by Karen Emberlin
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)
For fifteen months my husband and I lived in a suburban neighborhood in the comfort of a three bedroom home with a finished basement, double car garage, and attic.
We were normal. In other words, like most Americans, our home was “filled” with all of the “stuff” we had collected over forty-eight years of marriage. Even after moving several times during those years, we always took our “stuff” with us, sure we would eventually need it.
Things changed! Once I lost my husband, that “stuff” we thought was so valuable no longer seemed valuable, and I realized the only real value it ever had was because it was “ours”. What good would that do me now?
Overnight all of my “stuff” became a real burden.
The unexpected loss had my relatives and me scratching our heads–where would I go? And what would I do with all these things?
First I relocated to another state to be with our daughter and family. With no room for a house full of my stuff, my daughter asked me to downsize. And I did–from a three bedroom house to the twenty-two foot trailer I used to move to Florida.
In order to reduce my treasure to what fit in that twenty-two foot trailer, I sorted. I don’t remember where it all ended up, but I was always happy when someone I knew took an item I may have had a hard time letting go of. At least I knew where its new home would be!
As my son and I pulled away from my home, I thought about the trailer we were towing behind us. My husband had bought it a few years earlier for a “local” move, so we could take our time. I had always thought it to be in the way. “Let’s sell it,” I’d say. “Naw,” he’d say, ‘Someday we might need it!”
In God’s perfect plan, He knew I’d be the one who would need it. That trailer “housed” my treasures for a whole year.
While living with less at my daughter’s home. I discovered how comfortable with just a very small amount of my belongings around me.
But God wasn’t done pruning my earthly treasures.
A few months ago I moved yet again–this time over a thousand miles away, to a community with an even smaller space to fit my belongings. Faced again with the decisions of getting my “stuff” there, I began again the process of sorting and deciding what was really important, this time placing my “stuff’ in a 5×8 Uhaul trailer.
From a house to a twenty-two footer to a 5×8 trailer–God’s forcing me to adjust my definition of success.
It was not easy to “let go” of things that I once thought were so important, especially some of the things that my husband enjoyed so much (like the cargo trailer)!
However, as I made those choices, I was reminded that my husband left this world with none of our “stuff”, and I too will leave without it. He has so much more in his heavenly home than we ever had here!!
Yes, I miss my husband so much, and I want to be comfortable and have some of the things we enjoyed together near me. I have been able to do that. Best of all, I have a heart full of memories, and I love that I do not ever have to “give up”!
I realize that by not having the burden of moving, storing, or caring for so many things, I am freeing myself to be all I can for the Lord and can prepare myself for the plans He has for me.
He promises to give me hope and a future (even without my husband). I want to be ready to follow wherever He takes me, and am excited to see what is next!
Lord, I pray that you will be with all of us on this journey who are finding it difficult to give up “earthly treasures”. Help us to find contentment in You and to store up “heavenly treasures” that will be waiting for us when we get to our home with You.