Dealing with grief, depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue can be difficult. Finding that light at the end of the tunnel can be even more challenging.

After serving in ministry and life together with his wife and partner Karen for over 50 years, Ron Hutchcraft, veteran ministry leader, radio broadcaster, speaker, founder and president of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries and On Eagles' Wings Native American youth outreach, was devastated in 2016 when she died of a sudden heart attack.

"This was the love of my life since I was 19. I knew how to do life with Karen, but I didn't know how to do life without her," said Ron.

Reeling from the loss, he turned to God for strength and comfort but found the hope to move forward despite the circumstances.

“By the nature of my people-helping life’s work, I’ve walked with many through their dark valleys – jobs, marriage, divorce, children, faith, failure, heartbreak – and yes, grief. And I’ve learned about hope what only real life can teach,” Hutchcraft writes. “For hope to overcome despair in life’s dark valleys, it has to be something more than the syrupy, unanchored variety usually offered to us. The hope needs to be as real as the hurt, as strong as the grief and as compelling as the fear. . . down-to-earth practical and real.”

Hutchcraft says one of the biggest things that helped him get through this difficult time was to write in a grief journal. He says even if a journal is the only recourse, he recommends giving sorrow words.

"As Shakespeare so eloquently suggested. “Communicate your grief somehow.  At least write it down,” Hutchcraft said. “If you stuff it, it will compound and morph and be ugly.”

He says another way to find God's presence amid pain is to find ways to serve people in need.

“A broken heart is an open heart,” he explains, sharing how his grief made him more aware of others in emotional pain and more compassionate toward them. “This seems strange when you're fighting for emotional survival, but look for people who need you.  Seek out ways to provide random acts of kindness or volunteer for a charity – even if you don't feel like doing it,” he adds.  “Helping other people in their pit will encourage you.” 

 Today on Connections, Ron Hutchcraft shares his story of hope and how you can find that hope as well.