Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What God is Teaching Us Through the Process of Minimizing, & 8th Update on Kristen

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6:19-21
(KJV)

First, I want to say "thank you" again and again for all of the love and support you are continuing to show my family and me in the midst of our current trials.
Foremost on our minds, each and every day, is concern for my dear niece, Kristen.
As you know, she is expecting her first baby, and she has had one scary issue after another.
For those who may not know, she developed a blood clot in her arm that traveled to her lung, 
had to be hospitalized for a time, was put on the wrong type of medication at first,
then released from the hospital and sent home with instructions to give herself two shots a day of an alternate, slower-working medicine.
Needless to say, that whole process has been very difficult and terrifying for her,
and now she has developed tachycardia.
This explains the chest pain, shortness of breath, racing heart rate, and heart palpitations.
Several other things have happened that have heaped more fear and anxiety,
and we would surely appreciate your continued prayers for her and her unborn baby boy.
Each day is a real struggle for her, bless her dear heart.

It is hard to see the reason behind such trials, isn't it?

We take comfort in the words of our Lord Jesus found in John 16:33,
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

There is a beginning and an end to every trial in this life.
While it is hard to find sense in the midst of the worry and concern,
I believe with all my heart that God will heal Kristen and bring her through this,
and my constant prayer for her is that God will give her a healthy baby and allow her to live to raise
that boy to full adulthood.
We can't ask too much of our God, and regardless how dark the path ahead may look for her,
we walk by faith and not by sight.
We dare not take our focus off God and fixate on the problems at hand.

I keep hearing the dear Lord say,
"According to your faith be it unto you."
Matthew 9:29

In times like these, I begin to ponder...how much faith do we have?
How much of that faith will we choose to exercise in this current situation?

I have often mentioned what Papaw used to say,
"God will be everything to us that our faith will take Him for."

Will we limit God?
Will we allow the "what ifs?" and "might happens" of this life to overpower our perception of what our God can do?

I choose to believe.
If I will get exactly what my faith takes God for, 
I choose to "take Him for" all of the good He has promised.
I choose to "take Him" at His Word.
I choose, like Abraham, to live life fully persuaded that, what He has promised, He is able also to perform.  (Romans 4:21)
He has demonstrated countless times that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think, so why would He do anything different now?
His track record is impeccable.
He is worthy of our trust...even now.


Another beautiful picture and caption by my dear, faithful friend, Gentle Joy

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Moving on to our minimizing efforts, I wanted to share some lessons God is teaching.

1.  Anything God asks me to get rid of that I refuse to surrender and insist upon keeping becomes an idol, because I am choosing to serve it, instead of Him.
Idols can take on the strangest, most unlikely forms.
Anything that we put ahead of God in our lives becomes an idol.
If God says, "turn it loose" or "let it go" or "stop doing that", and we stubbornly refuse,
we are choosing to cling to that...whatever or however improbable that is...than to follow Him.
That thing impedes our progress, and we cannot move forward with Him.
We are making the choice, however unconscious of this we may be,
to serve the idol, instead of serving God.
Jesus said not to lay up treasures on the earth.
Treasures on earth become more precious than God to our hearts,
and they absolutely compete with Him being first in our lives.
Excess possessions vie for our time, energy, affections, and effort, 
and oftentimes, we are so busy pouring ourselves into maintaining and bowing down to them,
that there is nothing left of us to give to the One we should love and honor most.
God is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14)
He wants to be our all in all...the One our soul craves...the One we hunger for more than all else.

2.  I will make no further progress if I keep insisting upon not doing things that hurt too much.
I must stop refusing to do what He is asking me to do just because it is hard.
Doing the right thing in order to follow Jesus and be faithful to Him often goes completely against the easiest path, but without being willing to give up what He asks us to, we will never be His disciple.
"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple."
Luke 14:33
Following Jesus is sometimes going to hurt.
It will usually go against the grain of what "self" wants in our lives.
"Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
Mark 8:34

3.  The past can never be relived, even if I hold on to the baby clothes.
Yes, our dear, miracle-baby, boy is now 16 years old.
And, no, your eyes do not deceive you.
We still have a lot of his baby clothes.
You won't believe how many of his clothes we have passed along to others through the years,
but, there were just somecertain, okay, a lot of...special things...that I have insisted upon keeping.
As if holding on to those clothes will make him a baby again,
as if clinging to them with all my might would somehow cause a time machine to appear that would transport us back...to those baby days.
Zach is growing up.
He is much more a man, than a boy, now.
He is wise beyond his years...always has been that,
and he will never be an infant, toddler, or child again.
I cry over this more than I care to admit.
Oh, in this mama's heart and mind, he will always be my baby.
My perception/illusion of that will never change.
But, the reality that he is now more grown than not slaps me in the face each time I have to look up at him to look him in the eye.
So, I am finally allowing my sentimental mind to grasp the concept that regardless how many onesies, pacifiers (yes, I know), cute little hats, overalls, and Pooh outfits I squeeze on to,
not one of those precious things possess the power to ever be able to take us back to those growing up, carefree days of childhood and cause him to be able to squeeze again into those clothes.
Those days are gone.
They have been lived.
And lived exceedingly well...all glory to Jesus.
Regardless how many meltdowns I experience while sitting on the living room floor,
baby clothes scattered all around me, each one bringing back its own, special memories like a flood,
the fact of the matter is, Zach is 16.
From this moment, he will only get older, progress forward, and continue growing into the man of God he was created and born and designed to be.

4.  God is the God of ALL comfort.
That includes when I grieve for what used to be but can never be again.
It includes when I have to let things go that tear at the very heart of me.
It includes when what I am grieving over seems absurd.
He understands, and His ability to comfort is all-encompassing and enshrouds every, single, possible, potential hurt of the human condition, including the hurt of letting go.

5.  In this season of our lives, it is His will for us to do whatever it takes to minimize.
This is not just a whim.
It is not some fad we are following after.
This is God's Divine calling upon our lives in this season.
It is why we feel such a drawing to continually pursue the letting go of what is not necessary,
even when what we are doing does not make sense or conform to "the norm",
and even when it is so difficult all three of us break down and cry.

6.  We are not walking this minimizing journey alone.
He is with us, just as He has always been.
He is there, even in the moments of tears and separation-anxiety,
to soothe, console, ease, and bring a sense of peace.
He makes our obedience doable.
As I look back over my life, I realize one consistency.
God has never asked me to do anything that He was not willing to do with me.
Isaiah 41:10 has been my life verse.
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
I will never forget the day He first gave me that Scripture.
I was 14 years old, sitting on a stool in the basement of this little house, scared-stiff, terrified to face the next day.

You can read about that here.

I was getting ready to change schools for the umpteenth time...
this time, it was at the very end of the school year, with only one month to go.
As I sat there, with God's Word open in front of me, my eyes fell upon 
that precious, life-changing verse, Isaiah 41:10.
I adopted it then and there, and it has sustained me through more than I can even remember.

7. God will lead us on this journey, but we have to allow Him to and remain willing to surrender to His prompts.
I have never considered myself a controlling person, but I declare, this whole process has really opened my eyes and revealed things I never saw before.
Too many times I have dug in my heels, and I have hindered God from doing what He knew was best,
just because I did not want "self" to be inconvenienced.
I didn't want to surrender, because the process was going to require so much effort...
so much difficulty...so much hurt.
So, I stayed when God said to move,
and I got ahead of Him when He said to stay.
Over the past few years, He has taught me so many lessons from Joshua 3:3-4.
"When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore." (Emphasis added.)
To stay right at that perfectly, fine-tuned spot...that exact "two thousand cubits behind the Ark" is a challenge.
It is going to require a constant awareness of what God is doing and an intentional focus on making sure we can hear His still, small voice.
The Old Testament Ark of the Covenant is a type of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
We cannot afford to take our eyes off Jesus, our "Ark", for one split second.
We have to stay in tune with His stirrings that happen deep within our spirit,
just as Joshua had to remain continually focused on the ark of the covenant.
When a stirring started and it began to move, he knew it was time for him and the people to follow,
in that perfectly-spaced position and lockstep rhythm.
You can read more on my past thoughts about this here.

8.  When Jesus left home to begin His full-time ministry, He had to leave people and things He dearly loved behind.
He had to walk away from His past and life as He knew it and everything in it.
He could afford no distractions.
He could not live out His mission weighted down with possessions of this life.
He needed to remain completely engaged in the purpose God sent Him here to fulfill.
Don't you know it must have hurt Him to leave what He knew as familiar?
He was 100% God, but He was also 100% human.
He felt hurt just as keenly as we do.
Yet, He did not allow His human hurts to deter Him from His Divine mission.

9.  "Lovest thou Me more than these?"
John 21:15
If Jesus asks us to drop something, give something away, stop doing something, bless someone with something we own, etc., and we insist upon clinging to it and refuse to let it go, it not only becomes an idol to us, but it proves where our heart really is.
"...where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Who/what do we love more?
Who/what do we love most?
Who/what is more most precious to us?
Who/what are we bowing down to and do we most want to please?
Remember the letter the Lord dictated to the church at Ephesus?
After complimenting them on their works, labor, patience, abhorrence for evil, ability to recognize false/impostor apostles, high level of tolerance, perseverance, endurance, and refusal to give in to weariness, He said,
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."
Revelation 2:4
This process of minimizing and letting go is showing me where my heart really is,
and I am continually being forced to make choices.
Obey or rebel?
Do I love Him more than what He is asking me to let go of?
Is He still, as at the beginning of our journey together, my first love?
The question is EVER before me.
There is a cost to love Jesus "more than these".
Am I willing to pay it?
What will the cost be if I don't?
What/who will suffer if I do not mind God?
Following Jesus is not without great personal cost, 
but we must remember that it is also not without great reward...
not only in the next life, but in this life, also.
"And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."
Mark 10:29-30

10.  God has a way of orchestrating our circumstances to reveal what lies beneath and forcing us to make hard choices.
For years, we lived in a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home, with a huge, oversized 2 car garage.
The house was not big, but it had plenty of excess space considering there were only three of us living there.
There were all kinds of nooks and crannies, closets, cupboards, and shelves for what-nots and treasures,
all kinds of wall space for lots of wall hangings and pictures, 
and plenty of floor space for all sorts of furniture and the primitive decor I love so much.
The garage was not too much smaller than the house, which meant we had tons of storage.
Rather than deal with things that hurt, I became very proficient at boxing it up and either asking Kevin to put it in the attic or walking it out to the huge garage that was attached to our house.
I never had to deal with anything that had to do with whether I should keep something or let it go.
There was no need.
Minimizing was the farthest thing from my mind.
Excess space provided a way for me to cling to the past, with no guilt for doing so.
Fast forward to now.
God has led us to a living situation with less square footage, a small outside storage area, no attic space, no attached garage, smaller rooms, fewer closets, and filled with someone else's furniture.
Do you see how He is working?
As you know, He started us on this journey long before we ever made a long-distance move,
and we thought we had made major strides in reaching our minimizing destination before we loaded the moving truck.
After the Lord led us to where we are, we realized that we had merely skimmed the surface...
we had only shaved off the "superficial".
Now, we are dealing with all that lies beneath.
I am having to face hard truths and answer difficult, incriminating questions...
like, why did I keep all of this stuff, in the first place?
What drove me to cling to every single homeschool workbook Zach has ever written in?
What made me refuse to let go of his baby stuff?
Why do I still hold on to Dad's sweater?
Now, we get to the real issues and my refusal to let go of the past.
God is forcing this.
And, I thank Him for it.
It needs to happen.
He is showing Kevin, Zach, and me that we need to scale down to what will fit in our current living arrangement and that in order to do that, we must let go of what used to be in order to live life going forward, not looking back.
It is wasteful to continue to pay for monthly off-site storage and goes against everything He is teaching us about frugality and being good stewards.
It is not that we do not have enough space here.
It is that we still have too much stuff.
If we pare down to what will fit here, the excess monthly storage bill will be eliminated,
that money can be put to much better use,
and, we will come yet closer to aligning ourselves with the minimal, unattached-to-the-things-of-this- world lifestyle Jesus, our Example, lived.
He is not asking us to give up everything dear to our hearts.
He is just asking us to give up what won't fit here.
He is allowing us to keep certain things that we need to keep in order to remember precious parts of our past, because He knows how important that is to us, but He is freeing us from trying to continue to live in that past.
As we seek Him and walk in obedience to all He is asking of us,
we trust Him fully to lead us away from doing things we will later regret.
Our part is to simply do what He tells us to do...even when it hurts.
It is not about us; it is about Him.
It is not about this life; it is about eternity.
His grace is all-sufficient, and He is faithfully sending the healing that we need.

To read past posts about our minimizing journey, click the following links:

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And now, for those who are still with me and who persevered to read to the end of this very long post, I want to invite you to click over to our FREE STUFF page!!
I added a few books to give away!
Happy Shopping, and God bless you all!

70 comments:

  1. Praying for Kristen and for all of you as a family.

    I have just made a video which might help give you some comfort.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGnXUVWvSvo

    God bless.

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    1. Oh, how beautiful, Victor! Thank you SO much for this wonderful video...the song is so pretty, and the way you coupled it with such moving pictures was just such a blessing! Thank you ever so much, my friend. It was a great comfort. We surely appreciate you.

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  2. Oh, Cheryl... My heart is just breaking for dear Kristen! What she must be dealing with right now... May the Lord bring healing to her body, safeguard her precious unborn babe and bring her peace and comfort as well as relief from the pain she is experiencing! I am truly sorry to hear what difficulty she and her husband are walking through...I will keep praying and trusting the Lord for a miracle! Thank you for keeping us updated...
    With love to you always!
    Kelly-Anne

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    1. Dear, precious friend! Your dear words were such a blessing to me tonight! I appreciate you so much, and your prayers just mean the world to us. It is heartbreaking to see all that dear Kristen and Mike are having to endure. Surely God sees and He knows how much they can take. I look forward to the day that I can post a victory report concerning this situation! God will surely be magnified and glorified when she is healthfully holding that baby in her arms!! Sending you much love and gratitude, sweet friend. :)

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  3. Cheryl praying for Kristen and her little one. Thanks for sharing your lessons gleaned from minimizing and I really like that quote from Gentle Joy.

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    1. Thank you, dear sister. I so appreciate your prayers! God bless you. :)

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  4. My lovely Cheryl,
    every day I'm thinking and praying for your Kristen and her little baby.
    Thank you for another lesson of deep Faith and such a refreshing post for my soul, blessed be !

    Wishing you a most lovely remainder of your week,
    with utmost gratitude

    XO Dany

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    1. Dear Dany! Thank you ever so much for your faithful prayers for Kristen and her baby. God bless you so much...the way you continually bless me and so many others. Sending you much love, sweet friend. :)

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  5. I am continuing to pray for Kristen and her baby boy. I pray she will feel God's gentle hand on her. Thank you for the minimalizing lessons. I'm working on that myself...well I was before I hurt myself. And I will get back to it.
    Blessings, Betsy

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    1. Dear Betsy! It comes to my mind so many times that you are there praying for us, and oh, my, I just cannot tell you how much of a comfort that is to me! I know you are suffering so much in your own body, and I can just picture you there knitting away and praying often for Kristen and so many others. Your life is a shining light of Jesus' love, and you bless SO many through your gentle, kind outreach. God is so pleased with you, sweet friend. I do trust you are feeling much better very soon. I want you to know that I am surely praying for you, too and sending you much love!

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  6. Praying for Kristen and her baby. It is indeed impossible to grasp what God is doing and how this works for His perfect will, but we know, and have seen, this is how it works.

    Love that quote from your grandpa. That's a keeper for life.

    Each new season brings us more wisdom to see how much we lacked in the one before. It takes humility to see and admit it… then gain more of it...

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    1. So very true, brother. I so appreciate your insight and kind words and most of all your prayers. May the dear Lord bless you for all you do. You are such a blessing to us all!

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  7. Cheryl,
    Keeping Kristen and her baby in my prayers -- thank you for the update. I know the journey to downsize and sort through keepsakes can be so emotionally turbulent, can't it? But you are centering your focus on the path God is leading you and although difficult, it's renewing, too. Praying for you friend, as you enter this new adventure of your life! xoxo

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    1. Oh, dear friend! It surely can be so emotionally turbulent...what a good way to put it. It is quite overwhelming indeed. Sometimes, I just have to walk away from it...but then I cannot stand clutter, so, soon I am back at it trying to sort and clear and get everything back in place and in order. One day, this season will have passed, and, hopefully, we will see clearly what exactly God was doing and why He required so much. I so appreciate your kind words and prayers! You are such a dear blessing to me!

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  8. Oh dear Cheryl, I truly feel the depth of the struggles that you are having! It is so hard to let go of our earthly possessions as if they hold something of eternal value, when we know in our mind they don't, but our hearts aren't quite there. I know there is just something so amazingly precious about a little hat from your sweet baby boy or a sweater of your Dad's, or whatever it may be. I know that the Lord is truly working a miraculous thing in your heart to allow you to walk through this very difficult journey of letting go, and just trusting! And poor Kristen, oh yes, we are continuing to pray and lift her up whenever we think of her, which is often! I am praying that her heart would be strengthened in the Lord throughout this long dark trial, and that the mercies and healing power of the Lord would be there with her. I know that your prayers, and the many prayers of people who visit your blog are praying, and the Lord is listening! I appreciated hearing all the lessons that the Lord is teaching you, and what a reminder for us all too, that letting go of things, and trusting Him for the unseen are two things that He wants us to do, and we can do, because of that promise, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Many hugs to you today dear friend, I want to encourage you and your sweet family that this journey you are on is leading you to a deeper and greater place of fellowship with the Lord!

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    1. Dear friend! It is so comforting that you understand the struggle, and your dear words were just such a blessing to me tonight! It just really helped me to know that you feel that the dear Lord is working a miraculous thing in our hearts and that this journey will lead us to a deeper and greater fellowship with the Lord. What hope and assurance those words brought to my heart! Your faithful prayers for Kristen just mean the world to all of us. My heart just breaks for her, and I am clinging hard to faith that God will see her through it all and bring her out to a place of victory. What a testimony she, Mike, my sister, and that sweet baby boy will have to share with the ones they meet! And, I look forward to writing that post and telling all here that GOD is still on the throne, that HE worked another Divine-intervention miracle, and all is well with both my dear niece and her new baby!!! Faith is not what we can see, that's for sure. It is the evidence of things unseen...it is the unseen that I am choosingn to focus on. I love and appreciate you so dearly and thank you for your inspiring words and comfort. God bless you so much!

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  9. Dear Mrs. Smith,
    Kristen is still in my prayers, as well as the little boy...thank you for sharing updates about her situation. Is she in the hospital now or at home? Do the doctors know what is causing the blood clots or is it just because of her pregnancy?

    God bless you and your family, dear friend!

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your prayers, dear Ashley! It was SO nice to see your words of love and encouragement here tonight. I just emailed you with the answers to your questions. Your kind, caring heart and friendship are such blessings to me. Sending you love and hugs!

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  10. Your words here have touched my own heart in the area of loving and honoring God over treasures and possessions that compete with Him being first in our lives. It doesn't really take much for us in allowing other things, big or small, to take first place. Sometimes I wonder if we're even aware of the idols we have?
    Sentimental possessions can tug at our heart strings making it difficult in letting go, even though we know they have no eternal value and we cannot take them with us. I feel the pain of your struggle, but also see where you are headed.
    God is such a gentle God and He will certainly carry you through this chapter of your life.

    My prayers continue for dear Kristen.

    Thank you for this post, Cheryl, I appreciated your transparent heart.

    Love and Hugs ♡

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for your precious comments, sweet friend. You always bless me beyond words when you stop by. You will never know how much we appreciate your faithful prayers for Kristen...oh, it truly means so much! God bless you abundantly...sending you much love and hugs right back! :)

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  11. Thanks for the update on Kristen. Sending prayers her way.

    Your minimizing journey is inspirational. The first part of this month I took my tub of sentimental papers, letters, etc down from the attic and actually went through it. I threw out a lot of it, and scrapbooked most everything else. I was really surprised how hard it is to go through things that are sentimental (I learned to feel a little of your pain!). But I'm so happy to be done! It's nice to be free of the unnecessary--and to have the rest easily accessible. Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring! God bless.

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    1. Thank you so much for praying, dear Bethany! I am SO blessed and inspired by your motivation to downsize. It sounds like you made so much progress...I am so very thankful! God bless you for being such an encourager to us on this journey. Sending you much love, sweet friend. :)

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  12. Sondra Langle, Northern CaliforniaFebruary 16, 2017 at 10:18 AM

    Dear Cheryl,
    As always you express my heart feelings when you post. I am so sorry that Kristin is still going through these health issues. I continue to pray for her as well. It is difficult when we are walking through these types of struggles but the Lord is our strength. Thank you so much for caring so much for others and for your beautiful posting of scripture that helps you get through. I know that our God is smiling down on all of your efforts. God Bless my friend,

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    1. Oh, how sweet your words! Thank you ever so much for your visit and encouragement. It truly means so much to me, and we could never thank you enough for your prayers for dear Kristen! God bless you, my friend. :)

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  13. I may have told you but when we were preparing for the new floors, every closet was cleaned and purged. We found a box that belonged to my husband and as we went through it, I wondered to myself WHY would one keep all of these papers? His mama was a big paper hoarder (keeper) and I believe most of them were things she, herself couldn't part with...we are talking about multiple newspaper article of the same thing even! I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders since the closets and the rest of the house is rid of so much "stuff". I know there is way more that can be gotten rid of and when it comes time to move that will no doubt happen! Continuing to send my prayers to Kristen...thank you keeping us updated! Hugs to you, sweet Cheryl.♥♥♥

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    1. Oh, my, I do remember you mentioning that about having to clean and purge every closet. I know that had to be such a great feeling to get all of that done! I know what you mean about papers...whew. They just seem to multiply!! Thank you SO much for your continued prayers for Kristen. We just appreciate it so very much. Sending you love and hugs, sweet friend! :)

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  14. I have the same sort of sentimental tendencies as you do. I lived in a very small house for 12 years (I'm sure you remember that) where there were no closets, no attic, no garage...nothing. We were packed in that little bitty place; yet I hung on to a few very special things. I'm glad I did now...life can change so quickly. However, I have had times in my life where, like you, I've really had to be reasonable and admit that I don't need something, just because it's a memory. I guess we have to pick and choose wisely. I think, too, that sometimes the things we keep for sentimental reasons can be harmful because they can do the opposite and trigger BAD memories or thoughts that God doesn't want in our hearts anymore. So we really need to be able to discern between what is worth keeping and what isn't. I am praying for you. Sometimes it's so hard to go forward.

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    1. Yes, I sure do remember, sweet friend. You are right...it is all about picking and choosing wisely. Whew. I am so drained from the emotional part of it. If I had known 40 years ago what I know now, I would have known not to cling to so many things. You are SO right in that some of the sentimental things can trigger not good memories, but bad ones. How very true. I so appreciate the wisdom you shared. Sending you much love and many blessings!

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  15. Visiting you from Thought-Provoking-Thursday. I have the same kind of struggles, yet I really do want to choose to keep less. Thank you for so much to consider as I go through "stuff". I struggle holding onto things because of the connected memories. I also think that if I get rid of something, I will need or want it in the future, so I choose to keep it a little longer. Thank you for sharing your struggles and these great reminders. May your soul be refreshed in living for Him His way! Sweet Blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your kind words and sweet visit, Cheryl! It was such a blessing to me. I struggle with the same thing about wondering if we will need something in the future. Your words were such an encouragement to me. May God bless you abundantly, my friend. :)

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  16. Great truths my sister. The photo speak spoke to me profoundly; I choose to trust God with my today, like I trust Him with my eternity. I choose to continually obey God so I do not get stuck in my life...
    Many thanks for sharing these lessons with us.
    Do have a super blessed day!
    Love

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    1. Thank you so much, Ugochi! It is always such a blessing when you stop by. May the dear Lord bless you as you continually seek to do His will. Sending you love and hugs. :)

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  17. Wonderful words of hope and truth, sweet Cheryl. And I continue to pray for your sweet niece Kristen. I trust that God will continue to watch over her and that precious child, as she endures this hard health issue. And thanks for the wonderful reminders of "stuff" and how we might continue to think about it all and how much we really want/need. Hugs, precious sister! xoxo

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    1. Oh, thank you SO much for your prayers for dear Kristen...it just means the world to us! It was so good to see that you had stopped by...your visits are always such a dear encouragement to me. Sending you love and hugs, and I am SO hoping you are feeling better. I am praying for you and trusting God to heal you.

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  18. Powerful and convicting post. God has been speaking many of these same things to me.
    Just this week God asked me if I would still want to go to heaven if He wasn't there. ..do I want Him or just His blessings?
    My hearts answer is that I want more of Him! Yet over and over again I let "things" get in my way of Him.

    Great post.

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    1. Wow, what a question the dear Lord asked you. Very sobering and thought-provoking. He is SO faithful to an honest heart. Thank you ever so much for stopping by and reading and sharing your thoughts. God bless you, my friend. :)

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  19. Thank you for sharing these thoughts; especially the verse from Mark 10 where Jesus says that any one who has left all for my sake shall be returned a hundredfold, because I needed to be reminded of that today. Jesus used that verse so beautifully in my life when my sons were young, and He still speaks it now, in this season of my life. Blessings to you!

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    1. I am so thankful the Scripture comforted you, dear Bettie. I do trust God to heal you and bless you in a special way. I SO appreciated your sweet visit and kind words! God bless you, my friend. :)

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  20. Such a powerful message, Cheryl. The clutter binds itself to our internal and external selves in ways we don't often recognize until it's made itself at home. When we allow excess in one area, we inadvertently open up the other areas of our lives to it as well. Emotional, mental, physical excess. -- Beautiful reminders, Cheryl. Thanks for sharing. ((hug)) #ChasingCommunity

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    1. So, so true, Brenda! I am so grateful for your sweet visit and the wisdom you shared. May the dear Lord bless you, my friend. :)

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  21. My sweet and wonderful friend, it's been way too long since I have popped in for a visit...please forgive me. My days seem to blur together with schooling and other activities and my blog visiting has been pushed to the backburner. I have missed you and your posts.

    It was a blessing to read another update on your niece, but oh, how my heart aches for this dear young lady. Indeed, it's easy to question and wonder why God does what He does....I am always reminded of Job and how he did not question his faithful God, but simply trusted and the outcome was well worth it. Lord-willing, your niece will be holding her precious baby soon and she will be feeling much better! I am praying that is so.

    Wishing you a blessed and beautiful Sunday. Much love to you!

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    1. Oh, thank you, sweet friend! Your visits here are always so precious to me and such a dear blessing! Thank you for always uplifting my spirits. Kristen is not doing well at all, my friend, so PLEASE do keep her in your continued prayers. We just keep praying and hoping and trusting God for the breakthrough that she so desperately needs. I look forward to the day she is holding that baby boy and both of them are well. Sending you much love and gratitude for your faithful prayers and friendship. :)

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  22. HI Cheryl! This post was so touching. And I really related to your facing the knowledge that your son is growing up, and how hard it is to say goodbye to those younger years. My children are parents now, but I still think of them as my own little ones. I think that's one of the gifts and struggles of parenting. I LOVED your point that Jesus left his loved ones when it was time to begin his ministry. He shows us the way in all things, doesn't he?
    I continue to pray for Kristen daily, and I am hopeful that her anxiety will lessen with each day that passes. And may God bless you and you learn to let go of so many things that have meaning for you. Truly God is seeking you...
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Oh, my friend! I know you surely know how this feels...I can just imagine how much you miss your dear children. Yes, Jesus surely does show us the way in all things...there is not one thing we face in this life that we cannot look back to His example for us. I am SO thankful God became flesh and chose to dwell among us for a span of time, so we would know which way to go in all of our decisions of life. I cannot thank you enough for praying for dear Kristen. She needs prayer so badly...things are not better for her, I am sad to say. Thank you for your kind words! "Truly God is seeking you...", oh, how that ministered to me today! Sending you much love and gratitude!!!

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  23. Praying for Kisten! Also PLEASE pray for my Kristian Gabriella. She is struggling so much in life right now to get back on the right path. Also I am enjoying reading your journey as always. I am in the same boat matter of fact my crafting supplies are next for my purge! I totally understand the baby clothes I too think that stuff somehow is a time machine but wish it could take me back. I too grieve for what was. BUT we are supposed to rejoice for what was and what is.. and IS to come amen! I shared your post on Twitter & Pinterest my sweet blogging friend. Hugs to you!

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    1. Thank you SO much for your prayers for dear Kristen! I am SO sorry to know that your own loved one is struggling, also. I, too, just cleansed a bunch of craft/sewing supplies. I still have much to sort through, oh, my, it can be so overwhelming, at times. I seek God constantly for help and understanding and discernment. I love your words that we are to rejoice for what was and what is and what is to come!! Thank you so much for sharing my post...you are such a dear blessing to me. Sending you much love and many blessings today!!

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  24. Thanks for sharing the lessons you're learning, Cheryl. Letting go can be so difficult, but it's amazing how much God can teach us through that process. And I will continue to pray for Kristen and the baby, and for all your family. Praying for healing and peace, and that you know God with you.

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    1. Yes, my friend, you are so right...it is amazing how much God can teach us. Oh, the lessons! Some are so painful to learn! Thank you so much for your dear prayers and faithful support. You are a blessing to me and to so many others...God bless you abundantly, in return!

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  25. The Mark 10 verse speaks to me. Oh, how I long to let things go loosely and be about the Father's business first and foremost. Somehow distractions come! My heart goes out to Kristen. Please know that Tom and I pray for her and appreciate your updates. Love and prayers, my special friend!

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    1. Oh, dear friend! You are SO right...the distractions seem to come so thick and fast! Oh, to keep our eyes upon Jesus and to always put Him first! I cannot begin to tell you what it means to know that you and Tom are praying for dear Kristen. PLEASE do continue...I am so worried. I try so hard not to worry, but her condition just seems to get worse. I know Jesus often allowed that when He was here on earth so that when He did come on the scene, the miracle was even greater. Our hope and trust is in HIM. Sending you much love, my dear friend. You are such a dear blessing to me. Thank you.

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  26. Thank you for sharing this update on Kristen's pregnancy/condition. And I'm inspired by your minimalism -- I REALLY need to clear off some book cases, and plan to attack that job this week. I'm not looking forward to the process, but know that I'll be thankful when it's underway.

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    1. Thank your for your visit, dear Michele. It is always such a blessing to have you come by. Oh, my, it is SO hard to walk through this minimizing process, and sometimes, I just have to sit and cry, literally, because I do not feel I can do one more thing. But, the dear Lord continually comes on the scene with fresh strength and inspiration. He is such a dear, faithful God! Sending you much love and gratitude, sweet friend. :)

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  27. My heart goes out to you. I shared Kristen's situation with our church prayer chain.
    Your writing about the letting go of the past, the baby clothes, the school books, not being able to relive those days, all of it hit me hard in the heart. I'm struggling with my children not being children anymore. My youngest is almost 16. I long for the days of old. I cannot say ours were all lived well. We were struggling to survive most of their growing up years, and I struggled with depression many of those years. I have so many regrets about what I couldn't do with them, for them, etc. It's all lost. And yet, I have boxes and bookcases full of relics that either I or someone else isn't ready to release. I need to do it though, I know. I feel like I'm living in a graveyard of broken dreams and missed chances sometimes. Life got in the way of my happily ever after.

    Hugs to you,
    Laura

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    1. My dear, precious friend! I am sitting here with tears coming out of my eyes. Your deep hurt just moves me to the core. I am trying to come to a place of being able to let go of the past and to learn from mistakes and to move forward with a firm resolve not to repeat them. I pray you can do the same, dear friend. I love and appreciate you so very much, and I want you to know I am praying for you. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your heart...it is beyond precious to me., as are you.

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  28. Oh sweet Cheryl, Your incredible humility in sharing your heart and the deeper discoveries of your heart are such a blessing. Sharing your weaknesses shows your strength - strength in Jesus.

    The verses you shared perfectly showed God's answers to your struggles in such an encouraging way.

    I had never saw the verse about the ark in this light and I found it convicting in my own personal struggles with control.

    I feel I never adequately express to you how much your blog posts mean to me, how much they bless me, how much they edify me. You are such a treasure dear heart.

    I read the first portion of your blog post when you first posted and I fervently lifted up Kristen in prayer then and continue to do so.

    I am believing with you that God is going to give her a Great Story and will bring about a miracle for Kristen and her baby.

    Blessings sweet friend.

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    1. Bless your dear heart, my sweet friend! Your precious words just mean the world to me and encourage me greatly on this journey. And, I am SO grateful to you for your continued prayers for Kristen. OH, she surely needs them so much! God bless you over and over for being the faithful friend you are to me and to so many others. Sending you much love and gratitude!

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  29. Oh, Cheryl.... the lessons God walks us through... they never end, but neither do His mercies. What a painful process you are going through... in so many ways and it is so good that you can see the eternal benefit among the painful. Thank you for your faithfulness to God and His ways... to denying those pesky areas of self that intrude... and for sharing as you go. I am praying for you, and will continue. God is faithful and will meet all your needs. :)

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    1. I am SO grateful to you for your precious encouragement, sweet friend. Your prayers and friendship are invaluable gifts to me...so many times you have given me the encouragement I needed to keep pressing on, in spite of all. Thank you ever so much and may God richly bless you. Sending you much love and gratitude. :)

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  30. I praise God with you for what He is teaching you and your family. Keep up the good work of listening to Him and letting go of all that He tells you to let go.
    I continue to trust that God is working in Kristin's life and pray for His healing, in His perfect timing, and for a healthy baby. May she find peace at His feet as she casts all her cares upon Him. Love you, sister. :)

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    1. Thank you ever so much, my friend. I cannot thank you enough for your encouragement and words of comfort! Thank you for praying for dear Kristen and for caring like you do. May the dear Lord bless you over and over! I love you, too, dear friend. :)

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  31. Praying for Kristen .baby ,and family. May God be with them during this very difficult and trying time. May their faith grow stronger. May they feel His loving arms around them.
    Loved this post.. God is awesome and so Faithful.. I am amazed with your awesome faith and endurance.

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear friend. Knowing you are faithfully praying means so very much to me. Thank you for your kind words and faithful support and encouragement. God bless you again and again! Sending you much love and gratitude!

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  32. Cheryl,

    Praying for you niece right now. May God's healing fill her body and may He be glorified in and through this trial. Your words about letting go and choosing all of God for all of my need spoke to my heart today, a confirmation of His love and mercy and fullness. But even more that when I hold on to what He doesn't call me to walk in, I am not choosing Him and I choose to limit peace in my circumstances.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. OH, thank you, Dawn! Your prayers for Kristen truly mean so much!! I so appreciated the thoughts you shared here...so very true. God help us all. I am so thankful for your visit and kind words. Sending you much love and gratitude. :)

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  33. Ah, there is so much here for me to appreciate and take away that I can not put it all into words! But thank you for sharing! As your newest follower I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future!

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    1. Oh, thank you ever so much for following, Arnica! What a lovely name...Arnica. I look forward to visiting with you, also. God bless you. :)

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  34. Cheryl,
    I prayed for dear Kristen and her baby boy. Thank you for sharing how God has comforted and continues to strengthen you. Blessings :-) Visiting via Beth's blog

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Dolly! You are such a blessing and encouragement. I so appreciate your visit and kind words, and most of all, your prayers for Kristen. God bless you, my friend. ;)

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  35. Such lovely lovely thoughts on all fronts. Will be praying for your niece. Your grandpa's quote reminded me of what I read last week-- "We may have as much of God as we will. Christ puts the key of the treasure-chamber into our hand, and bids us take all that we want. If a man is admitted into the bullion vault of a bank, and told to help himself, and comes out with one cent, whose fault is it that he is poor? Whose fault is it that Christian people generally have such scanty portions of the free riches of God?"
    --McLaren And I'm struck by the verses where Jesus calmed the storm-- he was the one who said "Let's go to the other side..." So he knew they would get there... we like the disciples just tend to get antsy sometimes! God bless as you continue on your minimizing journey- You are an inspiration! ♥

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  36. It is not that we do not have enough space here.
    It is that we still have too much stuff.

    Just today my husband and I helped a couple get rid or some of their stuff. 15 years in a house with three sheds, he is a carpenter. They are moving into a really nice RV but very little will fit in it. I was reminded again how thankful I am that we have went through the process of downsizing several times and still we have too much stuff. It seems that each time we abandon some more stuff God brought more freedom into our souls. At this age all I want to gather is people, souls in need of the Savior. It's the only thing I want to collect. Your post is full of good truths about letting go so God can fill us up.

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