Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On making sacrifices

A couple of weeks ago I told you about my dear friend Sonya who displayed real love and great sacrifice by donating half her liver to a desperately ill friend. I am so happy to tell you today that Sonya is back at home and doing well. She'll spend this spring unable to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds and suffering from considerable fatigue, but overall she's doing great. What's more, her friend and liver recipient is doing really well. Of course, they both must recover from all that goes with major surgery, but already Sonya's friend is already much healthier than before the transplant. Isn't it wonderful what God and His friends in the medical community can do?

As I've prayed for Sonya over these weeks, I've found myself so touched by her willingness to do this. To be separated from her family, to suffer pain and sickness and fatigue, to undertake such risk--what a sacrifice! I know Sonya well, and I know that the love of Christ is what compels her. A powerful force, that love!

I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but there's one more thing I've thought as my mind has dwelt on Sonya these past couple of weeks. This is not pretty, but it's true: I've felt jealous of her. Can you imagine? Jealous of someone who's spent the last two weeks hundreds of miles from her family, enduring great pain, suffering through devastating nausea, barely able to eat? Sounds ridiculous, but it's true. Why? Because of the way her spirit rests in God. Because she faced even this remarkable journey with the knowledge that God was leading her, and she was content to take even this dramatic step.

Why doesn't God call me to do something dramatic? I've wondered. Why can't I serve Him in some earth-shaking way? Sonya's service saved the life of a wonderful, Godly woman. Why can't I do something like that? Something that really counts??

And then, very gently, God brought me back to His word. One more time, He reminded me of what He's asking me to do right now.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1, NIV)."

Photo courtesy of

Or as The Message puts it:

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering."

My everyday, ordinary life. My errand-running, dinner-cooking, dishes-doing, clothes-washing, child-rearing, husband-loving life. Placed before God as an offering.

You know the problem with living sacrifices, don't you? Just when you've put them in place, living sacrifices can jump down off the altar. So they have to be offered again every day.

But you know what? That daily grind--that offering of myself, that placing myself before God, however broken I may be--it pays off. Read Romans 12:2 from The Message:

"Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

Photo courtesy of

So, with nothing dramatic to offer, I'll put my life back on the altar. And I'll look forward to a little more change from the inside out.


Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

So happy to hear that both women are on the road to recovery! :) I don't always care for The Message's way of translating, but I love the way that they put Romans 12:1. A great picture of words!

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

Such good news about Sonya! Thanks for the follow up.

I know what you mean about wanting to do something big for God. I think about that often, and yet He has me sitting here waiting . . . cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, running kids, waiting. Maybe I'll never do anything that seems "big" for Him (in my eyes), but I think the "little" that I do FOR Him is huge to Him. I hope that makes sense.

Richella said...

Oh, yes, Shelly! The "little" IS huge!

FrouFrouBritches said...

What a beautiful reminder of how we should give ourselves and everything we do in our life to God. Just know that the way your inspire all of us is not small thing.

So glad your friend is doing well.

Kathy@ Gone North said...

So glad to hear a good report. I have been praying for them both.
I pondered your post for a bit, because I am in that same place. I did ministry for many years & felt like I was contributing. Now God has called me to the desert & I feel like I am in a place of waiting.
BUT I also know that in the case of those Dr's.. God had prepared them thier whole lives for just this moment & who knows who touched thier lives along the way...only God knows..
You & I are possibly the ones who are touching lives around us, like our children, friends, Church body... that God is preparing....
Only Heaven knows what great things we are doing... by just abiding in Him.
Hugs to both of the recovering girls : )

Denise said...

So happy to hear your friend and her friend are doing so well. Lovely post too Richella :)

Holly said...

It's so hard for me to see my "daily grind" as anything other than, well, a grind.
Thank you for making me think.

At The Picket Fence said...

Amen! So true and something I totally relate to. I have had both big mountain top experiences and dark valley moments where God has never been more near and real to me...and yet, in a strange way, it was actually easier to rest in Him during those times than in my day to day grind of life. Oswald Chambers talks a lot about how to be that living sacrifice when you aren't in the valley or on the mountain but when you are just on level ground. That is when I am the most easily distracted, disgruntled, discouraged. And that to me is when my offering of myself to Him could end up being the greatest testament of my faith, you know? Thank you for being so incredibly honest and real and such an encouragement to all of us Richella! :-)

Traci@ Beneath My Heart said...

What a great post, Richella!
I needed to hear this. I struggle with that same feeling...that I am not doing anything BIG for God. Thank you for this encouragement.
luv u!

Debra from Bungalow said...

To all who comment that they feel like they are not doing enough plese read this post. I found it several weeks ago and read it almost every single day.

I can relate to your post because my daughter has a liver disease but is doing so well now! After so many, many prayers she is off her meds and thriving! God is so good to us! We are truly blessed beyond measure.

As the author of the post at SomeGirl's website says, "you are my treasure, break open and offer yourself fully to Me." It's on the same line as your post.

Nadir@StitchSense said...

I'm so glad to hear of your friend Sonya & that shes doing well. I wanted to post about this friend of mine but didn't want to be a joy killer. My husband has a friend (Chad) who I met & (also many of my church family knows this family personally) who had a terminal liver disease & his older brother (Ryan) selflessly went under the same surgery to save his little brother's life & ended up giving the ultimate sacrifice & lost his life leaving behind a wife & 3 young boys & his sick brother lived. Irony doesn't even begin to describe the situation but thank goodness the family members are believers & have had the Lord to lean on in such tragedy. Many news stories & articles have been done on the family & Chad has his own blog too where he deals with his grief & spiritual battles & monsters everyday. Here are some links to their story if you want to check them out.

Continuing to lift up your friend Sonya in prayer.

Em and Lib said...

You're not alone! I totally understand what the jealousy would be...I can see myself having it too. IT's hard even blogging sometimes, other people have so many more followers/comments/they are so much more creative and seem to be DOING so much more for God.
But maybe, just the being me is doing something big too. MAybe the BOG things for God, are the simple things that we have to learn from the inside out : love. joy. peace. patience. kindness. meekness and self control.

Southern Lady said...

Richella, I am so glad to hear that both ladies are doing well. I loved your post. I think that everyone feels the same way some times. Thank you for putting it into words. You are making more of a difference than you realize. God bless you! Carla

Tink said...

I believe that when we do the "little" things and give God the glory...we are doing the "big" things. Our little may be big to someone else and we don't even know it. Praise the Lord for the great reports on these two women.

Cha Cha said...

You have been called to such a time as this, this is what I am telling myself over and over some days. I love your beautiful honesty, you have touch my heart this morning and made me view my mission field differently--Thank You

Cha Cha

Bonita said...

This speaks to me deeply, Richella. I had to laugh about the living sacrifices. They don't really want to be sacrificed and they do, indeed, have a way of crawling off the altar.

Sometimes I wonder if the harder sacrifice isn't giving God our mundane, daily lives. No one sees, no one applauds, sometimes no one appreciates. And most of the time we don't see it as important ourselves. That's hard!

Thanks for the reminders. Glad to hear that Sonya is recovering.

Cherri Engle said...

Thank you for the update on these two ladies. I have followed their story on your blog. So glad that both are doing so well. Praise God.

I agree with so many others that posted here, our 'little' may be the 'big' that someone else needs. We just have to trust that God is guiding us through this thing called 'life' and we go where where He leads. Thank you for sharing your personal feelings with us. So many of us can relate.

HeathahLee said...

Oh, girl, I needed to read this today. Thank you for a beautiful post. So happy your friend and her friend are doing well!

Linda said...


So happy that your friend and her friend have made it through the surgery and are both doing ok. I will stop now and pray for both of them. Thanks for updating us.

I loved your post...especially the visual of us as living sacrifices jumping up off of the altar...and that's why we have to go there again and again. Yup! So true.

If you'd like to join in a fun Spring Blog Party, where my daughter's sponsors are giving away 500.00 in giveaways, just hop on over to my place and find out all about it.

Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

Linda said...

Oh...and I don't have The Message Bible, but I liked what you posted from it, so I think I will get one for additional study! Thanks!


Emelia DiCarlo said...

So beautifully written Richella.I enjoy your wisdom, sweetness, devotion to God and family and yes indeed the everyday work of family and small but meaningful tasks are all important sacrifices that have big meaning. Where you are now, mother wife and inspirational blogger are a calling and what your supposed to be doing! Thank you for your blog and being a great role model and inspiratioin. God Bless you and yours, Emelia.(Thanks for your blog…..I am an avid reader of family and home blogs but don't have one:).)

melissa * 320 Sycamore said...

So glad to hear Sonya is doing well. Richella, I think you are doing so much better than you give yourself credit for. I think it's the little daily battles we overcome that draw us step by step closer to God. It may not seem like anything big, but when you step back 10 years from now, it will be. You are a rock of faith I look to. xo

Kim Hogue said...


Love your blog! Very sweet and genuine and offers much grace to your readers!

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