Wednesdays with Jillene: of rock tumblers, disappointments and God’s promises…

As the newness of spring arrives so does the end of other things… preparing for the coming summer. Last night my oldest children were headed off to their final night of awana club for the year. Isaiah was happily sharing how it was store night. His chance to buy (with shares he had been earning since Christmas) some soon-to-be beloved items for himself.

In the rush to get out the door, I’d forgotten how, the week before,  Lily excitedly told me about a rock tumbler she was thinking she’d get with her shares. I’d forgotten how excited she was, that glint in her eye, the creases from her smile ever growing as she told me her wishes. I’d forgotten how during the week she kept bringing me rocks asking if I think they’d turn out beautifully when she’d tumble them.

I’d forgotten all that… until waiting to pick her up…

Micah came hurriedly out and said, “She’s coming. But she’s crying… I don’t think she got that rock tumbler thing she wanted.”

And my heart met my throat and my eyes grew teary. Because THEN I remembered how much it meant to her. And I could feel her disappointment, her sadness, her longing…

Compassion surged and it left me feeling heart-broken. It may seem silly to you that I could have been heart-broken with compassion over something so small. Really, it was just a toy… But, in that moment, I remembered so many things I had longed for, dreamt about, planned for… but didn’t get to have…

It’s not so different after all… dealing with disappointment when you are 9, or 15, or 20, or 33… It is so hard when we don’t get what we’ve wanted, what we long for, what we are sure we need or would make us happy. We don’t understand. (I don’t understand.)

I went to gather her; she was sobbing and teary… sad and disappointed. She’d had her heart set on that rock tumbler. Her teacher and I talked to her for a little while, trying to console her, and then moved towards the car to go home. She shared a little of what she did get to purchase.  All the while I could hear the longing for what she couldn’t…

God’s ways are not our ways, his plans not our plans… so often that is true for rock tumblers, or home ownership, finances, friends, jobs, health concerns, families… I have felt the pain of longing for what was not meant to be for me as well.

So I told Lily how God has been speaking to me through the story of Joseph’s life in Genesis… how really bad things were done to him… just plain not fair things. But, how God used it all for good. Not just a little good, but good beyond imagining! Sometimes we can’t see what God is going to do when things just don’t seem to make sense to us, but God promises he is working all things to good for those who love Him.

And she looked up at me…

Her eyes brightened…

“You mean, God could have something better in mind for me?

“Yes, Lily…”

And she smiled and hugged me.

This morning she awoke happy for the new day, excited to explore all the items she HAD been able to buy the night before…

and I wondered if this was another part of what it meant when Jesus said in Mark 10:13-16 that we need to accept the kingdom of Heaven like a child.

Imagine if we could mourn what we’ve lost or do not have, accept God’s promise that his plans for us are for “a hope and a future” and that in His great love for us he is working all things for our good, and then wake up the next day ready to live joyfully with the blessings we do have…

What an example Lily gave me! What a challenge on how I should respond with the disappointments I am facing… how about you?

~Jillene

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