Dealing with Dashed and Broken Expectations

In my mind, this Christmas was going to be perfect.  While it wasn’t  a disaster, thankfully,  there were a few dashed expectations.


Anticipation of what kind of gifts we may receive are all part of the Christmas celebration. I wrote out my Christmas list for Dennis, and he gave me his.

In addition to the men’s fragrance he requested, I thought Dennis needed a device to help him find his keys. (Too many episodes of us searching for his lost keys.)  I researched for the best product and ordered the one with the highest reviews.

He wanted to get me something more than a gift card (my request), so he ordered me something he thought I’d like. The perfume a woman at our church wears smells so good on her.

This thoughtful woman decided to play Santa’s elf, and told Dennis the name of her perfume and where she purchased it. She told him I always comment  how good it smells on her,

My thoughtful husband went online, found the fragrance and purchased it. He kept assuring me I was getting something I never expected and that I would be surprised.

Yes! What a surprise!

It smells wonderful on our friend. On me?  It smells like bug spray. (I am sensitive to fragrances and can only wear certain ones.)

I spritzed it on.  All day  I hated every whiff I caught of the bug repellent odor.

How do I  tell my beloved gift-giver I appreciated his  loving, thoughtful effort , but hate the gift?

Carefully and tactfully.

Honey, I am so touched by your effort of wanting to give me the best.  I don’t feel attractive or sexy when I think I smell like insecticide. Do you mind if I exchange it for a fragrance that makes me feel more like a natural woman?

Dennis was thrilled to get his wished-for gift.  The key locator? Not so much.

Don’t worry, dear, I kept the receipt.

Christmas is a season built for expectation, but we build all of our expectations around the wrong things. ~ Sarah Markly

Just as we place high expectations on  having the perfect Christmas, how many of us have higher expectations of how the New Year will be?

As you look back over your shoulder at 2016, were there hopes or expectations that got dashed?

I entered this year with the expectation for boldness to dream big and pray hard. As I look back over this year, I am amazed how bold I’ve been, and what dreaming big and praying hard with Dennis has looked like.

Yet, the year didn’t go as we expected. We didn’t expect to bury Dennis’ dad in September, or to see his mom placed into a Memory Care facility in June.

Many of us faced this season dealing with the absence of a loved one. No matter what the loss—a family member, a marriage, a relationship, a job, a dream—can we give all our broken expectations to Jesus?

Expect Jesus

The Advent season is about expectation. Expect Jesus today. Expect Him tomorrow. Just expect Him. Let Him surprise you like He wants to.

Let’s wrap our expectations, not around perfection and accomplishments, but around Jesus.

We will never be disappointed.

Because  Hope never disappoints.

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
[Israel’s ] (insert your name) strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.  (Charles Wesley)


Image credit: Kari Shea/

This year has given us opportunities to speak life into many broken relationships. Our message is hope as we point those we counsel (in person or by blogs) to Christ, the Restorer.  If you’d like to help us extend this message of hope and new beginnings to people throughout the world, click here.

1 comment

  1. Monica Aleixo

    It is always a pleasure to read your articles.
    Thank you for the advise on the Christmas gifts to our husbands and the hints on their Christmas gifts to us. You are truly a blessing.

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