8 01 2016

134Happy New Year Family! 2016 came in with a big bang for the Sheptock’s with the wedding of my oldest daughter Leah to Pastor Jeff Savage. Pastor Jeff oversees the Junior High Ministry and Communications here at The Lighthouse Church yet my relationship with him goes way back beyond the day that Jeff was born! Jeff’s Dad Tom who is also a Pastor and I went to Philadelphia College of Bible together and lived on the same floor of the Robert Morris Hotel when we were Freshman back in 1978! Both Tom and I married gals that we met while there at PCB. Who would have ever thought that someday Tom’s son would win the heart of my daughter and the two of them would get married. It is the stuff which Hallmark Movies are made of and we all lived the magic of their union on January 1st as both Tom and I officiated the ceremony for our kids.                                         

During the unbelievably emotional Service, there was a section planned where Tom challenged his son Jeff and I gave a personal charge to my daughter Leah. From the time that she was quite young, Leah has always displayed an aggressive determination to go after her dreams. Leah is not very spontaneous and carefully scripts her steps to achieve her desired ends! Needless to say, she likes to be in control and doesn’t do very well when things begin to go haywire from her “to-do” sheet! It was to this behavior that I specifically chose my words with the hope that it would reach down deep and hit its mark from Father to Daughter!

With devotion in my heart, choking back the tears, I said, “Honey, I pray you can lighten up and relax so you will finally be able to enjoy what you will otherwise miss if you don’t know how to dismiss what you really have no control over anyway! There is nothing wrong with setting goals. Today is a day that is known for millions of Americans making their annual resolutions. It is good to have goals but be careful of those expectations! Expectations have a way of robbing many a positive experience! We must not fret about what we cannot control! Goals can still be accomplished despite missed expectations. We must learn to trust God and allow the Lord to adjust the load on the road!”

I went on to share how our darn expectations can actually paralyze us rather than propel us to getting to where we want to go, doing what we want to do and being what we want to be. Let’s say for instance that I have a plan that I am going to have a great Christmas. But unfortunately, I also have my own preconceived notions of what needs to happen for that glorious destination to be reached. The problems begin because no matter how down to the detail I have scripted the season, I have no control over the weather, my health, the actions or the reactions of other people and so on and so forth as we march towards the finished line. If I allow all these obstacles to have more power than I need to, chances are real good that I am in for one miserable conclusion. Can I still have a good Christmas if it doesn’t snow, or if I am sick, or if I have no money to my name? What if the turkey burns, or the gifts are robbed, or I don’t get the gift that I had my heart set upon? This is where expectations can become downright dangerous. If I am not able to adapt to the constant changing times, I may be in for a truly disappointing day. And bad days soon become weary weeks that are drawn out into yucky years and before you know it, you have missed so much of the magic because it didn’t come through the door that you appointed it to enter into.

I looked into the eyes of my Brown Eyed Princess and said, “It isn’t until you stop expecting people and places to be perfect, that you can finally begin to like and love and live with them and in them for who and what they are. Blessed are those who don’t love their expectations so much that they miss the experience of still celebrating life in spite of broken dreams and busted plans! When it pours, dance in the puddles. If he snores, thank God it means that he is alive and breathing. If the radio is broken, sing your own hit songs! If the car doesn’t start, get out and enjoy a refreshing walk. Basically, don’t sweat the small stuff and when life gets too hard, as it always does, make an official pronouncement that it’s all nothing more than tiny troubles in the whine that can become bubbles of blessings right in the nick of time.  

Congratulations Jeff and Leah! There is a whole new world of adventure that God has written your names upon and I want you to live it with your eyes, ears, hearts and souls wide open. But please don’t take on more of the responsibility than just being faithful to the steps that the Lord has put right in front of you. As the old hymn says, “Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus and tomorrow may never be mine, Lord help me today and please how me the way- ONE DAY AT A TIME!”



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