When I look around my house, I realize that if someone were to walk in not knowing anything about us, they would quickly come to know this: we love books! My husband has one of the world’s largest Bible collections (Ha!), the number of our reference/study books is continually growing, and the kids’ books are beginning to overtake the bookshelf.
One thing I am glad Travis and I are passing on to our kids is our love of books. As much as we – and they – love books, though, I must admit that we have made very few trips to the library. (Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I’m in a stage of motherhood where sometimes it’s easier to just stay home. :-)) So last week after realizing that Abel and Amariah are beginning to outgrow many of the children’s books we own – and that we all have grown a little bored with reading the same ones time and again – we put the kids to bed, and I made a trip to the library all by myself!
With the help of a very nice librarian, I perused the many shelves of children’s books and selected a good-sized stack that I was sure we would all enjoy. When I got to the circulation desk to check out my books, I nerdishly said to the librarian, “I’m so excited!” and she laughed with me (With, not at…. Librarians are book nerds, too, right?…).
One of the books I checked out was a Berenstain Bears book called The Berenstain Bears Clean House. After Mama Bear determines, “We will clean our house from the top to the bottom, from the bottom to the top,” the Bear family goes through their house saying, “There are too many things,” and then they select some items to put in a yard sale. (I thought this was an appropriate story since Abel and I have been in the mood to get rid of some things!)
Anyway, just like Mama Bear, I have been busy cleaning my house from the top to the bottom, from the bottom to the top! No “hidden” place has gone untouched as I’ve made my way through the house, purging it of things we don’t need.
A lot of our “too many things” I am packing up to put in a garage sale this spring, and other things just simply need to be finally thrown away – like the five or so mostly empty bottles of lotion that didn’t have quite enough left in them for the pump to work, or the several mostly new cleaners that I’ve never used and probably never will. (I’ve been hanging onto some of this stuff for most of our marriage. I told you I’m frugal!)
Minimizing “stuff” is definitely a good feeling… most of the time. A few of the things I’ve come across have drudged up some emotion or memory that makes me want to stuff it right back where I found it: like the very first maternity outfit my husband ever bought me; or the baby name book that we thumbed through countless times as we searched for the right name for Abel… Amariah… Ande… Isabel… Elliana; or the positive pregnancy test that informed us God had given us another blessing – a double blessing.
But, I can’t keep this stuff forever, right? When the Bear family looked at everything they had put in their yard sale, they said, “This is hard,” and they hauled it all back inside to store in their attic. I have to admit, I did think about throwing that pregnancy test right back in the drawer, and I did wince a little when I threw it in the trash instead…. Just like Mama Bear, I was tempted in that moment to treasure my stuff. But then I remembered what Jesus said:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)