Our dear children are convinced that we have collectively lost our minds. We sold the flatware off of the dinner table a couple of nights ago.
It was like a scene from a movie as I scrambled around the kitchen snatching forks and spoons from the dishwasher and my children, quickly washing them in the sink, and then bundling them all together with plastic wrap and bartering them away. You should have seen the look on my kids faces as I lifted the forks and spoons from their place mats and loaded them in a box! We had to have a family meeting to 'splain some things!
When a knock on the door happens and we have a loved one with cash in hand... we rush to the opportunity. A dear friend wanted to purchase all of our dishes. She had family who had lost their home in a tornado a few weeks ago. We are honored and amazed to be part of this story that God is authoring. The difficulty of parting with the dishes from our wedding was forgotten as we realized that our dishes would help feed a family who had lost everything to recent tragedy. He is the God who provides.
We are learning about cultural differences right now as we work through our reading list before going to missionary training in June. It speaks of how we must embrace a hot culture and be ready for many interruptions of guests and develop an ability to multi-task! Thank goodness we have had great life-experiences with this over the past two weeks! We are selling very nearly everything we own and we have advertised it on Facebook and invited anyone who knows us to simply... drop by.
Yes indeed, many of you have taken us up on that invitation... and we are very grateful! We have sold every piece of furniture at this point... either to folks who participated in our early bird garage sell, or to the incredible couple who is leasing our house. We now have a lease agreement and will be official residents of my parent's basement on May 12.
It has been an incredible week. Kellie and I have had discussions with our children that we would never had encountered except for following this path. We have discussed the human feeling of loss, and been able to compare it to the incredible promise of God's love, and what it means to be a follower of Christ. It has been incredibly affirming to see our kid's perspective shift as their gaze has begun to focus on what we run towards.
Not only have we been able to discuss our goals and focus our mission, we have also had some incredible moments of simply savoring the present. We know that we are soon leaving our home, and we are recognizing the value of the memories. These are moments that helped solidify us as a family, and memories that will comfort our hearts in times to come.
This was one of many moments...
This picture was taken from my perspective as I gave Sterling her warm milk before bedtime. This is always one of the most incredible moments of my day. It is warm, secure, and I find myself exactly where I belong... holding in my arms a child that was once without hope. I feel her weight and warmth and I know that this is how I feel in the arms of Jesus. This is true religion. Nothing is better. Give what you have received.
I love the perspective of my daughter. She was in the arms of her dad, drinking her bottle, and waving to her dog. "Dog" was her first new word when coming home.
Do you have any memories of comfort from your childhood? As I sorted through the boxes in our basement, I was suddenly thrown back some two decades as I lifted a small yellow pencil box from the crate and opened the lid.
These are the treasures of 7th Grade Chad P. Shepherd. I am not sure how my mother chose to save them, and I am even more perplexed as to how they made their way over 25 years of time... but when I opened the lid, I was actually fearful that I might travel back to that time-- the memories were so strong.
Do you see the contents? A pocket-knife from my dad, a Boy Scout tie clasp, a pocket-knife from my Papaw Harry, the two Timex watches that I had worn as a boy, a rubber mouse, and the impression of my lower teeth before I was fitted for a pre-braces retainer. And, of course... the caption, "Chad Shepherd #1 and counting!" Wow... I gotta tell ya, there have been many times since then that I did NOT feel like #1.
Seeing this... quickened my heart and ignited my memories. I remember those days. I remember the frustrations and dreams of a 12 year old boy. I am so amazed that God has found me here. I have a son now that is nearly that age. I wonder what will be in his treasure box when he is 37.
I can tell you this with certainty. My treasure box now is not full of the physical possessions that I have accumulated since age 12. I have gained things and I have lost them. What I had left... I now sell and give away. The treasure we seek is greater than can be kept in a pencil box, and yet... what you see in the pencil box above explains it best.
Our greatest treasure is simply who we become. What we did. Who we loved. The small bits we leave behind that tell the story. We all have a choice to make.
What treasures do we hold in our hands each night? As for my wife and I, we choose the promise of God over flatware.