I am experimenting with the coolest machine ever! Dave bought me a new sewing machine last April that also does embroidery. It isn’t just the kind where you can make a nifty border, but an actual embroidery machine. Now, it isn’t the biggest. Actually, it’s the smallest. But I hadn’t used it until today. So I whipped out the attachment, took off the packing tape and started practicing. What does one do when practicing? Well this grandma is embroidering her granddaughter’s name.

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I did something stupid. It wasn’t a life changing level of stupidity, just not life giving. It didn’t hit me until the words were out of my mouth and then it took me another 18 hours of pondering and feeling the nudge of the Holy Spirit to confess and ask my friends’ forgiveness.

Here’s the thing. We ALL do and say unnecessary things. Sometimes they are hurtful and sometimes just not life giving. In this, we are all on a level playing field.

It isn’t that we do/say the thing. It is what we do afterwards that matters the most. I had to think of King Saul and King David today as I thought about what I had done.

They both made mistakes. They both disobeyed God’s commands to them. They both chose themselves and their own way. But when confronted, their responses were completely different.

Read: 1 Samuel 10:8; 13; 13:8-14; 15:3, 15-20, 30

You really should read the whole chapter of 1 Samuel 15, but I know that is fairly long. Notice how Saul responds to Samuel when he is confronted. He makes excuses, blames others, says he has no choice and then pleads with Samuel saying, “I know I have sinned. But please, as least honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel by coming back with me so that I may worship your God.” His concern was not that he had disobeyed but that he would be dishonored in front of others. And he doesn’t even claim God as his own.

Read: 2 Samuel 12:7-13; Psalm 51:4

David’s response is so different. Immediately he acknowledges that he had sinned against the Lord. He didn’t offer an excuse. He didn’t try to persuade Nathan that his deed was necessary. He just admits he did it.

David is called a man after God’s own heart. It certainly isn’t because David was perfect. But his heart was perfectly attuned to God’s. He knew that God desired a broken and repentant heart, a spirit of humility that quickly acknowledged guilt and turned from sin.

Who do you emulate – Saul or David? When you feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit do you acknowledge the misdeed and confess or make excuses and point fingers. One leads to life and the other leads to death. You choose.

Another opportunity to worship in community. People are scary. I agree. So wherever you are today, embrace life and faith. Meet Jesus on your recliner, in your pew, or at the beach. He is everywhere present. There is no where we can go that he is not already been.

Reading: Psalm 139

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Saturday already again! Since I am currently hanging out in the sunny south, I will enjoy the 70 degree weather and maybe make a trip to the beach. What does our day look like? Do you have expectations for what you might accomplish on the weekend? Maybe it’s your day off and you have a long list of to-do’s.

No matter what your day brings you, I pray that it might be filled with joy. Enjoy whatever comes your way knowing that very little of what we do is eternal. Hug your kids. Kiss your grandchildren. Have coffee with a friend. Go to the beach. Or for the northern folks, light a fire….roast a marshmallow in the house.

Reading: Psalm 117

Tomorrow we get to worship with other believers. What can you do today to prepare for this wonderful opportunity?

Reading: Psalm 62:5-8

This is the last day we will read this psalm but there is one more really important principle I want to draw from these verses.

In verse 5, I find these words: “for my hope is in him.” 

The same concept is repeated in verse 6 with these words: “He ALONE is my rock and my salvation.”

Again in verse 7 it says, “My victory and honor come from God ALONE.”

And finally in verse 8 it says, “trust in him at all times.”

Here is what I want you to take away from this passage today….as long as we put our trust in humanity to satisfy our longings and meet our needs, we will be disappointed. When we put our hope in God and his love for us we will NEVER be disappointed. I know. Never is a big word and it means never. But I believe it.

Other people will not able to meet our longings, fulfill our expectations or anticipate our needs. But our Creator, the God of heaven and earth can do just that.

Oh wait! I hear that rumbling. God has already disappointed you. He didn’t fulfill your expectations. Life has brought trouble and God didn’t come through for you in the way you expected. I have experienced and thought those very same things! Check out my blog post “When Life Gets Real.” for more on this topic. But I stand by what I said. God will always come through for you.

Today take a step back and ask, “where am I putting my trust?” Is it in God? In humanity? In yourself?

Put your hope in him for he alone is your help and salvation; your victory and honor come from him alone. So put your trust in him at all times!

Blessings on your Friday. And, oh yeah, it’s my birthday!

Reading: Psalm 62:5-8

I know. I know. This is the same reading as yesterday. Maybe you decided not to read it today for that reason. I encourage you to stop and read it again. Because there’s a chance you are like me and you didn’t read every word. Take another pass through it and see what stands out to you this time.

I want to focus on verse 8. Here it says, “Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”

When disappointment from unmet expectations rolls through your body, stop and tell God about it. Pour out your heart to him, and then listen for his encouraging voice as he redirects your thinking and surrounds you with his compassion and strength.

I also find it completely necessary and so helpful, to talk with those close to me. Admitting that I had expectations has been a game changer for me. Just saying the words helps me to realign my thinking and get back on track.

The expectations aren’t wrong. Perhaps they are just ill-timed. But getting it into the open is an important step for me. If you aren’t in a situation where sharing with the people involved is an option, you can still pour your heart out to God. He will hear and understand. Because his understanding has no limit. (Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40: 28)

Don’t let unmet expectations derail you or discourage you. Acknowledge their presence. Talk to God and others about them. Realign and continue moving.

Blessings on your day! May it be filled with joy and purpose without end.

Reading: Psalm 62:5-8

What does this psalm teach you about expectations, translated here hope? The first phrase that jumps out at me is “Let all that I am WAIT QUIETLY before God.”

When chaos swirls in my head, I need to sit quietly with the Lord. I ask him what is causing the chaos and wait to see what he shows me. Often, I see unmet expectations I didn’t even know were there.

When I desire, or expect, a certain outcome from an event, I set myself up for disappointment if it isn’t grounded in reality. Often my expectations involve the response of other people and that is something I just can’t realistically predict or control. The event might be a family dinner, an outing with friends or the order of my day. When the wished for outcome does not happen, my mind fills with chaos. If left unchecked, it drowns me in disappointment.

What is disappointing you today? Was your initial desire based in reality? Did something pop up in the day to derail your good plan? Take it to God and wait quietly before him. Ask him to help you see things from his perspective. It’s so safe because he loves you so deeply and there is no judgment attached to his love for you.

A few years ago – okay, so it was about 15 – I had a birthday party for myself. My husband was out of town and I invited a few of my closest friends for dinner and a sleep over. Not everyone was staying the night, but I planned where everyone would sleep and shared those plans early in the evening.

Guests arrived and dinner was served. I found myself doing the serving and shuffling food from here to there. And a cloud of disappointment began to appear on the horizon. This is my birthday party. Why don’t they help?

Clean up progressed, with me doing most of the work – after all, I was the hostess. The disappointment grew tinged with hurt. We watched a movie, played some games and then I was ready for bed. I had to be up early for my daughter’s music competition so I needed to get some sleep – I thought.

I crawled into bed and the ladies joined me so we could talk. I tried my best to go to sleep, but was unsuccessful. Disappointment and hurt grew with annoyance appearing around the edges…

So, I moved to a different bed and the ladies dispersed downstairs. Noisily, I might add. Still unable to sleep, I returned to my own bed and attempted to block out the laughter, chatter and noise. (They really were having the best time!) Sleep eluded me and the cloud of disappointment morphed into a storm of annoyance, About 4 a.m. everyone decided to quiet down for a few hours of sleep.

My alarm went off as I had planned and I confess, I was not a happy hostess when I got up. Frustrated, and quite honestly, annoyed with my friends for disregarding my birthday celebration and upsetting my basket. I was ready for them to go so I could lick my wounds.

You might wonder why my friends would be so uncaring and thoughtless, disregarding my birthday to have their own girls’ night sleepover. Well, it wasn’t them. It was me.

You see, I HADN’T TOLD ANYONE THIS WAS MY BIRTHDAY PARTY! I know, that sounds pretty dumb. But that is how expectations are sometimes. We set them up in our head, without letting anyone else know. Then we are disappointed when others don’t cooperate and our expectations don’t come to fruition.

I didn’t plan to have a birthday party for myself when I invited my friends. It just sort of happened. And before I knew it, I was looking forward to sharing my special day with these special women. And I anticipated being the guest of honor – celebrated and pampered.

I also hadn’t told my friends about my Saturday plans. I was sure I had conveyed the expectation they would sleep a full night – after all, I told them where they would sleep, but they didn’t get it. And I didn’t flex well.

I am going to guess that this same thing has happened in your life. Perhaps it centered around the holiday we just came through or maybe a birthday that slipped by unnoticed.

I don’t think we can completely avoid disappointment when expectations aren’t met. Sometimes we don’t realize they are there until the disappointment is curling around our hearts. Then comes the chaos, frustration, annoyance, lashing out, withdrawal, hurting and being hurt.

Yesterday when my heart turned into a chaotic mess, I had to stop and acknowledge the expectations. I noticed they were based in what I hoped would happen, not anything that was a guarantee. And when what we hope for involves others, disappointment often follows.

Expectation in scripture (often translated hope) is very different. The word itself is deeper and richer than our word and is settled in God. When we have expectations for the future and that expectation is in God, it is a guarantee. There will be no disappointment when our hope is in God and his promises. They are sure!

David says it well in Psalm 62.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.

Psalm 62:5-8

I invite you to read the whole psalm today. What does it say to you about your hope? In the next couple of days, I will share what I see in this psalm, but for today, take your disappointments to Him. Talk to him about your hopes and dreams. Let him settle them in reality.

Until next time…

May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

This is my birthday week. Fifty some years ago my mom waited in expectation of a sixth child. She already had five children ages 7-10 and a one year old. She anticipated I would be a good playmate for my brother. Only time would tell if that expectation became a reality.

Expectations are funny things. What happens when expectations aren’t met? Does disappointment set in? Can we adjust? How can we be realistic when we set expectations? Do we really set them or do they develop on their own?

The Bible has a lot to say about expectations and often refers to it is hope (sometimes as longing or thirst). What do these scriptures teach you about setting expectations?

Reading: Psalm 42:1-2; Proverbs 10:28; Isaiah 64:3-4; 1 Peter 1:3-4

When I woke up today, my internal chaos meter was off the charts. As I drove to my Barre3 workout, I sorted through the swirling thoughts and I identified expectations – my expectations that were not met, my husband’s expectations that were in danger of being crushed, and expectations I perceived others held for me today. All these whirled around inside my head (and heart) creating chaos. As I submitted my chaotic thoughts to the Father, he led me to a quiet and peaceful place. It involved adjusting expectations, honest conversation and a few compromises. But once again, I am in a place of quiet trust.

May your day be filled with the knowledge of God’s presence in spite of any chaos you may be experiencing today. May your hope be set on Him!

Be still, and know that I am God!

Psalm 46:10

He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

Psalm 107:29-30

Sunday! I have an additional reading for today. I am so challenged by David’s awareness of the effect of sin in his life and the key to living with pure hearts – God desires a broken and repentant heart. I wish for you a meaningful time of worshiping with other believers where you can find community and family.

Reading: Psalm 51

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