2020 gave many of us disappointments. Canceled trips, rescheduled events, homeschooling and little community. How do we find hope in times where disappointment is everywhere. I wanted to start by giving you the definitions of both “hope” and “disappointment”

Hope – A feeling of expectation & desire for a certain thing to happen. – Your wedding day, the birth of your child, your vacation. We all have expectations around these things.

Disappointment – Sadness caused by the nonfulfillment of your hopes and expectations. – In a sense, you feel a void when a hope is not fulfilled. And those big hopes and big dreams that fall through can leave us empty, scrambling, bitter, angry, unwilling to have hope in anything.

How do we take 2 opposites and bring them together in a way that makes sense? 

One of my many disappointments in life was when my dad got sick with cancer. He battled for 6 months and died 5 weeks before my wedding. God let me down. He felt scary to trust. I felt overlooked by God and forgotten. Why would it be in God’s plan for this unfulfilment? 

I don’t know your disappointment or hurt. The unresolved argument with a family member. The hurt you feel over a lost friendship. The pain you feel from something that was in God’s power to act and he seemed silent. I want you to know that I’m so sorry and it was wrong what happened to you. It’s not fair that you had or have to be going through that. 

Know that going from disappointment to hope takes time. Many people who are grieving ask me “How do I get through this?” You take a deep breath and you live in the pain. You acknowledge out loud how you feel. Get honest with your emotion. Tell God how you feel and what you think he should have done. 

Eventually, you learn to retrain your thoughts. As women, we’re often fixers and doers. As we process the disappointment we have, I want to encourage you to release those thoughts that aren’t serving you. I literally ask myself, “Is this thought life giving?” It’s not a life giving thought for me to think of all the ways I could try to manipulate my situation. Did you ever make your situation or your pain better by analyzing and overthinking it? No!

A lot of the hope and healing that is possible for you and me comes from redirecting & training our thoughts. I pray that your disappointments with others can be reconciled on this side of heaven but many of mine cannot. And if the situation doesn’t change and God doesn’t change, who has to change? We do!

And God gives us that power! Every belief we have starts with a thought. 

Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Focusing on the thoughts that serve me. Focusing on the truths I know. And this is something I have to do daily. Left on my own, I will spiral to all the negative things going on and all the pain I have. But as I repeat these things and for me, I write an anchor thought or daily verse every day. I surround myself with the truth. Our brains are hardwired to protect us and have a cognitive bias. We have to work to retrain them. 

And I know it’s not easy to jump from extreme disappointment to positive thinking. No one does that. But what we can do is ladder our thoughts. 

Laddering your thoughts means starting with your current thought and giving yourself in between thoughts to get to your goal thought. I’ve attached a worksheet here for you to do your own. 

There is work to get from disappointment to hope. A lot of times, it’s TIME. It’s been 11 years and I still occasionally ask why and what could I have done. That makes you human. I used to think it was me suffering and God just doing nothing or being complacent. It was me against God. But instead, through time, focusing on the truth, redirecting my thoughts daily…I’ve learned it’s me partnering with God to bring me hope and healing. It’s God saying “I’m so sorry you’re suffering. I know that was super hard.” 

Steps from Disappointment to Hope

-Acknowledge and Ask – Is God good or not? {this sets your foundation}

-Seek council – Talk to others who have suffered or disappointed

-Thoughts – Write down every thought you have in the morning. Focus on a few of them you want to redirect. Ladder them. I promise you, if you write out your thoughts, you will be amazed at what comes out. 

-Find your verse or anchor thought 


Many times, when we’re disappointed or God let us down, it’s that our hope was misaligned in the first place. Hope in God does not disappoint (Isaiah 40:31). I had put my hope in a diagnosis, in a doctor, in a special prayer, in people. 

If you are willing to start small. Tell God how you feel. Write out your thoughts. Ladder them and find your anchor thought, I promise you, hope can be restored.

Resources that have helped me:

Suffering is Never for Nothing by Elisabeth Elliott

Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lysa Terkeurst 

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst

You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado

Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen

hope, disapointment