Grate Expectations

Some Great Expectations
through Sarah's years

- "A cherry happy birthday cake" request for my 3rd birthday, the candles only just blown out from my 2nd "purple happy birthday cake"

- wide ruled notebook paper, carefully stored in a folder, containing detailed plans for preparing for my first horseshow, still over a month out.
- 12 years old

- college ruled notebook paper, carefully stored in a folder, containing detailed plans for preparing for my wedding (the only detail not included was HIM, who ever he was, as I was not engaged... or dating... or in any relationship with a guy at the time...)
- 15 years old

The great expectations started out innocently enough, but soon became painful "grate expectations."

- "I'm not going to be that old and still unmarried!"
- 18 year old university student
(I did get married when I was that old... 27, in fact, but that is another story)

- Honeymoon expectations

- Wife expectations

(Fast forward to present day)
-Mama expectations

* * * * * *

"Wow! Your shoulders are really tight." Erik observed as he rubbed my shoulders earlier this week. I sat in front of him, dropping my headachy-head in my hands. My body didn't lie; physically, I felt tense, tight, sore. Emotionally, I felt frustrated, annoyed, and disappointed.

Outside the house: The snow, oh the snow. It fell night and day, day after day - ever the vigilant guard keeping my energetic toddlers and me captive in our house.

Within my heart: My mom had just left for South Carolina, following one blissful month of bountiful help and support, and I was still adjusting to taking the reigns again. Jack was waking up countless times in the night. And Catherine and Camille... well, they seemed constantly ON each other, IN each other's space, and AROUND me. I felt like I was endlessly pulling them apart, POLICING every move they made.

The days should be more than this "policing" I thought. More than my constant "No!" -ing my children... more than frustration...more than counting down the hours til naptime or bedtime. I sighed. Catherine and Camille are so ripe for learning, exploring, adventuring, and creating, and I felt like I was losing precious days of their lives.

The heartache rested there... that I wasn't being the mother I wanted to be. There it was again. A Great Expectation - this time linked to my role as Mama - became a Grate Expectation, shredding me. Disappointment and frustration linked hands and crept into my heart. The headache and the tension in my shoulders and neck followed.

When the day doesn't go as "planned", when the snow just "won't go", when the kids wake up too early from their naps, when I am less than I want to be, I believe this is where "Great Expectations" become "Grate Expectations", shaving off hope, peace, and joy. What was once an inspiration becomes frustration. What was once motivation becomes disappointment. They grate away.

Being a "good mother" sounds like a noble expectation, right? Who defines what a "good mother" is?? For me, being a "good mother" is defined as communicating well with my children. Offering them an environment rich in resources to teach and inspire them. Structuring the day to maximize their young lives.

"The mother I want to be." Remember that quote a few paragraphs ago? The focus of this statement is ME. Even though my intentions are appear GOOD and NOBLE, my eyes are on myself. I am still self-centered in this wish. I am still self-focused. I'm wondering, is this what the Bible means by "Self-righteous"??

What is the cure for this? The same way the Bible says God deals with all sin... by His Son.
Taking my eyes off my self and looking to Jesus, I can ask Him to define the expectations...

the wife He wants me to be,
the mother He wants me to be,
the day He want to give us,
the children He has given us.

* * * * * *

Lord, help me to receive the


that YOU have for me today.


  1. My Dearest One,
    How you speak the words that my heart needs to hear--the wife HE wants me to be, the teacher HE wants me to be, the servant HE wants me to be, the woman HE wants me to be....oh my-- thank you, sweet friend.
    Love, Stephie Belt-Verhoef

  2. Anonymous17.5.10

    Thank you for speaking the words I needed to hear. I have been so discouraged latly about having to work out of the home and not feeling like i am being the mother and wife i want to be, but i need to refocus on Him. Love, Alisa Fulton

  3. Hey Girls-
    thanks for the encouraging comments. love you both and am praying for you today. Love, sarah