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We Love Because He First Loved Us

The new year brings new beginnings. If you are anything like me, you have probably been reflecting on the events, life changes, hardships, and personal growth you experienced during 2023! 2023 was a big year for my husband and me! We welcomed our daughter to the world just under a year ago. Parenthood has been a beautiful journey, but it has stretched us in ways I did not know were possible! I have learned the beauty of self-sacrificial love and learned to give without counting the cost.


Our daughter at two days old!
It can be tempting to count the cost, but as soon as we begin calculating, the doors of our hearts start shutting in self-protection. -Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, S.V.

The night before our daughter was born, I was lying in the hospital bed with a monitor strapped around my belly that kept an eye on the baby’s heart rate.  If the monitor was unable to detect the baby’s heart rate, an alarm would sound, and the nurses would come and asses.  Countless times, as I would shift into a more comfortable position for my laboring body, the monitor would lose the baby’s heart rate, and the alarm would go off. 


On one occasion, as the nurse repositioned the monitor, she said to me, “It is no longer about you. It is all about the baby.”  She was right!  From that moment, the primary focus of my life has been my daughter. 


Our daughter at 11 months old!

As my soon-to-be one-year-old grows older, her dependence on me will decrease. But for the first year of her life, I have been in a season of dying to myself and my preferences out of love for her. Anywhere from the sleepless nights to watching my diet because of her food sensitivities, every area of my life required sacrifice. 


Sacrifice is not a way of rejecting ourselves nor a way to better ourselves. Rather, it is an expression of giving ourselves in love for one another. -Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, S.V.

I do not write these words with a prideful motive or as a form of complaining. Instead, I am sharing my journey of walking alongside the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Motherhood is the best thing that I have ever done and I will gladly sacrifice for my daughter again and again! It is an honor to die to myself for her sake. Every day, we have the opportunity to offer some bodily mortification not for ourselves but out of love for Christ. He invites us to unite our sacrificial suffering to the suffering He endured on the cross. We can enter into a deeper relationship with Christ through the small sacrifices of each day. 


Agony in the Garden

I can not imagine the agony He endured in the garden the night before He died. With both you and I in mind, He knew the salvation of the world was resting upon His shoulders as He pleaded with God, “My father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26: 39) 


Christ knew it was no longer about His will and His preferences. He allowed Himself to die out of sacrificial love for me. Because of His love, I am given strength and grace to sacrifice out of love for my daughter. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).



Until next time, your sister in Christ,


Abby




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