The past couple of weeks have been about purging – getting rid of all the stuff we won’t be able to take with us to Japan. Since we are taking mostly our essentials, we are getting rid of most of our belongings.
This process has had its challenges. I will share three scenarios from the past week:
Scenario I: The other day, I had organized our girls’ toys in multiple bins to sell or donate. I made the mistake of leaving them in the living room in plain sight while the girls were home before moving them into the garage. The girls saw the bins and started asking, “What’s that? What are you doing with my toy house? What are you doing with my animal train? What are you doing with my doll?”
I explained that since we are moving to Japan, we cannot take everything with us. We can only take a few things. They promptly responded, “But I want to keep all my toys.”
I felt bad for them. I tried to comfort them and began to say that we may be getting rid of these toys now but in Japan they will get new and better toys.
But I stopped myself…because I realized that that wasn’t the right answer. I was offering them temporal comforts and not addressing the root issue that tugged at their hearts: the love of material things. Don’t get me wrong – we should enjoy the material blessings the Lord has given us. But rather than teaching that these material things can merely be replaced, I needed to teach them that these things should never be a source of comfort, security, or self-worth. Only God is the source of all those things. So I tried to explain this to them, but I admit it was hard, especially to a 3 year-old and a 5 year-old, and especially because as an adult, I struggle with the very same thing all the time. But I tried!
Scenario II: As I mentioned, I started to sell some of their larger toys. After the bins incident described above, I now sell or donate these items when the girls are not home. But the other day, for several reasons, I had to meet a buyer while Mikayla was with me. We were both in the garage to meet the buyer, who was interested in several items, including Mikayla’s red tricycle. As Mikayla realized what was happening, and as the woman was loading the tricycle into her car, Mikayla started crying, “I want my red tricycle! I want my red tricycle! I want my red tricycle!”
I said an awkward goodbye to the buyer, and I carried/dragged a crying/screaming Mikayla back home. I tried to comfort her, reminding her that we can’t take the tricycle to Japan.
I remembered the importance of teaching that God, not our possessions, is the source of all our comforts and was preparing to talk about that some more with Mikayla. But as I saw her face, full of genuine sadness, tears streaming, displaying her utter heartbrokenness…I just held her close and cried with her. I admit, I bawled.
I cried because I understood exactly how she felt. It’s hard for me as an adult (one who knows and reminds herself that her true comfort is in God, and yet still forgets) to let go of my possessions. How much harder is it for a 3 year-old? The Lord gave her a mommy to comfort her. We sat together for a while, hugging and crying in our shared sadness.
Scenario III: After I told Aliya that we can’t take all our toys to Japan, she has been asking everyday, “Mommy, can I take this pen to Japan?”; “Mommy, can I take this piece of paper to Japan?”; “Mommy, can I take this hair band to Japan?”; etc.
I think she will be saying that for the next two weeks before we move out of Irvine! 🙂
We ask for your prayers as we prepare for our move, that the Lord will 1) increase our faith and comfort our hearts; 2) remind us that our earthly home is temporary and help us to hold loosely to our possessions; 3) help our family be excited to be missionaries in a new country and culture; and 4) give us wisdom and strength in all the tasks we have to do in next 2 weeks.
Thanks for reading,
Fundraising update: We are at 94% of our fundraising goals – we are grateful for our supporters! Please consider supporting us if you don’t already do so. We are planning to leave for Japan at the end of January 2015.