This past year has been nothing like what I imagined my first year in the “real world” would be.
I’m not sure what I thought this year would bring – it’s not like I was imagining some kind of fairy tale or anything – but whatever this was, was not what I had envisioned. All within a years time:
- I graduated from college
- I started a small business out of my home to fund the mission work we do in Haiti
- I got my first dog (the sweetest, most precious golden retriever)
- I made my first “big girl” purchase (a car)
- I went back to Haiti, and Grayson went for the first time
- We lost my grandmother, after an excruciating month in a coma-like state after having a massive stroke
- Grayson and I bought our first home
- We got married
- We went on an amazingly wonderful honeymoon
- I began my career
- Grayson changed schools for the 3rd time in three years (because of moving)
- We lost our Pastor who had been serving my church for my entire life, baptized me, and took me to Haiti for the first time
- I lost my cousin, Tony, after he fought a horrible battle with cancer
- Grayson’s home church burned to the ground right in front of our eyes
Needless to say, that’s a lot for anyone to handle. Those are some of my happiest and most devastating moments, and I honestly don’t know why the Lord allowed all of it to happen at once. But He did. And I know He loves me. And I’m stronger because of it.
This is the thing, though- I have been thinking about the fire at Bethlehem Baptist and wondering how to even begin writing about it, because I see it from lots of different perspectives. I see both the heartache in it all because of the precious memories there and the stress over finances for the people employed by the church itself or the daycare, but I also see the good that has already come from it, the unification of the community, and the opportunities for growth that God set into motion the very second lightening hit the steeple. As Christians, we know that God works all things together for good for those that love Him (Romans 8:28), and that truth is what got the wheels in my mind turning about a specific thought: expectation.
It seems like every time I think of the word “expectation,” it’s in some kind of negative context. Like, I have these expectations and they leave me disappointed if things don’t go like I thought they would or should. But, lately, God has convicted me about this word. Instead of having expectations about what I think things should be like, I should be waiting with confident expectation of what Jesus is going to do. For instance, my church is approaching what may be the end of our long-prayed-over pastoral search, after having a (wonderful, precious) interim for almost a year. We are so excited and there is a contagious new energy awaiting this position being filled that has put a spring into almost everyone’s step. It’s this situation that has got me thinking even more about expectation. Instead of expecting this new pastor to be a certain way or do things a certain way or handle things a certain way, I want to have no expectations other than what God is going to do. What if, instead of letting ourselves get disappointed when things don’t go as we expected, we asked ourselves the question: what is God trying to do through this?
It’s not always easy to approach life with this attitude, but I think the best way to train our minds to look at life like this is to constantly remind ourselves that Jesus sees the big picture, He wants us to have the best, most abundant life, and He can make beauty out of ashes.