Sunday, October 19, 2014

Expectations VS. Reality - Part One of a series from my journal

Public Domain - wikicommons

These are some snippets from my private journal, I will post a new section each day until I share as mush as I think I should. I think some of my observations about myself may enlighten someone other mama (or papa) out there. My desire with this series is to help families (especially mamas) grow in wisdom and strength. So, I share my private thoughts. This is very candid. Very honest. If you have not yet had children, and you are in that place of begging and pleading for a spouse or children - please do not judge me. I love my husband and my children. I am just exploring the roots of unhappiness that turn up in every marriage - unrealistic expectations.

I have always wanted to be in control. I think, deep down, we all want to be in control. We are - after all - made in God's image. BUT, we are sinful creatures who have distorted His design. So, my chief end in wanting to be in control is probably trying to be God. No... I would never say it like that out loud, but when you peel back all the layers that appears to be the root.
There are two things I have long sought to control as my own "coping" mechanism for stress. I first started seeing this pattern in high school, but especially in early college. 1 - My dietary intake. 2 - order and cleanliness."
(Here I skip some personal info that I do not think would be profitable to this blog.)
"[In high school] I chose to eat at Hardees' most every night. I liked it. I liked my co-workers. I liked the food. I liked our conversation. I chose my diet.
As a young single woman it was very easy to control both my diet and the order and cleanliness of my surroundings. My parents were clean people. There were no children.  There was no threat to my order."
(Now I will skip to when I get married.)
"My expectation was that (as a woman) I would cook. Oops. I never learned how to cook. Major trauma to my immature heart as I watched Paul cook. Words still cannot express this first bursting of my idyllic bubble of expectation. From there on, it would be one crushed expectation after another. BUT, in marriage, an adult may be pliable enough to change. Paul did. I never let go of my plans. Paul began laying down his life daily about fifteen years ago. 
So, for the first two years of marriage life was still somewhat controllable. But, those things beyond my control would make me unhappy. I was very much living for myself, with very little threat to that. Yes, I chose to go to a Christian school. Yes, I chose to marry a preacher. In a way... that made me happy. I had no idea how little personal pleasure and gain there was in being a preacher's wife (or I never would have done it). God allowed me to be blinded. I deceived myself with massive unrealistic expectations for our future ministry together. 
We did enjoy a couple of years of serving side by side before the event which most over-turned my well-laid plans. A baby was born. My first. It is my belief that marriage and child-rearing are the two areas where we have more unrealistic expectations than anywhere else. (Occupation/employment may be a far third.) 
From the first, this new creature, which was meant by God to be a blessing, tortured me in every way. She upset my kingdom of self! First, I was sick. Pregnancy was "supposed" to be nice. Nope. I was sick. Very sick. Then, when she was born.... wow, I was totally unprepared for REAL life as a mom. She cried. Constantly. She didn't nurse well... and putting her on formula was my first-ever "failure" as a mom. I am far enough removed (now) to see that nursing was my expectation, society's expectation, and my friends' and family's expectations; but, though God designed me to breast feed my baby, HE was not calling me a failure. He knew that unbearable, excruciating pain was a yeast infection. I didn't know that. God was not mad at me. I know that now. But, at the time, I believed that I failed God, myself, society, all my friends, and family. Lovely. The misery began compounding from that day forth. Never had I felt such misery. Never before had I been this much of a failure. 
I have turned off comments, because this subject is too tender to me. But, if you need to speak to me you can email me at Sharing these thoughts and publishing them was harder than I thought it would be!  Will I conquer my expectations and find peace? Tune in soon for part two!