Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Oblivion


Twenty months ago, when all of this started, I would regularly find myself semi-comatose in the shower. I know that's not a pleasant image, but the truth remains. I so clearly remember standing there in the steamy quiet, mostly unable to move. I remember feeling that dull ache in my stomach, something like the nasty kind of flu.

I never understood when people said that falling in love felt like getting the flu. That hadn't been my experience. But having your heart broken and your world knocked around a bit? Pass the Pepto.

My mind reeled a thrumming truth-track and no matter what I did, I couldn't escape it. Not for a second. It kept me awake at night. It kept me dizzy in the day. It kept me standing stock-still in the shower. It went something like this, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27

And a little something like this, "Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be." Luke 12: 33-34

My phantom stomach bug was caused by two things:

1) I had never really thought about this. I mean, of course giving to the poor is good. It's a great idea. Jesus sure was nice about the needy, rah rah rah. I had never fully considered that maybe he's not quite as nice as I thought. Maybe he's tough as nails. Maybe he means serious business with his words. Maybe he expected me to move beyond thinking about what he said and start actually doing it. (Maybe I should stop thinking about him in the past tense.)

2) I believed at my core, all those months ago, that my world was about to be rocked. I wasn't sure that I was completely on board. I wanted the train to slow the heck down, because I needed more time to think. I wanted to go back to those easy days where my tithe check took care of everything.

Of course, the rest is history. A very long, drawn-out history. 8th period on a Friday history.

Through a course of events, we came to believe that this is the truest truth:

"If you cling to your life, you will lost it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." Matthew 10-:39

I thought my life was pretty fantastic already, and come to find out I hadn't even found it. This made me want to track it down.

I'm not a proponent of the idea that God wants us to prosper, but that's another post for another day. I don't think giving up your life is code for "trade it in for something that's bigger and fancier". This isn't one of those tricks where you win a new Buick just for making the right choice.

Over and over again people in our life said that maybe God was just testing us to see if we would be willing to give up our home. Know what? That's not the God I know. If he tells you to do something and you say you will, he's probably going to put you on that path, pure and simple.

My experience has been that it is difficult to pine for heaven when you already think you're there. It's hard to care that there are so many people who don't know Jesus when almost everyone in your life does.

So we're laying this place down. We're moving with no expectation that we'll be anywhere forever, because we're still recovering from being so wrong about that sort of thing. This isn't our ride. We're not the boss of us.

And after a day of lugging and loading; a day of a million steps in a short stack of hours, that's an incredibly freeing truth. That's something I could rest my head on for a while.

49 comments:

  1. well now. this is really something. you're really on to something.

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  2. i completely agree with everything you are saying... and in this world where blogs are all about making your house look beautiful and having a nice life, it's good to know i'm not alone.

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  3. <3

    As always, you inspire and amaze me. Thank you for the reminder that laying down our lives is a call to the drastic kind of action for the sake of only love and obedience to Him who IS love. May your heart be comforted as you walk this journey of laying down and letting go.

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  4. Do you think that everyone should do what you are doing? That everyone in the world should be of the same "class?" I guess I'm not sure about my feeling on this matter and was just wondering about yours.

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  5. God has big things in store for you. Big, big things.

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  6. I am TOTALLY loving these Letting Go posts!

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  7. I once knew a couple who sold their farm & lived in a trailer, so they could have MORE to bless others with! And when He died he requested to be buried in the vault alone, no casket! He wanted the very last that he could give to bless others too!

    Oh yeah & He was genuinely 'Happy' in life!!!

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  8. Hi, Anonymous! To answer your question, no, I don't think everyone should do what we're doing. God is much too big for that. He's got different ideas for different folks. I do think the Bible is really clear on how Christ-followers are to care for the poor, but I would never be foolish enough to believe that our way is the only way. That's the cool thing about figuring out what your story really is. It's usually different than you thought it would be and it's probably also different from the other stories you see around you. Hooray for variety!

    Oh, and one more thing: In no way do I ever mean to imply that I am putting myself in a particular "class". I feel like that word connotes all kinds of political discussions that I don't really want to have here, but even beyond that, I'm not poor. You're not poor. And it's a good thing, because if we were, we wouldn't be able to help those who are.

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  9. I love your obedient heart! I agree wholeheartedly! I'm a-thinking that this "Letting Go" series needs to be in print!!
    xo

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  10. What an inspiration you and your family are! Your posts about letting go have all been an encouragement to me, especially this one. Your courage demonstrates genuine discipleship. Thank you! Blessings to you and your family as you continue to both let go and look ahead in faith.

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  11. Good stuff. You've got me thinking...

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  12. Growing in Jesus very often feels like having the flu, in my experience. So I believe wholeheartedly that you're onto something.

    Love this: "I thought my life was pretty fantastic already, and come to find out I hadn't even found it. It made me want to track it down."

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  13. "My experience has been that it is difficult to pine for heaven when you already think you're there. It's hard to care that there are so many people who don't know Jesus when almost everyone in your life does."

    such a great reminder, something for be to think on tonight. thank you for sharing your journey.

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  14. Every single word... pure truth. Alas, still kind of waiting to see the next step in our laying it down journey... but knowing it's OUT there.. and when the time is right, God WILL move the pieces. I still firmly believe that!! So for now, we wait, prepare, and cheer you on!! Preach it sister!

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  15. My dearest Farmgirl, I adore your heart...
    ~G~

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  16. Jesus laid it all out there. He didn't mince words. But when you really follow Him and listen to His voice,it shakes up your life a bit,for the better. There are brothers and sisters out there that don't know they are brothers and sisters yet. We have the best news ever. But so much of my life, I lived like I heard the news and then threw a thank you over my shoulder to God, and that was it. The tithe was there, the Bible was there, and the prayers were there, but most of my time was seeking more for ME. Its not about me, its all about HIM and His kingdom, and those that have not heard how much He loves them.
    Thank you for opening my eyes to what the good news is all about. I read the Word in a whole NEW way now, and it is beauty FULL.

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  17. Thank you for this. Last time, my husband and I moved cross country with one week's notice. Because He wanted us to, and when you hear God's voice, you listen. You have already been such a blessing to me already. Thank you dear friend. Rest well.

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  18. I have come to learn that no matter how old I get God is still growing me. Just when I get too comfortable, he gives me something that I really need. He is cool like that.
    PS I love your mama!

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  19. It's such a comfort to know that God is the boss of you. I know a lot of folks who think they don't work for a soul.

    : )

    Julie M.

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  20. Amen sista! Bless you for putting Jesus words in shoe leather...keep writing! ~Rachel

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  21. I want to post your third to last paragraph all. over. my. home. Worded so perfectly.......

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  22. Nice post, I look forward to reading more about it.

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  23. You have such an amazing knack for putting everything in perspective and allowing it to really sink in. Thank you for that!

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  24. I love this all. You're a wise little missy.
    xo

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  25. The feelings you describe having over the past 20 months remind me of feelings I had in my early 30's. I specifically remember asking God to use me and my life in whatever way He wanted. I wanted to be of service and to help while I'm here on earth.

    Once I asked, I remember my world literally falling APART. It was scary and uncomfortable. And on one particular very BAD day, I recall crying to my best friend over the phone and yelling "I stupidly told God to use me and now my life is such a mess!"

    It's been interesting though. And for the most part filled with JOY, but also some uncertainty, heartbreak and thoughts of being incredibly stupid.

    So excited for your journey! And wondering where you'll be landing soon? the city? What kind of rental? House? Large Apartment?

    Hope this day is great for you!

    xxoo~

    TT

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  26. My parents were experts at letting go, and my mom still is. It's funny because I was just talking to her the other day about it. They certainly made their share of mistakes, like us all, but they were sooo good at following God wherever he wanted to lead them. It is the most comforting thing that my mom looks back on in their married life(my father is now dead) and so worth all the upheaval. I agree with you. God's path for us is very individual and surprising. Our job is just to be ready and willing for it all!!!

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  27. Loved it..filled with Beautiful TRUTH! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.
    Traci

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  28. Love, LOVE this:
    "Over and over again people in our life said that maybe God was just testing us to see if we would be willing to give up our home. Know what? That's not the God I know. If he tells you to do something and you say you will, he's probably going to put you on that path, pure and simple."
    I hear that all the time with people who are trying to have kids... 'maybe God just wants you to say yes to adoption and THEN you'll get pregnant'. Not so much. Pretty sure if God is calling you to do something... it means he wants you to do it. We choose out of our own will to believe and be ok with saying yes and then not acting. So cheers to you for acting on God's calling for you and your family. What an example! Living a truly radical life for Christ.

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  29. That'll preach, Farmgirl.
    That. Will. Preach.

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  30. I'm not sure where you have decided to move on to. I might have missed something. I know you are headed to follow God and that's good. You have such a big heart. I know that you are going through changes and good-byes but new experiences will be blessed ones as well.

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  31. The laying down your Today and choosing to receive Tomorrow, even though its colors aren't obvious to you {yet}...that's such sweet, beautiful, honest worship. It's what pleases Him and how we learn to trust Him. It's how He gives us eyes to See and hearts to wait patiently.

    It's kind of scary to move forward on a call...only to discover a challenge (like when a couple firmly believes they heard God clearly say *make a baby* and He takes her before she has hardly even grown). But...it's the discovering His purposes that He wants for us. We have no answers, no ideas, no glimmer of a clue--and yet, He gives us strength, courage and an incredible revealing of Grace.

    Your writing this series is Divine in every way. Rich blessings as He leads you to See...

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  32. "My experience has been that it is difficult to pine for heaven when you already think you're there. It's hard to care that there are so many people who don't know Jesus when almost everyone in your life does."

    this will preach over and over and over and over. :)

    Have you told us where you're going? Did I somehow miss that detail?
    Cause, I really, really want to know. :))

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  33. Two thumbs up! Can't wait to see what plans God has in store for you.

    I want to make a comment (a from my heart comment, especially after reading the comment from Anonymous), but I'm struggling to know if I should or not.

    Well, here goes. I totally get what you are doing. I think it's fabulous. I've actually been on the other side of the coin. My husband and I have felt like (for the last couple of years), we need to work harder at earning more, so we could have more to help more people. Does that make sense? We went through a couple of years in the ministry where we were dirt poor. We were the ones in need. I totally think that was God's will for us at that time, but he's been showing us that in our lives, we need to make more to do more for others, because we can. Now we're doing things like fixing up our house and buying new furniture, so we'll have more seating and people can be comfortable coming into our home for Bible studies, etc. I'm not saying we need a grand place or anything. I'm thankful for that, because we don't have one, but for us, we needed to step things up a notch, so we can do more to reach others.

    Ok, I'm not sure why I said all that, except to say that I felt prompted, maybe by God, maybe by the combination of coffee and hormones. Not sure. Like you said, it's finding out what God wants from each of us. He is greater than our small minds and ambitions. He's got a plan for us and it's our job to listen and then obey. It's so simple and yet so very difficult.

    Thanks for sharing your life story.
    ~FringeGirl

    ~FringeGirl

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  34. "Difficult to pine for heaven when you think you're already there."

    Dang, woman. Dang.

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  35. You are making me think. Can't write it down. Wish I could sit with you for a cup of tea. It would be a good conversation.
    Dana

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  36. I believe God uses your obedience, your williness to do what He asks, when He asks it! Ultimately how the story turns out is up to Him, your role is to obey, follow His lead, and continually seek His guidance. I know God uses difficult times to stretch us, cause growth, and He is/will certainly use you! Your heart is in a great place!

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  37. Loving this post, this journey. Thanks for letting us in to see the process.

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  38. Love what you say about giving to the needy, "rah, rah, rah"...it sure is a nice thought, yes? But what happens when you are actually called to act? That's what you are living. That's what I struggle with.

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  40. You have such a beautiful spirit. I have been enjoying reading about your journey. Thanks for sharing it. ~Sally

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  41. Are you saying you are selling your farm & moving?
    Do you mean you have fallen more in love with Jesus?
    That we should not live only for this world?
    That we should not be attached to this world?
    If so yes,
    Jesus is everything & the reason we are here.
    We can do nothing without him & to trust in him completely.
    Love your blog.
    God bless
    Jade from Australia.

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  42. I am LOVING these posts! We've been feeling some stirrings in our hearts that have led to some pretty life-changing conversations. We don't know just yet what it all means, but for the first time in a long time, we feel a freedom to fully explore options way outside of our comfort zone. And for the next 9 months we're praying about future directions. I thought we would be in this red house for a very long time (we've also been here for 4 years), and it is a deep process of letting go of my preconceived notions. But it is good.

    Thank you for sharing your heart--can't wait to hear more of your story. :)
    ~Gini

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  43. I feel blessed just to be able to watch your journey and the love of God that is behind it.

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  44. Your writings are amazing. Will be anxiously awaiting every new blog post to hear how you all are doing.

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  45. The part about pining for heaven when you are already there and being surrounded by people who know Jesus and it being hard to imagine people who don't know Jesus, oh my, hit me in my toes. wow. got to go get my husband to read this, praying for you, for your comfort amidst all these changes, your continued strength, your dear precious children and the joy this adventure will bring, your marriage to be further fortified by this shared adventure filled, God glorifying journey. love to you dear friend

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  46. Friend, I've told you before I'm a faithful reader, but I don't always comment.

    Just over a year ago I thought I was meant to find your blog and read about adoption...I thought your words were written for me. I wanted you to publish a book so I could hold it in my hot little paw and pass it out to my friends...

    about a year ago, through a few posts you had written, I knew God had more to say to me...and he started to rock my world a little bit through some things you had written. Like a big ol smack upside the head.

    Now, I'm copying parts of your posts and sending them to my husband. I'm feeling a little bit wild and nervous inside...

    THANK you for sharing your life. You are great. You are in the palm of our God's hand and you are changing people's lives who live thousands of miles away from you.

    God bless you all and remember what a

    FANTASTIC mom you are, too.

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  47. I LOVE how you say, "We're not the boss of us." Girl. That made me cry because I am so there. I find that I need to remind myself OFTEN that while I think I have something to do with it, I don't. It's all Him. And I'm finally getting better with that. I was going to fib and say that I'm totally great with it, but that would be untrue. Bless You.
    -Ann

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