Dealing with Disappointment

What is your disappointment? It looks different for everyone…it is deeply personal. Maybe for some, it describes an unmet need, a missed opportunity,…a loss. Some disappointments cut deeply, become hard to move through…things that settle deep in the spirit, festering… leaving holes in beating hearts. Disappointments like these rob the heart fibers of joy. Disappointments left untended, create bitter roots that reach deep…souring the soul and poisoning the body.


Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy;
without holiness, no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one misses that grace of God and
that no bitter root grows up
to cause trouble and defile many (Hebrews 12:14-16)


I have felt that kind of life-threatening disappointment. The kind that will suck the very breath from your lungs. Some situations feel unresolvable… the unreasonable requests to keep working, keep trusting, keep pursuing. The God-breathed invitation to stay with something hard and to see a situation through the other side. The ask that comes from outside to climb farther to the other side of the looming mountain.

My heart sometimes screams that the climb is too hard and the terrain is too exhausting. The journey seems impossible.

What is your mountain? A failing marriage…children running from home or faith…a body broken with sickness…a heart crushed with grief? Betrayal from a friend?

Were you sold the same story as I? This fantasy pitched as the Christian life experience?  This Christian expectation…to marry a Christian from a good family, together build a stable life and fill your home with a healthy brood of little ones. The fantasy children would grow up to be life followers of Jesus…young men and women who are respectful of others and the world around them, becoming “good” humans who walk out the rest of their days doing “good” things. And because we start out desiring to serve and honour the Lord, we will be protected from the world. Life will be lovely…without blemish or defect.

Oh wait…that describes Jesus, the perfect lamb of God…not the promise for my life…not the promises for any life. Our life will be messy. Our lives take place among the brokenness in the world. Brokenness around us…brokenness living within us. We live among the weeds. 

And what happens when life doesn’t happen like the fantasy? What happens when words tear down rather than build up? Or lack of words leave the heart abandoned and the person lonely?   What happens when the perfect Christian life crumbles all around crippling the story with sudden force leaving the body breathless? Or the grief sets in more subtly, like a dripping faucet…a yearly dribble leaving the vessel empty and parched.  What happens when you just stop because nothing seems to satisfy the ache any longer? What then? What happens to our God story then?

What happens when we feel empty. What happens when we honestly feel empty?  I know this kind of “honest emptiness.” The dull, lonely heartache. It doesn’t scare me any longer.  I can turn and look at the emptiness acknowledging it exists. Entering into the pain begins the healing.

God has given me a gift-  I feel deeply. I feel for people who carry pain with every breath… every waking moment. Those who need to wake up each morning to the same dull ache. I feel for marriages that are falling apart, children who get lost, sickness that eats away at wholeness and betrayals from friends.  I don’t ignore feelings, but I have learned not to let my fleeting feelings rule and reign my thoughts about a current circumstance. Feelings change, and while God has given me an entire range of emotional experience to explore, this freedom can bring great joy and excruciating heartache.

I have learned I can be “honestly empty” but not completely abandoned. The weeping and wailing at night can be turned into morning dancing.  I have access to heavenly resources. I am not without hope. I trust in the Word of life not in my circumstances. My heart cries out…don’t stay stuck, keep moving.

He knows the mountains before us…the ones that stand in our way. He knows our weakness, our mistakes, and our tendencies to grumble about the effort it takes to keep climbing. Often, when I turn towards the emptiness and the lack within me to keep climbing the mountain, I experience His nearness. He always shows up in the valley.


Though the fig tree should not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, and I will be joyful in God my Saviour. 
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, 
He enables me to go on to the heights  (Habakkuk 3:17- 19).


My hope is to resurrect the dreams that God wants to breathe life into and resist the temptation to stay stuck in disappointment.

This is my prayer: Even though the mountain looms before me, I see you, Jesus. I see you through the fog and the dreariness. I lift my eyes up to where my help comes from. I can rely on this: that you, Jesus, are not far but near. I am never alone. And when you begin a good work, you finish the job. You have given me everything I need for life and godliness. Even when the circumstances may seem hopeless, yet I will praise you. 

Mining for Truth…and destroying old mindsets

I have learned that revelation of truth takes perseverance. It takes planning and intentionality, setting aside time to be in His presence. For years, I felt a tension between going to church, and doing “churchy” things and yet, feeling quite far away from the love of God. I grew weary of seeing a great divide between the public “church” life and the private heart life of knowing the Father. I was stuck in raw disappointment for a long time seeing passive pursuits of God’s heart all around me. I knew there had to be more about faith in Jesus…this “personal” relationship believers talk about than just being saved. Saved, yes, but thinking, believing, acting and pursuing nothing different from anyone else who didn’t “come to Jesus.” There is no power in Bible knowledge without a daily, living experience with Jesus.

There is tension, right here, in this moment with that last phrase because I know that the Father’s heart is for me to love those in my life whether they passionately pursue an intimate relationship with Him or not. When I get into this judgemental mindset, I am partnering with the enemy in criticism of a “child” He loves. I am resisting acting in love and in danger of sprouting bitter roots.

Just keeping it real, here, because in these moments, I have to battle this religious spirit that wants to get into my head. This is when I get into a quiet place and ask the Holy Spirit? “What is going on here and how can I be a part of your plan in this situation?” Usually, His answer: “Don’t hold back..declare My love” or “Don’t be provoked, do you trust what I am creating?” And right there is the gentle conviction, when I don’t trust what the Father is doing, I am walking in unbelief. I don’t want to go there…. This is when I know I need to take my eyes of my circumstances and raise them up to Him and kingdom possibilities. The fire of God always falls on a sacrifice, so when I give up my rights or thoughts on the matter, any deception coming from the enemy to breed disappointment or bitterness loses its power over me. And “BAM,” I am in a different mindset. But it takes intention, time and hiding in His presence to get there. I have found no easier route to getting free.

I know I am not there…being able to love like that. I battle this every day…some days with great victory, other days, in defeat. Thankfully, the Father’s love is without the same conditions…and with Him, every day is a new day. I really have learned to embrace the newness of every morning…a fresh start to allow Him to be strong in my weaknesses. I am learning how to see possibility and not disability…calling out words of life.

I can remember the month that the Father began to do a new thing as the beginning of the new life in Christ, I had been searching for. This journey has been a battle…of my mind, will and emotions. Old mindsets don’t crumble easily. (I still have to die daily to my flesh that wants to complain about the lack of progress). The Holy Spirit first needed to show me the Father’s love for me because without knowing I was loved, I would be unable to submit to receive new thoughts about Him and those He has put in my life to love. Even though the road has been rocky, I would never change the fire lit inside me to pursue more…to go to deeper places of connection with the Father and mine for hidden life-changing treasure. I know how to wait on the Lord in different ways, how to listen for His voice and receive comfort and encouragement from the Holy Spirit.

I have learned that some treasure is deeply imbedded…the Father desires to make his ways known, but knowing the Father’s heart comes through relationship as much as revelation. Not all moments of revelation come as “aha” moments…some need to be sought out, discovered…flushed out. I often don’t  stumble upon a new truth…I dig it up! Sometimes the process is painful as the Holy Spirit touches an area of my heart that has grown hard towards His truth, but I know His love for me is great. I trust Him to remove those branches that are not bearing fruit because His desires for me are always for my good.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3: 5,6

My understanding is limited by my human experience, but spiritual understanding is a higher, deeper revelation. Revelation like that comes through relationship with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in Acts that we would receive power through the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 says: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Proverbs 3: 5-6 is one of these verses, often quoted, and I have wrestled with it because of the words: “in all your ways submit to him.” It clearly does not say, “in some of your ways,” or “in the ways that come naturally or easy.” It says in “all” your ways. To keep on a straight path, it is important to know how to submit to the Father.

I am grateful for my family in the body of Christ who have spoken words of encouragement and correction into my life. I have taken these thoughts into prayer and meditation and found layers of revelation in the Word of God that penetrated deep into my heart. The process of mining for revelation has brought healing to my bones and restored joy to my soul (Proverbs 3: 7,8).

This is the gold in some of my treasure hunts:

♦ Don’t think you don’t need correction, deception is subtle

♦ God never changes, but our revelation of him does

♦ When we are subject to the Father’s mission, we can give and receive love

♦ The human response to pain is anger

♦ When I shut my ears because I am hurt, or stop loving when I don’t get my own way, I am walking in rebellion

♦ I can endure suffering

♦ Self-hatred is pride…pride is sin.

♦ Through Jesus, we can access the Father

♦ Read scripture with the Holy Spirit…asking him to show you the Father

♦ My reference point is what He said, not my experience

♦ Don’t let what I don’t understand distract me from what I know

♦ In the beginning God’s heart was for our best

♦ Unbelief always leads to disobedience

♦ Change your mind, not your circumstances

♦ Every strength not under the Lordship of Jesus can become a liability

♦ His love for us never changes, but our revelation of Him does

♦ We cannot separate God’s goodness from His Holiness…Jesus is coming for a pure bride

♦ Rebellion is choosing to negotiate…the key for break thru is being able to receive correction

♦ Humility is not relying on your own power or influence