Daily Rhythms: Relentless Sacrifice

By: Jenni Walker

“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of…” (2 Timothy 3:14a)

 “For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more…being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”  (Philippians 1:8, 9a, 11)   

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Sacrifical Love_2

All of us have a rhythm by which we live our lives. Of course, some of the elements of our family lives will vary from family to family.  But many of them are emphasized in Scripture and must be prioritized, taught, and sought after as disciples of Christ.  These elements of daily family life are not just for the purpose of making our own lives “better,” but they help to make the context of family a living testimony of the glory, grace, and goodness of God as we rely on Him!

This sounds nice, but it does require intentional, consistent, even disciplined practice.  What requires the most discipline and effort often produces the greatest reward.  In the context of family relationships, intentionally establishing priorities and focusing on specific values will begin to occur more naturally with consistent practice.  I think of it like a dancer learning a new step who has to practice, has to listen closely to the tempo of the song, and must be deliberate in her movements.  This kind of intentional focus and effort eventually becomes more and more natural.  At this point, it does not mean the dancer stops practicing, but when she hears the rhythm of the music, the required steps, muscle memory, and responses to other fellow dancers begin to hold even greater beauty and reward, both for the dancers and those in the audience observing the dance.

While the thought of daily disciplines may sometimes sound arduous or overwhelming, and the concept of joy may seem elusive, there are many ways to create this kind of rhythm of life for our families such as prioritizing daily routines, emphasizing family values, and even just being yourself.  For the rest of the month, we will take a look together at several real-life examples of wholehearted women who are doing just that! When done regularly and intentionally, these simple yet powerful tools can begin to foster a beautiful and God-honoring family rhythm of godly affection and “fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:8–11).

This week, I want to introduce you to my cousin Alexandra. She and I are close in age, and she now lives in Minnesota with her husband and four young children.  Their marriage and family life is an absolutely beautiful example of what I can only describe as relentless sacrifice.  They graciously share their home with their little ones, one of whom has special needs, with in-home nurses, with out-of-town relatives, and even with foreign exchange students.  Their faith is of deep importance to them and is at the center of all that they do.

When I wrote to Alexandra about this devotional topic, I asked if she would be willing to give some insight into the values that they have chosen to orient their family around that affect their daily rhythm of life together.  She responded in the following way:  “Oh Cousin, I am honored!  You’re making me think…I don’t have time for a long response, but two things come to mind…”

The first thing she described is that she is “trying to live in the present moment — not get so busy planning or fretting.”  Life is never going to be perfect, and the demands of family life often require flexibility.  If you were to get a glimpse of the way Alexandra and her husband conduct their life together, you would see a couple who truly does endeavor to make the most of each moment.  From singing songs around the piano together, to gardening in the backyard, from reading with each of their children, to being actively involved with their extended families and local church, they choose to prioritize living “in the present moment.”  They find ways to be both intentional yet flexible, something that could seem impossible without their strong faith that anchors them.

In her e-mail, Alexandra also wrote about a second family value that she lives by, saying, “I am trying to pour myself out in love…I have very little time for just myself, but when I see how Christ died for me (giving everything) I remember that this is what it’s all about!”  Rather than complaining or growing disheartened by the constant demands of raising her little ones, she has chosen to frame it as a calling to pour herself out in love.  She and her husband have built their life together on the belief that because of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for them, they in turn ought to do the same for one another as husband and wife, for their children, and for others.  Their family is a beautiful picture for others of what it looks like to build all aspects of family life on values rooted in the love of Christ, which never fades and never fails.

For the rest of this month, we are focusing on ways to cultivate a godly and joyful rhythm of life for our families. When done regularly and intentionally, this simple yet powerful approach can begin to foster a beautiful and God-honoring family rhythm of godly affection and “fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:8–11).  Let’s love relentlessly and sacrificially this week to with God’s help and to His glory!