Great Expectations


Let's flip the calendar all the way back to August 1,1996. I am a fresh newlywed recently returned from my honeymoon in the Rocky Mountains and back at work. I set my coffee and purse on my desk and noticed the calendar is still in July.

As I turn the calendar to August 1st, I cannot help but smile. August is one of my favorite months for two reasons. One, it's summer. Two, it's my birthday month! I smile and wonder what my new, handsome husband, Patrick, will be getting me for my birthday. I love getting and giving gifts- it's one of my top love languages! With anticipation and high expectation, I wait for my birthday to come.

On my birthday, I'm home from work and wondering what Patrick has planned to celebrate. The minutes on the clock tick by and still no Patrick. Hmm, in this pre-cellphone age, I wonder where he is and why he's late. He finally arrives with flowers in one hand and a grocery bag in the other. He hastily dumps the flowers in a vase and disappears. Upon return he hands me a card and a box of Andes Mints. He kisses me on the cheek and says, "Happy Birthday!"


May I remind you that I was waiting with anticipation and high expectation for what my husband had planned to celebrate my unique day. Sadly, a box of Andes Mints, even though a favorite, fell short of the thoughtful, purchased in June, gift I had expected. Am I the only one with unrealistic expectations?

Let's flip those calendar pages ahead five years. Maybe even ten. In those years, as I turned the calendar over to August, my disappointment, over past 'gift failures' led to me planting seeds of discontent in my heart that I generously watered over the years feeding how I viewed my husband and marriage. Now, when turning the pages into August I would lean back and smirk and say in that snarky voice in my head, "I wonder if he'll even remember my birthday."

Ugh. The state of my heart was so ugly. I was so focused on what Patrick was doing 'wrong' that I didn't see the discontent I was watering. I hadn't noticed it blooming into bitterness. I didn’t realize I was wearing down my husband’s confidence in gift giving. God sure has his hands full with me, doesn't he?

Thankfully over time I became aware of this attitude I had around my birthday. I realized that my expectations were only setting my husband up for failure and impacting my marriage. I set out to change my expectations and pull those weeds of discontent and bitterness that were growing in my heart. The process was slow, but the fruit is sweet, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.

These days, when I turn the calendar over to August, I am thankful to still have life on this earth. I’m thankful for my husband who didn’t know what he was getting into all those years ago when he married me. I am thankful that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17), I’m thankful that God changed my heart all those years ago, and I’m thankful for my Pinterest board titled, “Kim’s Wish List”, which Patrick has access to.

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