No Sacrifice [Here’s My Life.]

“To You, I give my life-

Not just the parts I want to

To You, I sacrifice

These dreams that I hold onto

Your thoughts are higher than mine

Your words are deeper than mine

Your love is stronger than mine-

This is no sacrifice,

Here’s my life…”

Those lyrics come from a song called “No Sacrifice” by Jason Upton-and I really hope you’ll listen to it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxw3z-oD7ZE

“No Sacrifice” puts words to something that God’s been teaching me a lot about lately. In January, my boss asked me to consider returning to Senegal for a second year. I’ll go ahead and say the thing that you’re not supposed to say-I didn’t want to. There are a lot of things I’d rather be doing-things that don’t involve freezing showers, scorching weather, and missing Christmas with my family. Selfish, yes-but that’s how I feel a lot of days. I miss going to my eleven year old little sister Emily’s ballet recitals. I miss gloriously long bubble baths, and falling asleep in my own room, in a real bed. I miss watching old Audrey Hepburn movies with Danielle and Kristen while consuming a decidedly impressive amount of milk chocolate. I miss running out to get Japanese food with Steve, and spending long, rainy afternoons curled up in a giant overstuffed chair at Borders Bookstore, slowly sipping a caramel latte. I miss walking through my neighborhood with my brothers, listening to my little brother Ian rant and swear off women for the umpteenth time. I miss driving to Summit (my church back home) and worshipping in English. I miss always having friends around that I could call up that would drop anything to run and grab coffee together. There are too many of you to name-you know who you are.

There are days where living in Africa is particularly hard-and all of the things that I so dearly miss somehow well up inside of me, making the three remaining months that I have in this country seem like an impossibly long time. As I considered whether or not I would come back for a second year, something rather beautiful struck me. All of those  wonderful things that I miss? Those are free gifts from a God that loves me desperately. As the song says, who am I to hoard them?

I want to come home. I do. I dearly miss home-and the odds are, if you’re reading this-I miss you. But I’ve decided to return to Senegal next fall, because I simply don’t feel like God is releasing me from what He’s doing in Senegal quite yet. He gave me all of the things that I love for free-simply because He adores me (as He does you). Who am I to demand them back? People like to thank me for the “sacrifice” that I am making by living in Dakar. In light of the torrent of undeserved gifts that Jesus has showered on me, the idea that my two years in Africa are in even the smallest way a sacrifice is laughable. Certainly, there are things that I’m giving up-but they are nothing in the face of what Jesus has done for me. As David Livingstone (a much better missionary to Africa) once said:

“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay?  Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.”

God only gives good gifts, and I’m excited to see this one play out in my life. So keep reading-there’s no way this is going to be boring!

Ben, Christy and Dayton have also decided to return next year. It's going to be rough not having Cash here-but we're all excited about what God's going to do with his life in the States! (And we're putting him in charge of sending us kool-aid on a regular basis.)

Comments

  1. griffingibson says:

    Ashley, You’re speaking my language girl–As tough as it can be sometimes, I totally agree that this is no sacrifice in comparison.. Amen my friend! I’m excited for you and what next year has in store. Also, I think it’s great that Ben and Christy are returning too!! Woohoo. Love you girl :-)

  2. Kristin says:

    Thank you for ministering to all of us through your honesty.

    K

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  1. […] on the brink of 2010. The brink, in fact, looked rather dire and bleak. And then, Lord help us all, Jesus asked me to commit another  year of my life to Dakar! [The nerve.] Believe you me, if you’d offered me a million dollars and an espresso machine I […]

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