I remember our first beach vacation with the kids. My son was 3 and my daughter was 18 months. I assumed it would be a great getaway – but to my horror it was more work than being home. We stayed in a condo where I was cooking breakfast and lunch and our dinners out were stressful managing the kids.
I remember standing at the washing machine in the condo folding clothes and feeling completely filled with disappointment. I told my husband, I wanted just one hour alone on the beach. So while the kids napped, I went to the ocean and just sat there and cried. I cried and talked to Jesus and told him how I felt – and then I sat there in peace enjoying the peaceful breeze and sound of the roaring waves. Releasing those tears in prayer and pausing to take in the moment helped my inner wars to quiet down and be at peace.
4 years later I wish I could talk to that sad girl on the beach and give her hope. I wish I could have hugged her and said – what you are feeling is normal. You are learning selflessness – you are experiencing growing pains. It’s going to be okay and some day you are going to laugh at the memories of this vacation. You are doing the right things. Don’t give up and don’t be discouraged. God sees you, he hears you and he loves you.
Here is How I have learned to handle disappointments:
2. Change your expectations. Now that you see that reality does not match up to fairy tales accept this truth. Turn from critical and negative thoughts and open your eyes wide to see the blessings that are in your life. Count your blessings one by one – literally get out a piece of paper and do this! I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
3. Allow your family trials and daily struggles to mature you. James 1:3,4 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance MUST finish its work so that you may be mature and complete.”
4. Have hope – this isn’t the end of your story. Step back and look at the big picture. What is God teaching you right now through your trials that will help you in the next season of life. Colossians 2:2 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
And take heart that you are not alone – you have sisters in Christ who are in the trenches with you. Be strong – “do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9