Friday, March 22, 2013

What to do with my disappointment...

Sometimes things in life are disappointing.
Not tragic, devastating, or unbearable, but just different than the way we had planned. And when I say different, I mean worse.

In the last few months, we have been disappointed by a few altered plans of our own.

Emily has had a tough club volleyball season this year. She is an incredible athlete with so much potential. She has always been one of the best at her position. She has always had passion. This year, she made the top team in the club. It was a tremendous honor and the coach is amazing, but the first few nights she came home and cried into her pillow. She is the youngest. All of the other girls are seniors and at least 5 of them have committed to play in college on scholarships. She felt isolated and alone. She had expected to play with the same friends she has played with for the past 4 years. Throughout this season she has discovered that she no longer wants to devote the time and effort needed to play at the college level. She has not lost her passion, but her passions have changed.
Emily also submitted an application to be considered for a prestigious club at her high school. 12 students are to selected to represent an elite group of students committed to remaining drug, alcohol, and violence free. They travel and speak to middle school students, promote positive alternatives and encourage students to reach their full potential. Her application was amazing. She was honest and transparent about some of her struggles and how she had learned from her mistakes. She wrote boldly about her relationship with Jesus and about how He sustains her through trials and temptations. She turned in her application....and was one of a very few who did not get an interview. A huge disappointment.

Jonathan is small in stature. He is also an incredible athlete, but he has a good head on his shoulders and knows that some sports are just plain dangerous for small boys. He is very fast. He has always been complimented on his speed. In baseball, he stole the most bases, in soccer, he out ran the ball, in flag football, he juked and spun and broke away from the pack. We always knew he would run track. He tried out this spring and he did not make it. He was less than 1 second from making the 100 meter hurdle event. Only 4 seventh graders made it and as usual, there may have been some politics involved. Another disappointment.

The thing that got my attention, the huge lesson that I learned, was not in their disappointment, but in their response to their disappointment.  I was upset and wanting answers. I was wanting to question why Emily didn't get an  interview when at least she was honest, unlike many of the other applicants who conveniently denied their true struggles. And I wanted to question the track coaches ridiculous reasoning behind putting only 4 seventh graders on the track team. Why not invest a season to get these boys ready for next year.
Emily and Jonathan did not question or stew over bad decisions or unfair practices. They both agreed that it must not be "meant to be." Emily said things like, "I can still be that same person {of high moral standards} without being a part of that club," and "I still love volleyball, I just don't want the pressure of playing in college. I want to experience more."  Jonathan asked the coach, "How can I improve? What do you think I should do to get better," and Jonathan said to me, "Maybe I need more down time, I love being at home after school too."

I talk about their disappointments here because I am not ready to talk about mine, but in watching them respond, I gain such hope.

In Romans Chapter 5, I read these words, 
"There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"  
                                                                                                                                {Message Translation}
I love the hope that is promised here. Disappointments will come, some small and fleeting and some that linger on, but when I choose to respond in a way that puts the pressure back on God, then I can be excited and not defeated. Hopeful and expectant.

What do you do with disappointment?
What gives you the greatest hope?

Enjoy the weekend!


  1. Lovely post, Jen. Loads of good reads here in your blog. I'm sure I'll be popping over and over again.
    Thanks for visiting my blog, too.

    Have a fantastic weekend!

  2. Missed you, friend....

    First the politics of sports is enough to make even the strongest mama hearts crumble...hate it! Seriously, hate it!!

    Second, love what your wrote about Emily. I know God is going to use this in amazing ways in her life. Its just hard to watch it happening, isn't it?

  3. It just strikes me Jen that you have brought up some very mature and thoughtful kids. A beautiful post we can all relate too in so many different ways.
    Take care,

  4. Your children are a reflection of you and your husband, and the incredible job you are doing at raising intelligent, wise and sensitive human beings. I loved reading this post, not because of life's disappointments, but because it is a wonderful illustration of how parents can still learn from their children. And more importantly, the lesson that even when things don't go according to OUR plans, we can trust and have faith that they are going according to HIS. And His plans are always better!

    Have a good week, friend.