Wonder how many times in my life I have sung these words in A Mighty Fortress:
Let goods and kindred go…
without truly understanding the implications.
These days they seem to come to mind more often than not. As we watch our belongings leave to find their place in another home, or pack them up in totes to be seen again in 3-5 years, or throw them in the garbage (though in my mind, my kindergarten yearbook or college scrapbooks hardly seem like “trash.”) Much more comfortable singing them on a plush church chair than truly “letting go.”
The thing is, I never thought stuff mattered to us. And whenever it started to feel like it did, I would go a year without buying clothes. To help loosen the grip. But when you’re figuring out what to do with the rocking chair you rocked all three of your babies in… Or, the Twister game that entertained precious little friends on many a life group gathering here… Or, the oil painting of our sunrise engagement that got started and never finished… All the while, spending your final days in this house you have worked so hard to call home…and trying to figure out how to squeeze the necessities (and 3 years of gluten-free pasta) into 12 suitcases…
The more we sort and sell and store and give and pack, the less it becomes about the stuff.
It really is the memories that have been made. The people we have made them with.
But, the stuff? It comes and goes.
A dear friend told me this week “a coffin has no pockets.” And when she said that, it clicked.
The only thing that lasts is what we have given away.
Sometimes only in the letting go are we able to fully embrace what matters.
I may not carry our rocking chair with me in Brazil, but will my boys still have a momma who takes the time to sit with them in their hurt?
We may not have a Twister game anymore, but we will always gather with precious little friends. I mean, there’s still bugs for them to find! 🙂
That sunrise oil painting may never find its place so perfectly on our bedroom wall, but every morning the sun rises and I am next to my love should be enough.
And this home we have enjoyed? We always knew it was a gift for now. But we never wanted it to overshadow the longing for our heavenly Home.
Not that it’s really necessary for you all to get rid of things.
This is probably less helpful for you to read than it is therapeutic for me to write.
It’s just where we’re at. Because when the Lord calls you to another country and you only have 2 suitcases a person to fill…
Well, you learn to
Let goods and kindred go…
But hey, guess what’s next?
And it is FOREVER!
I wish this were a lesson that would just stick. But learning to let go can be an ongoing process. Our Lord is gracious. His Spirit continues to convict and counsel.
Below are some resources that have been helpful to
Fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4.18
Something to read. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
True story of a mom who identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against modern-day greed, materialism, and overindulgence. In living a deeply reduced life, she discovered a greatly increased God.
Something to listen to. Experiencing the Presence of God’s Spirit by Francis Chan
Francis shares both the dangers of staying in the “shallow end,” and the joys of jumping in the “deep end” of our faith, to truly live out what we say we believe.
He says “What are we afraid of? I’m afraid of holding on to too much stuff.”
Something to watch. Living on One Dollar a Day
1.1 billion people live on less than $1 a day. This statistic moved 4 college students to live on less than a dollar a day for eight weeks in rural Guatemala. A dollar a day. How richly blessed we truly are. Blessed to bless.
Something to put on repeat. Oceans by Hillsong
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand…
P.S. Learning to let the goods go is enough to tackle for right now.
I’m trying to ignore the second part of that phrase for as long as possible. 🙂