"It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." 1 Peter 3:17
Oh this verse has settled on my heart and mind. I would like to say that I embrace what it is saying and that I can see the Truth in it; but, I am honestly not completely there. The phrase 'No good deed goes unpunished' seems to be more of a truth in my life. I know that isn't the ultimate Truth but feelings being what they are...
This last year has been full of ups and downs. I had thought to keep up the blog better but in truth I just couldn't write about it. I couldn't face my own heart honestly enough to write it out for the inspection of others.
I am not sure I can even now, but it is time.
God has been so incredibly good to us that I can not even fathom it sometimes. He is a tender Father who has held us as we cried. And there have been many tears this year. Our family has suffered for doing good. Our family has grown and changed in ways we didn't know we needed to and ways we never even thought about before Bug.
Bug was the catalyst for putting our faith into action. It is easy to say that you follow the teachings of Jesus and another thing altogether to do them. Oh, there are multiple small ways to walk out your faith in every day life that hardly cost you anything. You can feel good about doing what Jesus would do and never feel uncomfortable or stretched beyond your box. Living a righteous life one small sacrifice at a time.
Only, that is not really living. Or following Jesus. Oh, I am not saying that the small sacrifices aren't important and worth the effort and I am not saying we shouldn't make them. Small sacrifices can be big to the one in need and can bring blessings to the one sacrificing. But, small sacrifices don't usually make us change. Small sacrifices can still keep us safe.
When the time comes for God to ask a big sacrifice from you, what will you say? Will you hesitate? Will you say No? Will you think about it so long that it is no longer a necessary sacrifice? Or will you say Yes right away and trust God for the outcome?
Waxing poetical is easy to do at this point. The point of just wondering what you will do if called to make a big sacrifice but honestly, we don't really know what we will do until we are called to choose. Grand ideas tend to pale in the light of real life full of real pain.
You never really know how you will respond until someone looks at you and asks, "Will you?" That is the moment of truth and of deciding. It is a moment that can alter your life forever one way or another.
Our family had just such a choice to make five years ago. We were asked to make a large sacrifice-our entire family. It wasn't a one-time sacrifice but a day to day laying down our lives to the Will of God. A daily sacrifice. A daily offering of ourselves to something other than our own plans.
I am so proud of my family for saying Yes to this sacrifice. Not a one of them had to even think about it, they instantly knew it was the right thing to do. They knew this sacrifice would be an offering of praise to God for His provision for our family and for His love for us.
We also knew there would be pain in the offering. We just couldn't imagine how much pain.
Loving Bug was amazing and something we wouldn't change for anything but it also proved to be the hardest sacrifice we have ever made. She became our daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter, and friend and our lives were irrevocably changed because of her. We loved her with abandon, giving our hearts fully to her. She took root in our lives until there was no separating her without tearing holes in each of us.
Yet, that is the sacrifice we were called to make. She was never fully ours but we were called to love her in just that way. To love her fully and without reserve. To give her our hearts and our love freely.
Then let her go.
I can't even type those words without tears. Six years ago if someone had told me I would survive losing a child I would have balked; I would have laughed at them and told them No way. But, now I am living it and surviving. I am living each day with the memory of my daughter driving away in someone else's car knowing she was never coming back. I live with the pain my other daughters' eyes as they mourn their sister and the pain in my husband's heart at not being able to protect one of his daughters any longer.
Every day there is a reminder of our missing family member and every day we are reminded of the sacrifice we were called to make. I can't begin to tell you the pain in my heart at losing Bug. I can't tell you because I can't fully face it. It would completely consume me and incapacitate me.
But that pain is only there because the love is that deep. I would break my heart a thousand times for Bug if that is what God asked of me and rejoice in the pain of the offering.
Love requires sacrifice.
Real love is giving up what you want so the other person gets what they need.
It is easy enough to say that you really do love someone until you have to sacrifice for them. Then the rubber meets the road and decisions have to be made. Will you love them enough to break your heart if need be?
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is hard and love is painful.
Love is always worth it.