Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Life Poured Out

July 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

The phrase, “living a life poured out,” has been stirring in my spirit more and more for a while now.

I’ll admit, I’ve shied away from living a life of sacrifice like Mother Theresa. After all, it sounds rather miserable! And doesn’t God want us to live happy, prosperous, joy-filled lives?

But what if one is only possible when it accompanies the other?

I once watched the video testimony of Chad and Sarah Markley and was struck by something Chad said: The key to it all is that you have to be willing to do what Christ did in going to the cross. Think about what He suffered: embarrassment, shame, pain, and death. It comes down to this: what are you willing to give up, in exchange for what He has?

Those words shot through me and signaled the sprouting of a seed that God had planted almost a year earlier. I’d found another Katie online. That Katie read the parable of the sheep and the goats, left the USA, and went to Uganda for a year to help feed the poor, the needy, and the orphans. She was eighteen. God stretched the year and her, and when I found her, she was 21, a permanent resident of Uganda, and the adopted mother of 14 girls.

She gets tired and overwhelmed quite often. But she loves, and she loves, and she loves, and God fills her with joy and peace and strength beyond what most of us can even comprehend. As I read her blog, I began to realize something strange about my way of thinking. When I imagine living a life of sacrifice, I’ve always focused on the difficulties. But when I imagine living like Jesus, I find myself thinking about power, joy, and awesomeness of touching a blind person and healing them.

Why are they separate in my mind, when Jesus came to be the servant of all. 1 John 3:16-24 says, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

There is this philosophy that I’ve often heard and even shared myself. We have to have boundaries and learn to say, “No.” We say that this is for our protection, so we don’t break down from exhaustion.

But is that scriptural?

He said, “Go.” He said, “Love.” He said, “Freely you have received. Freely also give.”

Not once did He say, “Hold back,” or, “Give only until you start to get exhausted, and then stop, because My strength and grace have limits, and you’ll lose your reward if following Me causes you to die before your time.” Nor did He say, “Those who go too far helping others will lose their strength. They will crawl like slugs. They will faint like grass without water.” Isn’t that what our boundary drawing really means?

Those times when I have worn myself out helping others…was I also spending time with God, drawing from the well of living water so that as I gave, I was also replenished? Was my motive pride, to soothe guilt, or something else other than love and obedience to God? Have I believed the lie that His strength and provision have limits? Limits that I’ve already reached?

He said, “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.” I wonder what would happen we waited on Him before we began our day, and then did it again when we started to get tired. Would He hold true to His promise?

Let me share the rest of the story of how Katie-in-Uganda blessed Katie-in-Ohio.

It took a couple of weeks, but I finally humbled myself and offered a willing heart to God. I cried out, “Father, I want to do more and love people like that. But I’m here in America where our eyes are blind to what really matters. It’s easier for that Katie to meet needs, for those around her know they are dying. You know I can’t run off to Africa to where the need is easy to identify.”

He pointed to the nursing home nearby.

And over the weeks that followed, I felt that finger in the back of my consciousness all the time. Pointing, pointing, pointing. There are people who know they are close to death. There are people who are forgotten and abandoned. There are people who need someone to love them.

Finally, I obeyed. And I found that my sacrifice looks nothing like what I thought it would.

He is there, in that nursing home, and I am experiencing such joy as I play the old piano and sing the old hymns with the residents. Some get tears in their eyes because it’s the closest thing to worship they’ve had in months or years. They beg me to come and get them when I visit, if they forget which day it is.

I am richer and my life is fuller because of them.

And instead of being even busier and more stressed and stretched thin, I am less stressed and more productive and more relaxed.

Am I saying you should sing and play for nursing home residents or move to Uganda and adopt 14 orphans? No.

I am saying that I believe we have missed it. At least I did.

I should have assumed that He had more for me to do and asked for direction, instead of hoping that I was already doing enough.

I think God redeems the sacrifices He asks of us, and then multiplies that redemption until we are overflowing with it. I think this redemption also heals our own pain and struggles, which is why this lifestyle is full of praise and thanksgiving.

Can I encourage you to go ahead and make that sacrifice that God has been quietly asking of you? It won’t be anywhere near as painful as you think.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. – Mark 8:35

Katie Peters considers herself primarily a Christian wife, mother, and worshiper of the Most High God. She can also be called a writer, singer, designer, or whatever else she happens to be dabbling in. Her blog is for all those times when she wants to shout His goodness and greatness from the rooftops and share Him with the world. It’s to give those who search a glimpse of hope. You can find her at, where Hope is Calling…

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