“ What Do You Do When It appears That Your Dreams Are Shattered? ”

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At the end of 2005, my life and the lives of many around me where impacted in ways unimaginable, causing me to be faced with the greatest challenges of my life.   I NEVER (and I do mean NEVER) in a million years, would have imagined that my life as I knew it and every dream I had would be shattered.  I never would have envisioned that my life would fall apart and that there would be attacks of the magnitude that I experienced.   I never would have envisioned the hits that the devil would take to discredit, not just us personally, but the Kingdom of God.  

But like most of us, I had become comfortable with my life and assumed that because I was blessed, that really I had nothing to worry about.  In reality, I had skipped over the scriptures that forewarned me to be on the lookout Jesus both forewarns and encourages us that IN this life there will be times of trial and testing.

John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  NIV

I skipped over certain scriptures because life was so good, I really didn’t think it applied to me.  

1 Peter 4:12-19  12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering , as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”   19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

As much as we desire for things to be just “right”, there will be troubles.  Trouble doesn’t come at a convenient time.   It actually tends to come as an interruption; when we least expect it. 

So, in the midst of your dreams coming to pass and things being wonderful….LOOK OUT!

Remember JOB?  Well, I quickly reacquainted myself with him looking for answers and ways to turn things around.

I came to the conclusion, that whether it’s an attack or allowed by God, one thing is for sure, God is always at work, even though you might not see Him.  But we must learn how to remain JUST when it appears that our dreams are shattered!

We can expect to suffer and go through trials and tribulations…HOWEVER; Jesus has a master plan for each of us….

2 Corinthians 4:8-9  “We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NCV)

Every day brings many trials and challenges that cause frustrations and disappointments. We can all look back and reflect upon something negative or disappointing we have experienced in life. To say that we have all faced a few disappointments in our life would be an undisputable fact.

But what does it mean to be disappointed? Webster defines disappoint as, failing to meet the expectation of or hope of something. It is being frustrated with an event in your life. To be disappointed is to be defeated in expectation. So, when we say that something is disappointing what we are saying is that it failed to meet our expectations. Disappointment can also be summed up in the word “defeat.”

Defeat is a word that we as believers should remove from our vocabulary.  However, realistically in this life we will have disappointments and then there are times we will have unexpected interruptions.  These events in your life can cause excruciating pain:  ex:  bad relationships, failures, wrong choices, fired, laid off work, and the list goes on.  Some of the Top Ten Stressors in life are: Death of spouse; Divorce; Marital separation; Jail term; Death of a close family member; Personal or family injury or illness; Marriage; Fired at work; Marital reconciliation; Retirement.

Other factors that can be seen as trouble:

  • Crisis:  Financial Crisis; Personal Crisis (child in prison, pregnant, on drugs, rebellious); Divorce
  • Change:  Changing Residence; Changing Jobs/Layoff/New Responsibilities; Geographical Move
  • Conflict:  Opposing values of family and friends; unresolved anger in relationships; unrealistic expectations of others; Unforgiveness
  • Lack of control
  • Rejection
  • Lack of Support
  • Competition
  • Concerns: Uncertainty about the future; fear of failure; perfectionism
  • Bad Attitude because of circumstances…or just because
  • Living beyond your means.

Not everyone reacts to stressful events in the same way.  We often develop coping mechanisms or beliefs that are not in line with the Word of God and as a result we never recover.  Most often we either:

  • Run – Take Flight
    • We hope it will disappear. (We hope it will go away like magic so we can avoid it)
    • We look for a quick fix (Ranges from occasional use of over-the-counter drugs to alcohol and drug abuse/ overshopping/overeating/over cleaning, etc.)
    • We take it out on others. (Kick the dog mentality)
    • Seek help (An effort to identify and eliminate the stress source)

We turn to God

We seek Wise Counsel

However, In the midst of the greatest crisis of your life you must be able to rise above the power of your pain.

You can no longer sit back and pretend it doesn’t exist.  Deal with where you are! 

Especially those of us that profess to be Christians! God’s Word is clear on what we must do! 

2 Chron 7:14 if my people , who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Look at the media.   We must get us together!  Exposure is occurring.  Take this opportunity to get you together!    Lay aside your pride!  Stop protecting your image!  You’ve been in that place long enough…it’s time for you to rise above your circumstances, your situations and really become the JUST person God intends for you to become!

As I was going through my ordeal.  I knew I needed to find comfort and strength in the Word of God!  I begin to read the various translations of the Word.  And something began to jump out at me.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you. AMP

God is a quality inspector!!!!

1 Peter 4:12-14, 19    12 Dear friends, don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you. 13 Instead, be really glad-because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory in that coming day when it will be displayed. 14 Be happy if you are cursed and insulted for being a Christian, for when that happens the Spirit of God will come upon you with great glory. 19 So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you. TLB

God is developing HIS Great GLORY in you to Display to the WORLD!

So, when Your Dreams APPEAR to be Shattered, You must experience true recovery so that GOD’s GLORY will be displayed to the World!  So that they will know WHO GOD REALLY IS!

Recovery means:  To get back; regain; To restore (oneself) to a normal state; The act of getting back or regaining: recoup, repossession, retrieval.  A return to normal health: rally, recuperation; A return to former prosperity or status: comeback. Win.

Rather, than saying you will never love again…you must recover and learn to really love

Rather than say you hate all men…you must recover and appreciate the good ones.

Rather than hold the hatred you have toward you mother….you must recover and choose to forgive her.

So, even though you have gone through hell…..you don’t have to do what you’ve done before or do what other’s want you to do……It’s up to you to RECOVER!!

Regardless of what you think or how you feel… people live through disappointments, interruptions, crisis and shattered dreams!

When you decide to enter into recovery, you are saying that you are not going to let the hurts/pains from your past hold you back….you are going to move on!

While it is true that we face disappointments we must learn to handle these disappointments: how do we get through the problems of life?

1. In a mature manner – Trust the Word!

Ps 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

1 Peter 5:7-11  7 Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. 8 Be careful-watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. 9 Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too. 10 After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever. 11 To him be all power over all things, forever and ever. Amen. TLB

Deut 32:4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. NIV

2. With the right mind-set.

1 Cor 2:16  we have the mind of Christ

Rom 8:6  the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; NIV

Isa 55:8-11  8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts , neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts  11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  KJV

  • If we don’t choose recovery, we put ourselves into a devastating cycle:
  • Disappointment is the trigger to destruction.   Follow this cycle:
    Disappointment leads to discouragement which leads to disobedience which leads to destruction.
  • When faced with disappointments or interruptions in life or shattered dreams, the best way to deal with them is to go to God with all your issues. Make them a matter of prayer. Search God’s Word. God has an answer to handling situations that seem impossible.
  • In order to help us to understand How To Stay JUST When It Appears That Our Dreams Are Shattered, we must have a few foundational principles established:

First of all, we get holiness and righteousness mixed up.

  • Holiness – the lifestyle you  live out; what you live
  • Rightousness – Who you are!  When you said YES to Jesus, you became the righteousness of God!  That’s who you are!
  • The New Testament tells us how to live righteous or just! It tells us some key principles:
  • Who you are
  • Where you are
  • What you have
  • What you can do
  • God and His Word are one in the same!  The Word of God is the Will of God!  To do the will of God is doing the Word of God!
  • So, to live a JUST Life….I go to the Word!  The Just shall live by Faith!  Who does the WORD say I am!!!!
    • Gal 3:13  Redeemed
    • Col 1:13  Delivered
    • Eph 1:3 Blessed
    • 1 Peter 2:24 Healed
    • 1 Cor 1557 Victorious
    • My Just LIFE is found in my new identity in Christ!  So, my identity IS Christ!  Gal 3

Gen 6:9-22  Verse 9. “Noah, a righteous man, was blameless among his generations:” righteous in his moral relation to God; blameless (te’leios, integer) in his character and conduct. dorowt, geneai’, were the generations or families “which passed by Noah, the Nestor of his time.” His righteousness and integrity were manifested in his walking with God, (Gen 5:22).

[1.] He was a just man, that is, justified before God by faith in the promised seed; for he was an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, Heb 11:7. He was sanctified, and had right principles and dispositions implanted in him; and he was righteous in his conversation.

JUSTIFICATION. Justification is a divine act whereby an infinitely Holy God judicially declares a believing sinner to be righteous and acceptable before Him because Christ has borne the sinner’s sin on the cross and has become “to us . . . righteousness” (1 Cor 1:30; Rom 3:24). Justification springs from the fountain of God’s grace (Titus 3:4-5). It is operative as the result of the redemptive and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, who has settled all the claims of the law (Rom 3:24-25; 5:9). Justification is on the basis of faith and not by human merit or works (3:28-30; 4:5; 5:1; 2:16). In this marvelous operation of God the infinitely holy Judge judicially declares righteous the one who believes in Jesus (Rom 8:31-34). “Therefore, this may be stated as the correct formula of justification: The sinner becomes righteous (JUST) in God’s sight when he is in Christ: he is justified by God freely, all without a cause, because thereby he is righteous in His sight”.

So, if you are sanctified, have right principles and a right disposition implanted in you, you are NOT just a person!  You are a JUST person! 

And if you are a JUST person, a righteous person – The enemy is not going to sit back and leave you alone!  He is going to be hot on your trail, to attempt to kill you, steal from you, and destroy you!

But as a JUST person, you must learn How to utilize God’s Word and His guidance to overcome the disappointments/crisis/shattered dreams that you do get hit with in life?

  1. REALIZE THE DISAPPOINTMENT (OR DEFEAT) / CRISIS IS NOT AS BAD AS YOU PERCEIVE IT.

You need to see it from God’s perspective. “Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)

We must acknowledge our deficiencies

Paul said Rom 7:21-24  21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. NIV

We must be honest with God, and acknowledge that we have deficiencies, inadequacies.  For example, a typical deficiency is the Christ likeness that is lacking in us.  God says, be more like Jesus, as a matter of fact, take his mind, ….and if you do these things in obedience I will bless you.  Well, most of us need to be reminded to be Christ like….the flesh won’t challenge you to be Christ like. 

We are lacking in taking on HIS very nature.

The deficiencies we most often face are: lack of faith, not being empathetic, not showing love, being angry, no conviction of sin, being judgmental and critical, and more.   The point is that our flesh will lead us astray.  Left to our own, we naturally won’t increase in faith, love, or humility, or be strengthened to be victorious unless we submit totally to God.

Paul tells us to delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions!

1 Peter 1:6-7 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials . 7 These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  NIV

Acts 14:22  ” We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” NIV

The very situations that cause us the most anguish, when seen through the eyes of Christ, cause us to become stronger and victorious and to walk as true overcomers!

Suffering is one of the best ways of conforming us to Jesus likeness.

Why?  Because suffering brings about a brokenness.  Brokenness is the very conduit God heals through.

  • Affliction/Difficulty can teach us to keep God’s precepts.

Rom 5:3-4  3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us-they help us learn to be patient. 4 And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. TLB

We can rejoice in our sufferings, which produces perseverance.

Ps 119:71 The suffering you sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles.

Ps 119:75 I know, O Lord, that your decisions are right and that your punishment was right and did me good. Now let your loving-kindness comfort me, just as you promised. Surround me with your tender mercies that I may live. For your law is my delight. TLB

3.   In everything God works for the good of those who love him

  • Romans 8:28   We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
  1. You must stand strong and be an endurer!
  • Prov 24:10  If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! NIV
  • Gal 6:9-10   9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. NIV
  1. RESPOND TO THE DISAPPOINTMENT (OR DEFEAT) WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE.

Romans 5:3   We also rejoice in our sufferings,

6.   God blesses those who persevere under trials.

  • James 1:12  Blessed is the man who persevered under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

7.   Paul says that he suffered under great stress so that he might learn to rely more on God.

  • 2 Cor 1:8-9   8 I think you ought to know, dear brothers, about the hard time we went through in Asia. We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it. 9 We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us, for he can even raise the dead.

8.   Paul also knew that God would and always had delivered him –

  • 2 Cor 1:10-11   10 And he did help us and saved us from a terrible death; yes, and we expect him to do it again and again. 11 But you must help us too by praying for us. For much thanks and praise will go to God from you who see his wonderful answers to your prayers for our safety!   TLB

9.Finally, God will rescue others through your suffering!

God uses people to help other people!  And sometimes that necessitates God putting my messed up life in the middle of someone else’s mess so I can help clean it up by my confidence in God! 

Your human nature may rebel at this thought – but you are never more Christ-like than when you are willing to suffer for others in order that God my rescue them.

The classic illustration of this is Joseph.   Joseph spent time in a pit, as a slave, in prison, he was beaten, he was framed, forgotten by those he served, and then,..at just the right time…God strategically placed him in a position of saving his entire family.  

Joseph’s brothers abandoned him – but God never abandoned Him!  And that’s the clue I need you to pick up on – even though it may seem sometimes from your limited human perspective that God has abandoned you  –  you are never more in the cradle of God’s hand of protection, care and compassion, that when He is using your life to rescue others!

Gen 50:20 As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil.   You intended to harm me, but God intended if all for good.  He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people.  NLT

The purpose in our suffering sometimes is to rescue others from their suffering!!!

YOUR FULL RECOVERY occurs when you stop looking at your situation through the natural and look through the spiritual!

When you look back!  What do you see?

2 Cor 7:11 For [you can look back now and] observe what this same godly sorrow has done for you and has produced in you: AMP

God promises that you:

  • Will lack nothing!  James 1:2-5  2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 
  • Will be blessed and receive the victor’s crown!  James 1:12 Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.  AMP

Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom 8:18). 

Rom 8:26-39   26 And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  NASB

RELY ON GOD TO SEE YOU THROUGH.

A. Rely on God’s Wisdom. “If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” (James 1:5, NLT)

B. Rely on God’s Strength. “For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” (Philippians 4:13, NLT)

C. Rely on God’s Grace. “Thou therefore…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1, KJV)

D. Rely on God’s Support. “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” (Romans 8:31-32, NABWRNT)

Been There, Done That AND RECOVERED ALL!

You must experience true recovery:

Recovery means:  To get back; regain;  To restore (oneself) to a normal state; The act of getting back or regaining: recoup, repossession, retrieval. A return to normal health: recuperation; A return to former prosperity or status: comeback. Win.

God wants you to recover, but you must decide that you are ready….your crisis may be private, embarrassing, shameful and hurtful, but you can recover ALL!!

You are not just a person, but a JUST Person!!!

Your trial and your testing is just a PROVING!!!

Prove you are a Just Person by what you do!!

You are New and Improved!!!   When you are restored, you are better than before!!!

Job 42:12 And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning

Prov 4:18 The road the just travel is like the sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until daylight has come.

Shine (Illuminate/Set On Fire)

Who were some of those who arose from their circumstances and went to shine?   And how did they find it?  Why didn’t they give up?

They choose not to give up – they arose to the occasion:

 Isa 52:1 Wake up, wake up, Jerusalem, and clothe yourselves with strength [from God].   TLB

When it appears that your dreams are shattered, look to models of others as reminders:

  • Job – Job lost everything, yet purposed in his heart to still trust God
  •  Joseph spent time in a pit, as a slave, in prison, he was beaten, he was framed, forgotten by those he served, and then,..at just the right time…God strategically placed him in a position of saving his entire family.  
  • Ruth – Ruth was strengthened by Naomi concerning the God of Israel.  And as a result “JUST RUTH” ended up with a book and a king!
  • Rahab – imagine someone from her background, her vocation who was able to do good works, and as a result was in the bloodline of Jesus as a JUST woman.
  • The women with the issue of blood:  She may have seemed like a throw a-way, She had been ill, spent all she had, was unclean – BUT she had a faith that couldn’t be stopped.   And that Faith made her a JUST woman who was made whole!
  • The woman at the well, took a risk talking to a man at the well, and became JUST and turned an entire city around
  • Esther – married to a mean and abusive man…..but decided to take a chance, “if I perish I perish”, but became JUST and saved her people
  • A woman who lived a sinful life (Luke 7) – learned that Jesus was near, broke through customs and protocol of the day, because she wanted to become JUST…. broke open costly perfume…to become SO!

They all found their ministry through their misery!  They didn’t let their circumstances stop them.  In other words, they took action – they executed a plan in spite of their circumstances.    They illuminated their situation and rose to the occasion.

So what are you willing to do!!!!   You too can arise, take the steps to wholeness, and truly shine as a JUST PERSON!!!!!!

You’ve been in that place for too long!  The struggle is over for you! Learn to look past your situations and your current circumstances.   The Bible in Isaiah 52:2 challenges us to, “Shake yourself from the dust, arise, sit [erect in a dignified place]. O captive Jerusalem; loose yourself (come out) from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.   Arise [from the depression and prostration (helplessness/weakness/exhaustion) in which circumstances have kept you.  Arise to a new life – which God’s already promised you!  Shine [be radiant with the glory of the Lord], for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!  AMP”

So, it might appear that your dreams are shattered, but you must know that it’s not over till God says it’s over!  Just learn NOW to be strong and mighty in the Lord because you must be ready in season and out for whatever comes your way!

So today, as a mother of 3 teenagers and the Senior Pastor of a church that I’m rebuilding, with a great team of leaders and a wonderful congregation, we are focused once again on the dream and fulfilling the assignment that God has called us to!  So, when it APPEARS to be over, what are you going to do?  As for me and my house, we are choosing to serve the Lord!

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Dr. Renee Fowler is a Senior pastor, Community Leader/Advocate, Best Selling author, International speaker, Single Mother, Strategist (life/crisis/church), business executive, entrepreneur, sorority member, Founder of The Life Empowerment Training and Development Institute, CEO of InSight Consulting and Founder of Rachel's House (transitional living for women and families in crisis), Women of Influence, Inc. and Destiny Empowerment Enterprises, Inc. You can also watch her weekly on #drReneeSpeaks (click on emPOWERmentTV). After a successful corporate career, she successfully transitioned into the faith based and nonprofit sectors, while still pursuing entrepreneurship, as well as, sitting on numerous community boards. Overcoming many trials and a life altering scandal, she has used her difficulties as fuel to propel her to greater purpose in which she has developed creative and life changing systems, messages and tools that promote how to bounce back and live a victorious life! Dr. Renee is passionate about equipping people to fulfill their greatest purpose.