God changed me in an amazing way over the summer: by enabling me to open a door in my heart that I had closed to Him. My attitude toward God had been one of knowing in my head that He must be good, but not feeling His goodness in my heart.
Now I am experiencing His goodness, and nothing has changed about my circumstances!
It all started with a simple statement a friend spoke to me: "Jodie, you need to welcome unmet expectations in your life because they are going to come."
I can't tell you how revolutionary that idea was to me! I had never considered welcoming disappointments before. Was it even possible? Yet I knew that those words were exactly what God wanted me to hear; and as I wept, my hardened heart began to soften.
I realized that because my life didn't look the way that I thought it should (if God was indeed good to me), something must have gone wrong. I was fighting against what I couldn't understand (the mystery of God) and saying things like, "God can't work this way!" and "This can't be His best plan for me!" much like Naaman the leper's expressions of anger and stubborness toward Elisha's instructions for healing that didn't match his expectations.
Another friend, later in the summer, shared with Charly and me about his own struggles with God's goodness, and his words could have come straight out of my mouth: "I know that God could, but He probably won't." I had been feeling exactly that way, and it seemed that hope had become impossible for me. I didn't want to keep hoping for something that I didn't know if God was going to actually do (specifically, healing from my headaches and the completion of our adoption).
My cynical attitude toward God and believing that He could do these things (and they would be quite easy for Him!) but He probably wouldn't, had shut a door in my heart to Him. He wasn't working the way I wanted or expected Him to, so I decided it was easier to shut that door and stop hoping because trying to hope only seemed to offer more pain. This hardened (and confused) heart of mine said, "God must just want my life to be hard."
But, God graciously used this challenge of welcoming unmet expectations to open my eyes to see that while I had closed a door, I could also open it again. And what a wonderful thing to open this door to God's mystery! It is giving Him permission to work in His way, in His time, and to expect Him to do the unexpected. And it is trusting that His plan for me and for my family is the best. We haven't missed out on His best somehow. He hasn't forgotten about us. He hasn't made a mistake.
Of course, God doesn't need my permission to accomplish His purposes, but my submitting to His sovereignty allows me to experience His goodness, even when things don't go the way I want them to. I am able to hope again because I believe that He is good to me and that even those things that are difficult and still unknown can be used for good in my life.
Because God IS good.
"Taste and see that the LORD is good..." (Psalm 34:8)