Waiting for Beautiful: Making Peace with God’s Agenda When It Hurts

I checked my computer each hour for several days. First it was to see my daughter’s medical test results as she is sick with a diagnosis in progress.  Next it was to receive a message from her doctor about the findings.  After waiting a week, we finally received news that a clear diagnosis and solution is yet to emerge. She has been ill for six years. I’m disappointed, frustrated, and brokenhearted as I continue waiting for something to help her.

We left for Bible camp a few days later.  I watched the kids there energetically interact, and I watched my daughter pace herself.  As the kids hang out together, my daughter stays close to her parents.  Over time the illness has led to isolation followed by social anxiety which has stolen some of her confidence.  The reality sometimes saddens me to the point of tears.


Then one evening my eyes went past the kids and staff at the camp and settled upon a cluster of the amazing, tall pine trees of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  The sun was peaking through and it forced me to look up. Up toward heaven—toward the Father—and away from the situation at eye level.  AS I LOOKED UP, I WAS REMINDED WHO GOD IS.  HE’S A LOVING FATHER AND HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING.

I’m struggling with this situation in a big way, but deep down I believe He has a reason for what he has allowed in my daughter’s life.  I am trying to trust His timing regarding the hopes I have for her. Perhaps what I want and see as beneficial is not as good as I think it is. Perhaps she was created for a special purpose that requires this difficult season. Or perhaps the timing is still not right.  But I hold on to my hopes like precious jewels. I want to see her thrive. Releasing my grip is going to require a powerful intervention.

By His grace, God’s words came to me this week, Ecclesiates 3:1 spoke some patience into my heart. “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…What does the worker gain from his toil? …(God) has made everything beautiful in its time.”

CAN I WAIT FOR THE BEAUTY THAT GOD HAS PLANNED EVEN THOUGH IT HURTS NOW?   Without meddling, do I have faith He will bring something good from the suffering that has passed?

John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things so that you may have peace.”

WILL I LET GO OF INTENSE PROBLEM-SOLVING IN ORDER TO HAVE THE PEACE GOD INTENDS FOR ME?  For me this is an act of will.  It takes a strong and purposeful redirection of my natural inclination.

In Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, she writes as if Jesus were speaking this concept to us in person. She says, “Stop trying to work things out before their times have come.  Accept the limitations of living one day at a time.  When something comes to your agenda, ask Me (Jesus) whether or not it is part of today’s agenda.  If it isn’t, release it into My care and go about today’s duties.”

The action steps I see in this paraphrase of God’s directions are this:

  4. RELEASE MY AGENDA INTO GOD’S CARE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LORD, WHEN I’M WAITING FOR BEAUTIFUL, EVEN WHEN IT HURTS, GIVE ME STRENGTH TO RELEASE MY AGENDA AND TO INITIATE YOURS.


Thank you, so well said.

I am in the process of learning to mourn/lament so I can dance. I read that it is impossible to dance until we have mourned our losses.

In the midst of all God has taken me and is taking me He led me to first lament the loss of something small – my garden. He had given me a beautiful garden for a few years, now He has taken me to a place it is impossible to have a garden. The years since He took it I haven’t been able to even look at pictures of the garden – then one day they just started popping up on my screen saver (at the same time He had introduced me to mourning so I could dance). I am amazed what I am experiencing as I mourn the loss and it takes me to a place of dance. I pray He will lead me to do the same with the many other truly painful losses; as well as the childhood fairy-tale dreams that never happened.


Thank you so much for this. I am going to check out your blog now. I have two kids with special needs, but we are in a very similar situation with my daughter. She is going through some difficult symptoms and we have yet to understand the cause. I am feeling really distraught now. This post spoke to me directly. Thank you.


Denie– Thank you. I really needed to write the message to sort through my grief, as well. As hard as it sometimes feels, God is trying to strengthen us and our children for some good work.


I REALLY NEEDED this today. I thank God for sending this message through you.

Pray, Show up and Trust

parenting effortsAre your parenting efforts making a significant difference? How can you know? Spoiler Alert! –You can’t know!

Parenting is just like that.  You may be working on potty training, language skills, academics, or polite behavior.  You may research the best strategies, prepare and even get teaching “props” to enhance the learning.  But sometimes your kids don’t respond in the way you want. They don’t react like your friend’s child, or like the blog-post child, and they certainly don’t meet your expectations. Then what?

A recent experience reminds me of this issue.  I traveled out of state to present a workshop to encourage parents raising their children who had disabilities. I spent weeks trying to perfect the workshop. When the day came I began by introducing myself and asking the participants to do the same.  Their introductions through me for a loop!  The room was filled with loads of teachers and only a few were parents who had special-needs children. What? I am happy to speak to teachers– but I use a different presentation. That day I was ready to talk to parents and my preparation reflected it.

What to do?  I presented my material as planned and tried to tweak it with discussion (theirs and mine) in order to meet the needs of teachers.  However, this group was quiet, leaving me uncertain about whether my attempt was successful.

This is when experience saved my day:  

It told me just to teach to the best of my ability.

It told me that the participants were here for a reason because this event had been prayed over in advance.

Experience told me that God sometimes takes us by surprise and uses us in ways we don’t expect.

As a matter of fact, at the end of the day one woman told me she attended the workshop to get continuing education credits, but that she realized she was really there for her own personal encouragement.  She gained spiritual insight she didn’t know she even needed.

You might be doing something now on behalf of your child or some other situation in your family.  You may not be seeing the results you expected.

It’s okay. Take comfort in knowing that sometimes much is happening even though you can’t see it.

As I sit here blogging in a coffee shop, I just ran into a friend who is a women’s minister.  She told me that a group of moms in her church have been using my book, Persevering Parent, in their support group, and how much it has helped them. I had no idea about this group–and it’s been in progress for six months. Good things happen that are beyond our view.

Are you unsure if your efforts are making an impact?

Take heart and know that your efforts with your children are changing them little by little in ways unseen. The situation where you see no progress may be transitioning to an outcome that just has not been revealed to you yet.

In short, over 25 years of parenting, God has repeatedly taught me to do three things:  

1) pray about situations,

2) show up, and

3) trust Him with the rest.

In what ways are you discouraged?  Are you praying about it? Showing up?  Then trust God with the outcome!

“So do not throw away your confidence: it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised.”  Hebrews 10:35-36