This past Sunday Jake and I were able to enjoy Faith’s church service together with Addie, Kendall and their father Kevin. Jake and I both work and have various activities going on Sunday mornings at church so it is a treat when both of us are able to sit down and enjoy the service. This particular Sunday I was in a joyful bliss with our guests and not much else was on my mind. The service was off to a wonderful start with Melinda, the Director of Children and Family Ministries, giving the annual “Blessing of the Backpacks” sermon andsharing about the high school the youth group painted while in NOLA.
Teary-eyed after hearing about this particular school’s condition and how our church was going to offer additional support, our interim pastor, Lyle Kleman moved into his sermon titled “Expectations Unraveled”. Pastor Kleman shared the story of Elijah and Elijah’s expectation of going into the wilderness to die. Elijah however was woken up over and over again by an angel only to find food and water. Elijah continued to lay down to fall asleep with the expectation of never awking up again, but continued to be woken up to eat and drink. On the last time he awoken, Elijah woke up to God telling him to eat his flesh (bread) and drink his blood (wine) to nourish himself before his journey. Elijah was confused and unsure of what journey God was talking about. Elijah quickly found that his expextations to die were beginning to unravel as God had his own expectations for him. Elijah was sent on this journy with very little food and resources and had the expectation to fail. But with God’s guidance and strength, Elijah began to see that his expectations were shattered. God had turned his expectations around and made Elijah into a great prohet. (Please excuse my paraphrasing for those who know this story better than I).
While Pastor Lyle used this story in the Bible to focus on Faith’s expectations for finding a new Senior Pastor and a new Director of Music Ministry, I couldn’t help but wonder how this message of expectations was creeping up in my own life.
I sat there listening and my mind started to roll. I leaned over to Jake and whispered in his ear “this is the perfect mindset for school”, or something along those lines. As I am facing one of the craziest semesters of my life, I couldn’t help but ponder my own expectations of school, work, church, marriage, friendships, health, mental health, fitness and Joyful Girl. My mind has recently been filled with mixed emotions and how this next school semester will play out in all of those areas. Some days I have positive and wonderful feelings and expectations that the next few months will pass by smoothly without interruption and everything will be just fine. But there are other days where my expectations are ones filled with failure and worry that I simply have given myself too much to handle.
For the past four days, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Pastor Lyle’s message and thinking back to how God shattered Elijah’s expectations and changed them for the better. I can’t help but wonder what expectations of mine will God shatter.
The message that keeps playing over and over in my head is that I am to expect the unexpected. Being honest and realistic with myself, I know that there will still be moments when I continue to think about those low expectations, but in those moments I need to remind myself that with every new, focused and realistic expectation I give myself, my life changes. To remember that by nourishing my body with God’s bread and wine, we live in His strength. That we are a part of Him and He is a part of us. Knowing that God will always work through me and will continue to allow me to do great things, to continue to create new expectations no matter what those are.
Life is ever changing and I can only expect that I will put my best foot foward, do what I can, and know that I will be just fine.
If interested, you can listen to Pastor Lyle’s sermon here. August 12th sermon, it is at the tenth minute that the sermon begins.