Dec 7, 2008

Sacrifice

This is the one, single most important thing I've learned since becoming a mommy. The other is...it means nothing if not done in love.

I remember actually being angry when I first brought Gavin home from the hospital when I realized I would have to actually wake up in the middle of the night...not just once, but multiple times...to feed him. Learning to sacrifice little things like sleep was how it all started.

When I brought Bennett home from the hospital, I learned about sacrificing time with Gavin. He and I used to have the time of our lives together. And now, suddenly, I had another little guy who needed more of me. I couldn't give as much time to my buddy anymore. But we both grew for learning how to sacrifice time together. Our love grew and we enjoyed our time together more because we treasured what we got.

As Chloe joined our family I learned yet again more sacrifice...I didn't know it came in so many forms! I learned to sacrifice my expectations of what having 3 children would be like and what I would/would not be able to accomplish with so many little people needing me at one time. With her, I also learned to sacrifice my personal space. I know that sounds corny, but I can feel smothered quite easily sometimes. For the first two years of her life, she was permanently attached to my hip. Looking back, I miss it now. But then, it seemed to sap all my energy...never being able to put her down for even a minute.

In our marriage, Chuck and I view time together as one of our most important love languages. We treasure those special moments of just 'us time' where we can laugh, play, talk, take a walk, share our deepest desires...alone. The more children in the house means more people with constant needs. As a mommy, my job...no my desire...is to meet those needs and provide a loving, nurturing environment. But it comes with yet more sacrifice. My time with my bestist friend is now sacrificed and squished into a few precious few moments a day.

Homeschooling is synonymous with sacrifice. I never chose this road, it chose me. I never set out to do this on purpose, it was the journey God knew our family would be taking. It is a path filled with extremes for me: extreme delight in watching my children learn and getting to spend time with them throughout the day cultivating a deeper relationship; extreme exhaustion getting materials researched, prepared, organized; extreme thankfulness in having the freedom to live in a country where I can chose this educational option; extreme frustration on days when I feel incompetent to handle all this. Daily, my time is not my own.

Lastly, all these 'deep thoughts' have been prompted by my husband's increased traveling due to his job over the past few years. Right now, he's out of the country for 10 days. For me, that's huge. I'm used to him spending his 8-10 hours of work a day huddled in the corner of our bedroom over his desk, in what we call his office, working from home. I know I'm spoiled. This set up works wonderfully for our family. But it also costs. We just take the good with the bad and make the most of when he has to travel.

Yesterday, I began to feel a twinge of self pity at never getting a break from the kids; having to be 'on call' 24/7 while he's gone; never getting any 'alone time'; having to do the jobs around the house, that we typically share, all by myself. Then God gently reminded me of Romans 12:1, "...God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship."

Then it dawned on me: sacrifice is an honor. It is my gift to God. Sacrifice is not putting my needs first, but the needs of others. It is love. Wasn't he the epitome of sacrifice? Wasn't he the epitome of love? If by sacrificing, it draws me closer to him...then bring it on. If sacrifice means shedding my desires in order to show love and it impacts another life...I'll do it willingly.

I often feel like I don't have much to give. I don't have many talents. I'm just a mom. I don't have some astounding gift that can impact the world. But I do have love and now I know that love can't help but sacrifice. It is WHO love is. If this tiny scope of time of having to 'rough it' alone with the kids while Daddy is gone is showing worship to God, then I do it with a smile on my face.

It could be so much worse. I'm not a military wife having to send her husband off to war not knowing if he'll return. I'm not a single mother who has no end in sight and lives in exhaustion. I am not alone. I have a husband who sees and appreciates my sacrifice, unlike husbands who require it of their wives and beat them or verbally abuse them when they don't bend to their overbearing expectations. I am not from a culture that demands and expects submission and sacrifice. I am not a missionary stuck in a foreign land without my husband.I am blessed to have family and friends who sacrifice their time to show me love and make sure the kids and I don't feel lonely during this time.

Simply put...I am loved. Love sacrifices...joyfully.

Here is a quote from Mother Teresa that expresses sacrifice beautifully, "A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace."
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2 comments:

Kelly said...

Thank you for your thoughts on this Cori. I struggle with this nearly every day, trying to find a balance between the photographer, writer, woman, wife, and mom that I have to be. Being sick, I only have limited resources to spend in any of these roles, and each day, I have to decide where I will spend them. I hate that I can't do it all.

Maybe this post will help me think about it differently.

Thanks again.

Jennboree said...

I love the way you write. Your words express so much of how I feel as well. Except about homeschooling. I am not woman enough to attempt that ;)

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