Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And she finally admits...

The truth is, I am so disappointed.

And no, not because this beautiful, adult-sized JCrew sweater shrank down to a size that fits Ellie!  (True story... a friend gave it to me recently after she discovered it in the dryer, and we had a good laugh over how cute Ellie would look next winter in it.)  

I just thought this picture was a good visual representation of disappointment.

I've felt it in a variety of ways in the last few months, and it's becoming a theme that I don't think God wants me to overlook.  

I find disappointment crop up in funny places.  When I open my fridge to find rotten grapes, dark mushy banana-halves, and green spotted cheese.  When I take a Christmas gift back to the store in late January, only to find that I missed the return deadline by mere days and there's 'nothing they can do'.  When I open Ellie's baby book to find that I've neglected to write in it for months, coupled with the fact that I completely missed taking her 7 month pictures.  When I try on my pre-pregnancy jeans for the 100th time, and finally admit defeat as I toss them into the 'donate' pile.  When I pull something out of the wash and remember the 'dry clean only' label a little too late.  When I find water in the basement (ok, that one's not very funny!).

But I've felt the blow of deep inward disappointment lately, too.

The missteps and poor choices of those I am close to who are not seeking God.  An ultrasound that reveals a 'spot' on the heart of a friend's unborn baby.  The marriages of friends that are in critical condition.  The immodesty among women that I see inside the walls of our church, of all places.  The growing realization that the enemy is prowling around this earth (... my neighborhood ... inside my home ...) ready to pounce on our weakness in an effort to drive us further from the God who loves us without end, the God that I love.

I am disappointed in my attempts to seek God with all my heart.  I am disappointed in my inability to walk through a single day with the patience my kids deserve.  I am disappointed by the myriad of ways I fail Rob as his wife.


Last night at bible study, we were watching Beth Moore's video that pairs with our study, "Living Beyond Yourself".  She was telling the story of a  man who was discovered in an apartment in New York to have been keeping a variety of wild animals (a crocodile and a 450 lb tiger, to name a few).  He had been bitten and went to the hospital to be treated.  When medical staff became suspicious about his wound and investigators were sent to his apartment (discovering the animals), he explained that he was trying to create a garden of eden.  In a small NYC apartment.


We have fallen so far from the garden, haven't we?  It's disappointing, and it invades every area of our lives and the lives of those we love.  We can't make it right, no matter how hard we try.

I don't have all the answers or even know how to manage my disappointment most days.  But it helps to have proper context, and that is the framework I'm piecing together right now.

I know that this is not the way God intended us to live.  I know that He has perfection and beauty (heaven) waiting for those of us who call him Lord, just on the other side of this troubled life.  And now I'm learning that although we will always know pain, heartache and disappointment, I can have perfect peace because I know Jesus, who is Himself my peace.  He has made peace with God on my behalf, and even in brokenness I can be filled with His peace if I just ask and submit to Him.

Dwelling in the place of disappointment has not proven to be beneficial to me.  It causes me to forget what I have learned; it invites anger, blame and sadness; it puts a wedge between me and God/friends/family; it hardens my heart; it tempts a sense of entitlement; it causes me to withdraw.  But when I trust in God and His Word, and enter into His peace, I am filled by His Spirit with everything I need.  I find contentment, joy and hope.  It might not mean that my circumstances have changed, but my ability to rest under His authority and rule of peace brings strength to endure disappointment.  

Praying God's perfect peace for each of you as you walk the road He has laid out for you.


Jennifer said...

Amen! Thank you for those true and encouraging words, Ashley. As well, as the humorous, oh-so-true words at the beginning, which I can all to clearly relate to! :)

Joy Hine said...

You have such a gift, Ashley.... an amazing way of using words to express emotions like no one else I've ever read. I love reading your articles! =)

the howards said...

ashley, you do such a great job of expressing things. I so so SO needed to hear that today. thank you. (= on to peace, joy and contentment...! (=