Healing Words for Hurting Hearts
Eileen Hinkle Rife

Healing Words for Hurting Hearts

Stories that spark faith, hope, and love 


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Journaling for Good Health: What's Your Story?

Posted by Eileen Rife on April 6, 2010 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (5)

The story is told of a woman who lay in her sick bed watching a cocoon outside her window. As the butterfly struggled to emerge, she thought she would help the creature along by snipping the cord that held it to the cocoon. Immediately the cocoon opened wide, and the butterfly escaped without any further struggle. However, its wings were lifeless and colorless. For days it lived a sickly life, not once lifting its lifeless wings. Thinking she had rendered a good service to the butterfly, the women was disappointed so consulted a biologist. He told her that the butterfly required the pushing and struggling to send the life fluid into its veins, and that her mistaken kindness in shortening the struggle had left the wings lifeless and colorless.

Each of us has a story. What's your story? Since I'm a writer, I deal in stories every day. I've discovered that every good story needs a struggle or conflict. Without conflict, there is no story. Conflict can be viewed as a problem, or it can be viewed as an opportunity for growth.

Writing my own story began as a sophomore in college when I was experiencing some profoundly dark days. As I interacted with the Scriptures, I put pen to paper and the LORD set me on a course to flesh out my story that has continued to the present.

Over the years, my journaling has taken two basic forms:

1.) A running commentary of flowing prose sporadically logged at various points in my life

2.) A timeline of significant life events that in some way have contributed to my healing journey. Superintending this timeline has been the ever present GOD of Psalm 139 who created me, has known me, and laid his hand on me.

In journaling my healing struggle, I have allowed the Holy Spirit, my gentle, humble Teacher, to take me by the hand and lead me into the truth about who God is and who I am. The outcome has been and continues to be growth, specifically, an awesome awareness of His love and plan for me, even in the midst of intense struggle at times.

What's your story?

Journaling, in whatever form connects with you, can be a great way to process your life story, which can result in emotional and spiritual growth.

Writing to Heal: Introduction

Posted by Eileen Rife on June 2, 2009 at 11:19 AM Comments comments (0)

 I love this pic! My son-in-law, Nathan, captured the shot in Sri Lanka. I cherish this picture so much that I printed it off my computer, framed it, and hung it over our kitchen table, along with the verse: Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth (Ps. 46:10). God gave me that verse while sitting in the woods one morning as a fifteen-year-old camp counselor. Little did I know it would follow me all these years and become a theme verse for my life.


This picture, with its many layers, nourishes my soul. It calls me away to spend time with the Lord, quietly listening for His voice. Allowing His gentle touch to calm my heart and heal my wounds. As I sit at His feet, like David, I ask: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way (Ps. 139:23-24).


In the process of talking with the Lord, reading His Word, and listening for His voice, I pull out my journal and begin to record the insights He gives me. I have found over the years, that journaling can be quite therapeutic! I write about my struggles, my heartaches, my joys and victories. I record Scriptures He places on my heart, paraphrase what they mean, and then apply them to my own situation. I breathe deeply and allow the stress to flow from my body and soul. Sometimes I play soft music in the background to further nourish my soul.


One of the keys in writing to heal, according to James Pennebaker, specialist in journaling for trauma recovery is to acknowledge the bad and look for the good. The degree to which you can do this in your writing is one factor that correlates with improved health.

My hope is to add more entries about WRITING AS A THERAPEUTIC TOOL, so check back often as I delve deeper into this fascinating topic.


"Transition! Transition!"

Posted by Eileen Rife on May 18, 2009 at 9:22 AM Comments comments (1)

     I sat down at the computer this morning with the song, "Tradition!" from Fiddler on the Roof buzzing around in my head. Fresh on my mind from riding in the Waldock van and listening to the classic musical, I giggled to myself. So my fingers spat out, "Transition!" because once again this year is full of them . . . in every way.


In all truth, spring has typically been a transition time of sorts for me. Cleaning out closets--out with the winter garb and in with the spring. Watching curtains flutter from an open window. Reevaluating writing tasks. Seeking the Lord's direction. Wrapping up homeschool classes and welcoming summer fun. Recommitting to a walk around the block, at least most days of the week.


When one part of life shifts, other parts do as well. This is a year to devote to family primarily, as my missionary children and grandchildren are on furlough in the States after a three-year stint in India. Thus, I've had to tweak my writing life. It was time for a break anyway, and it couldn't have come at a better time. I am well ahead of the game when it comes to cranking out novels. There are those seasons when it seems the ideas keep tumbling out on top of one another faster than a writer can scribble them down. Lots of fun, since a writer knows all too well that it may not always be that way.


So, what does a writer do when in between writing projects? Well, this writer grades student papers for a creative writing class and finishes up end of the year evaluations. She boosts marketing efforts on books already in the system. She works on a new website. :D She studies for fall classes she will teach. And she READS! READS, READS, READS!


One of the best ways to hone writing skills is by reading everything and anything, especially works in the genre she likes to write in. So, I purchase fellow writers' novels and they in turn purchase mine. We critique gently, yet sincerely, and write reviews.


I'm also searching out high quality YA fiction to recommend for my teen students, so I'm dabbling in that reading genre as well. Anybody out there have recommendations, pass them my way!


I have to admit, the change from an active writing pace is a much-needed breath of fresh air at this juncture. I'm currently working through Julie Andrews Memoirs of her early life and career-- a book titled, Home. Also on the current reading docket are several Karen Kingsbury books, Captivating by John Eldridge, The Fox's Honor by fellow OakTara author, L.D. Alford, and The Book of Kings, a pre-teen novel by Jerry Jenkins.


While I won't be wrapped up in a cozy comforter with a cup of steaming peppermint tea in hand (one of my favorite ways to read), I will be lounging on the deck buried in a book, sipping fruit smoothie while occasionally snatching a glimpse at our backyard of dense trees and wildlife.


Ah, it's a tough transition, but somebody has to do it! Now where did I put that book?