by JenJ

My young friend and I were instant messaging back and forth. She was weeks away from turning 15 and we spoke about her birthday plans and then the future. My unsolicited advice ended with, “maybe you could study that in college.” She responded with, “I don’t think I’m going to college. God has given me a desire to be a wife and mother.” 

I was stumped…truly aghast.

She fully expected that God would bring her a husband in the next couple of years and that college was unnecessary.

Whereas, I fully expected that she’d miss endless opportunities if she didn’t remain open to them.

My parents got married at 20 and I’ve always admired their relationship; they have a love story that is truly enviable. I grew up with the plan and even expectation that I’d follow in their footsteps. As a teenager, I believed God had created me to be a wife and mother (and still do).

However, I turned 36 last week and those expectations still haven’t been met.

With that said, the waiting has not been in vain.

In the last twenty years, I have had amazing experiences. God has been SO good to me and has shown me the best of this world. Sure, there’s been heartache, but I’m also incredibly thankful for the special opportunities I’ve been given; many of those a direct result of my time in college, which is probably why I was so dumbfounded by the exchange with my young friend.

Many of us are waiting for our dreams, plans, and expectations to come to fruition. And we all know people who believe they are in some sort of limbo.

But here’s the thing…there is beauty in that waiting. There are blessings that we all too often miss because our eye is on the endgame, rather than the journey. There are opportunities for service, for worship, for learning, for success, for friendship, for adventure, for action.

God may not meet our expectations in the time we’d like, but He exceeds them by blessing us in countless other ways each and every day.

And once we realize that, the waiting doesn’t seem so bad.

19 Responses to “EXPECTATIONS & WAITING”

  1. missy @ it's almost naptime November 13, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    Hm. Where to begin, where to begin. And it’s not like 15 year olds are the most rational creatures.

    So what did you say to her? I think I would say that, it’s great that you want to get married, but that might not happen until you are like (gasp) 24 or so, and trust me, college is a lot more fun than working at WalMart till then. And probably WalMart after then, since very few families can survive on one income. Especially if they didn’t go to college.

    My main issue with this rationale, which I am sure is more prevalent than we realize, is that being a stay-at-home wife and mom is fine. Great. I am one myself. But do you want to be an educated wife and mom, or an uneducated one?

    Oh, sheesh. So what did you say Jen??

    • JenJ November 13, 2012 at 8:03 am #

      Honestly, she refused to consider it…and given that she’s still a teenager, I hope her heart will soften and that she’ll be open to myriad possibilities. With that said, I can’t criticize her for hearing the Lord speak, I just wanted to show her that a life that is different than her plan/expectations (a life like MINE) isn’t a waste and it isn’t all heartache.

      • missy @ it's almost naptime November 13, 2012 at 8:16 am #

        I fully thought I would be married before I left college, and I was 32. Things don’t go as planned (thank you Jesus)

        The thing is, even if you do get married young, men – we won’t say can have a middle age (at 28) will leave you for someone even younger – but they can DIE. Then what? You have four kids and a high school education and mall bangs. Better to be prepared for whatever life gives you.

  2. Diana Trautwein November 13, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    She is 14, right? And claiming that “God spoke to her about being a wife and mom?” It is far more likely that mom spoke to her, or someone else she admires spoke to her – the idea that one role precludes another is not likely an idea that God would speak into a 14 year old’s life, do you think? GOD – the One with the immense and intense creative genius, the One who calls us to be all that we can be and gives us the gifts and the desire and the energy to explore, create, learn and grow?

    This makes me more than sad, it breaks my heart a little. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be a wife and mom – that was drilled into me by my own mother. But here’s one thing different in my experience – she saw college as the prime place to FIND that guy – and you know what? I did. Not everyone does, not everyone will. But exploring the options? That should be on every young woman’s life list, seems to me.

    And what Missy said up above? ABSOLUTELY, they can die. My daughter’s husband died, leaving her with three boys and a broken heart. Education is so very important. She married right after her freshman year and graduated on time. That degree made it possible for her to get a masters’ in special ed and provide for her family while her husband was dying and beyond. Why in the world must it be one or the other? Praying you can help her to see it can be both/and. And you, dear Jen, are a sterling example of the good, rich life that can be built and enjoyed in the waiting time. I thank God for strong role models like you so that our girls can see that there are lots of ways to live a good and full life.

    • JenJ November 13, 2012 at 10:52 am #

      Oh, Diana…I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s loss, but am so thankful that she’s been able to support herself and her family.

      And I totally agree with you that my young friend has a limited view of the world. I’m hoping that with age, she’ll grow to appreciate all the beauty and opportunities He can provide!

      I also hope that men and women who are in limbo, waiting on other expectations/dreams/blessings, with take notice of the ways that the Lord is working in their lives. He’s with us, all through the journey!

  3. bianca November 13, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I’m so proud of you! XO

    • JenJ November 13, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      Thanks, friend! You know how hard it can be to wait…but also how He blesses us with rich and fulfilling experiences along the way! XO!

  4. HopefulLeigh November 13, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Yes, beauty in the waiting…you know how close that message is to my heart.

    • JenJ November 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      Absolutely! I should have just written the intro and then linked to your whole blog. ;-)


  5. EmilyW November 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    i am proud of you. just so, so proud. xoxo

    • JenJ November 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      Ah, friend! Thanks for your support!!!

  6. Jen November 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Look. This might sound awful, but being married with kids isn’t the be all end all of everything ever. I think the obsession the church sometimes has with marriage does our young people, and our not so young people, a disservice. It’s as much as saying unmarked adults aren’t complete. Well, guess what? I’m not complete because of my husband, though I do love him. I am not complete because I’ve birthed three sweet loudmouths. I’m complete because God adopted me and called me his own. Which is of course, sometng you already know. And yes, there is beauty in the waiting. Even married with children women wait. And it is not always a Martha
    Stewart cover shot.

    Mostly my heart just aches for this girl. College doesn’t have to be part of her future, but some kind of idea about who she is as a person might be a good idea. It so happens that many of us found those things in college. Oh, I have an almost 15 year old. She’s crazy. Seriously. They all are. They don’t know what they’re talking about. I mean, there’s science backing me up here.

    Ok. I’m done.

    • Agnes November 14, 2012 at 4:33 am #

      Oh, I love this. And as someone who works with teenagers? I echo the ‘science’ thing you said :) I don’t want to say ‘don’t take it too seriously,’ but truthfully you may find she has a totally different view next week.. just saying :) bless you for giving of yourself to this young lady!

    • JenJ November 16, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      Yes, we are all familiar with some kind of waiting…and teenage craziness! ;-)

      My heart breaks for those who don’t know how much life and fulfillment and excitement and joy is out there when we push through our preconceived notions about how life is supposed to be!!!

  7. Amy Nabors November 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    I have had a similar situation with a friend’s daughter except she’s 18 & thinks she has found the man God has for her. She may very well have except he’s just 18 also. He proposed the week after they graduated high school & she has decided not to go to college & he has joined the military. We used to be close but when he started dating him almost 2 years ago she pulled away from everyone. She no longer has relationships with her friends & it’s odd the hold he seems to have on her. What do you do? Anytime I’ve tried to spend time with her she would bring him along. It’s so important for these girls to find their identity in Christ & not a guy. I’ve been there. Fortunately I’ve learned that but it took a lot of heartache before I did.

    • JenJ November 16, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      Oh, that is so sad…I used to work with the HS women at my church and it was unbelievable how little they valued themselves without a boy in their lives!!!

  8. Megan November 14, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    Would it surprise you immensely to know that I might have said the same thing at 15? Fortunately for me, my parents were insistent on college. (Not that college is for everyone, but it was definitely part of God’s path for my life.)

    She is so lucky to have a mentor like you in her life to gently (and boldly, if I know you!) speak into her life about pursuing God’s direction for herself – regardless of if/how/when a husband fits into that!

    Beauty in the waiting. I know it so well.

    • JenJ November 16, 2012 at 9:41 am #

      I wholeheartedly believe that college isn’t the answer for everyone. I just know that it certainly broadened MY horizons. It gave me fun new experiences, challenged my thinking, and frankly, caused me to really understand and grow my relationship with the Lord in a very real way. My sadness came from the fact that she couldn’t even consider or fathom this as a possibility!

  9. Sarah Bessey November 14, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Love this, JJ.

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