Checking Expectations: Part II

By Magdalene A.R. Mastin on January 10, 2018

Rural Outreach and Ministry

Let’s continue our conversation on expectations. Remember Part 1? #SpaghettiSquash vs. #SteakAndStout? We explored what could happen when we change our expectations.

When I write or speak, I get stuck on a concept for days on days. Some concepts even years. It works me over and over, and I have been dwelling on this idea of expectations for who knows how long. I personally find that I am always checking my expectations: in my marriage, throughout my work day, in most interactions with my littles (is she ready to walk across the lawn to Grammellow and Pops’ house alone? Twelve months old is old enough to sleep through the night, right? Can an eighteen-year-old student complete this spiritual response with greater depth? IS IT NOT OK TO EXPECT THE TOWEL AND SHOWER CURTAIN TO BE HUNG THE RIGHT WAY AFTER YOU SHOWER, HUSBAND?). I think many in our population, like me, find changes and unfulfilled expectations to be painful; we like to ask God these circumstances have come upon us, why we have not received the understood desires of our hearts. But what if we change the question from why to what—what is God already doing and how can we participate? This Eschatological Divinity, the already-but-not-yet of the Beautiful Creator might just be His Sovereign Work. And what blooms may be stunning and rejuvenating. What has God already plopped in our lap that we have surrounded with the limiting box of our understanding and expectations instead of allowing the fervent framework of faith to transform our weakling walls?

As people of faith living the rural life, growing food for our neighbors and the world, we carry a strong responsibility. We are given a wonderful opportunity to look beyond the wheat and vine and offer our creative, nurturing work to our communities. Not just pursuing farm to table (because really, isn’t every meal, in some capacity, farm to table?) but also consider table to farm—we have been working so hard to get the farm food in the neighborhood homes of the urban people but maybe we should encourage more rural gatherings of the mixed communities, bringing the guests and table to the farm. Maybe music isn’t your forte. Maybe your homestead offers just enough beds for your hard-working folks let alone strangers looking for a get-away. But perhaps if you tilt your head and squint your eyes just so you will see something new in your surroundings—see opportunity, see hope, see a million dreams for the world you’re gonna make (thanks to Ziv Zaifman for the incredible lyrics from The Greatest Showman). Our close communities are challenged by our alterations and we also are grown through them. Look around. What do you see? What could you see?

…let’s talk more about changing expectations. Pt 3 coming soon.



–Magdalene A.R. Mastin is a wife and mother of two who recently returned to her family’s organic farm in central Indiana to work, write and raise her family. She is an avid photographer, as seen by the photos in this blog.

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