Tuesday, February 6, 2007

a living sacrifice

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?” (Romans 12:1)

I start the day reading through a yet-to-be published newsletter for a friend who is looking for editorial suggestions. Detailing the destruction of an orphanage in Kenya, this newsletter breaks my heart. I weep over my coffee, open my Bible and begin to read the above verse in Romans. What does it mean for me, a middle-class, suburban housewife, to present my body as a living and holy sacrifice? To truly worship God today, on this stay-at-home snowy Tuesday?

I consider the orphans in Kenya as I make blueberry pancakes for my own children. I sing along with the worship music on my kitchen stereo:

“Jesus, I’ve forgotten the words You have spoken / Promises that burned within my heart have now grown dim / With a doubting heart I follow the paths of earthly wisdom / Forgive me for my unbelief / Renew the fire again / Lord have mercy / Christ have mercy / Lord have mercy on me / I have built an altar where I worship things of man / I have taken journeys that have drawn me far from You / Now I am returning to Your mercies ever flowing / Pardon my transgressions / Help me love you again” (Lord Have Mercy by Steve Merkel).

After singing the song, I feel spiritual, even though I’m sweeping up uncooked macaroni noodles from the kitchen floor (don’t even ask). I choose not to become impatient with the noisy boys for running circles around the living room and yelping like coyotes; after all, what else can they do to blow off steam on this sub-zero day?

The day goes on and I’m tired—tired of changing poopy diapers; tired of refereeing between the noisy boys; tired of cleaning up the kitchen. I don’t feel spiritual anymore, but decide that must be the point—this must be the sacrifice part, right? I keep working and try to think about Jesus, but my mind is already wandering to the pot roast I plan to make for supper.

The noisy boys are officially driving me crazy, so I turn on Sponge Bob Square Pants and read a few of my favorite blogs. I cry reading CLC’s post about the refugee family she’s helping. I read Ed’s blog and begin to feel inadequate. I think about my friend, For Now , who’s making soup for her church’s food pantry, so the people who come for groceries will have something warm to eat while they wait in line—the same food pantry that Craver serves so faithfully at. And what am I doing? Tending to my baby’s diaper rash and serving snacks to a couple of rowdy preschoolers.

I go back to Romans. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is” (Romans 12:2).

Is it God’s will for me to reach out to the poor and speak out against injustice? Absolutely. And as I allow him to transform my mind and heart, I’m praying He’ll give me concrete ideas as to how I might begin to do this in the midst of this season in my life. Meanwhile, comparing my life to the lives of others really serves no useful purpose. Today, God has called me to serve my family. To change poopy diapers, organize crafts, and fix pot roast.

And so this day ends over chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven and hot cocoa. A quiet moment with my noisy boys; a cuddle with the baby; a conversation with my husband.

I’m still not sure what it means to be a living and holy sacrifice, but I pray that my work and my heart were pleasing to God today.


Anonymous said...

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven...Ecc.3:1

In this season of your life you are doing what is pleasing to the LORD. Well done!!
Love ya!!

clc said...

thank you for such an honest, beautiful entry. it's these types of questions and mediations that god uses. and sometimes that sacrifice is to obey what he has for you today, no matter how unglamorous it is.

Llama Momma said...

Thank you, ladies. You are both such an encouragement to me!

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