Each of us are on a journey with expectations. The definition of expectation: the act or the state of expecting; anticipation, the degree of chance that something will occur. Often we have expectations of ourselves, another person and even of God. The Jeremiah Study Bible introduces each book of the Bible and in Ecclesiastes he says, “From a purely human perspective, the two wisest men in history–certainly two of the best teachers–were Jesus of Nazareth and Solomon, king of Israel. But if two traveled the same road in terms of skill, their paths diverged at the crossroad called integrity. Jesus never lost his pure perspective, willingly faced death for what He knew to be true. Solomon, on the other hand, began swapping his kingdom–colored glasses for lenses shaded with cynicism and doubt in the latter half of his life.”
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1: 2-3
Solomon was on a journey to find meaning to his life: in 1 Kings 11:3 Solomon had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines. Solomon turned his life over to meaningless efforts. He had other gods in his life, his heart was not loyal to the Lord God. In Ecclesiastes 2:26a, “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man (woman) who is good in His sight.” I have always love Ecclesiastes 3.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh
A time to mourn, and a time to dance
A time to keep silence and a time to speak.
A time to weep– I married young and had so many expectations. Many of my expectations were unrealistic based on Harlequin Romance Novels. In 1970 the song, We Have Only Just Begun to live white lace and promises was what I wanted to describe our marriage. Young and idealistic I placed my heart, hopes, dreams and unrealistic expectations in the hands of my husband not God. My husband and I struggled in our marriage. As the years passed and expectations went unmet I filled up with hate and in the late 1980’s, I wanted a divorce. I graduated with my nursing degree in 1989 with ever intention to divorce my husband. However, divorce was not God’s plan for my life. In Jeremiah 29:11 he says I know the plan I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
A time to laugh– I have two amazing sons. I have six beautiful grandchildren. I am a nurse with an amazing career and now I am writing. I love to laugh. God gives us the gift of laughter. When was the last time you laughed out loud, with a snort, laughed until your stomach hurt. My mother loved to laugh. She was afraid of escalators and would cover her fear by laughing and she would laugh at the Hallmark Store as she would pick out a card. “Laughter is the best medicine.” There is a saying it take more facial muscles to frown than to smile. If you need to laugh today watch this video.
A time to mourn– My mother passed away when I was twenty-five. My heart broke and the pain is still surreal yet she is in heaven with Jesus. My oldest son was three when she passed away and I was crying and he said, “Momma, why you crying?” I said, “Mommy is sad because Grandma went to heaven with Jesus.” Randy said, “Why cry, she is with Jesus!” Oh, out of the mouth of babes. I have mourned over other things like the loss of dreams and ideals, the loss of our home to the financial crisis, the loss of health, and the loss of my beloved grandmother. But I do not dwell on my losses.
A time to dance– I love to dance but for today I am thinking of this as praise and gratitude. I am thankful for all of my blessings. King David teaches us to praise God with dance. Psalm 149:3-4 “Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to him with the timbrel and the harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.”
A time to keep silent– A song I listened to as a young person, “Silence is Golden” but is silence golden? Perhaps you are like me and you have kept silent, stuffed those hurtful memories, endured so much pain because silence is not golden. When I opened deep wounds and allowed God to heal those deep hurts. My life was forever changed in 1995 when I laid my pain at the foot of the cross. I met with three women and prayed through the Steps to Freedom. I shared every remembered pain with God in November 1995 and I forgave from the depth of my soul. God set me free that day and gave me a heart for hurting women. Matthew West sings a beautiful song called Forgiveness.
A time to speak– Forgiveness enables me to speak about the love of God. I have found my voice. I am still asking God what He wants me to share now that I am writing. The secret to finding your voice is to let go and let God have every remembered pain. I forgave my husband for many things including my unrealistic expectations. I forgave myself.
Life is not meaningless. Life is an adventure, a journey. In Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
One day is like a thousand years to God, he does not want anyone to perish. At this Christmas season, let healing begin. Find your voice it is time to speak because He makes everything beautiful in His time.
Father God, I pray for the woman who is hurting this season because of unmet expectations. I pray for the woman who has so much pain that the joy of Christmas is almost unbearable. Lord I ask that she give her expectations to you. You are the only one who can heal the deep wounds. In Jesus name. Amen