This week, our family moved out of the house we have lived in for the last nine years. The short version of why is because we are about to be empty nesters and just could not justify staying in this big ‘ole house that is perfect for a family with three kids but way too big for just the two of us.
We’ve moved into an apartment while building a much smaller house that will be big enough for our kids (and hopefully one day grandkids) to come for a visit, but far too small for any of them to be tempted to move back in with us. We call it – the perfect size.
As we worked through our stuff, we realized we were much closer to an episode of “Hoarders” than we ever imagined. We found cancelled checks dating back to the early 80s. Oh my.
But, the whole week has been an amazing spiritual experience for me, personally. The overwhelming emotion as I walked through the house for the last time was gratitude – a deep realization of the ways God has blessed us in the years we lived in that house. And just before I closed the door for the last time, my son and I prayer-walked the empty rooms asking God to bless the family buying the house in the ways He blessed us.
One of the blessings in the last few days was learning the buyers’ oldest girl, now 10 years old, had started piano lessons, but did not have an instrument to practice on – only a small keyboard. It just so happened we had a small piano stored in the basement that we could leave in the house so she would have a piano to practice on. Music will fill these rooms after we are gone!
So, what are the lessons learned from Moving Day?
- We kept way too much stuff through the years. I would estimate that 90% of the stuff we said we should store turned out to be stuff that we gave away or threw away as we were downsizing. Why in the world did we keep it all?
- It is liberating to purge and reduce your possessions. I can’t tell you how freeing it feels to not have so much “stuff” to think about. We particularly enjoyed giving away a whole floor of furniture to a local ministry and a new missions house.
- The moving process is a great time to share the love of Christ with people. I was amazed how many opportunities we had to share a few simple words of witness with realtors, junk movers, neighbors, and more. We left a letter for the buyers that described Christ’s presence in this house and in our lives and how we prayed they would know His presence in this place, too. We’d never done that before, but it felt so right to do that for them.
- Marriage is one of the greatest blessings from God. Going through something like listing and selling your house, finding a new place to live, and moving just demonstrates how awesome it is to have a partner in life. Teresa was nothing less that amazing through this whole process. This helped me realize again just how great a blessing she is to our family (and me!) and makes me want to love her even better.
Later this year, our house will be ready, and we’ll move again. Between now and then, we’re going to try to get rid of even more stuff and continue pondering the lessons learned on moving day.
Director, LifeWay Worship