Monday, August 31, 2009

...Needs to Know What to do with Expectations ("Pizza man is here!")

I sometimes have to travel for work, and when Erin was two-years old, I had to travel for two weeks. This left Patrick as the "PIC" -- Parent in Charge. The daycare workers could tell when I was out of town because Erin's hair would be wild when he brought her in. You see, Erin had barometer hair. When she had her baby hair I could tell how humid it was outside by how high and how wild her hair looked. There were days when I would go to get her out of the baby bed and she would favor Don King or Phyllis Diller. Fortunately, my sister took her little girl to the same daycare and would fix Erin's hair before leaving for work.

The Saturday after returning from my two week trip, Patrick was out of the house, and Erin and I were enjoying a relaxing and quiet day at home.

About 2 PM, the doorbell rang. Erin bolts out of her room running down the hall as fast as a round, little two-year old could making a b-line to the front door yelling in excitement, "Pizza's here! Pizza's here!" I still grin when I think about it.

I tried to explain to Erin I hadn't ordered a pizza, but she was expecting the pizza man anyway. I didn't have any expectation because I didn't know who was at the door. I opened the door to find the mailman with a box to deliver. Erin asked, "Where's the pizza?" I told Erin I hadn't called and ordered one, and asked if she had. She said she hadn't, and she turned away from the door and walked away disappointed.

Erin's reaction to the doorbell had made me curious. When I had returned home from my trip, the house was immaculate. I was greatly surprised because I hadn't expected it. This was not the norm, so I was sure to praise Patrick for his effort. I decided to investigate a little further because there were no signs of pizza consumption anywhere. I looked in the trash can, and it was emptied with a fresh bag in it -- a miracle in and of itself and a sign that I was on to something. I went outside to the large cans that would have to be rolled to the curb in the morning, and discovered four or five large pizza boxes. Patrick's idea of a healthy meal -- "It had vegetables on it!"

In two weeks, Erin's expectations had been set that when the doorbell rang, they were going to have pizza for supper. I didn't have that same expectation because I knew I hadn't ordered a pizza, but I also didn't know who was behind that door. Erin's expectations were based on her past experience, but also on what she heard -- the doorbell. Almost like Pavlov's dogs that salivated at the signal, Erin's excitement and expectation were initiated with the sound of the doorbell.

My expectation of what my home would look like after two weeks without my cleaning it had also been set by past experience, and it was wrong. Granted, Patrick was trying to hide something...i.e. the pizza consumption, but I was still wrong in my expectation.

How often do we go to church wanting to experience an awesome worship experience, but we haven't even prepared our hearts for it? How often do we go to church expecting the pastor to deliver a powerful message when we haven't been feeding ourselves the Bread of Life during the week? But what if those things don't happen on a Sunday? What if you go to church and your expectations aren't filled? Do you go away upset, disgruntled, disappointed? What if God had one thing He wanted to give you like a specific verse in the sermon given that day? Your expectations are different than what God had planned for you. Different doesn't mean it's a bad thing. It's just different.

The Bible says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens, the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me," Revelations 3:20. We opened the door to the mailman, and Erin turned away disappointed. Will you open the door to God and what He wants to tell you in His way, or will you walk away disappointed because His communication didn't come in a thunderous sermon, awe-inspiring worship, or in any way YOU expected Him too?

As women hear that I am going to be leading the new women's ministry in our church, several have come to me and been quite honest in saying that they have been burned or hurt by past women's ministry. I appreciate honesty greatly, and I understand that hurt because someone I love dearly was hurt in a women's ministry. Their expectations have been set by past experiences. My prayer is they will keep their heart and minds open as we forge a new ministry.

You see, the prior women's ministry were things like WMU that focused on missions and another version of their women's ministry was more like an event planning group. These were all in their season, and I wouldn't dare take away from them the things these women accomplished because hopefully those ministries met the needs at that time. What has been laid on my heart is Women IN Ministry. The focus will be on ministering to the needs of women.

God has put a team together with diverse histories, experiences, backgrounds, gifts, talents, and hearts. There is a lady with a heart for women in crisis. There is another lady with a heart for young widows. There are several ladies who have a heart for mentoring. Some have hearts to encourage women. Some have hearts that want to pray for and with women, but no matter what the background, talents, gifts, ministries, or hearts, we all want to minister to women. God has put some real powerhouses of faith on this team. I am honored to work with them, and I am excited to see how God is going to use this ministry.

Currently, we are praying for God to give us direction over where to plug in about 20 women, and at the end of the month, we will be offering all the women in the church to sign up to help with women's ministry. It is going to be an exciting time. I can't wait to see how He chooses to use each woman in His ministry.

My expectation? I expect God to show up. I expect God to lead. I am excited about the things that are to come, but those are my expectations. Your expectations are YOURS. Have you a negative expectation because of past experiences? Are you going to allow it to color and possibly close off opportunities God has planned for you? Because if you close them off, God WIL USE SOMEONE ELSE, and you will miss out on a blessing. I don't want that for anyone.

My suggestion is if your expectations are tainted by a bad prior experience, please keep and open mind and heart and observe. Pray for guidance. I would have for anyone to miss out on a good thing or walk away disappointed because things don't turn out the way you thought they would or because the pizza man didn't deliver.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Opportunity knocks. Will you open the door? Will you invite God in and spend some time feasting on the Bread of Life? Give your expectations to Him to do with as He sees fit. He won't disappoint.

His Daughter,


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