Oh No You Didn’t, Lord!

What does it mean to sacrifice? Dictionary.com says:

 verb (used with object)
  • to make a sacrifice or offering of.
  • to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else. 
  • to dispose of (goods, property, etc.) regardless of profit
As I think about people who have made big sacrifices, my grandmother comes to mind. Grandma Smith. Giving up things she wanted to take care of her family and help her mother keep food on the table. You can read about one of her sacrifices HERE.
I think about missionaries who risk their lives every day to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of them give up a life like we live in the US to live in huts with dirt floors in temperatures that would make our measely 90 degrees look like winter. I’ve been to Thailand, I know. Yet I still whine about the heat index.
Last weekend, I was in one of those sterilize the kitchen moods. You ever get in those? I bleached my counters and sink. Pulled the eyes off the stove and scrubbed. I opened my oven…and closed it. I wasn’t going that far.
I could hear my son laughing at super hero shows or Mad TV, whatever it was had him in stitches in his bedroom. My daughter was packing for her summer trip to Mimi’s and my husband was in the bedroom with his guitar. I love to hear him play, to sing…to worship. It’s what he’s called to do. One day he’ll get his opportunity full time.
When he shuts the bedroom door and begins to play, something happens. His soft voice gets louder, and louder, until the whole house rings with a tenor melody. I know at that moment, God is speaking to him. I know they’re in a private moment, not even I can get in on. The atmosphere in the house changes like a tide. Peace settles over our home. Even the children quiet down.
On this Saturday, after an hour, maybe two, hubby came out of the room. I always expect his face to shine like Moses’s after he came down from the mountain. It never does, but his eyes sparkle. I swear they do. But this day, his eyes seemed hesitant. He leaned against the counter and watched me scrub a crockpot. I didn’t say anything.  A whisper in my heart told me to be still.
“Jess, I feel like I’m supposed to go back to Thailand.”

We’d briefly chatted about this before. We had an amazing experience a few years ago, but I hadn’t been feeling the urge for myself. There’ s a difference in wanting to do something and just saying, “I’m going!” and having the Lord impress on you to go.  Not that I don’t want to go back again. I do.

My husband had been mentioning over the last few months how it would be nice to return. He missed the kids. Now for him to say these things, I knew it was God–even if hubby knew it or not. He’s not one to go gung-ho on something. He considers it, analyzes it, waits. Leans toward no.
Before he could even utter the next sentence, the Lord spoke to me so clearly, I thought if I looked to my right, he’d be visible. “Jessica, when have you ever sacrificed for him?”
I didn’t need any further instructions. I knew exactly what He was saying. My heart squeezed inside my chest.
“Tell me again how much the–“
“I don’t need to go to the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference this year.”
“You didn’t let me finish.”
“I know. Because I know you’re trying to drum up a way for us both to go.”

Because that’s what he does. He sacrifices for me and the kids all the time. He does it because he loves us. He gives his birthday money to my daughter to buy a pair of TOMS, when truth is, she doesn’t even need them. He never asks for anything. Buying him gifts is like being pulled behind a truck through gravel, naked.
But he loves buying us gifts. Bends over backwards to do so. I open my door to the van and in my seat…a kindle! Why? Because he loves to give good gifts and he doesn’t mind going without so we can have.
I didn’t need to let him finish. I looked him in the eye, talking to God in my heart–“God, I really want to go to this conference. I’ve already signed up to help with registration. I’ve booked my room. I’m so excited to meet my blogging buddies and favorite authors. Yet I knew that going across the world to touch lives for Jesus was more important at this moment.

I won’t lie. It hurt a little.  I also know God loves a cheerful giver. I put the crockpot down. “I know what you’re going to say. Go to Thailand. I don’t want the added stress of you trying to figure out how to send us both. I mean it.” And I did.

A few days after this conversation, my husband found out that they’re putting on a sports camp this year! Isn’t that just like God? Send in a 12 year long little league coach and sports fanatic to help teach the Thai children athletics. I know he’s in the heart of God’s will. 
And so am I. 
It feels good to give back. I’ll miss everyone of course. 
As wonderful as my hub is, the greatest sacrifice came from a King in heaven.  When he laid down his brilliant royal robes and replaced them with flesh. When he came as a baby, crying in a lowly manger. A King who had to be taught to talk, walk, work a common job. He hurt when a hammer missed it’s mark and pounded his thumb. He wasn’t loved by many. His brothers didn’t understand him and thought he was crazy. His followers betrayed him, doubted him, and scattered from him.
He knew his death would gruesome. Worse than any other before. Worse than any other to come. But it was his joy, to sacrifice so that we could have good things.
He died a criminal’s death. An unfair death.

And then he folded the linens of death and placed them neatly in the tomb to signify the work was done. He took his place, back into royal courts. I wonder if he folded his robes as neatly as he did his linen garments at burial, or if they were still flung on the floor where he threw them off to get to us, to make us his bride.

I suppose giving up a conference compared to that seems trivial. I also know God cares about even small things. Anything we care about, he cares too. He really does.
Question for you: Who’s the last person to make a sacrifice for you? (on earth–no Jesus on earth isn’t a loop hole)

20 thoughts on “Oh No You Didn’t, Lord!

  1. Wow, you both have a heart of gold and a heart of God. What a wonderful story about service, humility and trust that God is in your lives and you are in his will. So inspiring.

    I just came back from a homeless ministry /mission and feel really blessed. I talked to a vet for a long time and prayed with him. It was an incredible blessing for me to be there. All the people working at the mission and our leader made this possible.

  2. I think of all the years my mom poured into parenting me when her desire to become a social worker was growing strong inside her.

    Powerful post. Keep us posted.
    ~ Wendy

  3. Wow, Jess! That was beautiful. You gave me chills. Just beautiful – full of real life…

  4. I don't know. Probably my mom. She's very loving and family-oriented. Your husband sounds lovely and I'll miss not meeting you this year but who knows what God has in store for you guys? Something amazing for you and someone else, I'm sure. One of my fave verses is "Obedience is better than sacrifice."
    You guys are doing both…I think it's awesome. 🙂 *hugs*

  5. I'm humbled. And I'm eager to hear what God does with your sacrifice.

  6. Though I was surprised when I first heard this story, I also shook my head and thought, "how very like Jessica." You don't think you're the big giver, but you are. You give of yourself so freely–in time, a listening ear, an encouragine word. Now He's having you give something that hurts a little more to give, but all that stretching and growing is going to make you more like Him. So I'm excited for you. Excited to see what the next blessing is that comes down to you from the Father of lights. =)

  7. Wow – thanks so much for sharing this story, Jessica. Really made me think – about my own hubby and all the sacrifices he makes for me.

    Last year when I brought up the idea of going to ACFW (I found out about it three weeks before the conference), he said go with no hestitation. He cheerfully took care of all three kids for five days and constantly encouraged me during the conference when I called home!

  8. I love Michelle's comment because even though I don't know you, Jessica, when I read this blog I had the thought that you probably sacrifice much more than you even realize.

    Thank you for inspiring me today.

  9. Shopgirl: Thanks! Such kind words. 🙂 I know when we go to minister to others, we alway get an even greater blessing. So great to hear you were blessed on your homeless ministry mission.

    Wendy: Is your mom doing social work now? My mom sacrificed a lot for me too!

    Lacie: Thanks! Chills in a house hotter than the sun? Cool. 😉

    Jess: Hugs back!! My hubby is def a keeper. 🙂 We'll meet…eventually. In the mean time I love getting to know you in cyber land!

    Erica: Thanks! God is definitely a rewarder. Not that that's why I obey, but it does have benefits!! 😉

    Michelle: You are too nice!! You alway lend an ear and give encouragement too! I love ya!

    Stacy: Are you going this year? I went to WFTS in Denver this past Feb. Hubby was so great, running the fam at home and encouraging me through texts. Gotta love great hubbies, huh? 🙂

    MaryC: Thanks for coming by. You're welcome any time! 🙂 I love getting to know new people. I appreciate you kind words and am glad to have inspired you today. 🙂

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story.

    The last person to make a sacrifice for me, my guy. He has given me freedom the last 15+ months to accomplish my dream of writing. He's taken on everything, and hasn't complained one time about missing my paycheck. He takes care of me, he is my rock.

  11. Aw what a sweet post, Jess!

  12. You and your husband are visible indications of God at work, Jessica. It's beautiful how you care and sacrifice for each other and for those in need.

    My husband continually sacrifices for me. In fact, he was supposed to leave the army a few years ago, but reenlisted so that he could afford to marry me. There are days when the military life is brutal, but then I remember all that he did so we can be together (and so that I can write.)

  13. My mother has made so many sacrifices for me, and the sad thing is that I will probably never know all of them.

    I'm proud of you for sacrificing so that your husband can go to Thailand. And you know what? In the long view, God will reward your sacrifices beyond what you can imagine right now.


  14. We've got to go where God directs us. It's awesome what you two are doing! I'm truly inspired by your story. There will be other conferences…

  15. What a beautiful post! I loved reading it…although I'm sad I won't get to meet you at ACFW, you're not only blessing your husband and everyone he'll come into contact with in Thailand, but you're blessing us readers in sharing.

    My parents are, to me, the best picture of sacrificial love I've ever seen…maybe not in ways other people would see or recognize, but now that I'm an adult, I see more than ever the ways they gave of themselves (and still do) all throughout my growing up…

    Also, this had me LOL-ing:
    "I opened my oven…and closed it. I wasn't going that far."

  16. Jessica, we visit some of the same blogs and I've "seen" you over at MBT. 🙂 It's nice to get to know you a little better through today's blog. What a blessing to read what God is doing in yours and your husband's life!

    God DOES love a cheeful giver, and He is delighted with the beauty of your sacrifice. I, too, look forward to seeing the next steps God has for your family.

    My honey sounds a lot like yours. I chuckled when you described buying gifts for like pulled behind a truck through gravel…. Yet, he is quick to let me have whatever I want. He's supported and encouraged me as I've begun this writing journey. So, my challenge is to be sensitive to the Lord's leading in how I might sacrifice a bit (or more) for my honey.
    Thanks, Jessica!

  17. Tiffany: That's a huge sacrifice, us married writers know about. There are some men who aren't willing to give up money, cooked meals and messy houses so their wives can pursue a dream that seems far off. So glad you have one that lets you!

    Martha: Thanks!! 🙂 Glad you dropped in!

    Brandi: Thank you. I can't imagine all the sacrifices you and your husband, with him in the military, make for each other. I think it brings spouses closer together. Do you?

    Misha: I don't know if we ever all the sacrifices our mothers made for us. You're right in the long run, this is definitely worth it! (and now hee hee)

    Loree: You're right! There will be other conferences! I would love to attend an RWA conference, and Lord willing, ACFW next year.

    Melissa: Thank you! I will miss meeting you too! I know your a barrel of laughs, just from your blog! Next time!

    Jeanne: Thanks for coming by! I hope you visit more often and become part of the gang that hangs out here. I love MBT! 🙂

  18. I love your heart! Not just in sacrificing for your husband but in absolutely loving Jesus. This is beautiful…

  19. What a precious heart you have – and a delightful sense of humor. May your husband see GREAT acts from the Father!

  20. OH MY GOSH!!! I so relate to this experience of the Lord softly teaching sacrifice. I found out my youth pastor husband was planning to sell his GUITAR for me to go to conference. It was in that moment I was touched by the depth of his love – since he totally does NOT get fiction or writing at all. It killed me, but we went through a similar conversation. I won't be at conference either, but my husband will be worshipping wiht his kids at church and trust me, it will be the most beautiful sound I've ever heard!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *