If life is a book, then I’d like to rip out some pages. Spring break, for example.
It was supposed to be a fantastically fun-filled week. One of the big highlights was a dearly anticipated visit from my girls’ older cousins. The mere mention of their names spread goofy smiles across my kindergartener’s face.
So after coordinating calendars, planning a craft and baking projects and a super special lunch, all four kids were excited for Tuesday morning to arrive. Only problem was, it arrived a bit too early in our house—2 a.m.—when my three-year-old threw up in her bed.
Ugh! Stomach flu. It blindsides us every time. So I stripped sheets, grabbed our trusty bucket from the cupboard, and told my six-year-old to sleep in my bed for the rest of the night.
“Mom, does this mean my cousins can’t come to play?” Her voice raised an octave, and her bottom lip trembled. I paused in the doorway, frowning.
“Yes, lovey. I’m sorry. They can’t come when your sister is sick. We don’t want them to catch it.”
“But they were going to bring their American Girl dolls!”
“I know, sweetheart. It’s so disappointing.”
She burst into tearful sputters, and my heart lurched. “Hey, now,” I soothed. “God knew this was going to happen. He must have some good reason why your cousins can’t come over like we’d planned.”
She sobbed harder, then wiped her nose on her sleeve and sniffled. “But I really wanted them to come.”
I know. I did, too. How can I help her understand disappointment when I don’t understand it myself?
Because understanding isn’t the goal. Trusting is.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight,” (Proverbs 3:5–6).
I might not be able to wipe away the hurt. But I can equip my daughter to accept it. If day after day I teach her to take little disappointments in stride, by pointing to God and his smarter plan—then maybe someday when the big disappointments come, she’ll know from years of practice how to trust God.
When she doesn’t make the varsity team.
When a boyfriend breaks her heart.
When she loses a job, a baby, her dad and me.
Yes, she will grieve. But I pray from the roots of my soul that she will trust God’s sovereignty—and even thank him for it.
Because life is full of disappointments. But one thing will never let her down.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us,” (Romans 5: 1–5, emphasis mine).
Not every disappointment will be redeemed this side of heaven. But I’m happy to report God cut us some slack. It just so happened the cousins were available to make up our date the following Friday. So we scrubbed the house with Lysol and enjoyed those crafts and baking projects after all. And as I stood in the kitchen surrounded by four happy kids, three American Girl dolls, and two dozen open cans of Play-Doh, I thanked God for the chance to teach my daughter one of life’s hard lessons.
Disappointments will come. But they’re never the end of the story.