Monthly Archives: March 2015

Unmet Expectations

This is the step-by-step process my brain engages when an experience falls short of my expectations.

  1. Expectation
  2. Expectation not met
  3. Disappointment
  4. Deep breath
  5. Reminder to self that things don’t always go my way
  6. Forced perspective to be open to new possibilities
  7. Attitude adjustment
  8. Move on
I can have this silent conversation with myself in about 7.3 seconds. Except when it comes to my kids. With them I tend to get to step #3 and then chart a new course that involves loud voices and hurt feelings. Is there anyone in your life where you find it hard to adjust when things don’t go as planned? Why is that? Why are our expectations often so unrealistic of some? With my children, I think it’s because I know them so well and know what they are capable of accomplishing. When I feel they’re not living up to their potential, my instinct is to coach and instruct, not love and encourage. And this is can be damaging. To their self esteem, to their abilities and to our relationship.

I’m so very grateful God is a much better parent than I will ever be. How often could he use his loud voice with us? How often do we deserve a time out? But instead of disappointment God offers sacrifice.

My friend Kenny Green spoke on Palm Sunday about expectations. And it did not disappoint. As we prepare this week to celebrate Easter, I encourage you to spend some heart time listening and learning.

Palm Sunday: What Did You Expect? from Gateway Church on Vimeo.

And here is a related reading plan I hope you will enjoy!


I’m a work in progress. I get that. I know that. I wrote a whole post on that. But I’m also a task-oriented, high-capacity achiever that isn’t too familiar with the virtue of patience. I like roller coasters and planning the next big thing. If I sit still too long I get twitchy. So after a career that’s spanned broadcast journalism, corporate communications, PR, advertising and human relations, I currently find myself in a ministry season. Woah. Slow your roll. That’s right, folks, I work at a church. The people are wonderful and I get to live out a passionate mission of helping people find Christ. And yet, I still wonder what my purpose is in life. Did I mention I also turn 40 this year? I’ve spent months telling everyone who asks that it’s not a big deal, it’s just a number, that I like birthdays, but I find myself searching for purpose everywhere in all the places. So perhaps I doth protest too much? Whatever the reason, new job, new stage of life, I’ve spent those same months turning to God asking if I’m fulling my purpose in life.

Purpose is a curious thing because it means so many different things to so many different people. Each of our purposes are unique and purpose can be fluid. What I’m called to today may not be what I’m called to tomorrow. But being who I am, it’s the today that I’m seeking answers.

Stick with me. Reflection is good. I’m not very good at it because it takes uninterrupted time and I’m like – squirrel! But our church gives each staff member time for reflection and solitude. In fact, it’s mandatory. I’m on solitude today and I’m so glad I’m forced to do this because as I’m reading through a bible plan on joy, in 3 John 1:4 I hear “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.”

Talk about purpose. Thank you, Jesus. Being a mother is intentional. It’s rewarding and full of joy. It’s hard but it’s God’s work. It’s purposeful.

I may not have patience, but God does. Because these things I know. This is not a new discovery, but a gentle reminder. I’m a mom and that’s holy. I’m not only a mom. That is not the whole of my story. I’m also a wife and daughter and sister and friend and leader and co-worker and volunteer and wanna-be writer. But I’m also a mom. And there is purpose in that.

Just yesterday I asked the kids to pray for me as I would be telling that life story to our staff group. Out of the mouths of babes.

Taylor: Lord, help my mom not be nervous when she tells her story today.
Trey: And God, help it make sense and help her explain Jesus good. Amen.

AMEN. These are good kids. They are God’s kids. And Lord, please help me not screw them up.


The wrong questions

What am I doing with my life?
Am I making a difference?
Do I have influence?
Should I have influence?
What is my purpose?

Am I doing enough?
Am I enough?

I have amazing friends. These friends are doing big things and helping change the world. They’re starting non-profits and sitting on boards and traveling to third world countries. I love them for it. I respect them, admire them and give God praise for their abilities. I support them and encourage them. But it’s too easy to also envy them. I want to make a difference. I want to do big things. God, what do you have for me? What’s your plan for my life? The list of questions goes on and on. But these are absolutely the wrong questions.

These questions that have been playing like a loop in my head for months. So destructive. So tedious. Such a waste of time. But God is good and gentle and patient. And spoke to me through my son. There’s nothing like getting schooled on the ways of Christ by a nine year old. He reminded me in a forceful voice that I’m enough and God’s got the rest.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ NLT)

My work is not done because God is still working in me. So lately I’ve starting asking a different set questions.

God, what are you doing in my life?
How may I help make a difference in your kingdom?
How may I have influence to glorify you?
Lord, what is your purpose for my life?
God, please give me the strength and wisdom to do what you’ve called me to do.

This is hard. To step outside of the “me attitude” is hard. It’s not how we are conditioned in our current society. The internet is a wonderful tool and can be used for great good, but it’s also the thing that can bring on great despair. I’m convinced there are more frustrated people now than ever before. We live our lives publicly and compare ourselves to others constantly. And this helps no one. I like how Seth Godin puts it so plainly when he says “your status compared to other people isn’t how you’re doing.” Amen. I am enough. You are enough.


May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. (‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

God is incredibly easy to please. Love him, love others. Do that well. Lean into him and you’ll start to find your place. I’m starting to recognize and value mine.

Where are you struggling right now? What questions are you wrestling with? Where do you wonder if you are enough? Find me over on Twitter and we’ll continue the conversation!

Parenting is hard

Parenting is full of love, joy, hilarity and happiness. It’s also hard. This morning was hard. There were words said and tempers on exhibit. But do you know what gets me through when my kids go from this…


To this…?

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“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” ‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬ NLT

My kids, in their flaws and insecurities and disobedience, are works of God. They are his masterpiece and he created them perfectly in his image. They do not always behave like him, but you know what? Neither do I. This parenting thing is hard. This parenting thing takes grace. For my kids. For me. Especially for me. Because I do not always do the “good things he planned for me long ago” either. I make mistakes and I have to ask for forgiveness. So how do we keep getting out of bed every morning to do this thing? This seemingly impossible thing? Here are a few ideas I constantly remind myself to practice:

Love ’em.
When I ask my kids if they know why I love them so much they say “because I’m yours.” Drop the mic. That’s all it takes. They’re mine and I love them. Nothing they can do will stop me from loving them. We’ve already established I’m not at all like Jesus, but I kinda get the whole unconditional love thing. We sinned against him, we betrayed him, we murdered him, and he still loved us. That’s how I feel about my kids. They can’t earn my love because they already have it.

Discipline ’em.
But just because I love my kids does not mean I excuse poor behavior. I set expectations and boundaries. The scripture’s clear on this, as well. We like to focus on Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” But keep reading to Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Or what about in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This behavior thing isn’t just on them. We have a responsibility to train our children well. And that is not exclusive of love. It’s in love. Give yourself some credit. You can do both. Which leads me to my third reminder.

Be a model for ’em.
If I want my child to be kind, I need to show kindness. If I want my child to be compassionate, I should be compassionate. If I want my child to forgive, I need to also forgive. If I want my child to play soccer, I need to get in the backyard and play soccer with him. You get the idea. Our behavior influences our children’s behavior. Which is scary because I don’t always want my kids acting like me! But I’d be naive to think they weren’t watching. So let’s do our best to give them something good to see. And when we lose it, and we will, let’s take responsibility for it and talk about it with our kids. Modeling how to repair a relationship is just as important as having a good relationship. I say “I’m sorry” as much as “I love you”.

Pray for ’em.
And to be able to do all of these things, I have to pray. I need strength to get through the day. I need wisdom on how to parent. I seek this through prayer. I need it for myself. I need it for my kids. They need to hear this from me and know they can take all of their burdens to their creator. I need to remember to take all of my burdens to my creator (and not take it out on my kids – you know what I’m talking about 🙂 )


Parenting is everything and nothing like I thought it would be. Jessica Thompson with Give Them Grace once said something along the lines of “the salvation of your children does not depend on your parenting skills” and thank God for that, right?!  We can do all we can, the best we can, but our child is still their own person with their own experiences and will make their own decisions. And we will not always approve of these decisions. We absolutely won’t. And that’s hard. Parenting is hard. Our kids will go their own way and we’ll have to let them. And pray for them. And love them. And hope for the best.

What has been your greatest parenting challenge? What has been your greatest parenting joy? Hit me up on Twitter and we’ll chat!