My cherished Israel plate crashed to pieces on the floor. The cause was due to the unbridled exuberance of our normally responsible preteen oldest daughter and son.
That was a bad day.
My dear friend had brought the plate all the way from Israel for me.
The few things that were special to me were all broken now. That plate represented my last special “thing.” (Which brought about its own new-found freedom from “things,” but that’s not my point here.)
My point is that raising children comes with sacrifice.
Sacrifice, as I am using the word here, means “to give up something that is valuable to you in order to help another person.”
There is plenty of that in parenting and homeschooling.
Financial sacrifice is a big one for many of us – it certainly was for us.
Time is another sacrifice. What would you be doing with your time if you weren’t changing diapers or teaching composition?
On my knees praying one day, I asked God what I should do. I had five or six children at the time and was homeschooling, but it didn’t feel like enough. I was feeling like I wanted to go out into the world and make a “real” difference.
God, in his awesomeness, made something very clear to me that day. If I were to continue what I was doing, then when our children grew up, the just-one-person that I was would be multiplied by our children as they went into the world to make a difference.
And make a difference, they have. Each one. The difference I alone could have made has been multiplied over and over.
One of the things I wanted to be was a nurse. I now have a daughter who is a nurse practitioner and her husband is a nurse.
Our other children are writers, lawyers, Marines, and more. More than I could have ever been. I am not just talking about professions here, but influence.
As I observe our adult children from afar, I am grateful to God. Our children have surpassed me in many ways. The sheer generosity of some, the strength and courage of others, the integrity and grace adds up to more than my efforts to teach them. Their influence is bigger than they realize.
As moms, our emotional investment and sacrifice can be tremendous. The ups and downs of motherhood and homeschooling are of the type that other professions don’t encounter. We are shaping souls, and with that comes joy and pain like few others.
Our willingness to sacrifice – to give up something that is valuable to us in order to help another person – is something of beauty to God.
It is not just for our children either. These thirty years later, I can say that the sacrifices are for our good also. The women that we become as we loosen our grip on what is valuable to us in order to help another person, is sanctifying and God-pleasing.
Oh, and the Israel plate. It’s been replaced three times now.
Our oldest children – the two who originally broke my plate – each brought home a replacement plate from Israel. They were both there at different times and for different reasons. Then another son, who actually broke one of the replacements, brought back his replacement after a side trip to Israel during a deployment.
What are the sacrifices you are facing today? Can you trust God that your sacrifices will benefit your children and yourself, and are not in vain?