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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Thanksgiving (04/18/05)

TITLE: Sacrifices of Praise
By Antje Hill


The Dr’s voice faded as I tried to block out the words, “congestive heart failure". He was diagnosing my father. This man had been robust, a workaholic, never tiring in my eyes. But now, at age 83, he seemed frail. Lately I had spent more and more time encouraging him to keep on keeping on, encouraging him to shoot for 100.

I hid my saddened heart with small talk as we made the trip back to Mom’s and Dad’s place. It was early afternoon when I dropped them off at home, then turned toward my home not far away. As I closed the door behind me, I couldn't hold back the tears. It was overwhelming to think that sometime in the future I would no longer have my parents with me.

I was brought back to reality as the phone rang loudly. “Mom,” my youngest son’s voice sounded a bit strained. “I need for you to pray for me today. I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m on my way to work, but I woke up so dizzy this morning. I know if you are praying, I’ll be alright.”

Panic struck. My son was 400 miles away. There was nothing tangible I could do. “Steve, promise you will see a doctor if you are not better in a few hours.”

“I trust your prayers, Mom. I will be o.k.” Hanging up, I knelt beside the sofa and prayed God would give Steve physical strength and protection in the traffic, that He would keep him alert and make him well.

The phone once again interrupted. “Sis, Ted and I are not going to make it. I’m not telling everyone, but I had to let you know. I’m leaving this afternoon on a work assignment in Atlanta. Ted is going to stay behind and take care of the house. Everyone can think I will be back, but right now, that’s not my plans.”

I had tried to fix the problems in my sister’s life. I knew her problems were not only marital. She and I had often spoken of our insecurities and lack of self esteem. Through many years of troubled days and night and many prayers on bended knees, I had finally come to the place of relinquishing “self” and giving God first place in my life. I had tried to help Vicki find this same source of strength and happiness. We both were crying as we hung up the phone. I walked outside to gain composure from the day’s hard truths.

The sun was setting over the tree tops, making a sky of brilliant oranges and pinks. Over my shoulder I could see the beautiful sunflowers my husband had planted for me. Callie, our kitten, rubbed against my leg, asking to be stroked. A couple of robins were fighting at the bird feeder. I stood for a moment soaking up the warm late summer sun, my thoughts turned again to the problems of the day. I thought about my limitations in each situation. Despair slowly crept in as I sat for an hour or more rehashing each situation. These problems crowded in with others that had dominated my thought life.

I walked over to the sunflowers, touching the pedals of the yellow and brown array. Then God so graciously placed in my heart a phrase from the bible, “a sacrifice of praise”. A prayer of thanksgiving now, when there was turmoil in my mind, would certainly be a sacrifice. Is that what God meant by that phrase? Ah, God was teaching me in the quiet of the afternoon. Certainly I knew God was perfectly capable of taking care of Steve, of growing my sister and He knew the perfect time to call my parents home. In His own gentle way He was reminding me that my only part is always to praise Him in all the details of my life. Suddenly I felt joy again in my heart as Philippians 4:6 came to my mind: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.” (NASB)

It’s wonderful to know God understands our human side. It takes time for me to get to the “Thanksgiving” part of problems sometimes, but God is willing to work with me. For that I offer up prayers of thanksgiving.

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This article has been read 595 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Nellum04/25/05
I do the same thing - when things are stressful, I head outside to my cats and my garden.

Good writing, too, by the way (grins)

Mary N
Dixie Phillips 04/25/05
Loved the way you wrote from the heart and the adjective that comes to my mind about your story is GENUINE! Love real people with real stories.....
Delores Baber04/25/05
Beautiful piece. How often we take on the burdens of the day(s) when He has invited us to lay them on Him. How precious it is when, in a still small voice, He reminds us and then we feel His peace. Great writing skills. Great truth!
Helga Doermer04/25/05
What struck me was the way that stepping into the quiet of nature and attending to its beauty lead main character back to the creator.
Val Clark04/26/05
Engaging story,reminded this mum she should be praying for her kids more.
Maxx .04/26/05
I can relate to the multi-crisis jumble of life. Thank you for sharing the right course... trust!
Lori Othouse 04/27/05
A great reminder that giving thanks isn't always easy, but it is attainable...and often necessary for us to get past our problems and focus on the One who can really help. Great piece!
Phyllis Inniss 04/28/05
Troubles seem to overwhelm us when we forget that there is One who wants to solve them all. Your sacrifices of praise came at the right moment to dispel your anxiety. Enjoyed your writing.
Deborah Porter 05/03/05
Hi Antje. I just wanted to take a moment to encourage you and let you know that you made it into the semi-finals for the "Thanksgiving" Challenge. So although you didn't actually win a place or Highly Commended award, you were in the running and actually came quite close. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)