Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The One And Only Realistic Expectation

Somehow over the years I've latched onto to the idea that most things in marriage are a right.

I have a right to help with the kids the second the Cowboy walks in the door after work.
I have a right to hours of "me" time.
I have a right to a trial free relationship.
I have a right to good healthy communication without much hurt involved or effort on my part.

And what happens when I rest in these rights is that I find myself in a steady stream of disappointment because my expectations are rarely getting met.

And for all those amazing women who have come by this revelation way earlier in their journey than I have, I apologize for the simplicity of this confession... But it has recently occurred to me that all these things that I've deemed as rights, are really graces.

The fact that my husband helps at all... grace. The fact that he does it with joy... bonus!
The fact that the treasures go to sleep at a decent hour and give this Mama time at night to refresh, to be with the Cowboy, to soak up the Word... grace.
The fact that the Lord brings those days, seasons of trial so that I might grow in His likeness... grace... not punishment. In fact, could the trials actually be a tangible insight into His mercies?

The Cowboy and I, well, sometimes our words towards one another can be sharp. Sometimes we don't see eye to eye. Sometimes I just might die inside if anyone showed up on my door step and heard some of the words that fall out of my quiet little mouth under the safety of this farmhouse roof.

Sometimes, even though this heart of mine knows that Christ is my ONLY real circumstance, my mind believes something totally different and camps out in the place of bitterness and unrealistic expectations.

So how exactly does one take what they know to be true in their heart and convince their mind to follow suit? I'm not entirely sure, except to say... stick to the one and only realistic expectation... CHrist.

I can expect and expect things to be a certain way in my marriage, in my mothering.
But really there is only One who is steadfast.
Only One who will meet all of my needs.
Only One who can give me eyes to see when I'm feeling overwhelmed by the noise and the bickering.
Only One who can fill that void when the Cowboy is gone and I'm trying to muddle through the day with sick kiddos and laundry piling overhead and the smell of many small children with the spilled milk, the poop, the snot permeating my very being and tempting me to just walk out the front door and sit on the front porch until the Cowboy gets home so that I can just take a break and unload the weight of it all on him.

Can I stop thinking of my expectations as rights and instead turn them into graces?

Can I shift my expectations of my husband and of my children and look to the One who is so graciously in ALL of my circumstances?

Can I lean on Him in the breaking, so that when the Cowboy walks in the door, I can flood him with gratitude instead of the bitter silent treatment when he wraps his arms around and whispers "I missed you today" into my ear, and then wonders why such a kind act is paid back with a cold shoulder?

Maybe if I take it all to the cross and cling to the One from whom my help comes from while the Cowboy's gone, then when he comes home I can wrap my arms around him too, and look into him with a genuine smile, rather than pushing him away and muttering some sort of harsh words under my breath because he hasn't met the unrealistic expectations that quite frankly he probably didn't even know I had. The poor Cowboy... how often do I set him up for failure when I insist on waiting for him to fulfill the expectations that only Christ can fulfill?

The one and only realistic expectation is Christ.
That Christ will mold me into the daughter of His that He needs me to be for His glory.
That Christ will be my kind words when all I really wanna do is scream.
That Christ will allow me to accomplish what needs accomplishing and that everything else that didn't get accomplished must not have been as important as I made it out to be.
That Christ will fill all the achings of my heart, that He will love me moment by moment with an extravagant love.
That Christ will strengthen me in breaking moments.

It was never reasonable of me to expect the Cowboy to meet expectations in my life that only Christ could meet.

And now that I know, I pray that the Lord would be gracious enough to show me how to turn the things in my head that I once thought as rights, into graces, and ultimately... into gratitude for all the gifts that He never had to give, but He did anyways.