We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
We’ve all experienced moments in our lives when it seemed like nothing would go our way. When I was in my mid-twenties, I endured a lot. I suffered through a long, mentally and physically abusive relationship with a boy I was completely in love with. After I finally broke free of that mess and began access the aftermath… I got involved in another bad relationship. This time it was swift. It was our third date, and I was raped by a guy who I thought seemed decent and honest.
Disappointed… you could venture a guess that I was beyond disappointed. The expectation was that I loved someone who I thought loved me. What a terrible judge of character I turned out to be. And what about my naivety? How gullable could I have been to allow myself to get into situations to be attacked? For a college graduate who had a great job, I was totally clueless when it came to my personal life. I had disappointments littered all over my life.
Needless to say… it wasn’t long before I fell apart. Piece by piece… I had been dismantled until I didn’t even recognize myself. The disappointment and despair that I felt over being brutally violated was totally consuming. At times, I thought I would never recover. It took me years, some very good counselors, several journals and many, many conversations with God before I could even begin to look at myself in the mirror.
With God’s grace and tender mercy I did recover, and I left my twenties behind. I met an amazing man, and we married when I was 35 years old. We wanted to start a family right away. Our expectation was to have two children who were close in age! What ultimately resulted was eight miscarriages, years of let downs every month I was not pregnant and a whole lot of heartache. Again… more disappointment.
I think that Doctor Martin Luther King had it right – we do have to accept that disappointments are a natural part of life. We are not always going to get exactly what we want, how we want it, when we want it. And, sometimes really bad things just happen with no rhyme or reason.
What is important to note is that through my twenties, my thirties and to this very day… I never gave up on love. I never lost sight of hope. And the one who had made it all possible for me to keep going, to fight through troubled times, to forge ahead and face any circumstances that make me uncomfortable is God!
Psalm 22:5 says “They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.”
I might not have trusted myself to choose the right men to date, to pick best job offer to take or to know when it was my time to pack up and move on. But I trusted that God did. Once I began to seek God for the answers and let Him author my life, the door slammed on my disappointments. God began to open windows. And what blew in with the gentle wind was always the promise of a better tomorrow.
I am now 40 years old. I have learned that while it is a guarantee of life that we will experience a series of disappointments, we will also have many good times. While struggle and strife might ebb and flow in and out of my life, happiness and fulfillment will be right there as well.
I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal! There’s so much to be optimistic about… my daughter, my spouse, my home, my parents, my friends, my dogs, my future. I have been blessed with so many amazing gifts. And all of them are courtesy of God… who loves me and protects me. What I have realized is that if I spend most energy focused on joy and all the positive things I have been given, it leaves little time and no room to dwell on those things that disappoint me. And the good news is when I do feel let down, start to grieve and zero in on how life is being unfair… I can lean on God. I can trust that the joy of the Lord will be my strength. Nehemiah 8:10