Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sacrificial Love

Both of my children are out of diapers.

I mean, like, we will not have to buy diapers ever again.

They are both out of diapers.

How weird is that??

I am a mother to two children in underwear.

They wear underwear.

They pee and poo in the potty.

There are several people from college that have just recently had babies or are getting ready to have babies. It is so neat to watch them go through all the changes that pregnancy and parenthood brings! The things that were once so important become so small and the love that you once felt for your significant other grows into something that you just can't contain inside of your chest. You have so much love within you that you feel as if you could burst open with pure joy! (Most of the time)

Honestly, the transformation that takes places when you become a parent isn't something that you can explain in words. You have to just sit back and wait until those around you get to experience the pure joy that emerges when you give your life to another.

As I was reading a book by Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, I couldn't help but think about parenthood and marriage. There was a chapter on Community where he spoke about how hard it was going from living alone to sharing a house with five other men. He always felt that someone was interrupting his train of thought. That he needed a substantial amount of alone time every single day. When he was well rested, had finished every single little thought process in his head and was in the mood to be social, then and only then, would he commune with his house mates.

I sympothized with him. I have been in his situation. Getting married and having children isn't just about the "head over heals I am so in love with you that I want to be with you 24/7." It is really about learning to live in community. As you enter within the community you slowly begin to change from an egocentric, self-centered little brat (totally talking about myself) into a person who wakes up daily willing to die to yourself. It isn't about you any more. Really it never was about you. Using Donald Miller here, he explains how you no longer see yourself as the main character in your own little story and others as supporting roles that are or are not welcome in the plot.

Donald Miller wrote about an experience he had at a bed and breakfast that left him troubled about the way he viewed his housemates as interruptions of his story, his alone time, his need for his own space. It begins on page 185:

"I was in San Francisco recently staying at this bed and breakfast place for people who are in the city to do ministry. It was a small house but there were probably fifteen people living there at the time. The guy who ran the place, Bill, was always making meals or cleaning up after us, and I took note of his incredible patience and kindness. I noticed that not all of us did our dishes after a meal and very few people thanked him for cooking. One morning, before anybody woke up, Bill and I were drinking coffee at the dinning room table. I told him I lived with five other guys and that it was very difficult for me because I liked my space and needed my privacy. I asked him how he kept such a good attitude all the time with so many people abusing his kindness. Bill set down his coffee and looked me in the eye. Don, he said, If we aren't willing to wake up in the morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether or not we are really following Jesus."

What a powerful and convicting thing to think about!

We often think of being a follower of Jesus in terms of obeying the law, always being super happy, occasionally serving the "poor" when we feel like it. We tend to have this whole list of things you do as a follower of Jesus and a whole list of "don't do or you will be shunned by the church" list of things. But how often do we wake up with the thought "I'm going to die to myself today!"

We live in a culture that screams, be indepentent, reach your own goals and personal aspirations no matter the cost to relationships or the self worth of others. But,"when faced with the humble sacrifice of our Creator, how can we live our lives with any pretense of being greater than anyone else? What could be more unseemly, abominable, and more seriously punishable for a man than to see the God of heaven turn himself into a small child, while he continues to make himself greater above the earth?" (15 days of prayer with Saint Bernard)

Becoming a parent is a humbling a experiance. Everyday you wake up and die to yourself. You are there to serve, to love, to teach. It isn't just about you. Don't get me wrong, you need some alone time to regroup, Jesus was always darting off into the desert to pray. As a parent I would advise getting up early every morning to spend some alone time before the morning rush starts. Self care is important but too much self care is harmful.

This is how I see my ministry presently. I am first and foremost a mother and a wife. I have the most important job ever. To teach my children to live in community, to love one another, to care for on another even when you get nothing in return.

In a world that sees sacrificial love as worthless, I serve a God who sees it as beautiful!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. You have given me things to ponder...