Disappointment. We’ve all felt it. Whether it was the dream job that ended up becoming a nightmare or the “right” guy that turned out to be the wrong man, every one of us has indeed encountered a situation where expectations were left unmet.
Let’s face it: We all think life should be perfect. I’ll admit I have lived my life with a certain set of expectations. Most of the time my life is fulfilled, but every once in a while a situation seems to veer way off track, and a circumstance occurs that causes me to spin out of control.
All I have to do is look back at the most painful moments in my life to see I spent the majority of it believing a big lie: All my expectations should and would be met.
One of the biggest let-downs occurred during a significant relationship with a man who I thought would be my husband. In the beginning it was blue skies and full-steam-ahead as sparks flew and love bloomed. But six months into our relationship, we had our first fight as he was caught in huge lie, breaking my trust and faith in him.
I refused to see the red flags, the ones signaling there would more lies and deceptive behaviors. Nor did I want to hear that little whisper telling me to walk away. So I forgave and gave our relationship another chance.
We continued charting our course even though it was now partly cloudy, and the waters were often rough.
Beyond my codependent issues with him, he had an ex-wife and two kids that I had to contend with. The only one making sacrifices for our relationship was me, and I began to compromise everything that I value—getting myself into messes more than I care to recall. At times I would pray, but I was blinded by the lie that all would be okay if I just tried harder and he changed more.
Before I knew it, my fantasy voyage veered off-course into icy waters.
We had been dating for two years, and on one less-than-romantic night, he asked me to marry him. I found myself blurting out “yes” before I had put thought or prayer into it. I wanted to be a wife because I was over 30 and the majority of my friends were married and having kids. So because I felt left behind, I found myself agreeing to settle into a life that was not my destiny.
Even though all the signs were telling me to abandon ship as fast as I could before it sank, I began wedding planning. I bought the dress, booked the venue, had an engagement party and was sampling cake all over town. And after I had spent thousands of dollars in nonrefundable deposits, I came home mere weeks from our wedding date to the shocking news that my fiancé had been lying to me in the worse way possible. He had never finalized the divorce from his first wife, and I had spent two years unknowingly engaging in adultery!
While he was hoping I would simply change the date, I felt like a passenger on the Titanic, and I was sinking along with the ship!
It was a very painful and difficult time in my life. But God met me where I was and blessed me in ways that still amaze me. I would not have learned the lessons I did and dealt with my need to be “codependent” had God not let me go down that road. While God doesn’t create the trials we will face in our lives, the Bible warns us in John 16:33 and Romans 5:3 that we should expect to have tribulation.
My life was shipwrecked.
This tragedy caused me to experience betrayal and disappointment I had never known. My life was not working out the way I hoped, and I was left shattered and feeling empty. The hole in my heart led to an unhealthy dose of self-pity and overwhelming bitterness. My hopes of being a wife were dashed, and I was a woman who was heartbroken and wounded.
A friend of mine introduced me to a small non-denominational church, so when I began searching for a life preserver, I found safety in prayer and in the pages of the Bible. 1 Peter 5:10 says “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you” (AMP).
It quickly became obvious that in my search for a husband, I was not navigating myself well, so I turned to Jesus who calmed the seas with just one word. I figured He would do the same in my life, and He did by making provision for me to get settled in a new home, in a new city with a fresh start. The heavy burden of disappointment would seem small in the light of a new day as I learned to forgive and to trust men again by truly following Jesus, possibly for the first time in my life.
This tragic time in my early 30s taught me that my happily-ever-after starts with Jesus as my captain. I’ve come to expect that my days will not always be smooth sailing. I’ve prepared myself for those unexpected storms by letting Jesus steer the direction my life goes.
Today I find safety in the Bible and in all of God’s promises. When the wind picks up and I am suddenly capsized, I trust Jesus to throw me a line. I have faith that the storm will pass, and when it does I will emerge not only soaked, but also a wiser, stronger and happier first mate.