Dealing with Disappointment (Part Two)

 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”  Proverbs 13:12

You may have noticed that the countdown calendar is not on my blog page any more.  That’s because I just heard from my publisher that the date of publication has been moved back to March 2013.  That is very discouraging! FYI:

  • Feb 2011 – finished Twelve Smooth Stones
  • Mar 2011 – submitted the book proposal to Christian Manuscript Submissions.com
  • Jun 2011 – contacted by Kirkdale press
  • Oct 2011 – signed a contract with them
  • Mar 2012 – received the August publication date

Discouragement 101!  Hope has truly been deferred, and I apologize to you dear folks who seemed just as excited about the book’s publication as I was!

So what were my reactions:

  1. Unbelief – How could this be?
  2. Anger – How can they do this to me?
  3. Discouragement – Why am I even doing this?
  4. Doubt – Who do I think I am anyway – I’m not an author!
  5. Blame – Why did you do this, Lord?
  6. Refocus –

Why did God do this?  Do I know?  No.  Do I need to know? No.  I just need to take this opportunity to build my trust in Him.  He is my heavenly Father.  He GAVE me the book, so what He chooses to do with it is His prerogative, not mine.  Can you imagine a servant to the king, or an aid to the president telling him what to do?!  I get a better understanding of Nehemiah’s situation when he stood before the king, not hiding his discouragement.  His sad countenance caught the king’s attention and the Lord used it for good; but how quickly we jump over the phrase: “…Then I was very sore afraid,” (Nehemiah 2:2)

So what do I do?  Do I write a scathing letter to the publisher?  I may ask some questions, but the way I approach them must be in line with my faith in God.  His character must be seen in me, no matter the circumstances!

“…but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life”  This phrase is mentioned eleven times in the Bible: three times in Genesis, four times in Proverbs and Revelation.  It makes a fascinating study; however, I’ll just share Matthew Henry’s comments:

Nothing is more grateful than to enjoy that, at last, which we have long wished and waited for: When the desire does come it puts men into a sort of paradise, a garden of pleasure, for it is a tree of life. It will aggravate the eternal misery of the wicked that their hopes will be frustrated; and it will make the happiness of heaven the more welcome to the saints that it is what they have earnestly longed for as the crown of their hopes.

This has been a great lesson for me in trusting God.  I hope it is a help to you as well.

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Dealing with Disappointment

“And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither:

 the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

Job 1:21,22

Disappointment – something or someone that is not what you were hoping it would be; let down; dashed hopes.

We all know what it is like to be disappointed.  Disappointment comes in all sizes: we may have lost the ball game in the back yard or we may have lost twelve years of wins, taken from us because of our actions

This picture is my disappointment.  I work hard at the garden.  I work to keep it weed free (which has been almost impossible this year), I water it and dig and hoe; but when God sent a storm last week, there was nothing I could do to help my corn.  It was not only flattened, many of the stalks had snapped.  How disappointing.

So, what do we do with disappointmenst?  Well, there are several options: let’s start with the bad ones – the ones our flesh want to embrace!

  1. Life is unfair – that is too true!  Cancer invades our bodies, a husband is unfaithful, the world snatches away our children’s affections.  It’s just not fair!
  2. God is mean – this is NOT true and it will NEVER be true.  Our verse at the beginning is from Job.  We never read that God revealed His plan or explained to Job why He had completely destroyed all that was dear to Job.  God knew, and that was enough – THAT is a hard pill to swallow!
  3. I quit – it’s not worth it!

All of these reactions are the wrong reactions!  Disappointments come as part of God’s strength training session!  The bigger the disappointment, the greater the “trust” muscle will grow.  Is it easy?  No!  Trust is never easy in the face of trials; however, when we look to where the other options lead us – farther away from God, the decision to choose the right reaction to our disappointments become clearer.  (Disappointments are also a time to do a self-check.   Is there something in my life that has been the catalyst to my troubles?)

Trust God – Draw strength from other heroes of the faith, present and past.  Horatio Spafford always comes to my mind when I am facing disappointments.  Trying to comprehend how this man must have felt as he read his wife’s telegraph, “Saved alone,” is more than even my vivid imagination can take in.  Somehow, my flattened corn doesn’t seem that important anymore!

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

 It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

The Parable of the Sower

The peas are done, so I pulled them and all the weeds from that area out this morning.  They were planted in the lower section of the garden in the best soil.  As I dug and pulled and felt the rich earth, I wondered what to plant next.  I don’t think I’ve ever done a second planting.  It’s obviously too late for some plants and too hot for others, but the soil is ready and it would be a shame to leave it lie dormant through our short growing season.  (I say short, because we are on top of a mountain which means we lose about two weeks of growing time compared to gardeners just down the “hill.” J)

As I read the parable of the sower this morning, I thought again about the valuable lessons our Lord gave us in that parable.  In fact, Jesus warns his disciples that this parable is paramount: “…know ye not this parable?  And how then will ye know all parables?” (Mark 4:13)  In other words, if you don’t get this one, you’ll never understand the rest!

So where do you and I fit into the scenario?  We’d all like to think that we are “good ground” hearers 100% of the time, but that probably is far from the truth!  Am I a “wayside” hearer – so hardened to God’s word that Satan can easily distract me before the Word has a change to make a difference?  Or am I the “stony ground” hearer – I’m ready to do anything for the Lord.  My hand is up volunteering before my brain is in gear.  God’s message comes across and I make big plans and bigger promises; however, as soon as the “going gets tough,” I’m out of there!  How sad to be the “thorny ground” hearer, but I believe this description fits most of us!  We take in the Word, it even convicts our hearts.  We make a choice to change; however, the change never takes place because the “cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things” came into our lives leaving no room for God’s changing power to take affect.  These things “choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”  Why is this type of ground so “popular?”  Back to the garden for more lessons!  I till the ground at the beginning of the season, so the soil is not hardened after lying fallow all winter.  I plan the garden in a good area, where the soil is rich and deep.  That rules out the “wayside” and “stony ground” difficulties.  But the weeds – they are with us until we reach that great garden in the sky!!!  We all have cares.  Most of us fall prey to wanting more (riches and lusts of other things).  This is where we live – with the weeds!  And they want to choke the godly life right out of us, making us unfruitful.

Just a while ago, I was listening to http://www.abidingradio.org.  If you have not discovered this wonderful treasure of good conservative Christian music, check it out.  The song “I saw Jesus in you” by Ron Hamilton was just on.  It makes me want to cry every time I hear it!  Oh, to hear those words from my Creator, Redeemer and King!  Keep pulling those weeds dear reader!!! Keep close to the Lord.  Keep your heart tender.  Do you think that we will ever regret any decision we make for God when we see Him face to face?  “Boy, I wish I hadn’t gone to church so often!”  or “I really regret memorizing all those verses and trying to live for God!”  Duh!

“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” Mark, 4:20

Disconnected

My computer finally bit the dust.  For a while, I was using the church’s laptop, but it has screen issues.  Now, I’m using Nathan’s laptop – he’s so gracious. 

Because I wasn’t on my computer, I didn’t have my password for my blog (among other things!), so I couldn’t get into my site to write anything!  Talk about feeling totally disconnected and handicapped!  It’s amazing to me how dependent I’ve become on this machine!  A day without the computer is like a day without sunshine!

Disconnected – aren’t you glad that can never be said about or relationship with God – at least, that is true on His end!  He gives us so many promises in the Bible.  Just this morning, my husband shared this verse with me from his devotions: “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.”  (Song of Sol. 7:10)  Now that verse would be special enough if it was just spoken to a wife from her husband, but the verse is from God to me!  His desire is towards me – He not only sees me but wants me!  That’s quite a connection!

Sad to say, we often break the connection.  Do you hang up on God?  Has He been ringing your number and you are ignoring Him?  Why do we do that? He offers us so many blessings; and yes, there is a cost: obedience, which often requires us to put our will aside and do His.  AND, we often do not see the blessings; however, remember: the rose has it’s thorns before the flower appears!

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew  theegreat  and mighty things , which thou knowest  not.” Jer. 33:3

 

 

Desperate Parenting

This spring, Mr. Robin and Mr. Bluebird joined forces to keep Mr. Squirrel out of the tree in my back yard!  It happens to be the tree that contains my bird feeder; however, there must have been a nest up there somewhere as well.  I’ve never seen anything like it  This went on for several days.  That poor squirrel, who was used to feasting on my feeder whenever I wasn’t looking, could not even cross the yard! (Just click on the link and hopefully, you can see the video!)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzgk4pTrgH4&feature=vmdshb

The best advice we ever got as parents was this: you must be desperate for your children.  What does that mean?  Well, these birds went to desperate measures to keep an enemy from killing their young, perhaps robbing the nest of its eggs.  There actions were rewarded, in fact, I haven’t seen that squirrel since!

How desperate are you Christian parent to see your children live for Christ?  Are you willing to take desperate measures to see it happen?  Are you attacking the enemy with such desperation that he flees?

What would this look like?  Here are just a few lessons that I have learned:

  1. Change a bad habit in my life.  Early on someone told me that I didn’t have to yell at my children in order to make them behave.  I was a yeller!  You know what – it’s true, and it works.  What bad habit do you see forming in your children because of your example?  (Ouch, sorry!)
  2. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes…” (Ps 101:3)  This little motto has sat on our TV for as long as I can remember.  What you view with or without your children WILL affect them for godliness or worldliness.
  3. Covetousness – Cut it out of your life.  One of my favorite scenes from Patch the Pirate is in Friendship Mutiny, when Patch is sword fighting the enemy.  Several items are destroyed and Patch laughingly mocks for Captain Fiendly to be careful with his thrift store items!  Our children will never be satisfied if they grow up in a home with parents whose goal is gain!
  4. BE DESPERATE ENOUGH TO SAY “NO!”  Why do we let our children run their lives and ours?  Don’t we know better?  Even if you are not a perfect parent, you are STILL the parent!  You  DO know what is best – don’t let them whittle you down!
  5. Be desperate enough to know your God!  I once asked our daughter why she turned out so well.  PK’s are Satan’s target; and sadly, they often follow his ways instead of the ways of their parents.  Her words were humbling.  She said, “Mom, it was real to you and Dad, and we knew it!”  Be real – you can’t fake a relationship with God.  It’s there if you make it happen.  Remember: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”  James 4:8  Why God chooses to draw nigh to us is beyond my understanding, but this is one of the most precious promises in the Bible!

These are just a few suggestions.  Take a look at your parenting – be honest, and get desperate.  You will rejoice for all of eternity, AND throughout this life as well!