Katie Bennett is a blogger and podcaster at Embracing a Simpler Life, and author. Her newly released devotional Heavenly Minded Mom: 90 Days to Embrace what Matters Most, calls mothers to a new way of seeing life –in light of eternity. When firmly grasped, the hope of heaven changes everything. THIS is our one opportunity to embrace the urgent mission of the kingdom of God today, right here, and right in our actual life.
Early in my mothering journey, I was not prepared for the level of sacrifice that would be required of me.
I loved my new child very much, but I also felt put out by the messes, limitations, and frustrations of caring for her.
I still remember the night my husband dropped me off at home on his way to an evening work party. Our firstborn daughter was only three weeks old, and it was her bedtime. I was accustomed to being a part of these gatherings of colleagues and their spouses, and Mexican food sounded perfect. Yet, here I was, at home, nursing a tired infant by myself in a house that felt empty and lonely.
As she grew, new little aggravations continued to surface: sleep was painfully interrupted far beyond my expectations, cleaning never ended, and tantrums felt like a morning-until-night occurrence. Each sacrifice that was required of me felt like a big deal.
Although I loved my new role, the truth was, I was not yet willing to fully embrace all that was required of me as a mother.
Thankfully, as one child became two, and two children became three, God slowly and graciously began the process of transforming my heart.
As I read through the words of Jesus, I saw with new eyes His radical, countercultural message.
Where the world would say, “Demand your rights,” Jesus says, “Go lower.” He didn’t just teach this; He lived it! He lowered himself to identify with us, to serve us, to wash our feet, and to die for us. He loved us to the very end and beyond.
Now, He has commanded us to follow His example.
The sacrifices of motherhood are real, and sacrifice is a difficult thing because in its very nature, it is painful.
And yet God, in His wisdom, chose sacrifice to be the means through which heaven and earth would be reconciled.
- Jesus—Emmanuel—sacrificed His glory to enter into a world of sin and pain.
- God the Father sacrificed His only Son to die for our sins.
- In response, we lay down our lives to follow Him. We sacrifice in response to His sacrifice because we know that He loves us and that what He says is true.
Sacrifice is God’s chosen catalyst for redemption: from the sacrificing of lambs, to the Lamb of God, to our own life-sacrifice. There is great glory and beauty and power here.
You see, sacrifice flows from love. In its very nature, it is a voluntary action. As love compels us, we give something up for the benefit of another.
As mothers, wives, and Christ-followers, we live this out in small and big ways every day.
With God’s help, we give up what we want for the sake of our children; whether sleep, or time, or our perceived rights. In this way, we bear God’s image: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
With God’s help, we sacrifice our finances, time, and energy for the sake of the kingdom of God. We give generously to believers in need, both locally and around the globe, and lay down our own interests to elevate those of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sacrifice is the ultimate litmus test for love, and thus, it is the definition of love: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).
When we make sacrifices for the sake of the gospel, we put our actions where our faith is. We demonstrate our love for God, and He gets the glory. What matters in this world is faith expressing itself in love.
For this reason, our sacrifices result in eternal rewards. Everything we leave and give up in order to follow Jesus, because we love Him, will be returned to us one hundred-fold both now and in the age to come.
Jesus says it this way:
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” —Mark 10:29-30
When we believe this, we will fix our eyes on heaven and rise up to receive the ministry of our motherhood (and our living). May we know the joy of loving our families and all those around us as Christ first loved us.
Get Katie’s free scripture writing plan here: 30 Days to a Heart Set on Heaven.