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Fun moms take their kids to Dairy Queen. I had to drive to the grocery store anyway, so I decided that the kids and I would stop at Dairy Queen for afternoon snack. I was quite excited for this fun little adventure with Jack (18 months) and Isabella (age 4). It was late in August and the temperature was in the upper 80s, so I as soon as I got the kids up from nap I excitedly announced we would go to Dairy Queen.

We ordered our usual ice cream cones and sat at an outdoor table with our treats. I remembered that Jack had fallen off a bench here a few weeks earlier and smacked his head very hard, so I nervously put my arm around him, regularly reminding him to sit down and be careful. I was feeding him spoonfuls of ice cream when all of a sudden a blood-curdling scream erupted from Isabella: “THIS IS MELTING! TAKE IT NOOOOOOW!!”

Isabella hates to be wet or messy, immediately changing any article of clothing that catches even one drop of water. She could not eat her cone quickly enough to prevent it from melting all over her hands, and then she melted down all over me.

Jack was yelling at every truck that drove past us or shouting for “more,” while Isabella screamed at me a couple more times due to her melting ice cream. In a matter of minutes, this weary mama was no longer the “fun Dairy Queen mom” I had so clearly pictured in my mind.

Sometimes we are well aware of our expectations. Other times they blindside us. It is fine for me to expect to have a fun time with my kids, but I have to remember that kids and life are just not perfect. I will absolutely have unmet expectations. How do I choose to deal with them when they come? In this instance I was disappointed at first, a little dejected that my “fun outing” felt more like a disaster. However, as I drove home from the grocery store, I smiled as I thought about telling the story to my husband. I recovered from my disappointment pretty quickly.

Other expectations are far more serious in nature. You expect that your spouse will be faithful. You expect that your child will follow Christ wholeheartedly. You expect your family members to love and support you. You expect to have a measure of control over your life. (Okay, that one stings.) When one of these important expectations is unmet, how do you respond? Where do you go with the hurt and pain? Consider Paul’s words from Philippians: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Philippians 3:7-9, ESV).

When I seek Christ with this kind of focus and intensity, He is the Rock upon which I stand. The wind and waves can blow mightily and do their best to knock me off that Rock. Thank God that it is His strength, and not my own, that keeps me standing. The love of Jesus Christ will last forever. As I learn more about His love and grace for me, I see opportunities every day to give that love and grace to others. Unmet expectations are a great opportunity to show grace and remember in Whom I place my hope.

About The Author

Angela Gidley

Angela Gidley, a licensed minister with Open Bible Churches, serves at Elevation Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is a wife and mother of three, who loves to read, drink coffee, and spend time alone in silence (since all three of her children inherited her extra vocal cords). You can connect with her at