Russell Crosswhite had high expectations for T-ball — and those expectations were met, right down to the end-of-game hat wave that only he bothered to do after the season closer.

Time to surrender our expectations for 2021


     As moms, I think we always have a running list in our heads of things we want to remember our children by when they’re older. For me, this picture of Russell at the last T-ball game of his first season this year will always be a hall-of-famer. 

     Like most everything this past 10 months, COVID-19 altered the end-of-game handshake and replaced it with the hat wave, with the teams on opposite baselines. With all the excitement that the last game brings (read: GIANT trophy for each player), no one on either team seemed interested in the hat wave. 

     Blame it on the hours spent watching baseball with his dad, or his sincere belief that each game was the most important of his life, but Russell did not waver in taking the time to salute his nonexistent fan base. 

     So many things make me laugh about this picture, but mainly the idea of the thoughts that were going through his head. His expectations of FINALLY getting to play T-ball truly matched what he experienced as he gave his final hat tip of the season. 

     I think we all have high expectations for 2021. I mean, come on, surely it has to be better than 2020, right? I’ve heard this over and over: that our expectations, albeit probably pretty low after 2020, have to be met in some capacity. 

     I’m reminded of the expectations I had for my birthday the first year Clay and I were married. I just knew he got me a cat. I had dropped many, many hints, and he was my husband, and since we’d been married a whole month before my birthday, I believed he knew everything I was thinking. 

     Much to my surprise, the box didn’t contain a cat or anything close to it — it was golf clubs. Yep. Pink golf clubs. He was so proud, and I was so confused. This man I’d known since sixth grade and loved so dearly thought that pink golf clubs off of Craigslist would be perfect for his wife, who had been on a golf course only once in her 23 years.

     If we’ve learned anything lately, it’s that earthly expectations never turn out quite the way we hope. This next sentence terrifies me for what it could mean for my life in 2021, but as I’ve taken notes at church, the Holy Spirit keeps putting the same word on my heart: Surrender. My flesh is terrified of the potential implications of that word, but my faith tells me this could be the beginning of finally having that freedom from worry that I, and maybe some of you, have longed for. 

     Surrendering was best taught by Jesus as He fulfilled God’s plan for us. More than sacrificing His life for us, He gave us a model for how to live, that we may be empowered by the Holy Spirit to surrender as Christ did to God’s plan. 

     What if we surrendered our expectations of what 2021 is supposed to look like, or what we think we deserve or need? What if we finally surrendered the weight of shame that we’ve carried for far too long? What if we finally surrendered our difficulties, our fears, our kids, our marriages, our finances, our careers (or lack thereof) to the One who’s already held it all together? 

     What if we finally surrendered all the lies we’ve believed about ourselves and our circumstances for the truth of who God has created us to be? What if we surrendered our old ways of trying to control and manipulate and keep up, and the expectations we’ve placed on ourselves to filter and fake and keep our lives tidy?

     Ellie Holcomb’s song “Wonderfully Made” is littered with gospel truth from scripture and is carrying me through to 2021:

What if I saw me, the way that You see me
What if I believed it was true
What if I traded this shame and self-hatred
For a chance at believing You 

Help me believe it
Help me to see me
Just like You see me
Just like You made me

     I believe God is calling each of us to surrender and center ourselves back on the truth of Psalm 139:14, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” 

     May we not just hear that truth, but believe and surrender to it this year. 2021, we sure are ready for you.  


Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Madison and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 6 years old, and a son, Russell, who is 4 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy and can be emailed at