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Posts Tagged ‘Sacrifice’

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Did you know that in just over one month, Christmas Day will be upon us?! Yikes! I’m not so excited for the hustle and bustle of that season, but I am looking forward to two weeks of family togetherness, and not having to hear my own voice all the time. Working in a school in an instructional support position I sometimes feel I must seem just like the teacher in Charlie Brown … “wah wah woh wah wah”

Speaking of my job, the most viewed post this week had to do with my training for my job, in my post How to Learn about Special Needs. The students I work with make me laugh, cry and scratch my head! And this week, after writing this post, I have been asking for their opinions much more frequently … maybe I needed to write this so that I would change how I learn …

Also this week :

Brokenness Aside
(feeling ‘un-beautiful’ in a broken world … you were made for more)

Who Makes the Sacrifice
(anyone who does big things for others, is not sacrificing alone)

A Note to My Younger Self
(if you could write a note to your younger self … what would you say?)

What I Really Really Want
(don’t stop dreaming)

Blessings to you this day,
Carole

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The idea of sacrifice surrounds this month.

Just over a week ago we remembered those who sacrificed for freedom in world conflicts on Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day, or whatever other title that day holds for you, where you live). Then a friend went with the Canadian Medical Assistance Team (CMAT) to help set up a medical center in the Philippines, after the deadly Typhoons, causing thousands of deaths, injuries and millions of people displaced from their homes. Then a mom, experiencing mixed emotions as her son, who desires to be a law enforcement officer, got called into training.

These events have caused me to consider sacrifice.

Who is it who is making a sacrifice when a person in the military is called to go to the Middle East?

Who is it who is making a sacrifice when they go to work in law enforcement?

Who is it who is making a sacrifice when they go to work as a firefighter?

Who is it who is making a sacrifice when they get called to the hospital to do emergency surgery, on Christmas morning?

When our friend left for the Philippines, I heard people say,

“what a sacrifice he is making”

but he is not the only one making a sacrifice.

Those who have gone (and who are presently involved) to places of conflict are not the only ones who sacrificed. Their families, their communities, their loved ones, also paid a price.

The man who is entering law enforcement is not the only one who is sacrificing. His wife, his parents, his current workplace, his community are also paying a price.

Our friend helping those who have suffered the ravages of the typhoons is not the only on who is making a sacrifice. His wife, working full time, will be living as a single mom for three weeks. Their two young children will be missing their dad. His workplace, as a firefighter, will be sacrificing the hours he would normally be fulfilling his job requirements. His parents will be concerned for his safety. His friends will miss him.

These people who sacrifice, sacrifice many intangibles, for those in need.

We mustn’t forget, as we pray for them, to pray for those who love and care for them … the sacrifice is theirs too.

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6prk

Last week, while sitting at lunch, the conversation around the table turned to a blogging lady whose lifestyle changes have so dramatically altered how she feels and the quality of her life that she believes she will never again be able to return to her previous bad habits.

When sacrifices result in a greater good, they no longer seem like sacrifices … but there is often a period of commitment without benefit needed to get to that point.

What would you (and I) sacrifice for a greater good?

screen time? (TV, gaming, computer)
sleep?
money?
hobbies?
vacation?
free time?
chocolate?

What is a greater good that is worth sacrificing for?

a healthier body?
a longer life?
a better job/career?
a healthier/happier family?
a contribution into the life of one in need?
a better ability to sleep?
a better peace of mind?
a better future?
a hope …

I am amazed at what God will use, in the form of sacrifices He asks of us, to get us to a greater good. Often those sacrifices seem to be too much for our understanding that benefit, or good, could ever come of them.

Yet, when we look at examples of sacrifice, we also can see greater good.

– good men died in offensives against Nazi forces, but the benefit was liberation of concentration camps
– Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead, but his dream continues to live on
– Mother Teresa gave her life to the work of Christ on behalf of the people of Calcutta
– at 15 years old, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head, because extremists feared her advocacy for education for girls

The greatest sacrifice for greater good was given by the Creator of the universe, and the greater good is available to all :

Jew or Greek
slave or free
male or female

Through God’s sacrifice of His Son, “all one in Christ Jesus” (Galations 3:28). God knew (being all-knowing is helpful) that the sacrifice, though enormous, though personal, was for a greater good … the redemption of sin.

So, He made the sacrifice that hurt the most, even though He knew that not all would accept it. And that is what sacrifice is, it is an offer to give all, for the greater good, knowing that others might choose to ignore the reason for the sacrifice.

It is the message of Jesus himself, when he said, “greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” But Jesus did not just lay down his life for his friends, he lay down his life for all … friends and enemies, knowing that not all would accept the sacrifice.

Although, when speaking earlier this year to the United Nations, Malala Yousafzai said the following of herself, these words could also speak to the life and sacrifice of God … his child, who became teacher, the Bible, written by himself through man can (has and will) change the world.

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
Malala Yousafzai

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It is Father’s Day today, and to my Dad I say thank-you for being simply the best!

Fathers-Day-Quotes3

Father’s Day can be a great day of celebrating the father in your life, or it can be a day when negative experiences, words or actions (or a lack of actions) surface in your mind and heart.

I am so fortunate that my father is one I desire greatly to celebrate. He is a good and honorable man, who always made me feel loved and valued. Despite our not sharing a blood connection, it is through his legal and emotional adoption of me (almost forty years ago today) that I came to understand another Father’s love.

This video is a metaphor for that most sacrificial of all loves.

May you today know of the the love of the Father who is always there, always fulfilling promises, always loving you.

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I have desired to view the movie, “The Lady” since I first heard of it’s making  in 2011. This movie tells of the the freedom fight of Aung San Suu Kyi and her British husband Michael Aris for the people of Burma (also known as Myanmar).

images-7It is not with any measure of pride that I have to admit how very little I knew/know of the plight of the Burmese people.

According to Human Rights Watch, “hundreds of political prisoners remain, ethnic civil war and inter-ethnic conflict has escalated, and Burmese security forces continue to use forced labor and commit extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, among other abuses.” And this is the case today, as it has been under military control since, in 1962, following a coup d’etat. In 2010 the country had elections that (from my understanding) eliminated military rule … but that does not mean that corruption, violence and human rights are not still problematic there.

Democracy for the Burmese people has been the dream of Aung San Suu Kyi, seemingly all of her life. She was just a young child when her father was killed.

The movie tells of how her visit back to her homeland, from Britain, when her mother was ill changed the course of her life, and that of her husband and children (and the people of Burma). It follows the numerous years of separation she and her family suffered from each other, even to the point when her husband, dying of cancer, and she were separated.

Through the struggles, through the trials, both she and her husband were committed to attaining democracy, freedom, for the Burmese.What they shared, beyond the bonds of marriage, and two sons, was a higher calling.

I do not understand all that they experienced and were focused on to be able to maintain their selfless focus. I am sure that I would have given in, hopped a plane, to go and see my dying husband. I know I would have caved after years (a total of over fifteen years) of house arrest.

What I also know, though, is that they shared in a higher calling. They both knew that their suffering was for the greater good for a nation, for fellow humans. They knew that their loss, however great, paled in comparison with the loss of freedom that generations were growing up without. They knew that their pain was dust in the face of the pain of those who were prisoners and slaves to evil men.

Their sacrifice was, and is divine … it is God-like. He who sacrificed His own Son, for the good of all mankind.

“A saint is only a sinner who keeps trying.”
From The Lady

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As I sat looking at the schedule for chapel at school, back in September, my eyes glanced Remembrance Day chapel, and the name of the teacher who is responsible each year for it. Immediately the name and face of man in our church came to mind.

This man is a veteran of World War II, during which he served as a fighter pilot, out of the airfields of Britain. He has seen, smelled and felt the glories and agonies of many battle successes as well as defeats, including being shot down resulting in the loss of three fingers, and in the loss of many fellow soldiers.

There have been sharing times at our church when he has bravely bared his heart through his memories of his time at war. His speaking is always well delivered, clear, authoritative and moving. He can draw a picture in the mind of the listener when he speaks. His stories contain real, vivid memories of specific battles, when only a small portion of his comrades returned afterward, stories of sorrow, stories of loss, stories that always end with a mention of wishing he had known then about the God who had His hand on his life, even though it he had not known him personally until more than sixty years later.

Well I spoke to this veteran, excited by my great idea to have him share his story with today’s youth. I just knew that he would be the man who would share in such a way that the listeners would not hear of the gore of video games and movies, but of the real experiences and emotions that war produces, as well as a sincere interjection of how faith, however late in life is found, is never too late.

The response from this man, this veteran, adequately sat me back on my behind. His response was sacrificial … he would agree to do it, but only because my hubby and I love him, and he loves us.

All of a sudden, I got it … I got the message that Remembrance Day should provide for all of us who have so little to remember. That message is that the stories that we hear, the remembering that we are exposed to, are not just ceremony with hymns, trumpets and marching, they are not just stories, like fairy tales from a book. They are the memories of men and women who have sacrificed for freedom. They are memories that communicate that the sacrifice is on-going. It did not end when the war was declared ended, it does not end until their inner war is finally declared finished, one that ushers them from this life and into the next.

The following Sunday I spoke with him, thanked him, and told him that our friendship was in no way a reason for him to have to re-live his memories. I told him our friendship would never ask such a sacrifice of him … that he had sacrificed enough already.

With tears in his eyes, he said he just didn’t think he could do it. And that is okay, because he has done enough already!

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My family has been so good to me this past year. They have all forfeited the opportunity to visit our extended family on the East Coast, so that I could go and see my parents, as my dad was experiencing health-related issues.

But tonight, when the jet plane is leaving, I will not be on it.

Hubby and daughter number two will be heading to the far East (Canada style) tonight. It has been about four years since they were each there, and that is at least two years too long.

There has been much excitement and planning, telephoning and texting, and social media communicating between Canada’s two coasts. It is a short visit, so strategic planning is a must if they are going to get everything accomplished that they are hoping to achieve.

The main focus of their trip is family. There is a graduation to attend, grandparents and parents to hug, sleep-overs to attend, biscuits to eat, people to visit, and sarcastic East Coast humor to participate in.

My hubby and daughter have the ‘look’ of East Coasters. Hubby has the ruddy complexion and freckles of his British heritage. Our daughter has the red hair and freckles of Anne Shirley (aka. Anne of Green Gables).

Although our daughter has lived her entire life in Beautiful British Columbia, and hubby has lived more of his life away than there, they will be constantly asked if and when they (we) will move back home to the East Coast.

It is a question that always makes me smile. It reminds me of the pride of those who live there. It reminds me of how much they would love for our lives to intertwine more regularly. It also makes responding difficult, for our response is not the one they desire most to hear, it is not even the one we desire to say. But it is the honest reality that we have chosen for our family.

Our lives are on the west coast. We made a promise to our children, when our oldest was only six, and our youngest not even a glimmer in his father’s eye. Our promise was, and is, that we would provide opportunity for them to experience ONE school community. And that we would trust that God would allow us to fulfill that promise to our children.

Thirteen years later, we are only five school years away from fulfilling our promise. It has not been without sacrifice; financially, professionally, personally OR from the perspective of our distance from our extended family. But it was, and is, in our hearts, minds and souls, the right and only way to go.

So, although our hearts live simultaneous on opposite sides of a country and continent, we continue to move forward. Believing that our sacrifice, and that of extended family, will be worth it in the lives of our most precious investment, our children.

 

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After twenty-two years of marriage, let me tell you what I think love is …

Love is honoring … that means that you do what is best for the other person.  It means that you make the other person look and sound good to others. Putting your significant other down puts your relationship down further … don’t do it!

Love is work. When you met you may have ‘fallen’ effortlessly in love with your sweetie … how … precious. Do not expect that staying in love will be so effortlessly. Staying ‘in love’ will take daily effort, and some days might take hourly effort. Remember old Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid movie would say wax on wax off … that is the kind of work it takes to keep the love machine rolling.

Love is sacrificial … if you thought work was gonna be tough, try sacrifice. This means that you give, before, not in response to, receiving. Hum, that means you do what is best for the other person, even if it means you have to stretch, or bend. or even watch the football movie, Rudy, for the millionth time, just because it is his favorite movie, and you would rather watch P. S. I Love You (that does go both ways though, just remember, sacrifice is not sacrifice if we do it SO THAT our significant other will do back for us).

Love is respect … mutual respect. It is looking at your other half as a whole. It is seeing their value through the eyes of one who created them. It is seeing them as valuable because their Creator is made them with purpose, as He did you.

Love is trust. A relationship is not a loving one if there is not trust of the other person. When one lays their life in the hands of another, intimacy is only present if trust is as well.

Love is forgiveness, because if you are in love with a human, you will need to learn to forgiven. There will be times when Mr. or Mrs. (or Ms.) right does something wrong … there will be times when you (and I) are the ones who are doing the wrong … if love is to survive, forgiveness must thrive.

Love is commitment … that means you stay together, for the long haul. There are no escape clauses, there are no backup plans. If it is love, it is committed, or it is not love.

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people and your God my God.
Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.
Ruth 1:16-17

And that is what I think love is.

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It is Christmas Break and I am taking this week as a break from blogging (my family is doubtful that I can do it).

So, if you are looking for something to read from me this week, I would suggest one of my favorite blog posts:

Do You Love Me?

See you in the New Year!

Carole

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A baby …

God sent His son in the same form that we have all entered this world. Helpless, small, and easy to relate to by anyone, from any culture, anywhere around our world, in any time of history. I think God knew what He was doing, when He chose to send His son to us, as we have entered the world.

Songs like ‘Away in a Manger’, ‘Silent Night’, ‘The First Noel’, ‘Oh Holy Night’, ‘What Child is this’, and ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ (hum, memories of Boney M … maybe not this song), can be sung sincerely by those who believe in Jesus as their Messiah, as well as by people who simply feel they are singing a nice song about a historical figure.

A baby … unites people.

Recently I was thinking about the baby Jesus as I was singing a familiar Christmas carol to myself (to myself, because anyone in their right mind would never want to hear me sing out loud). The carol is “Christ the Lord is Born Today”, and the first verse goes like this:

“Christ the Lord is born today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!”

When I sought the rest of the lyrics, I realized that I had the lyrics wrong. The song is actually, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” I had gotten Christmas confused with Easter, I had gotten birth confused with death and resurrection.

But did I?

This tortured and bloodied man, was drawn into the blueprints before Mary was ‘with child.’ This picture, this messy, bloody, sickening picture, is why the baby was conceived and born. He, the baby we place (and, to be honest, we leave there, from Christmas, to Christmas, to Christmas) in the manger, was our sacrificial lamb, our redeemer. He, that baby in Mary’s arms, was to pay for the sins of the world, for the sins of me.

But, a bloodied man, dying on a cross … divides people.

God knew what He was doing, when He chose to bring the Messiah to us in the form of a baby. He knew that we could never fully grasp the way that we would be redeemed, saved. He knew what He was doing, and He still does.

One of my favorite artists of today, Ron DiCianni, created the painting to the right. To quote it’s description, “Heaven’s Loss dramatically depicts that while mankind was celebrating the birth of a King, the angels were weeping for they knew what man did not. They knew Jesus was not born for Christmas – He was born for Easter.”

Charles Wesley also understood the price paid for his own redemption, when he wrote this hymn nearly two hundred and fifty years ago. Maybe it is not so wrong to sing it as we celebrate the birth of the one who did the loving, redeeming sacrificial act, and not just at Easter.

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