In the midst of the Christmas joy I have found myself really thinking about sacrifice. A recent conversation sparked these thoughts. The main idea was that initially when one does something for God they miss out on a pleasure of the world that appears great, but in sacrificing something from the world they gain a Heavenly blessing.
2012 marks the third summer I have travelled to Southeast Asia, and the second summer teaching art at a safe house. Looking back, I do not think consider things that I missed out on in the United States during the past few summers sacrifice. The fourth of July is my favorite holiday, and I have missed it. But then I realize that I have had the incredible opportunity to celebrate freedom by being with girls that have received the gift of freedom after so much bondage.
This summer I woke up around 6:30 every morning, got ready, grabbed a quick coffee, and then would walk through the doors at the safe house to immediately be greeted with squeals and hugs. Faces of these girls flash through my mind, and I suddenly feel like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes (not that I was a Grinch before, but you get the idea).
I have been divinely blessed even to have been in their presence. I have watched a girl walk through the doors of the safe house for the first time—scared, terrified even, and very quiet. I have watched those same girls slowly come back to life. They are being transformed, restored, and eventually are able to achieve freedom in a way that was once unimaginable. I can tell you that I serve the God of restoration—I have seen it happen! Even in this moment tears are coming to my eyes. Words cannot express the extreme honor I feel at having been able to witness this transformation and even play a small part in it.
The sacrifices of the summer that one would initially think exist are nothing. I have seen God move to restore and rebuild a person and it takes my breath away. THAT is worth more than one million summer barbecues.
If you are faced with a choice this Christmas season; maybe a choice of sacrificing some time to spend with a person, or to mentor a child, or a choice to sacrifice some money to help a family, please don’t hesitate. Yes, this is a busy time of year, and it is hard to fit everything in. Yes, money is tight.
If you live with a closed fist and heart you will not sacrifice anything, but you will not be open to receive any blessings either. Time spent with a child, or money spent on a family, has so much more value than another hour stressing out at the mall or in the kitchen.
I truly hope you experience joy and blessings this season,