Strength and Dignity

Another Day in Paradise!

I’ve had the joy of visiting Hawaii on two occasions. The first occasion, was to mark 10 years of wedded bliss to my man! We enjoyed a full week of relaxing, without obligations in one the most beautiful expressions of God’s creation. Hawaii is nothing less than paradise on earth.

Carrying that memory with me; 10 more years passed and brought with them 3 more children. Once again, we had another opportunity to visit Hawaii. This opportunity presented itself in a much different package of heading to the big island with our whole bunch. Our bunch including my man and 6 children ages: 18, 16, 15, 11, 10 and 9.

At the time, our bunch included 10-year-old Maggie who was recovering from an invasive procedure to restore mobility to her legs. She needed a walker to get around, and was unable to walk for long periods of time. 9-year-old, Libi is profoundly handicapped. She is nonverbal, and also non-ambulatory, requiring care similar to that of an infant.

I realize, many are likely to ask why we would consider a trip such as this. Let me remind you, visions of “10-year anniversary Hawaii” danced in my head! If I were going back to Hawaii anytime soon, it would not just be with my man but toting along some of our bunch! Due to the needs of our girls, it would be next to impossible to leave them for an entire week.

So, with my unrealistic expectations set, I packed up my hot pink strapless swimsuit, and several darling floral sundresses and the 8 of us were headed to Hawaii. Ignorance is bliss, and that’s just where I was. Completely ignorant.

Reality began to quickly set in though upon our arrival to the airport. I found myself in a full on sweat without a spot of real estate left upon my body to carry or hang one more bag or child! I kept reminding myself that it would all be worth it once we were at our destination; in paradise. Are you smiling? You should be.

Our first outing together in Hawaii came after a long process of gathering up the necessary items. Diapers, wipes, medications, water bottles, fans, sunscreen, snacks, hats, towels, and extra clothes…the list goes on. We loaded up in the mini van and headed to our destination. I found myself sandwiched between my 3 girls on the back bench seat, with my man all the way in the front. Occasionally, I would catch a glimpse of him in the rearview mirror, but not long enough to gaze by any means! This was definitely a far cry from our hand holding, leisurely drives we had taken 10 years prior in paradise.

The next afternoon in paradise, I decided to rent a raft and take the kids down to the beach just outside our hotel. My man was at a conference, but I’m a strong mama, and not much stops me, so I packed up the necessary items for our beach party and headed out. I had my boys to help get us down to the beach. We were set. 2 boys carried, 2 sisters down to the shoreline to board the raft. Up till this point the process had not been easy by any means, but once again, I convinced myself that once we set sail, it would all be worth it!

The first 15 minutes of our rafting adventure was peaceful and uneventful. The boys, who had been off swimming, decided they were ready for a turn on the raft. We made a quick plan, I would get Libi, the 40 lb. baby, carry her to the shore, and the boys would assist Maggie. However, we quickly encountered a problem. We found ourselves a bit too close to shore. Waves, with great force and speed, began to carry us away from the boys, pulling us into their grasp. Maggie, unable to swim or walk, was terrified and screaming. With one arm under Maggie, and one grasping Libi, I gave everything I had to keep them above the water and drag us to shore. Meanwhile, the raft has disappeared. Yes, those teenage boys were a bit focused on their own rafting adventure and neglected to see that their mother was drowning with their 2 disabled sisters! Eventually I reached the shore, completely waterlogged, with every possible crevice embedded with sand. I staggered to my feet, with my crying babies, only to realize I’m completely exposed and entertaining an entourage of dads sitting in their beach chairs!

Remember those visions of “10-year anniversary Hawaii” that danced in my head when I packed my suitcase. The hot pink, strapless swimsuit was not the most practical. There I was, in all my hot pink cuteness with one boob in and one boob hanging out. My backside was not in any better shape.

In my absolute disgust and humiliation, I looked directly at the row of dads, not even bothering to make any adjustments and simply said, “A little help would have been nice.”

Back in the hotel room with the girls, sand-caked and disenchanted the tears began to fall.

disenchanted – no longer happy or satisfied with something

I was for sure no longer happy to be in Hawaii, I was no longer satisfied with what this trip had become. The reason for this lack of joy, and dissatisfaction was not the circumstance I was in, but the perspective and expectation I carried heading into it.

Have you ever been there?

We never expect to find ourselves in a place of unmet expectations. Most of the time, we don’t realize we’ve even set an expectation, yet the symptoms can help us arrive at a quick diagnosis

• Critical Spirit / Judgmental
• Disappointed
• Irritable / Angry / Hostile
• Ungrateful
• Negative
• Stressed
• Bitter / Unforgiving

There our heart is, completely exposed, much like myself on the shore that day in Hawaii. Believe me, the enemy is waiting for those moments of unmet expectation. He will quickly swoop in and fuel them with fire that is deadly to our soul.

I find myself in this place…more often than I’d like. David also found himself in such a place and speaks to it in Psalm 42.

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
(Psalm 42:5&11) HCSB

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.
(Psalm 42:5&11) MSG

Do you see when the shift occurs in David’s heart? David places his eyes on God, taking them off of anything or anyone that could deliver disappointment, placing his hope and trust in God.

God says in Isaiah 49:23:

“I am the Lord, those who hope in me will not be disappointed. “

I desire to walk free of expectations that will leave me disappointed. May we seek to expect that God is faithful, trustworthy and true. Holding on to the expectation that one day He will deliver us to our ETERNAL PARADISE, that will not disappoint!

some days and moments may be more difficult than others…

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place your expectation in Him…

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(the last day of our trip…)

I was not disappointed!

2 thoughts on “Another Day in Paradise!

  1. Amy your blog has challenged my heart as I too experienced a “moment of unmet expectation” today and ran in front of God–I think.. Fix my eyes—and wait!! Very hard. Thank you!

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