Who would have thought that a yard sale would be one of the most faith-building experiences of my life? But is has been. I have seen a glimpse of what is possible when we really surrender our wants, our possessions and our lives to Him. And this was small stuff. A yard sale, for Pete's sake!
And it wasn't altogether easy. I sold things I would rather have kept. It was harder than it should have been. (Katie lamented that selling good books was like selling good friends. I totally agree!)
Why are we so attached to our material possessions? I cringe at the thought of how much time I spend managing the "stuff" in our home. The clothes, the toys, the dishes, the nick-knacks, even the books take up so much space in our house and in our schedules. How often do I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of just finding a place for everything? How much better could my time be spent than cleaning and organizing all this stuff? What if I could redeem even part of that time and invest in relationships with my children, my husband, neighbors, friends, church family, or the Lord? Isn't that worth unloading some of the load for? I think so.
I also struggled with some doubts. We sold some big-ticket items like furniture that we aren't going to move with us. Sometimes I would think about those things and wonder if we should really donate all of the money...after all, we have a daughter who is planning to attend a really-excellent-but-not-cheap missionary training program this fall. Couldn't we keep some of the money to help pay those expenses? Wouldn't that be worthwhile, too?
The answer is yes, it would have been worthwhile. Yes, it would have been okay to keep some of the money for that or for any other good purpose, really. But the question I found myself asking, or maybe (probably) it was God asking me was, "Do I really believe that if I sell all of this stuff and give the money away now, that when Katie is ready to surrender her future to the Lord and seek a life of missionary service, that He won't provide the funds for her to do that?" I am ashamed to admit that my gut reaction to that question was not immediate and complete trust. I feel like I have to plan, to control, to secure my own future and the future of my family. And while we are to be wise, and we are to be good stewards, scripture clearly teaches that the Lord is our hope and our security. If we surrender to His will, He will meet our needs.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
~ Matthew 6:25-34
Over the last several years, I have sensed the Lord teaching me to live with open hands, to hold on to the things of this world loosely. Possessions come and go. Fortune comes and goes. Power, position and prestige will come and go. Even health will come and go. Chasing them is like chasing the wind.
People are forever. Souls are forever.
The souls of my family, my friends, my neighbors, and beautiful adolescent Haitian girls are forever.
These things are things I can hope to take to Heaven with me.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." ~ Matthew 6:19-20
I am so grateful and humbled that God called me on this adventure with Him. I am so thankful for all He is teaching me. I know there is so much more for me to learn, and I know that the lessons will not be easy.
I am also so thankful to the many people who gave generously. I continue to be amazed at how the Lord not only gave me a vision to get rid of my excess to bless others, but how He spread that vision throughout so many others in my church and family. It is encouraging to see the family of God come together in His service.
When two days of yard sales netted over $2900, I knew that only God could have accomplished such a result. However, He wasn't done yet. Over the weekend, a most incredible gift was given. A gift intended to complete the safehouse project.
Yes...you are reading this right. This little yard sale has raised $6000.
We built those girls a house!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20-21