I’ve been blessed with friends. I recently went to a ladies’ weekend in another city were I met up with some of my “old” China friends; “old friends” meaning we met four years. (Note: This does not mean I never struggle with loneliness or do not go through seasons of comparing (with negative consequences) myself to these awesome friends. I am learning…slowly!)
One of the people who shared gave a picture of a what a living sacrifice might look like. In the OT, the animal of sacrifice was tied to the altar so it could not escape. Would a living sacrifice be someone willing to be ‘tied to the altar’ giving up control for the glory of Him who reigns forever and ever? The thought of someone ‘tying me down’ raises all sorts of rebellious thoughts: “How dare you…” “You can’t do that do me. I have rights.” I still need to think this through, but am convinced a ‘living sacrifice’ is the only true way to live.
Being fresh off this weekend, I not only returning refreshed, but also encouraged by my friends, their lives, their example, and most importantly how I see their lives as living sacrifices. Here is a glimpse into the lives of women in China (some expat, some Chinese) and some of the possibilities that can happen when you follow whole-heartedly.
(Another note: I’m not giving any names. I’ve asked for permission for these examples, but can think of other ladies that could fit each category. AND if you’re my friend and you’re not mentioned, please don’t be offended because any of these examples could be you.)
My friend who decided to make an impact on parenting in this country by starting a school. Take away example: Don’t be afraid to step out in faith and do what you’ve been asked even when culture is against you.
My friend who dedicates hours to pr@y because that’s what the Father has asked her to do. In her words it doesn’t make for glamorous letters home because she’s not “getting her hands dirty”, but does it matter? It’s what she’s been asked to do.
My friend who lets her husband travel days on end because doors are opening for them to walk through.
My friend who is in the middle of packing up her home and family because they’ve been called to leave and continue kingdom work at home (for now).
My friend who loves her family and fosters babies despite spiritual attacks on their family and having to say painful good byes.
My friend who cares not only cares well for her family, but also sees to medical needs of her community. When you’re a Western medical professional in this country you get lots of calls and emails from people whose doctors aren’t close by. Advice is needed, but it can be draining!!
My friend who comes across the most bizarre and traumatic situations because Dad knows she’s willing to be used as an ambassador of mercy to those who are suffering.
My single friend who obediently left “home” without a husband and family for the sake of His glory and His kingdom. She may as well be the most courageous of the bunch!
My friend who has a heart and passion for the lowest of the low. This is not technically a caste society, but if you’re an orphan and have HIV you might as well be at the bottom. But we all know, J-man is the King of the underdogs; He is for them!
My friend who has lived here for many years and is letting (read: surrendering) her children return to their home country for study and growing up.
My friend who moved her family back to her home country because, for so many reasons, it was the best for their family health and growth, physically and emotionally.
My friend who is just learning that J-ss is really cool. And IF what He says in the Book is true than (wide eyed…shake of head) what do I do with that? Revolutionary…
My friend who lives in an isolated location; the stress that accompanies those circumstances and the grace needed to persevere.
All these women are for me examples of living sacrifices. Giving up control of their own desires and comforts for His glory, for His Kingdom. Women not afraid to be used to change their spheres of influence.
Rom twelve, one (nlt): And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to G-d because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.