I dreamed last night that I was on a football team. With big men. Big, tough, football men.  It all seemed normal during my dream. I was putting on my helmet, warming up with the team, working on receiving in the end zone…Suddenly it hit me that large men were going to be hitting me! Wait. Me? Football? This was not a good fit. I can’t play football! 

Before bedtime last night, I watched Hot Pastor playing football with the kids while I sipped coffee on the porch. As the boys laughed at each other and dove on the ground with each catch for added effect, I remember thinking , “what a beautiful night.” Somehow my loopy brain took a great memory and rewrote it as a possible nightmare in my sleep. Me on the line in a football uniform. 

Lots of people ask Hot Pastor if he played football in college. He’s tall, muscular, and male. Not one person has ever asked me if I did. Ever. That would be really absurd.

I’m just going to be honest. Judge if you feel you need to, but I hope you will just give a girl some space to be real. 

I still struggle with something more absurd than Togethergirl playing NFL football. 
I am expecting my adopted son, the little boy who has been through hell and back before he turned six, to act normal.

I get tired of his meltdowns, pouting, and even his struggle to express himself. I find myself angry that I can’t have a quiet morning to myself on the weekend because he’s always awake early. I’m ready for him to be over his fear of bugs and the dark.  I just want him to act like the other seven kids. 

Yes, that’s how I feel. Done. Said it. 

What do you do with that?

We do not even know if his few short years with his mother were good or healthy. From his delays in development, probably not. Then came abandonment followed by abuse at an orphanage. What he has been through changes someone. Trauma and neglect interrupt normal growth in infants and children. Even being an “unwanted” baby can affect the neuropathways in untero. 

He can’t fix himself any more than I could try out for the Atlanta Falcons.

If someone put a set of football pads and a helmet on me, set me on the field with professional football players, gave me the ball and said, “run!”, it would not be any more absurd than my expectations of my son. 

I want what’s easy and comfortable. 

Maybe you’re thinking, “then why did you adopt troubled children?” 

Better yet, why did I have children at all? 

Why did I get married?

We all need relationships, but we enter into them with expectations. There’s a difference between expectations and desires. Desires can be healthy, but expectations are desires with judgement and punishment attached. 

I can desire my husband to pray with me, but if he doesn’t and I become disappointed and unaffectionate, then my desire has turned into an expectation. If my desire for my son to grow and develop is just that, a desire, it will look like patience and prayer. It might even require counseling and therapy that we provide for him out of love.

Frustration? That grows from disappointment which is where I live when I don’t get what I want. 

My son needs freedom from my expectations. Instead he needs acceptance and prayer. He needs my heart to be broken for him, not frustrated with him.

My husband needs my prayers, acceptance, and encouragement, not my nagging.

My teenager needs my support as she dreams, not my judgement. 

If I sound like I’m providing counseling for myself, I am. Sometimes just being honest and saying it out loud (or in print) helps bring clarity. Some days I just have to remind myself of who he is and where he has been, and how I fit into his life. I love that little boy.

I’ve been on the other side. Feeling the weight of expectation. It’s oppressive. 

Are you hanging on to expectations?

Are you living under expectations you think someone has of you? Maybe even unrealistic ones you have for yourself?

Let them go. Let your desires be offerings to Jesus in prayer, and then let them go. Let your heart be broken and not judgemental. 

Philippians 2:1-4

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.