Memory Monday: Working Through Disappointment (Romans 8:28)

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My 7-year-old daughter recently went to an event she had been looking forward to for a long time. She was so excited about getting to do something fun and sharing it with her friends. Unfortunately, she got put into a group that didn't have any of her friends in it. Although she had fun, when she came home the thing she was most focused on was her disappointment in not getting to share the event with her friends. It took me a good 10 minutes to get her to start focusing on the things that she did like about the evening.

It seems to be human nature to focus on the things that go wrong instead of the things that go right. Disappointment is a part of life, and we need to help our kids understand that they will be disappointed, but there is always something good to come out of that disappointment. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." This verse simply means that if you are a Christ-follower, then God can use anything -- disappointments and hurts included -- for our good.

As you memorize this verse this week, work with your kids to help them see how God has used and is using their hurts and disappointments for their good. Remind them that sometimes it may take a while for them to see how God can use something that we consider bad for our good. Help your children to understand that this verse doesn't mean that nothing bad will ever happen to them. It simply means that God can take those hurts and tears and use them to honor Him.

  • When your child faces a hurt or a disappointment, ask them to think of another time that they were hurt or disappointed that eventually turned out OK. Help them to focus on the end result instead of the moment of hurt. When I finally got my daughter to talk about something other than her disappointment at being separated from her friends, she discovered that she really did have a good time at the event. Helping your kids move past the immediate pain of the situation to focus on the "big picture" lets them see that while an event may hurt for a little while, they may gain something important from the situation.
  • Play the Pollyana game. Pollyana is the story of a little girl who is able to find the good in every situation. It's a great book, and if you haven't read it with your kids, I highly recommend it. To play the Pollyana game, simply ask your kids to name one good thing about whatever situation their in. The game forces them to look for the glimmer of good in a bad situation.
  • Don't gloss over your children's feelings of hurt or disappointment. Let them pour out their hearts to you before trying to get them to see that there is life on the other side. It's important to let them know that it's OK to feel hurt and disappointment as long as we don't wallow in those feelings forever. It's our job as parents to let our kids express their feelings and then help them to move past the situation.

Remember that how your kids see you dealing with hurt and disappointment is just as important as anything you can say to them. If you wallow in the hurt, then your kids will follow your example, but if you trust that God has something good in mind, even if you can't see it, then that's the attitude your children will take as well.