Engage hope in seasons of disappointment

By Emma Whitaker | Broadcast Reporter

I had recently gone through a fairly hard season and felt like I was losing my heart a little. This is how you know your heart has shut down: You are not doing the kind of things you love. For me, I had stopped drawing and painting.

I had felt off, but couldn’t put my finger on the problem. One day, I was home, and my dad and I were taking a stroll. I started crying for no reason, and my dad, who is the best dad in the world, started to tear up as well. “Emma,” he said, “You seem dry.” I looked him in the eyes, trying to explain, through tears, how I didn’t know why I felt so low. He put his hand on my shoulder, and comforted me. “Emma, you need to take time for you. Do what makes Emma feel alive,” he told me.

I realized I had been running so fast paced that I had not truly rested in a while. I needed to rest and welcome creative expression back into my life. I recognized my heart needed some attention, but I still didn’t put it all together until I watched a UPPERROOM sermon by Michael Miller called “Heart Health.” If you don’t know UPPERROOM, it’s a church in Dallas with spontaneous music and worship. In my opinion, they are some of the raddest, kindest body of believers.

In the sermon, Miller explains how our hearts can sometimes shut down in seasons of disappointment. I had recently had problems with my health and had felt disappointed by God. Why was he not healing me? Why was he leaving me here? My mind had become filled with endless questions about God’s character.

A wise woman named Melissa Helser once said that the reason seasons of suffering are so hard is not simply and solely because of suffering. It is hard because we start to question the goodness of God. Our hearts start to shut down. Miller explains how in seasons of disappointment it is only natural to despair. Yet, when we sit in our despair, and then plant our houses in despair, it is hard to remember the goodness of God. As I sat at my table eating leftover Chipotle, Miller’s words suddenly pierced my heart vividly.

The next day, when I was filled with sad thoughts, I looked in the mirror, and said, “Heart, I will not lose you.” Every time I am attacked by a lie of the enemy, I say, “Heart, I will not lose you.” Now, I whisper to God, on my way to class, how thankful I am for His friendship and love. I was reminded of His goodness once more, of how much He loves me. In seasons of despair, when everything in you wants to stay shut in your room and hide, you must go to war. Seasons of disappointment can become seasons of war for peace in the goodness of God. You must refuse to lose your heart to lies. The enemy’s reality is lies, he will do all he can to keep you in your room. Yet, God is faithful, and his love for you is intoxicating.

I have started drawing and painting again, for His love causes art to pour out on my canvas. Ask Him today to remind you of His love. Even on the days where it is hard to look in the mirror with love for yourself, ask God to tell you stories about His love for you. He will. He always answers. Nothing else meets despair better than love.