Friday, October 7, 2016

Purging and Surging

We have been in our new house now for about 15 months now and it has been a roller coaster ride. We've done so many renovations and it's been quite the challenge living through the chaos that deconstruction brings. The dust, oh the dust!! But during all the work, my husband still works full time. Yes, he's amazing. AMAZING.

He's done all the major work by himself, with me and our boys helping wherever we could. I admire his strength, stamina and talent so much. He does everything with integrity.

Interestingly, right before we bought this house, we had a last minute hesitation. We felt at such a crossroad. We prayed and chewed over where God was leading us because all of a sudden, we weren't sure we were supposed to continue living in this state at all.  At the time of that conversation, our older son was gone attending a seminar out of state and only my husband and I and our youngest son were there for this talk.

We sat at our little kitchen table that day and discussed what God was laying on our hearts. We all felt the Lord saying this house would not be where we end up settling. My husband felt specifically that in 2 years we would be relocating again. We all prayed about that and felt that the Lord was definitely behind the word. Later on, our younger son shared that he felt the significance of our older son being gone while this major life direction decision was made, was that perhaps only the three of us would be moving on and our oldest would be forging his own path by that time. A painful thought for my mom heart. But God has a way of giving me little signposts along my journey that help me deal with the emotional blows up ahead.

So this journey we are on is one of God's design as we follow him and pursue the path that he lights before us. There are times it makes no sense and is frustrating and heartbreaking. And there are other  times that we get tiny glimmers of God's plan unfolding before us and feel hopeful. But most of the time, it forces me to simply live in today. Because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is completely unknown. In other words, God is growing me. And growing is exciting, but growing can also hurt. When that happens I cry like a baby to Jesus. He comforts me, I dry my tears and I move ahead.

So living in today is much like driving. Your car is today. What you see in the windshield is tomorrow. But good drivers also must monitor the rearview mirror. It's good to know where you came from.

So as I surge ahead, trusting God, I also think about how much I like to travel light. The less I have to worry about and keep track of, the better. At heart, I'm a minimalist, but I also like to nest a bit. I want our home to feel like home, even though I know it's temporary, which is such a challenge!

So what I have on my plate is having a house full of STUFF (that I've already paired down from the last house!), and knowing that in less than a year's time, that I want paired down to 20%. I don't want to move allllll our stuff again because packing and moving and unpacking stinks. So this time I'm thinking about selling off most of the bulk and keeping only the sentimental essentials. My logic is why should we lug stuff that's replaceable?

So I have had the lovely task of trying to live here in the new house knowing that each beautiful  renovation we complete is not mine to keep. And every stick of furniture is eyed with what I can sell it for. sigh. All while I am trying to make it a home that we can live in and enjoy today. I look forward to the day that we fix up a house and I do not immediately think of what buyers will think!

The biggest contenders for purging in the next 9 months remain in the unfinished basement that my husband has hopes of finishing. Ah, the basement! I love living in a state where basements are commonplace. They are so great to have! Ours is currently filled with, you guessed it, a bunch of stuff. And all I can think of is how are we gonna get rid of all that stuff before our big move? Or rather, how are we going to recoup our investment on all that stuff? The easy thing would be to donate it all. But if we could sell it, it would be that much better and help with moving expenses.

I believe that purging and thinning our belongings will help us surge ahead. I'm not so sure that I will like hunting down furniture and starting all over again. Starting all over again is hard. The making new friends and starting from scratch is both exciting and exhausting. But I trust that God is doing something new and wonderful, even if I can't quite understand it. I just keep praying that I will stay out of his way and let him do what he wants to do in our lives and in our family.

So many women, I think, miss what God has for them because they're so busy wearing the pants in the family. They heavily influence their husbands and steer them where they think they should go. Men were created to lead. Some lead forcefully, some lead uncertainly, some lead bashfully. But all men were created to lead. It's a wife's duty to let her man lead. I still give my input, but I make it clear that I'll support my husband's final decision no matter what.

One thing I have learned through out this journey is that when I married my husband it was forever. It was for better or worse, sickness and health, richer or poorer till death do us part. There are women who say, "this is not what I signed up for" and they get out. I read that 69% of divorces are initiated by women. I'm not passing judgment upon you if that is you. But I think there are a lot of marriages that could be salvaged. I know marriage is hard. It's a refinery for the soul like none other. But we mustn't throw away what could have been an amazing love story just because the going got a little tough. Some of the best stories are from when the going gets a little tough!

This is why God exhorts women specifically not to tear their house down with their own hands. That is such an easy thing to do, isn't it? We have quite a bit of influence over our husbands. But we need to use it to PRAY for them, not lead them. I've been guilty many many times of trying to lead my husband. I never realize it when I'm doing it, but after we talk things through, I see how it hurts his heart.

As we stay the course all the way down the line even when life throws some curve balls and the road gets bumpy, as it inevitably will, we can let those bumps jostle us closer together. I try to lean on my  man in the hard times with an attitude of, "We'll get through this and we'll be better because of it!"  Not trying to paint myself as perfect, as I am so far from it. Just trying to give some encouragement.

I don't want God to say to me one day, "This is what I had in store for you if only you hadn't interfered with my leading your husband."

So I have to remind myself, sometimes daily, that this earth, my house, and this world are not my home. I'm a sojourner to my home in heaven. And life's not about living the American dream, it's about obeying God. My journey doesn't look like yours or anyone else's and that is okay. My story belongs to God. And he is purging me as much as I'm purging this house of mine. I am learning to hold all that God gives me with a loose grip so that when or if it is taken away, it won't hurt so much, as Corrie Ten Boom said. I want to surge ahead to the place God has for me and the lighter the load the better — physically and spiritually! :)

Hebrews 12:1-2
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What about you? Is God purging something in your life to prepare you to surge ahead? I'd love to hear from you.


Courtney Downs said...

I admit, your statement about God saying to you, "This is what I had in store for you..." is a thought I've never had before. I appreciate you sharing that. I will pray for you and your family during this transitional time. You are wise to maintain an eternal perspective through it all. I understand you not wanting to attach heartstrings to your current place, but I would encourage you to still make it beautiful in the meantime. Keeping fresh flowers in a lovely vase on your table (for example) is a simple, quick, and inexpensive thing that is SO uplifting; and can help get you through this time. I enjoy your blog. Blessings! xo
(P.S. I would LOVE the chance to start from scratch with picking out all new furniture!!! Haha! That'd be so fun!)

Simply Keeping Home said...

I always love your thoughtful encouraging comments, Courtney! I may have given the wrong "picture" of our house - it's totally furnished and decorated, it's just that I haven't done so with the "permanence" I've employed in the past, if that makes sense. And it's funny you should mention flowers because I was blessed with a bouquet of gorgeous fresh flowers the other day from my husband for our anniversary! And you are so right, they are very uplifting! God bless! :-)

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