I am honored to have a guest here. She is not a blogger–yet. She is a mama and pastor’s wife and my friend. Her constant encouragement empowers me, her continuous support undergirds me, and her belief in me astounds me. She has provided so many words of love that bring me courage in this blogging journey and my life. She brings authenticity that is like a breath of fresh air, yet a gentleness and humility characteristic of a heart that is His.
SACRIFICE. I struggle to write concerning the subject.
I told my precious friend in time of need, “If you need my help with ANYTHING, I’m here.”
“I want you to be a guest blogger,” she responded.“The subject… SACRIFICE.” I instantly thought to myself, me? Blog? That is a sacrifice. Suddenly, I realized there was more to this request than just an opportunity to write. Knowing that everything we do has purpose, I go to that place to seek the One who defines my purpose. I sit and listen. What happened next was not what I was anticipating.
I am the very proud momma of a handsome, God fearing, teenage boy and a precious, tender-hearted, beautiful girl. My children are my treasure this side of heaven. And because of my love for them, I have made a few small sacrifices. I sacrificed comfort for 9 month in hopes to have them fully develop in my womb. I sacrificed sleep in their infancy and often still as my spirit is prodded to arise and pray for them and their future spouse. I’ve sacrificed things I’ve wanted for the things they’ve needed. I sacrificed my figure and still see the effects childbearing has left on this quickly aging body.
And yet, in comparison … Seemingly, not a sacrifice at all.
As a wife, I sacrificed what I wanted to do for what Christ has called me to. I wanted to be a nurse but, instead, I am the wife of a minister. I never knew the sacrifices I would be called to make in this role– late night calls for prayer, emergent runs to the hospital as one of our members has become gravely ill, the endless counseling sessions and pep talks, the expectations of others, overwhelming, and the sacrifice of self to meet the needs of others. I can’t forget, still, the horrible sound from the other end of the phone when a wife called to tell us her husband has suddenly and unexpectedly died in her arms.
And yet, in comparison… Seemingly, not a sacrifice at all.
With unpretentiousness I say, “I’ve made a few sacrifices over this span of my life — but none like the ones He requested in this quiet place.” As I sit, I listen. Instead of receiving words for this blog, He makes a request. A request to SACRIFICE. I struggle to yield, for it is weighted and difficult for this flesh who’s been master for so long. Pained, I begin the fight. It’s the war between the strong man and my spirit man.
You see, I am a strong woman, determined to do it myself, get it all done, and get it done perfectly. HIS request — prioritize and delegate … a SACRIFICE. I am extremely quick on my feet and for half my life, the words I speak have been my defense and, believe me — I WILL get the last word. The request to be silent … a SACRIFICE. I want it done the right way, also known as “my way”. But HIS request is for a humble heart that takes notice of the “differences” found in others, and embraces the beauty thereof … a SACRIFICE.
I sit quietly. I begin to weep. He understands too well. Finally, I begin to yield.
Like the widow of Zarephath,
I will offer Him all I have,
before using it all up on everyone else. (I Kings 17)
Like “that Mary” of Bethany,
who broke open her alabaster jar
of very expensive perfume,
I will pour myself out for Him…
for His use… His purposes. (Matt.26:7)
Like the poor widow, I will give out of my need,
instead of my abundance,
for that is where TRUE sacrifice is found.
As we are approaching Easter, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, I am quickly reminded of the greatest sacrifice ever made. The sacrifice of Love…..
But when the Messiah arrived, High Priest of the superior things of this new covenant, He bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven’s “tent”— the true Holy Place — once and for all. He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all. If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.
Hebrews 9:11-15 (MSG)
As I reflect on all of this, I think of my sacrifices and the most recent requests made by Him. I realize that in comparison… Seemingly, not a sacrifice at all.
Lisa Cook is a wife, a mother, a Co-Pastor and a Worship Leader. After running from God for several years, she recommitted her life to Christ at the age of seventeen. Two years later, she married her husband, Thomas. God has blessed them with nineteen years of marriage and two incredible children. Together, Tom and Lisa share pastoral duties at The Praise Place Church in Orlando, Florida. As Worship Leader, Lisa has a deep passion for seeing God’s people turn toward Him in worship as she ushers them into His presence. Along with her passion for music, Lisa also loves to encourage others to walk in divine purpose. Her heart has been won by the affection of Jesus Christ and, because of that great love, she simply wants to know Him and make Him known.