Thursday, September 26, 2013

Something Better

My husband and I have been together for almost six years, and one thing that he knows well about me is that I like surprises.  Of all kinds.  Whenever he plans a special date, he keeps everything a secret just so I can be surprised.  This is one of the many things I love about him.

Last year, I turned 30.  The day fell on a Thursday, so Aug said he wanted to take Jonathan and me out for a surprise family celebration.  

He took me to a cute Korean restaurant that served one of my favorite dishes (kimbap - aka Korean cooked "sushi" rolls) and then we drove around a beautiful park.  

Everything about the evening was so thoughtful and sweet, but somehow as we were driving around, I started getting inexplicably sad.  Now that I look back on it, I realize I had just gotten pregnant then, so maybe it was the extra hormones flying around.  But despite all of the sweet gestures and plans, I think I felt sad because I was turning 30 and I hadn't realized until that moment that I had actually wanted to celebrate with other people.  I had built it up in my head as a magical and amazing day with everyone dropping by with birthday wishes... but as the day came to a close, I found myself feeling discontented because it was turning out to be a relatively normal day (especially in comparison to the grand day I had imagined.)

On the drive home, I cried to my husband out of confusion ("I'm not sure why I'm crying!" and "I didn't realize I wanted a big celebration!"), all the while unsuccessfully trying assure him that I was really grateful for all of the surprises he had planned - and that this was just a hormonal moment.  Aug was so sweet through it all, patiently listening and enduring my brattiness.  I dried my tears and got over it myself.  30 was just a number, after all.

Saturday rolled around, and Aug told me that he wanted to take me out on a date.  

Little did I know that this date would turn out to be a surprise birthday party at a restaurant filled with many of my closest friends!  Aug had been planning it for weeks.

I was stunned and sincerely touched by everyone's presence and, most of all, by my husband's thoughtful plans and patient silence as he had given ear to my whiny complaints just two days earlier.  

He knew what I didn't.  He knew something better was in store, just around the corner...something even better than what I had imagined.  Yet he loved me enough to let me wait for the surprise.

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I used to be a pessimist.  I used to tell myself, I would rather have low expectations and be pleasantly surprised than have high expectations and be sorely disappointed.

But this isn't the way God works. 

William Carey once said, "Expect great things from God.  Attempt great things for God."

My Father knows what I don't.  He knows the greater things yet to come, and He always comes through.

Instead of settling for low expectations so I can be "pleasantly surprised" by the mediocre, He is calling me - challenging me - to expect great things from Him.  Even when His answer to my prayers is "No," or "Wait," I can hold onto the truth that it's because He has something better planned.

And I'd take that over the best things I myself can fathom any day.