This was supposed to be written yesterday, but I simply didn’t have the words by the time I got the kids in bed. So I’m hoping to catch up today.
I had left off discussing our possessions fast, and it became easier and easier to get rid off the excess things and harder and harder to bring new things in. We even got to the point where we decided to sell things that were good, and useful, and reasonable to hang on to, but just not something we use hardly at all and not worth the opportunity cost. For example our stereo sound system for the TV. It was a good one, and we even had the stands to hang the speakers and everything, but let’s be honest, the only shows we watch on that television are kid’s shows and football games, and neither of those require a full out surround sound. Things like my Bernina Stitch Regulator- which allows free hand quilting. It was an awesome device, so fun to use but super expensive. I’ve used it a handful of times. I don’t have time to quilt like I want right now, and won’t for years, so we sold it. Those things we “loved” so much but just collected dust, they got easier to get rid of.
I’m an emotional person (stop snickering, Jace.)
And I get emotionally attached to items. I still remember the middle-school mission trip during which I lost the baby doll that was given to me when I born. She was my favorite, and I was devastated to lose her. So, so upset over that.
I have little emotionally attached items all over.
A little jewelry box in my bed side table that holds the seven letters Jace sent me during basic. My great-uncle Edgar’s wine and water goblets sit on my shelf, as does my great-grandfather Weldon’s fiesta-ware plates and bowls. A silver set passed down from my grandfather Bob’s family is tucked up in the cabinets. My great-great-grandmother’s bible is wrapped carefully on a bookshelf downstairs. Jace’s mom’s piano from her childhood has made every move with us, as has the curio-cabinet from his childhood. Job’s urn graces that cabinet, where I dust and polish it regularly. I could go on and on.
We wrap our memories, our emotions, up into these objects, these artifacts of life. But even as they spark our remembrances, they aren’t what our loved ones leave behind, those imprints on our hearts are the legacy.
But the thing is, most of those items, they don’t have much monetary value really, more just sentimental value. And I try to make sure I keep things that we will ACTUALLY use, and limit the number of sentimental items we won’t use.
But there was one sentimental item that DID hold a lot of monetary value.
My engagement ring.
This ring was the one that my sweet husband placed on my hand (after a hilarious day) when I was 19, he was 20.
I had dreamed about this ring, longed to have it on my finger, so, so excited to show off my bling!
It’s engraved with my nickname and our wedding date.
It never occurred to me that this might be an EXCESS. I mean everyone has an engagement ring, right? It’s totally reasonable to spend several thousands (or more) on a flashy diamond to let people know you are taken. Right? Right? We even pay a good amount yearly to insure this precious thing. That’s normal. Right?
And this is where I wasn’t sure I was going to write this post. Because what I am about to share isn’t for everyone. I’m not sharing to brag or show what a giving person I am and look at me, blah, blah, blah.
But seriously y’all. That ring on my finger got so, so heavy. I couldn’t hardly look at it without feeling pressure on my heart.
Ok God. I hear you. This, this is a vanity. This is an excess for show. This is a heart attitude about sacrificing and realizing that just because I can justify something based on culture- that doesn’t mean it’s what you want for me.
Around six months before we started the Seven experiment- I had run across a post shared by a friend on Instagram. It was for this organization: With This Ring.
At the time I could barely believe what I was reading. People were selling their WEDDING RINGS to build wells. Talk about radical.
I chuckled to myself, congratulated them and closed the page. But I could shake it from my heart. This attitude of generous, over the top, radical giving.
So when I started looking at my excess, it’s no surprise that my ring started to feel so heavy.
Did I even dare bring this up to people? To my husband? Was I crazy? My husband is a generous man, but that is definitely a trait he has consciously worked on over the years, it’s not his first inclination (and not mine either). That’s a huge chunk of money to give away. Plus would I emotionally be able to handle selling the ring that has been on my finger for nine years?
So we talked. A lot. We prayed a lot.
We both agreed it was an excess. I took it off and tucked it in a drawer until we could decide what to do with it. My wedding ring doesn’t have much value
Already my heart felt lighter. I thought I would miss it, it did feel strange to not see it there, not feel it there. But I didn’t really miss it. Instead, I find myself praying when I see the single band on my finger, praying that the Lord keeps freeing my heart from the treasures of this world and filling it with the treasures of Him.
Emotionally, my husband was fine with selling/donating it. I decided I was as well.
But now the question was, do we donate it as is? Sell it and donate all the proceeds? Donate half the proceeds? Donate where? What ministry? Or use it for an investment in our property or something else?
We had a lot of mixed feelings. That is some MAJOR generosity there, and we needed to carefully weigh the opportunity cost as stewards of His money.
Ultimately, we went back to the whole ‘He has set aside a particular ministry for us to follow’ thought process and decided to utilize the money from the proceeds of the ring to fund that ministry. It’s a ministry that we have confirmed we feel called to, but one that we haven’t yet decided how or where or when. We are still in a lot of prayer over this choice. We know that THIS is it, but we haven’t yet figured out the details or exact direction.
I wasn’t going to mention it yet, as I have a whole post brewing on that, and like I said, we aren’t sure where/how/when yet.
But we are ready. We are confident that our ministry is children. That is where our passions and talents lie. We are confident that our biggest ministry is advocating, teaching, healing and raising children. And part of that will involved fostering and/or adopting.
This WILL be a part of our story. We aren’t sure exactly how yet, or even when. He knows though. We are pursuing options prayerfully, and I will share more of that later as we find our direction.
But we do know that this excess, this ring that officially started our lives together, will eventually be a part of growing our lives and our ministry as we seek to serve the Lord through His needy children.
And that, the commitment to each other and God to follow His will, that means more to me than the emotions wrapped around that silver band or sparkly diamond.
Lord shake off this excess. These selfish desires to look better, seem better, have the best, biggest, and most. Fill my instead with the desires of Your heart. Your heart for the needy, the left-behind, the un-wanted. Show us how to serve You, follow You in our everyday choices with all aspects of our lives. Lord take this excess, our excess and turn into in justice in a world desperate for Your light.
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