Have you ever been disappointed? Have you ever felt deeply disappointed? Merriam-Webster defines disappointment as “unhappiness from the failure of something hoped for or expected to happen.” As we look back on our lives, then I am sure that we can all find things that have made us feel disappointed. Some of us can identify things that were so disappointing in our lives that we felt as if the disappointment was breaking our hearts. After the death of my husband from a work related accident in August 2011 and then the death of my only 18 year old son who was instantly killed in a car accident in June 2013, then I felt like the disappointment of these deaths had truly broken my heart. I felt crushed by the losses. I felt pain like I did not even know how to put into words. I thought so often of this verse:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Proverbs 13:12”
My heart felt so sick. I felt pain and disappointment that seemed all encompassing. I could look back on my life and see other disappointments. I could identify things that had been painful. But after burying the two men in my life, then I was on a journey that I felt had truly broken my heart. Despite my anguish, I knew that in this valley of deep disappointments and overwhelming pain that I wanted to live in hope and faith. When we are feeling this much pain and hurt from disappointments then it can be extremely difficult to live in hope and faith. We have to learn to sort through our thoughts, feelings, and pain even when we don’t feel like it.
Every day we have choices that we make that will help us to live in hope or to live in despair from the pain and disappointment that we are feeling. Our feelings are constantly changing. The pain that I was in felt like nothing I knew how to describe, and yet, every day, I still had to make choices that were going to shape my future and the future of my two incredible daughters. I had to continue to choose what I was going to set my thoughts on and how I was going to handle all that I was feeling. I had to learn to still live in hope even though I was filled with heartache and disappointment. I am still learning about this every day. I am still growing. I have not “arrived”. Each day I try to make choices that will hopefully help me to live in hope and faith. Every day, I can look back on the previous day and learn from things that I wish that i had done differently. Each day, I try to make better choices with my feelings, thought, and decisions.
“We are imperfect because we are unfinished.” Lysa Terkeurst
What is important is that every day that we keep trying. We keep healing. We keep growing. We keep learning. We keep becoming. We keep learning to live in hope and faith.
Merriam-Webster defines hope as “to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true.” I learned after burying my husband and then my son that I had to work hard on being filled with hope again. The pain felt like it was going to overtake me, and I had to purpose my mind and heart sometimes continually throughout the days and the moments to rise above how I was feeling and to still find hope.
I had been described as an optimistic person throughout the years. In fact, a physician who I worked closely with for many years who is a dear friend of mine described me as “Pollyanna”. He did not always mean it as a compliment. I am laughing aloud as I recall this memory. In fact, one time he told me, “Kristi, you could look at an empty glass and say it was overflowing.” He did not think that I was just optimistic… he thought that I was out of touch with the reality of what we were encountering. I knew when he told me that he did not mean it as a compliment, and that he wanted me to get more in touch with reality.
Recently, I listened to a message that Rick Bezet shared online from New Life Church entitled, “He is hope.” In this message, Rick shared that “Optimism is psychological. Hope is theological.” Rick pointed out the differences and said, “Optimism is believing in yourself. Optimism is a positive attitude…that’s not hope.” Rick emphasized that “hope is believing in God.” He further outlined the differences by saying that “Optimism is saying you can do it… Hope is knowing you can do it with God.”
Rick also shared that “Optimism is in denial sometimes of reality… it’s like positive thinking but no permanent trust.. optimism will lie and say it’s not that bad when it is bad. That’s not hope.” That one statement that optimism is in denial sometimes of reality made me burst out laughing as it reminded me of my physician friend and what he had said about me in the past.
Rick continued on and shared that “Hope is looking around because sometimes you are in a storm in life or sometimes you just came out of a storm… some of you are going through a storm and you don’t even know it.” Rick said, “Hope looks at reality and difficulty, and it may even say it’s never been so bad. Hope may say I have never seen it any worse then it is right now, but I know God is with me and I do know that He will walk with me.” There was the key phrase for me to focus on in my continued desire to live in faith and hope:
“… I know God is with me, and I do know that He will walk with me.” Rick Bezet
I remember sitting in front of my son’s casket right before he was buried. I remember feeling the worst unimaginable pain that I am not capable of putting into words. I remember not knowing how I was going to physically get up and leave my son’s body there in the ground. It is beyond disappointment. Did I “feel” full of hope. Absolutely not. I felt full of despair. I felt pain beyond words. I felt crushed. I felt defeated. I felt brokenhearted. Sometimes the pain of this life can make us feel just how I felt in those moments and in the days, weeks, months, and years to come… I did not know how I was going to do it.
I had learned scriptures through the years…
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18”
“For I am The Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13”
Did I feel like The Lord was close? No. I felt like He was further from me then He had ever been throughout my entire life. I felt alone. I felt broken beyond repair. I felt so afraid. I was terrified that I would lose my daughters next. But daily, hourly, moment by moment, I continue to have a choice. Am I going to live by how I feel or am I going to live in hope and faith? I have always tried to be open and transparent in this blog because when someone else reads it who is in deep pain whether it is from grief or from something else, then I never want to try to present a false front of the feelings and pain that I have had and continue to have nor do I want to act like any part of this journey has been easy or without difficulty. I do not believe that is helpful to anyone.
I know that many of you have experienced deep hurts and deep disappointments. I know that none of us can truly feel like someone else feels. We are all different in so many ways. I share my hurts and disappointments to be real on this journey that I am on. I also desire to share my joys and hopes as I continue to heal and grow. I want to live believing that The Lord is close to me and my broken heart and will save me even though my spirit feels crushed. I want to live believing that I do not have to fear and that He will help me and that He is so close that He is holding my right hand. I want to live in hope. I want to live believing as Rick Bezet shared that “I know that God is with me, and I do know that He will walk with me.”
Do we always feel that way? No. Even though our feelings want to run our lives and decisions, then we still have to keep them in check. I am a believer in sharing our feelings and being real in them. I am also a believer in purposing my heart and mind to live in hope and faith. I am sure that some of you feel that you are in pain that is breaking your heart. I know that some of you right now feel like you do not know how you are ever going to find hope again. I want you to know that I am sending you my love and prayers. My heart breaks for you and with you. No matter what kind of disappointment that you have or are encountering in your lives, then it is my sincere hope that in the midst of your pain and heartache that you will still fight and choose to live in hope and faith. There will be days, perhaps many days, that you may not “feel” that way, but it is my sincere hope that you will keep pressing on and that you will be wrapped up in His arms of love and comfort. Thank you for journeying with the girls and I. You all are in our heart and prayers.
“Why my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5
“But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Psalm 3:3