There are times when the possibility of growing hope in your life seems like the farthest thing from your mind. Survival might be your focus instead. And, just like a garden that hasn’t done well through a bone-chilling winter, hope and new blossoms seem miles away.
A few practical ways to grow hope in your life, as well as blossoms in your garden, are out there. I’m going to share 3 secrets I’ve discovered for growing hope in my own life. Along the way, I’ll include a couple of stories from friends and family members who have landed in the place of hope.
Is Hope Missing from Your Life Right Now?
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There are times when the pain or the worry is too heavy, too hard to bear. During those times, we survive. We breathe. We put one foot in front of the other. And, in a little while, we might be able to peak out from under the covers to catch a ray of sunshine and the tiniest glimmer of hope to imagine that life could possibly go on. You might say, “Hope is the place to put your heart when your world is shattering”. And, you just hold on tight. Eventually, we start to dream and plan again. We’re back into life’s rhythm of challenges and bright spots.
If you have ever wondered how to find hope in life or are maybe saying “I need hope right now!”, check out these secrets and stories and you could discover there are many reasons to have hope for the future and that it is possible to find it and grow it for yourself.
Grandma Edla’s Story of Hope
Our family has many stories of hope. One that I loved hearing as a child was when Grandma Edla (my maternal grandmother) left Finland as a teenager, sailed across the Atlantic, and entered America through Ellis Island. Her heart filled with wishes and dreams of all that could come to pass in this new life for her. Her American journey took her to Alaska near the silver mines and then on to marriage and a home in Kitsap County, Washington.
Matt and Edla Kainulainen and their family raised chickens to eat and sell. This was the family business and one day it all went up in smoke. They watched as the chicken coop holding all the chicks burned to the ground. One of their younger daughters Elsie (my mom), cried that everything was lost. And, to anyone else, that would have appeared to be the case.
However, Elsie’s strong-hearted, *sisu-filled, hopeful immigrant parents saw past the fire. They saw past the lack of insurance, the low bank account, and knew there would be a way to start over. They told Elsie and the rest of the family they would simply begin again. And, that is exactly what they did! They didn’t lose hope in their American dreams.
Lee’s Story of Hope
Lee Anita Coleman is a Poulsbo friend who married one of my high school classmates, Steve. Over the last couple of years, she has walked that hard road called cancer; enduring misdiagnosis, pain, procedures, treatments, and all the things that come along with the c-word. No one would fault her for sinking into fear and worry. But, she chose to grow her hope and faith.
Lee followed her heart and put her trust in God, keeping His words in the front of her mind. Lee explains, “During my time of cancer and going through chemo treatments I’ve kept the verses of Joshua heading into the Promised Land close. Starting with Joshua 1:7-9. The main verse for me is 1:9 where God tells Joshua and His people, ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go'”
Lee’s last treatment was in March of 2020. That was right in the middle of the Corona Virus drama. Of course, she was very careful, not going out much while Steven (her strongest supporter and grocery shopper) took care of the ‘outside’ things. But, when she shares about her journey, she exudes faith and hope and no fear.
How do you get from under the covers to out in the sunshine? Here are 3 Secrets that might be helpful.
Secret #1: Growing Hope with Music
Music is a secret that works for me. I love soft and happy piano music. Worship music, either instrumental or vocal, lifts my heart. When I’m most of the way into the sunshine, oldies will bring back happy memories, reminding me that things can be good again.
Creating a playlist in Apple Music or Spotify makes it easy-peasy to pull up the songs you need. We have a Road-Trip Playlist for when we’re out of range of local stations and we need some old rock and roll. I also have a Hopeful List that gets my Quiet Time qued up and gets me ready for Sunday morning church.
Determine your ‘hopeful music playlist’ and play it soft or crank it up all the way…it works!
Secret #2: Hopeful Words Work
Words have the power to lift you up. There are parts of the Bible that have been meaningful in my past. And even better, the verses that I believe God has used to speak directly to me. You know, when you’re reading along and a section jumps out touching that hurting spot in your soul. Then, it dawns on you that He knows. He cares. He sees you. And, He had you run into just the right words. I look at those times as double blessings. You’ve been given the perfect words, plus you get more proof that He’s real and involved in your life!
Sometimes the words come through the author of a book or a blog or even a Facebook post. They can come through the voice of a dear friend or a family member. (You might love this post on making ‘keeper’ friends-the best kind of all!) Sometimes the words from the other person aren’t words at all. Instead, they take a variety of forms; smiles, hugs, a hand on the shoulder. There could be tears, but hopefully, there are plans to move forward, to talk about the good things coming. The good things you’re hoping for. And, you’ll notice that your eyes have shifted from focusing on the hopeless to the Hopeful One. 💕
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Secret #3: Hope in Your Life through Plans and Dreams
Finally, the last stage of growing hope begins. This is the time when you start to plan and dream and brainstorm. When your yellow legal pad (or Trello board) is in front of you to catch all the ideas falling out of your brain and you start to see a path forward. Or, you might have a planner you use to scope out goals and actions. (This is a link to the Prayerful Planner…my all-time favorite. I use it to do my dreaming and goal setting! The link contains a coupon for you!)
Other hopeful activities could include creating a dream board or setting a Word of the Year. (See this post if you’re not familiar with the Word of the Year process. Oh, and BTW, Words of the Year can be set anytime! They don’t just happen in January. 🙂)
Spring = Hope
The time of year has an effect on my hope levels. Spring is my favorite season. Well, and summer. Anything with warmth and blue skies. In the Spring, the sleepy plants give rise to new life and beauty. And, the hope and predictability of all of that boosts me up! As I write, there isn’t much color in my backyard, but there will be. I know there will be red and yellow and purple and white. And, there will be huge, white blossoms on my Magnolias. I look out there and am filled with hope even in the middle of world-sized challenges. There is so much good to be found.
If Spring is also your thing, here are 25 Best DIY Spring Projects decorating ideas from my friend Lora over at her fun blog.
A Final Word
Hope is simply a form of belief. It believes that good will come no matter what the circumstances. Fear, on the other hand, tends to believe the opposite; worrying about worst-case scenarios. The suggestions above in this post could cause a shift in your belief and help you to grow hope. I’m sure there are other strategies you use to encourage hope. We would love to hear about them!
Also, If our hope is hooked to faith in a loving God there will be substance to that belief. If we believe He loves and cares for us more than any human could, we will believe He walks with us through the hard and sometimes heart-breaking times. In the middle of it all, He drops this gift into our hands to do with as we please. And, that good will come. Maybe not right away, but it will come. (Romans 15:13, see below)
“Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and it is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. It is generally considered not to have a literal equivalent in English.” From Wikipedia
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Finding a new purpose in living and joy in the day-to-day was the goal when author Kathy Rowland and her entire family (adult kids and grandkids) moved from the PNW to Texas several years ago. The focus of Quiet Hollow is to encourage ‘next chapter women’ – those who are retired, empty-nesters, or have found themselves without a spouse to jump back into life. And, she shares multiple tips, ideas, and possibilities toward that end. Kathy completed her almost 30 years as an elementary teacher and hopped into over a decade of volunteer work, side hustle-type businesses, and grandchild care before discovering her unique and fulfilling purpose for the next chapter of life. What you read on Quiet Hollow is a large part of that calling. Another part is the happy life she’s leading in Central Texas in the same neighborhood as the 3 big kids and her 5 grandkids. She and her college sweetheart husband made sure to add a pool to their new Texas home, so there are lots of noisy, splashy days in their little oasis of a backyard. Come join her on Quiet Hollow in a conversation about finding and living the life you were created to live in this later stage. The chats will be full of laughter, support, faith, and inspiration to create.