I thought I understood sacrifice those sleepless nights I was nursing a newborn or comforting a child woken up by a bad dream. I thought I knew the meaning of sacrifice by braving the cold and rain to watch my child play football or reading the same story five times in a row. I thought I got the meaning of sacrifice when I spent my own birthday money on a toy for my child or gave up a career to stay home when my children were young.
Sacrificing my time, sometimes my sanity, and most definitely my wants.
I had a misunderstanding of sacrifice that I wouldn’t come to realize until the later years. When my role as a mom would change because now they’re adults and I have to bite my tongue just to keep the peace. When I would have to push aside my need to rescue and allow my children to make mistakes.
Sacrificial parenting is a way of surrendering what I think or want and trusting God with the outcome. It’s giving up my need to be right or to have my say so that a relationship can stay intact.
It’s hard. Oh, is it hard. The heartache it can cause is indescribable. But so is the wonder in seeing how God can turn an entire situation around or give you glimpses of good in the midst of difficulty. It’s a reminder that my sacrifice is nothing compared to God’s, who gave up His own Son so that we might have eternal life.
The more I reflect on His sacrifice, the less I focus on myself. The more I surrender, the greater my faith. Like Abraham, who was ready to sacrifice his son—literally—God will provide my “ram.” The way that points to God’s faithfulness in each and every one of my children’s lives.
Sacrifice is less about giving up something and more about entrusting everything to God. It’s nothing about me and everything about Him.