A couple of weeks ago I shared with you a story about Isaac. In that post I told you I would be sharing a similar story of my own soon. Well, that day has come.
When we left Florida in Tiny to spend a season training to plant churches, we put what belongings we were keeping in a storage unit. Two of those belongings were our one year old memory foam mattress and my dream sofa.
The mattress was wonderful. After our fourth child, I started expereincing hip pain when I laid on my side for long periods of time. This was unfortunate because I am a side sleeper and so sleeping on my back is uncomfortable and sleeping on my stomach isn’t an option. I just can’t sleep that way. After sleeping on our memory foam mattress for about a month, my hip pain was gone. RC would often have shoulder pain, he’s a side sleeper too, and his shoulder pain was gone as well.
The bed space in Tiny was too small to bring our beloved mattress, so into storage it went. Waiting until we called it back to serve us again.
During our second year in Florida I found a sofa that was everything I wanted in a sofa. It was named Jordan (by the company selling it) and it was really long so five people could fit on it easily, though all six of us didn’t mind squishing together to watch movies. I was able to choose the fabric and color, and I chose a chocolate velvet that was so soft I could often be found petting the couch while I sat on it. It had a very classic and clean shape, called a tuxedo sofa. The cushions were wrapped in down, so they were really soft and able to easily be fluffed back into shape. I seriously saw myself owning this sofa for a very long time.
Yep. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
One day, while we were in Southern California, we received an email from a young couple that still lived in Florida. They had sent the email to the whole church and so we received it as well. They were moving into their own place and there were some things they still needed. Many of us have been there. Young, newly married, and broke.
The thought crossed my mind, “You have a sofa and a bed just sitting in storage doing nothing. They could really use those.”
I couldn’t even make an excuse right away because my heart sank so low. Not my beloved things.
Of course, I did eventually get around to making excuses as to why they didn’t need MY things. I had to wait years before I had things this nice, they are just starting out and don’t need things this nice yet. I don’t know how long we’re gonna be living in an RV, I might need them again. They won’t appreciate them as much as I do, because they won’t love them like I do. And on and on it went.
I’m not sure the Lord was listening to my excuses, but He definitely wasn’t responding to them. When I finally quit making excuses I realized that these things were taking up space in my heart that Jesus wanted for Himself. I didn’t have to offer these things to my friends, but if I was willing to walk this out, the Lord was willing to take up even more room in my heart.
Honestly, I wanted Him to have my whole heart, too.* I didn’t want to be attached to these temporary things. These things that have no eternal value. So I asked the Lord to help me, and I sent the precious couple an email offering them my things. I only asked one thing of them. If they ever decided to get rid of them, that they would offer them back to us first, before they passed them on. If we no longer wanted them, they were free to do with them as they chose.
They happily accepted.
I spent a week with a sick feeling in my stomach.
I only tell you that because it’s the truth. You see, I didn’t wait for the Lord to remove my attachment from those things before I was obedient. And even in being obedient, it was hard and uncomfortable. There was an experience of death before there was the experience of Life. What I can tell you now, though, is that through that process the Lord was able to do what only He can do and He broke the hold those things had on me. How do I know for sure?
Because I’m different inside.
Some time later (I can’t remember exactly how long it was but 6-8 months or so), the couple contacted us and said that they were moving and no longer needed the sofa. I could have my beloved Jordan back. This was completely unexpected, though I had asked them to do this, and as I turned to the Lord I felt a peace about reacquiring the sofa. But I could also tell a difference within myself. It didn’t mean the same to me as it had before. Yes, I was happy to get it back, but if we couldn’t have it back I really was OK.
More than that, in releasing these things that were very important to me, it seemed to also affect the hold that other things had on me. I am freer than I was before, and I’m so grateful for it.
As I was writing this, I remembered this post I wrote on 3rdRace.org where I talked about the Lord giving us a word for the year. The year this happened my word was “Infinite”, and I can see here how this was one way the Lord was answering my prayer that He would have an infinite way within me. That He would have no limits in me.
Thank you, Jesus. You are my true freedom.
*I’m not so spiritual that Jesus has my whole heart, yet. I’m still in process, and this experience is just one part of the process.