I’m facing an opponent on the mat.

It’s not death, although too many obituaries have been printed for ones close to my close ones in the past three months. It’s not lack, although for a while I feared it when the government shut down and refused to pay Husband for thirty-five days. It’s not destruction, although a crisis beyond our home rattles a branch of our family tree, threatening to snap it.

It’s something deeper.

While sipping coffee together on the couch, one of my own speaks up, showing me my opponent.

“I’ll always choose God,” she says, her chin wobbling, “but when I pray, I’m consistently disappointed.”

Her pain slices into my everything, and I would love to be the kind of adult who’s already glowing on the other side of hard. Instead, I only nod.

Because I’m disappointed too.

I’m called back to the mat again, my hopes hanging onto the hem of my sweatshirt. And there I wrangle and thrash around with disappointment—this time on my kid’s behalf.

When I think of my word for 2019, expectancy, I think of only good things to come—or at least I did when it came to me. What could it mean for me and the ones around me? The finale to a nagging health issue, freedom from a forever debt, healing for a crisis of faith?

Maybe I’m expecting the wrong things. Maybe I’m anticipating good things, but not good-for-me things.  

It’s only two months into the new year, and now I see the match is set; and I’m afraid someone around me might get pummeled before good finally pins evil on its back.

I think of a day not too long ago when Husband, reclining next to me, watched something. Whistles, shouts, and applause piped from the screen in his hand. I leaned over to take a look at the event unfolding on his phone: wrestling.

Behind that screen, my nephew in Valley City, North Dakota, overpowered his opponent, putting him in a cradle in the center of the mat. He was agile and smart, and he won more than one match.

When I’m alone again, I stumble on the story of a patriarch—the one who has trouble telling the truth. He sends his family on ahead across the river—along with all his possessions—and he’s alone too, because that’s where we are when we really fight. And he wrestles all night long with the One who knows him best.

What a strange story, I thought when I was a kid. Who would actually wrestle with God?

The man prevails—and receives a blessing—but hobbles away from that match, his hip socket touched for forever by his struggles in the darkness.

I struggle too with my expectations of how life should be and when. And it turns out I can put up a good fight. But in the end, I know Who’s better at this, Who knows what I need, and Who loves me best. So, I’ll step away from the mat sooner rather than later and let Him take down my disappointment, putting it in a half nelson before the final pin.

Because I really don’t like limping.


*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.