Hope comforts. Hope helps us look to the future with eyes no longer clothed in tears but with peace! --C. Hinton

“In this life, I am never alone. Hope bathes my heart in peace, and comforts me every hour of every day!” --Clara Hinton

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” --Psalm 23:1-3a

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tidal Waves of Grief

Grief seems to hit us like a tidal wave at times when we least expect it. We can be plodding along in life "okay" when all of a sudden we get smacked hard with the reality of our loss, and we're left feeling like we're drowning in a sea of sorrow with no life jacket in sight.

Being aware of how grief works is a critical part of our grief journey. Knowing that we can get these "grief attacks" unexpectedly can actually help us to prepare for them. When your tidal wave of grief hits, take some long, deep breaths, and prepare to wait it out. Don't fight it or try to swim against the tide. You will only exhaust yourself both physically and emotionally. Feel the pain with the knowledge that following this storm, the seas will once again return to calm, and
you will have better days ahead.

The pain will begin to subside as you begin to acknowledge the fact that grief attacks are only momentary in nature. The raw part of grief work has already been done, adn you will be able to manage your grief by thinking more calm thoughts, journaling your emotions, taking a walk among nature, and calling on a friend or two for some encouragement.

Did you get hit by a tidal wave today? Take courage in knowing that you're going to make it. Others have walked this path before you and they've made it and you will, too! Your hope is bigger than your fear. Your courage is stronger than your pain. And, your hope is always alive and at work!

A thought: "I will face my pain with courage. I will make it!" -Clara Hinton

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory." --Psalm 84:11

NOTE: It is always my prayer that you've received some much-needed hope and encouragement by visiting this place of hope!

Clara Hinton

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Prayer is an Amazing Avenue of Healing!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by loss today? Does it feel as though life has abandoned you and you’re all alone in your grief? Have you come to the point of almost wanting to give up?

Hold on! There is hope beyond the grief, and that hope never fails to arrive at just the right moment in your life!

Take a walk alone today and look at the sky, slowly breathe in the air, and feel the breeze brush gently across your face. Hear the whispers of God in all of nature and allow His presence to touch your heart. Feel His nearness and be assured that you have not been left alone in your pain.

Prayer is an amazing avenue of healing because it allows you to talk to the Physician, and the One who truly understands. You can say what’s on your heart and mind without fear of being misrepresented or misunderstood. There is no fear being placed on you when you speak to God in prayer. He listens. He understands. He sends comfort. He is your tender Father who cares.

What is on your heavy heart today? Sadness? Emptiness? Loneliness? Feeling forgotten and misused? Feeling abandoned? Then walk among the fields. Touch the lilies. Catch a butterfly. Allow the raindrops to fall gently across your face, and know that you are never alone! Hope is alive and will continue to grow stronger with each passing day when you open your heart to prayer. – Clara Hinton

“Praying is talking in confidence to the One who cares.” --C. Hinton

“Pray without ceasing.” -- I Thessalonians 5:17

Friday, February 26, 2010

Remembering Happy Times Brings New Hope!

Any kind of loss is hard. Loss of job. Loss of home. Loss of a beloved pet. Loss of a friendship. Most difficult of all to bear is the loss of a loved one—especially the loss of a child. Children are never supposed to die before their parents!

How does one find hope when all hope seems to be gone? Somewhere on this journey of grief, we begin to remember happy times. At first it’s painful and often seems a bit disrespectful, but eventually those memories bubble up and fill our hearts with joy!

The happy memories become a healing salve to the raw pain that we once felt. Once of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves (and this takes time to reach this point) is to be able to remember the times of laughter and fun shared with our loved one!

Give yourself permission to remember the happy times! When you do remember those times of laughter, fresh hope will flood your soul with healing peace and joy! –Clara Hinton

“I will remember my loved one with joy, and I will feel at peace.”—Clara Hinton

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

There is Comfort Found in Quiet Time with God

Hurry, hurry, hurry! Rushing here and there and really getting nowhere seems to be the way we live life when all is normal and well. BUT, when grief strikes the depths of our heart, we suddenly find that a song of a different beat is sung. “Time stands still.”

Quiet times become much harder to handle. Our loneliness seems to shout out to us in the silence and reminds us that nothing is right, and life has been turned upside-down. We grasp for some normalcy of the hustle and bustle of life again, but it doesn’t happen. Not yet. Not when grief is raw and new.

Busy lives are most generally happy lives, but there does come a season when it is good to be still. Sometimes we have to wait out the storm and regroup. We need time and space and even some silence to find that place called our “new normal.”

In the battlefront of our tears and grief, we often find the most comfort from retreating from the hurriedness of life for a while and just being still. Sitting among the solitude of nature is often grief’s most helpful comfort. In the still of the night is the time we can most clearly hear the whisper of our closest Friend, our Father, our Comforter.

Don’t fear the quiet; rather embrace it for a season. Take time to listen for the quiet, yet powerful voice of hope whispering in your ear daily. Hope will eventually take root in the very depths of your heart and grow into a spontaneous, healthy new joy! --Clara Hinton

“Without fear, I will sit quietly for a season in my house of grief until my newfound hope appears.” --Clara Hinton

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

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Love Holiday

This week we will celebrate a holiday that is typically known as the “love holiday.” Millions of dollars will be spent on chocolate candies and flowers. The phone lines will be busy all day long making calls to special people. The card shops will be busy with all of the last minute shoppers for Valentine’s Day.

Yet, in the midst of all of this happiness there will be countless people grieving losses and feeling the hollow hole that can only be created by being alone. This day, February 14, will be one that will pass by and so many will feel alone, unloved, and forgotten.

Losing a loved one is a pain that is hard to describe. And, losing a child is a pain that is even more difficult to describe because children are never supposed to die before their parents. But, the sad truth is that every day this type of loss occurs leaving many parents grieving and feeling lost in a world that hardly seems to care.

Let us never forget, no matter what type of loss we are grieving, that we are never alone. God has promised to be by our side, to care for us, and to tenderly provide what we need especially during our times of brokenness.

Every time you look at the intricate markings on a flower or see the sunbeams dancing from heaven, be reminded that your Father made them with great care. Remember, too, that He made you, He knows you, and He has known you since the beginning of time. What a thought! We are never alone or forgotten with God as our Father!

On this special day when love seems to be in the air, sit still and allow God to embrace you with His love. Close your eyes and feel His very presence, and know that all is well with your soul when God is by your side! –C. Hinton

“God is the one and only true love.” --Clara Hinton

“Thou art my hope; O Lord God…..” --Psalm 71:5

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Be Still and Listen

When life comes crashing down on us, the very last thing we want to do is be still. We want to “fix” the problems. We want to do something to make the pain go away. We want to take action now so that we can prevent things from getting any worse.

Yet…..these are the times when we cannot fix things. We cannot make everything go back to how it was before the crises. There are times when an unexpected illness strikes. A relationship is abruptly ended. A loved one dies. And we are left totally broken.

This is when we need to be still. Be still and listen. Be still and wait for our Comforter. Be still and feel the very presence of our Father wrapping His arms around us. Be still and hear to the voice of the One who truly loves us. Be still and allow the seeds of hope to be nurtured back to life.

Are you in pain today? Is your heart aching with loneliness? Take some time away from the everyday activities of life and simply be still. As you are still, you will receive the much-needed replenishment and hope you need to carry your through the day! Be still and be filled with hope! –C. Hinton

“The ember of hope is always glowing within your soul.” C. Hinton

“Be still and know that I am God.” --Psalm 46:10