During the month of November our pastor challenges us to "sacrifice" something that would be difficult to let go of. Some sacrifice coffee. Some sacrifice social media. Some sacrifice TV or going out to eat. Whatever is sacrificed is designed to help draw us closer to the Father and to focus on Him, His goodness, His greatness, and His ultimate sacrifice for the the souls of all people of which our sacrifices can never compare.
As I sat Sunday listening to testimonies of God's incredible goodness in the lives of people in our local body of believers, I thought about my lack of sacrifice during November. I felt a little guilty because I had not specifically given up anything.
Last year I gave up Facebook for a month and it was well worth it. The time I usually spent posting or scrolling was put to much better use of things like being in the Word more, writing more, praying more, etc...
But this year, what had I to show for November sacrifice? Nothing.
Then I realized that the sacrifice God had allowed me to make had not been scheduled or pre-planned. It just happened and much earlier than expected.
During September and October I had given up something very difficult to let go of, precious time with my husband, so he could care for his mom. I didn't realize what a sacrifice it truly was until it was all over and my precious mother-in-law was gone from us. Not only did I sacrifice, but Rick did even more.
Life as we knew it, the life we take for granted every day, was placed on hold while our focus turned to caring for our last living parent on earth. For 40 days and 40 nights my husband, his mother's only child, spent all of his time with her. Now I know there are many wives who would balk at this, and I had my moments, but God allowed me to watch something beautiful during those eight weeks that I already knew existed between this son and his mother. As I was totally engaged with my husband in assisting with her care, God pulled back the curtain so I could witness this scene of pure, selfless LOVE of a son giving back to the one who loves him like no one else can.
As each night approached, when possible, I would give Rick a break so he could go home and shower, eat a bite, and maybe spend a few quiet moments alone. Then I would return home to an empty house. Nights were the hardest.
Rick put his life on hold to love his mother with everything he had in him through those horrific eight weeks, including two very difficult weeks in the hospital. Her darkest hours of need were where he and I had to sacrifice the most. Tough? You bet.
But so worth it.
These brief moments of sacrifice have given me a renewed, grateful heart for my better half. It has reminded me of the priceless gift Rick is to me and our family, one I far too often take for granted. A beautiful gift of a godly husband, given to me through answered prayer, who has loved me purely and sacrificially, every single day of our 30 years of marriage. Blessed indeed!
After two months plus of watching our children's Mimi suffer, and sacrificing time away from one another, on the afternoon of October 31, 2015, God's ordained time for her on earth ended. With Rick by her side, she breathed her last breath. Peacefully, Jesus welcomed her home.
On the eve of our church family's challenge to sacrifice, God began honoring ours by bringing my husband back home, having answered our prayers for mercy on his mom. We've hugged a lot, whispered, "I love you" more often, and continue to reflect on the fact that we can never out sacrifice our amazing God.
God is faithful in all things. God is good in all things...
and all is grace!