“Encouraging Words Today” February 15, 2011
A MOVING STORY
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Okay, I’ll just start by confessing to all my friends who have moved recently… “I’m so sorry I didn’t pray enough for you!!” Now I realize something that I had conveniently forgotten since my last move 21 years ago: Moving is HARD!!!! Even when it’s a Good Thing. Mike and I chose to simplify and downsize dramatically at this season in our lives. God even led us to a delightful 1940’s house in the same community. But then the hard work began…
Opening drawers and closets and looking under beds and in basement corners; and knowing that it all had to be removed. Discovering 20 years (and 4 kids’) worth of “stuff” nestled in every nook and cranny of a 4-level colonial parsonage. The hardest part was the decision-making. Save? Throw away? Give away? In the end, we got rid of much more than half — even that we once considered ‘irreplaceable treasures.’
I’ll be honest. This process was exhausting! Emotionally. Physically. Mentally. There were so many times I felt overwhelmed and seriously doubted we could actually do this. But twenty years ago when we moved into the parsonage and christened it “Gracehaven,” we claimed this verse: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12.9)
And God’s Grace was still abundantly present. As I purged and packed I deliberately recounted God’s Faithfulness in helping all 6 of us grow in grace through all the ups and downs of life in that home. On the day we moved, the thermometer showed a high of 8 degrees. The snow tunnels in driveways and walkways were already 3 feet high, and I said my goodbyes to “Gracehaven” with a tearful moment in each child’s empty room.
Now you know why this is my first blog in about two months (well, I also had a book deadline just before the move…). We’ve been in our new place about 3 weeks now and boxes are getting unpacked, pictures hung and a sense of coziness, serenity and ‘home’ is gradually filling these once-empty rooms. Yet we are seriously seeking to steer away from “clutter,” as we’ve seen how it can clog our souls as well as our living spaces.
In the midst of all this, my bff Maggie, sent me a new book “Unstuff” by Hayley and Michael DiMarco. Their answer to the question How do you know when you have too much stuff? “When the stuff comes between us and God. Whether we like it or not, stuff has the tendency to occupy our minds. It gets us worked up, distracted, and focused on anything other than God. It demands our wallets, our clocks, and often requires our devoted worry and stress. The accumulation of stuff and the preservation of it can run us ragged.”
We choose to live differently. It’s good to begin 2011 with fresh dreams as well as fresh paint. So far, during these weeks of the Worst Winter in recent New England history, God has chosen to SHINE on us in this bright cottage situated sideways on the edge of a ridge. Yesterday our daily Psalter clearly presented us with this verse to claim for our new home:
“May God be Merciful and Gracious to us, and cause His face to Shine upon us and among us.” Psalm 67.1
And then the name came to us just as serendipitously —-
Alas, for a season, I shall sojourn in the bright light of God’s grace and mercy — even when the inevitable storms and clouds appear — at “Sunnyside.” And if you drive by, you may just hear me singing with June Carter Cash… “Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, keep on the Sunny Side of Life!”
under the mercy, Cindy
©2011 Lucinda Secrest McDowell