It Didn't Go as Planned

Phil. 1:6 says He will continue the good work He has begun in us until it is completed.


Stacking up the pretty, but unused plates, I decided to go ahead and leave the Be Thankful right on top where I had put them earlier that morning. Maybe I’ll get to use them next year. I might as well just leave them so they are ready. I tried to think of something positive to push out my thoughts loaded with disappointment.

Thanksgiving morning wasn’t what I thought it would be. If fact, it was nothing like I had planned.

When I had whisked together the sunny eggs earlier that morning, I hadn’t picture myself moving the breakfast casserole from the oven to the refrigerator. There just wasn’t time for the peaceful meal together that I had envisioned. Now, we needed to scurry and get to the day’s celebration. Besides, my son had texted to say he wouldn’t be able to make it. Eating with the empty place setting would have just made me sad.

Maybe next year I thought as I slid the rarely used clear plates back into the upper-most cupboard.

Me and expectations. Even now I cry as I type this days later.

Expectations have always been a big struggle for me. There is a war inside me, caught between the mom, daughter and wife I want to be and the reality I hear in my mind.

And so I struggle. There seems to be no middle ground. I’m either failing to communicate my expectations or I over set them.

Yet, Jesus says there is hope for me and for you, too, if you wrestle with unmet expectations!

Jesus promises us that each day, if we choose to set our expectations on Him, instead of on others, He will keep His work that He has begun in us going.

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

Every day we are becoming. If we place our confidence in the right place, the One who has begun the work,  we rest knowing He will finish the work of making us more like Him.

So today, I will choose to be confident. Confident that He will do in me what I cannot do in myself – make me more and more like Him. More compassionate. More loving. More gracious and merciful. More flexible and unselfish. More like Jesus. Working on me and in me until the day when He returns.

My part is to focus on the good; to be thankful.

My whole family did have some special moments together … it was just a few days later. And unlike Thanksgiving Day, our annual tree cutting day did meet my expectations.

Things don't always go as planned. Our expectations are smashed. Can things ever change?

Another reminder – some days will. Some days won’t. Be either way, Jesus, keep working Your completion in me!











What are your hopes and expectations as the holidays approach?

What can you do to help set those expectations in the right place as the holidays get closer?

Want to learn more about the fruit of the Spirit? Get “Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants” and learn more about the “captivating characteristics” with your girl!





  1. Laurie Lett says:

    Lately for years Christmas has been so hard for me to deal with. I get very overwhelmed with people’s expectations of gifts from me. I love to live a simple life but that is so complicated when I have a husband and two boys who do not live the same. In fact last year I even went on a strike and refused to put up a Christmas tree because I knew I would have to do all the work by myself. I go, why bother? But I will use this Thursday as the day to devote myself to putting Christmas up so we can be reminded of what Jesus did for us. I am battling depression, too….praying to see good in this season.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Laurie – I can really relate. As my first Christmas as an empty nester, I haven’t brought myself to decorating our tree yet. We had a wonderful day cutting it down, but now as the kids have all gone back to college, it is in the corner of the living room empty.

      Maybe you and I can get a new perspective on Christmas this year. How about if we turn on worship music instead of Christmas music and worship our Savior, the One who came to earth because of His great love for us? I’m up for trying something new!

    2. Laurie,
      You are not alone in that lonely feeling that is compounded by that indifference of others. You must do a few things just for yourself, particularly in a testosterone home. Having spent time in an estrogen home, I can relate a little. The genders don’t realize that they don’t really respect your needs because they are so similar in ways that they don’t realize and that you can never achieve just for the hormone differences.
      I wonder if you can do some things for yourself and let them do theirs, as in things they seem to take for granted because of your gender. I had often told mine that I am glad to do things that they CANNOT, but not things they simply refuse doing even though they have the skill and opportunity.

      You are decorating for you so do exactly what you love. That is likely difficult because you care so deeply for those who don’t seem to care. Still, please your God and your heart, enjoying Him and yourself, enjoying that communion.

      I hope that does not cause trouble, but if there is conflict, stand and point out that which I had said. All in the home should have opportunity to enjoy being there doing what fills the soul and heart.

      God bless you. You are getting prayers from folks you don’t even know.

  2. This is the story of my life. My expectations no matter how low I set them are always left unmet. Be it my children, husband, or salt MYSELF. I try so hard yet am always left empty and saddened. Each day is a new day though and Ali can do is get up, take a deep breath and begin again. Hopefully one day I will get up and get out of this rut. Hopefully one day my husband will show me gratitude, appreciation and respect. Then hopefully my children will follow. Is 1 thank you a day too much to ask for? I guess my expectations are too high. Breathe deep and go on is a I can do. God will give me as I need. I know he sees my work and will reward me in heaven. ?

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      I know it is hard, Denise, when you don’t feel appreciated.

      I once heard Andy Stanley say, “Unspoken gratitude is the same as ingratitude.” or something like that 🙂

      Maybe we could let it begin with us?

      My husband is really great about saying thank you, but I have had to work with my kids. I have started telling them thank you as often as I can. It is amazing how hearing it from others can get the ball rolling!

      1. Thank you for your words of encouragement. Also, wow sorry about the “typos”, my phones auto correct is atrociously horrid.

        I fully realize men/children are completely different from women in how they show emotions and gratitude. Yowza, it just stings to the bone sometimes. I am slowly seeing headway with my little ones (6 and under) but my older ones (19 & 17) are just like their father. I am a big thank you person because I am grateful for everything. I say thank you to my husband for working, buying food, etc. He tells me it is my job no thank you necessary. I guess he feels all I do is my job so no gratitude is needed. He is a hard nut to crack.

        I am just going on doing all I do for Jesus joyfully knowing He is seeing all I do and endure. One day He will soften my husbands heart and my husband will realize and appreciate me out loud.

  3. Gratitude is the issue in any situation that seems impossible. I have virtually eliminated any thought of celebrating Christmas as my hubby is Jewish. I know in my heart I need to be grateful for this situation so I just praise God for His life within. Jesus becomes the focus of my life, bringing hope and peace.

  4. Trying to compensate for shortcomings, I work harder and longer, focused on tasks, missing many joys of relationship. With a natural tendency to feel outside all inner circles, I should be pushing for inclusion. After so many failures, I found a “comfort zone” of sorts in tasks. Always plenty to be done, the tasks are ever present, waiting and calling. Subconsciously I join them and busy myself often into the wee hours, wherever I am. Only with some discipline do I embrace the time to adapt to the many failed efforts and broken plans. Even relishing the marvelous Presence of God, I must put aside the habits that busy me, the screaming tasks.
    Long dreaming of gathering all together for something, anything, holiday or not, I found no success. Learning that looking forward to something must cause it not to occur, I just try to enjoy the surprises that are favorable. Often engaging in plans aware that they are just plans, I offer thoughts as if I hope for success, but not counting on it for happiness.
    A recent holiday plan that I did admit needing, vacation time included, suffered a painful threat that struck me hard in combination with a major loss for folks I hold dear. After almost canceling, we decided to continue and found the threat had fallen by the wayside. We enjoyed much needed rest in a casual setting with a few likeminded folks.
    I might be learning mature anticipation after long bouts with disappointment and depression, thanks to prayer and generic lexapro helping me work toward better habits of thought.

  5. Ah, yes, great expectations…I try not to go there anymore. 😉 Its taken me 40 years of marriage, but I think I’ve finally learned a thing or two. But I did pray that all will go well with the Thanksgiving meal. 🙂 The thing I am trying to learn is to be content…in all things. I usually fail at this, but I am learning more and more to fix my eyes on Jesus and not the problem, and just let Him be Sovereign over it all. It’s not easy and sometimes downright difficult…but there’s no alternative but to keep praying and keep believing. Because we know God is who He says He is!
    Thanks for this Lynne. I empathize with your shed tears…

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