In recent years, Doug and I have realized just how much junk we tend to hang on to. When we bought our house in Horn Lake, MS, we really began to purge for the first time ever. We got rid of a lot of stuff. Then, when we moved to Monticello we purged again. And again when we moved across town just a few months ago. In between we have had smaller purgings. It has felt so good to just get rid of unnecessary baggage!
Even with purgings, though, there are always going to be a few things we hang on to. Some for sentimental reasons. Others for practical reasons. And very, very occasionally, we still hang on to things because of that “just in case” mentality.
Nine and a half years ago we moved to Dalton, GA. Dalton is a major carpet-making town. And, during our time in Dalton, we managed to accumulate some carpet items. I have no idea where we managed to get them, or why we even had them (we had no fireplace in Dalton), but when we moved from Dalton, we brought with us three carpet wood carriers. They are little sample sections of carpet, about the size of a small bathroom rug, with straps sewn into them. You conveniently stack several pieces of wood in the center of the piece of carpet, and then use the handles to lug around more than you might be able to carry in your arms alone.
When we moved from Dalton, we moved straight into seminary housing. An apartment with no fireplace. When we bought our house, we had a gas fireplace – we never used real wood in it. When we moved to Monticello, we had a fake fireplace that we could have stuck a light bulb into for some semblance of effect. So, for seven years we moved these three strips of carpet around with us, storing them under our couch at each new location. “Just in case.”
Now, for the first time ever, we have a fireplace. We are finally using these handy little contraptions that we have held on to for years, “just in case”. And, let me tell you…it was worth moving them for seven years!
I can look back over my life and see times when God has given me spiritual wood carriers that I just had to hang on to for years. There were times when I wondered, “Lord, why are You teaching me this lesson?” Other times it was, “Lord, why are You giving me a chance to learn this skill?” I think the most recent question has been, “Lord, why are You laying this burning passion in my heart when there is nothing I can do with it right now?”
In all of our moving around, I have never again encountered an inexpensive, simple wood carrier like these. In fact, now that we have a fireplace, I’m not sure we would even think to look for such a tool! Dalton was the perfect place to find them, and now we have the perfect opportunity to use them.
There are things that I can begin to acquire – lessons, skills, passions – that are open to me right now. The path God has for me might not be open to such opportunities when the need finally arises to have them. If I were to have more of the mind of Christ, I would realize that time is really irrelevant when it comes to lessons learned. A quick skim through His Word proves that!
My hope and prayer is that I will guard and keep the things God gives me for the time He desires to use them in me. That I will not cast them aside as useless. That I will not stuff them in a forgotten place where I cannot pull them out when needed. But, that I will hang on to them and wait – wait for Him to reveal their usefulness in His own beautiful time.