I try to remind myself to be hopeful in times when I feel the walls are crashing in around me, maybe because of some bad news, like anything that threatens my children, my family, my health, my livelihood, the relationships I love and care about or maybe because of the state of the country, the world; perhaps a tragedy that is far away but feels so close to home emotionally. Usually, an initial feeling of hopelessness appears when I feel I have no control over the situation and need to dig deep to find hope whether through some kind of action - which could be… taking time to reflect spiritualy, talking to friends and family, mindful deep breathing, taking a walk, being outside… I often feel the urgency and frankly the need to do something, anything that helps me find meaning in what I'm experiencing and most often it's trying to make sense out of something that often doesn't. Hope is such a beautiful expression and can mean so many different things to so many people…Researchers like Martin Seligman, the founder of the positive psychology movement, professes through over 20 years of scientific research, that hope reduces feelings of helplessness, stress, and depression and improves ones quality of life; being hopeful suggests that we look into the future and know somewhere that where we are, although it may feel devastating, or incredibly challenging or never changing, is not where we will always be; if you can stretch with me for a moment, Seligman also believes that hope may hold unrealized opportunities - that are often very tough to swallow in the moment; I did an episode about a family who lost their daughter diagnosed at 16 months with cancer - she fought for a year, not only did they NOT lose their faith, but they channeled it into a foundation to help others - Addi's Faith Foundation. These situations are incredibly inspiring for me; when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I immediately roped in the friend who pushed me to get an ultrasound that ultimately diagnosed my cancer when my Gyn hadn't recommended it - into sharing our stories so other women would get diagnosed earlier than I, and maybe not face the many treatments that I needed.
Desmond Tutu once said, "Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness," and Winston Churchill said, "When you're going through hell, keep going". Hope gives us the strength to keep going, and continue moving forward. I often say to myself, what choice do I have? But, honestly, that is one way, I am hopeful - my choice is not having a choice, but to move forward, because hope is not blind hopefulness, it is constructive hope - it is the hope that there is a way forward. I am grateful to have that fortitude, but not alone, always with the help of family, friends, my faith, and community.
Although hope may be subjective, it's in all of us; sometimes, we have to dig deep, and often with the help of others and our personal faith; Two women who you will meet shortly used their personal stories to inspire others to reach for guidance and help within their faith and through the support of other survivors of trauma and sexual abuse. With an open heart, Hopeful Hearts Ministry founded in 2012 strives to alleviate the suffering and restore the self-worth of survivors of abuse. They are a faith-based ministry that supports the long-term recovery of survivors through peer support sessions, counseling, and public awareness. Hopeful Hearts Ministry offers counseling, support groups, healing yoga, breath work, healing books, and bible study, and mostly a community of hope
I am so excited to introduce my two guests: Shannon McGraw Carr, the founder of Hopeful Hearts Ministry who felt compelled to help others understand their worth and realize their full potential while also providing programs that empower and serve to educate and improve the lives of those similarly victimized. Shannon is the author of three books: EXPOSED, REDEEMED, and RECLAIMED. She has been a columnist for CHOOSE-NOW MINISTRIES, a featured columnist with CatholicLane.com, Lifestyle & Charity magazine, Catholic Women's magazine, and SpiritLed Woman Magazine and she is the mother of two boys.
For more information, please go to their website: