Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Name:
Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Disappointment--More Than a Mountain

In the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles, California, one is surrounded by mountains with spectacular views. Their jagged peaks cut into the sunset sky, making for a beautiful and uniquely uneven skyline. The majestic summits call out their challenges to nature photographers and mountain climbers alike. Hikers have their pick of trails leading to the top, each with varying degrees of difficulty. A favorite of mountain enthusiasts and host to a yearly race is Mount Disappointment. Cradling Lake Palisade, Mount Disappointment was thought to be the highest peak in the range and the ideal spot for survey triangulation. In 1874 a group of surveyers climbed the mountain and discovered, to their disappoinment, their calculations had been off and San Gabriel Peak was 167 feet higher. Needing to reach the highest height, they moved their camp the half mile to what was indeed the highest in the range. They dubbed the peak, Mount Disappointment, a name which sticks even today.
Washington state boasts a Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia River. Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming lays claim to a Disappointment Peak and along the Lewis and Clark trail in the great state of Montana, we find Disappointment Camp. There is even a Disappointment Day--October 22 carries this dubious name since 1844 when a group of 50,000 Millerite Baptists stood and waited for Christ's return. Convinced by their leader William Miller, that this was indeed the day, they waited and waited and waited, finally leaving in disapointment, most of them falling away from their faith.
Disappointment, according to the dictionary means to "sadden, disillusion, dishearten or disenchant, to fail to satisfy the hope, desire or expectation of," Given all the feelings in the emotional spectrum, disappointment is the most difficult for me personally to deal with. Over the years, I have learned how to manage anger, grief, confusion, sadness, and most other emotions, but when disappointment comes knocking, I find it tends to manage me. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, knowing that satan can use disappointment to hobble us, just as he does rage and anger. So like I said, I have been thinking and praying about disappointment. I know we can be disappointed in ourselves, in our failings, in our ineffectiveness, in our inabilities. I also know we are often disappointed in others, who have made choices we don't approve of, who have chosen not to listen to our "sage advice", who have seemingly abandoned the values we thought we shared. We are often disappointed when our "friends" say hurtful things, do hurtful things, seemingly unaware of the pain it causes us.
It seems that most disappointment has it's roots in misguided thoughts. First we have unrealistic expectations. We have based our desires on emotion and feelings rather than facts and data. Sometimes, we build up the event in our minds to such a degree that reality cannot even come close--very similar to Clark Griswold's dream of family holidays vs. reality, in the Vacation movies. Our hopes and dreams are based simply in emotion, and there is no factual basis for such faith. Secondly, we are disappointed when we begin to believe we are in control, our way is the only way, and others have no free will. Those of you are parents know that this is a recipe for disappointment. If you are like me, it is a struggle to exercise self-control, much less control the actions, thoughts, behaviors of someone else. It seems to be a pride issue. We have a puffed up view of ourselves and the ways we handle situations and cannot seem to think that there is perhaps another way, maybe even a better way. We are so full of ourselves that our mind becomes narrow and our attitude haughty and arrogant and then we face disappointment.
There are times as a minister's family, that we become disappointed with the church. We feel we preach and teach and minister and example, comfort, guide and offer support, only to feel that we are making absolutely no progress. I am sure most in ministry have felt this way. We forget that the members of our churches and our communities have free will. We forget that we cannot see their hearts and only the Father knows whether the seed that has been planted has taken root. We begin to feel disappointed and we fight the urge to give up. If you are a parent, you know this same process happens often. We tend to forget that there are differences in temperment, coping skills, and levels of understanding. Perhaps we are making more headway than we know. Perhaps we need to look closer for snippets of progress. Perhaps growth should be measured by God and not by us at all.
Then there are times for most of us, for me at least, when I am disappointed in me. I expect better behaviors, I expect more self-control, I expect to not fall into the same trap before, knowing how long and hard it was to get out last time. I often do not live up to my expectations. Do I expect everyone to love me? No, not at all, but everyone likes to be loved. Do I expect everyone to take my advice? No, I know they have a mind of their own., but they did come to me. Do I expect everyone to be nice to each other? No, I know that we are all human and each of us brings our own baggage into relationships, but I am still rather shocked when folks are downright ugly to each other. My expections of me do not allow for my free will, do not allow for my humanness, do not allow for my mistakes. And thus, I am often disappointed in me. You know what I am talking about. I think the Apostle Paul was talking about this when he said he found himself doing what he did not want to do, and not doing what he wanted to.
While I realize it is a part of life, I don't really want to be disappointed anymore. I am trying to look outward and upward instead of inward. So daily, I remind myself that I am a work in progress. I ask God to guide me, shape me, mold me, open my eyes to real expectations, to godly expectations. I ask God to give me more compassion and more patience with others, with my children, my husband and my church community. When disappointment comes, I will ask God to help me see it, not as an emotional mountain but as an opportunity to yield to Him and to grow spiritually. And I remind myself that as surely as I have disappointed God in the past, He has not and will not ever disappoint me. He is the God who always comes through, giving only good gifts, only what is needed for my growth and well-being. He is patient and kind and He loves me. I am ever grateful for a Heavenly Father who never ever disappoints.

Peace
Neva

37 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post I'm glad you are back in the blogging state of mind.

Take the rest of the day off you deserve it.

Mr neva E.S.F, ( I needed an additional alias)

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dear friend,
I know this about you. Disappoint yourself, you might, disappoint your friends, never.
I am praying for you.
love
Pat

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. God does amazing things with flawed people. It is good to have high expectations for yourself. It gives you something to strive for, a goal. Just learn to forgive yourself when you fall short and pick yourself up or let God pick you up and keep trying.
Dean

10:07 AM  
Blogger Monalea said...

Neva, I'm so glad you are back! You hit some of my issues on the head and my heart hurts.

I like the part about 'growth should be measured by God and not by us.'

Hang tough my friend!
Love you 2-3-6
Monalea

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I haven't been able to read your blog in about a month, so when I read it today I felt like you were talking directly to me. "Disappointment", was not one of the words I was using to express what's going on in my life these days, but you really hit home with me. You've helped me to look at some things from a different perspective.
I too like what you said about growth being measured by God and not by us, what an easy trap for us to fall into though. I appreciate your insight.
A friend

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are all harder on ourselves that others are. Our God is a God of mercy and grace and His expectations of us are accomplisheable with the blood of Jesus. Keep your chin up--you are doing well.

Love ya
Kel

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neva,
God is so good to us. You are right, He never disappoints.

Rachel

11:30 AM  
Blogger TREY MORGAN said...

I'm with Mr. Neva. Glad you're back!

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey,
October 22 is my birthday!! My mom and my five older brothers were hoping for a girl. Guess it was disappointment day for them. Hopefully not anymore.
Good post, sister
Interested Bystander

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend,

We are too much alike. I feel so much of this so often. Your thoughts resonate with so many.

Like I am disappointed when my children miss the mark, God is disappointed. Like I love my children anyway, God too loves, only greater. There are consequences for my children and there may be from God. There is a balnce to be struck in the area of grace and the consequences of disappointing actions.

Your friend

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Handling our disappointment with ourselves and others is a lifelong endeavor. Thanks for the nudge

Mary

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the beauties of age is that living longer and seeing more of life pass by most of us realize that disappointment is another of those facts of life that each of us feel. How we deal with it is the important thing, how we learn not to set ourselves up to be disappointed is a learned behavior and that lesson alone is difficult and usually learned through life's affect on us.

Expecting too much from a family member, friend or even a group of people only leads to disappointment. Learning to take small joys in and cherish them is a growing process. Some of the people in our life are dream killers, not intentionally but by the nature of my expectations at times no one could live up to my criteria, so life teaches us to have more realistic ideals for myself, my loved ones, church family and all with whom I come in contact with. Then I can be pleasently surprised by every kind action that comes my way.

Counting my blessings daily lets me know that dreams are still alive and God is in control if I just stay out of His way and let Him work!

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since reading this early this morning, I have been unable to think of anything else. Your words really touched me where I live. I am struggling with disappointment. I am disappointed in myself and in my husband. He was not a christian and my mother begged me not to marry him. But he was baptized and coming to church, being involved. He quit drinking and partying and seemed to be just what I wanted. After the birth of our first child, he began drinking again. Things have been rocky for several years. We went to a marriage counselor and he went to AA. Both are things I was very proud of him for. But AA has become his family. He spends more time with his sponsor than he does with us. He talks to him several times a day, during family dinners etc. and he barely speaks to us. He has cut out all activities and friends that are not in AA. He attends meetings but does not attend church. His doctrine is that of Alcoholics Anonymous rather than the word of God. He has become incredibly selfish and focused only on him. Yesterday was our youngest sons tball game and we were all planning to go to the game and then out for pizza. He decided he couldn't go and be around the "negative influences"--he said he knew some of the other dads would go out for beers afterward and he couldnt jeopardize his "program". We got into an argument and he ended up spending the night at his sponsors, he said I'd made him feel like drinking. AA is his cult, he has been brainwashed and has only exchanged one addiction for another. Now he is addicted to the 12 step program and his family is the steppers. My children miss him, I miss him and I am so disappointed I can hardly breathe. I don't know what to do. I don't know where to turn.
I am a long time reader and a first time commenter, hoping you or your readers can help me.
Thanks for letting me vent. You will understand if I simply sign
"anonymous"

2:01 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

Dear Anon,
I am so glad you are here. Please email me. nevaecooper@yahoo.com.

I know there are many wise and spiritual readers of this blog and I know they will open up their hearts and give you some words of wisdom and encouragement. Please keep checking back.
I am looking forward to hearing from you via email and please know that I am praying for you.
Peace and prayers
Neva

2:05 PM  
Anonymous lisa leichner said...

Praying for you Anonymous. I haven't been where you are (exactly) so I won't pretend to know what you're going through. But I will pray.

2:16 PM  
Blogger TREY MORGAN said...

anonymous,

Just read your post about you and your husband's struggles. My heart hurts for you. God's heart hurts even more for you.

I will say a prayer for you. Please continue to seek professional counseling and circle yourself with good Christian friends.

Blessings

2:32 PM  
Blogger TREY MORGAN said...

Anonymous,

Talk to Neva if you can by email. I'd be more than happy to visit with you too. Feel free to email me.

treymorgan@msn.com

2:33 PM  
Blogger Don Neyland said...

Neva-
Stopped by... good post... don't want to break the moment too much.

don

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous
You need to find a christian counselor for yourself and your kids in your area. Let them help guide you through this and support you and your kids.

I am praying for you, too
Ned

2:59 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Neva,

If you will permit me to do so, I'd like to respond directly to your last anonymous commenter.

Dear anonymous,

Please know that I have taken your need to the Father and will continue to do so. I pray that God will lift you up from the disappointment you are experiencing and enable you to soar on wings as eagles.

If there is one thing that I would urge you to do more than anything else it is: seek professional counsel. If you are having difficulty finding someone where you live, I have a colleague who is sometimes willing to conduct sessions via the telephone. I can supply the contact information to Neva, should you wish for me to do so.

Beyond this, I have a few observations:

First, dear sister, you should know that you are not alone. I've experienced first-hand the type of disappointments you describe. My mother, whose sobriety will span 30 years this fall, went through something very much like this. I am aware of many others who report similar circumstances. There is nothing I can say to ease the pain. Moreover, your disappointment is compounded. The very "program" which you hoped would give your husband back to you seems to be keeping him from you. This simply is not fair. Nevertheless, it is the experience of many.

Second, unless we have been held in the grips of an addictive substance, it is virtually impossible to understand how utterly helpless a person who is actually perceives himself to be. Given this backdrop, if a person who has been held in a substance-snare experiences relief, he/she will naturally feel deeply indebted to whomever or whatever he believes to be responsible for his/her deliverance. This is especially true in the early days of sobriety. During this time he/she will often exhibit what those looking in from the outside will perceive as inappropriate loyalty to both the people and the program. Unless and until he/she develops additional lifeskills in developing relationships, coping with stress and learning how to give and accept forgiveness, this situation might persist for years.

Third, most of the sponsors that I have known and most of the groups with which I am familiar realize that a person's ability to "work the program" is in no small part tied to maintaining a peaceful and supportive home life. Unless you have some tangible reason for believing otherwise, you can take solace in this fact. You might, also, be able to find a program that you can attend together. Your husband has a long journey ahead of him, a journey that requires the loving assistance of many family members and friends.

Finally, remember that each day of sobriety is tantamount to ascending a mountain peak. It is a significant accomplishment, which is achieved only through great effort. People who have never felt the power of an addictive substance over their actions have a hard time understanding this. Most of us negotiate life's daily challenges without being bothered in the least. Those who are addicted to mood or mind altering substances often have a war raging in their minds every second of every minute of every hour of every day. Knowing this might help you to see the importance of celebrating sobriety with your husband. This might be one of the best ways you can encourage him from day-to-day.

There is more that could be said. This is already way too long. Neva knows how to contact me. If you would like to dialogue about this further, please feel free to get my contact information from her.

Lovingly in Christ,

-bill

3:22 PM  
Blogger Don Neyland said...

Anonymous-
Please know that we are praying for you and for ourselves to give some aid in this matter.

I don't like to throw words or phrases around but an addiction is many times part of an addictive personality.

All that we say, understand, is literally as ones removed from the circumstances.

[1] We and you are not talking behind his back... that's important.

[2] He is trying I mean really trying. Helping him ease into some balance is what is needed. Do you ever attend the "family" meetings? It might be that you will have to be a part of him before he can be once again a part of y'all. On a positive note, he seems to understand his limitations or at least knows he needs them. Not being around drinking at all, a zero tolerance is what he thinks he needs.

The pizza party "problem" may need to be rethought. There might have been other instances where he was "selfish" but maybe, just maybe, this instance was as much for y'all as it was for him. Temptation is strong. Avoiding it may be his only recourse at this time.

I can't imagine that his relationship with his sponsor is totally healthy but I wouldn't suggest that right now. That's why I suggested the "family" meetings that AA has. His sponsor has a sponsor... I would wonder how they get along.

Ned is right. You both need counseling because right now you both need that buffer and someone who can refocus and re-interpret some of the actions going on in and outside of your home. And please try to make it both of you. You can't lift something up by just holding up and supporting one end.

don

3:23 PM  
Blogger Monalea said...

Dear Anonymous,
Hang in there dear friend. Your Bible holds wonderful insight from God. Psalms is where I find my comfort when I hurt the most. I will be praying for you, your husband and children and that the eyes of your heart may be opened to see where God is leading you.

Monalea

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon,
i have some friends who marriage really struggled after one of the began AA. hang in there.

i will be praying also. I don't have any advice to add to what these have said but know that many are thinking of you and your situation and praying about it.

brian

3:47 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am praying for you and your husband. I know that it must be hard, the hardest part being that you feel separated from him by his desire to stay clean.

I totally agree with so much that has already been said here, and encourage you to seek some type of meetings or counseling that you can both attend, together. He needs to know that you are in this with him and that you want him to succeed.

Fighting addiction is a lifelong committment, and your support will only strengthen your relationship.

Whatever you do, don't leave out God. He is the source for all of our victories over Satan, and believe me, Satan is wanting your husband to fail. If he does, Then Satan has destroyed him, his family, his friends and many others around him.

I can't stress enough that you should join him in his struggle against this evil in his life. You may be his last vestige of hope at this time. You may be his connection to things other than himself, and if he can build himself back up, then he can become a supporter of you, again.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Neva,

Great post. Seems that it was very timely. God really does use us.

3:53 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

Anonymous,

I too want to encourage you to find ways of being supportive and a third party to work through some of these things with.

As a minister and one who has worked in this area I want to stress as Ned said a Christian (underline that)counselor. It may be your minister or another minister if your does not understand. Many counselors are secular and happen to be Chrisitans. You are in charge. Interview the counselor to see if you are satisfied they are looking to God and His Word in working toward resolution.

Again, a support group where you both can work together is one of the best things you can do as well. But look to Christians. One of the challenges I hear you expressing is he has turned to A.A. as a religion. You must offer an alternative. Many churches have not responded in a Christian manner and he amy feel your congregation is among them. Look for God at another church if need be or go to the elder and minister but be careful about just joining him in A.A. There are some options for a Chrsit based support group. If there is not one in your community start one at your congregation. That may be an excellent way to draw him back in.

If he is in early sobriety especially he may really need to take a hard stance towards being any where near alcohol. If he has been sober for some time it may be he needs to refocus. One of the negative aspects at times in an addictive personality is that they focus on the addiction. I am not saying encourage him to go around alcohol, but he needs to see he can function in every day life. He is capable and there is something in the world besides alcohol. The principles of AA expect him to learn to trust 'God' and grow.

If I can be of assistance Neva knows how to contact me as well.

James

4:20 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

Friends,
Thank you for commenting and supporting anonymous. I think it is very easy to be afraid of or feel threatened by that which we dont understand. When those of us who do not have addictive personalities love those who do, there is much emotional shifting that has to be done in order to preserve the relationship.
Likewise it is difficult to be a part of a process we dont understand and natural to feel left out and/or replaced by those who do.
All struggles take prayer and support to conquer. Sound advice and godly guidance and support systems are necessary if relationships and spirits are to come out intact and unwounded. Advice to seek thes out
You are all amazing and I am moved by your wisdom and encouragement, as I am sure anonymous is. Thank you for being the kind of Christians you are. I love you all.
Neva

4:55 PM  
Blogger jel said...

Huggs

8:21 PM  
Blogger Monalea said...

My dear Neva,
I love you and can see God using you. Thank you for allowing Him to do this.
Love you 2-3-6
Monalea

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of the alcoholics that I have known by the time they get to "AA" have lost all contact with God even the ability to go to Him in prayer. Some because of the shame they feel and some because they had no grounding in His love and words to know Him. But I have seen so many come into AA non believers and with sobriety rebuild or build anew a real relationship with our Creator God!

People that started drinking or drugging at a young age do not start to mature until they stop the behavior and start to live clean and sober. Frankly they struggle with problems that non alcoholics have little understanding of so they feel comfortable with people just like themselves, the non judgmental attitude of "AA" also makes them comfortable in their own skin.

My only advice to anyone that has a family member that suffers from alcoholism is to pray for the person with love asking our Father God to work in the persons life and help them to grow and learn to love God. In doing so they will learn to love themselves not only will they benefit but you will too.

God bless your family
madalyn

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anon, My husband has been going to AA meetings for 21 years. I have been going to al-anon meetings for 21 years too. We are Christians and we are involved in our church as well. Most alcoholics/addicts find God in AA. I am grateful that my husband did. I thought the church was the only way to find God, but that is a lie. You can not put God in a box. Most alcoholics/addicts do not feel worthy enough for church, because of the messes they have created in their lives because of the drinking or using. Sometimes we Christians forget that we are all redeemed sinners. AA is a support system, a cleansing place that allows people to share their experience, strength and hope. It is a spiritual program that helps alcoholics/addicts stay clean and sober. Al-anon is the same 12 step program for family or friends of the alcoholic. If you love your husband and you want him to remain clean and sober, you will get involved in the al-anon program. It is one way to save your marriage and your life. It will bring you peace and serenity if you work the program as well. My only suggestion to you is that you find an al-anon group that is in the solution. As they say in Al-anon, Get off his back. Get out of his way. Get to work on yourself.
Get to meetings. Give him to God. Sincerely, ShellyB

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Neva, tough discussions on this one. I have no experience with alcoholism or drug abuse. My only experience is with God. He will answer our prayers and He will heal.

Jean

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am praying for all of us.

Lyndsay

10:23 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

I am with the Extra Sensitive Fellow, I'm glad you are back in the blogging state of mind. I have no doubt that God desires to use you in this way. Thank you for letting us be along for the ride.
Love ya,
Kathy
Amen Jean.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anon, I recently commented about my husband and I going to AA and Al-anon meetings for 21 years. My husband has 21 years of sobriety, Praise God! We attended meetings regularly for years and then we took a leave of absence when we were busy with our kids and activities. Now we are back regularly attending meetings. I regret not putting AA and Al-anon as a priority when we were busy with kids. I apologize for the misleading statement because AA and Al-anon are honest programs. AA and Al-anon demand rigorous honesty with oneself. Also, one has to surrender to God in obedience to His will for their lives, and to practice humility and gratitude. Isn't that what Christ and His Kingdom is all about. The principles are the same. I praise God often for showing me the way to AA and Al-anon. It has been such a blessing in my life. I will pray for you and your husband. God is good and He will work miracles in your life. His desire for me and for you is that we are a blessing for the people He puts in our lives. Again, I apologize if my previous comments were harsh. As they say in Al-anon, let there be no gossip or criticism among us, although you may not know us very well, know that we already love you.
If you want me to share with you about my faith and the program. Please ask Neva for my email address. Sincerely, ShellyB

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy,

E.S.F. = Evil Step-Father


Mr. Neva

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am praying for you too, Anonymous.
May God give us all wisdom and compassion and kindness as we minister to one another.

Shari

7:00 PM  

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