Praise Him- Even in Loss

Please enjoy today’s guest post from New Leaf Press author Clara Hinton. Clara is the author of Silent Grief and Tender Thoughts for Couples. She has personally experienced loss in many areas of her life and shares ways to lean on the Lord and trust in His Word for guidance and encouragement.

Enjoy-

Pain and loss can enter our lives in so many different ways leaving us shattered, broken, and filled with questions.  When we experience the death of a child, a
sibling, spouse, or someone who has filled a special place in our heart, we suddenly are left with a void that makes us ache to the point of feeling broken.

This grief can be devastating especially during the holiday season.  As we watch others happily buying gifts, planning family meals, and baking cookies together, we feel the pain hit us like a ton of bricks.  “Why?  Why did this happen?  And, how are we ever going to get through the days ahead?”  It’s easy to fall into feelings of depression, despair, isolation, and even abandonment by our family and friends.  Sometimes, we even feel forgotten by God.

Speaking from the personal experience of losing both of my parents, a teen-aged sister, a stillborn baby boy, and going through the pain of separation and divorce, I can relate to those feelings of despair and dread when facing the holidays.  Throughout the years, I’ve come to understand some things that have helped me that I’d like to share with you.

It’s okay to cry.  Tears are healing and are a gift from God.  We each grieve differently, so we will eventually find out what works best for us.  Making new traditions for the holiday season is a good thing, and will help you back into the re-entry stage of life. Do what is best for you.

Most of all, I’ve found it helps to remember who God is and to give Him our honor and praise, especially during our times of pain.  God is the only one who knows us intimately.  He knows our every thought, and He sees our every tear.  When we praise God – truly thank Him — for all He is and all He has done, His spirit fills our emptiness with love, peace, and hope!  “Our God is a mighty God and worthy to be praised” – even in our times of loss!

For further encouragement and ways to work through the process of grief, consider Clara’s book Silent Grief.

Praise Him for His Creation

We continue today with a new post as part of our ‘Praise Him’ series. It comes from a great friend of ours Isabelle Lussier. Enjoy!

Isabelle and her kiddos!

While in the Girl Guides as a child (known as Girl Scouts in the US), I learned to predict the weather based on the colors of the sky, identify the plants in the forest, and so on. Since I became a Christian back in 1997, I am even more in tune with my Creator and love to spend time in the outdoors while we camp.   I marvel constantly at the creativity of God’s creation.

One of my favorite places to visit has always been the zoo.   Not only can I learn more about animals I might never encounter in the wilderness, but can marvel at God’s creative work for each and every plant, bird, fish, and animal around the planet.

This summer we went to visit to Toronto Zoo with the kids.   The zoo had re-opened the penguin exhibit,    and not only did we see the African Penguins but other nautical birds like the white pelican. I recently learned while reading The World of Animals that the pelican’s chin-and-throat bag, or gular pouch, expands to hold more than twice as much as the stomach.

Let me tell you that it was impressive to see this pouch enlarging itself under the water!   I also learned while reading the book that the wingspan of the white pelican, which is the biggest water bird by the way, can reach 8 feet (2.7 meters).   Impressive isn’t it? Pelican fishing

From the book I also learned that white pelicans sometimes work together as a team.  Up to 40 of them surround a spread-out group of fish. Once in position, they will beat their wings on the water and kick their feet, which drives the fish into a smaller, denser group in shallow water.  At this point I guess you can say that lunch is served because every 20 seconds or so, the pelicans
plunge their beaks into the water and scoop up their prey.

White Pelican CleaningMy question to you today: When is the last time you stopped whatever you were doing and taken the time to see God in the things that surround you?  Slow down to look at the trees changing colors in the fall or grab a book to discover God through His creation. You will be surprised by the things you learn while doing so.

About Isabelle:
Isabelle lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband Robert and their four precious kids: Alexandre (grade 5), Dominic (grade 2), Jérémy (grade 1), and Jasmine (kindergarten), whom they have homeschooled since 2007.  They own and manage an IT business in the National Capital region.  She is the author of CanadianladybugReviews! and Life at Oak Grove, and also writes for the Woodall’s blog on a regular basis. Isabelle has a masters degree in Information
Technology.

Praise Others & Him

We are continuing our ‘Praise Him’ blog series today with a guest post from one of our New Leaf Press authors Jim Sheard. Dr. Sheard is the author of Beyond the Score.

Enjoy-

Praise is feedback that is positive and uplifting. Recall a time when someone praised for something you had done or meant to them. You probably recall it was (1) sincere, (2) applicable to you, (3) well-timed, and (3) clearly presented. If so, how did it make you feel?

Praise is one of the nicest things that happens to us. Unfortunately we do not get a lot of sincere feedback and praise because people are unwilling or unable to offer it to friends, family, and coworkers. We can all become better at providing sincere feedback and praise to people around us.

We can also become more willing to offer praise to God. To realize how the Lord feels about your praise consider how much you appreciate it.  Remember these characteristics of praise…

  1. Sincere Thanks and Appreciation to God
  2. Personally Applicable to How You Feel Toward Him
  3. Well-Timed is Anytime and Frequent
  4. Clearly Presented is any Positive Thoughts or Words

“Encourage Others” is one of the eighteen relationship keys in my book Beyond the Score: Relationship Keys for Golf and Life. It is a gift idea that will encourage the golfer on your list.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, and honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring…”- Leo Buscaglia

Beyond the Score is a book you will want to keep around for years. And it’s the perfect gift for friends, executives, and team members. Jim Sheard is an industrial psychology and human resources expert. After a 35-year career in corporate America, he has authored and co-authored eight books including In His Grip which has sold over 750,000 copies.