I started my annual declutter and purge cleaning sessions yesterday afternoon.
And although I do this every spring, this year I'm doing it with conviction.
"Why in the world has purging and decluttering become necessary every year?" This is what I ask myself.
Sure a lot of the stuff is trash-worthy, but there are also bags of "things."
"I just did this last spring. Why am I having to do this again, just a mere year later?"
Purging is good. Ridding the home of clutter and things that are not useful or beautiful is good.
But I'm looking deeper than that. I'm asking myself why it is that I accumulate enough stuff in the short span of twelve months that decluttering is necessary.
Ummm. Maybe because I'm buying too much stuff and stuff that is unnecessary at that. Whether I buy at the discount store or at the thrift store (which, honestly, is where I do most of my shopping), doesn't matter. I'm not necessarily looking at the price of the stuff, I'm looking at the mental thought processes behind the accumulation of the stuff.
I like "stuff" too much. I depend on "stuff" too much.
So how is my love and dependence on these things holding me back in my relationship with Christ? How are they holding me back (even if just a teeny tiny bit) from serving Him?
Would I be willing to give up all my "stuff" if He asked me to?
I'm not saying that Christ calls every believer to give away all of their possessions and serve Him in rags. I'm not even saying that that's what He's calling me to do.
What I am saying is that I feel convicted. Me. Myself. I feel convicted that I put too much substance into my possessions. I live a very comfortable, very blessed life. Our family doesn't want for anything. We have many resources at our disposal.
But what if all these earthly possessions were taken away? How would I react?
Because, honestly, the thought of it makes me kind of cringe. I know that God would be my refuge and my provider, as He's always been, but, honestly, I think that losing my "stuff" would be very sad.
And then I think of some who have so very little, but they KNOW they always have Christ. And in that they experience true joy. They have an abundance of spiritual blessings.
I have an abundance of spiritual blessings too. But are they being shadowed by my earthly, material blessings? I don't know for sure. I'd like to say no, but it's something my mind and heart is still grappling with.
Just sharing my thoughts with you all.
And I pray that you all would not mind if I share something dear to my heart.
Open Arms Ukraine, the organization that worked in the orphanage Sergei is from, is having their annual graduate camp this coming week.
In Ukraine, when a child turns 16, he/she is literally placed out of the orphanage, waved "good-bye" to, and is sent off to fend for themselves. This is not an exaggeration. One of the adoptive families was in Ukraine at the time of graduation and took pics of all the graduates walking down the road together, not knowing where they would eat or sleep or anything.
The Open Arms Ukraine ministry runs a graduate camp every spring for the graduates of the Pravdinska Orphanage. But they need help.
They need sponsors for the graduates.
The cost to sponsor one graduate is a mere $65.00.
I emailed Anika, one of the girls that founded the ministry; she said that they are up to 16 sponsors but would like to get 25.
Not only do these girls run this camp every year, but they also stay involved in the graduates' lives afterwards. They open their apartment up to the graduates. They provide assistance as needed and as God provides. They model the love of Christ to these young kids who have never really experienced real love.
So, I'm humbly asking you all to consider sponsoring a graduate. This is real, ladies. All those graduates that are featured on the Open Arms Ukraine blog? Brad and I met them. We talked to them. We hung out with them.
If you are feeling called by Him to donate, you can go the the Open Arms Ukraine blog and donate using their Paypal link. If you are unable to donate through Paypal, you can email Open Arms at OpenArmsMinistry@gmail.com.
This is what our family has decided to do this Easter season in leiu of Easter baskets and treats this year. Perhaps you'd consider making your gift this Easter impact the world?