“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal." Matthew 16:19
After two years of walking our son up and down the streets of our quaint New England neighborhood, I'd memorized every house; their beautiful, landscaped yards, their color and unique architecture, even their placement on the street. They were all beautiful, but I had my favorite. It was a small, white colonial with a big back yard. It was fenced-in with green hedges with a long driveway on one side and a cute little archway that was attached to the left side of the front stoop that created a double front peak. It faced the southeastern sky so I knew it would be sunny and welcoming most of the day. It was a house I could call home; a place to put down roots and plant our family. It was something I'd never had growing up...a homestead; a place where good memories were made and reminisced.
I've told this story before, right here, how God generously showered us with that gift. We've lived here twenty-three years, this November and our family roots have grown deeper with a new generation. This house has indeed become our homestead where we gather every Sunday to break bread and make new memories. But the landscape is changing.
Our newest back-yard neighbors are subdividing and threatening our privacy. This news jolted us last week and I'd love to say I was gracious in my response to this news, but I wasn't. Oh, I held my tongue in public and respectfully opposed their plans at the zoning board, but my heart wanted to lay claim on something that wasn't mine.
I boo-hooed all over Facebook and cruised the internet looking for new houses, but the longer I cried and the harder I tried to hold onto this house, the emptier and more hopeless I felt. Then a wise friend spoke. "You cherish what God has surrounded you with. Not taking it for granted is the very reason why this is so seriously jolting you," she said.
Yes, I do cherish this house. Yes, I acknowledge God as the provider of this home. But then, God whispered in my heart, "Your grip is too tight."
"Your grip is too tight. Let it go."
"What?!! But you gave this house to me."
"Yes, but you're holding it too close, too tight. This house is an earthly treasure. It won't last. It will fall. Build up your treasures in heaven, not on earth, remember? I've created you to go out into the world. Stop coccooning yourself inside this temporary vessel. Trust me. Let it go."
So, I've taken a deep breath and stepped back. God's words jolted me more than our changing landscape. I'd wrapped my fingers around this house so long and so tightly that I hardley noticed my white-knuckled grip. It's time to loosen my hold, trust God and let it all go.
I don't know what God's got planned, but that same wise friend mentioned room for God's grace and endless possibilities with a new neighbor (albeit up close and personal). But then again, back door friends are always the best.