In April, I decided to take a break from blogging, to redirect my focus and my prayers, specifically for my son, who had chosen to make some bold professions of his non-faith in God. This hit me really hard, at the time, and I felt compelled to seek the Lord’s intervention in his life, through prayer and fasting.
During that time, I experienced many things, but none were what I was ultimately praying for. I struggled with why I was actually fasting (and even what motivated me to pray specifically for my son’s eyes to be opened). I experienced disappointment and heartache, like I’d never felt before in my life, not just in my son’s decisions, but also in God’s decision to NOT answer in the way I had asked. I felt cheated, as I tried to understand the meaning of true faith and hope, when things feel like they are falling apart.
I am still learning and growing in my faith and trying to comprehend the many mysteries in life…like,
“God is all-powerful, pure, undiluted love. But He is not like a genie who appears when we rub the magic lamp and grants us three wishes.” The Storm Inside
“So many times I get into the mindset that this one thing is going to complete me and make my life so much better, when in reality, only God is our true source and joy. Instead of giving into my (sometimes) toddler-like demands, He leads me back into hoping in Him alone, as He is the only sure thing I have in this world.”
“I need to be at rest in the midst of the unknown, content without getting what I want and so thankful for everything I have that I honestly don’t care if I get anything else. So true, yet easier said than done. It’s something I wish I could make happen, yet I know it’s a process and I need to submit to that process. And when I struggle, I need to learn to lean on God because He’s the one that can actually change me.”
“We never know how God is working behind the scenes and that’s why it is important to trust Him and know that HE has what’s best for us, even when our flesh screams for something else.” Jack Zavada “The Christian Response to Disappointment”
One thing that is definitely a hardship for me – and, as I read other’s writings, I am learning that most of us deal with – is disappointment (as well as hurt and heartache).
Disappointment: the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the defeat of one’s hopes or expectations
There are different kinds of disappointment:
There’s the “awe, shucks” kind of disappointment on the one hand (like when your favorite team doesn’t win or you don’t get to eat at your favorite restaraunt.)
And then there’s the kind of disappointment that reaches our heart and makes us hurt so deeply we can hardly breathe (like not being able to conceive a child, or in my case, not being able to see and share in the joy of your child having a relationship with Jesus Christ).
Just a few side-notes that I’ve also learned about parenting adult children:
- “To most parents, their children are their world. To put it bluntly, after a child reaches eighteen years of age, the only rights a parent has in regard to input in that child’s life, is the rights that the child gives them. The child is sensing their independence and wants the freedom to live their life. So only at invitation does a parent of an adult child have the right of voice or opinion.” source
- Whether we like it or not, at some point, those closest to us disappoint or hurt us. People run from the truth, create some false sense of reality and act in ways that we know are not good. People make mistakes and, choices that are clearly wrong or unhealthy. It’s so easy for us to see, and it seems nearly impossible for them to see. Sometimes bad choices and decisions turn into long lasting bad habits we cannot understand. Because of these choices, we find ourselves either disappointed in ourselves and/or others.
- It’s hard to see our children fall, but sometimes we have to. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves whether intervening is in their best interest. There are a million ways to love a child, but in our quest to make them happy, let us stay mindful that sometimes it takes short-term pain to earn long-term gain.
What does disappointment do?
- Disappointment can be agonizing and make us feel paralyzed in time. It can be life changing.
- Disappointment feels like the mortal enemy of hope.
- Disappointment saps us of our energy and hinders the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
- It can turn inward at ourselves or out toward another. It can even get turned toward God.
I need to ask myself these questions:
- What causes me to be disappointed?
- What can I to do with the very real sense of loss, disappointment, and heartbreak I encounter along life’s way?
- How do I keep my disappointments from tangling me up, fr1m strangling my joy and skewing my perspective?
Please come back by #SDGConnections on Friday to read part 2. While you wait, please think about answering the same questions I had to ask myself.