Saturday, February 12, 2011
Motherhood- A Daily Lesson in Sacrifice
(Warning- this post might get a little religious- so if that isn't your bag, run away now.)
The other day the husband asked me about sacrifice. He was supposed to teach a lesson on it at church and said he doesn't know what to say. He was wondering why we are supposed to sacrifice without expecting anything in return.
It almost made me laugh that he really had no idea where to go with this thought.
I really think that any mother worth her salt could give a lesson on sacrifice with no preparation and no books and no research. Why?- Because to be a good mother is a daily lesson in sacrifice.
Sometimes it seems almost unfair that women are expected to give so much to their families and those around them every day and expect nothing in return. I will show my bias here, so feel free to disagree ardently. But it seems that a man who sacrifices for those around him is seen as weak, while a woman is expected to do this.
A mother will give her body for months to her child. It will be forever changed. She will give every waking and sleeping moment to her children for years on end. She will sacrifice for her husband and family. She will sacrifice even her ambitions, her career and her education, at least for a time, in order to best serve her family.
I once thought this was unfair, that I felt a need to sacrifice the things I wanted while my husband seemed able, and even encouraged, to be better, get smarter, and grow more. Meanwhile I would bask in the bitterness of dishes, mopping, and dirty diapers.
Now, sometimes, through the haze of patience, mud, and tears I see the blessing that it is to be able, and even expected, to sacrifice.
Simply put, it brings me closer to my Maker. He who created us and sent us to this life did so out of love and sacrifice. To be blessed to also create life, and then to spend years giving with no expectation of anything in return, will unfailingly bring us closer to Him. It will teach us daily what it means to love, to give, to work, and yes, to sacrifice. It helps us not just to understand God better, but to be more like Him.
There are many times when I have felt bitterness that I, (and I will admit my prideful streak here) an intelligent woman, should spend my daily life enthroned not on a pile of books, but a pile of laundry. Why must I (I have wondered) feel compelled to push my husband through graduate school while I babysit for extra money and wait, probably for many many years, for my turn?
I don't feel bitter any more. I feel grateful. I am grateful that the eternal principle of sacrifice is part of my daily life. I understand it. I love it. I live it. I see why my Savior expects me to sacrifice. I understand why He would sacrifice for me, because I would willingly do the same for my children.
What may initially seem an advantage to men, the encouragement, license, and worldly pat on the back for focusing on themselves and their ambitions, is not, from an eternal perspective. Those who choose not to sacrifice daily for those around them will find the principle of sacrifice difficult to understand.
To be a good mother is to daily live the law of sacrifice. It is not a burden, but a blessing. It is quietly hidden behind the mundane, but it is there none the less.
What a blessing to be a mother. How grateful I am to be able to give to those around me, to sacrifice my time and energy and talents, not for reward, but for family. How beautiful to be handed daily personal purification while those from outside only see the burdens.
I am grateful to be a mother and for the refining fire that it is to my soul.