The Creek Church

Great Expectations

September 21, 2017 | Gabbi Hartzell

You know those videos of people who are walking or running and then fall flat on their face? That’s how I would describe my life. Always expecting things to turn out one way, but then taking a twist. And unfortunately, I don’t handle the twists and turns that gracefully, so I usually end up symbolically flat on my face for a bit before getting back up (or hiding behind my hair if you have ever heard me talk about that before).

So when Mary Lou spoke at our last event about how to handle the unexpected in life, it was rather timely for me. This past year has been one trying time after another. In the midst of leading one of the biggest events The WELL has ever had, my best friend was in the hospital with cancer. The morning after Lysa TerKeurst spoke at our church, I got a call letting me know that Erika was gone. I had spent the last week at the hospital with her, only driving back to London for a couple of work responsibilities. I was so upset to hear that she had passed on when I wasn’t there. Not to mention the fact that SHE WAS MY BEST FRIEND. Literally knew everything about me. Probably knew me better than my family or husband. She was my biggest champion and encourager. And she was gone. I had no clue how to get through the day to day without her. And quite honestly, I’m still figuring it out.

A few months later, my dad became very sick and was put in hospice care. Now, my dad and I have never been super close (that’s another story for another blog), but it was still a hard reality to face. When we heard the status he was in and could not get a hold of his wife, my mom and I packed up and headed to South Carolina. We got to see him and spend a few hours with him before driving straight back to Kentucky. The very next week while I was on vacation, I got the call from my sister that my dad had passed away. Two weeks later, his current wife passed away. So, my mom and I packed up again and headed back to South Carolina to get all of my dad’s things (another one day turn-around trip). About a month later, we had the burial service for my dad in his hometown of St. Louis where we met our half-brother for the first time ever.

So many unexpected things in one year. I honestly wasn’t sure how many more “surprises” I could take. I literally wanted to sleep until the next year was here. For some reason I thought that as long as it wasn’t THIS year, it would have to be better. That’s silly thinking, of course. So when Mary Lou spoke on moving past broken expectations, I realized, I can’t just sleep this year away and hope it will be better in the next one. I have to DO something. I have to MOVE.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe your year has been just as crazy and unexpected as mine, or even moreso. Maybe you want to sleep the rest of your year away, too. But friend, we can’t do that. We have too much to do, and God has such incredible things in store for us. We don’t want to miss it. So we have to pick ourselves up off the floor and MOVE.

But how? How do we move out of broken expectations and into the next thing God has for us? Well, I’m still figuring it out, but I have some ideas.


Spend time with God.

This is something that is always thrown out as a suggestion, I know. But for me, and maybe for some of you, when I get stuck in broken expectations and want to sit in it and hang out in those feelings of anger or sadness, it’s because I have forsaken my first love - God. You know why? Because when I spend time with Him, I can’t help but adjust my attitude and get moving. But there are times when things happen, that you just don’t want to get out of the muck. If you’re like me, you like to stew in it for a bit and pout and complain. So I put God on the back burner, so I can have my whiny, me-time. Ugh. I’m annoyed with myself just thinking about it.

Get in a community group.

When I’m with other women, and I’m actually open and honest with them about what’s going on in life and where I’m at, it creates accountability. When I stay stuck in feelings and old circumstances, they call me out on it. Do I like that? No. Do I need that? Absolutely. We all do.


Perhaps your life has taken so many unexpected turns that you’re simply done trying. But let me tell you, there is so much more on the other side of those expectations. I know it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m having to convince myself of it everyday right now. But God really does have a purpose and a plan for each of our lives and for every broken circumstance and expectation. And hear me on this, WE CAN’T AFFORD TO MISS IT. Ladies, it’s time for us to move. So whatever the next step looks like for you, TAKE IT.

The Well Blog


At the WELL, we desire to be a community of women who live out our potential and purpose in Christ, lead where God has placed us, and encourage others to do the same.

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