Challenge 29: Position Yourself to Love

My sister and I

My sister and I

I praise God that my biological sister is truly my sister. Though I just wrote about her last week, something she did this past weekend is perfect to share for this week’s love challenge.

Sharon and I can always be honest with each other, sometimes bluntly, and when we are, we know that the straight truth comes from a heart of love. So when Sharon told me, “Girl, you know I love you because I’m getting up early to come hear you speak,” I knew she spoke this out of love, though, I must admit, I was taken aback. This was her once-a-month date weekend where her brother- and sister-in-law keep her kids overnight so she and my brother-in-love can spend a kid-free Friday evening and all-day Saturday together. My being a keynote at the Daughters of Deborah (DOD) Women in Ministry Fellowship Prayer Breakfast was cutting into her couple time and she wanted to make sure I knew it. At first, I didn’t know how to take her comment. I know she loves me, but I just chuckled and thought “Am I supposed to feel bad because SHE chose to spend less time with her husband for me? Does she want me to profusely thank her?” Well, she didn’t want me to feel bad, but she DID want me to acknowledge her sacrifice to show her love for me. “I thought you might say something,” she said. When I told her what I was thinking, she understood why I didn’t seem overjoyed that she was supporting me on her date weekend. We both laughed when she realized she sounded like one of our relatives who loooooooooooves people to praise her when she does something special.

The fact is that my sister DID go out of her way to show love to me. God had impressed upon her heart some months ago that we can’t say we love one another and not show that we love one another. This weekend, Sharon got stretched going beyond her words to show me on another level her love for me. And I am so glad she did. Because she loved me greater she positioned herself to love another woman at the prayer breakfast.

A woman requested prayer for her daughter and the DOD leader agreed that we would pray for the daughter, even though that prayer wasn’t on OUR agenda. The leader, who had just met my sister that day and didn’t know she is a prayer warrior, said the Lord told her to have Sharon pray for this daughter. Sharon prayed high in the Spirit, heard from God, spoke words from God and was used to supply comfort and peace to this mother and daughter; they were so grateful and we were all in awe of God and HIS agenda.

Take a Risk Challenge: When you love the way God wants you to love, you just don’t know whether or not He is positioning you to love others who may be in need. Perhaps He will lead you to give money to someone, not knowing that the person needed the money to buy their children some shoes or send a child on a school field trip. This week, sacrifice what you may want to do to show, not just tell, someone that you love them. You may be positioning yourself to show love beyond your target of love.

My One Thousand Gifts List

Nathaniel saying “we are entering the spooky dark” as we descended the basement stairs
Not having to pick up Joshua from school because he was off because of a power outrage
Preparing two kinds of pancakes for the boys and feeling joy in doing it
Talking to Nichole
Being okay with my upside down and sideways days
Playing ‘Red Light, Green Light’ with the boys
Joshua saying he didn’t want my husband and me to give him up for adoption (like that was ever an option)
Rising early to groom my hair
Monday’s blog post given a day early
Listening to two church history lectures

Challenge 19: Sacrifice Your Life

Abolitionist William Still

Abolitionist William Still

    There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13)

This month, like many of us, I have had a more concentrated focus on black history. I’ve told my boys stories, read them books, and we’ve watched documentaries and other special broadcasts. The theme that is constant in each is sacrifice. In the negative way, white people and others complicit with them sacrificed the lives of African Americans so the culprits could viciously and selfishly gain materially, financially and socially. Blacks died in the inhumane conditions of the Middle Passage, slavery and Jim Crow and have experienced and continue to struggle through redlining, the very real though often unwritten practice of discrimination against blacks.

In the positive way, many, many people—blacks, whites and others—sacrificed their lives for the health, social and financial welfare and dignity of black Americans. Enslaved black mothers and fathers took punishment and went hungry and cold so their children could have a semblance of a better life than they had. People like William Still, a free black man who was a conductor of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia, gave up their comfortable lives so others could be free. They wrote; they spoke; they legislated; they rallied; they marched; they sacrificed whatever was necessary, their very lives even, to fight injustices, inhumanity, so others could be free.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!—Philippians 3:3-8

So we, like Jesus Christ and our ancestors, must sacrifice our lives so others can be free. We must work for people’s physical, financial, social, political and spiritual freedom. No one should be idle but should work in the way God leads them to lead others to freedom.

Take a Risk Challenge: Who will you risk your life for this week? I’m not necessarily saying take a bullet for someone, but we can all sacrifice our lives, the way we do things, what we are comfortable with, to show our love for others. Perhaps we will arise an hour earlier so we can give a ride to someone who doesn’t have a car and normally catches the bus in this cold weather. Maybe we can skip going out to lunch and give the money we would have spent to someone in financial need. Or maybe we could stop buying things we just don’t need and buy something that we know someone else could use. There is much we can do if we decide to sacrifice our lives for others. I mentioned some above. Below are some other ways. Of course you could come up with your own and please share in the comments section the ways you have or plan to sacrifice your life to perform a radical act of love.

  • Start a petition drive.
  • Organize a march.
  • Write letters.
  • Boycott businesses.
  • Post demands on social media.
  • Make your home a safe haven.

My One Thousand Gifts List

My husband initiating prayer this evening when he was dog tired
Joshua saying, “This house is so much fun” after I joked with him in a playful manner
Shakara, a young woman who accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior, not wanting to let me go from our hug because she was so happy and felt “so much better”
For clothes that don’t wear out
Water that flows from faucets
Being safe after a plastic bowl melted in the oven
Being firm, not harsh, with Nate though he challenged me all day and didn’t take a nap
Talking with a representative at Logos about the company possibly publishing my book
Nichole Christian for being such a great friend
Nate sleeping through the night