Straight from a Disappointed Heart
By Lisa Elliot
My oldest daughter was scheduled to make her first solo flight without children in eight years. She planned her trip in response to a season of heartache and trial we were facing as a family. So we were all very much looking forward to her visit.
Unfortunately, the day before her flight her two youngest children came down with a terrible flu bug that instilled in her a mother’s heart of hesitation. She cried the hour-and-a-half it took to the airport, feeling guilt and angst even though she was leaving them in the hands of her very capable husband. She arrived at the airport only to discover that her flight was cancelled. She was left with no choice but to make the hour-and-a-half trek back to her home, now crying because of the disappointment of having to leave her plans to be with us behind.
While I understood, and affirmed her in her decision, I didn’t expect the eruption of emotion that ensued for the rest of the weekend as reservations were cancelled and we ate all the meals that I had lovingly prepared without her. Nor did I expect the spiral downward as a reservoir of disappointments came bubbling to the surface.
I get it. Life happens. Circumstances are beyond my control. Yes, there is always someone in worse shape, facing far worse circumstances than what I was facing. I understand that these things too shall pass. I know that in this world we will have troubles and trials and suffering (John 16:33)… of many kinds (James 1:2). I know these things. I’ve memorized these things. I’ve practiced these things. As a matter of fact, I’ve taught these things through my writing and from a public platform—straight from the heart!
I recognized that what I was facing were light and momentary troubles, as the Apostle Paul calls them in 1 Corinthians 14:17. However, at that moment, my momentary troubles seemed like they would last an eternity. And, they certainly didn’t feel light. So, for that moment in time I allowed myself to sit beneath the weight of all of them in self-pity, sadness, heartache, and a deep sense of hopelessness. Typically misery loves company. But, not this time! I withdrew and isolated myself. Until the Lord entered into the chamber of my sadness, took my chin in His nail-scarred hands, and, ever so gently, began turning me toward the eternal hope of glory that far outweighs them all.
The first thing He encouraged me to do was reach out to a friend whom I knew would hold my heart in her hands, weep with me, and listen prayerfully. After I poured my heart out to her through heaving sobs the Lord invited me to go for a walk to help clear my mind. I was anxious to see if He had anything to speak into the darkness that overwhelmed my heart as I stepped out into the sunshine and let my rant continue. Before long, He brought others to mind who I knew were facing significant challenges, and prompted me to not merely pray for them, but to reach out to them through texts to let them know I was praying for them. Funny enough, that’s when I received an unexpected text of my own from a longtime friend. She was completely unaware of what I was facing. However, she told me the Lord had prompted her to reach out and let me know she was praying for the battle that I was facing and to remind me that Spring is coming. I couldn’t stop the tears even as they froze on my face in the cold winter air.
“How did you even know?” I asked her. Her response, “God knew!”
God certainly does know. He hears the cry of our hearts. He understands our disappointments and He lovingly reminds us that ultimately, those who hope in Him will not be disappointed. Please allow me to share the hope He offered me as we continued to walk and talk on that cold winter’s day.
- Call it what it is. Before you can work through your disappointments, you have to first identify them. Disappointment comes in all shapes and sizes. (Ps. 42:11)
- Give yourself permission to feel the pain for a while. But, don’t allow yourself to stay there before you get up, get dressed, and do something—like going for a walk. (2 Sam. 12:20)
- Find a safe place for your broken heart to land. An understanding friend, for instance. (Prov. 17:17)
- Don’t feel you have to explain your circumstances to people who won’t necessarily get it or who may try to minimize it. Your reality is your reality, no matter how it compares to others’. (Is. 41:10)
- Look beyond yourself. It serves as a welcome distraction from your own misery to reach out and encourage someone else in theirs. (Heb. 10:24-25)
- Share your feelings honestly with the Lord. He gets it. (Ps. 62:8)
- Let Him infuse your heart with Truth from His Word to your innermost being (Ps. 51:6).
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (1 Corinthians 14:16-18, NIV).
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple, Dancing in the Rain, and A Ministry Survival Guide. She’s also a writer for Just Between Us Magazine, theStory, and Good Ground. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (three on earth, one in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, ON, Canada.