(originally written for Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife)
I was supposed to be a good wife and a good mom.
That was my plan. That was my dream. I wanted to be the wife ready to greet my husband, tired after his long and draining day, with a warm meal and a warm heart. I’d admire his quiet strength, his stable spirit, and his steadfast love and dedication to God and family. I’d daily be thankful for how hard he worked and how much he sacrificed to provide for me and the children. And I don’t know about you, but motherhood was going to be my crowning joy and shining achievement. I wasn’t going to be like those other moms. I was going to be the beautiful mom who loved. I’d rock my babies to sleep in the night and whisper sweet lullabies in the quiet of dawn. The children and I would spend our days singing and reading and cuddling under blankets and sipping hot chocolate and going on walks through the gentle breeze of summer.
Great expectations sure make for great stories. Girls are not the only ones to begin new chapters with such high hopes. A shepherd boy from Bethlehem had his own heart full of dreams. The anointed one’s story began before his time. The children of Israel had begged God for a king, and they got one, but King Saul’s reign hadn’t gone so well. The king was only human, which also meant he was deeply flawed. Spending years on the run as an innocent outlaw, David knew first-hand how bad things could get when the Lord’s servant goes astray. Following the tragic falling away of King Saul, David sets his bar high, hoping to redeem the image of God’s king. Young and newly crowned, the man after God’s own heart opens his lips, and out flow the words of Psalm 101:
I will sing of your love and justice;
to you, LORD, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless life–
when will you come to me?
I will conduct the affairs of my house
with a blameless heart.
I will not look with approval
on anything that is vile.
I hate what faithless people do;
I will have no part in it.
The perverse of heart shall be far from me
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.
In politician fashion, he continues for eight devout verses, zealous in his intent to put away falsehood, walk in purity of heart, and execute justice, not only in his own household, but throughout the entire kingdom. This time things will be different. David will walk in the ways of God. Goodness will reign. Wickedness will swiftly be dealt with. He will see no evil, hear no evil, fear no evil on his divine watch. He ends the Psalm with this solemn pledge: “Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD.”
Morning was the time for bringing criminals to justice. (Thank-you to the unknown Lutheran Study Bible contributor for that enlightening study note)! Imagine you’re a prisoner the night before the big trial. Maybe you’re the falsely accused, eating crumbs with the riff-raff, suffering for a wrong you didn’t commit. Maybe you’re the pauper caught stealing red-handed. Maybe you’re the dreamy Jerusalem lover boy standing face-to-face with the prophet Nathan, coming undone as your secret sins of adultery and murder are coming uncovered. Maybe you really don’t care and have no idea why any of this even matters. Maybe you’re just tired of getting out of bed every day and facing the reality of all your daily shortcomings.
Talk about some sleepless nights. How many times have you reached the day’s finish line, thoroughly burdened by how much you’ve blown it? We were too much this or not enough that. “If only” becomes the new song of our lives. It’s easy to remember all the sinful ways we have failed and continue to do so. The weary soul lies down, not to sleep in peace, but to toss and turn in the dungeon of our own guilt. A mother’s heart seems especially vulnerable to this. It doesn’t matter how tired you are or how much you tried or didn’t try. Your flesh condemns you the moment your head hits the pillow—the very moment God has given you for rest.
We need a King to save us from all the oppression. God gave us one. The King of kings endured His cross for a very specific reason—because He wanted us. Though we couldn’t live up to our own standards, or God’s, He still loved us. From before the foundation of the world, He knew our names, our dreams, our passions, our stories. He knew the ways life wouldn’t play out and the ways it would. He knew the depths of our fallen natures we never even knew we had. He knew no woman would ever make it to the end of her life—or the end of the day– without a desperate need for God’s forgiveness.
Christ has come to give us new things to remember. We all know what happened with Israel’s bright and hopeful king. God redeemed his life from the pit. God restored the joy of his salvation. God kept His promise that a Son from David’s body would forever reign on the throne. David was a good king because he had a good God who forgave him for all the ways he wasn’t good. As the broken man could only find out through his failure, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. Justice has been served through Jesus.
Jesus endured the morning trial. He endured the sleepless night in Gethsemane. Mornings are now the time for new mercies. Mornings restore a brighter light to the earth, shining the joy of fresh perspective and unmistakable arrival of a brand new hope. While we continue to bear the weight of our cross, we no longer carry the weight of our sin. Great expectations remain in our hearts because great expectations are inspired by God. He inspires a hope that is out of this world. He sets our minds, our eyes, and all our hearts on things above. He lifts us up to hope in Christ. For in Him, every day is a new beginning, and in Him, every morning I witness a miracle.
I become the wife and mom He always wanted me to be.