6 more months. Seeing it typed out that like makes it seem a lot shorter than it already does. 6 months, why, that’s just a passing breeze….I can hardly wrap my mind around it really. It seems like there’s still so much to do here and still so much that has to be worked out in Kauai, that it can really be overwhelming sometimes. God has been teaching me so much about Himself and showing me so much about myself through this whole process; I think that’s been the most unexpected and blessed part of this whole thing.
We went back and forth about whether we should ship a lot of our household goods out to Kauai or if we should just sell them here in NC. After a lot of conversations and some working of numbers, we realized that it just made more financial sense to sell as much as we could before going out. I knew from the get go that we would need to do a lot of pairing down of possessions before the move, but I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the prospect of really starting over with nothing. To be honest, I thought that I wasn’t attached to many of our material belongings, but as item after item goes out the door into (usually) strangers hands, I have realized that the things that I thought meant little to me actually meant quite the opposite.
We’ve been actively selling off our belongings for the last 6 months or so, but as the time to move starts getting closer, I am looking around my house and it looks nothing like it did a year ago. Decorating, design, and DIY fun are three of my favorite things to do. When we moved into this house 5 years ago, we had so many fun ideas for how we wanted to decorate and what we wanted it to look like. We poured a lot of time and money into creating a comfortable and cute place to call our own, and, to be honest, I took a lot of pride in our home. People were always commenting on how adorable it was and it made me feel good to know that our house was seen as a “cute little bungalow” by the river. Looking back on that time, I so clearly see that instead of seeing our home as a tool that God could use to reach out to others, I was seeing it as a palate to display my own creativity and as a outlet to stoke a flame of pride that burned hot inside of me.
The Bean house is looking pretty stark these days. The family room is empty, the dining room walls are bare, my bed is on the floor, and the shower is rocking’ a sheer white liner as a curtain. My sewing supplies are stuffed in a corner of Avenlea’s closet, and even the kids toys are starting getting down to only the ones they play with every day. As I look around the room that once brought me a sense of coziness and comfort, I honestly just feel a little bummed. It’s all utility these days, and even utility has started to be replaced with necessity. To say that it’s been a humbling thing to live like this would be an understatement. It’s been a really wild ride with God as I have had to let go of my desire to impress others with my home.
I think the craziest thing about this whole faith journey thus far has been all the unexpected lessons God has had to teach me before we ever take the physical step of leaving the military and moving to the South Pacific. I thought that the actual step of moving to Kauai would be the genesis of all this change, but I have come to realize that the steps leading to the move are actually where God is doing all the ground work. Had it been possible for us to pack up and leave a year ago, I shutter to think of where we would be now. I was so unprepared for the amount of soul and heart change that was going to need to happen for us to be able to do this. It’s embarrassingly hard and humbling to live in this half-furnished, cluttered house, but I know that dying to that part of me that feels pride in having a “cute” home was and is something that has to go. It is very likely that we will be living super small scale in Hawaii, at least for a time, and I know I would have been totally unwilling to live with less in the place I was a year ago. Not that i’m 100% stoked about it today, but God has really helped me to see my pride for what it was and, by His grace, He has helped me to let it go.
We had a potential buyer come by yesterday to look at the house, and it was so strange to walk her around the place and to really think about the fact that, in all likelihood, we will be out of this place in the next few months. This home has been so many things to us….our first home purchase, a place to raise our babies and host small groups and birthday parties, a place where we have come to know every squeaky 100 year old floor board and hard-to-open window. It is so surreal to really process what is going to be like to leave all of this behind.
The thought of returning to 1 or 2-bedroom apartment life seems like a step backwards sometimes, but I am so confident that God is calling us to a new way of life, so when I get grumpy thinking about letting go of all this “stuff,” I just remind myself that that’s really all it is…..STUFF. It’s not going to last. None of it. When Jesus told us during the sermon on the mount to, “…store up treasures in heaven” (Mat. 6:20), I think He was serious. All the stuff we allow ourselves to become burdened with here on Earth has great potential to distract us from the calling God has placed on our lives. I used to wonder sometimes what God was talking about when he used the worlds “heavenly treasure.” You see, there’s only ONE thing that we can collect on Earth that we are going to be able to rejoice over in heaven…..lives. Souls. People. That’s what we are here for, to do the will of God and share the gospel so lives can be transformed.
Can God’s will still be accomplished in a comfortable, cutely decorated house with pinterest projects in every room- yep, definitely! Right now, though, for me, it’s another thing that’s got to be laid down to follow His call. I certainly hope that there will be a day where I get to enjoy the fun that comes with decorating a home, but I know my heart’s going to be in a different place next time around. Until then, I’ll let Him keep refining and I’ll keep obeying, even when it means I have to sell that adorable robin’s egg blue dining room table that I begged my husband for…..