When Holidays Stink

By Lisa Hamel

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Can I be honest?  Mother’s Day was a hard day at the Hamel house.  

My mom was still tender from losing my dad so she didn’t have the energy to do much. My son was struggling with his emotions. This meant:

  • No adorable, instagram family photo.  
  • No walk to my favorite coffee shop. 
  • No great conversations or fun games as a group.  

All my ideas and dreams of the day had to be released and our family had to modify its plans to make sure that everyone’s needs were honored.  

Whether it’s Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas or any other myriad of holidays, expectations can sneak up on us. We can often trade in our joy for expectations that won’t be met. This quote from my friend Sara is true...

 “Expectations are premeditated resentment.”  

Think about that for a minute. We are setting ourselves up for resentment and frustration by expecting certain things. Our expectations are stealthy. Like a tape running in the background of our minds that we may not consciously recognize. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only wife who has left her husband completely stumped as to why I’m crying and why he’s in trouble! 99% of the time. It comes back to my expectations.  

Yes, it was a hard day at the Hamel house, but it gave me a chance to check my heart. I was reminded of this quote by Dr. Tim Keller…

 “If you love anything in this world more than God, you will crush that object under the weight of your expectations.”

If I wasn’t careful, I was going to crush my already fragile family under the weight of my expectations. So I prayed, and journaled, and took it to the One who will never fail me. The One who is never overwhelmed by my emotions. And he gently brought my perspective back into place about what was happening in my life at that point. And I was once again able to accept my portion with gratitude instead of resentment.  

And then yesterday, we had what my husband called “miracle day.” It was an awesome day where I felt the Lord saying to me, “I make all things beautiful in my time.” Yesterday was finally Mother’s Day for me. It was over two weeks late, but it was amazing. The sun was shining. My boys were glad to be together. We worked and played as a family. We had great conversations. God’s gifts are often like that. Unexpected.   

So watch your expectations in life. They can lead to bitterness and confusion in your relationships. If we would just use all the energy we put into human expectation into Jesus, we will never be let down! The only ONE that will ever meet or exceed your expectations is Jesus! When you put your trust and confidence in Him, he will show up in unexpected ways. 

As my 10 year old son and I were kayaking today, we saw these beautiful, orange flowers jutting out of this craggy rock. Everything around them was dead but I mentioned to my son how they were thriving. I said, “Everyone around you in your world might be lost, but you can still thrive.” Without missing a beat he said, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed..”

I will never forget that moment for as long as I live. As natural as breathing, my son was speaking scripture about his own life and owning his walk with God. I will take that priceless memory over a Mother’s day brunch any day!

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18


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Lisa is currently "SAHM-ing." In the past she has been a pastoral counselor, a singer, a music director, and an accountant! She lives in a multi generational home in the Pacific Northwest with her two boys, her amazing husband, and her mother. She is a coffee snob and a health nut who loves to dance like no one is watching. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!