Monday, February 11, 2013

Self Sacrifice Through the Eyes of Motherhood

Do you ever have times when God gently slaps you in the face with the same lesson 3 or 4 times in a row.  Then finally after the 3rd or 4th smack you realize that HE might be trying to make a point... Yep.  That has been me this last week.  God has slapped me right upside the head, gently, albeit still a slap.

I mentioned before that I had been reading through the wonderful book, Finding Your Purpose as a Mom, by Donna Otto.  This week I finished chapters 3-4 and also did some extra reading on the side, along the lines of motherhood.  Lately, God has really brought me to a place of refocusing my role as a mother and a wife.  This path came as a complete surprise to me, as I have shared before.  I thought I had this "motherhood" gig figured out, but obviously I had some fine tuning that needed some attention.

Can I be honest?  (Yes, Heather, this is YOUR blog... )  Well, sometimes I feel like I am made for grander things than parenting.  (I know.  Gasp if you may.)   But there are times when I picture myself far away from home, scaling the Himilayas with a baby strapped to my back so I can stumble upon a village of blind people  and fit them all with glasses or I was meant to be giving "those other pair of TOMS that I purchase when I purchase a pair for myself" away to someone in Africa.  (Seriously though, who has that job?!?  How cool.  Sign me up!)  The humanitarian and adventurer in me begins to twitch just typing this.

When my mind wanders and I "go there" for just a minute, I have a teensy pity party, but God is good and HE gently takes me by the shoulders and leads me back to my reality.  Quietly, He shows me how great of a work HE is doing in me and in my house because I am being obedient to this seemingly simple, yet significantly influential calling.  Motherhood.

Being a successful parent requires multiple attributes, but the 2 that are being sharpened in me during this season are: discipline and self-sacrifice.

Just reading those words makes me want to grit my teeth and RUN in the opposite direction, but instead I must look them boldly in the eyes and say..."Okay.  Let's do this!".

"self-sacrifice through the eyes of motherhood"

Yes. Yes. Yes.  Motherhood is thankless, it is ugly, it is booger-y, it is wrapped in a dirty diaper and handed to you on a tray with moldy cheese and curdled milk.   No matter if you are home all day long, work part time or full time, have 1 kid or have 8 children motherhood is a HARD JOB.  (Especially if you have a nursing baby, amen?!)  Not one mother out there has it easy.  No one.  So, automatically before you make a conscious decision to "sacrifice your self" for your children, they have already TAKEN a piece of you and ran. (And probably left fingerprints and crumbs in the process! ARG!)  (Is it called a sacrifice when you have no choice?!)

I love the following scripture:

Romans 21:1- Therefore, I urge you brothers (and "Mothers") in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.

Okay.  Pause.  Put that in your back pocket as we dig a little deeper here.

In church when we are called to "lay down our life", "pick up our cross daily", or to "offer yourself as a living sacrifice", we sit in the pew and genuinely consent that this is our duty as followers of Christ.  We instantly agree to putting our desires and dreams for our life behind us to actively pursue Christ's call. And we do it with a smile.  Period.
Why do I know this is a lie?!  First and foremost if the entire church did this, we would LOOK insanely different to a lost world.  It is almost ridiculous to agreeably commit to this lifestyle because it goes against every grain of our being.  We have a selfish ambition, we live in a self pleasing, self seeking, self obsessed culture,   It is hard to live counter culturally.  Guess what, that's okay, and sometimes to admit something is difficult can be freeing and liberating.  (Girls, Satan wants us to suffer in silence, and hates it when the body of Christ can experience unity.)

When God finally brings us to that place of living a "sacrificial life" we can respond many ways.  One way is to kick and scream and want someone to rescue us IMMEDIATELY, or we will willingly place our lives on the alter, EXCEPT we want to be wrapped in flashing Christmas lights with a giant neon arrow pointing to us saying, "#1 SACRIFICE" or "LOOK AT ME, WHAT A SACRIFICE I AM MAKING!" for all the world to see.

Mmmm, you mean it's kinda like when God calls us to a role that is overlooked, under paid NOT PAID, and thought of as an obligation (eh-hm, motherhood) we cross our arms and stomp our feet because NO ONE is thanking us and patting us on the back for a job well done?  We fight against the desire to be validated, affirmed and doted on, because this IS our human nature.  This is the battle between spirit and flesh.

Matthew 26:41- "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the message translation of Romans 12:1-2 (the verse I quoted earlier) (Did I mention I LOVE it!?)

"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. (embrace it Heather, DON'T FIGHT IT!) Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

YES!!  Take my everyday ordinary life God.  Take my tiny house, take my budgeted grocery list and off brand bread, take the time I spend reading your Word to my children, take my unshowered body and greasy hair, take my walgreens makeup and Fructise shampoo, take my dirty kitchen floors and very stained loved couch, take my TV antenna and mostly take my GIANT MOUNTAIN OF LAUNDRY, take these things that I am doing and living everyday, TAKE MY LIFE and I offer them to you as a living sacrifice so that you may do your will IN me.

Yes.  I may want to buy all my make up at the MAC counter, but I cannot.  I am a mother.
Yes.  I want to get a pedicure and manicure once a week (let's throw in a weekly massage too) but I cannot.  I am reading with my kids because I am a mother.
Yes.  I want cable.  But I cannot afford it because I am a mother.
Yes.  I want a clean house that is decorated like pottery barn (but with wall paper and dishes from Anthropologie)  But I cannot.  I am a mother.
Yes.  I want to go to Europe, Hawaii and Africa.  But I cannot.  I am a mother.
Yes.  I want to sleep 10 STRAIGHT HOURSE EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. But I cannot.  I am a mother.
Yes.  I want to go out to eat for every single meal.  But I cannot.  I am a mother.
Yes.  I want to wear expensive clothing, wear high heels, work out in cute yoga pants and take a hot shower.  But I cannot.  I am a mother.

(you get my point...)

Colosians 3:23- 

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people tiny children.

These dreams, these desires, these wants... I lay them at your feet, Lord.  I embrace the role I have been given.  I will not pout, I will not look to the mother on my left or my right and dream of her life, I will not make mountains out of mole hills, I will live in peace with my neighbor.  I accept this life and I will let YOU make it great.

As hard as the sheep fought against the Shepard as he laid him on the alter, we fight equally hard against the Lord.  Scripture does not say, to "sacrifice" yourself, instead it says to "OFFER" yourself.   The worship is not about being the sacrifice, it is about the journey to the alter.  

Today am I fighting God to the alter?  Or today am I being lead readily and quickly?

And they are SOOO WORTH IT!! !
Thanks for reading.  


  1. Beautiful, Heather. I've been that mother carrying a baby on my back in the Himalayas. (I didn't encounter a village of blind people and fit them all with glasses though.) But I still believe my greatest calling is to motherhood. And I would give up everything else for it because I see how the Lord is using motherhood to make me more like him...and that's what makes it worth it.

    1. Shannon, that is so funny that you HAVE lived my day dream, lol. :) You are such a wonderful example of self-sacrifice. Thank you for the example you set for me, and the reminder that even if we are living an adventurous life (to some) motherhood is still hard and humbling.

  2. I love that you're blogging Heather! Your words are meant to be out there :) So thankful to call you my friend!!!!

    1. Thank you Abi. I am so thankful for your friendship. :) hugs!

  3. Well, you have done it again. So elegantly spoken truth to the heart of those needing freedom from this worlds view of joy and happiness. Missing the days that I was given the gift of walking closely with you in our journey as Mommies! Love Chandra

    1. Chandra, thank you. I cherish the days we got to see each other more, and I am confident God crossed our paths for a reason and we needed that friendship for so many reasons. :) Love you sweet friend.

  4. Hi Heather! When my first son was little I used to picture myself... wait for it... walking through leper caves in India with my little guy strapped to my back. {No joke!} I so wanted to DO something important for the kingdom. Well, when I offered myself as a living sacrifice {diapers instead of lepers!} God called me to be in the trenches with two strong-willed sons, washing clothes, washing dishes, and cleaning a house. I'm so thankful that He helps us offer ourselves, and then because He's GOD, He chooses our path and our purpose!
    Heather, I'm so glad you visited my blog today- so I could find you! I can't quit reading your posts!
    Blessings to you ~ Mary

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement Mary. Can't wait to read more of your blog as well. :)


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