You have to read today’s personal story from Sharon Lanfear. We met Sharon at an event back in April and connected over a shared passion for deepening friendships in a natural way. She is the creator of the brilliant Table Talk conversation game and works for the Ugly Duckling Company. The story she emailed me for this series fits well with today’s key point. Thank you for sharing this, Sharon.
KEY POINT from Sarah:
Moses lived with unresolved disappointment. He never saw the Promised Land – he died in the wilderness. But he could either live in the wilderness not knowing, not fully understanding; with disappointment or anger and bitterness, or he could have contentment, joy, and abundant life – not dwelling in anger, not allowing bitterness to take hold.
Joy, contentment, abundant life, life in all its fullness can exist in the wilderness/ in our disappointments.
You can find happiness in your disappointment. Moses learned it was about God: trust Him.
We need to trust God that He sees the bigger picture and we may not understand at the time but we need to concentrate on deepening our relationship with Him.
PERSONAL STORY from Sharon Lanfear:
What’s the strangest telephone call you’ve ever received?
Mine was around midday, Boxing Day, Sunday 26th December 2010, Rochester New York.
We were staying with friends for the Christmas Holidays and had all been to church. We were sat in the foyer waiting for our hosts to take us home and as our friend walked towards us his mobile phone rang. He answered it and then handed the phone to me saying ‘it’s for you’.
The man on the other end turned out to be someone we had met the previous day over Christmas Lunch. We had only chatted about general things and as part of a group; this was not someone who knew me; he didn’t know what was happening in my life; he didn’t really know anything about me.
The phone call was brief and went something along the lines of ‘hello it’s Gene here, we met yesterday. I felt God prompt me to phone. I felt he wants to say to you to never give up on your dreams’.
What on earth was that all about? What a stupid thing to say! How embarrassing!
Everyone was now going to ask ‘Who was that? What did they want?’ and I was going to have to answer them and I was embarrassed to do so.
To put everything into context here, the phone call came during a period of my life that was full of disappointment, pain and heartache.
As a small child at school I loved playing families in the dressing up/kitchen corner. At home on a rainy day, I loved nothing more than flicking through the pages of the Littlewoods catalogue choosing all the things I would have in my home when I grew up and had a family of my own; this was not just furniture, but everything right through to pushchairs and clothing from 0 years upwards.
On June 24th 2009 (18 months previous to this phone call), as far as I was concerned, my dream was shattered as I underwent a hysterectomy and the finality that I never would have children of my own was realised. I was living, as far as I was concerned, with the ultimate disappointment.
Despite the pain however, there was a flicker of hope. A couple of years earlier I had been startled by another phone call, which had come from my brother. He ran a charity working out in Ghana and invited me to go on one of their trips.
By the time I received the call from Gene in the US, I had been to Ghana on several occasions and had slowly begun to find a sense of meaning and purpose for my life.
Subsequently I became a trustee of the charity and have been privileged over the last few years to visit Ghana many times, distributing medical equipment and educational resources as well as working on a project to build The Adoley Centre, a welfare centre on the outskirts of Amasman, Greater Accra.
It was during the initial stages of purchasing the building plot that I met with the chief of Amasaman; a community of approximately 280,000. On the third occasion that we met I had gone to sign the necessary paperwork to secure the land and it was then that he asked if I would be willing to become the Development Queen Mother of Amasaman, a community of approximately 280,000. This is a role (by royal appointment!) as the name suggests; a life time commitment in working alongside the community to aid its’ development. I do not think I had much choice in the matter and so in August 2012, I was enstooled; a ceremony in front of the whole town with news of it on national TV. Dressed in traditional African Royal robes I was given the title Development Queen Mother – Naa Ayikaikor I.
I’m not ready to say yet that my dreams have been totally fulfilled, but I do want to say that God does work out the dreams he has for you. What you have to accept is that they are not always in the way that you think; there may be disappointments along the way.
As I mentioned earlier I sat in the dressing up corner thinking of when I would be a mother… looking at Littlewoods catalogues… not once did I see myself in Africa with a title of Queen Mother.
Here’s an extract from my journal 29th January 2012:
When I think of all that has happened over the last 4 years it’s like reading someone else’s biography or watching exerts from some kind of TV documentary. Just over a year ago I was told to never give up on my dreams. When I think about all that has, and presently is going on with Ghana, as well as the things yet to come, it feels more like I’m living in one!
Sat on the plane somewhere over North Africa, I am excited about the next ten days ahead as well as feelings of both trepidation and total unbelief.
This is me we’re talking about, a failure! Put on earth to reproduce, only I have failed to do that. Or have I?
I have to believe that my role in life is different.
Am I seriously going to be ‘mother’ to a whole tribe?’
Looking through my eyes, my dreams were shattered. There was no way I could understand how God could fulfill my dream. As far as I was concerned, it was no longer possible. Disappointed was not really a strong enough word to describe how the emptiness felt. I had to believe that even with the disappointment that it was not the end. God had a plan and the outcome would be beyond what I could ever dream.
TO SUM UP from Rachel: Find out more about Sharon in a future Dangerous Women article!
We would love to hear your comments on Sharon’s story and your own experiences of living with unresolved disappointment.