Defining Moments Disguised as Disappointments

November 1, 2022

As I sat on my grandmother’s back porch sipping sun tea, my two-year-old daughter, Jordan, toddled close to me, whispering, “tiny hole.”

As I tried to decipher her message, I studied her eyes and noticed a look of urgency. I mentally traced her steps. Everything should be ok—

She tugged on my shirt sleeve, repeating, “tiny hole.”

I grabbed her hand. “Show me.”

I slid the sliding glass door open and stepped into the kitchen. Right there stood Justin, Jordan’s older brother, panicked. He held a can of Mountain Dew, spewing a sticky yellow substance all over the walls and cabinets with the force of Old Faithful. What started as a tiny hole grew into an afternoon of scrubbing the entire room.

Disaster, right? Maybe not.

As I began my cleaning project, I noticed hidden post-it notes everywhere. “1. Wash the dishes. 2. Soap in the cabinet under the sink with a cloth. 3. Dry the dishes. Towels in drawer on left side of the sink. 4. Put them away.”

Further investigation revealed items placed in odd locations. The fridge held empty pans and no food.

Everything should be ok—but it wasn’t. My grandmother, my guiding light, my confidant, needed help. Within the week, doctors confirmed my discovery had uncovered the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. Without the disaster of the tiny hole, I couldn’t have had the insight that we needed professional intervention. God used a temporary disappointment to define our circumstances.

Are you overwhelmed, trying to decipher God’s voice in your situation? It may feel like a whisper of intuition, something isn’t right. There is a tiny hole threatening the time and energy you’ve invested. Discouragement begins to undermine your confidence. And then something confirms God’s direction is different than what you once believed. You realize I need to make a change.

You want to give up, but you can’t.

So, where do we go from here? Romans 8:28 gives leads with the promise that the happenings in our lives are God’s ordained steps to create deeper trust and His desired outcome. It is followed by two vital questions that allow us to evaluate our course of action.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

When things are tough, we all tend to think, if I knew the outcome, I wouldn’t have to worry.

The first three words of this passage boldly predict the solution to every crisis. And we know. He didn’t say we guess, hope, or expect. Three simple words—And we know.

We can find confidence in God’s promise: He loves us and is for us. He already knows what’s best and is creating the result that aligns with His will.

You may ask, but how do we trust this? The passage ends with two evaluation questions:

1. Do I love God? (Is my life a reflection of my faith in Him? Do I give him my heart, soul, and mind, regardless of what is happening in my life? Do I remember I love Him because He first loved me?)

2. Am I fulfilling His purpose? (Are my actions a statement I love God more than anything/anyone? Am I caring for and helping those people God has entrusted to me?)

It wasn’t easy, but after a day of scrubbing my grandmother’s kitchen, I stayed on my knees and whispered a prayer of thanksgiving. I told Him how important it was to me to care for my grandmother with tenderness and compassion, just the way Jesus would. I asked Him to keep my love for Him strong, especially in the upcoming days.

If you face disappointment, I hope you trust it as a defining moment—an opportunity to rely on His promise and know it will all work together for good.

Maybe you’ll even post a few reminders on a sticky note, asking evaluation questions that will help you know God’s got you.

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  1. Excellent post, Dani! Thank you for that encouragement.

    • So great to hear from you. Thank you! Somedays when we are crushed by the demands of try, try again, we simply need to look in a new direction!

    • Great message Danielle, Thank You

      • Jimmy,

        Your name comes up more than you know when we are discussing serving the next generation. Your encouragement means more than you know!

    • Beautiful words for Christmas, Danielle. They were just what I needed to prepare for receiving help and gifts this year. I look forward to sharing it with Dave so we can enjoy giving each other simple and meaningful gifts. Merry Christmas! 🎄 🙏

  2. Once again you got me at just the right moment, I am being lead daily closer and closer to being my brother’s overseer and caretaker. I have been pushing back because I’ve been wanting help from a particular sibling and I have been feeling like I’ve been climbing uphill backwards in a storm.

    I need to rely more on Him and keep looking for new answers and directions. I just didn’t want to have to go there. I just wanted my sibling to step up. Guess I can only control my actions…

    Love you Dani!

    • Desiree,

      Your comment touched my heart because I understand what it feels like to believe you are the last option someone has left in a hard situation. You’re right, it’s like climbing uphill backward in a storm. Disaster looms and loneliness is your constant companion. But there is hope, my sweet friend! Again you are right…God will give you your answers and direction.

      We need to connect and have some time to chat. Maybe your sibling isn’t capable of helping your brother, but they would be willing to take the load off of you a little bit by helping you directly. Is there paperwork they could complete, or phone calls they could make? I know this goes much deeper than a paragraph. Please rest assured, your intuition to ask for help is spot on, and I will be praying for you.

      Love you, too!

  3. Great article, always love the content, Merry Christmas to you Mike and Justin. God Bless

  4. Another great article, it is very encouraging and gives such a new outlook on the giving/receiving. thanks Dani.


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