The Gift of Disappointment

The Gift of Disappointment

Did you ever receive a gift when you were a kid, and you just weren’t all that excited about it? You thought, “What on earth is this about?” I remem­ber ask­ing for a metal detec­tor as a kid. I didn’t get it. So dis­ap­pointed. I was SURE I was going to get it and find great trea­sure in my back yard. Nope. I got some­thing else instead. Some­thing much more prac­ti­cal that I could actu­ally use.

Oh, wait. No. I got a uni­cy­cle. I sup­pose my par­ents thought I should join the cir­cus or some­thing. But, no mat­ter how hard I tried, I could never mas­ter rid­ing the thing. But I spent hours out­side try­ing to learn. It was actu­ally some­what fun, and I got tons of sun­shine and some exer­cise in the attempts at mas­tery. My dis­ap­point­ment faded with time as I for­got my other desire and moved on to other things.

How do you cope with dis­ap­point­ment? I find myself strug­gling when things don’t go as I expected or hoped they would.

Are you tempted to blame the per­son through whose hands the dis­ap­point­ment arrives at your door? Is it their fault for not liv­ing up to your expectations?

What about when they had told you they would do some­thing, but then changed their mind after you embraced the idea or con­cept? Do we have a right to blame them and hold them respon­si­ble for our sink­ing heart and hurt?

The quick reac­tionary results are often shock, sad­ness, fear, hurt, and tears to some extent.

But, the more I have med­i­tated on this con­cept of dis­ap­point­ment, the more I have seen God’s hand in my life. Or, rather, the more I am look­ing for God’s hand.

A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

You see, I have a strong belief in God’s sov­er­eignty in all things. And I trust that He directs our steps, regard­less of the plans we have made.

And He does it for our good. Even when it doesn’t feel very good at the moment. Even when I don’t under­stand the why about it.

And while I still may have dis­ap­point­ment, I am not so weighed down by the other junk.

The Lord replaces it with Hope, Love, Joy. Because I know He is in it. And I can trust Him.

And my hope is that my heart will fol­low my head. That I won’t guard myself against future hurt. Because, you know, it will surely come. And God is faith­ful. I pray that He will con­tinue to con­form my think­ing to His Word. And His Will. And that I will walk in faith, trust­ing Him as I take each step. I pray that I will be care­ful with my words, with my promises, with my expectations.

Can we see dis­ap­point­ment as a gift? I mean, if it is true that God is sov­er­eign, and that He directs our steps, and that He does things for His glory and our sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion, then shouldn’t the changes that come in our life, even the ones that bring dis­ap­point­ment and hurt, be received with thanks­giv­ing? Shouldn’t we step out in faith, know­ing that He has worked out the details accord­ing to His per­fect will? And if so, then shouldn’t they be received with glad­ness and not pain and striv­ing and grudges? Who would we begrudge? God? May it never be!

I pray that the Lord will increase my faith. And my hope. And my love.

Mostly my love.

And that I won’t look to other peo­ple to ful­fill those needs that I have, but only to Him who alone can.

In the end most of these details of life really aren’t a big deal. In the big pic­ture any­way. They are minor hic­cups, small pota­toes. They seem big because we have them smashed right up to our eye­ball as we turn them over and over to exam­ine them from every angle. But, down the road we can’t even remem­ber what the big deal was. And I think that is because God has shown us what He was up to many times. Or, we have for­got­ten to even look to see what He was doing in the midst of it all because He DID it, and there we are.

I sup­pose we ought to embrace the gift. Even when it is hard. Even when it doesn’t feel like much of a gift.

And get out there and ride that uni­cy­cle! In spite of our expec­ta­tions. And while we are out there, let’s not for­get to wear our hel­mets! They keep us safe.

And take the hel­met of sal­va­tion,… Eph­esians 6:17

Photo credit



We are still trav­el­ing, but I wanted to share a quick video of Faith bowl­ing. This is how she bowls every. sin­gle. frame. She is just a happy lit­tle girl.

Wouldn’t you love to approach life with such joy­ful aban­don? She inspires me to bub­ble over with thank­ful­ness and joy. Which reminds me: through­out our trip I believe she has uttered the words, “Thank you, Mommy” no less than 10 times a day, every­day. Where does she get it from? I fear that I am not thank­ful nearly enough in my life.

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of this silly, won­der­ful, thought­ful girl!

On Dust Bunnies and Decorating Blogs

On Dust Bunnies and Decorating Blogs

I’ve always dreamed of hav­ing a blog that show­cases my beau­ti­ful, per­fectly staged home. I so love look­ing at those stun­ning pic­tures with every­thing per­fectly in place. They are so serene, so gor­geous. They inspire me.

But then I look around and laugh.

The thing is, I love that sort of thing. I love dec­o­rat­ing, inte­rior design, mak­ing things beau­ti­ful. It’s just that my house is not the show­case I feel it would need to be in order to pull off some­thing like that.

How do you get a house­ful of chil­dren {Or their toys. Or laun­dry. Or what­ever else they are drag­ging around.} out of the camera’s eye long enough to take those stun­ning pictures?

I can get dis­cour­aged. I remem­ber a day when my house was spot­less. We even had a maid back then.

That was before chil­dren. We don’t have a maid any­more. I think I did the maid thing backwards.

I love to dream and imag­ine my house with just the right paint color, the coor­di­nat­ing fur­ni­ture in per­fect condition.

I have a beau­ti­ful leather sofa. With a flower gar­den painted on the back of it with a black Sharpie marker. It’s quite striking.

I really don’t see it any­more, but I know every­one else does. It’s actu­ally the first thing you see when you walk in my house. It’s right there after the entry­way, into the liv­ing room. All its glory star­ing right at you.

Faith did that when she was about 2. She wanted to make it pretty for me. I never got angry at her for it. I thought it was pre­cious. She drew that for me? Aw. I mean, I was shocked at first, but never upset. But it won’t make the gor­geous pho­tos I see in the blogosphere.

I have a mish­mash of things col­lected from around the world. Our home is warm and invit­ing, or so I like to think. But we live here. ALL of us. So that doesn’t make for gor­geous inte­rior design photos.

I think my strug­gle is more about being con­tent than it is with hav­ing a per­fect home.  I find that I can become dis­con­tent because I never seem to have time to get to those things. I long for sum­mer break so that I have at least a few hours freed up in my day. Not that those hours aren’t taken by some­thing else. In so many ways we have such beauty and delight. We have been blessed abun­dantly. Yet, we get bogged down with the stuff, the dust bun­nies, just the keep­ing up with the basics, sel­dom get­ting to the Martha Stew­art (or who­ever is the go-to per­son for design today…I’ve lost track) in us.

I decided years ago, after many tears and frus­tra­tions, that I needed to let the things give a bit in order to prop­erly take care of the more impor­tant things in my life: my fam­ily. I decided that lov­ing my chil­dren, bear­ing patiently with them, pour­ing out my life for them was way more impor­tant than per­fec­tion in my home. I’d rather have them under­stand the per­fec­tion of Christ in the imper­fec­tion of life. I want them to know that I value them way above hav­ing things just look that way.

I know some peo­ple seem to pull it off. I admire them. I don’t really know how things go in their home, if the chil­dren feel val­ued and loved. They seem to, so I don’t have rea­son to doubt that. These moms must be way more on top of their game than I ever will be.

Yes, we still like it tidy around here. It’s just that we don’t always achieve the “photo ready” stan­dard. Okay, not just always, often. I look at those pho­tos and can’t find a sin­gle dust bunny or cob­web. How do they do that? How do they find time to make every­thing always look so good? Maybe we are only get­ting a shot at the one room that they poured into for that photo. Maybe just on the other side of the cam­era is chaos.

But maybe not.

I feel like Mrs. Tit­tle­mouse. You know. From Beat­rix Potter’s book. She’s a tidy lit­tle mouse who has all these insects pop­ping by unex­pect­edly leav­ing lit­tle dirty foot­prints every­where. She’s con­stantly clean­ing up behind them. She’s adorable.

Mrs Tittlemouse 2

I feel her pain.

But the crea­tures mak­ing the dirty lit­tle foot­prints in her home are not her beloved chil­dren. They are unin­vited guests. Surely that makes a dif­fer­ence. Or maybe not. I sup­pose our hearts should be wel­com­ing of whomever the Lord puts into our homes to min­is­ter to, chil­dren or strangers. Some­times we are incon­ve­nienced by peo­ple we don’t actu­ally love.

But I sup­pose that’s another post for another day.

For now, I will con­tinue to move along in my life, min­is­ter­ing to my chil­dren {and beloved hus­band, of course}, enjoy­ing other peo­ples’ gor­geous dec­o­rat­ing blogs. Try­ing not to envy. But being refreshed by view­ing their beau­ti­ful photos.

And gig­gling at my leather sofa graced with the gift from Faith.

Mrs Tittlemouse

I sup­pose the tidi­ness will come again one day. Unfor­tu­nately, that will most likely come with a house empty of chil­dren with dirty feet. I’d rather fight the dust bun­nies than think of the days with­out them.

I linked over at Joy­ous Notions.

Say what?

Say what?

Mom, I can’t get you out of my toenail.”

Yup, mad libs are mak­ing their way through the house. Again.

You know, each child has to have that phase where mad libs rule. And every­one else gets to go through the whole “name a adjec­tive” part of the game.

In a house full of many chil­dren, it can tend to lose its lus­ter with the rest of us as the newest one dis­cov­ers the madness.

But, Faith. Well, you know how she is. She adopts these new phrases and runs with them. Makes life {more} inter­est­ing with her.

As she trot­ted off to bed tonight, she sang out to me, “Mom, my hair skipped a beat when I saw you!”

Alrighty then.


Photo credit: akeg / / CC BY-SA

Beauty For Ashes

Beauty For Ashes

To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourn­ing, The gar­ment of praise for the spirit of heav­i­ness; That they may be called trees of right­eous­ness, The plant­ing of the LORD, that He may be glo­ri­fied. Isa­iah 61:3


The dif­fer­ence is so shock­ing. Sobering.

We drove through the Black For­est this week­end, tak­ing in the dras­tic change to our beau­ti­ful trees.

Most of the time we were speech­less. The rest of the time we were in awe at how the fire worked its way through the for­est. It seemed as though it selected which homes to burn and which to leave untouched. In the pic­ture above, can you see the two pic­nic benches? They were made of wood. They were vir­tu­ally untouched, stand­ing out in all their fresh tan glory. Sit­ting alone in acres of destruc­tion. Why were they spared?

fire bikes


We came upon this house, and I thought, “Oh, look, the fam­ily is here. They brought the bikes for their chil­dren to keep them enter­tained while the par­ents could work.”  Nobody was there. The bikes were mostly spared. The one closer to the house looks untouched. The house, not so much.

fire birdhouse

As we drove around, I got out of the car to look at this house. Sev­eral things about the house intrigued me. First, a bright green caught my eye. I walked over and saw this per­fectly untouched bird­house… behind the com­pletely burned out house. And can you see that old wooden wagon just behind the house? Again, untouched. Why couldn’t it have been the other way around?

As I saw these images, my mind tried to com­pre­hend how this could be. How could we have destruc­tion and loss, so ram­pant, and then a pop of color right in the midst of it? Untouched, not even sooty, but fresh looking?

And I thought of God. How He has plucks His chil­dren from the flames of destruc­tion. How very close we are to the path of the rag­ing fire, yet He spares us. Not one of us deserves the fire or the sal­va­tion more than another. Yet God pre­serves some for His glory. For the awe and won­der­ment of all to behold His mercy. For it is all mercy.

For­est fires burn between 1000 and 1500 degrees F. That’s hot. Under­stand­ing that sim­ple fact makes the whole real­ity that some things sur­vived all the more astonishing.

fire fence melted


This fence just melted.

fire tree sky


Even in the destruc­tion you can see beauty.

fire road


fire house angle


We saw a lot of fire­places stand­ing in heaps of rub­ble. And yet the peo­ple are hope­ful. We saw so many signs thank­ing the first respon­ders and the fire­fight­ers. We even saw this one:

fire thanks

Thank you for try­ing.
Thank­ful in the midst of loss.

Good reminder.

I’m strug­gling to write this post. My thoughts are inter­min­gling, crash­ing, fight­ing with each other to make their way to my key­board. Hope, loss, destruc­tion, sov­er­eignty. In my face. And yours. Com­pas­sion, heartache, and thank­ful­ness. What wins? Real peo­ple have suf­fered immense loss. Real peo­ple were spared.

Some­one told me that some peo­ple who sur­vived loss may have a sense of guilt when they see the rub­ble of their neighbor’s home. Why him and not me? Why ever? Why do we rage against God’s sov­er­eignty? Why can’t we just accept the bad as we accept and often expect the good?

I am reminded of Job. He suf­fered immense loss: his chil­dren, his livestock-sheep and camels (and he had sub­stan­tial live­stock, was the great­est of men in all the east), his ser­vants all in one day. –Job chap­ter 1.  His body was cov­ered with boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. His not-so-helpful wife told him to curse God and die. Yet, Job said:

What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Wow. I would dare say that nobody has ever suf­fered as Job did. And he was faith­ful. He trusted God. Can’t we? Even if we are spared and oth­ers are hurt­ing? Even if we are hurt­ing and our neigh­bor is spared?

What do we do with our utter help­less­ness? Many men fought the flames for many days. God granted mercy by send­ing rain, by turn­ing winds, by stop­ping the fire in only a few days.

I’m thank­ful.

I won­der if I will for­get to be thank­ful by mid-week next week. It’s how we are.

And yet, back to the verse from Isa­iah 61. To give them beauty for ashes…that they may be called trees of righteousness…

We have ashes and burned out trees. I pray that the Lord will bring out His beauty in the peo­ple of the Black For­est. That they will be called trees of right­eous­ness, prais­ing Him, trust­ing Him, hold­ing fast to a faith that is unshak­able, unmove­able. That new life will grow in them.

I have hope.

**Note: I took all of these pho­tos. They are untouched and unedited. I’m an ama­teur. I used my iPhone. Per­haps one day I will fig­ure out more about photo edit­ing. In my spare time.

I’ve linked up here: Cor­ner­stone Con­fes­sions and Sim­ply Help­ing Him

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