Sunday, April 29, 2012

GCBC Week 5: “Sacrifice”

Sorry I have been MIA this week on the blog. My husband got home from a three week long assignment overseas (which he left for a few days after he came home from a two week assignment… so we’ve been apart for just about 5 weeks!). His parents took our kids for a few days, so we “escaped” into the land of reconnected couples. It was absolutely wonderful. We stayed in Salt Lake City and went to the temple and went shooting and went out to eat and basically just had a great time being a couple again. Because it was kind of last minute I didn’t have much set up for the blog, but I’ll try to be better this week – he’s going back to his regular 9-5 schedule, so I won’t have anything to do during the day… except take care of my two kiddos. Ha ha. Like that is “nothing”.

Without further rambling from your host, here is GCBC Week 5:

Sacrifice – by Elder Dallin H. Oaks

I will speak of these mortal sacrifices our Savior asks us to make. This will not include sacrifices we are compelled to make or actions that may be motivated by personal advantage rather than service or sacrifice.

I appreciated that Elder Oaks differentiated between the two types of sacrifices, because I think that I frequently think I have sacrificed more because of the sacrifices that I am compelled to make, or those sacrifices I make that are motivated by personal advantage.

This talk also reminded me of President Uchtdorf’s talk (Forget Me Not) when he spoke about the difference between good and foolish sacrifices. If you haven’t had a chance to read that talk, I recommend it – especially that part about sacrifices.

What parts of Elder Oaks’ talk stood out to you? How has the principle of sacrifice played a role in your life?


  1. I've been thinking about the various forms of sacrifice in my own life and how to better consecrate them. Even though I have willingly offered up my sacrifice to be a mother, sometimes I am very begrudging of all the work mothering my little flock takes. It's harder to learn that way. DH is a bishop and that means we accepted the sacrifice of his time with our family for this time period. I'm okay with that sacrifice, with sharing him in this way, but some times I find myself not as okay with the idea that I am not able to serve in any calling of substantial stewardship or receive the easy source of stretching and spiritual growth offered in those callings. I try to take comfort in the line from the Milton sonnet "They also serve who only stand and wait" even when it feels a great deal more like waiting and less like serving. Some times sacrifices, even though we voluntarily submit to them can become opportunities for our hearts to become cold and hardened instead of broken and humbled as the Lord needs us to be. It is all in perspective and focus on the point of the sacrifice--to draw near to the Lord, because it IS true and nothing else matters.

    1. Angie--Such good thoughts here. My husband was called to a leadership calling a few years ago, which meant that I was released as YW president so that he could serve. I felt so sad at the loss of my calling (and, let's face it, the prospect of Sundays as a single parent!) that sometimes it was hard to be the cheerful, supportive wife that I felt like I wanted to be--and that other women made look so easy. I love your thought from Milton, about standing and waiting. It struck me that, in many ways, this is just my season to stand and wait. To cheer for and support people whose lives are taking an upward trajectory right now and patiently wait for me turn to climb my own spiritual mountains. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Becca, I think that you are climbing a spiritual mountain - it's just a different one than you are used to climbing. :)

  2. Sacrifice is an interesting principle. Who would want to give up something they like? However, I've also learned it's a necessary principle, and I do know that the blessings that come from sacrificing far outweigh the actual sacrifice. My husband likes to say we can choose our sacrifices or someone else can choose them for us. At first I thought that was an odd point of view, but I've come to appreciate the wisdom in that statement.

    Here's one line that stood out to me from Elder Oaks' talk: "Most believers in Christ are neither expected nor able to devote their entire lives to religious service." It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, given by Elder Packer in the Oct 1989 General Conference: "Things of the Spirit need not--indeed, should not--require our uninterrupted time and attention. Ordinary work-a-day things occupy most of our attention. And that is as it should be. We are mortal beings living in this physical world. Spiritual things are like leavening. By measure they may be very small, but by influence they affect all we do."

    Even if our sacrifices (like making the time for family prayer or visiting teaching) at times seem small, they're helping us move forward along the path home. And they're preparing us for when we might need to make greater sacrifices, so that we'll handle them better.

    I also appreciated the reminder to re-evaluate my "selfish priorities" and to see if I can do a better job at serving others. I'm sure I can.

    1. Becky--I love your comment on how the sacrifices that we make now are preparing us for greater sacrifices. I think you're right, and in some ways that is absolutely terrifying, isn't it? I also felt like I should make a list of how I can give better of my time and my "selfish priorities" to see where everything really stands. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. (*laughing* Maybe I should start signing as "Becca2" or something so we don't get confused!)

    I think the thing that struck me first was a question about how much of my mothering is compelled sacrifice. I'm not sure how willingly I get up at the crack of dawn to help demanding children. I'm not sure how willingly I clean up and then clean up again. I'm also 9 months pregnant with our 4th baby right now and it's to the point of bitter drudgery. (Am I awful for admitting that?? ) So those were my thoughts going into the talk--wondering if what I'm sacrificing even counts. If it's even valid.

    Then, at the end of the talk, Elder Oaks hit me with this: "Perhaps the most familiar and most important examples of unselfish service and sacrifice are performed in our families. Mothers devote themselves to the bearing and nurturing of their children... The Lord sees you also, and He has caused his prophets to declare that 'as you sacrifice for each other and your children, the Lord will bless you.'" At which point I broke down into tears--because isn't it just good to be reassured that this all COUNTS for something? Carrying that in my heart today and pondering on it.

    1. Ha ha when blogger emails me the comments I always have to think "Wait, did I comment on the post?" (because it emails me my comments, too! ha ha)

      This was excellent, because I think a lot of my sacrifices as a mother might be compelled as well! Makes me want to make sure that I am sacrificing because I want to and not because I have to. I think keeping our sacrifices intentional keeps us from making bad sacrifices as well (for example, ignoring your husband because your needy 3 year old wants yet another snack - sometimes it is OK for our children to learn to WAIT... I am really hard at remembering that... and sometimes I sacrifice my relationship with my husband to "be a good mom"... yikes!)

  4. In response to Becca2's comment :), oh yes, it COUNTS. I think of the story from the New Testament where Jesus went out in the wilderness to be alone for a while and he was followed by crowds who wanted to be taught. His disciples tried to turn them away, but he let them stay and he taught them. To me, this is the kind of sacrifice mothers make We don't see it as a sacrifice; it's more of a "concession," where we let what we need to do override what we want to do. Compulsory or not, it polishes us into more selfless beings and helps us follow a Savior-model of behavior.

  5. The part that stuck out to me was the many times Elder Oaks gave reference to other religions and people that also sacrifice. Although we may do it on a little bit of a bigger scale it is still something that we have in common with many of the people around us. There are so many good people in the world who are also trying to follow Christ's example and help others.

    P.S. On Stephanie's blog there was an option to subscribe and be emails when other comments were made on a post. I don't know if that is an option with Blogger, but if it is could you include it? Part of the reason I wait until the very end of the week to comment is because I want to read all of the comments at once. I am not very good at going back to a post and reading other comment. If not it isn't a big deal.

  6. I really appreciate everyone's comments. Sarah Rich, a pioneer woman said "This truly was a trying time for me as well as for my husband; but duty called us to part for a season and knowing that we [were]obeying the will of the Lord, we felt to sacrifice our own feelings in order to help establish the work...of helping to build up the Kingdom of God on earth." I love the inspiration I get from reading about the sacrifices pioneers made. It helps me to not complain when I'm needing to make sacrifices, and know that I can do what is asked of me, even when it is hard or uncomfortable, just like they did.

  7. "Just as the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is at the center of the plan of salvation, we followers of Christ must make our own sacrifices to prepare for the destiny that plan provides for us."
    This is my favorite quote from this talk. It just makes it so clear that sacrifice is necessary. Our little sacrifices will never be of the magnitude of Christ's sacrifice but hopefully they will be sufficient in preparing us for all that God has in store for us to do and to become.
    I also loved that he mentioned the line from "Praise to the Man". That line has brought me comfort more than once when I thought that perhaps things were just harder than I could bear. It always makes me change my perspective and start looking for the blessing that I know are there. I just tend to have a beam in my eye and can't see them without removing it.
    I really believe that the sacrifices that I have made(had to make) as a mother, particularly as a mother of many, have been the things that have taught me the most. I assume that I have LOTS to learn, hence the LOTS of kids. I had an experience a few years ago that let me know that it was pleasing to the Lord for me to be a mom and just a mom and to stop worrying about trying to contribute financially to the family. That it wasn't all about me. I learned that everything God does he does for his children and that if I'm following his example, then that should be characteristic of me as well. It was a truly enlightening time for me and as I accepted this as the purpose of my life, I have had such peace. Even in times of extended unemployment and other difficulties. I knew my sacrifices to be a full time mother in the home would be worth it.
    p.s. I'm not trying to point fingers at moms who work. I know lots of great moms who do work outside the home. I'm just sharing what
    was given to me as my mission/purpose.


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