How to keep hoping when you aren’t getting what you want

“We let our expectations die and embrace expectancy.”

James Choung and Ryan Pfeiffer, Longing for Revival: From Holy Discontent to Breakthrough Faith (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2020), 52.

3 years, 75 hours at a fertility clinic, $4000 of copays, 3 surgeries and 9 procedures later, and still no baby to show for it all. Our fertility specialist says our next step is to pay $25,000, decide on a whole host of ethical questions, have a major surgery…all to increase the odds for one more roll of the dice in getting pregnant.

As Mike and I have been processing this news, a friend of mine prayed over me. The word that came to her in prayer was the quote above from the book “Longing for Revival.”

My expectations for my future have done a 180. Initially I expected to get pregnant right away, buy a nice home, and be having our second child by now. Now my expectation is for my money, time and body to be forever depleted with no return on the investment. Jesus is inviting me to surrender all of my expectations — the positive and the negative. I have no control over how tomorrow will go, and trying to predict the future is a breeding ground for anxiety and resentment.

Instead of riding the emotional roller coaster of expectations, I want to be stabilized in the expectancy that comes by knowing God’s character and track-record of faithfulness. I cannot tell you if we will get pregnant or adopt or have kids in some other way. I can’t tell you the timeline of how soon it will happen or how much money we will have left in the bank when it does. But I do know that Jesus has proved himself trustworthy. And whether or not I see it in this moment, I have known him to be the God who is lavishly generous, full of surprises, and willing to do the impossible because he loves his kids.

So that’s what I’m choosing to hang onto.

We are still lamenting as well as making plans (starting with a couple months of rest), but I want to hold those plans loosely. Not out of a place of guardedness so as not to be heartbroken again, but out of a place of genuine expectancy that God is up to something really really good, and he can do it however he chooses.

How have your expectations held up or let you down? What areas of your life are you wanting to cultivate expectancy, grounded in God’s character?

Published by K.Aalseth

Kelly J. Aalseth is the Coordinator for Leadership Development for InterVarsity in Greater Los Angeles. She is an author, coach, preacher, and trainer.

One thought on “How to keep hoping when you aren’t getting what you want

  1. Thanks for your openness and honesty. I too have spent years waiting and hours in fertility clinics – not getting exactly what we so desperately prayed for. I learned to stop comparing myself with others’ lives or with my own expectations. Each person’s life journey is completely independent of everyone else in that sense. It hurts to accept that, but I do every day…
    You are brave and faithful and God sees you! I see you too, and if you ever need someone to listen, please feel free to reach out. Praying for your expectancy and for your family.


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