I was nodding happily to Ann’s post “What Happy Homemakers Know,” looking around at the still damp paintings, the princess costume, scattered K’nex, the bread cooling on the rack, and agreeing with “Homemaking is about making a home…not about making perfection,” when I had a thought that sobered me: what do you do when you can’t keep the home? Not keep the home tidy, but can’t keep possession? What about now, when I am facing packing all this up, at least what I can’t consign, Ebay, give to Thriftsmart, or take to the dump? When I know it will all soon be in boxes, heading somewhere, some place that is still unknown, while we try to recover from my husband’s downsizing and long road back to employment? How can I try to make a home when I don’t know where we are?
To sort, pack and move while finding renters, having three birthdays in less than two months, plan a Blessing Party for my eldest, plant my vegetable garden at a friend’s, and consign kid’s clothes, while working part-time and finishing up our school year–all while being kind, pleasant and enjoyable to be around is more than I can comprehend. My husband jokes weakly that we’re giving up our house for Lent, but we look at each other, no laughter in our eyes and wonder what to do.
Of course the Lord has something to say, and sent Oswald Chambers in Bread and Wine to deliver the message:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, (Gal 2:20). These words mean the breaking of my own independence with my own hand and surrendering to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus…It is not just a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my natural independence and self-assertiveness, and this is where the battle has to be fought. It is the things that are right and noble and good from the natural standpoint that keep us back from God’s best. To discern that natural virtues antagonize surrender to God is to bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle. Very few of us debate with the sordid and evil and wrong, but we do debate with the good. It is the good that hates the best, and the higher up you get in the scale of natural virtues, the more intense is the oppositions to Jesus Christ. It is going to cost the natural in you everything, not something.”
“If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all He requires of you…”
I do not relish this relinquishing, this letting go of what seems good–our home, yard, neighborhood. The proximity of friends for playdates, impromptu dinners, the park. Or all the other things it looks like we may need to give up, like our way of life, our church, our independence–what has seemed good. But God, Jehovah Jireh, the one who provides and sees the end from the beginning, is patiently guiding us through this. Does He see us like I see my children sometime–holding on tightly with grubby hands to a sticky bit of something not worth keeping, refusing to give up their “treasure,” while I know what I have for them is so much better for and they will enjoy is more if they’ll just let go of what they have? Does the Lord see us like that? Is He gently reassuring us that He knows what He is fitting us for and it is so much better, so much more than what we have now? That whatever it is, this path is the best for us?
So we prepare to paint, repair, declutter, consign, pack and go. We are learning (again) and remembering to hold our things and places loosely in our hands, an offering to Him, of what He’s given us, and now we are giving them up, trusting Him in faith to take us under the shelter of His wing as we weather this storm, as we relinquish all.