Sweet sacrifice

We are having a church conference this weekend and after tonight’s meeting the youth was selling gourmet hot dogs as a fundraiser. I was starving, and ended up eating my hot dog next to a dear older lady from our church whose adult daughter died after a long battle with cancer a few years ago. I had been wanting to bounce some ideas around with someone who is a little further than me along this road and who has a real walk with God, so I jumped at the chance to ask her a few questions.

It was sooooo good to talk to her. As you all can glean from my latest posts, I have been getting advice from people lately that I have been trying to receive in the correct spirit. I have been trying to find the balance between following my own heart and conscience and yet allowing friends the freedom to speak into my life. Sometimes they don’t comprehend the grieving process and I get hurt. On the other hand I realise they may see blind spots that I can’t see and I want to have a teachable spirit. It can get so confusing for me sometimes…

As I drove home after our talk I felt encouraged. As far as grieving mommas go, I realise that I am really in a good place. I am truly at peace and I do not wrestle with why this had to happen. I am not angry, nor do I feel like I am lugging a heavy burden of grief with me wherever I go. There is pain, yes. How can there not be? I miss Jenna. Sometimes it is a searing pain that slices right through my heart. But I do not feel anguish or despair. For that, I am thankful.

I remembered the days immediately after Jenna left us. I cannot possibly find words to tell you all of the grace and peace that enveloped us at that time. But more than that, something sweet had happened in my own heart. Laying my most precious possession at the feet of Jesus with the firm determination that I would praise my God regardless of the outcome, had produced in my heart a tenderness I had never known before. Things that would normally irritate me or push my buttons were inconsequential. For just a few days my heart was so sweet and pure before the Lord that there were moments that I thought I would never sin again. Those are huge words and quite presumptuous, and of course it didn’t last long (sigh) but that is exactly what I felt.

As I drove home tonight thinking about the sweetness that sacrifice and suffering had produced in me, albeit for a short time, I realised that sacrifice always brings with it a fresh sense of God’s grace and favor surrounding us. I think that the God who sacrificed it all just so that he could have a relationship with you and me places a special value on the times we freely offer up something (no matter how big or small) that we would rather hold on to. When we do that we are mirroring Jesus’ own heart and I think something about that moves God’s heart. I can picture him looking down and saying: “That’s my girl, how can I bless her?” And his blessing comes, he wraps us with a tangible sense of his goodness and his favor. Sacrifice, like that grain of wheat that has to die, brings forth his life and much fruit in us.

I have to admit to you all that lately, I have been bothered with a sense of ‘dullness’ in my walk with God. I have lacked some of the passion and fire for him that I have experienced in times past. I realised, right there in my car this evening, that I have been praising God with my lips but not with my heart. I have been looking for the easy road and not the road that costs me something. And it has sullied me.

The bible talks about the ‘sacrifice of praise.’ Sometimes (and I just gave a big sigh as I typed that 🙂 ) praising God is a sacrifice. It means letting go of my desire to be in charge and it requires a ‘sweet and low’ spirit.

So tonight, I will offer the evening sacrifice to my Lord. I want to turn off this computer and turn my face to see his sweet face smiling down on me. I want to read his word and let it breathe life into these dry bones.

So what if it costs me a bit of sleep.

Advertisements

12 responses to “Sweet sacrifice

  1. cornishevangelist

    Do Not Be Surprised
    Do not be surprised when some church leaders do not accept you, for there has always been people who hold high positions in churches who speak evil of men and women of God.

    Many of God’s people over the centuries have come up against people like that. We read in 3 John v 9 & 10, of an elder called Diotrophes, who with foolish and malicious words spoke evil of the Apostles and who would not receive them or their teachings.

    He loved to have pre-eminence among the local church at that time, and if any did not obey him, he would have them thrown out of the church. Have things really changed today?

    EVANGELIST BILLY BOLITHO
    http://www.evangelistbillybolitho.blogspot.com

  2. Sumi,

    Isn’t it amazing how a talk or being around one person can make you see things just a little bit clearly that things aren’t quite as foggy as what they once were. Everyone of us that reads your blogs takes something away everytime we read what you write.

    I’ve been in a fog lately and I’ve been trying to figure out how to get out of my fog. I’m trying to figure out how to say what I want to say right now things are so jumbled in my brain right now it must be the “blonde” in me today..
    You really have been a blessing to all of us and it just amazes me everyday how much you truely share with all of us..
    Lots of love from the cornfields of Indiana
    Candy

  3. Those are such beautiful and encouraging words. I have been praying for you especially hard this week leading up to Jenna’s birthday. May you all have a beautiful weekend!

  4. Your precious words blessed my heart today.
    Thank you for sharing your journey through
    grief with all of us who read your blog. You
    are a wonderful witness of God’s faithfulness
    to us in our times of greatest need.
    I am praying for you as your family and friends
    prepare to celebrate Jenna’s birthday this
    weekend.

  5. Thank you for this entry, Sumi! I can so identify with how you felt in the days after Jenna’s death. I went through the same thing when Ellie was diagnosed with cancer. And again after she died. And in the most difficult parts in between. But lately I have also been feeling that “dullness” and dryness… It is a blessing to read what you have discovered regarding a sacrifice of praise. I will mull over that long and hard. And pray for the strength to be obedient. I do long for that renewing of my spirit. Thank you so much!

  6. It is so true that the scripture will set us free. To look back these 18 months of being separated from Joel, has been some of the most fruitful months with the Lord in my own personal walk and for that I am grateful in the midst of the intense pain of missing him. May the Lord’s grace rain upon your heart and grant a consuming urning for him and his truth and may we both never be the same because of his work of grace in our hearts!!!!
    Cindy
    http://www.weloveyoujoel.blogspot.com

  7. Sumi:

    I can also identify with those dry feelings. In the beginning, the wound of grief and hurt and pain and anguish is so, so fresh and tender. And our ever so gracious Father holds us so close to Him that we don’t even know that it is not I that walks but He that carries us. And when the wound begins to heal and you begin to stand on your own again, holding his ever so large and gentle hand, you begin to walk beside him but at times we are stretched and that wound hurts and we keep on doing this. And in time you will look back and begin to see how precious is our God and how gentle He is and how much you love Him–yes, even in that dry and parched land.

    We all will come again to that land of plenty and find healing and thirst for his Word more and more. And when we find those times hard to praise our God, He will understand and He will lift us close to Him.

    Please, take time–be calm and still and rest. Appropriate the grace He has given you today–no yesterday’s grace and not tomorrow’s grace.

    Many blessings of peace and harmony this weekend as you remember Jenna and this precious life that has graced each of you.

  8. Hmmmm….well, the “dullness” speaks to me too. Thank you again for being such a willing vessel for God to use. It’s amazing how God has so much patience with us (me) and continually longs to spend time with us (me). We’ve had a very, very, very tough almost 3 years where almost everything has been stripped away. But through all of this loss, there has been gain. He has been healing the broken parts of my spirit (when I have allowed it) :)), and speaking about where He wants us (me and my family).

    It seems God is dealing with all of His people and with His love, it makes it much sweeter.

    Stepping up the prayers for you and your family as you celebrate Jenna’s birthday!

    Love you!

    Cynthia Y.

  9. You’re right, Sumi. Just what I need to hear. JUST what Matt and I both need to hear tonight. Sweet sacrifice. Sweet and low. He is good. He is sovereign. He is letting us serve Him and we are so honored to do that, even and especially when it breaks our hearts. He set that example and we mirror Christ when we follow it.

    I love your heart and I thank God for you and for letting me know that sweet Jenna is safe in the palm of our Almighty God with Miller Grace tonight.

  10. Sumi and all, we lost our daughter eight years ago. I retired as a psychologist prior to her death, but specialized in counseling for loss and grief. I can tell you that what I learned in school and what I learned from Dr. Jesus were two very different things! But the stages of grief are good to know. Kubler-Ross would say it is the depression stage. I know it felt like numbness, fog, dullness.

    I can now look back on that numb fog with some fondness, paradoxically, because like you, Sumi, I made some of my best praise sacrifices during that time when I least felt like making them. I don’t recall ever feeling “depressed.” That is, I didn’t give over to darkness or despair. Then and now I always knew God’s providence. As Job said, shall we receive good from God and not adversity? (Job 2:10).

    Since then, when I suffer another loss, and that numbness or lethargy set in, I return to my prayer and worship routine (yes, I have one). God never fails.

  11. Continuing to pray for you and your family!

    Happy Birthday Sweet Jenna!

    Love you!

    Cynthia Y.

  12. I read your blog and would like to tell you I understand. But the truth is – I don’t. God is speaking to me through your blogs and I am seeing what God’s grace is all about. The out pouring of support, I trust, will continue for all of Jenna’s birthdays.

    God is working in your life to help those of us who also need encouragement. The sweet loving spirit I see in you, I hope will bring those who do not know the Lord to Him.

    Have a good week.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s