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All Scripture references come from the King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV)."
All Scripture references come from the King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV)."
I was recently contacted by Girl Defined Ministries, asking if they could submit a guest post in an effort to Introduce One Exceptional Life to their younger audience.
According to their website, the mission of Girl Defined is to help modern girls understand and live out God’s timeless truth for womanhood. In a day and age when girls and women receive so many conflicting messages about their value, purpose, and identity, they desperately need to know that the only one who can define them is the One who created them.
There is no doubt that women of all ages struggle. Rediscovering God’s joy and peace through any trial is so important. So it is my honor to share with you the following post by Kristin Clark, co-founder of Girl Defined Ministries, as she shares her tips for finding joy in the midst of disappointment and unfulfilled longings.
Some Days You Dance and Some Days You Cry
The past few years have been filled with a little of both for me. I’ve been very public with my infertility story and the two early miscarriages my husband Zack and I experienced 6 years ago. It has been a long journey, trusting God through disappointment, but He has been so faithful to give us peace, comfort, and even joy in the midst of our unfulfilled longings.
But as we approached our 8-year anniversary, the most unexpected thing happened – I found out I was pregnant.
This news completely shocked Zack and me and we couldn’t believe it. My heart was filled with a mixture of emotions. Each day that went by felt like a small victory. I had never made it past 6.5 weeks of pregnancy with my early miscarriages, but this time I did. Zack and I went in for our 8-week appointment and heard the most beautiful little heartbeat measuring right on track.
Sadly, this joy wouldn’t last for much longer.
Trusting God through Disappointment and Grief
We found out at 11 weeks that the heartbeat had stopped. With broken and heavy hearts, Zack and I left the doctor’s office and headed home to grieve our new reality. The days slowly ticked by and were filled with tears, prayers, and questions.
I’ve wrestled with God’s plan and asked Him why?! But as I’ve struggled and mourned and battled with my emotions, I have also been deeply comforted by the same God who promised to never leave me or forsake me.
In the midst of my sorrow and grief, I know God is with me. I know He cares about me and loves me. And even in the midst of my confusion and pain, He is restoring my broken heart to a place of wholeness once again, even as I wonder why God allows disappointment. Psalm 18:2 has been my anchor these past few months:
Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
He is restoring my broken heart to a place of wholeness once again, even as I wonder why God allows disappointment. #findingjoy #GodIsGood #faith Click To Tweet
You can read more about how I found hope in God in my new book, Not Part of the Plan: Trusting God with the Twists and Turns of Your Story.
I know I’m not the only one who has wrestled with why God allows disappointment and unfulfilled longings.
Each one of us faces this in our lives at some point or another. It’s part of being human in a fallen and broken world. Maybe you’re wrestling with singleness and longing for marriage. Or suffering from ongoing physical health challenges. Or longing for a family member to know Christ.
Maybe you’re wrestling with the body and looks that God gave you. Maybe wishing you had one good, close friend. Or not getting the job or the school that you really prayed for. The list goes on.
We’re all on a unique journey and it looks different for each one of us. The question isn’t will I experience disappointment? but rather, how can I still find joy in the midst of my disappointment when it strikes?
3 Tips for Finding Joy in the Midst of Struggles
Over the past few years, God has been teaching me a lot about finding joy in the midst of disappointment and unfulfilled longings. I have learned that trusting God through disappointment means that true joy and real suffering can exist at the same time. I want to share with you the 3 biggest ways that God has helped me to find joy in the midst of my struggles, and I hope these truths will equip you to find true joy in the midst of yours as well.
1. Humbly Submit to God’s Story for Your Life
Discontentment and friction often arise in our hearts when we forget who holds the pen to our story. When we look around and begin comparing our story to others, we lose sight of the fact that God has every person on a different path. His timing is not the same for all of us. His plan is tailor-made for our individual journey and for our greater good.
I wrestled with this deeply as I would watch friends and family easily get pregnant all around me while I was struggling to carry a pregnancy past 6 weeks. God gently worked in my heart and reminded me through His word that my life story is His to write. My life story is different than everybody else’s and God has a good plan for me.Why do you need to trust that God's plan is for your good? And what does “good” truly mean? #TrustGod #joyfulliving #GodIsMyAnchor Click To Tweet
I had to remind myself of truths from His Word like,
Isaiah 46:9b I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Surrendering the reigns of our story to God is the first step toward true joy.
2. Trust That God’s Plan is for Your Good
We live in a time where the word, good means getting what you want. The good life is focused on personal happiness and making all of our dreams come true. But God’s version of good is the complete opposite of this. It isn’t surface-level and as flimsy as our mood.
God knows that true and lasting satisfaction can only come from becoming more like Christ and by loving God more fully. Our circumstances are not the defining factor of our joy and hope. God’s version of good might look like allowing challenging circumstances into our lives that serve to remind us of our need for Him.
Psalm 119:68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Even in the midst of the most trying circumstances, we can find true joy in our relationship with Christ.
3. Serve God Wholeheartedly Right Now
Many of us struggle with the weight of our disappointments so much that they become a barrier keeping us from moving forward. We begin to view our identity and life through the lens of our unfulfilled longings rather than our identity as a daughter of God.
God wants us to lay our desires at the foot of His altar and offer them as a sacrifice of worship to Him. He wants to use us to build His Kingdom in unique ways right now.
Over the past several years, God has helped me to reframe my mindset about what it means to be fruitful as a woman. Before having children (I’ve since adopted two sweet boys…but that’s another story for another day), I had more time and energy to pour into the lives of young women in my community and through GirlDefined.
Rather than dwelling on what I didn’t have (children) I was striving to be faithful with what I did have (discipleship opportunities.) Regardless of my season of life, Matthew 6:20 has been an anchor for my heart,
Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
God has a Unique and Beautiful Story for Each One of Our Lives
His story is tailor-made for each of us and will look different than those around us. Sometimes our story is filled with joy and celebration, and sometimes it’s filled with tears and grief. But no matter what comes our way, we can confidently put our trust in the Lord because He is the author of our story.
I really encourage you to dig into my new book for more encouragement, Not Part of the Plan: Trusting God with the Twists and Turns of Your Story.
Trusting God through disappointment means that when we fully trust God to write His story for our lives, we can look around and genuinely celebrate what He is doing in the lives of those around us. We don’t have to compare and despair, but rather joyfully celebrate His gifts and blessings that He gives to others.
Our hearts will be most content when we remind ourselves that we are not on this earth to build our Kingdom but to build God’s. And each of our unique life stories and journeys is a beautiful part of God’s greater and grander plan.
If there’s anything God has taught me these past few years, it’s this. True joy and fulfillment don’t come from getting what you want, but from surrendering your entire life to what God wants. It’s not in wondering why God allows disappointment, but instead in trusting that His plan is truly good. I know the journey isn’t over. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds my future. And in Him, my heart finds peace and rest.
About the Author
Kristen Clark is the co-founder of Girl Defined Ministries, author of several books, and is passionate about promoting the message of God-defined womanhood through blogging, speaking, mentoring young women, and hosting Bible studies in her living room.