Michelle Duggar on Having 19 Kids and Zero Expectations


One of the best and most therapeutic things I've learned as a mom is to let go of my expectations.  I've never really had any for things like their career paths (I believe with all of my heart they were created by God for a purpose.  My prayer is they seek and find what that purpose is and fulfill it.  I pray they love Him with all of their hearts, souls, and minds and experience real joy - whatever else it is in this life that brings them that.) or even in some ways their behavior (After all, they have minds of their own and are who they are.  And then there's developmental factors thrown in too.). 

But when I'd make plans, and they fell through.........I'd lose it.  And not so much as when Jake was Parker's age and younger as more recently.  I think it's because I knew my time with them was much more limited which made it that much more valuable.  So when I'd plan something for us to do as a family or ask for a few hours of my mom's time to watch the little boys while Jim and I went out for dinner, and those things for one reason or another didn't happen, the disappointment I experienced was overwhelming.  Not.  Good. 

So I let it all go and chose to expect only the unexpected.  It's working like magic.

I absolutely love what Michelle Duggar said about this.  I read this recently and can't help but share....          

"One of the things Jim Bob and I realized early on in our relationship was the idea that we have expectations that we sometimes can't live up to.  We all have ideas about what we expect from our loved ones, and this is something Brother Elmore, who is our preacher and pastor at our church has talked a lot about.

As a mom I could have an expectation of a clean house (or a semi-clean house) so I can at least walk down the hallway without tripping over toys, or the expectation of a good night's sleep of eight hours.  Whatever those expectations are, our pastor has explained, may be way up here in the clouds, but our actual reality may be down here with what we're dealing with, and everything in between is frustration.  And you can find yourself getting very angry and put out about the way your life is because you've got all these expectations of how you thought it was going to be, or what it was like when you were growing up.

When we realized early in our marriage that we needed to give those expectations to God -- we needed to yeild our right to a clean house, to a full night's sleep, to whatever it is that we think we deserve or should have -- and say, "Lord, I'm not going to have these higher expectations that may not ever actually get reached.  I'm going to give this to you, Lord, and if you allow anything to happen, that's good.  I'm going to praise you, and I'm going to be grateful and yield my expectations to you."

And here's what I think happens if we don't do this and we don't learn this lesson in our relationships:  We're going to withhold praise, and we won't be able to praise our spouse or our children because they're never going to meet our expectations.  We're always going to have this attitude toward them that "You're irritating me.  You are a frustration in my life.  You are causing grief."  So we need to be able to set aside ourselves and our expectations.

And yielding our expectations doesn't mean we don't need to make goals.  Setting goals and making plans is different.  But giving up expectations gives us a grateful spirit -- we're not discontent with where we are in life.  And we're not always grumbling and complaining about the way things should be -- it really does create a spirit of gratefulness in our heart."


  1. such a great post. i needed to have that reminder today. I feel let down when things don't meet my expectations and I hate that. thanks for the post!

  2. Love This!!!! Thank you for sharing such wisdom.

  3. This is a GREAT post! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Love this. Michelle Duggar is one of my heroes. She's so wise! I'm going to share this on Facebook if you don't mind...

  5. Melissa, I don't mind at all!!

    Thank you all so much! It definitely touched me, and I'm so blessed that it touched all of you. Love you all!

  6. Thank you for sharing this! LOVE IT!!!!