Accidentally Sacrificial

I want to be more faithful (1) copy

I was holding all the water bottles and I didn’t even realize it until another mom pointed out that the kids had left me with all their stuff.

We were at a stargazing event for my son’s class. A local astronomy club had come out to share their telescopes with the kids and parents.  It was a generous gesture on their part, but I had other things I wanted to do with my Friday night. Still, I was able to leave the two youngest kids at home, so even I  had a chance to look into the telescopes myself.

But at that moment I was standing by myself in a crowd of people who were all chatting with each other, holding 4 water bottles and a homemade telescope. When that mom elbowed me and laughed that I was stuck with the stuff, I realized that for that moment I didn’t really care. It didn’t even bother me at all. The real kicker is that I had been doing it for quite awhile before I realized that this was really different.

I’m usually not one to sacrifice very easily, and if I can do it, it usually comes with a lot of whining. But as I watched my children flit from telescope to telescope and then run up and down the field, there wasn’t even a bit of resentment, and I thought, I can do this! I have it in me to be that patient parent who lets their kids do something even if it means they have to hold all the water bottles.

I realize this is no great sacrifice, this is just one of those things that is expected as a parent. There are no gold stars for standing and holding your child’s water while they have a learning opportunity. But I caught a glimpse of myself as a person who could make bigger, more meaningful sacrifices. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday. I lost track of worrying about myself for those moments, and it felt so good.

Of course, being the imperfect person that I am, it only took getting in the car and having a child throw an “empty” water bottle my way which then spilled on my leg for me to be decidedly un-sacrificial and focused on myself.

There are many ways that every parent sacrifices themselves for their children, spouse, and family. What I am finding is that the big ways are often easier times to forget myself and think only of another person; having a baby, going through health struggles with a child, helping my husband with a hard job, are all ways that living in a sacrificial manner is so obvious that it comes a little easier – there is no other way to go through those kinds of things without leaving yourself behind a little, it just comes with the territory. It’s the tiny ways that trip me up; the water bottles to carry, the spills at dinner, the lost shoe, all these are times when my sacrifice of my own will seems like so small a thing that I can moan about having to step out of my own plans. Those are the times I usually find myself reacting before I even know I have a choice in the matter.

Matthew 25:23  – His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”

One by one, I hope that finding these small victories (and the defeats too) can help me make further steps in dying to self. I want to be more faithful, even in the small things.

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