I gently pushed open her bedroom door to see if she was asleep. “Mom?” she whispered.
I sat on the edge of her bed. “It’s my last night in my room.” Her voice wasn’t without emotion, but she wasn’t crying. I snuggled down next to her and held her close. She sighed. “I’m not sad. I mean, I’m a little sad. But I’m excited too.”
We talked for a while. About firsts and lasts. About how most of the time you know when you do something for the first time. But when it’s the last time, you often don’t know. And how, when you do know, it just gives you a new “first” to look forward to.
We shared some firsts that she remembered in our house. And some lasts. We giggled over the idea of flushing the toilet one last time.
She got quiet again. “I just wish I knew exactly what was going to happen next. I mean, it would be so much easier that way.”
I hugged her close. “Me too, Ellie. Me too.”
The past few months have been such a whirlwind. The emotional aspect of knowing that the time to sell was now, even though we didn’t know where we would go next, getting the house ready and keeping it nice for all of our showings; the wave of emotions accepting an offer and the incredibly demanding process of purging, packing, making decisions, and slowly but surely, emptying our house of our belongings.
I remember the first few days when reality hit that all of our stuff had to be out. I wandered around making mental lists, picking up something here and there, but not actually getting anything done. I remember thinking, “there’s no way we’ll get it all done.” But like everything in life, first one foot, then the other. Until our home looked like a shell of what it had been. While looking at your empty house creates a surreal feeling that it is no longer yours, there’s also something freeing and cleansing about it all. I looked at the empty rooms and felt the parallel to my cries to God, to empty me of that which isn’t of Him.
I remember a night back in the fall when we were in the process of deciding what to do. I was feeling suffocated by the weight of it all and I went on my little back porch and leaned against the brick wall. I was crying and literally banging my head against the wall. “What do you want us to do, God? What do you want us to do?” I cannot describe it to you in words, but a peace settled over me. He whispered to me, “You already know. You already know.” The tears stopped instantly and I came to the realization that no matter what this upcoming season holds, whether it is weeks or months or years, we are prepared for it. We are ready because of what we have already walked through. That He is taking us from glory to glory. And we know how hard the “to” part is. We know it’s not always an easy path. But we know He is our great reward.
Rather than do what was in front of me, I wanted to start on our next steps. The research of what we’re planning to do, but there was no extra time. None. No extra anything to look ahead to the future. Taking care of what was in front of me had to happen first.
And to be honest, I think that was purposeful. And more than one person confirmed it to me. That we won’t know our next steps before we move. That truly, it is one step of faith, and then the next. We wait on God. We wait for Him to reveal what’s next. As hard as it is (and believe me, waiting is not my strong point), I’m okay with it. Because it means that I’m weak. And that His power is made perfect in my weakness. We will continue to wait until He reveals it to us.
You know what else it meant? I was able to enjoy my home in the midst of the craziness of moving. I was able to be present, and not think too far ahead. I was able to help my children work through the process of leaving the only home they’ve ever known.
Through it all, there’s been nothing but peace. No wondering if we’re doing the right thing. No second guesses. No regrets. Just immense peace. And in the midst of this peace, even though our next steps are unclear, the path we are to take has become more clear. That if I had doubts before about what we’re going to pursue, they exist no more. It’s what we are to do. I don’t know why this is what it seems God is doing in our lives. But when you have peace, you don’t have to know all the answers. You just surrender it all to God, and trust He knows the steps and will reveal them in His time. When I think about it, my heart continues to be stirred, and so I know it’s what we are to do.
On our final day, we stood in the living room, holding hands. We prayed together. The tears that fell from my eyes were not from a place of sadness. But rather from a thankful heart. Thankful that even in the midst of what we walked through over the past four years, we had our home. A place of refuge. A place of solitude. A place for our family. Even when things felt crazy and we felt abandoned, we had our home. I remember the day we moved in, full of excitement at being first-time home owners, ready to have our first child and start this new life. And yet today, it feels like we blinked away 11 years and now we’re moving out.
In packing up and deciding what to keep, I came across a box of letters my grandparents had written to me when I was in college. I didn’t have time to read them all but I did pull a few out. As I was reading one my grandfather wrote, some of his words jumped out at me. It was fall and he was talking about the harvest of crops. He writes, “I love the color that tells us there is beauty in the finality of things. I enjoy the time of harvest.”
There’s a lovely parallel to the harvest of food and the harvest of our lives. I know there is much that we have sown in the time we had here. And even though it wasn’t easy, we’ve planted seeds of faith and hope. I’d like to believe that this upcoming season, while it will have its own share of difficulties and trials, there will be a harvest. Because we’re not leaving this season for a new one unchanged. We’re not the same Jason and Allison who moved into this house. We recognize more and more we are simply vessels to bring His Kingdom here. And so we keep asking for Him to use us as He will.
While one could argue there is some finality which doesn’t seem to bring beauty; the loss of a career, a friendship, a loved one’s life and on and on, somehow though there can exist a peace. When our hope is in Him alone, when we look around and know that all this is so very temporary, there is a beauty that comes in the finality of things. Because one day, all that’s lost will be restored. The tears will be wiped away. The pain and sorrow will be no more. In the end of this season, there’s a beauty in knowing that He redeems and restores all that has been lost.
So as we close this chapter of our lives and get ready to start a fresh page, I claim the beauty in the finality. And dream about the future. And trust He is with us through it all. In the sowing. In the waiting. And in the harvest.
Farewell, sweet home. The best is yet to come. Both here and forever.