For several months I had been feeling God encouraging me to walk out of my apartment at the end of my lease without knowing where I would go. In the previous blog, I went through several of the conversations, prayers and occurrences that happened for me that late summer, fall of 2014.
After I arrived home from a conference at my church in Tipp City, Ohio, the second weekend of November I felt God instruct me to begin moving out my large item furniture pieces. I felt challenged to let go of the beautiful bookcase that I had picked out just two years before, hauled into my previous apartment alone with great difficulty, and put together completely by myself on Christmas Eve of 2012. There were about 100 little screws in the back of the thing that I had put in one by one. But…it wouldn’t fit in my little coupe car and it wasn’t in the picture that God gave me of me pulling away with a picture, suitcase and some boxes!
I began sorting through things to give away, throw away and items that I wanted to gift to friends and family, never telling them the rest of the story. I gave the pottery bowls I loved so much to the beautiful and artistic Laney, lamps to my parents, my beloved red-coated, cast iron Dutch oven to my eldest brother, and so on. Mostly I just gave away and threw away, but I had massive amounts of STUFF. Although I had majorly started sorting and tossing in the spring of 2012 and continued to downsize through multiple moves in a short time I still had MUCH STUFF. I had filled up a small moving truck when I came into this apartment. I was paying for a garage to store extra stuff. God was also setting me free from STUFF in this step.
The 30th of November was the last day of my lease. The 30th was a Sunday and the Thursday before was Thanksgiving. I went to the feast with my family and never told one of my parents, brothers, sister-in-law, nieces or nephews what I was preparing to do. I only had a few days left and I still had too much left in my apartment, including my mattress and dresser. I had no means to take the mattress any where, and even though I was persuaded of what I was doing, I didn’t feel peaceful broadcasting it to everyone. I needed to keep my focus very much on God and I just wasn’t sure what to do about my bedroom furniture. So, at Thanksgiving I did ask two nephews over to help me the following day to take my mattress to the dumpster. I skirted questions from my nephews as to why I was taking my mattress to the dumpster.
Tossing the mattress was another reality check. What was I doing? “God, do you know how much mattresses cost?” I asked. My dad had just purchased that mattress for me brand new two years before. Oh my goodness. I literally asked God if he’d done this fathering thing before. That is no joke. I really was NOT happy about the mattress throwing away part. Seriously not excited about that aspect. Talking about trust and believing God and taking a leap of faith is all good and well, but walking it out and putting your mattress into the dumpster is another thing!
I don’t mean that there wasn’t possibly a better option for the mattress. I set it next to the dumpster in the hope that perhaps someone could use it.
We also took my older TV to the dumpster. I cringed as a shock ran through me when I witnessed one of my nephews cut the power cord from the TV. Ouch. Gone for realsies. Wow. That crazy, heavy, old big box TV that my father and I had nearly herniated ourselves trying to get upstairs to my old bedroom years before and he had told me the only way it was leaving was through the window. But then when I moved out a young, strong man carried it out as if it weren’t an issue. Whew. And it had moved three more times with me. But no more.
I also had a really gorgeous dresser that was also just 2 1/2 years old. I was going to take that to the dumpster also, but my nephews helped me place an ad online giving it away for free. God ended up using that in the most genius way. I got multiple immediate responses for the free dresser. I responded to the second person letting them know it was already gone. That person asked if there was anything else and I told him I had a microwave he could have. When I was arranging the time for the guy to come pick up the dresser the next day and the time for the guy to come pick up the microwave, I clearly heard the Lord guide me to have them come very close to each other. I honestly felt uncomfortable with that as the second guy was really pressing me for the dresser, even though I told him I had committed it to someone else.
Well, the first guy and I got the dresser down the stairs and into his truck when the second guy came for the microwave. Well, microwave guy was openly eyeing the dresser and saying how nice it was. Well, dresser guy, tightened down the cords to the dresser, placing one hand and arm over it possessively. Microwave dude’s blatant desire for the dresser seemed to motivate dresser guy. Maybe he thought there were more people coming for my goods. I mean, this other dude just walked away with a pretty sweet microwave. So dresser dude began asking what else I was giving away. I still had loads of stuff that hadn’t made it to give away or the dump – clothes, dishes, shower curtains, swanky, trendy waste baskets. Hey, I found some really cool-looking waste baskets!
This dude with a banged up leg began taking load after load of stuff to his pick up truck, stuffing every possible corner and crevice. He kept saying, I’ve got friends. For every new thing I found, he’d say, I’ve got friends. And to his credit – it was good stuff. Good clothes, good shower curtains, good dishes. And as he began hauling load after load of my stuff down the stairs I felt the genius laughter of the Holy Spirit tickling my insides as he showed me what he’d done. This guy was taking away all this stuff that I didn’t have the energy to take down those stairs and to some destination. I had been removing things from my apartment every day for two weeks and I was emotionally and physically wiped out. Up and down the stairs, again and again, he was free labor for me.
My home fellowship coordinators were out of town for the holiday weekend and had invited me to stay over if I wanted. This provided me a bed to sleep in Friday and Saturday after I threw my mattress away on Friday before my lease ended on Sunday.
Even with all that that guy took off of my hands and all the weeks of tossing and gifting, I still had a fair amount of STUFF. I felt like God was urging me to go to my friend’s house to rest on Saturday night, but I had a couple huge totes full of papers in my bedroom closet that I felt I just must sort through. There were papers in there that I had been dragging around for more than two years trying to sort and toss. It was full of paper and journals and so much this and that from many decades past. I wanted to go rest, but how could I realistically? I needed to clear out this paperwork and sort through it.
So, I chose to ignore the Holy Spirit’s tugging on me, it couldn’t really be him anyways, it was just me being lazy I thought. I went to my bedroom and the door had shut. My nephews had been helping me put the original handle back on the door the night before and it had been acting a little funny that day, sticking now and again. I went to open the door and it was locked. I kid you not. God told me to leave and I said no and I went to my bedroom-and-the-door-was-LOCKED!!! You can’t make this stuff up.
After I got over the horror and aghast I knew this was God. I know. I think everything is God. But really. That I seriously know was God. I know he was interceding and helping me go the rest I needed, but felt I couldn’t afford. I knew I would not get that door unlocked that night, and I also knew I would get it unlocked the next morning.
I chuckled to myself at God’s handiwork, and as I turned to head out I clearly heard the Lord say to me those papers in that closet were my “dead yesterdays.” Wow. I had never been able to successfully sort through these papers. They were super emotionally charged for me with many painful memories that left me broken down in tears or at the very least off-kilter and out of sorts every time I tried to work through them. God was releasing me from this. As I walked away I heard him say crystal clear, “Go in peace. Rest.”