When People Disappoint

We know people will disappoint us, but we can be so surprised when we are standing in that place.

Oh, that moment is so crushing. Staring in the face of incontrovertible evidence that someone you love fell short today.

Your picture of that person was cracked or shattered in one fell swoop. Maybe the picture of your relationship cracked too, or your perception of yourself through their eyes changed.

Maybe you sensed it was coming, but often, one final straw finally drifts into place and our relationship is on the chopping block.

I’m right there with you. Earlier this week, I wrote about how weary I am, and part of my weary is dealing with some difficult relationships. Long distances, text messages, awful choices, and busy schedules all contribute to how we disappoint each other, and I’m struggling with tough places in a few different relationships.

Here is where I’m resting today.

People always disappoint.

We can be so surprised when people disappoint us. We stand there with our pretty picture shattered and say now what? What do we do when people disappoint?

Because we’re flawed and human, All. Of. Us. We are going to disappoint each other, in little ways and big ones, at some point.

I have to stop being surprised when people are human.

Stop being surprised people are human. Restore them in gentleness when people disappoint. Click To Tweet

In that moment when the disappointment is raw, put yourself in their shoes. Giving them all the benefit of the doubt, what do you think they were thinking?

What do you think they are feeling now facing your disappointment? How can we meet them in Christ where they are?

How we handle the moment of disappointment may speak louder than anything else we do.

Galatians 6:1 ESV  Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

What does it look like to restore someone in gentleness and avoid the temptation to sin ourselves?

First, I remember my own failures and God’s grace for me when I don’t deserve it.

I have yet to survive one day without failure. Offer grace first when people disappoint. Click To Tweet

I’ve been reading 1 & 2 Samuel recently. I’m blown away by how these familiar stories speak new wisdom to me today. The stories of Saul and David say so much about how to act when people disappoint us.

Saul was God’s anointed king for Israel, but (1 Samuel 18) in his sin, he fell from God’s grace, becoming paranoid and selfish, plotting to kill David.

David is disappointed, heartbroken, his king, his God’s anointed, wants him dead for no failure of his own.

David twice finds Saul served to him by God’s hand, in the cave (1 Samuel 24/26 ) and in his camp asleep, but instead of letting his hurt and anger rule him, David chooses to show Saul he could have killed him, but did not.

David takes steps to protect himself, but sees Saul’s sins are really against God, not himself. He is dismayed and saddened, without seeking to return hurt for hurt.

TWICE, David spares a man who is murderously plotting against him without cause, leaving Saul’s fate in God’s hands.

Twice? why?

To prove to Saul that he really was blameless (David’s righteousness made Saul’s sins more glaring.), but also as an example of how we are to continue in righteousness continuously, even when offense is piled upon offense.

So I’m still disappointed. I have hurt feelings, there is lost trust, and some of my relationships may not be restored right now.

But my focus has to be on God who never disappoints and staying righteous in His eyes.

I have to remember my emotions are nothing compared to God’s ability to rebuke or restore, forgive and sanctify. I can wait on Him.

Protecting myself is okay, but I should avoid returning sin for sin.

Letting God rule my heart even in the midst of big disappointments isn’t always easy. I get angry; I hurt. Indignant doesn’t look good on me, but in my own sin, I disappoint people all the time. I’m not usually trying to fail when I do.

If I hope for grace, I have to offer it too. Recognizing my worth and value in God’s eyes is immutable gives me pause to connect their failures with human nature, and offer a chance to explain, to understand, to apologize.

In the end, I guard my own walk with Christ and forgive them.

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Faith Mountain

I am standing in the muck right now, spiritual muck. Life got real hard spiritually during the past week. From the outside, everything looks great or at least no different, but from the inside I’m standing in front of a faith mountain pounding my fists against its craggy surface, screaming, “MOVE!!!” But it doesn’t budge.

I’m feeling discouraged, defeated, depressed, wounded, alone. I spent several days last week near tears every second of the day. My heart felt like an albatross around my neck. I had moments of laughter, but the sadness just kind of hung around. The situation grew into a mountain. It was a mountain that I have known was there, but all of a sudden it was very real and very present, and very in my way. A few times my faith mountain even grew into a volcano erupting all over my life. I’ve been praying for this particular mountain for a while, but it hasn’t moved at all. If anything, it has gotten larger recently.

Matthew 17:20 ESV  He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Are you familiar with this verse from Matthew? At first, reading this it felt like an accusation. Do I not have enough faith? Certainly cause to spend some time in my bible and in prayer. Of course, we can always use more faith. The closer we draw to God, the closer He draws to us. The more faith we have, the more faith we get because we see Him move in our lives.

James 4:8a ESV Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

I felt really lost. I didn’t know what to do. I really couldn’t DO anything. Isn’t that just the worst feeling in the world? Feeling upset, angry, depressed, anxious and not being able to DO anything about the situation feels like emotional quicksand. The more I thrash against it, the faster I sink into it. One sad thought leads to another and another. Before I know it, my heart is leaden with anxiety and sorrow. Then my daughter’s memory verse came to mind. (I love how her memory verses have become mine as well. We sing them and learn them together.)

2 Cor 10:5b “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Letting my thoughts run away with me wasn’t going to solve anything. It was only letting worry and anxiety rob me of the truth. So, instead of reacting with my emotions, I prayed for God to be present for me and opened my Bible app.

Psalm 55:22 ESV “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Like soothing waters, God placed that verse right on my opening screen as the verse of the day. I needed to read that verse. But my mountain didn’t move. My feelings of being overwhelmed with grief didn’t instantly go away either. But it was a start. A chance to learn that my job is to be righteous and let God hold me up against the attacks in this world.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Then I read all of Psalm 55. David was feeling alone, betrayed by a close confidante, fearful, depressed, but he believed God listened to his cries, that God redeemed his soul in the midst of his battle.

Psalm 55:18 ESV  He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

God knows we’re fighting a battle. God knows that those closest to us can betray and destroy, but our protection is in Him. God promises us that He is listening to us, planning our victory. Again in Mark, he promises us our mountains are nothing for Him.

Mark 11:23 ESV  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Awesome stuff. But read the next verse.

Mark 11:24 ESV Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

I’ve asked in prayer. I’ve believed it will be mine. But then I considered that the verse doesn’t say when the mountain will be moved, just that it will be.

This is how raising my daughter is sanctifying me, again. We were headed out to the pool. It was full of leaves and bugs from the storms of the week. It was kind of nasty. Now, that I’m the mom, I get to do the nasty things around here. FUN. So I climbed in with our skimmer and started swimming in the muck. My daughter stood outside our pool waiting to climb the ladder. I could hear her impatient yelling as I dove in over and over to scoop the leaves from the bottom. She wanted to swim NOW. She couldn’t see over the side of the pool and understand why she couldn’t get in yet. There was nothing wrong with her desire to swim, but the water wasn’t the best it could be. She had to trust that before she could come in that I had some work to do.

It was in this moment, scooping wasps, floating fire ants, and decaying leaves that I realized my faith mountain is only what I can see from my limited human-centered perspective. Maybe God is standing on the other side doing His good work, preparing the way. His timing isn’t slow to torture me. His timing is so that none will perish. God wants us to have His best. Sometimes His best takes time, but He isn’t ignoring me. God is good all the time. He is working in ways beyond my understanding, just like my ways were beyond my daughter’s comprehension.

2 Peter 3:9 ESV The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

When I think about my faith mountain in the perspective of eternity, I realize that my impatience isn’t worth anyone staying lost. In fact, just holding onto that verse strengthened me. I drew close, and He answered.

Isaiah 61:1 ESV “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;”

I was reminded that my struggles might be so that I can claim victory in His gospel, to be a salve to the brokenhearted. Some of the most horrendous experiences of my life have resulted in me being able to be a blessing, to proclaim God’s power to those still in darkness and pain. God doesn’t necessarily want my pain, but if I am faithful, I can seek Him through it, and receive His comfort for me so that I can offer that comfort to others.

I can honestly say in that moment my darkness lifted, even though my mountain has not, yet. Knowing God’s perspective and promise and perfect love for all of us really gave me a joyful heart in the midst of the battle.

I can’t share exactly what my faith mountain is because it really isn’t my mountain. It is more like someone else’s mountain that just happens to be standing smack dab in the middle of my life. But I don’t believe it matters. In fact, if I told you, you might say,’ well that isn’t something I struggle with’. By just calling it a mountain, you can imagine your greatest obstacle in my way. Kind of like Paul never clearly describes his thorn in the flesh, so we can imagine our greatest weakness and see his testimony as personal.

We all have faith mountains. Some are molehills our fear and anxiety turn into mountains, but I think as Christians, we’ve all stood in front of our own ideas of a mountain and prayed for it to be removed. I know I have and only realized God’s plan was working the whole time, long after the fact.

Do you have a faith mountain in your way today? Do you have something that you’re impatiently waiting to have moved or solved?

Psalm 34:18 ESV The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Claim this verse today. Let Him be your comfort. Seek His word. I always find Him there.

Let’s Be Real about Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums are an inevitable part of parenting, whether we like to admit it or not. And if we’re honest, temper tantrums are often an issue for more than just the kids.

I originally wrote about this topic two years ago, but pulled the original post because it felt hypocritical when I still struggle.

But I’ve decided if my honesty can help other moms, my brokenness is better than staged perfection.

Being a mom is filled with lots of joy. My daughter’s giggles and snuggles cheer my heart, and I love watching her grow in her faith and become her own little person.

But parenting is also filled with HUGE mountains of frustration.

I equate parenting to living with tiny, irrational people with memory disorders.

Parenting is frustrating. It's like living with tiny, irrational people with memory disorders. Click To Tweet

Minutes after we were supposed to leave the house, she says, “I forgot!” to why aren’t you dressed?

“Go put on your socks” is met with either a raging discourse against socks or a debate about wearing cowboy slippers to go to the park.

“Yes, I picked up my room,” is almost certainly a lie. More toys were generally liberated from their bins than returned to them.

And frustrations build. It is enough to drive anyone crazy.

Temper tantrums are an inevitable part of parenting, whether we like to admit it or not. And if we're honest, temper tantrums are often an issue for more than just the kids.

As parents, we are faced with making the same requests, fighting the same battles, over and over and over, day after day after day.

Add the stress of housekeeping, bills, work, difficult relationships and I start to fall apart.

I’ll feel like I’m barely holding my Hindenburg emotions together with duct tape and the next frustration rips through my false calm like flames.

For me, the first step in healing came from realizing that the root cause of my temper tantrums is sin.

SIN? Really?!?

Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV “Be angry and do not sin . . . and give no opportunity to the devil.”

God expects us to have emotions, not be ruled by them. When we throw temper tantrums we damage the trust our children have in us, in our love, in our stability, in our faith.

God expects us to have emotions, not be ruled by them. Temper tantrums damage relationships. Click To Tweet

We give Satan footholds into the lives of our children. With our temper tantrums, we build weak places in their hearts that Satan can exploit.

Totally unacceptable! So, I had to root out where my anger comes from. Primarily stress, pride, and lack of self-control. Yep, sin.

We hold onto stress like it’s our human right to explode during difficult circumstances, but God’s answer is not to. PERIOD.

Philippians 4:6 ESV “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

In the calm moments of motherhood, I find it easy to write this, but when I’m tired, have a headache, and my kid won’t stop talking long enough to eat her dinner, it is much harder to demonstrate self-control over the frustrations.

Many temper tantrums come from selfishness and pride.

I wanted today to go my way. I wanted to be on time. I didn’t want my favorite mug shattered on the ground from carelessness. They asked for more of my attention than I wanted to give right now (which is especially true in the bathroom) or all those things have happened at once.

And I used to snap.

Living with the me of the past had to be miserable. No one could anticipate my mood or my threshold for the day. I am truly grieved over the temper tantrums that ruled my life for years.

Every day I would wake up and promise myself to be better, and most days I would fail, robbing me and my family of joy and peace.

I couldn’t control myself because there was an anger born of selfishness inside me. Until I began to die to that selfishness, I wasn’t able to be different.

I had to see others, including my children, as more important than myself. I had to grow in humility.

Philippians 2:3 ESV “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

I realize now God’s highest commandment to love others comes before keeping house, writing a blog, folding laundry.

Sometimes, I am still tempted when faced with blatant disobedience, but I recognize my anger doesn’t reflect a humility in my position before God, or the ability to look at their sin with grace and compassion, without having to join them in anger.

James 1:19-20 ESV “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

The purpose of my life as a wife and mother is to produce righteous fruit in my life, in the lives of those with whom I fellowship, and the lives of my husband and children.

The anger of man doesn’t produce God’s righteousness.

So what are we supposed to do?

Psalm 4:4 ESV / “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.”

I love that – God invented time out.

If you’re angry, go sit on your bed, think about your own heart, and be quiet!

Taking a few moments to get myself under control in prayer always changes my attitude, setting aside my selfishness, exchanging it for God’s peace.

Temper Tantrums? Psalm 4:4 - God invents time out. Go sit on your bed & search your own… Click To Tweet

When I sit in quiet and reflect, I’m reminded how God loves them, to see another perspective, consider how to solve the conflict over being right.

It sounds too good to be true. Just pray?

It is where I start. Prayer opens our hearts to God. Then through scripture, He reaches into our lives with His wisdom. In prayer and reading His word, we learn to listen, be convicted and challenged.

In this communion with Him, we are granted His peace.

Philippians 4:7 ESV “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

In the face of truly heartbreaking struggles, mind-numbing frustrations, and painful realities the peace of God is absolutely beyond my ability to describe or explain, but is so real.

I’ve felt it, like silk, wash over my heart, changing my perspective and emotions in an instant.

With joy and thankfulness for my full life, I ask to have the correct attitude toward this season as wife and mother and set aside my anger.

God has been working on my temper tantrums for years now.

I can safely say He’ll be done with me about five seconds before never, but I know I’m making perfectly imperfect progress every time I pray for His peace, patience, and maybe some time alone to pee.

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