Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Making Way for the New

"Behold, I make all things new..."
Revelation 21:5
(KJV)


My sister, Debbie, and I have come to the conclusion that we both have a severe change disorder.
We have such a hard time with it...even the smallest changes.  
We talk about it and laugh about it, but I feel sure it is true.  :)

(By the way, Anne, per our conversation in Walmart the other day,
this post is for you, sweet friend!)

In April of 1988, a couple of months after Kevin and I became engaged,
I moved into the apartment that would soon become our first married home together.
Kevin's parents decided they would buy our first living room set as a wedding gift for us.
Since I was already living there, they went ahead and made the purchase and had it delivered.

We were thrilled.
It was so beautiful.
Such good-quality.
So appreciated by us.

We wouldn't have been able to afford such nice furniture on our own,
and we were very grateful to Mom and Dad Smith for their kindness and love.

I loved that furniture.....
so much so that every time Kevin mentioned getting something new,
I resisted.

Every, single time.
Bless his heart, he would make comments like.....
"I'd love to get a sofa with recliners"
or
"This furniture is on its last leg" amongst other things,
but it didn't matter.
It was all to no avail.

I would politely listen....then I would smile and say something like, 
"Well, honey, we'll be all right.
We don't really need new furniture.
This furniture still has good bones.
We can make do with it...for just a while longer."


Truth be told, I would have liked new furniture, too...at times.
But, the thought of letting our furniture go....
the thought of bringing a whole different dynamic into our living room....
the thought of changing things....
well, it would prove to be a bit too much,
and rather than take the plunge and get something new,
(and much to Kevin's dismay),
I would talk myself right out of the thought.

I just couldn't bear the parting,
so, in the end, we would just stop talking about it and move on to something else.

We have had so many memories that revolved around that furniture.
Beloved get-togethers with friends,
cherished moments with family,
Christmas Eves spent on the floor in front of it opening gifts,
and even church services have been enjoyed by those sitting on those cushions.

After Kevin and I got married in June 1988,
my dear friend Wanda continued to attend the Bible College in our town.
She and other friends would come over and visit sometimes, and, of course,
we would sit on that furniture together.....
laughing, having fun, sharing moments.

A few years ago, Wanda and her husband came to visit us from Virginia,
and as we sat there...she on one end, me on the other end of the couch,
she looked at me and asked,
"Cheryl, is this the same furniture y'all had when you first got married?"

Ahem...."Wellllllll, yes, Wanda, as a matter of fact, it is".

We laughed and laughed.


Does anyone on earth keep their living room furniture for nearly 26 years?
Did we set a world record?

The straw that broke the camel's back was when Kevin found out 
Uncle Orville and Aunt Joyce
were planning to sell their furniture before they moved away.

I had promised Uncle Orville I would advertise it for him on our home school classified loop.
It was a great package deal, and surely someone out there would snatch it up.

I was just about to head to the computer to type the listing and send it out to the loop,
when I told Kevin about it.
He stopped me, by saying, 
"Honey, we really need that furniture.
Another year, and we will be sitting on the floor."

"Oh, no, it's okay.  We can make do with what we have.
Can't we?"

"Well, that is a really great deal, and you know how well-taken-care of that furniture is.
It is top-of-the-line, quality furniture.
It looks brand new.
We need to go ahead and get it."

"I know, but I'm satisfied with what we have.
Ours will hold up a while longer, don't you think?"

"But, I want to get this for you.
Let's just go ahead."

Bless his dear, kind, loving heart, Kevin looked so hopeful...
waiting for my response.

Still resistant, still not wanting to make any changes,
I sat and contemplated his words.
I've always been an "if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it" kind of girl.
I don't like to spend money unnecessarily...
I'm not into blowing it, that's for sure, it's always been way too hard to come by,
and I sure don't care about being trendy or worry any about whether or not our furniture is in style.

We dropped the subject for a little while, as Zach and I started school.

Soon, I heard Kevin walking towards us.
I looked up to see him holding a couch cushion in his hand....
a cushion that was near to disintegrating...I suppose I must add.  :)

"Do you still say that we don't need new furniture?"
he asked, while showing me the ripped-up upholstery.


Ummmm.....well.....I had managed to hide that part of that cushion.
Very well, I might add.
I just always made sure it was facing the back.
I didn't see it as that big of a deal.

"Well, no, it's okay.  It isn't that bad."
Still-in-major-denial-me.

How much company do we really get anyway?
And those who do come to see us love us in spite of such frivolous things.
They could care less how new....or old....our furniture is.
They don't judge us, and it just isn't the slightest issue.

Dear Kevin.
He walked away in frustration, 
shaking his head,
laughing at my silliness....and stubbornness.

The other day, Zach was sitting on the love seat and heard a big ripping sound.
The whole bottom portion had torn loose from the back of the love seat!


Oops!

I looked at Kevin.
Kevin looked at me.

"Okay", still reluctant, I answered.
I finally caved....
for Kevin's sake.
Much to his enormous relief, I finally relented and said, "Yes!"
I overcame the separation anxiety,
and we bought the furniture.

It now sits in our living room, computer room, and office/school room.

It looks so nice.

Through the years, I have come to appreciate....and trust Kevin's wisdom.
He looks at the big picture.
He is unaffected by sentimentality....
especially, if it is standing in the way of doing what is best.
So, even though I may resist some at first,
I have learned to set aside my whims and just trust him and what he thinks is best.

We did the right thing.

Now, what to do with the old furniture?
Surely, someone who has no couch and love seat at all
would still be able to use it and find it purposeful.

I called our friends at the church next door to see if they knew anyone who would be interested.
They have visited us in our home, and they were familiar 
with our furniture and the fact that it is clean, even if it is a bit dilapidated.  :)

Yesterday, I stood in our driveway and watched it go away...
on the back of a trailer pulled by one of their pick-up trucks.
Sure enough, they found someone who really needed it
and who will give it a new home.

As we stood there and they loaded it,
I told them the story...and how old it is.

"It sure don't look that old", one of the guys said.
He didn't seem to share our opinion of it being so bad off, after all.

"It probably won't last whoever is taking it for 26 years,
but maybe they can get at least some use out of it",
I said, laughing.

One man's junk is another man's treasure.
To someone sitting on the floor, this furniture will be a blessing.

Before they arrived to pick it up,
I took some pictures.....
not that I could ever forget what it looked like,
having looked at it for nearly 26 years!


In all honesty, I could have been content with our dear, old furniture from now on.
I just didn't see the need of getting anything else.
But, I'll admit that it is kind of nice having something "new"....
well, at least new to us!
And since I know the history of this furniture,
and since we have sat on it so many times at Uncle Orville & Aunt Joyce's house,
it felt like it was our own and familiar right away.

Thinking about our furniture dilemma and situation makes me wonder about other things.
I wonder how many times my "change disorder" has kept me from enjoying
other blessings God has wanted to bestow?
What other "new" things have I missed out on through the years,
simply because I did not want to part with the old?
Why am I so opposed to what is different?
Why is it so hard for me to accept change?

Maybe it stems from my childhood, all of the moving we did,
and me never feeling like I really belonged anywhere.
Maybe it is because I never really felt like anything was "permanent".
Perhaps I determined within myself that once I got older and on my own,
I would make sure and certain there were as few changes in my life as possible.
That I would do whatever it took to keep things "the same"...
at least those things that are within my control.
Maybe holding on to that furniture all those years 
helped to fulfill my need for continuity and consistency.


There have been times in my life that I know without a doubt
that I have closed my heart to what may have been really good for me,
simply because it was easier to stay in the rut I was in (regardless how miserable it was),
than to step into something unfamiliar and do something that required change.

Even the word "change" causes my stomach to churn, my pulse to quicken,
and anxiety to kick in to full speed.

This is an area that really requires trust on my part.
Because allowing change to enter my little realm of existence means letting go of what I have tried...
letting go of what is known to me....
letting go of what I am used to.
That is not comfortable for me.

There are people who crave adventure....
who rely on continual change to keep them enthused about life....
who need constant movement to stay motivated.

I am obviously not one of those people.
I prefer to find a comfortable niche and dig a really deep rut there
and just settle in....indefinitely.  :)

That isn't always the best thing for my own well-being.

So, God is faithful.
He comes along, when it is time, and He shakes the nest.
He troubles the waters.
He stirs a slight restlessness.
It starts out very subtle...very gentle....barely recognizable.
Then, over time, He allows it to increase and become more pronounced.
Until finally, I realize He is wanting me to do something different...
than what is familiar and comfortable and easy on the flesh.


The sad thing about my resistance to these times is that when God does this,
it is always because He has something better for me.
He has something new to give.
He has prepared greener pastures that are fresh and full of nutrients and spiritual benefit.
He knows that to leave me for too long grazing upon the pastures
where I long to stay is unwise....and unhealthy.

Shepherds know this.
Over time, over-used pasture becomes infected with parasites and can be a health risk for the sheep.
So, they are always alert and on the look out and ready to move when it is time.
The sheep must be willing to be led...
if they refuse and stay behind, they will die from malnutrition.
Stubborn sheep are handled with the staff and the rod.

Looking back over my life, I see many such moments.
Every time my Shepherd had something better in mind for me,
He had to first deal with my stubborn unwillingness and aversion to change.

I must seem like a handful to God...
with all of my issues, idiosyncrasies, and hang-ups.
He must shake His head, in total frustration sometimes.
When He wants so badly to give me something better...
when He holds something brand new and beautiful in His hands...
when He longs to place it in my life and see me enjoy it to the fullest....
and all the while I fight Him with all my might
and keep digging in my stubborn heels telling Him "no"....
just because I do not like change.

Thankfully, Abraham did not share my problem.
God called him forth to leave everything familiar,
and here's the worst part....
he didn't even know where he was going!
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram,
Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house,
unto a land that I will shew thee..."
Genesis 12:1
God had no intention of telling Abraham where he was going when he started out.
He had no Bible to read and study and investigate God's track record.
He only knew God for himself, and yet, his faith was unwavering.

God said, "Go", and he went,
totally and completely reliant upon sheer faith.
Had he stayed behind and settled deeper into his comfort zone,
he would have missed completely out on all God had prepared for him.
He would have stayed right there in his hometown of Haran,
and he would have never known the great fulfillment that comes in accepting what God offers,
no matter how unfamiliar, untested, and uncomfortable the path to get there.

God doesn't always show us or tell us where He is leading us when He calls us to a particular path.
He knows that we would, many times, become overwhelmed, and never take the first step.
He doesn't always reveal the gift He holds in His hands for us,
until we make a firm decision to let go of fear, turn loose of the familiar, and accept it from Him.

Sometimes, He requires that we take that first blind leap of faith...
just like Abraham did....
not knowing where his foot would land.


After we make the choice to let go and let God,
we are pleasantly surprised and overcome with gratitude to Him
for the exchanges He makes.
He takes our old, and He give us His new.
Whatever He bestows is always better than what we had
and were so bound and determined to hold on to.

God always gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him.
Author Unknown

Change is never easy...at least not for some of us.
I suppose some thrive on it.
I say, good for them!
They are way more brave and courageous than me.  :)

Have I missed our old furniture?
Not really.
Because something "new" and exciting...
and better....
has taken its place.


24 comments:

  1. Thank you for telling such a 'Real Life' story about yourself. I am somewhere in the middle :) God shows us so much about human nature in our foibles...He is so patient, isn't He!?!! I pray you are all feeling better as spring and more sunshine and warmth are on the way. Lifting you up right now ...keep growing in the Lord and His love :)
    Warm hugs,
    Jacqueline

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    1. So happy you stopped by today, sweet friend! Yes, He is surely long-suffering...especially with me!! I am so thankful for your prayers. Please keep lifting me up! I know God is hearing you! Love, Cheryl

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  2. Cheryl,
    Like you, I have a bit of a 'change' disorder. :) I have been saying that maybe it's the time and season of my life, but it seems like little changes can completely throw me off my axis. I enjoyed the story and I'm glad that you were able to let go and embrace the change of the new sofa set.

    Hope you're having a good week my friend!
    Marissa

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    1. I know exactly what you mean!! I know some change can be good, and God has great things in store for all of us, but sometimes it is hard to let go of the past to receive it! :) I trust you are having a good week, too. So happy to hear from you today. Love and blessings to you, Cheryl

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  3. I think I must be Adult Hyperactive, because, although I love things that are consistent, I get quickly bored with it & desire change. I would love the idea of living in the same place all my life, having the same friends, getting to know the cashier at the store, etc., but that has never been a possiblity for me since we've moved in the ministry many times. In fact, we've spent 17 years on the road!

    I had to laugh, though, because I become easily attached to things, and I especially get attached to our vehicles, since we spend so much time in them! Folks get attached to different things, don't they?

    But I think that's the point - getting attached to THINGS is so easy, but we should be attached to a PERSON - God - rather than our things. God is gracious and draws us lovingly back to Himself, sometimes gently pulling Things our of our grasp.

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    1. Oh, my! I know how you feel...my parents weren't in the ministry when I was growing up, but we moved something like 40-50 times while I was at home! I think that is what has created this aversion to change in me! It is so hard. Yes, I know what you mean about vehicles. We recently sold one we had driven for many years, and I just about had a complete meltdown!! LOL!!! One thing about it, when we make it home to Heaven, by God's amazing grace, we will never have to move again or let go of anything or leave Jesus' feet!!!! What a day that will be! So happy to see you today, Lisa. Love, Cheryl

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  4. This reminded me of my sweet grandparents. They had the same furniture for 50 years! It wasn't just the living room furniture but the whole house, including the carpet. The furniture was well made and they took very good care of their things and saw no need for anything new. I lived right next door to them for my entire childhood and spent many hours on the green living room couch, and had many birthdays on the red dining room table. The furniture outlived them and I was very sad to part with it after they passed away. I did keep my grandmother's Bible, some of her china and her prayer journals.

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    1. What a precious story! Back in their day, couples stayed together, and things were made to last. I long for those days! I loved hearing about your grandparents and thank you so much for stopping by today. I'm sure it was very sad to see that furniture go....so many memories...I know I would have cried! So thankful you got to keep her dear Bible and the prayer journals. I imagine you enjoy going back to read of her times with the Lord! What a treasure!

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  5. I was hoping you'd have a picture of the "new" for us! We have a similar story. Our sofa came with my husband and I've always thought it was ugly but we lived with it for 20 years (and who knows how long he had it before that!) We, too, upgraded for some new-to-us furniture but were able to find a good home for the old, which was not terribly attractive but very sturdy. I think it's good to be content with what we have - a rare trait these days. But we humans are notorious for disliking change, yet we serve a God who's always doing a new thing!

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    1. It's always such a blessing to have you stop by, Lisa! That is so funny about your sofa. Yes, it is wonderful to just be content with what we have. Not wanting or wishing for anything other than what we have is such a peaceful place to be and live. Godliness with contentment is great gain! Praise Him for all of the wonderful gifts He gives! He is so good. Love, Cheryl

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  6. What a precious story. I especially like, "There have been times in my life that I know without a doubt
    that I have closed my heart to what may have been really good for me,
    simply because it was easier to stay in the rut I was in (regardless how miserable it was),
    than to step into something unfamiliar and do something that required change."
    I have experienced this many times and in many different ways. Thanks for sharing your heart! Joining from the Make Your Home Sing blog hop. :)

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    1. It was SO nice to meet you and have you stop by for a visit today! Thank you for your kind comments. They meant so much! Love, Cheryl

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  7. Good analogy! By the way, in my house, we have a glider rocking chair and ottoman - I bought it for $50.00 at a garage sale when I was very pregnant w/ one of my children.......17 years ago! I have loved it.....but rearrangements this last year had me convinced to sell it....I took pictures to put it on craigslist..........and my children objected- even the oldest who now lives on his own. WHAT? Well, for the last 17 years, I have rocked ALL of them at one time or another in that chair- it has been "Mommy's (then Mom's) chair" for years - where I read homeschool lessons, where I rocked them, where I helped them with schoolwork or listened to their problems, or watched a video with the family, etc. I told my husband that the kids didn't want to sell the chair. We laughed - and he HAD told me to sell it, but then he confessed, "I don't really want you to sell it either." We still have the chair - haven't had it 26 years yet.......we'll see. :) Gentle Joy

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    1. Your words made me cry! What a precious story! Please don't let go of that chair....that is just so touching that your children all feel this way and your husband, too. I hope you keep it forever! Who cares what it looks like, right? I loved reading your words...I am going to hop over to your blog now. :) Thanks so much for stopping, commenting, and sharing. Love, Cheryl

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  8. What a sweet story! We have a couch that because of its comfort and low enough for a woman's short legs, we have recovered it three times now. It is seldom used now that we each have a lazy boy recliner to use to watch TV, but I too hate to give up the old when it is still so good. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Hazel, and for the link-up. It appears that your issues with it were resolved. I'm so thankful it worked out for you! God bless you, my friend. Love, Cheryl

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  9. Great words here. There are times I struggle with change too.

    Thanks for linking up with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday! God bless.

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    1. I guess we all do, to a certain degree. Sometimes it is just so much easier to stay where we are than to move forward into the unknown. :) Thanks so much for stopping by and for hosting the link-up, Jenifer! Love, Cheryl

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  10. I struggle with change, maybe not as much as you. LOL One thing I love about my church is that we are constantly making changes - new Sunday School classes, new format, etc. Often I don't like it at the time, but each change pushes me enough out of my comfort zone to help me grow, which is ALWAYS a good thing.

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    1. Yeah, I don't think anyone has a hang-up about it as badly as I do!! LOL!! That is so neat that your church is on the move and keeping progress alive. It would probably send me into an utter panic!! LOL! So thankful you came by for a visit. You are always a blessing to me. :) Love, Cheryl

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  11. Change is always so hard, isn't it!? I struggle with that at times, to see the big picture and to move forward when I would rather be content with what is familiar or maybe more comfortable! Congratulations on your furniture! Blessing from UNITE! ~ Jen

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    1. Yes, it is hard! I don't see that God has something in store, so I cling to the "old", just because it is comfortable! Glad I am not the only one who struggles in this area. :) So happy to have you stop by, Jen! God bless you, Cheryl

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  12. My mom and dad had the same brown plaid 70's furniture for 28 years. When they finally replaced it we were all sad. It felt like part of the family :)

    Change can be good though.

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    1. Aww! That is so sweet! I'm sure it was sad to see that go...after all the memories made that included it. :) Thanks for stopping by today! Love, Cheryl

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