Don’t Give Up Hope: Finding Joy in Tough Times

“If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.”

~Lucy Larcom (1824-1893), American poet

This past week was a rough one. Our family got some bad news and it has caused us to re-evaluate a few things in our lives. I have faith everything will turn out fine. But it does take some effort to see the bright side right now. One thing I have learned over the years is that happiness is mostly a result of our attitude. Being grateful for the good things in our lives is a powerful tool to combat the negative and the depression that often follows. To that end I am making it a habit to notice the good things in my life and acknowledge them specifically. I thank God for blessings each day even when I don’t feel like it.

The other major change in my life that has helped me cope with stressful circumstances is cleaning up my diet and getting my vitamin D levels into the normal range. These things have done wonders for my mood. I do not need medication for depression. The winter months used to leave me feeling blue but now I find even the gray days of the season calming and pleasant in their own way.

Frozen Lake

The photo above is from my drive to work. This lake is frozen and covered in snow right now. As beautiful as it is in the summer – when we see bald eagles, exotic ducks and the like – the winter has its own charm. Rather than wishing for summer, I am making a special effort to appreciate the beauty of the current season. The drive to my office may be long, but it is filled with beautiful moments that I often overlook. When I focus on those beautiful aspects, the drive becomes an entirely new experience. In the same way, I am beginning to look at the negative events in my life and instead of letting them get me down I am focusing on what God is doing through them. Things that seem sad and scary and depressing at first may be just the beginning of blessings. He has great plans for each of us and we just have to focus on that and enjoy what is good in each day.

I heard the following song recently that really puts things into perspective. The lyrics contain a great message and I hope you will find some encouragement in it.

Don’t Give Up Hope 

by Third Day

“Don’t give up faith 
Don’t give up hope 
There’s always something better 
Waiting around the corner 
Don’t give up now 
Please, don’t let go 
What can feel like the ending 
Could just be the beginning 
Don’t give up hope”

Tomorrow I will get back to recipes. I plan to finally post Paleo Mini Meatloaves. They are great comfort food and perfect for kids and meals on-the-go. Stay tuned!

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14 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up Hope: Finding Joy in Tough Times

  1. Lea,
    Such an inspiring post, thank you. We are also as a family dealing with some issues that can leave us hopeless. You are right, looking to the creator to show us what it is about our situation that he wants us to grow from, or be blessed from is how to get through. I am praying that you and your family will be blessed through your trials.

    Think warm thoughts,

  2. Hang in there Lea! Your attitude is right. Always remember,’Though we travel the world over searching for the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not’.

  3. Beautifully inspiring. Always see the beauty in life. It makes things a little simpler. Truly. And good friends to keep you up. Thanks for sharing your message.

  4. Lea, I don’t know what your family is dealing with now, but I’ve been in some really discouraging places, emotional, physical, even financial. Things I look back on and would change somehow – I would make myself spend time with friends and family even if I didn’t feel like it. Foster a support system. Accept (and ask for) help and encouragement. Delegate and re-evaluate. Use baby steps. Give myself the gift of special time.

    Let me leave you with some gratitude of my own: I really enjoy your blog. I appreciate the time you put into it and the great ideas you share. They help me. My family is better for it. I’m one person you’ve never met who’s benefited from your efforts. That counts for something.

    :: hugs ::

  5. Thank you for the powerful message and the reminder to look for the beautiful as you go through the tough times. We have to go through it, not around it, and will emerge stronger for it. Third Day is amazing and thank you for the link! I also love their Revelation, as it helped me to articulate my cry in the wilderness. Peace and blessings to you and your family.

  6. I just LOVE that song by Third Day! Sorry to hear you are struggling, too – as I also had some bad news last week – but thank you for sharing your struggle and your reasons for joy. I will keep you in my prayers. God is good and can be trusted to work ALL things together for our good :)

  7. Thanks for this great post, Lea! Like you, I am no stranger to bad news and hard times but God’s faithfulness has been our mainstay through everything. He has caused us to be victorious beyond any natural hope. In the hard time I learned to be very careful who I surrounded myself with, and whose counsel I inclined my ear to. The hard times weeded out relationships that cluttered my life and sucked away my energy. That time of refocus helped so much! Doing a relational inventory was necessary to help ensure that we crossed the finish line because everyone in our lives were helping us finish strong.

    You will also finish strong. Be bold, be strong…the Lord your God is with you.

  8. Excellant excellant post today! Thanks for the uplifting words! Sometimes its easier to fall into the slump of negativity and let you current surroundings or situation get you down but I agree that happiness is a result of your attitude so no matter what your current situation is if you make the choice to speak and think positively you can hold onto your peace. Great post!

  9. This was a very timely word! Praying for your all as you endure to see where God’s going with you and your family!! He is so very faithful and able!!

    In Christ Alone,
    Megan <

  10. Thank you Lea , your post really helped me cope with my fear, I’m having some health issues, I’ll know by Wednesday what the problem is….My God keep us safe.

  11. Just happened upon your blog while searching for paleo snacks and was intrigued by the title of this post. I do the exact same thing…count my blessings and thank God everyday for all I have. It serves to remind me of the great things in my life and always lifts my mood. So happy to know others do the same. I pray God continues to bless you and provide strength and support for you and your family.

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