Digging Out from Disappointment

We’ve all felt it. It comes in various shapes and sizes without respect for age or background. It can kick you in the gut—when you don’t get a desired job, or make the team, or garner attention from someone you were sure you would marry. Maybe it stabbed you when a trip to the bathroom dashed your hopes of a longed-for pregnancy. I still remember several years of that longing-turned-disappointment.

As we live more years and know more people, disappointments seem to loom at every corner. We feel the disappointments of poor choices made by friends or family (or ourselves)—and relationships that didn’t turn out the ways we had envisioned. Often they come in the form of health challenges. We don’t ask for them, plan for them or desire them in any way. ~1524161

As I have mentioned before, my husband has a (still) undiagnosed central nervous system disorder. In a year’s time this villain has stolen his ability to walk, caused great fatigue and various other difficulties. However, recent MRI findings brought us new hope for a treatment that could “fix it.” The doctors thought they saw a vein formation putting pressure on the spinal cord. To confirm this MRI “finding” my husband would need to go through a procedure (an angiogram) to locate and treat the problem.

We counted the days until August 10th—the day of the procedure. Though we knew it was not a sure cure, the doctors were hopeful and so were we. Full of faith, we dreamed of how we’d celebrate our new miracle.

Instead, the procedure showed the MRI findings to be false. To add insult to injury, he had a very difficult time waking up from anesthesia causing enough concern to land him an extra hospital stay.VZM.IMG_20160810_224055 The night he came home he developed a high fever from infection. That day was also the hottest day of the year, and for some unknown reason the power in our house went out. It felt like cruel irony—power gone. It seemed that all we had hoped for resulted in “disappointment on steroids.” A hard kick in the gut.

With significant sleep deprivation, the next morning I sat in a 100 degree parking lot outside of a lab while holding a little sterile jar of pee in a bag—and sobbed. And prayed. And wrestled with God. I asked him if he had heard me, and if he cared. I “reasoned” with him that we could accomplish so much more with renewed mobility and energy. I reminded God of his promises and how faith- building it would have been for all the grandchildren who fervently pray for their Papa.

I felt like I was sinking in mud and getting nowhere—like a time I got my car stuck in mud. The car wouldn’t move forward, and sank lower and lower. I then reasoned that if perhaps I stepped on the accelerator a little harder I get could get out. Instead, mud flew and I sank even deeper.

Several things were needed in order to dig out. (A good cry was one of them.) I didn’t want to sink in the mud then, and I don’t want to sink in my disappointment now. With my car, I needed some solid ground, some trial and error, a push and a tow in order to move forward. I needed the same in that hot parking lot, holding the sad, now infected jar of pee.

When my car was stuck, I grabbed handfuls of nearby gravel—solid ground to put beneath the wheels. Likewise, when sinking in disappointment I must find solid ground—“one piece of gravel” at a time. The solid ground is truth. I must hold on to truth. We live in spiritual battleground and Satan wants me to believe the lies—that God doesn’t care or have our best interest. Two of the many “truth rocks” I rely on are:

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:16-18a)

 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge…

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.
(Psalm 62:5-7, 11-12)

The solid ground also includes the majesty of creation. As I observe nature and smell the summer gardens, view the sunset and hear the oceans roar I am reminded that God is the potter. I am the clay. As I see around me the love of a mother for her child and witness lives who have radically changed— I know love is from God. God loves me. He hears me. I rely on this. I know this in my mind and place it in my heart. I don’t have the big picture. He does.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9)

The solid ground includes the immeasurable blessings and answered prayers I have already received from my father: My salvation, his spirit within me, and the hope of eternal life top the list.

My husband, who is a godly man of integrity is also a blessing I don’t deserve. Though not so physically strong now, to me he has never seemed stronger. The relationship I share with my children and grandchildren cause my cup to overflow with joy. My friends are a beautiful result of this solid foundation. I am blessed to be part of a loving, vibrant church who lives for God.

I dig out by finding solid ground and placing it in my heart and mind. Sometimes it takes trial and error. I don’t always get it right but God is gracious.

Sometimes I can’t seem to find the solid ground, or the gravel seems to slip from my hand. That’s how I felt in that parking lot. So, in that hot parking lot I texted my daughters and friends to tell them I was hurting and needed help. I needed encouragement. And they sent it. In scriptures, in prayers, and in encouraging words. I needed the push, and the tow to help me dig out.

And I have hope. No disease or disappointment can take that away.

Grab your solid ground, keep trying, ask for a push, and don’t be afraid to be towed. Remember you don’t have to drive alone. God has this. He always has. Our heavy foot on the accelerator doesn’t help. With God, I can do this. You can do this. Let’s dig out together.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of  the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a new place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. (Psalm 40:1-3a)

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

57 thoughts on “Digging Out from Disappointment

  1. Dear Jeanie, you & Wyndam have been in my prayers & thoughts over the past year. Thank you for sharing your heart, the challenges of finding faith in the daily health battles Wyndham experiences. There are several things I have admired from afar about your lives – a zest for life & teaching others about the goodness of God in the dailyness of life, your affection for one another – keeping your relationship vibrant through the years, passing on your faith to your children & many grands as well as making new friends along the way, the way you see God & a spiritual story in everyday events. Being able to celebrate all that God allows in your lives, wrestling through the hardships with honesty & vulnerability. Thank you for those things, those gifts you both share with us. I will continue to pray for you both, Kathryn

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    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful and loving reply…and your prayers. It means so much. You and Greg are inspiring and we appreciate your love and faith so much. Much love, Jeanie

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  2. Dear Jeanie,
    I’m so sorry you and Wyndham are going through all this. We love you both incredibly and will be praying for you both! I love your honesty. I have often wondered why the lord won’t bestow a particular blessing upon me. I am learning to trust and hope, even if it seems impossible. Thanks you for sharing your story. My heart feels bonded with you. So much love to you both.
    💛💚

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  3. Jeanie,

    Your thoughts are inspiring as God brings you from the agony of being stuck in the mud to reaching our for higher ground. I can imagine King David doing the same thing. I do hope for a miracle for Wyndham, but know whatever comes his way, God is good.

    I was just thinking a few days ago how special it would be to text ever so often just to keep in touch. As I grow older, family is the only really important thing in our earthly life.

    Hope your day is blessed.

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  4. Thank you for your sharing, Jeannie.
    I know how it feels like sick( long time) and not get what I expected after long prayers. ( I have had my own dilemma in this area for 14 years until now).
    Yet, yes God is faithful. Never fails to taking care of us. Like you said in your parking lot.
    Also I appreciate your vulnerable, and impactful sharing. We do need friendship and support in this road.
    Windham is in my prayer and you as well, Jeannie. Happy belated birthday for Winham!
    In Him, Soyoung

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  5. Jeanie, as your friend, I feel helpless to “help”. I know God is in control and He is your rock (or gravel) but it makes me sad to know you and Wyndham are struggling to see the end of the tunnel. I am thankful for your spiritual and physical support system. I understand and have felt the disappointment but also the joy when God reveals HIS plan. Many hugs to you and Wyndham. Thank you for sharing your emotions. I hope it is helpful to write about it. We love you both very much.

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    • So great to hear from you, Katherine. I’ll never forget the special memories…beginning back at Peace College. :-)Thanks for your kind ans wise words. Yes, writing is helpful. Will always love you and Phil. Love, Jeanie

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  6. Dear Jeannie,

    Thanks for your gut level sharing. Will be praying for Wyndham and you – for God to show you that he is there.

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  7. So many truths are evident here. It is devastating to pray with faith and the near-promised answer does not appear. I have experienced those years of hoping for a pregnancy and it not being in God’s plan. I know what it feels like to bargain with God that I can “do so much for you, Father, if I am whole again”. But you are so right. His ways are not our ways. His viewpoint has a great advantage over ours. We continue to pray for Wyndham’s physical situation and most of all, for Our Heavenly Father, to gain glory through this entire situation. There is nothing wrong with tears. I believe each tear we shed is precious to God. So many are interceding on your family’s behalf as so many have done for me through my diagnosis and the last five years of living with MS. Cry when you need to, pray alone and together and God will strengthen beyond all imagining. That is His promise to us. We have but to claim it. Love you and your family. Blessed to be earthly sister and Sister is Christ with all of you. It means so much to Wyndham’s sisters to know he has a strong, loving woman beside him during this time of his life. Keep digging out!!

    Edie

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    • Edie, Thanks so much for your wise and thoughtful words. You are so encouraging to us, and set a great example. Love you very much and thank you for your love, support, and prayers. Keeping on digging :-). Love, Jeanie

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  8. Oh that’s so hard! But your heart is in the right place. I’ll keep you in prayer and pray you find blessings along this hard journey!

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  9. Thanks for this Jeanie! I love your vulnerability in this, I find it does get harder as I get older to remain open to God moving in my life for my good – or what my idea of ‘good’ should be! Thank you for inspiring me to continue to shore up my foundation on him alone. Much love from a sister in Seattle…

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    • Thanks for your honest sharing, Kelly. It’s not easy for sure…but so, so worth it. I know the foundation has to be deep in order to withstand all the wind and storms. Keep it up. Love, Jeanie

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  10. Dear Jeanie,

    Thank you for your candid and vulnerable article about hope. I’m feeling … down about this next segment of my breast cancer treatment: post chemo, with scans to evaluate my prognosis and surgical plans dependent upon the outcome of those scans. The details of my next steps are unknown which places me in the precarious place to rely on hope alone.
    Thank you for the encouraging scriptures, especially Psalm 62, which reminds me that God alone is my refuge. I also appreciate the reminder to allow others to pull me out when I fee stuck in the mud!

    Mahalo from Hawaii,

    Kiera Vaeena (Kristen Lamb’s cousin)

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    • Kiera, Kristen and I have prayed together for you. I am so sorry for all your struggles, but know God will give you what you need. The scriptures give me so much help and hope. Just read a good one. Psalm 91. Thanks so much for reaching out. Love, Jeanie

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  11. Jeanie,
    Thank you so much for being so open and vulnerable. I would say I’m sorry you are going through this, but then I would be saying I’m sorry God is working in your life. You are a great example of perseverance. I pray for God’s will to be done, that you and Wyndam will feel His comfort and peace during this time and for God to give the doctors wisdom as He reveals what is wrong with Wyndam. Thank you for sharing the wonderful Scriptures. God does see the big picture and He will use this for His good.
    Sending love to you my dear sister.

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  12. Dear Jeanie,

    I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s struggles. What a blessing it is to witness you glorifying God during this difficult time! Thank you for sharing your heart and giving us the opportunity to pray for you.

    Sweetest blessings to you!

    Leigh Ellen

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  13. Oh precious friend, you manage to turn such a difficult and grueling season into one of hope and faithful inspiration. THANK YOU for shining HIS LIGHT in your darkness, for us ALL to see.

    My prayers and love are with you and your beloved husband.

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  14. Dearest Jeannie, God encompasses everything about our lives at all times, even when we don’t see it! Recall the song, “Standing on the promises of God”. If you have a hymnal, read the words. I think in songs and in scriptures.
    I love the way you focus on God’s words in what you write. Our Kingdom is close and our Father joins us together so
    amazingly. Our minister encountered
    Wyndam many years ago in the Raleigh and/or Triangle Area. His name is
    Al Bergeron. In our conversation, he told me that Wyndam was a man of utmost integrity! This was in the ’70s.
    Now, to let you and Wyndam know: one of my closest sisters here in Brevard NC,
    suffers from a CNS Disorder that the medical community has been unable to diagnose. She has great difficulty in ambulation. She experiences fatigue a great portion of the time. She’s always been a vibrant and positive person. Thankfully, her husband is incredible with her! Her legs I can call “spastic”.
    She uses a cane and holds on to her
    husbands arm. They are both amazing
    and strong disciples! I’m praying for you both and want to know if you might be interested in speaking to my friend. We don’t know each other personally, but I can relate and I do love you both by His Spirit that is our bond! Psalm 91 is just one that always strengthens me! Love and grace, June

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    • Thanks, June. I love that song and Psalm. 91. Just reread it at your mentioning and it is so encouraging. It’s great to be connected through Christ and mutual friends. I’d love to reconnect with Alan and Mary. I’m assuming it’s Alan and Mary, not Al and Norma..but have fond memories of both. And wow, sounds like your friend and my husband have many similarities. Does your friend do email? Thanks again for reaching out. Love, Jeanie

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  15. Jeanie, thank you so much for this. It really helps. It seems that each time my husband try to lead a small family group it’s not long after that it doesn’t work out and we somehow get to the point that we don’t enjoy leading anymore. We feel like we are a disappointment to God & the church. This really helps me to look to God and remember that he’s in charge.

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  16. I so appreciate your faithfulness during such a painful and confusing time. You are often in my prayers–you, Wyndham, your whole family. I especially love the verse you listed that emphasizes how God is both strong AND loving…it’s so hard when we don’t FEEL his love, because of course, in my mind, love should always look like answered prayer. I don’t understand this suffering you’re forced to endure, but know that all of us who love you will keep praying, and we will gladly get down in the mud and help dig you out, any time you need. -xoxo

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    • Thanks so much, Elizabeth. I feel your love and prayers. Love you…and thanks for the offer to get down in the mud to dig me out. Seriously. I’m looking for a heart emoji, but wordpress is not offering one. Anyway, you have my heart. :-).

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  17. Sister your words and journey through your feelings and emotions are so inspiring to me. God bless you both. I pray for a diagnosis and a cure. And I pray for peace and rest for you both.

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  18. Dear Jeanie and Wyndham

    Will be praying for Wyndham and you. Appreciate your faith and hope.You are looking at the bigger picture

    I would also urge you to explore alternative modes of treatment. There are websites which publish authentic groundbreaking research although these are not readily accepted and adopted by mainstream medical practioners.

    The reason I say this is because Doctors such as Jerome Groopman, Brian Goldman and many others exhort us to be proactive participants in our treatment and not accept diagnoses or treatments unquestioningly.

    Take care

    In Christ
    Nirmal, India

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  19. Tears come as I read your powerful words! Praying for both of your strength and faith as you face these trials. May God give you courage and peace. Much love to you dear friends!!😘

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  20. Thanks for update, this explains why I have not been about to contact Wyndham. I appreciate so much your faith and perseverance through such a difficult time! I think it is harder to be given hope and then to have have them dashed than for you to just be good with the status quo. I figured there would be some consequences to the procedure but I am sorry it was compounded. Please give Wyndham my love, look forward to catching up. Love you both so much, Mark and Beth

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  21. Thank you so much Jeanie for the timely message.it was helpful as I was praying this morning and asking God to give me strength to persevere.
    And this message and the scriptures were very helpful to change my attitude.thanks sis
    Love Lucy

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  22. Dear Jeanie – Betsy Gooch referred me to your blog thinking it might provide me with some encouragement. She was so right! I met Betsy in 1989 at Triangle Church when I was baptized. Many crazy things have happened since then, the most devastating being when I fainted in my kitchen in August 2013 and woke up paralyzed from the shoulders down. I so relate to everything you shared in this piece and plan to stop by here again often. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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    • Terri, Thank you for your thoughtful note. I’m glad the blog could offer some encouragement. I just finished visiting your blog, reading some of your posts. Wow. Through your intense struggle and circumstances, you are holding to faith. Never quit. I can only imagine how difficult it is to make sense of this turn of events…and only one day will you fully understand. Your writing is powerful, raw, poignant. Thank you. Keep on writing! I wish I could send some nice fragrance to your hallway :-/. If you have someone able to read some books to you, I would recommend Tom Jones’ “Mind Change.” It’s really helpful. Also, several friends and I put together one recently called “An Aging Grace.” If you send me your address I’ll be happy to send these to you. Love and prayers. Jeanie

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      • Jeanie – thank you for your kind words about my blog. It’s obviously very cathartic for me to write my feelings, and even better to know it helps other people. I would absolutely love to have someone read those books to me. Do they happen to be available on Kindle? That is the easiest way for me to read, however, I know some books are not available in that format. Here is my mailing address and I thank you so much for sending some encouragement my way!

        Terri Nida
        Hillcrest
        1417 West Pettigrew St.
        Durham, NC 27705

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  23. Thank you so for wonderful and encouraging message sister. Thank you for sharing your struggles and standing in the solid ground, in my difficult time i questioned God many times and failed to see good things, After reading this lesson i really want to change and want to stand in solid ground. thank you once again, and i surely pray for you both. Amen.

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  24. Jeanie,thanks for sharing from your life and Gods word. I pray that God would continue to strengthen you and your husband.
    your articles in this part of India I some times share with my daughter and daughter in law and some friends in the church. Thank you very much the efforts you are making to send ” Monday encouragement ”
    love- Jessy D souza

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  25. Thanks, Jeanie for sharing those internal struggles. We all have them and they’re definitely the least “fun” part about the Christian life.

    I was challenged five years ago when my husband and I separated due to sin in his life. We were apart for four excruciating years during which I questioned and re-examined every aspect of what it meant to be a disciple. My husband has since repented and returned home. Disappointment has tried to dog our heels, but we have chosen to see God’s gracious and redemptive hand in both our trials and transformations.

    As Casting Crowns says in their recent release (“Just Be Held”): “Your life’s not falling apart; it’s falling into place”.

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