Reasonable Expectations


The main storm of moving household, business, and farm has finally subsided.

19 years worth of stuff has been sold, given away, crammed into a storage unit and garage, and squeezed into the 28-foot-travel-trailer-masquerading-as-a-tiny-house that my husband and I will call home for at least a year. The business is stuffed into a small windowless warehouse space, and Daniel is actually getting Doorposts mail out the door again.

Now the rebuilding begins. I like rebuilding a lot more than I like tearing down. In fact, I could easily become obsessive about it. After so much chaos for so long, my soul longs for order and routine. So I tend to wring too much out of a 24-hour period, not wanting to stop until everything is exactly the way I want it.

But God knows I don’t need everything exactly the way I want it. I actually need to keep learning to be thankful and patient with things the way I don’t want them. He even used a fortune cookie to remind me of this.

One of my granddaughters and I stopped for Chinese food on a trip back and forth from our old town to our new one, and I had to smile when I pulled the slip of paper out of my cookie and read, “Keep your expectations reasonable.”

In other words, “In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Don’t expect everything to be perfect, and don’t expect everything to happen right now.

I can give thanks for the opportunity to park our trailer in the driveway of our son’s new house, even before he and his family are living in the house themselves.

I can give thanks for a house we can go into while we don’t have water or reliable power in our little trailer yet.

And I can give thanks for all the oddities and challenges that have come with that privilege and blessing over the past week – the shower that is missing its shower head, the oven that is missing its racks, the stovetop that’s missing the burner rings to support its burners, the lights that have no switches to turn them on, the outlets that have no power behind them, the breakers that trip when the toaster is on, the faucets that only yield cold water.

“Keep your expectations reasonable.” That little slip of paper is posted on my tiny refrigerator door, where I can read it over and over.

We’ve been here a week. Rebuilding takes time.

I can use the toaster now. I can walk through the garage without having to move boxes at every turn. I can turn on a faucet and hot water comes out. The dog has quit barking. When I plug in my hot plate, it works! Tomorrow we might even have water in the trailer! What luxury!

“Keep your expectations reasonable.”

“In every thing give thanks . . .”

This isn’t heaven. It’s preparing me for heaven. And for that I can give thanks.


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