Tag Archive | disappointment

The last ten years..




For the last few days I’ve been aware of this sense that I need to tell my story.. I used to do this when I had the opportunity to do it in women’s groups. Those seem to be gone, yet I still need to tell my story … I know that other people’s stories bring me such encouragement. So.. the last ten years have been extremely challenging.. I graduated from Seminary in 2006 and started my counseling practice that same year. My prayer was that the Lord would provide through my husband Steve. I knew the counseling was more a ministry than a business and I was hoping for a release from financial problems. That really never happened.

Steve has worked.. but all the jobs have been temporary and even those opportunities dried up. The country went into a recession and he got older. We have been in this unemployment prison for over 3 years and there is no release date posted.. God is keeping that to himself at the moment. It has been extremely difficult. We have been hopeful and then the hope was gone.. like a roller coaster ride of emotions. I am facing another birthday next month and wondering how we will make it through the rest of our lives. We have no house to lose or any savings to lose.. maybe that is better than watching everything disappear. It is lonely and  I never expected these years to present this type of challenge. The uncertainty is huge and unfortunately it triggers lots of fears and insecurities.

But.. God is in this.. He is allowing it.. He knows all about it and it is not punishment or abandonment. I have been able to work for this entire time.. I learned that He is my source.. I can only do counseling because His spirit is in me and guides me. We are still married and even though we have arguments..they never last long. My own emotions have been hard to manage.. but my husband is very forgiving and loving. I have been blessed.. watching him continue to try for jobs week after week.. to remain hopeful month after month. His unconditional love for me when I have been angry and frustrated has been amazing. Our marriage is stronger.. our faith is stronger. We are relying totally on the goodness of God as this trial continues.

Life does not always turn out the way we want it to.. there are many surprises and disappointments. God is the same no matter what happens. He is good and He is faithful. He does not leave us or forget us. Our only hope is in Him.. trials remind us that there is no where else to go. We cannot lose Him even if we lose everything else.

This morning God reminded me of this scripture from 2nd Chronicles… it is a favorite.

“But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!” 



Keeping on….

This post is a follow up to the one last one I wrote.. it seems like the topic of life’s disappointments continues to surface daily for me. One of the most difficult things to face is the fact that people’s choices often impact our lives in huge ways yet there is literally nothing we can do to make them behave differently..We can pray for them..and with them..we can talk with them. We can point out the things that would help them.. yet the choice is still theirs.

If you are the care-giving type like I am.. nothing feels like it is enough.. so there is a certain level of frustration that is difficult to handle. As I wrestle through these things.. I hear a quiet voice saying ” Rest in me, look to me, remember me.. I am in this.” It is God..speaking His truth to my heart. He is sovereign over everything and everyone..His plan is unfolding and He is going to redeem everything in the end. We are only passing through this place..our lives are so far from perfect, our relationships are so complicated..we know so little about God’s purposes.

He is asking us to trust Him when nothing makes sense..when others frustrate us, when our hearts are broken in many places. He is calling us to come to Him in a greater way..to lean on Him and to allow Him to comfort and heal us. Do you need this? I do.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” ( Isaiah 43:1-3)



I was reluctant to write on this topic..yet it is one that has been following me for about 10 years. I heard someone talk about it when I was in grad school and it stuck with me.. I could literally see the sadness and disappointment in the eyes of a fellow student. I wondered what had happened to him.. I don’t think it is such a mystery to me now.

The last 9 years have been filled with many disappointments and each time I sit down to think through what has happened.. I am filled with a sadness that I never expected to feel. Could I have been better prepared? No. Should I have anticipated these disappointing things? No. There is literally nothing I could have done differently. We live in a world filled with disappointments..yet there is not much talk about such things. We have our ways of covering them up and pretending they are not bothering us. They are losses and we have to grieve our losses.. no matter how often they occur or how hard it is to face them.

Once we face them.. the tears start and we are filled with the pain of the loss.. knowing that things will never be the same.. that dreams have died.. that life is not fair and that we are in a fallen world. There is healing in facing these things.. if we hide our feelings and put on a happy face.. we are only prolonging what inevitably needs to happen.  My heart is broken in many places, but I am not defeated.. I am grieving the losses and trusting God for His healing touch.

Are you disappointed with your life.. have  your dreams failed to come true? Are you discouraged? Don’t hide or cover up your shame and sadness.. take your grief to the Lord and let Him apply the balm of Gilead on your wounds.. He is able to restore you …  to revive you. His hand is there to cling to as He takes you through the pain and renews your hope.

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm
    my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
    never again will my people be shamed.”  ( Joel 2:25-26)



I recently commented on the Her.meneutics blog. The post was on the church. A very hot topic. One that brings out the preachiness in certain people. Are we really experts on what God intends church to be? I know that I’m not. The comments on this post were both interesting and confusing. What was church intended to be in the beginning? What has it become? A very weighty topic if you ask me.

I’ve had my share of church disappointments and as a counselor I hear stories that I wish I could erase from my mind. Many people have been disappointed and wounded in church situations. This includes those in the congregation and leaders.. no one escapes. Our culture is intense and the problems we face in the 21st century are huge. No church can meet the needs of all the people.. all the time. A few issues come to mind.. people have been abused, molested, manipulated, abandoned,deceived, over-worked, ignored, addicted, used, ruined, deprived..the list could go on and on.

No.. church is not going to be everything we want it to be. We may not find our best friends in church, our pastor may not be the one who should counsel us.. our bible study group may not be the place to share our deepest needs. Our church community is just that.. a community that meets together to acknowledge our relationship with God.

God is the center and He is the one who can lead us to other resources when we need them. He is the one who has a plan for our lives and directs our steps. He will never fail us. He is our closest friend and our counselor. He accepts us fully and embraces us in our weakness. Our faith in Him will take us through our darkest hours and our deepest valleys.

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
   You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
      you find me quiet pools to drink from.
   True to your word,
      you let me catch my breath
      and send me in the right direction. 

  Even when the way goes through
      Death Valley,
   I’m not afraid
      when you walk at my side.
   Your trusty shepherd’s crook
      makes me feel secure. 

  You serve me a six-course dinner
      right in front of my enemies.
   You revive my drooping head;
      my cup brims with blessing. 

  Your beauty and love chase after me
      every day of my life.
   I’m back home in the house of God
      for the rest of my life.







I remember when this word really hit home with me. I was sitting in a seminary class with a  young man who told the professor that he was going to write his paper on disappointment. I could see it written all over his face. His life was not what he had hoped for. His face and his countenance were reflecting that condition. I was struck by the seriousness of it all..the intensity of his losses..the devastation that he was living with daily.

As we grow older we are faced with more and more loss. Our lives do not follow the path that we dreamed about when we were younger. Our fantasies do not come true. Our ideals are shattered. Our hearts are broken over and over. Our relationships fall short. We are faced with unexpected disappointment.

It is not fatal..but it may feel like it is. Our hearts are weighed down..we carry a load of on our shoulders. So..what do we do? Admit that all this has happened..grieve our losses..cry over our failures and the failures of others. We must die to those unfulfilled hopes and dreams. Not so we can give up..so we can move on. We are here..God is with us..our lives are not finished. We have to let go in order to live fully in the time we have left. Our broken hearts need the healing balm of the Holy Spirit..our broken spirits crave the new life that can only come from our Father in Heaven.

God is the God of new beginnings. He has a new season for you. It may very well include surprises that you will recognize as old dreams in new packages. He has not forgotten a single longing or desire that belongs to you. He is aware of your deepest pain and loss. His plan is to restore you and renew you..to bring you out of disappointment and into the abundant life.

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in my God! I will praise Him again.. my Saviour and my God.”

Empty Canvas

Continuing with the theme of moving into the new year..this seems like an appropriate picture. Since I only paint with watercolors.. there is no canvas..but there is that blank piece of watercolor paper that I tape to my painting board. Usually I just take the paper and tape it without any idea of what I am going to paint. It may stay blank for days..or weeks. I wonder what if I will ever paint anything again.

Suddenly there is the first glimpse of a picture that springs to mind..and hope returns. Maybe I will actually paint again..maybe all my creativity is not used up. This process often happens during seasons of disappointment..sometimes in winter.. when the challenge is to remember the beauty of spring..new life..new beginnings. Painting revives that part of my heart that is feeling old, cranky, and tired.

We all need to discover those things that fill us up..that encourage our weary hearts..that bring hope..that remind us that there is more. God works through creativity..after all He is the creator.  He is with us as we use the gifts He has given us..even when we really just feel like folding up and forgetting it. Look for the empty canvas in your life. It might be right in front of you..waiting for you to see it.

Meanwhile I am going to get out the watercolor paper..tape it to the board..and wait. Just take the next step..you don’t need to see down the road..He is in front of you clearing the path and preparing the way.

” Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”