What a few days it has been!
Last Wednesday I stood in my home, looking around at our belongings. The time had come to get our family to a place of safety with the horrible fires in our area. I walked from one end of the house to the other, and back again. What to take? What to leave? I grabbed our important paperwork and our photo albums, together with enough clothes to last us a few days while we evacuated.
I stood there wondering. Where was that all too familiar feeling of dread that I could not take everything I loved with me?
Yet, only peace.
It was in those moments that God reminded me of a lesson He has been teaching me for the last few years. I’m a hoarder by nature. For as long as I can remember I have accumulated stuff. Moving house as a child was so difficult for me. I put my roots down deep! Then I got married. I remember in 2001 when we moved from South Africa to Australia with very little money. We could only afford to take the things we really wanted with us. It was so excruciating for me. It was so hard to let go of the things I really, really loved in order to follow the call of God on our lives. Selling the home we absolutely loved and the stuff we had gradually accumulated since getting married just about ripped my heart out. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Little did I know then that the Almighty Father was at work in my life. The Master Gardener was going about His business.
Over the years the Father has done such a deep and profound work in my heart regarding stuff and possessions. Perhaps it is because we have moved so much in our sixteen years of marriage–each time requiring that we radically scale back in order to fit all of our earthly belongings into a small U-Haul. Or perhaps it is because God has taught me so many deep lessons with each move we have made. Whatever the reason, God has done a tremendous pruning in me. I know that I am no longer that person who felt like her world was coming crashing down in 2001.
Last Wednesday I looked around my home and I knew something with absolute certainty….
God has taught me to hold onto the things of this world, the stuff, very loosely. It has nothing to do with eternity!
With our essential paperwork, a few photo albums, my van filled with precious people and our beloved pets, I drove away from our home. A peace, which comes only from the Holy Spirit, flooded my heart as we drove down our street….I knew that I knew that my treasure was not in that house. Should the fire consume our home and everything it in, yes, I would be sad that we would have to start all over again and I would absolutely miss some of our more sentimental belongings. BUT. My treasure on this earth was in my van…safe and protected from all harm. Material things can always be replaced. But the lives of the ones whom I adore? Never.
I am so thankful for the way the Lord gently leads and guides me. Even when life is all crazy and unsettled there is always a lesson to be learned or remembered. How I pray that I am always mindful of the fact that we are told in His Word to store our treasure in heaven–not in things, or possessions, or wealth, or stuff.
For where my treasure is, there is my heart. I think I’m finally starting to get that so deep down in my heart.
“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.” Matt 6:19-20
So we moved in with dear friends for a few days. I can honestly tell you that I do not know many people who would welcome seven children with their mom and dad, two kittens, a dog, a fish, and the grandparents into their home with arms wide open! How blessed we were! No words can express our gratitude. The kids did great. Staying with friends sure helped a lot. God provided in such a beautiful way for our family. What a joy it is to count special friends as part of our treasure!
We are back at home and it has been wonderful to get settled again. We are absolutely loving having my Dad and Beth with us. We joke with them that it is next to impossible to visit the Salems without some kind of adventure. The last time they were here I traveled to Ukraine for what felt like an eternity (leaving my five precious blessings in their capable hands), came home with two new angels, packed up a home in ten days, traveled thousands of miles across the country, arrived in Virginia, and unpacked and sorted out another house. There is always an adventure to be had and we are so thankful that they embrace everything that comes our way and are such troopers about it. Treasure, indeed!
I am feeling so far behind on life. And that’s okay. My natural tendency is to worry and wonder how in the world I will ever get on top of my overflowing inbox, the laundry that never ends, the families I would love to try and help, the orphans I would love to create an awareness of…and everything in between.
And then He gently reminds me once again not to worry about tomorrow.
For tomorrow is in the palm of His hand. And that, my friends, is good enough for me.