Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Sacrificial Love

My pastor has often said reading Scripture is like standing beneath a waterfall with a small cup. That's a good analogy...if that waterfall is Niagara Falls. But my experience with Scripture is more like standing at the bottom of a mountain while a rock slide rains down boulders on me. They sting. They bruise. They cut. But they get my attention.

When God has a message I need to hear through His Word, He usually does not whisper it to me. Over a deafening week of comforting a feverish baby, reworking my online courses for the fall, and changing an insane number of unhappy diapers, God got my attention. Both the revival services this week and my own Bible study have both rung out clearly the same melody.

Love. Sacrificial love.

Loving like Jesus loves: loving others as myself. Loving those who persecute my family. And showing Christ's love to my husband and children.

The third boulder left the biggest knot on my head. God has shown me that I have the tendency to forgive my persecutors and enemies faster than I forgive my own family. So, this past week, my imperfect self has tried to live out God's perfect love toward my own family:

I started the week by filling 4 gallon-sized bags, 79 baby food jars, and 3 ice trays full of made two apple crisps...lovingly-made food for everyone. (My husband would say this is a true sign of love because when he opens a cabinet, 79 small plastic cups will no longer fall out onto his feet.)

I have also made a conscious effort to wait until after the children have gone to bed to do my schoolwork just so I could spend the daylight hours rocking a fevered Amelia, playing blocks, reading books, feeding 25+ voracious caterpillars (that's another post), and teaching Wyatt to cut with scissors.

Tonight, my husband and I had dinner together, and he offered me the last bite of cheese. I jokingly said, "No. It's a sacrifice of love. Now eat it!" And we both enjoyed a good laugh.

Why bother? Why put myself out, deny myself much-needed sleep? Because what I've been learning the hard way is that sacrificial love always results in the giver getting more than she gave.

For every sacrifice, I've received something much greater back in return: rare snuggles from my independent daughter, hearing Emerson say "da da" for the first time, and once in a lifetime conversations with my 2-year-old.

A sacrificial love is always forgiving, kind, compassionate, and giving. I'm not there yet, but I'm willing to work on my heart.


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  2. This post made me feel so warm all over. Like warm love being poured all over me. It's contagious.

    You're on the right track. Leading by example.

    Thanks for sharing.


  3. Jennifer, I love the way you are so open to share your heart with readers, so we are able to meet you on your knees.