When my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, we had dreams and visions of what we thought our life as a family would look like. I expected that I would be a mini-van-driving President of the PTO and soccer mom. Jeff and our son would go to University of Tennessee football games together just like he had with his dad. We would go on fabulous vacations as a family. Our son would make the honor roll and grow up to be a successful businessman like his dad.
I thought they were great plans, but the problem was they were mine. Turns out, God had a different plan for our family.
I remember how hard it was in those early years of our son’s life as I tried to line up my dreams and expectations of what I thought my life would look like alongside my reality. My expectations and my reality clashed as I struggled to come to grips and accept that this was our new normal. Our dreams came crumbling down all around us and we felt ourselves slipping into the pit of disappointment and despair.
There were moments of peace. We started noticing the blessing that came with this life. We slowly climbed out of the pit.
The shift in our perspective began when we launched Rising Above and started pouring into other families affected by disability. By helping others, God was able to heal our wounds. We saw that we were not alone and became a part of an amazing community of other special needs parents.
On an early morning a few years ago, I was contemplating how different our life looked than what I had originally expected. In the quiet of that morning I heard a still small voice whisper in my heart, “I had something better for you.” I thought about those words for a moment and replied, “Yes, yes, You did God! You did have something better for us.”
I can honestly say, 20 years later, that God’s plan for our family is better than what I had in mind.
My plan was that Jon Alex would go to college and live the “American dream”. My son will never graduate college but he has taught me more and provided a knowledge bigger and better than anything he could have ever learned at a university.
My expectations were that Jon Alex would marry and have a life with his own family. I will never be a grandparent and Jon Alex will never marry but I have the greatest joy of having my son live with me and share my life every day for the rest of his life.
You see, I thought it would be best if our family were a typical family. But God made us something different and special. He made us better. He gave us a story that has reached further than we ever could have imagined. When I was able to lay down my expectations, I was able to embrace my story and thrive in the life I was blessed to have.
Think about it:
What are some ways that your previous expectations differ from your current reality?
How does disappointment over unmet expectations affect your perspective?
Have you embraced the life you have been blessed with or are you struggling to hold on to the expectations of what you thought your life would be?
Father, thank You that You have the best in mind for Your children. Help us to trust Your heart and Your character even when our reality doesn’t match our expectations. Help us to see Your faithfulness in every circumstance.