For over a year and a half I have dreamed of the day when I would triumphantly return to work at my daughter’s school. The story in my mind played out with clear victory painted throughout it. First, I would volunteer proving to myself and others I was more than able to do my former job. Then the school administrators would ask me to reapply and, of course, I would gladly accept the offer for me to return. Ah yes, victory. Fulfillment. Joy. Triumph over the injustices I experienced.
Yesterday I took the first step towards meeting my goal when I volunteered in my former classroom. Kindness, excitement and love greeted me everywhere I looked. It is so wonderful to be loved – so incredibly wonderful. Yet, to my surprise, as I walked the halls I felt agitated and very much like a misshapen puzzle piece that didn’t fit. No matter how hard I tried to make my plan work, it didn’t.
Everything felt abrasive, painful, strained and hard. Instead of proving I was capable, I struggled to remember the copier code and understand basic instructions. Being around students brought unexpected anxiety. Over and over I repeated to myself, “You can do this.” Before long though, I realized no matter the internal pep talk, I was becoming undone. The more I pushed, the more my head hurt, my eyes blurred, my ears rang and my discouragement with who I am today rose. I finally gave in and left consumed in a puddle of tears. So much for the victory I planned in my mind for so long.
I really hate the heartache of hope deferred.
Yes, indeed today I have the heartache of hope deferred. If am honest though, I set myself up for it by writing the story of my return to school while ignoring the counsel of my doctors, friends and most of all the Lord. Proverbs 21:5 says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” Today, my heartache is evidence of the truth of this verse. Instead of being willing to walk the long road of recovery where I will discover God’s perfect and good plan for me — I rushed back with great haste and now am experiencing the emptiness and utter poverty of a soul filled with hope deferred.
More important than my hearts current state of poverty — all resources drained and emptied — is how to do I return to a soul filled with hope, joy and peace? The answer is found by returning to the Lord and finding hope in Him even when I don’t like even the current circumstances that surround my life.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the
power of the Holy Spirit.
Today, the temptation is for me to wallow in the sadness of how far I still have to go. Yes, it is far easier for me to stay in a state of poverty than to choose to do the wearing work of recovering and to finish strong in the journey ahead of me. By God’s grace and through his strength though, I am remembering He has great plans for my life. When the day finally comes that I can return to work — and I do believe that day will come — I trust I will have everything I need to be successful. Until then, the “source of hope” will fill me with His joy and peace as I press in and trust him despite disappointment. Though I grieve – though I am heart-sick with hope deferred – I can have a “confident hope” as long as I trust my King and wait the loveliness of His plans to unfold.
Peace begins to fill my empty soul and hope begin to blossom again. God is good even when I momentarily bolt ahead to run the race on my own. Yes, God is good, faithful, kind and true. He never fails to hold me tight when I need him most. Today, I fall into his loving arms of grace as I grieve the reality of a lost dream. Together we will pick up the pieces and begin to build toward the future filled with hope he has so beautifully designed for me.
Humbled, grateful, and finding His peace again,