Letting Go of Treasures

My childhood is in my garage.  My hospital bracelet from the day I was born.  My baby blanket.  My first Cabbage Patch Kid.  My first ballet shoes.  My first My Little Pony which smelled like bubbles.  Every Christmas ornament I ever made. My badges from my days as a Brownie.  My pom pons from high school.  My prom dress.  Binders full of notes my friends and I would pass to each other in the hallways of high school…..

The list could keep on going.  My parents had about 18 years of my possessions stored up in their house.  When they died, and we cleaned out my childhood home, those treasures made their way back to our home in another state and have been put away in our garage.  Among those treasures were not just those of my childhood, but also those of my mom and dad.

All I have left of my parents is in my garage.  In fact, all I have left of my grandparents is in there too.  I always thought it would be easy to sell or give away all that we own to follow Jesus, but then life happened and people died and my heart broke and I hold tightly to tangible items that remind me of them. Hands clasped shut and not open.  Hands that are being pried open, one finger at a time by a patient and loving God who is molding me into an obedient disciple of Christ.  Yes, my parents both breathed their last breath, and opened their eyes to the mysteries of the eternal that awaits us all, and when that happened, something changed within me.  It’s almost like I am saying goodbye all over again as I watch their possessions being placed in the pile to give away.  As we rummaged through boxes and stacks, I relived my life yesterday.  I found my mom’s wedding dress.  I found my dad’s navy uniform.  I found my mom’s childhood Valentine’s.  I found my Dad’s business cards. I found my parent’s engagement picture, and I looked through my mom’s jewelry – remembering just how those earrings looked in her ears. I found obituaries and I found funeral programs.  It was a bittersweet day to say the least.

I found myself giggling at funny hairstyles from the past one minute, and then choking back tears as I watched my husband walk past me with the video from my mom’s funeral in his hands.  Satan hates the reason my husband and I are giving up everything and he is trying relentlessly to take my eyes off Jesus, my King and great reward.  While I am tempted to wallow in sadness and self-pity, the Spirit whispers – this is all temporal.  Every precious treasure that I dust off and say goodbye to, will pass away someday, but the souls that we leave everything in pursuit of, will not.  They will last forever….and so it’s worth it.

There is radiant joy in the sorrow of saying goodbye to that which is only temporary.  My heart swells and beats fast with anticipation for all the Lord is doing.  He is raising up workers who are going out to the nations.  He is sending us away from our family and friends to gather and rescue and to shine His light in the heavy darkness that we’ll be living in.

We are moving a little over a week from today.  We have our house for sale, and we are getting rid of most everything we own. Our new adventure is going to be one of great excitement and joy in a far away land, but today is not that day.  Today we are still trying to decide what to keep and store, and what to finally let go of.  It’s hard.  I am not going to pretend it’s easy or happy.  In fact, it’s one of the hardest lessons I am learning right now.

He is enough. He is all sufficient. This earth is not my home.

I do not need my childhood toys, for He is all satisfying.

I do not need to go buy the latest in fashion, for He has given me plenty.

I do not need to keep all my clothes, for a heart that loves Him is what makes us beautiful

I do not need a perfectly decorated home, full of Pinterest projects, for He quenches every desire within me

 He is enough.  He is all I need.

He gives me the strength to let go of my treasures.

What in this life is your treasure?  I always thought it wouldn’t be hard to get rid of my possessions until I had to.  Part of me loves things.  I love cute clothes and I love having a car.  I love having every kitchen gadget I might ever need, and I love creating crafts.  I love having a king sized bed and I love my kids having a room full of toys.  But does that really bring satisfaction? Does that really produce deep rooted joy? Yes we’ll have a new home and a new job and eventually we’ll make new friends, but it’s still hard to open my hands and surrender my life here in suburbia.

I love that our baby sleeps in the same crib I did....sad to see it go

I love that our baby sleeps in the same crib I did….sad to see it go

I will miss my Kitchenaid!

I will miss my Kitchenaid!

Will I have a dishwasher overseas?

Will I have a dishwasher overseas?

I love our bed and will miss it!

I love our bed and will miss it!

Will I have a washer and dryer where we live?

Will I have a washer and dryer where we live?

Joy is found in the giving up of self.  Peace is found when we embrace a life of surrender and hold all that we have with open hands.  Living fully alive happens when we die to our desires and adopt His as our own.  This is true joy, this is true life, and while this involves suffering, following Him no matter the cost is my treasure.

Joy is not found in whether or not I have a state of the art washing machine or wash clothes for our large family by hand.  Convenience maybe, but not joy.  I can’t say that I would want to do that, but is someone going to Hell because no one ever told them about Jesus worth me staying in my comfortable house and enjoying the luxuries that come along with it?

He is my treasure, not my mom’s favorite shirt that I have tucked away in my garage.  His Word is my treasure, not the pictures of my dad as a baby.  Salvation is my treasure, not the beautiful home that is full of precious memories but now stands for sale.  Hope in Him is my treasure, not the security of living in a free country.  Relationship with Him is my treasure, and because of that, I can say goodbye to those whom I love dearly.  Those that will come to faith in Jesus are my treasures, and He is enough for me as I follow Him into the great unknown that awaits us.

He gives me strength to give thanks in letting go, for the letting go of my treasures is that which has been given.

“…It’s in the deepest possible pain that you say:

God is enough

He is good

He will take care of us

He will satisfy us

He will get us through this

He is our treasure

Whom have I in Heaven but you? And on earth there is nothing that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

That makes God look glorious.”

{John Piper}

My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.  Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.  Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.  Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.  For the Lord grants wisdom!  From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.  He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.  He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.  Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.  Wise choices will watch over you.  Understanding will keep you safe.”

{Proverbs 2:1-11}

 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

{Matthew 6:19-21}

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”

{1 John 2:15-17}

As my husband’s mom kept me on track yesterday, and his sister helped me know where to put what, I kept on going, and we got a lot done. I did decide to go ahead and store some things, but our garage sale pile is big in comparison to our keep pile. God is good and His grace is perfect for all situations. As I ran my fingers over my Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, remembering just how it felt to swaddle them up and pretend I was a mommy as a child, faces of the lost flashed in my mind.  I took those dolls and placed them on the garage sale stack.  As my gaze lingered and the eyes of my heart remembered my childhood room, the bittersweet taste of growing up and letting go settled and again the faces of the lost – those who have yet to hear of Jesus – interrupted the self-pity I was sinking in. Sigh. I may be slow at letting go of all the history in my garage, but God is faithful.  He has called us and so in His perfect timing, He is stripping me of all that is hindering.

May He be glorified in the letting go….

Dollhouse made by my Grandpa

Dollhouse made by my Grandpa

My Dad's from the Navy

My Dad’s from the Navy

My Mom's jewelry

My Mom’s jewelry

First pointe shoes - my dad took me and bought them for me

First pointe shoes – my dad took me and bought them for me

My Mom's wedding dress

My Mom’s wedding dress

My Mom's Barbie dolls - I loved playing with these when I was a child

My Mom’s Barbie dolls – I loved playing with these when I was a child

Shoes that I remember my dad buying me.  I only have a couple things I remember my dad specifically giving me

Shoes that I remember my dad buying me. I only have a couple things I remember my dad specifically giving me

"Dear toot fairy please don't take my toot. Leave money"

“Dear toot fairy please don’t take my toot. Leave money”

First tutu - made by my Grandma

First tutu – made by my Grandma

My Mom's dolls that I played with as a child

My Mom’s dolls that I played with as a child

Childhood dolls

Childhood dolls

“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.”

{1 Timothy 6:17-19}