sometimes life hands you surprises. you think you signed up for, let's say completely hypothetically, laying hens.
and yet, as time goes by one of those hens doesn't seem quite right. you cling to the expectation of what you signed up for, and though all the signs point toward the unexpected you refuse to open your eyes to see.
for expectations are powerful. they give you direction. purpose. expectations make the costs worth it.
expectations can be the joy set before you.
endurance. vision. resolve.
and yet, regardless of all expectations, you wake up early one saturday morning to your "hen" announcing she is indeed a rooster.
expectations come crashing down.
now, to be completely fair, i must say we joked for quite a while that little "susan" was indeed a turkey. she wondered how she ended up living with mere chickens. get me out of here, she would say, i am meant to live with other turkeys! oh dear susan, you are not a turkey. you are not a susan.
you are a rooster.
i believe we approach Jesus the same way we approach everything else in life. we signed up for a certain expectation, and though He throws us curve balls and indications that He isn't quite who we expected Him to be, we are blinded to see reality because of what it at stake.
we are afraid.
we are afraid of letting go of expectations.
we are afraid of being disappointed.
if He isn't who we thought He was, if He isn't just the way the preacher or our mentor painted Him to be, then what are the implications that follow? what does that mean for me? what does that mean for the way i go about life?
it may imply a change is needed. and i don't know about you, but i greatly fear change.
for change is embodied by the unknown. i may have too much invested into my current expectation and i must risk losing that which i was deeply invested in to find out what that unknown actually holds. as good as that reality may end up to be, i still must risk to find out.
i may be alone in this, though i think i am not, but i rather like when things turn out the way i expected them to - a laying hen is indeed a laying hen... or my picture of the Messiah is fully accurate of who He is in reality.
as much as i may enjoy controlled surprises, say a gift or birthday party or unexpected check in the mail, the surprises that alter the course i have set for my life i am not as comfortable with.
i am reading the words in red and gulping with the realization that He is a lot bolder than i painted Him to be. He is more offensive. His sayings are hard. i am left wondering, like peter, Lord, who then can be saved?
for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life,
and there are few who find it.
but Lord, i do not understand. i had expectations and You are not quite how i expected You to be. who then can be saved? or better said, Lord, can i even be saved if this is how You ask me to live?
yet just when i am faced with the hard questions that threaten to crush my hopes while they do indeed crush my expectations, i am met with the sweet wind of revelation. the Spirit breathes on my heart pounding heavy with the fear of God.
He died. He was crushed. His blood poured out. His body writhed in pain.
all for me.
and tears roll down the previously tense cheeks. my shoulders relax as offense is lifted and replaced with thanksgiving for His mercy. a sob is choked back in a constricted throat as the Spirit gently pries open my hands to let go of false expectations of Him to be...
just. like. me.
i timidly step towards this One who asks of me more than i can give, but gave all that He is and more than He should. if anyone could ask the impossible from me, if anyone could offend me yet draw forth desire to love, it is Him.
so expectations can change. letting go of who i thought Him to be and allowing Him to give me all of who He is in reality is so much more powerful than what i have been clinging to so tightly.
for when my hands are finally open to receive, only then can He give me the grace to fully live.
185 - 199:
185. thriving potato plants!
186. we successfully found a home for the rooster formally known as susan.
187. we adopted a year old hen who is already laying eggs!
188. "new susan" is getting used to living in our backyard and isn't quite as freaked out as she was when she first arrived.
189. our first brown egg.
190. the back yard demo mess getting cleaned up more and more and more...
191. our "free" date with a starbucks card i received in the mail from a huggies diaper program.
192. a surprise target card in the mail as a referral gift from our dentist.
193. warm, tasty, filling steel cut oats.
194. a beautiful day at the park for my 3 oldest boys' belated birthday bash.
195. hot hubby who was bbqing 100 hot dogs for the boys and all the friends.
196. hand-me-down clothes that are cute (for me!).
197. words of Jesus in the gospels that challenge, offend, and keep me alive.
198. the realization that He is the only One who has died for me, and so why shouldn't He be able to say such bold things that offend my heart yet challenge me to pursue Him?
199. a quiet afternoon to sit on the couch and blog.
come join the counting to one thousand at a holy experience. i would love to read your list of thanksgiving as well. if you are visiting from the link up, leave a comment and let me know!
how has His grace touched your life today?