We walked through our "new" apartment yesterday evening, and I have to say, I'm pretty excited! Yes, it is small (we could probably fit the entire thing in the downstairs of our previous home) but it will be our space ~ and that will feel SO good after living in my parents home, with nearly all we own in storage, over these last seven months! Don't get me wrong - I am very grateful to my parents, for their hospitality, for allowing our family of six to live under their roof. They've been a blessing to us, more than they'll probably ever know. But these kids need their own space, and I need my own space!
As I've shared before, my husband is a pastor, and now a church planter. We've always had a gut feeling that God would lead us to church planting, I guess I just thought that would happen later in our lives, and I never thought that it would lead us back to Ohio! About two years ago we knew this was the direction we would be taking though, and about one year ago we knew the time was quickly approaching. Leaving our church and home in Pennsylvania last fall was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
As we packed up that house, we thought we were doing good at downsizing our things. We had a yard sale, sorted through things, tossed broken toys, gave things to charity. But then we started to load the truck. And I started panicking! I gave away a LOT of stuff that night, out of fear that it wouldn't all fit. The husband wasn't as concerned as I was, and he kept shaking his head at me as I gave stuff away to those helping us! BUT that truck was crammed full when we moved and I bet a lot of what I gave away would not have fit easily, if at all! So, with the truck packed, and my van full as well, we left Pennsylvania and started on this new journey.
I never thought we would move into my parents house, not ever. When we first moved back to Ohio we rented a storage unit with the idea that we would only have our things in storage for a matter of weeks - 2 months tops! Here we still are though, 7 months later! At first we waited because we thought maybe we would buy instead of rent. Then we waited because it became clear that the job the husband had was not going to sustain us. Honestly though, it's all a matter of God's timing and not our own. I see it all coming full circle now ~ the timing of the husband's new job, the paperwork process for the North American Missions Board and SBC is finally wrapping up (which will provide funding for the new church plant, including a pastor's housing allowance), our school year is drawing to a close (which will give me the time I need to slowly unpack and evaluate our surplus of things), and I've experienced shifts in my perspective that may not have happened without this time of waiting.
We've lived 7 months without most of our material things.
Which leads me to wonder: Do we really need all of those things?
Are we storing up our treasures here, in things that are only temporary? (Maybe moths and rust will have set in while we had it all in storage, making it easier to part with!)
I've always considered myself frugal , maybe not as frugal as some, but I'm careful with how much I spend on food and necessities, I reuse what can be reused, and so on. But, I've learned how to stretch a dollar a little more during this time of waiting. I've cut things that we may have once thought of as necessary, learning that we really don't need them after all. Simplifying doesn't just mean reducing the amount of stuff we have, but it also means reducing the amount of stuff we consume and reducing the amount of money we spend. I plan to focus on all of these things, the latter being an ongoing lifestyle change.
But where will I begin?!
Clearly one of the first things on my "To Do List" will be downsizing our material possessions. I am SO excited about this! I can't wait to open those boxes and see what all we have. I think it will be a little like Christmas morning, no doubt I have forgotten some of those things! It could get dangerous though. I mean, what if I open a box and it is full of things that I can do without, but I just don't want to? Being selective will be important. Then comes the problem of clutter, or more specifically, paper clutter. Boy oh boy, do I dislike paper clutter. Even in the small space we have here at my parents house, we have paper clutter. I hope my paper shredder can handle all that is to come!
How do I plan to tackle these first things? Well, getting the husband and children on board will be important. We're all going to have to be selective, and we're all going to have to make sure we aren't holding on to things unnecessarily. As of right now, everyone seems to be gung-ho over this idea, but we'll see how things go when it's time to follow through! My plan also involves this blog. Expect pics. Lots of pics - of all the stuff. I may even need your help deciding what to keep!
I'll probably be posting less once we start moving next week, and even less for the first week or two after the move (as we await internet!) So if I go several days, or even a week ~ *GASP!*, without sharing on here, fear not! I will return - with probably a LOT to say!