When Parents Dreams Turn into Disappointments

Today’s blog is an excerpt from the book I’m writing about my difficult journey as a parent.

“No one is exempt from tragedy or disappointment—God himself was not exempt. Jesus offered no immunity, no way out of the unfairness, butDisappointment rather a way through . . .” (Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God; Zondervan. New York, NY. 1988; p.217)

As loving, conscientious parents we had the need to find an explanation for why things turned out like they did with our daughter. At nineteen, she was struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, bipolar, anxiety, cutting, and trauma from being raped. How could this happen to the dreams I had for her? What did I do wrong? It’s not fair! Where is God? I was so angry and disappointed.

When I became a mother, I wanted to know what other parents did or didn’t do that caused their children to have serious problems. I wanted to be sure I did all the right things and none of the wrong things. Sound familiar? I set out to do it all right, but I would be bitterly disappointed. God let me down–or so I thought.

For a while I stuffed these feelings and questions. Maybe time could heal my wounds? Maybe if I ignored them, I’d get over it and feel better. Listen, time has never healed anyone’s wounds. Hidden and ignored they don’t get better. Untreated, they fester and get worse.

Al-Anon is right when they say, “Secrets keep us sick”. But, when we face our pain; stop stuffing it or keeping it a secret; let out the repressed hurt, anger, and disappointment; give ourselves permission to ask hard questions, and replace lies with truth, we can find the relief and healing we need.

Secrets can’t make us sick any more.

We’re free to enjoy the good parts of our lives and accept its inevitable disappointments.

These are a few things I have learned on my journey:
– Be honest with your feelings. It will help you accept life’s losses and make peace with emotional pain.
– Give yourself permission to be mad at God. It’s what you do with your anger that makes the difference.
– God is God and you are not. He has control over all things. He does not owe you an explanation for the mysteries of your life. If you trust His Sovereignty and rest in His care you’ll be able to accept unanswered questions.
– Christians are not exempt from experiencing bad things. The next time you’re tempted to say, “It’s not fair!” remember, no one gets a free pass from suffering.


This Bible verse is worth printing out and reading over and over again. It will help you be content when the dreams you had for your children turn into disappointments.

Philippians 4:12-13
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”


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6 thoughts on “When Parents Dreams Turn into Disappointments

  1. Reblogged this on Anchor Of Promise and commented:
    As parents we can often be disappointed by our teen’s actions. There will be victories but there will be disappointments too. I have reblogged this very honest and straightforward personal story from a parent who has experienced this. Maybe you will find yourself in the same position wondering if you are alone. These parents are telling you that you are not. But there is hope, faith and peace even among your struggles as a parent.

  2. Dena I would like to know when your book is published. I have friends who need to read your book. Let me know where I can buy it, please.

  3. All good points. My son just turned 18 Sunday and by the grace of God his life is in the process of being transformed to Christ’s image. We have had A Lot of rough patches, but I praise God everyday that Forrest is doing better than he’s ever done before. Standing next to him in church and watching him raise his hands in worship Thursday night I felt overwhelming joy! This is the same teen that only a few years ago was arrested for threatening me with his fist and that I eventually filed an unruly petition against him, which led to several court appointments and eventually landed him in juvenile for 10 days. I know he has not yet arrived but his life is already a testimony that God can and does turn things around, he does hear and answer prayers! I was 24 before I finally gave up running from God, I know everyone’s story is different, but as parents we have promises. We never give up believing and hoping.