So we’re just a few days into 2019, and so far, it feels like absolutely nothing is going as planned. Instead of coming up with a meaningful list of words or goals for the year, I feel like I might need to just change my plan to “Surprise me!”. I had planned to be writing a post on transitional winter decor today, but instead of being at home creating a cozy space and talking about it as I love to do, I’m in one of my least favorite places on earth– a clinic. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before here, but confession time: I am not a fan of doctor’s offices. I can honestly say that, as a mother of four coming upon 22 years of motherhood, I’m fairly certain that I could count on 2 hands the number of times I’ve taken a sick child to the doctor. Yes, I’m a huge germaphobe, but our obsessive avoidance of germs, my addiction to hand sanitizer, and the blessing of good immune systems have served us well. I am literally never sick. I would totally knock on wood right now, but as I stated, I’m in a clinic and I barely let myself breathe in these places, much less knock on anything.
But, my poor Lily has been having a sore throat and ear pain for a couple days so we are braving all the environmental elements for her to be checked. And as I cringe at the coughing going on all around me, I just keep thinking of how this wasn’t what I expected to be doing today. I was expecting to check off my to-do list so I could feel accomplished and tie up loose ends and have all my ducks in a row. But I heard God tell me to grab my laptop as we were heading out the door to the clinic. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but then these words came to my mind: “My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)
Oh, my expectations. They get me in trouble all the time. When I walked up to the counter at this clinic, I expected to be greeted with a little friendly Southern hospitality. But, no. I also expected them to save all my info from that other time I brought Lily here for a sports physical, but no– tons more paperwork it is. And once I got checked in, I was expecting to be called back within a reasonable time. Again, not happening. And the funny thing is, I keep expecting my expectations to play out how I expect, but over and over again, it’s just not what I expected!
And trust me, I know there are so many bigger issues than an inconvenient visit to a clinic. Some of you are also not where you expected to be right now. Some of you expected to have a child by now. Some of you thought you’d have that certain job at this point. Some of you expected to still be married to the person who vowed to spend their life with you. Some of you expected a routine doctor visit but got terrible news instead. I know! It’s rarely how we expected it to be!
And then, over the sound of the coughing and sneezing and blaring waiting room TV, I hear Him. And it’s a lightbulb moment. My expectations are out of control. Where is it written that I deserve what I’m expecting to get? I don’t recall ever seeing that in the Bible. What I do recall is that my expectation and whatever I’m hoping will happen should come from Him. We expect so much from other people, many times while they have no idea what it is we’re expecting from them! And the result is that we’re disappointed, and then they’re disappointed, and we’re left with even more problems– which we never expected! Instead of looking to other people to fulfill our needs, we need to go deeper in our relationship with Christ, getting to know Him more and learning what we can expect from Him.
But what can we expect from God?
We can expect that things will not turn out like we expect them to. If my life has not been proof enough of that, I have Isaiah 55:8 to confirm it: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, says the Lord.”
We’ve all been behind that screaming toddler in line at Wal-Mart that didn’t get that thing that became their reason for living in that moment to the point that nothing else on earth mattered. (And some of us have been the mothers that had to carry them out kicking all the way to the car.) But I’ve also been known to pout and be disappointed when something I thought I really wanted slipped through my grasp. Why do I think I know what’s best for me after all the times that God has proven me wrong? One sign of our spiritual maturity is how fast it takes us to accept what He gives us instead of holding on to what we wanted for ourselves. His way is always best. We can count on it.
What else can we expect from God?
We can expect Him to be there through everything we go through in life. Whether it’s one of the times that His plan agrees with ours and everything seems right in the world, or when our world is turned upside down, He wrote in Hebrews 13:5 and 6: “…I will never leave you nor forsake you. So that we may bodly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man can do to me.”
I don’t know how many times in the Bible God promises that He will always be with us, but it’s more than I can count. But what hits home even more to me is the number of times I’ve experienced it. This is something to hold on to when circumstances start to fall apart! It’s not always the best thing for us to be removed from the storms, but for us to grow closer to Him through them.
We can also expect Him to do more with our lives than we ever could do for ourselves. Not only has this been the recurring theme for my life and my husband’s, our two oldest kids have enough history behind them that they are starting to be able to look back and see clearly how God has worked in their lives as well. Think back to one of those times in your life when you really wanted something to work out that certain way and when it didn’t, you were disappointed at first, but later realized God had a much better plan. This happens to me pretty much on a weekly basis.
Have you ever had someone special in your life to tell you that they had a surprise for you, and that feeling of anticipation over what it could possibly be just about made you burst?? I love that feeling!! I think that’s why I love 1 Corinthians 2:9 so much too! It says, “…Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for them that love Him.” He says we literally can’t imagine it. It’s that good! Yes, if we’re Christians, we have Heaven waiting for us and this verse tells us it’s more than we’ve ever seen. But I believe this refers to the plans He has for us here as well because I’ve lived and experienced this for myself!
And here’s something else I’ve learned: the more we acknowledge Him and share the things He does for us by telling other people, the more He will keep doing!
No, this is not what I expected to post today. Winter decorating ideas will have to come later, I guess, because this is what God had in mind for me today. And maybe it’s what He had in mind for some of you, too! And as a side note– Lily is going to survive. No ear infection and no strep. So we’ll hope and pray that this inspiration is the only thing we picked up from the clinic today! No more unexpected trips here anytime soon, please!