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My Journey of Trusting God Through Disappointment and Unfulfilled Longings

By: Kristen Clark

Some days you dance and some days you cry. This past year has been filled with both for me. Many of you know my story of infertility and the two early miscarriages Zack and I experienced 6 years ago. It has been a long journey, but God has been so faithful to give us peace, comfort, and even joy in the midst of our unfulfilled longings.⁣

But as we approached our 8 year anniversary a few months back, the most unexpected thing happened – I found out I was pregnant. ⁣

This news completely shocked Zack and me and we couldn’t believe it. My heart was filled with a mixture of emotions. Each day that went by felt like a small victory. I had never made it past 6.5 weeks of pregnancy with my early miscarriages, but this time I did. Zack and I went in for our 8-week appointment and heard the most beautiful little heartbeat⁣ measuring right on track. ⁣

But sadly, this joy wouldn’t last for much longer.

We found out at 11 weeks that the heartbeat had stopped. With broken and heavy hearts, Zack and I left the doctor’s office and headed home to grieve our new reality. The days slowly ticked by and were filled with tears, prayers, and questions. I’ve wrestled with God’s plan and asked Him “why?!” But as I’ve struggled and mourned and battled with my emotions, I have also been deeply comforted by the same God who promised to never leave me or forsake me.⁣

In the midst of my sorrow and grief, I know God is with me. I know He cares about me and loves me. And even in the midst of my confusion and pain, He is restoring my broken heart to a place of wholeness once again. Psalm 18:2 has been my anchor these past few months: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”⁣

I know I’m not the only one wrestling with disappointment and unfulfilled longings right now.

Each one of us faces this in our lives at some point or another. It’s part of being human in a fallen and broken world. Maybe you’re wrestling with singleness and longing for marriage. Or suffering from ongoing physical health challenges. Or longing for a family member to know Christ. Maybe wrestling with the body and looks that God gave you. Maybe wishing you had one good, close friend. Or not getting the job or the school that you really prayed for. The list goes on. 

We’re all on a unique journey and it looks different for each one of us. The question isn’t “will I experience disappointment?” but rather, “how can I still find joy in the midst of my disappointment when it strikes?” 

This past year, God has been teaching me a lot about finding joy in the midst of disappointment and unfulfilled longings. I have learned that true joy and real suffering can exist at the same time. I want to share with you the 3 biggest ways that God has helped me to find joy in the midst of my struggles, and I hope these truths will equip you to find true joy in the midst of yours as well.  

1. Humbly Submit to God’s Story for Your Life. 

Discontentment and friction often arise in our hearts when we forget who holds the pen to our story. When we look around and begin comparing our story to others, we lose sight of the fact that God has every person on a different path. His timing is not the same for all of us. His plan is tailor-made for our individual journey and for our greater good. 

I wrestled with this deeply as I would watch friends and family easily get pregnant all around me while I was struggling to carry a pregnancy past 6 weeks. God gently worked in my heart and reminded me through His word that my life story is His to write. My life story is different than everybody else’s and God has a good plan for me. 

I had to remind myself of truths from His Word like, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me…” (Isaiah 46:9b). And “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever…” (Psalm 138:8). Surrendering the reigns of our story to God is the first step toward true joy. 

2. Trust that God’s Plan is for Your Good. 

We live in a time where “good” means getting what you want. The “good life” is focused on personal happiness and making all of our dreams come true. But God’s version of good is the complete opposite of this. It isn’t surface-level and as flimsy as our mood. God knows that true and lasting satisfaction can only come from becoming more like Christ and by loving God more fully. Our circumstances are not the defining factor of our joy and hope. God’s version of “good” might look like allowing challenging circumstances into our lives that serve to remind us of our need for Him. 

Psalm 119:68 says, “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” And Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Even in the midst of the most trying circumstances, we can find true joy in our relationship with Christ. 

3. Serve God Wholeheartedly Right Now. 

Many of us struggle with the weight of our disappointments so much that they become a barrier keeping us from moving forward. We begin to view our identity and life through the lens of our unfulfilled longings rather than our identity as a daughter of God. God wants us to lay our desires at the foot of His altar and offer them as a sacrifice of worship to Him. He wants to use us to build His Kingdom in unique ways right now.

Over the past 8 years, God has helped me to reframe my mindset about what it means to be “fruitful” as a woman. He hasn’t given me children of my own, so I have more time and energy to pour into the lives of young women in my community and through Girl Defined. Rather than dwelling on what I don’t have (children) I am striving to be faithful with what I do have (discipleship opportunities).

Regardless of my season of life, Matthew 6:20 has been an anchor for my heart, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

God has a unique and beautiful story for each one of our lives. 

His story is tailor-made for each of us and will look different than those around us. Sometimes our story is filled with joy and celebration, and sometimes it’s filled with tears and grief. But no matter what comes our way, we can confidently put our trust in the Lord because He is the author of our story. ⁣

When we fully trust God to write His story for our lives, we can look around and genuinely celebrate what He is doing in the lives of those around us. We don’t have to compare and despair, but rather joyfully celebrate His gifts and blessings that He gives to others. ⁣

Our hearts will be most content when we remind ourselves that we are not on this earth to build our Kingdom but to build God’s. And each of our unique life stories and journeys is a beautiful part of God’s greater and grander plan.

If there’s anything God has taught me these past 8 years it’s this: 

True joy and fulfillment don’t come from getting what you want, but from surrendering your entire life to what God wants and trusting that His plan is truly good. I know the journey isn’t over. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds my future. And in Him my heart finds peace and rest.

I would love to hear from you below.

  • In ways are you having to trust God with unfulfilled longings in your own life right now?
  • Of the 3 truths I shared above, which one do you need to embrace more wholeheartedly?

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20 Responses to My Journey of Trusting God Through Disappointment and Unfulfilled Longings

  1. Maria RP says:

    This breaks my heart for you, but I too trust the Lord. I will never know what it is to go through that, as I lost my ability to ever having my own children, but I can tell you are certainly a strong woman.
    Praying for you!

  2. thefreckleddisciple says:

    I am so grateful for your honesty, Kristen!
    I understand too well the sting, as I am declared able to have children. It’s a thing that cuts us to the very core of our womenhood, and as well as makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to get married, because most Christian guys want children.
    All this to say, thank you, and I’m praying for you and your husband during this time.

  3. that’s beautiful. you’re testimony is a great encouragement to me.

  4. Rachel Taylor says:

    Thank you so much for the reminder to always surrender, trust, and praise Him for who He is.

  5. julianne davenport says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. I want to thank for this blog post and this message. I have only recently come back to God and his word. Over the past few days, I been deep in my bible and deep in prayer. God has sent me beautiful messages through different verses and blog posts. This being one of them. I am so glad that you posted this blog and were able to share your story with us, with me. Trusting in God’s Plan and knowing that He has a different path for each and every one of us is only two of the many things I have been relearning over the past few days. I thank you and I thank God for putting this blog post in my path. I will be praying for you & your family.

  6. Irish tai n mai says:

    Dearest Kristen… We mourn with you and pray for you. Know that He is holding your broken heart in His hands. It must be very difficult to be in the limelight while privately struggling with such deep hurt. We love you so much for your strength and honesty, and your willingness to bare your burdens, so we can help you bear this burden. God bless you and Zach with comfort and peace. We love you both.

  7. Karen Elaine Fulmer says:

    You and your husband are both in my prayers! I am so sorry to hear this news but am overjoyed to hear you giving this to the Lord, who can supply all your needs. <3

  8. Tori W. says:

    Praying for you both, Kristen…this is so sad. But God uses the hard things to draw us closer to Him, so Soli Deo Gloria! <3

  9. Nohemí Barrios says:

    I heard that story in the conferences in Agost, it was so sad to listen your story but it was so helpful to hear how God has been working on your lives and to know how he can give us peace in the middle of sorrow

  10. Jze Dormido says:

    My heart mourns with you, Kristen. But your testimony has greatly encouraged me for many years. I’ve also been facing the unfulfilled longings in my life these past few months, and have been learning to surrender to God’s perfect time though hard it may seem. The verses you shared here are good reminders and all the truths you shared are very helpful to me. But the first one is what I needed to embrace more wholeheartedly. Thank you for being a blessing even in your times like this. May God’s love be perfected in you both.

  11. Juuli Taavitsainen says:

    Thank you for sharing this totally opened my eyes for the bigger picture!! and I pray for your future child <3 ps. the story of Abraham and Saara In the Bible came in to my mind

  12. Precious says:

    I watched a the video where you talked about it. It’s so sad and I think it’s one of the hardest times to truly and wholeheartedly submit to God, rest in Him and be assured that He knows best. But I thank God He carries you through moments like this. I pray God helps as we do through disappointments and different longings in each of our walks with Christ. Because His ways are higher than our ways.

  13. Hilde says:

    First of all, I’m so sorry for your loss. But I wanted to tell you what a great testimony your story has been to me! It’s so beautiful and inspiring to see you share the deepest things of your heart with us (also with your stories about anxiety and worry). In the midst of your pain, you choose to share this and it tells such a great story of God. I came across the song ‘Scars’ from I AM THEY and your story reminds me of this part of their song: ‘I’m thankful for the scars, ’cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart and I know they’ll always tell of Who You are, so forever I am thankful for the scars.’ I hope this may be an encouragement for you! Whatever will happen with you in life and how painful these scars may ever be, remember they’ll always always -until the very end of your life- tell a great story of Who God is.

  14. Braulia Garcia says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us, I’m praying for you! Thank you for reminding me of my need to surrender my hopes and dreams to the Lord. Singleness is definitely the one thing I struggle with the most. And I constantly have to remind myself that God does not withhold anything good from His children and that His will for my life whatever it may look like is far better than what I think would be good for me to have. I’m thankful that He’s given me the gift of time to serve, to disciple and to go wherever He calls me. Thank you again Kristen. Love you and praying for you sister.

  15. Erin says:

    For me, the last 5 months have left me grasping for control because life is simply not going my way. Life has had a way of peeling back the layers and exposing the actual substance of my faith, which is shamefully short of what I desire it to be and I know my Heavenly Father wants it to be. So I am faced with the raw reality of – can I choose Christ and continue kicking and screaming, unwilling to surrender? I can’t have both. Which will it be? I just want the peace on the other side without the hard work of surrendering. So to answer your questions – firstly, I am needing to humble myself before the Lord and put everything “back on the table” as “fair game” for Him to do with as He pleases, TRUSTING that He has my best at heart and has a purpose for what I’m walking through. When you’ve been a Christian for a long time, sometimes you don’t realize that maybe things that you surrendered to Him earlier on, you’ve taken back off the table so He can’t mess with them. He has to have it all. But He’s got a beautiful story in the making. And the your second question – of the three truths, honestly, I needed to hear all three of them. I desperately need to humble myself to God’s story. I need to trust His plan is for my good (even though it feels like it’s ripping me apart). And I need a fresh infusion of His Spirit and grace and strength to bloom where I’m planted right now. Even though I SO don’t want to be here. Thanks for the testimony sister. Be encouraged.
    ~From a sister on the wind-swept plains of Kansas, by God’s plan – for now!

  16. nomorehypocrisy says:

    Hope you wake up from your belief that all is for the best, Pangloss.

  17. Trinity C says:

    You are not alone, I know many women who have gone through this same thing… some it turns out diffrent. But I want you to know you are such an encouragement to me! Your faith, your hope, your love, all of it is so sweet and refreshing. God is so good to us yet most can’t see it. But you are so peaceful so restful… Kristen, I’m praying for you. I pray that no matter what even IF you never have your own little ones, that your testimony will be a light, that others will realize that even through pain we can find peace. Because Kristen, this pain is what grows us and brings us closer to Christ. May God bless you and your husband for the faith you show others that you have in Him!

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