My son was just under a year. He was playing near my husband across the room from me. My husband could tell that my spirit was wresting on the inside.
“What’s wrong babe?” he asked.
I sighed. I wanted to explain how I was feeling, but I didn’t know how. Did I even understand this emotional chaos churning inside? I shook my head side to side motioning a burden of disappointment.
He asked again, “What is bothering you?”
I inhaled and then forced myself to exhale with words that describe how I was feeling.
“I have always desired to have a baby that was cuddly and loving, a baby that gives kisses and hugs. Our son won’t even hold my hand. I feel like he doesn’t need me.”
In that moment, I’m not sure what I was looking for. But instead of confirming what my heart was feeling, my husband did not hesitate to look me sternly in the eyes and tell me to stop.
“He is our son and you are his mother. Of course he needs you. Every detail about Him, God knows about. He is unique and he is strong. And he will hold your hand when he is ready. Sure he may never be a “cuddly” baby always wanting to be dependent on you, but that’s okay! He is going to be a man some day and it is our job to show him how to love!
You are disappointed because he is not as you expected our child to be, how God created him to be. How do you think those expectations are going to affect your relationship with him when he gets older? How many more expectations are you going to have of him? And do you think he will sense your disappointment of him?”
My heart stopped churning as I considered his words.
The wisdom I heard from my husband in that moment hit me in the deepest places of my heart. I didn’t realize that I had expectations for my son that were stirring disappointment in my heart. I had allowed my emotions to control me, without processing any of them.
Then I remembered the expectations I had of my husband in the beginning of our marriage. Those expectations crippled our intimacy when they were left unmet.
I was confronted in this moment with a root in my heart that sets up expectations in my relationships with others. I needed to adjust my heart and my perspective. I needed to repent and change the way I viewed relationships.
I was so grateful that my husband stopped to help me address how I was feeling, but also how detrimental expectations are. As a mother, I don’t want my child to ever feel disappointment or disapproval. I don’t want any of my children to feel as though they don’t measure up to my standards.
I also never want to disrespect God and the beautiful gifts He has given me. My children are unique, one of a kind gifts, formed by the Creator. And when I am secure in God, dependent on Him to fulfill me, then I do not need to seek it in others, especially in my children.
Expectations are different from hopes and desires. Expectations are strong beliefs that something will or should happen. A heart full of expectation can easily be discouraged or disappointed when that thing does not come to pass. A heart of hopefulness remains just that, hopeful, yet flexible.
Let us all evaluate our hearts. Do we have expectations leading our hearts? If so, let us repent and let go of the expectations. Instead, may be remain hopeful for our children and all that they do, accepting them and accepting God’s will for their futures.
Jennifer Smith UnveiledWife.com