a mommy's sacrifice- a gift of love

May 24, 2014

On this weekend that we remember so many who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, it seems fitting to honor them by recognizing and honoring those in our daily lives who constantly sacrifice for us.
As a former history teacher I fell in love with the true story of Irena Sendler, a young woman who ultimately ended up saving 2500 children out of the Warsaw Ghetto (and from the death camp Treblinka) during World War II. She is a hero of mine as her story is one of courage, sacrifice, wisdom, and nobility.(If you don't know her story you can click HERE to read it!) During the course of teaching I used to show the Hallmark version of her story entitled, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler". At the end of the movie one of the youngest children that she saved (a baby in a toolbox drilled with holes smuggled out of the ghetto) told her that she was a hero to not only her but to the other thousands of children that she saved. Despite spending over eight months being brutally beaten, almost killed, losing friends & family, and eventually (rescued from death and then separated from her mom who was dying) spending years in hiding until the war was over, Irena gently disagreed and shared how the heroes of the story were the mothers. The mothers who gave up their children, even though their own death seemed imminent. The mothers who never were reunited with their children (due to death or inability to be reconnected).The mothers who trusted a stranger to smuggle their children out of ghetto and to be given to other strangers. The mothers who knew that they would never see their children again. The mothers who recognized that instead of their love it would be anothers who would guide their children. And then it was the other mothers who not only took incredible risk to themselves and their own biological children in taking in a Jewish child. The other mothers who sacrificed rations of food, clothing, basic needs and necessities for a child that they didn't know. It was the other mothers who cared for, held, fed, wiped the tears of, rocked to sleep, fell in love with, and fully adopted each child that they were given. And it was the other mothers who then understood the gift of sacrificial love of the biological mothers for at the end of the war (almost 4-6 years later) the other mothers  had to give up these children they loved as their own to any remaining and surviving biological family members.
A mothers sacrifice is always a gift of love. 
Whether it is a sacrifice that involves giving the gift of life through birth or giving up the child that you bore to be raised by another couple through adoption. Sacrifice that says I will give up my own dreams and plans of career to stay at home to make this person my dreams and plans. Or the sacrifice of a sweet mama who works to give her child the best at the cost of herself. Or the sacrifice of a mom loving extravagantly each and everyday to infants and toddlers when no one is watching. Maybe it is the sacrifice that gives a persons "best years" to sitting behind a wheel driving a child to each appointment and school function or just "another" birthday party. Or sacrifice of "being uncool" as a mom who holds steadfast in discipline because she knows that being "cool" for the moment might allow her to lose the opportunity to give sound instruction for the future. Or maybe it is a sacrifice to lose a little extra sleep to give a listening ear, to mend a shirt, or to just take the time to wipe tears or give a comforting hug. 
For as long as I can remember my mom has always lived a sacrificial life for her children. I saw it every single day as I grew up and as an adult child moving back into my parents house I continue to see it. It was there in the countless prayers and long talks throughout my most formative years and it continues in the everyday moments now. It is never easy to have a sick child and then to compound having an adult sick child comes with a whole unique set of "rules". It involves navigating deep water and giving opinions and mothering and yet leaving the final decision up to someone else. It means fighting for your child's health and yet recognizing that they are not a child but an adult. It means recognizing that the dreams and plans that you had for your child are radically different then the reality. It means giving a hug when the tears flow not from a scraped knee but from a broken heart. It means recognizing that the gift of a mothers love and sacrifice goes beyond age, beyond a season, and lives forever in ways that one could never imagine.
My mom has shown this time and time again. Throughout all of my life I can clearly point to her life reflecting the Lord's gracious and tender mercies. Throughout the last two years of living at home I can only say that time with my sweet mom has only grown more precious and I have been the humble recipient of sacrificial love.
It has become obvious that in this healing journey I was going to need some additional assistance. My precious dad (who has been unbelievably amazing!) is absolutely wonderful but at this time I really do need some more full time care. And behind the scenes (not telling anyone) I started to pray that my mom might be able to retire. I felt completely selfish in doing so (as I knew that she was working to help pay for a ton of my health care costs) but recognized that as I move forward with my treatment I am going to need more help. So when my parents announced (unexpectedly to me) that my mom would be retiring at the end of this school year there were a lot of tears on my part... gratefulness, humility, and most of all the recognition of a mommy's sacrifice. 
My mom is an incredibly gifted teacher and has taught for numerous years and impacted hundreds of students. For the past three years she has been working in a specialized elementary program to help children learn to read. Her heart for children has extended time and time again beyond our family to each child that has walked through her classroom. She has poured love on countless students who do not have a good home life and has given of her self time and time again. I have absolutely no idea how my mom has handled the pressures of a full time position (that was financially needed) so well while also caring for me so perfectly. I am simply amazed at her reliance on the Lord for her daily strength. And for her faith to step out and trust the Lord in this new season.
 This sacrifice has shown me anew the meaning of laying down one's life for another. There is nothing "glamorous" about helping out someone behind the scenes who is ill. (Those of you who are caretakers know exactly what I mean!) It is hard, extremely difficult, and filled with lots of incredibly heart-breaking moments. There is no one that is going to give my mom an award or recognize her. But just like every other mom who is working so hard behind the scenes her sacrifice and love is a key to my life. 
It seems fitting on this Memorial Day weekend to share this news and to thank my mom publicly for the millions of ways that she has shown God's love throughout my entire life. Memorial Day has always been a time to remember those who have sacrificed for our country and I can't think of a better way to honor those who have fallen than to take a few moments this weekend than to thank those who sacrifice for us daily. 
Maybe you want to take a few extra moments to thank our servicemen and women or to thank the military families who have lost someone. Maybe thank someone special in your life for their sacrificial love. Or maybe like me you want to thank a "hidden" hero who continues to sacrifice year after year like my mommy.
I love you mom... thank you so much sacrificing for me and for everything!

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