Posted by: kathyhugs | May 14, 2010

Expectations

Over the last several weeks I have had several conversations with friends, with my husband and with God about expectations. Expectation defined:

  • belief about (or mental picture of) the future
  • anticipation: anticipating with confidence of fulfillment
  • the feeling that something is about to happen
  • Eager anticipation

There are good expectations. The expectation that we act civilized with manners toward others. The expectation that we care for our family and friends.The expectation that there will be Christmas presents under the tree. The expectation that I will fall in love and stay married for the rest of my life.  These are all good expectations and usually they all will come true. They put a sparkle in my eye and a can’t wait to see what is around the corner thrill!

But then again expectations can work against us. The expectation that we can “fix” someone else. The expectation that people will respond in a different way than past experiences have evidenced. The expectation that others need to entertain us or treat us in a certain manner. Expectations of unrealistic goals or plans. A silly expectation is to marry a rich prince, become a princess and live in a castle. Unfortunately some people never mature past this expectation. They marry and become disappointed that their spouse doesn’t live up to their prince charming idea. He is an average guy who loves them but they need to work at the marriage and their communication of expectations. Some marriages don’t make it because of the unspoken expectations.

When I have expectations of others I can sometimes be very disappointed. It is only my expectations of God that I usually underestimate! Over the last 2 months I have been healing. I am truly learning how to love life without my daughter around. It hasn’t been easy but…God has been mending my heart. He has sealed the hole that is in my heart with his love. The scar is evidence that the loss is real and that it will never go away but it is healing. I had to let go of certain expectations. The expectation that my child would one day become a mother and therefore I become a grandmother. The expectation that I would die before she did. The expectation of family dinners with our son-in-law being a joyous part of our family. The expectation of vacations and reunions with extended family members. These expectations were “normal” to have. They were not unrealistic, they fit into the pattern of a normal family life. But then the unthinkable happened. Tonia died. She was murdered. The window of our life was shattered. Normal reactions were skewed. Emotions changed minute by minute. Stop I want to get off!

Then God became very evident. The waves were still crashing over us but He surrounded us with His protection that buffered us from the storm. He was in the boat with us and told us to “fear not for I am with you”.  Over time the storm ebbed and flowed. We landed on our rock. It was solid and strong. During every storm that was thrown God just reminded us to hold on to Him. Expectations were changed, some were released to the what might have been, others were shifted. The window of our life was slowly being refined. It will never be whole until we get to Heaven but the crack in it has been filled in so that it is just a reminder.

But I still struggle with my expectations! Daily! My expectations of other people in my life has gotten me into trouble. I do want to “fix” our relationships. But unfortunately I can’t fix anyone other than myself and I need God’s help to work on me. Relationships with other people is my greatest challenge. I can’t change them. I can only change my expectations of them. Letting go of the “normal” view of family. Letting go of the image that I have of extended family vacations and dinners and reunions. Allowing God time to work in my life and in the lives of my extended family. This isn’t easy in fact I have to stop and pray that my responses are what God wants from me and they are not reactions to past hurts and words. I have a very long way to go!

But God has been so good. He has given me new expectations! He has given me a church family who we share Memorial Day picnics with. Friends who have become sisters. Couples who mentor us like parents. Teenagers who I take out to dinner, to a movie and even dress shopping for a dance! Expectations that I can love others and it will be okay. Expectations that when I learn to care for one of my patients and then they die, it will be okay. God allows me to love them, to grieve for them and my heart is never the same but it is okay. They have touched my life for this season and that love never dies. They are waiting in Heaven for the ultimate family reunion.

I also have expectations of Sean. I have learned to hold onto them a little less tightly. I have dreams of one day watching him fall in love and get married and have children. But only God knows the future and I have to live today without holding onto the mist of tomorrow. Today is good. God is great! It is enough.

Have a blessed today.

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