This month I have discovered that transition isn’t for the faint of heart, sacrifice is a hollowing process and testing precedes the fulfillment of God’s promises. I have learned that I don’t give up easily and I will fight to the finish in the face of failure, as long as I know God is with me. As we scour through our possessions in preparation for our move to England, this is what I’ve learned in the process:
1) You really don’t need as many clothes as you think you do. You’ll discover that reality when you must reduce the volume from a walk-in closet to a small armoire in London.
2) The same truth applies to jewelry, shoes, hats, accessories, dishes, towels and table cloths. Ask me how I know that.
3) On my birthday, seated around the table at our favorite Mexican restaurant, my kids gave me the very best unintended gift. They Googled the Myers Brigg personality test and took it. Afterward, we all understood each other so much better.
4) I have thinkers in my house (two INTJ’s and one ENTP). This little tidbit offers vindication for my ENFP personality. I no longer feel wrong about expressing emotions or forgetting what I was saying during dinner conversation with my three rational thinkers. They’ll get over it.
5) You cannot make a major life transition without intercessors who speak into your desperation. They will be the lifeline for your hopelessness during the uncomfortable waiting season.
6) Blogging isn’t about statistics or platform building. This is a mirage, a distraction from the relationships God is arranging. Some of the very people who pray for me daily and believe in me with abandon are those I never even knew existed before I started blogging.
7) Intimate friendships are possible with people you’ve never met in person.
8) Remember those early years, when you were poor and hungry, collecting recipes for ground turkey and hamburger? Hold onto those treasures. You may revisit those a few decades later except now your children will eat them with you.
9) Apparently Hello Kitty isn’t a cat. Whatever.
10) There are places that willingly take all my unwanted stuff and repurpose it for someone who needs it. Thank you Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, the Fire Department and my church.
11) There are places that willingly take all my unwanted possessions, sell them and then give me half of the profit. Thank you Once Upon a Child and all the local consignment stores that send us little checks every month. We are grateful we don’t have to host yard sales.
12) We have too much stuff. Refer to #9 and #10.
13) Sending your first-born to college while at the same time planning a move across the Atlantic may seem crazy and unconventional until you actually step into the adventure and watch God orchestrate the details.
14) The rhythm of Sabbath will save you during hard seasons. Rest is tangible in the embrace of community.
15) Waiting is hard but worth it.
What did you learn this month?
I love this whole list. Yes!!
It’s easier to cheer you on than be the one going through it….not sure I’d be holding out nearly as well as you two are doing…. will keep on with #5 😉
You might just surprise yourself Mary. I think you’d be stronger than you think. I’m grateful you are holding me up with your prayers when I feel limp.
What a list! yes I am praying for you daily, Shelly and can’t wait to hear about your adventure in England. What lessons you have already learned. I learned this month or should say relearned once again the importance of listening to that still voice inside. That is the true guide. the voice of my heart, not the many bossy voices in my head. crazy? probably but works for me.. love your blog!
Jean, I am so touched knowing that you are praying for me daily. Thank you so much, I’m honored. I know it is the prayers of the saints that are keeping me standing sturdy through the waiting season. And I’m not sure what I would do without that still small voice of reassurance.
I love the point on friendship despite never having met ( but praying about England as you know).
I have learned, am still learning about my expectations of people, family included. It’s been that kind of month. So along with this statement, I am learning what friendship really looks like.
I am grateful for your writing, your candid honesty and your prayers.
Celeste, I always love seeing you here. Keep me posted about England. Keeping my selfish fingers crossed and praying God’s best for your family.
I always love your Things I Have Learned List–so much fun–a way of neatly summarizing life in a nutshell, but one with meaning. Tell me about the clothes. I pared those down long ago and have some standard outfits. Dark jeans are great. You can pair anything with them (and they make you look slim). Also you can change a whole look just by changing a scarf. I LOVE scarves. And jewelry? Here, too, I pared down long ago. I only use one pair of classy pearl earrings trimmed in gold, wear my wedding rings and a couple other rings I switch out on my left index finger (and this saves on attending all those jewelry parties, which saves on time and makes more time for rest :-). #’s 6 & 7? I’m teary. I would have never met you had you not been blogging. And I would add (for me) that God sovereignly oversees all meetings and connections. He’s our Divine Networker (I love calling Him that)! And He directs our steps. I didn’t know a blogging soul until I Googled “Christian Journaling” several years ago and discovered Ann Voskamp’s blog. I’d never heard of her. And I tried Googling that term again and never again found her. I was meant just that once to discover her on a topic she hardly ever writes about. But God wanted me to read her blog (not just to discover her sweet soul and eloquent writing), but I thnk mostly to discover you and other lovely knew blogging friends. God guides intricately!!!! Add that to your #s 15 & 16. He i s guiding and orchestrating every step you take, Shelly, and it will be worth the wait!
I’m soooooooo sleepy, so I hope I am making sense.
I realize that I wear a small handful of things in my closet over and over and again, while keeping a lot of things for just in case. And just in case never really happens, they just take up precious space. But also, we’re moving to another climate entirely, which makes sorting out a bit easier. And yes, I’m so grateful that Ann’s blog connected us. It also connected me with lots of writers I never knew existed. I’m so thankful, my life is richer for it.
I always love your lists! Number 5- yes- God’s heart for all of us. And number 6- learning this one. It’s like swimming upstream in against a current that is always whispering “build it and they will come.”
Love the way you see the world.
Love seeing you here Lori. Swimming upstream is a good way to say it. And really, for me, the longer I blog, the less I care about all the numbers and the more I care about the people. It’s really what He intended all along I think. Glad we found each other.
Hello Kitty not being a cat has really screwed with me – might need some counseling for that! I guess she’s got PCOS like me and has a few “whiskers” from that 😉 The more I get into my grad school studies the more I realize that I don’t know enough and probably won’t ever know enough and that I’m just tired. Right now I’m in a spot where the moms at church can’t understand me and I can’t understand them and it’s okay to walk a different path for a bit. They’ll catch up to my early menopause, pre-empty nest preparation syndrome, and boredom of mommy bible studies soon enough.
I was just thinking the other day that the longer I’m a Christian, the less I really know. Your comment reminded me of that. And I can relate to feeling like an alien in small groups at church. I’ve felt that way for the entire 11 years I’ve lived in the South. And it that doesn’t seem to change as much as I would like it.
I have lived in Georgia my whole life. Some day I will travel.
Such good lessons, Shelly. HARD, but good. Praying for you when your face floats past my mind’s eye, waiting with you for the resolution that is coming. SOON, please, Lord.
Resolution is now becoming my most coveted word . . . for so many reasons. Thanks for praying Diana.
Watching kids for a week this summer, I learned that I can still get kids excited about nature — and I enjoy it as much as they do– feeding birds/turtles, petting sting rays at the Science Center, looking at the Bald Eagles and hawks in the bird rehab center… We had a great time! and yes Shelly I pray for you daily.
Janet, I’m honored that you pray for me daily. Wow. There have been several saying that in this thread and it humbles me, truly. Your little outing with those kids sounds so fun, for you too. *wink*
Such beautiful lessons. I agree regarding blog friendships – there are so many generous, prayerful, supportive women in the blogging community. We are not moving to England (or anywhere else that I know of…) but have been scaling back, getting rid of some of the “extra” over the past year or so and it has felt so good.
It does feel good to let go of the excess doesn’t it Mindy? But truthfully, I’ve let go of a lot of things that brought tears as I watched them drive away. It’s good to know how attached we can get to possessions without even realizing it. The reality is that a lot of things carry memories that won’t be revisited in their absence. I think that is where the grief comes. Thanks for visiting, haven’t connected with you in awhile and it is lovely to see you here.
Please keep these monthly lists coming. You provide wisdom, affirmation, and humor that many of us (proven by the comments below) appreciate. Especially appreciated #5 as I thought back to some difficult transitions our family endured. Indeed: if it weren’t for the support of prayerful friends, we probably would have melted into despair.
What did I learn in August? That present moments are more important than future dreams. Choices I make right now to please my Heavenly Father are more valuable than wishful thinking about what He may provide in the future.
Staying present in the moment is a good life lesson for me too right now Nancy. While I am so focused on the future unknowns I am finding it difficult to be present some days. But I’m aware and working on it. Thanks for the reminder.