There was a day when the pain of the past few years caught up to me, and stole my expectations.
I don't know when it was, exactly. Not sure which day it officially occurred. But it came, just the same, like a thief in the twilight, and snatched it right away--stole this lingering hope that had been driving me so very, very long.
I'd had it, and then I didn't.
It was a most unfair exchange - hope swapped for lowered expectations.
Because they go hand in hand.
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8)
When you're waiting, you're expecting. Expecting and hoping are painfully and irrevocably entwined.
And when my threads unthreaded, my knots untangled--my hope stolen, I was left with expectations that were void. Useless. They left me numb and empty-eyed and staring at the dust crumbling through my fingers, dust that used to be something gold and shiny and full of light.
Streaming through the cracks in my hands and slipping off the sides and I was grasping, grasping - but there was nothing left. Nothing to hold to. Nothing to clench.
It had happened. Somehow, someway, despite my determination never to go there...I did.
I lowered my expectations of God.
I thought it all too big for Him. Too hard. Too much. Too time consuming.
And it was there I realized my expectations weren't in God in the first place. They were still in myself. In my ability, in my work, in my effort, in my striving. In my attempts. In my pleas and prayers. If I wanted it badly enough, prayed for it hard enough, reached for it far enough...
My expectations were in me.
So when that day came, and I fitfully and ashamedly admitted that I'd lowered my expectations of God, I realized another, larger, broader, truer-truth... I hadn't lowered my expectations of God.
I'd lowered them of myself.
And now God could get through.
Breath. Light. Air.
So here I stand, brushing my hands free of the last fragments of dust, and only one thing resounds in my soul--my soul that can hear and breathe and feel and think and see.
One thing. One truth remains here in this overly crowded, yet somehow barren place called my heart.
He still makes beauty from ashes.
Isaiah 61:2-3 "...to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes..."
I make more ash.
He bestows grace. Beautiful grace.