Life can be disappointing. This is not surprising, but knowing it never seems to dull the sting when something unexpected comes marching in, leaving a trail of disappointment behind. Especially when it involves my children.
My children got some very disappointing news recently and immediately tears started to flow. Something we had hoped for and prayed for, but the answer was no. A disappointment so deeply painful in the heart of one of my children, that if I think too long on it, I lose my breath because of the desperate desire inside of me to fix it for them. To take away the fear and seeming despair of not getting for what we had hoped so much.
As I sat with them, our hearts sunken to the floor, they looked at me and said…
“But why do you think this happened, Mom?”
And my only response could be,
In the past, as a recovering know it all, I would pad all the reasons and encourage chins to be held high because surely God has our very best at heart and knows what He’s doing. But I knew those things although known be true, wouldn’t ease this pain.
Then the next question comes,
“How Mom? How can this possibly turn out good?”
Again, my answer,
And I found myself just being sad with them.
Letting them be sad. Letting them be angry.
And confused. And frustrated. And discouraged.
We sat on the floor and cried and hugged and let ourselves feel all the things.
But this is not natural or easy for me.
Because I am a fighter.
I am working it, but my most intuitive response to disappointment has always been to fight it – especially when it comes to my children. And I’ve missed a multitude of moments fighting my way out of disappointments instead of letting them simmer long enough to feel the pain, slow long enough to hold them with palms open to Jesus and letting Him heal them for me.
The hope inside of this painful disappointment is not only that I believe the truth that all works together for our good, but for me it’s more the sliver of compassion that I sense growing inside of me. Not compassion I have on my own, but the compassion that can only come out of me because of the compassion that has been shown to me. The days of grief I’ve been allowed to wade through and feeling the presence of God just sit with me. Not patting me on the back, grabbing my hand and immediately pulling me forward. But the sweet relief to know I could just sit and be sad. And amidst the grief, He was teaching me that the purpose of my sadness wasn’t mainly to grow my strength but rather to draw me near to Him.
Near to His comfort.
Near to His promises.
Near to his everlasting love for me.
As my children and I got up from the floor that night, we hugged, cried some more and I found myself saying these words:
“Be angry, be sad, be frustrated. Be all those things and openly share all of them with God. I promise He can handle them – all of them. Don’t try to be strong or ok or push forward before you’re ready. But also be hopeful. Keep tucked in the back of your heart that although we can’t see any good that may come from this disappointment, there is hope. God knows you, He loves you and He wants to be near to you and I promise you can hope in that.”