by Joy Martin, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
It's been a busy month at the Martin household. My husband Zach and I started talking about moving when Julie was around a year old. We thought it would be nice to live across town, closer to where Zach worked, and to have a little more room as the kids grew older. We threw around the idea, ran numbers, and considered what we'd have to do in order to get our house ready to put on the market. It was all just talk for a long time. And then one day, what feels like just a short time ago, we decided that the time was right. And now — well, now we're up to our eyeballs in boxes and packing tape.
Our talk has become reality, and last week we began what was to be the last week in our home of nearly eleven years. It's a bittersweet time for me — for both of us, really. I'm excited to start a new chapter in our lives — to meet new people and watch our kids make new friends. I'm looking forward to making our new house a home and settling into a new routine. But as fun as those things sound, I'm also sad to leave behind our neighborhood and home of almost eleven years.
I've shed more than a few tears over the past month. The crying started when we accepted an offer to purchase our house. That's the first time I let it sink in that someone else would be calling this place home. The crying continued as I began to sort through the storage room and pack up the kids' things. This house holds a lot of memories. Some of those memories are sad, but most are happy — finding out we were pregnant, bringing the kids home from the hospital, family celebrations and birthday parties, the first night we were able to watch TV in our newly finished basement, long talks on the back porch. Every corner of this house has a story to tell, and I'm going to miss it.
Zach and I spent every day packing up everything that we didn't absolutely need to use before we moved. And you know what? That included nearly everything we own. We had boxes and totes filled to the brim with all of our earthly possessions, and it's nothing we couldn't live without if push came to shove. Now, practically speaking, we would run into some logistical problems if we tried to live such a scaled-down life for very long, but I'm amazed at the amount of "useless junk" (as my mother-in-law would call it) that we've collected during our twelve years of marriage.
It's been said that whoever dies with the most toys, wins. That's perhaps a sad commentary on our culture, but the mentality is true for a lot of people, whether we want to believe it or not. We work so hard to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak, but at the end of the day, where does that get us? Nowhere!
This entire moving experience has been a good reminder for me about what's really important in life. I don't need a big entertainment center with dozens of movies to choose from to entertain me. My children don't need shelves lined with toys to keep them happy. We don't need an endless selection of clothes to choose from every morning or cupboards filled with every tasty treat imaginable to sustain ourselves.
The world may teach us to want more, bigger, and better, but that's not what God teaches. 1 John 2:15-17 says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
And in Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus says, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
And with all of that in mind, I have had a simple prayer during this move: Lord, as I find myself surrounded with my earthly possessions, help me to remember that my worth is not in them but in You!