As many of us here in America celebrated Thanksgiving this past Thursday, I’m sure many folks were expressing their gratitude for countless blessings they received. Whether those blessings were in the form of possessions, relationships, or good fortune shining upon them, those who are thankful are often thought to be only those who have not experienced any form of suffering, or discomfort. For me, being thankful this past holiday was not just for the good that happened in my life, but also the many disappointments, heart break, and struggles I endured this past year.
Maybe it has to do with my Roman Catholic Christian upbringing, or my spiritual belief that there is something redemptive in suffering and valuable lessons to be learned through perseverance… I don’t know. All I know is that after on and off years of struggling, failing, and then triumph in the end, only to begin that cycle again on some occasions, I have learned that even in my disappointments there is a blessing. I’ll say it again. Even in my disappointments there is a blessing.
Two weeks ago, I received a weekly devotional for women that caught my attention. The title of the devotional was “The Gift Found in Disappointments.” The devotional was a story by a mother who talked about her daughter who didn’t get a big part in her school production (something she had apparently been preparing for over several months). Instead of a lead role, the woman’s daughter got a “student director” role, which meant the girl would be behind the scenes and assisting the play’s director.
At first, it seemed like a sympathy move on the part of the casting director and producer from the school, but the girl dove right into the role and took it very seriously. In the end, it turned out that the girl was truly a student director behind the scenes, and her peers who were front and center stage all looked to her for guidance, advice, and direction. She may have been the one behind the scenes, but she called the shots and earned the respect and admiration of her peers and the producing staff.
What would have been a disappointment turned into a blessing. The girl not only learned how to run her own production, but she made a name for herself, all the while maintaining a wonderful and positive attitude about the role she played. It wasn’t what she hoped for (the disappointment), but what she had been given turned into something that made her into so much more than she could ever dream of (the blessing). Her disappointment turned into blessing (see this and more women’s daily devotionals at http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo).
This story was quite timely for me because I have had a bit of a roller coaster year both physically, emotionally, mentally, and (quite honestly) spiritually. Having accepted the fact that I am now 42 years old, I was faced with my usual ongoing health problems that I blame poor self-care in my younger years for. Not only were these health issues more pronounced this year, but I have had to increase the number of doctor visits because older women (so I’m told) require more attention than younger ones. This was the physical struggle.
Emotionally, I am still coming to terms with the fact that the many differences between my husband and I are making it more difficult for our relationship. Age is one issue, which manifests itself in his lack of interest to seek “new and exciting” experiences. He is at an age where he just wants to sit home in the quiet, while I feel like life with our two sons should be more adventurous now that they are able to express themselves better. Another issue is social ability. He doesn’t care much to meet new people or talk to others when we are in a new area, whereas I am more open and interested in hearing other people’s stories and talking to them to make conversation. I just think it’s polite. You get the idea. I had to come to terms that my husband is just the way he is and I am the way I am… and that is okay. Disappointing, yes, but still okay.
Mentally, I feel stressed because I set goals for myself in terms of The Last Prophet book series, and I kept pushing back dates because other needs took priority over the writing. Stressed because I promised my publisher that I would have two books to her by the end of 2015 for publishing, and trying to write them simultaneously has not proven good for the psyche or body. Having to take it much slower has been frustrating and disappointing, but in the end (especially since this past weekend) taking time to wield my craft and produce two awesome and heartfelt stories for my readers is worth every delay.
My spiritual life has gone through ups and downs as well. Do I still love my Lord and God? Absolutely. Do I prove it to Him at all times. Um… Erm… I need to work on it daily. Some days are better than others, but whenever the world gets too big for me (or I get too big for my britches), I tend to lean on my own strength and understanding. It is in those moments when I have reached my wit’s end, and see nothing but disappointment that I end up turning to God. Is it the best moment? Probably not, but He has never turned me away, and He always shows me the blessing or blessings I fail to see in the situation. Although I am not perfect, I am perfectly loved by the Almighty.
In my book series, The Last Prophet, readers discover that there are several disappointments the main characters experience. However, in the end, readers also learn that there is not only purpose behind all that has happened but immense blessings. The same can be said about our lives. I once prayed that God would help me to become the kind of woman that could persevere and be strong for those she cared for and about. That prayer could only be answered by struggles, failures, and (ultimately) triumphs and successes of a different nature. To become strong, one must be pushed to the point where being strong is the only option she has. I have been to that point many times, and I have the scars, both internal and external, to prove it. But I am all the better for these. In essence, through the disappointments, falls, and rising up again, I have received blessings. I have also shared those blessings by helping others get through too.
Have you experienced disappointments that you later realized were blessings? Please comment in the space provided.
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