Let me start with the story behind the title, and then I’ll make the leap to how it applies to my family’s life right now.
The Friday before last, my “Weekly Wrap-Up” was all about friends, and more specifically the friend who had been visiting us for the week. Well, we had to take her to Austin to catch her flight on Friday morning. Since the plane was scheduled to leave at a very early hour, we chose to go down the night before. Cool hotel, swimming, shopping–what more could we ask for!
The shopping part took us to a humongous mall in Austin where there just happens to be a jewelry store of the same variety where we bought my wedding ring oh-so-many-years-ago in Colorado. I was excited to find it! I’m supposed to regularly get my ring cleaned (in order to keep the repair agreement active) and it had been awhile since I’d had that done.
So I confidently walked to the counter, told them what I wanted, and slipped my ring off. It’s still off my finger as I type this!
Apparently, along with cleaning comes inspection and the inspector didn’t like what he found under the magnifying glass. Several stones were quite loose and a couple of the prongs were about ready to fall off. It needed to be repaired.
I walked in to the store expecting to be there for about 10 minutes and then walk out with a shiny, clean ring. Instead, I walked out with no ring.
Then, when I went back to pick it up, excited to have it back on my forlornly empty finger, something wasn’t right and I had to send it back to the fix-it man again. Sigh.
My family has been through something similar, and it all has to do with expectations–what we thought we knew about our future.
When we moved to Texas last May, we expected to be here for 15 months. We expected that this would be an interesting interlude and then we would return to our normal lives back in Indiana. We expected this time of schooling for my husband to be somewhat intense, but then our time here would be done and we would go back to what we knew.
The reality: this last 15 months has been a grueling time of intense study and practice, with issues brought to the surface in ourselves and our relationships that weren’t pretty. We’ve experienced incredible, exciting changes in our girls, and bonded with amazing people. We’ve missed our friends in Indiana.
The reality: we’re staying here at Fort Hood for another year. Wait, what?! God, is this true and real?
It’s not that we hate where we’re at and the idea of staying, it’s just not what we expected! (Well, to be honest, I love the people and friendliness of Texas, but I do hate the heat and the bugs.)
So what does one do when God upends the expectations? Really, one has basically two choices:
- Whine, complain, throw a fit, question God, wallow in disappointment
- Acknowledge the disappointment and surprise (and maybe even fear) and then acknowledge that God’s ways are best and begin looking forward in anticipation of what he will do.
Am I wrong? Can you think of other ways of handling it?
I’ve tried both choices, and though the first method seems reasonable in the moment, it is so not worth it. The second choice is sometimes more difficult, but obviously the one that brings contentment. (I wish it was easier to jump immediately to that response.)
Staying here at Fort Hood is now our new expected. Until God changes things up again.
How has God upended your expectations? How did you handle it?