Saturday, February 25, 2017

Minimizing Means Letting Go, & 9th Update on Kristen

"He must increase, but I must decrease."
John 3:30
(KJV)


I stood, frozen in place, a moment several moments longer than necessary.
My hand brushed across the smooth wooden tabletop, every inch of which is so familiar to me.
My other hand rested on the top of the chair most within reach.
As I stood there, I could not hold back the tears.
I suppose if there is a surveillance system in the furniture consignment store,
the ones who watch the camera or find it necessary to go back and view the tapes
will think I should probably be locked up somewhere in a padded room.
Who would stand and linger and cry over a table and five chairs?
Who, that is, in their right mind would feel compelled to do such a thing?
As the tears rolled, unbidden, down my cheeks, my mind went back to so many, many memories.

We bought that round, solid oak table with what started out as six matching chairs and the matching hutch with the glass doors and glass shelves from an elderly couple named Mr. and Mrs. Lannan back in 1989.
How long they had owned it before we bought it from them, I do not know, 
but when I opened the left drawer to the hutch, the name of the manufacturer and the date, "1978" was imprinted on the side.

That table has been a constant throughout nearly all of our 28 years of married life.
The six chairs became five when we decided to leave one behind when we moved last year,
due to it having a crack in it that we didn't think could be repaired.
We bought it all when we lived in our first apartment together about a year after we were married.
I remember how, during those newly married years, I loved trying out any new recipe I could find,
and how much I enjoyed calling Mom and Dad to come over and gather with us around that table, 
so they could be the first ones to try my new concoctions.
They, along with my dear, patient husband, were the kindest of critics.
That dear, old table came right along with us when we had our first home built in 1992 and moved about 25 miles north of our first apartment.
It held plates and saucers and cups, casserole dishes, our big annual Christmas feasts each December,
birthday cakes, board games, and jigsaw puzzles.
It was there, standing strong and stalwart, when we brought our precious, baby boy home from the hospital in December of 2000.
We have a picture of Mom giving him his first bath at home on that table top.
I have cooked countless meals and placed them on that table in front of the ones I love most in the world.
While seated at that table, we have laughed until our sides ached,
we have cried uncontrollable tears, as we realized seats that were filled just the year before were now sitting still, their vacancy the starkest of reminders of just how much we have lost.
Zach and I have spent countless hours making crafts, 
poring over algebra problems and homeschool curriculum,
coloring in his coloring books while seated at that table.
We have colored more Easter eggs than I can even recall, and oh, the times that table has been set...
usually with our everyday dishes, but once in a great while, with the white china dishes that rested on the glass shelves of the hutch nearby.
If that table and those chairs could talk, oh, the stories they could tell!
From moments of jubilant praise to times of darkness and despair, 
that precious dining room set has "seen" and "heard" and "witnessed" it all.

Oh, the flood of memories that washed over me the other day standing there in that furniture store.
At one point, I walked away to look for the only other remaining item we had consigned there,
the wooden quilt rack Kevin bought for me so many years ago.
It was necessary for us to pick it up, as they only allow an item to be consigned for a six month period.
I quickly found it, and there was really no reason for me to walk back over to the dear, old table and chairs another time.
But, I did.
I could not help it.
I stood there, once more, with an ache deep within, 
and I know it sounds crazy, but, as the tears started flowing again,
I said, "Thanks for the memories" and "I love you", right before I tore myself from it to walk away.
Since it didn't sell during the time of its consignment, we decided to donate it to some friends.
I knew they were coming to pick it up within the next few days,
and I would see it no more.
As I walked away, carrying the quilt rack towards the front of the store to let the clerk know I was taking it home, I felt compelled to go back...to stand there....just one more time....
like I have done thousands of times over the years, and just try to relive...try to recapture...
some...any...of those dear, precious moments....just one, more time.
I pulled myself together, and instead of turning back to walk to the table and chairs that held so much sentiment...I willed myself to walk towards the front of the store, through the door, and out to the car.

To keep going back and standing there and crying and grieving for what used to be was just plain not going to change the outcome.
It was not going to propel me backwards...to those moments...with Kevin, Zach, Mom, Dad, Mom and Dad Smith, all of our siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, dear friends, loved ones, neighbors, and acquaintances.
Nothing can take us back.
Life is not lived backwards.
Time is a forward march, that never stops moving, no matter how much we want it to stop, 
slow down, or take us back.

On a side note, I love this song by "Dailey and Vincent".
I hope you enjoy it, too.


If video doesn't load, click here.

One of my favorite lines in the lyrics is, 
"Yesterday is all I'm after, how I get there, I don't care.
Just take me back, and leave me there."

It's a nice thought, isn't it?
Who wouldn't want to get in a time machine and travel backwards to certain previously-lived moments?
The truth is, we cannot go back.
No one is going to "take us back, and leave us there."

We are here.
It is now.
Those days of yesteryear will never be relived.
They are done.
It hurts to even acknowledge that.

This letting go of the past is not for weaklings or the faint of heart.
I declare, it just never gets any easier.

The other day, we met a kind friend at our storage unit, and we gave him most of the remaining furniture we had left there.
This included our beloved king size bedroom suite.
We bought it shortly after we moved into the home we just sold and left behind last year.
You don't even want to get me started on how much it hurt to see it go.
It was something Kevin and I had dreamed of having one day.
The bed had small pillars and beautiful carvings on the headboard and footboard...
it had a real Victorian look to it...
the nicest bedroom set either of us has ever owned, by far.
We dreamed of having it, God provided and fulfilled the dream, we had and cherished it for many years, and then, it was time to let it go.
It served its purpose in our lives for a very long time,
and now, it will bless someone else.

Back in its glory days in our bedroom

(I must say, it brought tears ~are you surprised? Me? Tears?~ to go back and find this picture...it feels like another lifetime, to be honest. The angel lamps are gone, the little table holding the white noise machine on the left side of the bed in the picture is gone, the drapes have found a new home, the eucalyptus swag on the wall is gone, and , of course, the bedroom suite is no longer ours.)

It seems crazy to me now that we went to such extremes and pains to move it all such a long distance.
I literally cringe each time I think of how much it hurt me inside to watch Kevin and Zach struggling to get it all down the front porch steps.
I wish we had known then what we know now.

Being able to let it go and still survive, emotionally, really paints a blatant picture and lets me know how very far we've come.
There was a time I couldn't have stood to turn it all loose.
See how gentle God is?
How tenderly He leads?
See how many layers there are to trusting Him?

As our friend peeled back the blanket protecting the headboard to get it ready to load the other day,
we were appalled to find that the blanket had sort of melded onto the wood and left a trail of residue behind.
It hit me how things go to ruin while sitting in a storage unit.
To let things sit there and literally deteriorate, just because "we can't bear to part with it because of attached memories" or "we might need it someday" seems just plain selfish to me.
Especially when there are others who need and can use the things we are not using.
If we waited until we were ready to use it again, should that day ever come,
would it still be in good enough shape to even use?

The friend whom the furniture was donated to was grateful.
He will either sell it for needed money, use it himself, or he will pass it on to someone else.
I'd rather not know.
If I knew where it ends up, knowing me, I would try to go and "visit" it from time to time,
you know, just for old time's sake.

Is there anyone on earth who is more hopelessly sentimental than I?
Seriously.
The other night, as I cried during yet another moment of letting go,
I mentioned something to Kevin and Zach about being sentimental, 
and I told them to just drop the first five letters.
Forget the "senti", I think I am just, plain mental...in need of help,
and, through much trial and error, I have found that only the dear Lord can provide the help I need.

So, we press forward, a lot lighter than we were.
The truth of the matter is, the heavy, well-built furniture we owned was just too hard for us to keep up with anymore.
Kevin's health is such that it is becoming increasingly difficult for him to do any lifting.
Zach is very strong, but to laden him with the burden of hauling it around is just not something either Kevin or I are willing to do.
So, the time to let go has come, and we are turning loose.

Our storage unit is really, really starting to look emptier!
I look back upon the day we pulled that 26' big, old moving truck into that parking lot,
and I remember how we cringed thinking there was no way the guys who were to come help us unload could squeeze so much into such a small space.
I suppose I should have taken pictures, but suffice to say, it was risky to roll up the door,
because you were always afraid something was going to fall forward and hit you on the head!
Now, you can freely walk around in there, and you can pretty much see all three walls.
Major headway we're making, all glory to God.
Most of what remains there now are small pieces of furniture that we can fit into where we live now, more boxes, crates, and odds and ends loose things.
It will still take some time to complete the chore of clearing everything out,
but, thank the Lord, can we see progress.
I cannot tell you how good that feels.

The dear Lord also worked out more space for us to use in our current living situation,
and, what a blessing that is turning out to be!
Our goal now is to continue to downsize to the point that everything we own will fit where we are, 
so we can turn loose of the storage unit and eliminate the monthly expense of maintaining it.

Here are some of the latest lessons God is teaching us in this current season.
As He teaches, I love sharing with you here, in hopes that it may help some of you to become motivated to "decrease", so God and His perfect will can have room to "increase" in your lives, too.

1.  "Do You Need It Today?"
I often pray about our minimizing.
I beg the dear Lord to please give us wisdom,
to not allow us to make mistakes that would later turn into regrets,
to guide us to the right people/places to donate our things,
and to grant discernment at each step of the way.
Many times, I will bring specific items before the Lord in prayer.
"Lord, what should we do about those drapes or that table or the china dishes?"...things like that.
Do you know what the response is so many, many times?
So very often, I will hear His still, small voice return my question with a question of His Own.
"Do you need it today?"
This sets off the following conversation.
My response is always, "Well, no, we don't need it TODAY, Lord"...and that is usually followed by, "But, what if we need it in the future?  We don't know where You are leading us.  We don't know why You are requiring all of this letting go.  We don't know if we will buy another house or what exactly we will do, and what if we need it and regret letting it go?  Just because we don't need it today doesn't mean we won't need it a year or two years from now."
Again, I hear the same question.
"Do you need it today?"
"Well, er, well, Lord, ahem, NO, we don't need it today."
Point made.
Point taken.
Immediately afterwards, Jesus' words in Matthew 6:34 comes to mind.
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Today is all we truly have.
Actually, this moment is all we truly have.
We are not promised another.
And, if tomorrow comes, God will still be "Jehovah-jireh", our Provider.
He will not forget us and what we need in the future any more than He has done that in the past.
"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Luke 12:6,7
"...for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him."
Matthew 6:8

2.  The more we allow our affections to go out to something, 
the less likely and harder it will be to let it go.

I can sure understand the reasoning behind this verse.
"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Colossians 3:2

The thing is, I didn't even realize just how much and how extensively my affections were centered upon certain things, until God started saying, "Let them go".
You can tell how obsessed I have been with certain things by watching the amount of pain it is causing to turn them loose.
God forgive me.
I honestly did not realize.
As much as we would all love to stay here forever, at some point, you and I are going to have to leave this world.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."
I Timothy 6:6-7 (emphasis mine)

We will not be able to take one single trinket, photograph, keepsake, or treasure we have accumulated along the way with us when we cross over from time to eternity.
We can't take souvenirs from earth to Heaven.
Even if our loved ones placed every, single thing dear to our hearts in the concrete vault next to our casket, those things would stay right here...decaying and going to ruin, just like these physical bodies will return to dust.
We, ourselves, would no longer "own" them.
I know this is graphic, but it is reality.

"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
Ecclesiastes 12:7

So, since this is the way it is...since the only part of us that will remain and return to the God Who gave it is our spirit, why do we I insist upon squeezing so tightly to physical things in this life?
I will either have to turn loose of them now, of my own accord,
or I will turn loose of them later, when I have no choice.
And, just think!
Who would want this stuff in Heaven?
The glory we will experience there will so far surpass the trivial things of earth,
we won't miss this...believe me.
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9
Here is another favorite "Dailey and Vincent" song of mine.
Have tissues ready, trust me.
It makes me think of Mom and Dad and makes me realize how temporary this life really is.


If video doesn't load, click here.

If we knew what is waiting for us on the other side, we would not cling so tightly to what is here.

3.  The less we own, the less our worries.
I am already realizing this.
Oh, how I used to worry!
Every time we left home for vacation or other reasons,
I would just fret and obsess to the point that I often couldn't even enjoy our trip.
The enemy would wreak havoc with my imagination, and I would envision all sorts of things happening while we were gone.
In reality, God was merciful every, single time, and He has always told me that He takes care of what belongs to Him.
He has never failed, but, my wavering faith and fearful outlook has caused me untold, and, might I add, unnecessary, worry.
What good did it do?
I am finding that the less we own, the less I obsess.
And, an amazing side benefit of all of this is that I don't seem to mind as much anymore.
There is a sense of freedom that comes with not having so many things to be concerned about.

4.  God will get us through whatever He asks us to do.
I'll admit it.
I do not like to do hard things.
Oh, I don't mind hard work.
Anyone who knows me well can attest to the fact that I love to dive in with all fours, literally, and tackle a physical task with fervor, right down to cleaning floors on my hands and knees, no problem.
I know it's weird, but I absolutely love seeing a huge pile of dishes on the table, needing washed.
One of my favorite things is to clear a messy table, kitchen prep area, stove, countertops, etc.,
after having cooked and enjoyed a big meal for and with the ones I love.
There is something so satisfying about setting it all back in order and making everything shine.
Hard work and me, we get along just fine, and I will stay with it until it is done, and done right.
It is the hard things that I shy away from...
like good-byes...I don't do well with them.
I would rather pull an all-night cleaning job scrubbing toilets than to have to say good-bye to someone I love.
I would rather climb a ladder and help Kevin clean a roof than to have to sort through the 10 years of homeschooling books we have completed thus far.
Physically hard is one thing.
Emotionally hard is in a class by itself.
When it comes to letting go of things that memories are attached to, 
I completely draw back and do not want to deal with the heartache.
A dear friend of ours often says,
"God will bring you through, if you can stand the pull."
Were truer words ever spoken?
What I am learning is this...
if God asks me to do something, He will absolutely get me through it,
regardless how hard I cry, how much my flesh recoils, and how much it hurts.
He didn't say everything He asks us to do will be easy,
but He did promise to never leave us alone.

5.  Sometimes, God needs to empty us of ourselves, so there is more room for Him.
"He must increase, but I must decrease."
John 3:30
My heart longs for more of Him!
It is the constant cry and yearning of my soul.
There is one way, and only one, for this to happen.
I must decrease, in order to make room for Him to increase.
Self is a fierce competitor for number one place.
As long as self is being served, gratified, and catered to, how can God sit, unrivaled, upon the throne of our hearts?
He wants to be our all in all.
He wants us to let go of earth's security blankets in order to find our security in Him.
The less there is of me, the greater my capacity to be filled with Him...
His Spirit...His presence...His power...His love.
Having more of Him and His approval trumps anything and everything else.

6.  There are underlying issues that need to be dealt with.
I did not know they were there.
They should no longer be ignored.
I mentioned in my last post that in our previous living situation,
it was never necessary for me to let go of things that were hard to part with, because we had an enormous amount of storage space.
I could have held on to every, precious card and note Kevin has ever given or ever will give me even if God were to give us 75 married years together.
I could have clung to every, single piece of paper Zach ever drew a picture on until he reaches his 100th birthday, (had I lived to be 134, that is☺), and never, ever run out of space.
On the last school day of the year during each of our 10 homeschool years thus far,
Zach and I have gone through the same, little ritual.
We would both get a little sentimental, realizing our homeschooling journey is one year closer to reaching its destination, we would reminisce back over the year that just passed, we would gather all of his workbooks from the files we keep them in, we would stack them neatly in a box, add any accompanying paperwork and artwork, and we would tape up the box, label it with a marker, and put it out in the garage.
Not one of those boxes has been opened or seen the light of day since we taped them shut.
I don't know how long I would have kept those things had the dear Lord never led us to move,
but I have a hunch they would have stayed right where we placed them until He called me home to Heaven.
Then, dear Zach would have had to have the unpleasant, sad task of having to figure out what to do with them.
The memories would have made him cry, and it would have been heartwrenching for him.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
This dear boy is his Mama's son.
One of the things Kevin has consistently prayed over Zach throughout life is that God would give him a tender heart.
Proof that God hears and answers prayer is that Zach has one of the most altruistic, sympathetic, kind, and tender hearts I have ever known.
So, as long as we had all that room, I never had to ask myself why I was so insistent upon keeping every, single thing.
I didn't have to deal with the underlying motivation, nor did I find it necessary to investigate what was driving me to do what I did for so many years.
Come to find out, and much to my surprise, my need to hold on to these things was coming from my unwillingness to let go of the past.
Somehow, if I keep things from former days, it creates an illusion of me being able to go back there.
God does not want us to try to live in the past, because it is a futile endeavor, and it prevents us from truly living now.
Only having a limited amount of space now is forcing me to not only let things go,
but to deal with the underlying issues that compel me to want to hold on to them.
This needs to happen.

There are more lessons we are learning, but this post is so long already.
I am going to stop for now and let the rest simmer until another day, Lord willing.
I want to include an update on dear Kristen below.

To read past posts about our minimizing journey, click the following links:
MINIMALISM: How Much Stuff Do We Really Need?
One Word For 2015: PREPARE
Eleven De-Cluttering & Organizing Tips
Healthy Breathing
How Minimalism Has Made Christmas More Peaceful In Our Home
Our Minimalism Journey Update
To Keep, or Not To Keep?
Sweating The Sentimental Stuff
Don't Pursue What Vexes You
The Earth Is My Treadmill
Life In The Slow Lane At Christmas
How Far We've Come
Living By Faith
The Man Who Comes After Me
What God Is Teaching Us Through Minimizing

*********************************************************
9th Update on Kristen
Though there are no what you would call significant changes in my dear niece's condition, I feel compelled to praise God for all He has done.
The baby is still very active!
Praise the dear Lord!
Kristen was able to work just a little this week, and I am offering a huge praise to God for this.
Up until now, she could do very little.
She is still having a lot of shortness of breath, and her tachycardia is severe.
It is so frightening to think of how fast her heart races, at times.
She has been referred to see a cardiologist and is waiting for her appointment.
There have been times that she has wondered if a 2nd blood clot may have formed.
We are surely hoping not.
By Kristen being a nurse, she knows what is normal and what is not, and actually feeling her symptoms lets her know just how serious all of this really is.
PLEASE keep praying, dear friends.
I know you are, and you will never know how much comfort that brings to all of us.
We cannot ever thank you enough.
Kristen and Mike and my dear sister, Sandi, (Kristen's mother), are all very grateful to you.
It touches all of us very deeply when we read your precious comments,
and I can tell you, we all feel the weight of your faithful prayers.
We would so appreciate you continuing to lift Kristen and her baby boy in prayer.
We are believing God for a full miracle in this situation,
and I cannot tell you how much I look forward to the day I can praise God about it here.
God bless you all!

42 comments:

  1. My goodness those song make me cry. It's hard to keep our eyes heavenly and sometimes Christian think talking or singing about is a cop out for not dealing with today. As I listened to the songs my heart was strengthened...sooner then later I will be going there, to my home. At 70 the thought just gets sweeter. Thanks for the reminders.

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    1. I know what you mean...they make me cry, too! I am so thankful to hear that at 70, the thought of going home gets sweeter. It is better farther on! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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  2. Every post I read of your journey, dear Cheryl, draws me that much closer to my Precious Heavenly Father in my own walk and circumstances with Him.
    I've never had a problem with letting go, so I thought, until I followed you along in your own journey.
    Hearing you speak of some of the sentimental treasures you have hung on to over the years reminds me of myself. I believe I still have some of both of my daughters homeschooling things and my oldest daughter is 37. Maybe I do hang on to more than I realize.
    My husband and I are in the process of purging our outside buildings and it's been a slow process but we're moving forward. My husband needs to read your journey as He keeps EVERYTHING!
    You have shared some excellent verses here as reminders to us that our possessions must not come before God. It's amazing how easily things creep in and take the place of God, even when we think they are not.
    I cried with you as you shared your tender heart over your table and chairs. What you shared caused me to ponder on my own table and ALL that has taken place around it.So many memories, but that is what our lives are made of.
    It can be so difficult...I look around my own home and see the beauty of many {things} and enjoy them so, but do I really need them and am I using them "today." Sigh...

    God has certainly been teaching you some hard but wonderful lessons, and through you He is speaking to my own heart, thank you!

    We are praising the Lord for Kristen and the tender working of God's grace in her life. So happy to hear that her baby is strong and active, that is proof that God is right there in the midst of this whole situation. :-)

    Much love, Hugs and Prayers to you, dear friend of mine~~

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    1. Dear, precious friend! Your words are like apples of gold in pitchers of silver to me! I am so grateful to you for your dear support, encouragement, friendship, and love on this journey. And, your prayers for dear Kristen are a gift that I will never be able to repay. May the dear Lord bless you for all you are to me and to so many others! Sending you much love today!

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  3. Praying for Kristen, sweet baby and her family. May God continue to bless them and keep both baby and Mama safe.
    I so understand your parting with our family things, and how difficult it is..We sold our house [after being there 30 yrs] , moved to a smaller house.. We had to down size quiet a bit.. Very hard.. I am slowly adjusting. ha. With God's help , we will see it through and find happiness , knowing others will have loving memories with the things we had to part with. hugs

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    1. Thank you SO much, dear friend. We cannot thank you enough for your prayers for Kristen and her baby boy. Thank you for your support and understanding on this minimizing journey...it means so much to have dear friends like you who have gone through it all and have survived! Sending you much love and many blessings!

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  4. Praying for your dear Kristen and the baby. It's impossible to see the sovereign Father's intent, but He always has one.

    I'm with you on nostalgia, Cheryl. Probably the only thing that saved me from keeping everything from day one in life is my mom. She has so much stuff that it doesn't fit in a oversized two car garage and from floor to ceiling, bot to mention her spare closets that are full in a big house she lives in alone.

    It was a wake up call. Nothing better than memories… they are a gift.

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers for Kristen, brother....they truly mean so much to us. Your dear Mom...one day it will be so hard for someone to sort through all of her belongings. I am so sorry. We will go through the same thing with my husband's parents, because she hoards SO much stuff. You are right, it is a wake up call...especially so we don't do this to our own children. I so appreciate your support and encouragement on this journey. God bless you abundantly.

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  5. Hi Cheryl,
    I can relate to the memories a piece of furniture has in our lives! A few years ago I was going to get rid of the piano I've had since I was 10 -- it's an ugly 1970s piano and someone was giving me a 1930s piano -- but as it was loaded on the dolly and being wheeled out, I yelled stop and couldn't do it! So I still have the piano today :) although I heartily agree that it's good to let some things go! You are doing great! Giving away your bedroom furniture AND your table and chairs is great! :) And thank you for the update on Kristen -- still praying! xoxo

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    1. Oh, my! I can surely understand why it would be so hard to let that dear, old piano go...so many memories you have made while seated in front of it. I think there are just certain things we should hold on to, and that's okay. It is all about choices for us right now. There are many things that are just too precious to let go of, and I believe God understands and makes a way for that. Thank you SO much for your kind words and gentle encouragement and friendship. It truly means so much to me! God bless you for your continued prayers for Kristen. Sending you much love today!

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  6. Hi, Cheryl!
    Sometimes it feels like all of us are in this together birthing Kristen's baby! It's an honor to pray for her and be part of what the good Lord is doing.

    I appreciate all you shared about down sizing. I can just imagine the roller coaster of emotions parting with that gorgeous bed. When I think of your blessing others with it and the dining room set, too, I smile big because I put myself in their shoes and can imagine how loved I would feel as I'm sure they do. I felt your love when you sent me a book you didn't want. Ha! Tom asked me if I would mind if he sent several of his history books to a Facebook friend of his up north. I praised his efforts to bless another person who he is sharing Christ with! So you can see how that blessing you gave us goes on as we look for ways to bless others. Your post brings back my quiet time this morning in Luke 12 which I've been thinking about all day. It really is all about The Kingdom! Our goal to seek the kingdom allows God to give us what we need. Your family sounds so wonderful and oh, that Zach...what a blessing you have in a strong, sensitive son.

    Hugs and much love to you, sister!
    Mary

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    1. Oh, Mary! You are SO right! It is like this is going to be a joint effort to pray Kristen through. You are so precious to share this burden with us, and we just cannot thank you enough. Your dear friendship, love, encouragement, and prayers mean the world to me. Thank you for your precious compliments on Zach...this dear boy is such a blessing to us. I could never thank God enough. Sending you much love, my dear, sweet friend!

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  7. Dear Cheryl, Thanks for the update on your niece, I will continue to pray! Your sweet memories reminded me of this verse from Psalm 78: "we will tell the next generation
    the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done." I am so thankful that even when the outer trappings of our memories have been sorted and given away, the true heart-memories remain, and we can share those with the next generation! Our Lord even asks us to pass those down! You are doing wonderful work as you sort through so much! May the Lord bless all of your efforts, and affirm HIS working in you, Dear Sister!

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    1. Oh, Bettie....I LOVE what you shared from that verse!!! This is just wonderful! Thank you for your sweet words and kindness and friendship through all of this process. You are such a dear blessing. May God richly bless you in return...sending you much love today!

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  8. Thank you for sharing such a moving post! Continued prayers for you and your family!
    God Bless you!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and visiting, Michael. Your comments are such a blessing! God bless you, in return. :)

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  9. Oh that table! My heart wept with you over its loss! So many precious and special memories were made around it, and oh, I cannot even imagine how difficult it was to let it go. This shows just how much you love the Lord and how obedient you are being to His call! One thing I know, for sure, and I've shared with you before too, is that I do know that whenever the Lord asks you to give something to Him, He has something far better waiting for you in return! (Remember that little graphic you shared some time ago of the little girl holding a little bear, and the Lord asking her to give it to Him, so He could give her a big one?)

    And so, the greater the sacrifice, the greater the blessing that He will have to pour out! Your obedience to His call is a beautiful thing to Him, and I can just imagine a smile of joy on the Savior's face as He see the obedience of your family in this matter, and miracle that will come about because of it all!

    The lessons He is teaching you are not in vain!

    I thought of your question, do I need it today? We have a storage area that will need organized this summer once we get our larger shed built. I will be reminded of this question, your struggles, your victories, and your lessons as we go through it!

    Your precious family has been through so much, but I truly have never known the Lord to take us on a pathway without a destination! Sweet Kristen remains in our prayers, and I'm thankful the baby is healthy and moving, and that she was able to do some work this week, so we will continue praying!!!! And believing that all is well :)

    Hugs to you today dear friend, your posts are such a blessing to come here, and see what the Lord is doing in your lives, the difficulties, the pain, the struggles, the tears, yet, the obedience, love and desire to honor the Lord above all... what a precious soul you are and I'm so thankful for you!

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    1. Oh, dear friend! Your precious, encouraging words! How they blessed me today! Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my grateful heart! Thank you so much for praying for Kristen and her baby and for your faithful, support, and friendship. Sending you many, many hugs and much love today!

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  10. Good Morning Cheryl. Thank you for the update on Kristen. It's good to know that even if things aren't any bettter, at least they aren't worse at this point. The prayers will continue for her, the baby and for the entire family, as well as the doctors that are treating her.
    I understand the sentimental draw to things too. I look around at our "things" and think we need to get rid of so many of them. I, too, would rather take on a monumental cleaning job than get rid of one precious card, picture or letter from my children. Every time I read one of your posts I learn something more about myself and I thank you for that.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your prayers for Kristen. She seems to need them now, more than ever, as she is not doing well at all tonight. Thank you, also, for your dear encouragement! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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  11. Hi Cheryl! Thank you for keeping us up to date on Kristen. It is heartening to know she was able to work, even a little. What a victory that is for her. I hope the cardiologist will help her even further.
    That question of 'do you need it today' is such a leveler. Like you, I wonder if I'll need it tomorrow? But then I'd hang on to everything I guess. Jesus is really working with you, and I can see that he is making inroads in your soul. It's not always pain-free progress, but I know you'll be so much happier. God bless you and yours on your journey.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you so much, my friend. She goes to the cardiologist tomorrow, and we are hoping for answers and solutions, too. God is in control. Thank you for your dear encouragement on this journey of letting go...you are such a dear blessing to me! God bless you richly, in return!

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  12. We moved recently and we had to let go of almost everything, so I quite understand what it means to let go of something that holds precious memories... but we do have to let go of the old so we can make room for the new God wants to do in our live. I like the saying that; "life is not lived backwards" I will love to remember this forever.
    Thanks for letting us learn through what God is doing in your lives Cheryl.
    I join faith with you trusting that God will perfect all that concerns Kristen, He is more keen on her well being than any other person...
    Do have a super blessed week ahead!
    Love

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    1. I love what you said, "we do have to let go of the old so we can make room for the new God wants to do in our lives." So very true. I needed that reminder! Thank you so much for praying for Kristen. We just appreciate it so much! Your visits and encouragement are invaluable gifts to me, sweet friend. Sending you love and hugs!

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  13. Well...talk about walking the same walk! This past week, I went back to my old house. It wasn't planned...I actually never thought I'd go there again. My old neighbor bought it and tracked me down to find out if I wanted the big, wooden swingset/clubhouse for the kids. Like you, I hated leaving it behind because it had SO MANY memories. So of course, I said yes. I didn't go to tear it down and bring it to our current home. But, an extension cord got left behind, so on our way to an appointment, we stopped to get it. I was the one to get out and retrieve it. And then, I was asked if I wanted to see inside. I reluctantly said yes. ...it was gutted and had new kitchen cabinets, a new bathroom, new paneling on the walls...of course all of our things were gone. It was so hard. I teared up a little. This was the house that all my boys grew up in thus far. And it was all gone. Just the shell remained. When I walked back out, I saw my gardens overgrown and my chicken coop empty. Of course the swing set wasn't there. I tell you...it's HARD. We tie our earthly hopes and dreams to these things, which is why I suppose the Lord tells us to have heavenly hopes and dreams. I am with you on your sentimental state. I'll be praying for you, and Kristen and baby.

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    1. Yes, you surely understand, my friend! That is SO sad about having to walk through the home where you spent so many years and made so many memories and seeing everything different. Bless your heart...I know that was so hard on you. God bless you and comfort you and keep you always. Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Kristen...she really needs them! Sending you much love and gratitude for your friendship and support. :)

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  14. Praying for Kristen and your whole family.

    Thank you for the kind and generous comments you just left on my Blog. I have responded there.

    God bless you Cheryl, and your whole family.

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    1. Thank you, Victor. We appreciate it so much! God bless you, my friend. ;)

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  15. Cheryl, your journey is speaking deeply to my heart. I've been recognizing just how hard it is for me to release the past. The biggest thing I'm facing, that I know of right now, is books. After 25 years of collecting books for homeschooling, it's time to let some go... maybe a lot. I don't know yet.

    May I ask you to encourage Kristen, when her heart is racing or anytime, to confess in faith, "Jesus is my pacemaker. Jesus is my pacemaker," or simply, "Jesus...Jesus...Jesus...." Slowly. Calmly. Rhythmically. While I have never had tachycardia, I was having trouble with arythmia, a racing heart, and panic attacks for awhile. One day while praying, God put that in my heart. "Jesus is my pacemaker." I began to confess it and have no problems now.

    The important part is that it stopped the devil's attack in that I was able to calm down spirit, soul, and body. Perhaps Kristen will find strength in it.

    Continuing to pray for Kristen and for you. I hurt as I read your testimony of the table and other items. I am pretty connected and emotional, too.

    Hugs,
    Laura

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    1. I am so thankful for your support and understanding, my friend. I love your advice to Kristen. She is so in need of prayer tonight and not doing well. If you happen to read this, please pray extra for her tonight. God bless you abundantly for praying, for caring, and for being such an encouragement and support to us!

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  16. Have you ever heard of Michael Card? I kept thinking about his song "Things We Leave Behind" as I was reading this.
    Praying for your niece and family!

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    1. Wow! If I had heard of him or this song, I didn't remember it. I just listened to it, and it is amazing...SO fitting to what God is taking us through right now. How can we fail to heed His call? It is compelling and overwhelms anything and everything else. So thankful to follow Jesus! Thank you so much for sharing this with me...it was such a blessing! Thank you for praying for Kristen..she is so in need of prayer tonight. :)

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  17. It is so hard to let go of the things we have loved or meant a lot to us. I look around my home at times and don't look forward to the day I have to start making those sort of choices and I know it will come one day.
    Praying for Kristen.
    I think I will pass on Laura's advice to my mother as she has had awful palpitations just lately.

    Diana

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    1. Thank you ever so much for the prayers for Kristen and for your sweet visit, Diana! God bless you and your mother, my friend. ;)

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  18. Cheryl, what a beautiful post. I hope anyone who is struggling with letting go of "stuff" will read this and see that no matter how attached one is to an object the attachment can be broken. When we bought a home, I gave much thought to how much space we would ever really need. Having a packrat mother and fearing I might "have the gene" I wanted to buy a house that was not one square foot bigger than it needed to be! I wanted a small house, small garage, no storage sheds and certainly no off-site rented storage unit! Any time we need or want to buy something new, I give away or donate stuff so that our limited storage space is never exceeded. A big house like you had might have been the ruin of me! :D You are doing so well. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Bless you, Jean! Your sweet comment and encouragement was such a blessing to me today! May the Lord richly bless you, in return. :)

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  19. Cheryl, this is a beautiful post! For a long time I struggled with letting things go, but over time it has become easier - recently I was downsizing my kids' clothing and as you surely know there are always so many memories attached. Remembering who did what in which outfit - I think I went through the pile more than three times, downsizing it further every time, until I finally realized, I'm letting go of items, not their memories. I have pictures with my kids in these clothes and I have my kids. (And from then on, I ended up only keeping the good still useful items for the next baby ha!)
    My husband and I are currently downsizing - to the extreme, though, as our goal is to fit all our belongings into a 10' enclosed trailer when we move.

    Cheryl, I really enjoyed reading your post and all the encouragement you share in it. Prayers for your sister and her family, may our Heavenly Father keep them safe and out of harms' way.

    Blessings,
    Bibi

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    1. Oh, my, yes! The memories are abundant when it comes to our children's clothes. I have a very hard time with that, too. I hope the dear Lord will bless you to be able to downsize to the size you need to before you move. My heart goes out to you. Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words. Your visit was such a bright spot for me today! God bless you!

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  20. Oh dear friend, Your precious sentimental heart just moves me! Those memories are a true testimony of the many, many, many blessings the Lord has provided you and your family over the years.

    But even in your sadness and conviction, your sense of humor came through to the point that I literally laughed out loud when you said you told your son to take out the "senti" and that you are just mental. Oh precious friend, you are anything but. The Lord has wired you with such compassion, tenderness and love. You are a shining example of His great love for us, and I love and appreciate you so much!

    I am continuing to pray for Kristen. I KNOW that God is going to bring a great story out of this, and you will be singing from the rooftops of her and the baby's healing. :-)

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    1. My dear friend! You are such a dear, precious blessing to me! I am glad you got a chuckle out of my humor! It is exactly how I feel. :) I SO appreciate your sweet words, encouragement, friendship, and support on this journey. May the dear Lord abundantly bless you and reward you for the blessing you are to me! Sending you love and hugs.

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  21. Cheryl, I'm so glad to know there's someone else out there as nostalgic and sentimental as I am. I think about those things too. The memories. It's not the things. Never the things. Always the memories we made with them. I get you, sweet friend. ((Hug)) Thanks for the update on Kristin, bless her heart. Continued prayers. -- Thank you for sharing with #ChasingCommunity today. ((hug))

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your understanding heart, Brenda. May the dear Lord bless you abundantly! Much love to you today. ;)

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