Friday, April 4, 2014

Behold, I make all things new!

Moving from a house I'd lived in for over 20 years wasn't easy for me especially since we were moving to a much smaller place. When my husband told me that it was time to downsize, I felt fear suddenly rising up inside my heart. Little did he know that I'd grown quite comfortable and secure in our current home. I knew every inch of that house inside and out. I knew which door was opened or closed by the specific squeak it made; I knew where someone was in the house by the sound of the floor boards creaking beneath their feet...yes, I knew every inch of this house so well, that I could easily walk through it with my eyes closed. How was I going to pick up and move over 20 years of memories and familiar things in less than a month?

I was determined to be obedient. The Bible tells me that I am to submit to my husband and so, I submitted my will to stay to his will to leave. I began packing one room at a time and ask I packed, I cried. I cried because I was leaving the home I loved so dearly. I cried because I wasn't quite ready to move away from all of my family. I cried because I was afraid to journey into parts unknown (even though the city we were moving to was just over an hour away from our current location).

As I packed, I knew I wasn't going to be able to take a lot of the material possessions we'd accumulated over the years. Our new home was much smaller. I decided to make three to keep, one to donate/give away, and one to throw away. Each item would fall into one of the three categories and would help me select the things that I really wanted to take with me to our new house. Starting out was hard! As I came to an item, I asked myself which one of the three categories it fell into and at first, I didn't want to get rid of a thing! But as I continued, it became easier to purge. I looked at things that I'd loved for years and thought to myself, do I really need that anymore? 9 times out of 10, I could answer NO.

I think I surprised myself at the number of boxes I'd set aside to donate or give away. Even my husband commented on how many things were in that pile. "Are you sure," he said, and emphatically, I answered, "yes!" It was getting easier and easier as I continued. I could hear my grandmother's voice in the back of my mind saying, "honey, you know, less is more!"

When we arrived at the new house with all the boxes I'd packed. I was shocked! With all the things I'd gotten rid of, how could I still have this many?! Every room in our new house was filled to the brim with box upon box. As I began unpacking, I began a second purge and lo, and behold, I was able to get rid of even more.

As I went through each box, I no longer cried. I suddenly felt a freedom! I was feeling much lighter! God was removing my desire to hold onto the old things and was creating a desire in me for new things. Now I don't mean that in a strictly material sense because I'm not a materialistic person at all, so please don't misunderstand...God had blessed us with a brand new house and yes, it was much smaller, but we didn't need a huge house any more. All the kids were grown and it was just the two of us.

Our home was brand spanking new...everything glittered and gleamed with the newness! And as I unpacked, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of not wanting to put things that reminded me of my old life in this new house. Suddenly a verse of Scripture popped into my mind! "...Behold, I make all things new...." Revelation 21:5. Now I know that God intended that verse to help us comprehend the new work that He was doing in the lives of believers, but it was as if He was saying, it's okay. I understand how you are have a new home and you don't want to put old things in it because this is a new start...a new beginning.

It really was a new beginning for my husband and I! When we'd married over 21 years ago, I already had 4 children and a home. My husband walked into a "ready made" family and instantly became a father. For 21 years, we had never been in that home alone. There was always someone there with us...children, grandchildren or friends. The realization that it was going to finally be just the two of us hit me square between the eyes and scared me to death. I don't know why, but it did! All I'd ever done for since I was 18 was be a mother. Being a wife always came last.

They say hindsight is 20/20 and that's very true! As I look back, I know that being a wife should have come first and being a mother and grandmother should have come after that. Blending families is always a hard thing to do and sometimes you just have to "make it work" in any way you can. That's exactly what we did...we made it work. But now God was impressing on my heart that it was time for my focus to shift. It was time for me to be a wife first and be a mother and grandmother second. This is where the fear crept in. I didn't quite know how to be a wife first.

Most of our boxes are unpacked now and we're beginning to settle into our new home. I'm slowly but surely learning how to be a wife first as my husband and I are able to sit down and talk without interruption...we're able to go out to dinner and enjoy each other's company...we're finding that God indeed is making all things new! Can you have a honeymoon after 21 years of marriage? I think you can when you allow God to show you that He has ordained this time. He is restoring the years we devoted to the kids and giving us this season to just enjoy each other.

You'd have to know me to understand how difficult it is for me to shift my focus from being a full time mother to being a full time wife. My children have been my world for so long that I can't remember a time when I wasn't a mother. Now instead of dinner conversations being interrupted by an excited child, the phone will ring and one of the kids will tell us about their day. It's not quite the same as it used to's different and new. Where the house was once full of activity and noise, now it's extremely quiet. This will definitely take some getting used to, but I think I may learn to like it! God continues to remind me that He is making ALL things my heart, in my mind, in my soul. I know that He wants to teach me to be an excellent wife and though my children aren't close by any longer, I'll always be a mother. I'll always drop what I'm doing to answer that phone call and hear one of their sweet voices on the other end of the line. My husband knows that it's going to take some time for me to learn to put him first, but he's seen evidence that I am really trying.

As I unpack the last box today, I am amazed to find our wedding album. How appropriate, God! You always amaze me! I hear His voice reminding me of our wedding vows and how that special day 23 years ago was filled with excitement and newness. Looking around at my new house, I realize that I'm going to have to learn the sounds of it....learn to walk through it with my eyes closed....learn every nook and cranny...and I will...with time. "Behold, I am making all things new..." says the Lord. He is! He is giving me a new perspective! A new joy! A new outlook on life! Thank you, God, for loving me despite my short comings and my downfalls. Thank you for loving me through the silliness of tears for what once was in the past. Thank you for being willing to teach me to be a good wife and for allowing me to start fresh and new.

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