Sorting my life

In preparation for this upcoming move (countdown: 5 days), I have been doing a lot of sorting and purging. Downsizing from a 2 bedroom apartment to one room in the basement and a storage unit down the street causes one to re-evaluate absolutely everything you own. Will it fit in the bedroom? Is it worth paying every month to store? When was the last time I wore this shirt or these pants? Why do I own _______? Where did ________ even come from? How necessary is ______ for my survival? Will I regret getting rid of _______ in 2 months, 1 year, 5 years?

And so began the piles, which then moved to boxes, or to the back of my car for a trip down the road to Goodwill. There is the “home” pile, the “storage” pile, the “Goodwill” pile, the “sell on Craig’s List” pile, the “throw-it-away” pile and finally, the “I have no idea pile” (I have a feeling most of this last collection is going to end up with Gaby, my neighbor).

As a side note, let me just tell you that I have learned a lot about selling possessions on Craig’s List. Pictures are vital. Always list it for more than you actually want for it so you can haggle. Be honest about the condition it is in – don’t sugarcoat it, or under emphasize its qualities. Give a phone number for people to text you (so many more responses than just the email…the difference was astonishing). And don’t always settle for the person who will take it off your hands for a much lower price. Chances are, someone will come along who wants it and will take it for closer to what you are asking!

Anyway, I digress. Back to my myriad of deep questions on the nature of possessions and their longevity in my life. Some items are no brainers. My 100+ year old Japanese Tonsu that was a birth gift will always be in the “home” pile, as will my antique iron bed that I have had since I was 6. Since Alexandre Dumas is my favorite author, my 9-volume collected works of his will also not be going anywhere anytime soon. The hope chest, tea set, pictures, china, photo albums and scrapbooks, gifts and keepsakes – those are the things that I consider worth storing and keeping for the long haul, no matter where life takes me.

But then there are things that make me stop and wonder where exactly my brain was when I put it in a box and carted it out here in the first place, and other things that make me laugh out loud.

For example:

  • An entire accordion file folder full of paperwork, maps, brochures and notes from my college Freshman year orientation weekend. Um, that was 9 YEARS ago. Pretty sure I am never going to need any of that information again.
  • The plaster molds of my jaw/teeth from my massive jaw surgery in 2003 (also, 9 years ago, just in case you were wondering), and yes, those went straight into the trash can
  • Hundreds of cards/notes from friends and family sent throughout the past 26 years, most of which were just signed “love, so&so”. I do still keep most cards that have substance written in them, though…
  • An entire jewelry box of mis-matched earrings that have been lost or broken over the years
  • My old AWANA notebooks
  • All of my summer mission trip support raising data, including every envelope sent by my fabulous ministry partners…from 2002-present.

What I have learned through this process is that I am really good at saving things (AKA a pack-rat…a condition that runs rampant in my family – at least I come by it honestly), especially if they have the remotest possible sentimental value. And that means that I am terrible at getting rid of anything that might be useful someday or to someone or just because I like it. But, necessity is a fabulous motivator, and I am learning as I sort and purge how to un-tie my heart where needed and re-evaluate the priority I place on my possessions.

Scaling down is surprisingly quite freeing, causing me to feel more mobile and less encumbered without all of this random stuff that I don’t actually need to survive. Although, some items aren’t a need, rather just an added joy or a blessing in my life, and I will keep those because they do mean something special to me. So as the piles begin to dwindle, the questions continue, and the answers hopefully come more easily. Keep. Go. Throw. Store. Give. Sell. Sleep. Repeat.

Why I am Terricited (and what that even means)

Everything is about to change. Except Jesus. Thankfully, He always remains the same. I’ve been singing the hymn “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness” in my head for the past two days. And that is so true. My hope and my confidence are in Christ alone.

I start off that way because the rest of my life at this moment is in a state of chaos and transition, with very little solid ground to stand upon. Most of the upheaval is exciting, although part of it is absolutely terrifying, and a tiny bit of it is sad. In other words, I am terricited – both terrified and excited all at the same time. I made that word up the other day…feel free to use it as you have need of it. 😉 One year ago, if you had told me this change was going to happen, I probably would have laughed. But now it is real, and really happening. And I am learning that reality is my friend, and to embrace it.

What are these changes, you ask? Well, it all starts about 10 years ago, when I went to Ukraine for the first time and fell in love with a group of unkempt, lost, lonely children living on the street, desperately in need of love, a home, and the gospel. My heart was captured, and since that time I have wanted to work with orphans overseas. For a variety of reasons that I won’t get into right now (feel free to ask me about it though – would love to share!) the Lord has led me instead on a windy path that has moved me from Charleston, SC, to Berlin, Germany and then to Indianapolis, IN, all the time working with university students.

And I have loved it. Serving on staff with Cru for the past five years has been incredibly enriching, challenging, fun, growth-filled, sanctifying, humbling, stretching, delightful and hilarious. It is an adventure that I would not trade, and I am so thankful for the community and growth that came through being a part of this ministry, and the experience of seeing God actively working in the lives of men and women around the world as His gospel goes forth.

But now a new set of children have captured my heart, this time in Southeast Asia. And so, with some sadness, a little bit of terror, and a lot of excitement, I am saying farewell to Cru and pursuing going to this new, unknown place to love on and serve a group of orphans. The Lord is answering a desire of my heart that I have been praying about for a decade, and I am running after it until He closes the door or leads me otherwise!

There are still so, so many things to work out with this new opportunity (hence the bit of terror). So many unanswered questions. For example: How am I going to get there? And who is going to come with me? (Would you like to come with me? I am now accepting applications for a teammate who is fantastic, adventurous, and loves Jesus. I joke. But really. Let me know. We’ll talk). And when am I going to go? And what will my role look like? And am I crazy? (don’t worry – I already know the answer to that one).

What I do know is that there is One who sees everything, all at once, and I can rest knowing that He knows. He knows the answer to every question I have, and as I continue faithfully walking with Him all things will be revealed. It might end up looking completely different than what I anticipate. I haven’t done so well in the past holding my dreams and desires with an open hand, but I am learning. And this time, I am open to whatever the Lord wants this new adventure to look like.

In the meantime, I am moving back to Northern Virginia to spend some quality time with the family & enjoy my new nephew, start learning the language of the place I am going, transition to a new ministry, love Jesus, embrace community and continue growing and learning to love people well. I will also be learning to embrace the chaos, and maybe, just maybe, even enjoy it.

Lasts

In the midst of my transitioning, packing, purging and getting ready to move, I have started paying attention to my “lasts” here in Indy. With only 7 days total left in the city I am trying to cram in a lot – seeing people one more time, visiting favorite restaurants and places, doing things on my bucket list (most of those are not getting done, however) and at the same time actually getting everything packed and ready to go. Some “lasts” I have been well aware of, and others have crept up on me. Well today, one of them lept up and smacked me right in the face.

On the way to church this morning I was thinking through my schedule the next few weeks, and came to the realization that with family vacation and then moving, today was my final Sunday at College Park Church. Strange, really, that I hadn’t made that realization earlier, but it made today’s service much more poignant and sweet.

I started attending CPC in August of 2010, in the midst of one of the most spiritually and emotionally difficult seasons of my life thus far. Over the past two years the Lord has used this community of Christ-followers to bring healing, hope, and His grace and love in abundance in my heart. There is much from this group that I am going to miss, including my small group and the fantastic preaching and worship. I have learned so much sitting under the teaching of Pastor Mark, and am thankful that modern technology will allow me to continue learning from him in the future as I leave Indianapolis.

Speaking of his teaching, we are currently doing an excellent series on the Mortification (or, Putting to Death) of Sin in our lives, and today’s sermon was one of the best I have heard on this subject in a long time. I encourage you to listen to it here. You can also read the transcript of it, which is another great option. It is both challenging and encouraging; convicting and hopeful. Enjoy. 

Thankful Thursday: August 9th

So much to be thankful for today! But, the top 5, in no particular order, are:

1. 5 years on staff with Cru! A certificate of appreciation came in the mail the other day, and although hard to believe it has been 5 years already, I am so thankful for each one of them. The Lord has grown and sanctified me so much through being on staff with this organization, and I love being a part of it. As my time with Cru comes to a close, I am thankful for the joys, the trials and the amazing experience this has been.

5 years on staff with Cru!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. My dad! Today is his birthday, and I am so thankful for him! He is my hero, and I love him. He models so well for me and others what it looks like to love the Lord first, to lead our family well, to love others, to sacrifice his time, and is one of the most supportive and encouraging people I know. Happy Birthday dad!

3. Craig’s List. As I am downsizing my apartment and getting rid of many, many things, this site has been so helpful! Love how easy it is to use.

4. Cortland. He’s my hairdresser, and he is awesome. I’m thankful for him as I go today for my final haircut before moving!

5. Winston. He’s my car, and I am thankful to have a reliable, safe, fun vehicle to get me to various points. We’ve had many an adventure together, and at over 130,000 miles, he is still going strong!