Reality for a Heart with Faulty Expectations

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“I keep waiting for the honeymoon to end!” I could feel her glow over the phone as I concluded my interview with the reference our adoption agency had given me.

Six months later I wondered, what honeymoon? Never for a single moment did it show its face.

Frankly, I expected things to be tough—that is for the first several months. But I figured it would eventually get better. Our kids would learn to trust; our love would heal their wounds; and other than typical childhood issues, we’d emerge as a warm and cozy family.

What was I thinking?

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What does it tell you when a family can’t hold onto their offspring? What does it mean when a county is willing to sell her children? What does it do to the heart of a child, not to mention the brain, when everything that felt secure is ripped from their hands? Do we really think they’re going to trust us so easily, if ever? Do we truly believe they can grasp our love? Is it realistic to expect they know how to integrate into a family?

Is it right to expect ourselves to have the power to melt all and mend all? No! I can tell you right here and now, that power is completely out of our hands. It doesn’t matter what we’ve studied (though I recommend study all you can), how selflessly we give, how firmly we stand, or how sweetly we love. We will never be enough.

So am I saying, lower our expectations? Yes, I am. Let go of expecting our SAFE children to look like us. It isn’t going to happen. Equally, we need to relax the demands we place on ourselves.

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So what about the promise: Train up a child in the way which he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV)? First of all, many times people misinterpret this verse. But, I can also say that once my kids hit their mid to late twenties, I started seeing this promise fulfilled. The evidence of our work and love in their lives is starting to show up all over the place.

Guess what? We’re finally getting our honeymoon and it is sweeeeet! Bitter moments still pop up and I have to revisit the lessons I’ve learned over the years—especially about backing up and letting God do the needed work. But those moments pass and the sweetness returns.

So here are a few promises that held me steady over the years.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NKJV)

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4, NKJV)

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12, NIV)

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9, NKJV)

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. (Psalm 36:5, NIV)

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, NKJV)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalm 34:18, NIV)

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