Apparently you can live 40 days without food, 4 days without water, 4 minutes without oxygen, but only 4 second without hope! It is in these moments of having no hope, moments where the walls are closing in on you and you just can’t breathe, that you want to give up. Not sure about you, but I’ve been there where I gave up on life. It was a time where I was unemployed, insolvent, divorced, rejected, alone, and I wanted to end it all. I just couldn’t, or maybe didn’t want to go on. It was a time where I simply had no energy or motivation to face anything, let alone stand up and start over again.


But if there is one thing that life has taught me, it is that there is ALWAYS hope! I’ve learned when all feel hopeless, it’s best to take time to just breathe and not try to make sense of things that have gone wrong. Just breath and become quiet, not just from the voices and noise around you, but also from your own voice and thoughts. It is in getting silent that you can start listening to the truth, the truth that there is always hope, that you are special, that God has a purpose for you and that all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good. From personal experience I know this to be true.


For me to breath and become silent, I love to go to Faerie Glen Nature Reserve in Pretoria. The moment I start walking to the top of the mountain, I become quiet and just open my eyes, ears and heart to listen. I’ve learned over the years that by asking less question, and listening more, I’m able to get to the answers quicker. A constant asking and talking keeps me from listening to God who wants to enter in conversation with me about what is on HIS heart for me. This gives me hope!


So, what have I learned on my way to the top of the mountain? I’ve learned to enjoy the journey! It’s tuff getting to the top of the mountain. You feel the pain in your legs and your lungs burn. But this is not what the journey is about. It’s about smelling the flowers, taking in pictures sceneries, and taking in deep breaths of fresh air. Life can be hard, unpredictable and will through curve balls when you least expect it. You can choose to focus on the bad and let it drain the life from you, or you can choose to stand up, learn, grow and create new opportunities from these difficult patches in your life. Happiness and resilience are choices we can make! Therefore, enjoy the journey.


There is so much that we can learn when we spend time in nature. I remember this one time when I came across a large tree that has fallen over. You should think that the tree would slowly die, but this was not the case. All over this tree, new branches and leaves started to sprout. It made me realize that no matter how hard you fall in life, how hopeless you feel, how badly you have messed up, life will afford you second chances! Each new branch that sprouts from this tree is a witness of a new beginning. Maybe we need to stop focusing on how bad life has treated us and allow God and time to heal the hurt and to use it for something good in the world around us. Healed scars are not so bad because they can tell a story that will inspire hope in others!


I usually go hiking in winter. Most people don’t like winter, but I’ve learned that winter is necessary. The leaves that fall from the trees become compost that will feed the roots of the trees and plants around it. Also, just because you do not see any leaves on the trees, doesn’t mean that the tree is dead. It is still full of life and the potential of new leaves and flowers are waiting to burst into nature at the right time. Seasons will come and go. No matter where you are, this too shall pass – it’s just a season. Nature has taught me to look with different eyes, eyes that see the potential and growth that will come from bad patches in life. Winter gives rest and prepares new life. Just because things are not happening the way you want them to be, does not mean that it will not happen. It’s just not the right time, but it will happen!


You definitely will get tired on the way to the top of the mountain. We are all on our way somewhere and sometimes the road gets tough. Getting tired of trying, of starting over, is part of life. But what do you do when you get tired? Stand still for a moment and take a deep breath. It’s okay to rest from time to time. Rest means standing still, taking off your backpack, drinking water, eating something. But then, instead of looking at how steep and far the road ahead still is, just turn around and see how far you have come and draw energy from that. Look at all the monuments of faith on the road you’ve travelled. See what you’ve overcame in life and draw from that. If God could have helped you in the past and gave you strength, He will do so again. It gives courage and then I can move on again. Just don’t turn back – you’ll miss so much!


And so, you arrive at the top of the mountain and sit yourself down on a rock under a tree. It is here that you can rest, get your breath back, and just be. It is however in this rest, that you need to become silent and start listening. This is when I normally start journaling, just writing down all my thoughts. I believe this to be the voice of God and when God speaks we must listen, because his words are words of life. I think we talk too much, we ask too much, and forget the value of listening. I cannot describe how true and deep listening has changed my life.


On the top of the mountain everything looks different. There is fresh air, freedom, silence, and you can just experience God’s presence. It is on the mountain of hope that I always get perspective on things that are happening in my life. It is here that I can see further and see the connection between things. As I sit under the tree, I’m able to see my daughter’s house, the different shopping malls, schools, churches and a few other famous landmarks and where they are in relation to each other. Sometimes we need to stand back and look at our situation from a different perspective. It is in this silence that God will show you things from HIS perspective and only then things will become clearer to you. Problems won’t disappear, it may not solve your crisis, but because you see things from God’s perspective and experience Him as the ‘big picture’ God, you will know that He is still in control, and you will find courage to go back and face the giants in your life.


If there is one thing that I have experienced in life, it is that there is always hope. There are always answers. There is always an outcome. You just need to believe it and act on it! There have been many instances in my life where I did not want to continue, but hope has saved my life, time and time again. It was in spending time on the mountain, getting quiet and just listening and journaling my thoughts that I have always come back with renewed energy and things that I knew I had to do: forgiving, stop feeling sorry for myself, acting, letting go, making peace, think about what I think about, etc. Remember that happiness is a choice. Being positive is a choice. Standing up is a choice. What is your next step going to be?