Wow! That’s the only word I can use to describe my family’s recent vacation at Mount Hermon. I went tired, with a few questions for God and came back rested with encouragement and insight courtesy of the awesome Holy Spirit. I prepared myself for early mornings praying for understanding and instead found my answers in prayer as I walked from my room to the dining hall, or in the morning session, or on the nature hike. God’s wisdom and healing met me at every corner like Easter eggs half-hidden by an indulgent parent. With my spiritual needs so well met, I felt free to sleep, and what a welcome treat for a busy mom! What a blessing to be held in the gentle hand of God, being renewed for a new year of sacrifice and service.
And that’s what the message was all about for me. It’s time to sacrifice and it’s worth it. I’m in the middle years of parenting, homeschooling, and caring for many I love. Like a tenacious coach, I can hear my Father saying, “Ok, let’s take it to the next level.” But it will mean sacrifice. I looked up the definition of sacrifice before our vacation. Giving up something valuable, for a greater goal. This is more than giving up bad habits for good ones–that’s wisdom. Sacrifice is giving up something inherently good for the best. Sleep is good. But I need to get up at 5:30. Desserts are divine creations, but I can’t have more than one a week. That’s going to hurt. It’s doing what I feel God is asking of me, even though it’s hard. It’s also joy. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, endured the cross for the “joy set before him.” It’s the knowledge that I am helping God’s kingdom to come on this earth. It’s the sheer fun of doing what I was created to do even if it doesn’t earn any money or bring me any prestige. It’s the wonder of seeing God-given talents actually bless others. It’s finding out what the good works are that God has prepared in advance for me to do. It’s divine confirmation that I was designed, loved, and redeemed by my Heavenly Father. Most incredibly, it’s and adventure and a love story with a happy ending.