Our house is on the market, which means time to purge, purge, purge. I spent the past several weekends cleaning out and organizing every room and closet in our house. Which is a good thing except for one small detail. Books. There are/were books in every nook and cranny of our house. Good books. Lousy books. Adult books. Kids books. (Am I starting to sound like Dr. Suess?) Why is that a bad thing, you may wonder. Because a job that would normally take me 2 or 3 hours ends up taking me entire days because I CAN'T STOP READING THE BOOKS! How could I decide whether to give away a book or keep it without opening it up and trying to remember if I liked it. Or, worse, if I know right away that it's a keeper, that means I really liked it, and I don't have the willpower not to open it up and read a little just to remember why.
While "cleaning out Lauren's closet" (aka, reading) 2 weeks ago, I came across an old copy of The Hiding Place, the story of Corrie ten Boom and her family who spent years in Nazi concentration camps because they were Christians who harbored Jews in Holland during WWII. I know the story well and remember loving the book, but in truth, I have not read it since I was a teenager. I began skimming parts, but finally, feeling guilty that I was reading while David and the kids were at my parents' house to enable me to better work on my cleaning project (sorry, mom), I decided to put it aside for another day.
So, for the past week or so, I've kept it in my purse and read it during waits at Dr's offices, pick-up time at Josh's school, etc. (I love reading a book that way because it makes it last longer.)
As you know, we are planning a move to Pennsylvania. From Georgia. For those less astute geography students out there, that's a long way. A long way from my family. From my friends. From my church. From . . . well, everything I love. (David's PA family notwithstanding, of course!) I told a friend today that I feel like I am living in the strangest combination of feelings right now: I truly feel like I have great faith and peace but am also holding on by a thread at the same time. I KNOW that this is God's work in our lives (and I intend to tell that story soon), I KNOW that He is a good and loving Father who will take care of me and my family wherever He places us, and I KNOW that there is no better place to be than where He calls me. And, yet I'm afraid. I'm human. I don't want to go. I will miss my family. I don't know what life will hold for me there. (Then, again I don't know what life would hold for me here.)
Which is why I'm so glad for the chapter I read in The Hiding Place yesterday while waiting for Josh to come out of school. In it, the Nazis have just invaded Holland, and the Dutch are still engaged in their brief resistance. The ten Boom family can hear fighting overhead, and during one night of severe fighting, Corrie hears her sister Betsie downstairs in the kitchen. Corrie joins her until the sounds of the planes begin to fade and then goes back to bed. As Corrie runs her hand over her pillow, a sharp metal object cuts her hand. Shrapnel. As Betsie is bandaging it, a shaken Corrie says, "Betsie, if I hadn't heard you in the kitchen ---." Betsie stops her and says, "Don't say it, Corrie! There are no 'if's' in God's world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety."
I pray that God will continue to remind me of that in the days to come.