Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Great Expectations

Have you ever grabbed a glass of something to drink and you think it is one thing, but what you drink is actually something entirely different?  For example, you are grabbing for what you think is lemonade, but its really milk in your cup?  And your taste buds are shocked and you are kind of confused - not that milk is gross, but it just wasn't what you were expecting?  That's how I feel right now.  The expectations I had are being met with a very different reality, and it has been sort of a shock to my system.

Many of you know that the adoption of our son has not been "easy".  Our faith has been stretched at every point of this journey - from the beginning when we stepped out in faith to adopt so soon after Bridget, to the nearly three months Mike spent in Uganda, to the past 8 months of transition to where we find ourselves today; it has all been a test of faith and it has been hard.


Now, don't confuse hard with bad.  Just because something is hard doesn't mean it is bad, or that it was a mistake, it just means that it's hard!  We had great expectations for adding our son to our family, and honestly, those expectations haven't been met and we are living a very different reality.  Some might see that as a sign of failure, or that we made a mistake, or that we bit off more than we can chew.  Perhaps.  But maybe it means we need to adjust our expectations.


God did not ask us to adopt our son so we could have an easy life.  He didn't say "Go build the perfect family!"  He didn't even ask us to go be adorably cute and happy all the time.  What God did ask us to do was to say yes.  WE added the expectations.  We set our sights high and envisioned that cold, delicious lemonade.  But, surprise!  We got milk!  It may be a surprise to us, but it was no surprise to God.


There are many that would look at our current circumstances, shake their heads and give the ol' "I told you so" or "you should have known this could have happened" speech.  I've already heard a few.  "We had concerns about this all along" or "I have a friend who has a cousin whose neighbors has an aunt that knows a nun who has a nephew that adopted, and it was like this..."  But here is the thing, every risk, doubt, concern or fear anyone has or had, trust me, we have had them all and more.  We counted the cost, looked at the risk, sought counsel, prayed, asked questions and prayed some more, and here is what we came up with - we were not going to let the fear of the unknown stop us from doing what we did know, and we knew God wanted us to adopt.


A friend of mine recently encouraged me with the story of Peter when he walked on the water.  Many look at this story as an example of Peter's doubt, but I have a different perspective as of late, I see it as a story of great courage and faith.  In John 6 we read that " A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough" so, here the disciples were in a boat and a storm came.  They look out onto the water and see what Matthew 14 says they think is a ghost.  Then they hear the voice of their friend, their teacher, their Lord.  Peter asks the Lord to call him out on the water, and he does.  Peter gets out of the boat, starts walking, but then realizing what he is doing, understandably, he starts to freak out, and the poor guy starts to sink!  He calls out for help, and Jesus offers out his hand and Peter accepts and they both get back in the boat and the winds die down.


Can you imagine what this must have looked like to the other disciples?  They must have thought Peter was out of his mind, asking to go walk on the water in the middle of a storm.  What a nut job!!!  And can you hear the comments they must have made as they saw Peter start to sink?  Surly there were a few "I told him not to do it!" remarks or  "He should have known he would sink, it is water after all!"  But you know what?  None of them got out of the boat! None of them asked Jesus to call them out. And it is easy to make an opinion about something after you see it start to go a particular direction (sorta like cheering for the team with a 140 point lead in a basketball game - its pretty much a sure thing).


Now, I am not trying to say we are awesome and brave. I don't want to come off as self righteous, because God calls us all to do different things.  He asks us all to "step out of our own boats"  But I see this story and I am encouraged by it, even in this hard season.  We sought the Lord out.  We said "God, if you want us to adopt this boy, make it clear"  We saw Him extend his hand of grace and provision over this adoption.  We stepped out of the boat.  And, y'all, it is terrifying.  It is hard and the storm is a lot stronger than it looked from inside the boat.  And yes, there have been times where we have started to sink, but you know what?  Christ has been right there extending His hand to us, hearing our cries, lifting us up, not letting us drown.  


We love ALL of our children, and one of the hardest lessons I am learning as a parent is how to shift my expectations in order to see all my children succeed in their own way.  It may not look like what I dreamed of.  The shift may even break my heart, but ultimately, I want to see Gods best in all of their lives and HE is the one that knows best what my kids are capable of.  I don't want my great expectations get in the way of Gods.  



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