How to Thrive in the Aftermath of Interrupted Plans and Shattered Dreams

Gold Brush Stroke

If we’re honest, we all experience it: the shattering of our dreams, an interruption in our well-planned life. It’s unexpected, many times devastating, and it often doesn’t make sense, humanly speaking. 

purpose of Lord stands 1 1

Because most often our plans are good ones. They involve things that would lift people up, provide for others, and even honor God in the process. Still, those very plans fail, and we’re left to figure out how to cope.

The aftermath is not easy.

Our comfortable life is no longer comfortable. Our rock-solid faith is rocked. Our certainty in life is no longer certain. And left unchecked, in the aftershock, despair and cynicism set in. 

At 22, I thought I had it all figured out. My life was laid out and it looked good.

But live long in this broken world and you know that looks can be very deceiving and our dreams can dissolve in a heartbeat. 

Some of us found this out earlier, some later, but I’m guessing you’ve felt it: 

The mess of life seeping into the manicured path we’ve forged. It’s unnerving and paralyzing. 

The mess of life seeps into the manicured path we've forged. It's unnerving and paralyzing. Share on X

For a while after, we spin out of control, confused and uncertain, struggling to regroup and start again. 

Our plan was good yet something went wrong and that dream shattered. How are we to reconcile that? How do we go on to find fulfillment in life amid our broken dreams? 

Well I can tell you, it’s not by trying harder or drawing up better plans, and it’s not by giving up. 

Mired in deep sorrow over the loss of my children and an all-encompassing fear for my daughter’s future, I began to stagnant and atrophy. I was seeing in others the joy I knew to be still possible but could not grasp it. 

When marching to the beat of our own drum, that’s how it is: Our goal—joy, peace, satisfaction—is always a step away.

When marching to the beat of our own drum, our goal—joy, peace, satisfaction—is always a step away. Share on X

Thriving in the Wake of Interrupted Plans

We know God is all-sufficient. We know He is in the business of redeeming difficult situations and brokenness. Our heads know this, but our hearts struggle to beat to this new rhythm, to recognize our limited insight and His profound awareness. 

Honestly, the only way I could resolve my hurt and fear of this new-looking future in the midst of pregnancy loss and a child’s disability is to finally recognize and admit my nearsightedness. 

My desire for many children was admirable. My ideas for my daughter’s future were well founded and good. 

But I didn’t have access to everyone else’s path. I couldn’t see around the bend or through the fog of my own. My heart beat to my rhythm, the rhythm of what I knew to be. 

But in order to thrive in this walk, I needed to trust in God’s perfect vision.

To believe His plan for me and my children took into account all the other plans in the world.

To recognize He didn’t ever make mistakes.

To begin to hear and respond to His heartbeat. 

That’s the only way.

Your plan may be a great one. You may have taken in account everything you humanly could to craft the best plan ever.

But you can’t see every obstacle in your way.

You aren’t aware of the better things to come.

You are limited to using what is physically and logically evident to lay out your path.

Satisfaction in this life cannot be obtained by walking in our nearsightedness. Marching through life to the rhythm of our own heart will never lead where we want. 

We must acknowledge God’s perfect vision.

Fulfillment and joy in this fractured world can only be found (and retained) when we let our heart beat to His rhythm. 

Fulfillment and joy in this fractured world can only be found when we let our heart beat to God's rhythm. Share on X

Then His plans become our plans, and reaching our goal is ensured. 

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

Reflections: What do you think it looks like to journey through life to the rhythm of God’s heartbeat? 


By His Grace,



  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) on September 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I have learned it is all about surrender to the LORD. When I found the O T passage that told me to choose life, I learned I had to look at things with a hope for a better outcome. I recently had to learn not to focus on things and people, not as they are but what they can become.

    • Julie Sunne on September 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Wow, such a great perspective, Cecelia! Thanks for sharing.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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