Chris and I went to see a counselor yesterday who is a "community favorite" around here. It's a husband and a wife who are christian counselors and we were able to have a session with the husband. We wanted to go and talk about Ellie since Chris is finally finishing up school and is finally getting time to process the craziness of this past year, and I've been wanting to go for a while. I've told this to a few people, but in the midst of tragedy it's hard to see if you're making progress at all. People tell you they think you are, but it's so fuzzy and confusing to see yourself. People see you as you begin resurfacing in society with friends and at church, but not many see the hours of crying and the crippling memories the way you do. I was seeking validation and also an objective (and professional) perspective, but mostly we want to deal with things the right way for our family.

It was amazing.

This man was so kind and gentle and soft spoken, but he spoke truth straight into my spirit..and the sames goes for Chris. I didn't quite know how that was going to happen for both of us going into it, as we are in two different places in the grieving process, but everything he said fit seamlessly into both of our perspectives and met us where we are..at the same time.

One little (big) thing I want to pass along from our time was a question he asked us in regards to having experienced such tragedy so early on in our marriage, and it was this:

What does God expect of you?
And also: what do you expect of God?

We discussed it as it relates to Ellie, but in the end, he gave us a book that he and his wife wrote. In it includes a list of what we are to expect based on scripture.....and man, totally put me right back where I need to be in navigating all of this.

See, it's easy to believe the lie of entitlement after any hard trial. I genuinely felt "entitled" to be blessed with multiple children after this, and "entitled" to live a life free of intense hardship from now on. "I earned it." Don't get me wrong, these thoughts of mine weren't floating around on the surface. If anyone asked me if I felt this way I would have known that the "correct" answer is no. But subconsiously...very deep down...they were there.

But those hidden beliefs were a lie.
They are a lie that sets you up for failure.
A lie that sets you up to immediately distrust the Father the second another hardship comes your way.


So what am I to expect? [emphasis my own]
- I do not expect my flesh to improve with age (Ps 73:26)
- I expect my flesh to do what it has always done and think as it has always thought (Romans 7:18, Gal 5:17)
- I do not expect God to indulge my fleshly nature (Heb 12:6)
- I expect God to free me from being controlled by my fleshly nature (Rom 8:2, Gal 5:16)
-I expect to increasingly find my identity in the spiritual nature (Rom 8:9-13, Gal 5:16)
-I expect God to continue to expose my fears through situations of helplessness and to displace my fears with trust in Him (James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 4:12-13)
-I expect Him to teach me the fear of the Lord (Ps 34:11)
-I do not expect to grow stronger, for I must decrease and He must increase (John 3:30)
-I do expect him to perfect his strength in my weakness (2 Cor 12:9, Is 40:29-31, 2 Cor 4:7-5:9)
-I do not expect less conflict or fewer trials (2 Tim 2:3, 3:12)
-I do expect sufficient grace for every conflict and every trial (2 Cor 12:9, 2 Tim 3:10-11)
-I expect God to remove the fear of suffering so that I am no longer intimidated by the threats of the enemy (Is 41:10)
-I do not expect a map of God's plan for my life (Ps 37:23, Prov 16:9, Jer 10:23)
-I do expect God to be my constant guide and provide a light for my path (Prob 3:5-6, Psalm 119:105)
-I expect God to remove obstructions from my mind and heart that interfere with knowing him intimately (2 Cor 10:4-5)
-I do not expect my spouse or others to meet my needs (Ps 62:5)
-I do expect God to fill my life and meet my needs (Ecc 5:20, Matt 6:33)
-I do not expect myself to meet the needs of my spouse and others I love (John 15:5, Jer 17:5-8)
-I expect Jesus to meet all the needs of those I love as I offer myself to be an available vessel of His provision (Phil 4:13, Col 3:8-17)
-I expect to delight myself in the Lord (Ps 37:4)
-I expect Him to give me the desires of my heart in His timing and on His terms, for they are always best (Ps 37:4-11)
-I do not expect a "normal" life (Ps 139:1-24, Isaiah 54:1-17, 1 Corin 2:9)
-I do expect a supernatural life that cannot be explained in human terms (Ps 139:1-24, Isaiah 54:1-17, 1 Corin 2:9)
-I expect him to protect my heart (Phil 4:7)
-I expect His courage in my cowardice, His presence in my loneliness, His comfort in my grief, His forgiveness in my resentment, His fatih in my doubt, His love in my indiference, His joy in my anxiety, His hope in my despair (Col 2;10, 1 Cor 2:3-5, 2 Cor 12:9, Ps 73:26, Gal 5:22-23)
-I do not expect appreciation from those to whom I minister (Matt 6:2, Romans 2:29)
-I do expect and long to hear his voice one day saying "well done, my good and faithful servant (Matt 25:23)
-I expect Him to glorify (reveal) himself in me (rom 8:29, 1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 1:26-31, 2 Cor 4:7)
-I expect to be continually surprised by God (1 Cor 2:9-12)
-I expect, when His purpose for me is fulfilled, to awaken in His presence and there to behold His face, feel His embrace, and enjoy Him forever (Rev 22:4, Ps 73:23-24, 1 Cor 15:51-57, 1 Thess 4:15-18)
[from 18 inches, by J. Ray Addison, PhD, and Susan Addison, PhD, available here.]


Dr. Ray lingered on the subject of the decision making process in the face of hard circumstances; will we choose to continue living solely for the Kingdom and expect only what scripture says? Or will we retreat to lukewarm faith for fear of trusting Him?

Yes. So worthwhile. Kingdom truth flowed from his whole being for the whole hour and a half..to the point that I began silently pouring tears because my eyes couldn't contain it anymore. They were tears of comfort, not of conviction. I totally recommend this book, and even better, them...if you're in the area.