Disappointments

Today I have been led to write about disappointments…..It is a very sensitive subject in our family because some of the disappointments are fresh, very fresh. I feel that I can’t truly write and be effective unless I am very transparent about our disappointments…I will not belabor or go into great detail but I will share enough to let you know that we have had our share of disappointments that may pale in comparison to some but none-the-less they have been disappointments. So here goes… 

I came close at age 22 but didn’t win the Miss America Pageant. My husband played football at the University of South Carolina…where he had three different head coaches in four years. (Not ideal if you have ever played athletics. In fact, that is a nightmare for any athlete.) He started out as quarterback but switched to wide receiver after so many coaching changes. He thought he had an extra year of eligibility but was told that he didn’t. He found this out in the spring before what would have been his senior year. To top it off, he learned this from a recruit not from his coach. He had to call his coach to ask about it and was told, “Oh by the way, sorry!” 

Understand he was told by his coach that he had another year and elected to wait to have senior privileges. He never had the opportunity to be considered for team captain or many of the other things that come from being a senior. He never got that last year that seniors look forward to, especially when you give all the blood, sweat and tears in the previous years. Now that I have raised three athletes who have invested much time, hard work and sacrifice for many years, I see the impact it has when people, for whatever reason, don’t value your work or your commitment. It hurts. 

As parents we had to grieve the loss of having a child who was perfectly healthy and then was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Both of our sons had very disappointing golf careers in college after a great high school experience. Our daughter’s coach who recruited her to come to UGA lost her job after Collins’ freshman year. Collins wasn’t allowed to continue to finish her commitment to play golf at Georgia because her new coach didn’t want her on the team. This dream was something she had worked her entire life for–not to just play golf but to be able to play golf at the school of her choice which was UGA.

After the coach that recruited her lost her job, Collins was called by the UGA athletic department and asked to stay and not transfer to another school. She honored her commitment and stayed. After one year of having a new coach, he dismissed Collins from the team and gave no reason. She trusted and made a commitment to the athletic department at UGA, but they did not keep their commitment to Collins. Collins even gave up her senior year in high school to go and commit early to UGA. She could have transferred but having a degree from UGA was more important than a new beginning at another school just for golf. After all, she embraced and always looked at herself as a “student/athlete” not an “athlete/student.” She applied to keep her scholarship which the athletic director denied but she appealed to the academic board and received her scholarship and remained at UGA as a student. 

Life is full of disappointments. We can always say could have, should have, would have…….but as a family we realize…. that you can’t put “spilled milk” back in the glass…so what do you do??? 

As a family we have come to understand and live that God’s Plan B is better than our Plan A! We have embraced the scripture found in Isaiah 43:18, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Even though some of the disappointments in our family are recent, so recent that the wounds are not healed…but we realize that God has us. He has plans to “prosper and not to harm, to gives us a hope and a future.” Because of my disappointment at 22 and Bill’s disappointment in football, and in imperfect people, God has used these disappointments in our lives to encourage others, especially our children. 

We have pointed them to God, helping them to understand you cannot put your trust in man or in institutions…run by man…. the real relationship that you want to invest in is with God. That is where the abundant life comes from. We have also helped them see that God doesn’t waste anything in our lives. He uses it to teach us, to redirect us, to mature us, to sometimes save us from something we can’t possibly see… because God has the helicopter view ….we do not! 

I have no idea…. how different life would have been if I had won Miss America. Bill has no idea what his life would have been like if he had had the same coach for four years…..but what we can testify to is how God took those experiences and shaped us and molded us and drew us closer to Him. I enjoy, at 51, encouraging people no matter their age to reach for the stars…..it is ok if you don’t make it to the “elite status” of what the world deems as ultra successful….I am so happy I tried to win the pageant….even though I came up short…..It really was about the process and all that I learned…about myself and others…and who I met along the way….and all the lessons. If we believe in God’s Word…. and we trust in God, we realize that this life is a “vapor” compared to eternity…………! God desires for us to “run our race” with vigor, endurance and to keep the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

No one avoids disappointments in life…..disappointments happen to everyone….doors close….sometimes “slammed in our face”. Our value of who we are and God’s design for our lives has to come from a “holy point of view,” one that we cannot get from nor look for from “man.” 

It is not what happens to us but the attitude we take, the outlook we choose, and the One who we place our faith in, JESUS. He is the author and perfecter…..if you have had major disappointments or major loss…..I encourage you to seek…the “creator of your life”, Jesus…to get alone…to allow His healing hand in your life….to redirect you to His Plan B…..I promise it is better than any Plan A you can dream up. 

Jeremiah 29:11 does state, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'” But we have to obey the instructions that follow in verses 12-14, “‘Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.'”

Realize, sometimes the disappointments in life are at your expense by the hands of others. Sometimes your disappointments are self-induced….it doesn’t matter as much as it matters who you turn to for healing and a redirection….God wants to have you. He really does….HE is the great GPS for our lives….He has a great plan….and the perfect map….seek Him with all your heart….take your eyes off man and place them on a HOLY, PERFECT GOD!

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