Self Sacrifice

Dying to self and living to righteousness is impossibly hard and to even try it takes a great deal of courage. No less difficult is consistently putting the needs of your man (and the demands of his career) ahead of your own, and those of your family. As military wives, we often have to come second, or ideally third behind The Lord and then the military.

My personal highlights include buying a house and preparing to move only to learn he was delayed so I had to panic-organize a team of friends to help with two days notice. Or the time the car blew up while he was still on his flight out. Or even the time I tore my ACL days before he departed. Two days after we said goodbye, one of our daughters fell and broke her wrist. In short, him leaving typically spells looming disaster of some description and my best friend is nowhere near a position to be any help, or even contactable sometimes.

But more than that, with the frequent moving there’re the developing friendships, career opportunities, family help and so on that we miss. There’s that sense of belonging that comes very rarely in this life. It’s very easy to get fed up and become resentful. But be on your guard.

A little irritation unaddressed can become a gaping wound.

I recently watched ‘Risen’, telling the story of a centurion tasked with finding out what happened to Jesus’ body. I cannot even begin to imagine how truly horrific the crucifixion must have been for Mary. I am totally at a loss to understand how she coped with that. I found it hard to watch a Hollywood re-enactment, knowing the nails and the blood and the spears weren’t real. But to have that really be your child enduring such brutality, I don’t really have the words.

Sacrifice was no stranger to Mary; it had been her constant companion since the day Gabriel showed up with his glad tidings. She missed out on a normal pregnancy (there must have been some very awkward conversations with Joseph and then getting on a donkey in your final trimester – seriously), then didn’t get to raise a typical boy (not many start teaching in the temple before they grow facial hair), and then came the miracles, adulation, hatred, death and the blinding joy of Resurrection Day.

But nowhere does the Bible show Mary complaining or worrying. She is as constant as the sunrise. Mary was faithful, or turned around, full of faith. She was fortified by the Holy Spirit. Did that make her life easier? Not if you believe everything we read in scripture (and I do). However, the presence of God, often front and center in Mary’s life meant she had a steady view of the bigger picture. When I find myself getting annoyed or bitter about the things we miss out on, that’s where I try to look too. Would life be significantly easier if my husband was home much more often, or we moved less? Absolutely. But if I love him (and I do, very much), then he comes first after God.

Look at Mary, the disciples (not so much Judas though) and Jesus himself. They all sacrificed greatly. When it got hard or unimaginable, they cried out to God and He never failed them. He’s still the same today, just ask Him and He’ll show you.

Thanks for reading this today – I hope it was useful. If you’d like to know more about my Bible study for military wives, please get in touch.


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