charlie's song

Stuff

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Well, today was go through the garage day. When we moved two weeks ago, we knew there was a very real possibility that we may not get to keep any of our things.  We brought into the house only what could be put through a dish washer or wiped down with clorox wipes.

That…wasn’t much.

And now that we know for sure that we can’t keep our other things…the garage has loomed before us like a mighty giant for the last seven days.  I’ve just felt so completely miserable physically that I’ve dreaded going through a garage full of stuff. And last night’s bedtime didn’t help my outlook on things.  How do you tell your sweet six-year-old that every single one of her toys and clothes and books and blankets…needed to be given away or thrown away.  The tears poured down her freckled cheeks as I tried to explain yet again why her friends can have her toys…but that her toys are no longer safe for her body.  The koala we got her on her first mission trip to Australia.  The dress I had just bought her for our Mommy-daughter Christmas date.  The beautiful star blankey her great-grandma made.  It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around all of this…I can’t imagine what it’s like to view this craziness through a little person’s eyes.  But we are currently taking the same supplements they give to people who have AIDS.  Our doctor has clearly communicated (the 9 times I asked and then re-asked) that our immune systems are just so completely compromised, that the few mycotoxins that remain on our clothes regardless of endless washing, are simply not safe for our bodies, though to other people, they are fine.  Try explaining that to a six-year-old.

And it hasn’t been much better for me.  I started to get really angry last night, thinking of selling all of my awesome Anthropologie clothes to total strangers for $1.50. Everyone’s got talent.  Some people are good at singing…some people are good at knitting.  My talent…is finding the world’s best deals at Anthropologie.  I only shop in the sale section, I get 15% off during my birthday month, and I know when all the big sales are.  It’s not much of a talent, but it’s mine.  And I really liked all of my beautiful, discounted Anthro clothes.

I felt angry.  Garage sales are supposed to be so you can get rid of all the things that you don’t like. You’re supposed to feel happy when total strangers walk away with all your old, unwanted things. But this garage sale is for all the things I do like.  And I certainly didn’t feel happy.  I was angry and sad and snappy last night as I thought about losing all of my favorite things.

And I realized in that moment that it would be way harder to sell my clothes to strangers that I don’t like, than to simply give my clothes to people I do like.  So…I texted some of my friends pictures of all my favorite clothes and invited them to go shopping.  There were a surprising amount of tears during the process…and none of the tears were mine.  I actually found myself smiling.  It felt so good to give my favorite things away.  We have been completely overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of the Body of Christ this week, and it felt great to actually bless someone with my old things.

And the more time I spent giving the things away, the more I began to look down at every shirt and start to think, “This is just…thread.”   The kids favorite stuffed animals…that’s just fur. And the beautiful programs from our wedding that I had to throw away?  Well, that’s just paper.  Pressed trees actually.

And my life is about so much more than pretty threads and pressed trees.

When you are forced to stand in a cemetery and watch your child’s body being lowered into a tiny grave…you know in the deepest places of your being that nothing, nothing, nothing matters like a person’s life. When you’ve lost the most precious thing that can be lost in this life…it feels like nothing to lose your things.

And the terrible reality is that that kind of loss is coming…to all our lives.

We threw away, gave away, or prepared to sell about 80% of our worldly possessions today. We’re going to vacuum pack a few of our most favorite things (like Charlie’s teddy) and supposedly, the mycotoxins will eventually die. You wait five years and then slowly reintroduce things one item at a time. Then, you wait. You wait to regress, or to get healthy. But I don’t want to spend five years trying to get healthy, just so we can maybe get sick again. When you’re a kid…five years is an eternity.  And are we really going to keep everything we own in vacuum sealed bags for half a decade?  

It was so painful seeing the kids tears over their favorite things, that we eventually had to send them inside.  That worked well, right up until Emma yelled down to us from the window…“Mommy! Why are you getting rid of my Bible…that’s God HOLY WORD!”  She is Just.  So.  Great.

But we made it.  And we did it.  Like people who stand in the ashes of a house full of burned things…we survived the slow burn of mycotoxins, and stood in the ashes of our things today.

And one thing got me through it.

A story about a suitcase.  My senior year of college one of my dearest friend’s lost her mom to cancer.  She was a wonderful, deep, godly lady.  And she gave her kids an incredible treasure one night, when she called them together around her bed and gave her favorite people her favorite things.  She passed out jewelry and family treasures, and then she said, “I also wanted to share with you the most precious thing.”  

And that’s when she pulled out the suitcase.

When her friends first found out that she was sick, they flew all the way from Germany just to give her a special suitcase.  The suitcase was filled with letters from all of the people who had been loved through her life.  And at the end of her life, she opened the suitcase and said to her kids, “This suitcase is filled with souls.  Live for the souls.  They are the only thing you can truly take with you from this place.” 

As we got ready to sell my great-grandma’s antique red chair, all of my favorite childhood toys, and a thousand other paper and thread type things, I just kept thinking of what really mattered.  What really makes it into the suitcase I’m packing for Heaven…through Earths’ long days.

The souls.

The souls of my precious babies I will someday meet.

The souls of the people around me- people like you- as we walk with one another through this long, hard life.

And the souls of the people I have yet to meet.

We each get one suitcase.  And I want to fill mine to the brim with what matters.  Not papers from my wedding, or love letters from Reid, or stuff from Anthropologie.

But the souls of the the people, whom God has loved through our lives.

His,  Misty

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18 thoughts on “Stuff

  1. Hi Misty! It’s been many years….I saw your story on Facebook…it saddened me deeply! What you have gone through and are going through just isn’t fair!! I don’t understand it and also wonder where God is…but I do know that your story is affecting thousands of people in ways that you probably can’t imagine!!! You are truly a remarkable person!! I wish we would have stayed connected! I have shared your journey with many people in the last couple of days-know that we are all praying for you and your beautiful family!

  2. I love you so much and am praying for you sweet ones!

  3. Ohhh that sounds so hard to part with so many things that have so much value to you!!! Thank you for choosing to bless people (and bless God!) with it. We’re praying for all of you guys!

  4. I hope Helena has seen this. ❤ Still praying.

  5. Misty,

    i just wrote a very long comment which i lost when posting. Ill condense it here. I am so sorry for what you are going through. It is horrific and i know exactly what you are dealing with as the same thing happened to my family. 2.5 years ago, we left our home with everything in it. Every single thing. The last 2.5 years have been about recovery and healing. 2.5 years ago, our situation was dire. I was critically ill, my children and husband were sick as well, but less so than me.

    We lost everything, and then had to struggle to find resources to help us get well. It was a long lonely road with a lot of false starts and stops but I am here to say that you can get better. There are many many things you can do to regulate your immune reactivity and help with methylation and the mast cell reactions.

    I’m writing to offer whatever help I can. That might be a sympathetic ear, or sharing knowledge gained from experience. We are much, much better today.

    And my son? His name is Freddo. 🙂

  6. One more thing I feel compelled to add.

    You will be ok. I don’t mean this in a trite way or to simplify the horror that you are experiencing right now. We experienced multiple organ failures. Cancer, Heart failure. Total financial devastation that led to bankruptcy.

    And we are ok. We are recovering.

    You can do this. I am rooting for you!

  7. My niece also has black mold in her system. She has been so sick that we have only been able to see her about 4 minutes since August. As I sit here crying, I am so discouraged that the Lord is allowing another family to go through the same trauma. Oh how I pray for all of you! May the Lord be glorified in what He is doing.

  8. Misty,

    I’m just a stranger that came across your blog this week (like a lot of us it sounds like), but wanted to let you know how much it touched me. My old Campus Crusade staff leader posted your story on Facebook, and I linked to your blog just to check it out real fast. I ended up reading for hours – I think I read almost everything you’ve posted over the past year, both out of compassion for you and your beautiful family, and also because you put so much spiritual food into your writing.

    I’ve been a Christian for a long time, but have let some bitterness towards God grow in my heart the past few years. I’m 32 years old and single, and I’ve gotten a little jaded that God hasn’t given me something (marriage) that seems to come so easily for so many people. That is NOT anywhere near the same as losing someone you love, but I guess any time we don’t get something we want, there is potential for bitterness.

    Anyway, I believe in God’s sovereignty, and I believe He has the right to do whatever He desires with my life. At least intellectually I believe that, and I could have articulated that a few days ago. But I didn’t feel it in my heart. As I read your blog the other night, so many things you said pierced through the hardness of my heart and brought me to a point of true surrender. You write so much truth – that God is good, even when we can’t understand His ways. That the true joy of life is in our salvation and the eternity that is coming. That we cannot do anything to change God’s will, and that this is a good thing. I desperately needed to be reminded of those truths to get out of the “spiritual funk” I was in, and am so grateful for your blog this week.

    As a side note, I hope you might consider writing a book some day? Your writing style is wonderful, and you write things that the American church so needs to hear. All of us have been affected by the prosperity gospel, even in the most evangelical circles, and it handicaps our faith in so many ways. Because of your experiences, you have the ability to write things that pierce the heart as well as carrying intellectual weight.

    Please know that the blog you wrote to honor your son has done a lot of good. I’ve prayed for you and your family, that your faith would stay strong. God bless,

    Amy

  9. Oh, how your words challenged me! I am one of the overly-sentimental, deeply attached and very nostalgic type, and getting to the part where you wrote about souls mattering, and only souls – it hit me between the eyes and gave my spirit a much-needed check. I snuggled my sleeping infant daughter closer, thought of my other baby who is with Jesus, thought of my sweet husband and the people in our lives whom we love, deeply…and I asked God to change my heart regarding ‘things’ and possessions. It’s so easy to get caught up in things that are fun and harmless and exciting (I am such a sucker for bargains too!!) and to lose sight in the process that this is temporary. This time is but a breath. A season. While I’m sure you are wrestling with big, suffocating emotions at the moment, your clarity of faith and firmness of conviction are a challenge and encouragement to me. Peter (my husband) and I are praying for complete healing in your body and the bodies of your family.

  10. Hi Misty,
    God has put a burden on my heart to pray for you and your family. I truly believe He wants to do something amazing out of this and bring restored health to your bodies and hearts. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart with us and for allowing us to be a part of seeing God at work. May He give you the grace you need for each moment.
    Hurting with you and praying for you,
    Your sister in Christ,
    Jami (all the way from Siberia) =)

  11. Hi Misty,

    My heart aches for you and your family. If you still have your photos and other irreplaceable things of that nature, please send them to me. I can scan it all into my computer and mail you a flash drive so such precious things are not lost.

    • I realize that we are strangers, but I feel compelled to reach out to you.

    • hi krista, thanks so much for your offer to do that for us. I’ve thought about it a lot over the last few weeks, and if you are still interested and willing, i would so appreciate having someone scan all of our old pictures. it would just be my and reid’s baby books…because i can reprint each of the kids.. if so, please contact me. thanks again so very much for the kind offer. love, misty

  12. My family and I have been sick ever since we moved into our house 6 years ago. Nothing as debilitating like you have had, but constant sneezing, coughing, respiratory issues, brain fog, fatigue, etc. We have had mold and air specialists do test after test and find nothing. Where did you go for the $800 test? I am at my wits end and everyone thinks I am crazy. Prayers for you and your family and that your future look brighter than today!

  13. Misty, do you have a photo of the koala? I’m in australia, so I can look out for one and send it to Emma. Just let me know.

    • hi wendy…thanks so much for the offer to help find her lost koala. i could send you a link if you are still willing. but i actually had another favor to ask…if you are in australia i would love to ship something to you and then send you money to send it to me. i bought something there and the store does not ship worldwide…. love, misty

      • Hi Misty, no problem on the shipping, send me the koala link too and I’ll send it all together. Don’t worry about the postage tho, I’m sure there will be an occasion when I can’t get something shipped from the US, and you might be able to return the favour. I’ll send you an email with my address. Wendy xoxo

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