When we evacuated for Hurricane Katrina we didn't have much time to prepare. Normally, we know about a week in advance that a storm is coming in our general direction. We generally know about 3 days in advance that it is going to hit near enough to effect us. This gives people time to do all the necessary things...go to the grocery, clear the yard of possible debris, find a place to stay and pack up the essentials and the precious.
Every time we have had to either prepare to ride out a storm or leave, my mom has brought along the same things: food, clothing, insurance papers, photo albums and her porcelain dolls. She has a large collection of them, mostly made by my grandmother. That was a hobby of hers and she made some beautiful dolls for us and for herself. When Ma Ma passed away, my mom inherited the dolls and the beautiful curio cabinet she kept them in. Mom has since inherited the dolls Ma Ma made for me as I have no place to display them...and she just likes the dolls so much more than I do.
This time, we couldn't take the dolls. There wasn't time and we needed the space for all the people we were taking with us. We each grabbed 3 days worth of clothes and hit the road...we planned to buy food and such later. Mom REALLY didn't want to leave her dolls. That was the only thing she was truly worried about because they are irreplaceable and so precious to her.
I used to have a lot of precious things: my bell collection, my Barbie collection, notes and letters from Junior High and High School, my bedding (I've always been big on bedding), my videos, cds and dvds...all of my stuff really was precious to me. Now, what is precious is different.
A few Friday's before the storm, I spent a few hours talking to a friend of mine. In that conversation, what is precious to me now was confronted and challenged. Not that they are bad things, I was just confronted with how precious they were and how resistant I was to God messing around with them.
It all started innocently enough with my friend suggesting I get a roomate. I couldn't consider it, I told her, because that would mean I couldn't have my nieces all the time. My reaction to that led into discussion about my preferences regarding my routines, how my life looks and what is in it and how upsetting the idea of changing any of it was to me. I was in tears, my chest was tight and I was getting a headache from trying to wrap my mind around the possibility. Truth be told, I didn't want to give anything up...not time with my nieces, not the routine of my life (work, church, family, alone time), my church life and all that was in it (worship team, bible study, fellowship)...things were good as they were and I wanted them to stay that way. More to the point, I didn't want the Lord messing with them. Of course, I came up with spiritual reasons for things to remain as they were...but really I was just desperate to hold on to what I considered good...what I regarded as precious.
What I was saying, though, was that they were more precious to me than God.
Then Hurricane Katrina hit.
Because of work, I am going to be living an hour away from my family and will likely only see them on weekends.
My church is under water and we will be very blessed if we can find a meeting place, possibly on some other day of the week. I will likely not be involved in the thngs I was involved in...or at least not to the same extent.
My friends are scattered abroad.
My sister-in-law is considering a move to Dallas to be near her family...the sister-in-law who is mother of my precious nieces and nephew.
This truly is touching all that is precious to me. Unlike my mom, I didn't have to leave them behind...they came along with me and I've been wrestling with them this whole time.
God isn't removing anything, as far as I can tell, He is merely rearranging them and my flesh has not always been willing to surrender to His ways. But I want to be. I need to be. I have no choice but to be willing because it's all happening, all being rearranged and that is just the way it is.
I know it will be for my good and His glory and I know that this wrestling is part of the plan, too. The choice I have to make is to honor Him regardless of what this storm touches and how it looks afterwards. I know the end result will be beautiful and I will be changed. I just pray that I don't dishonor Him as I fight to loosen my grip on what is precious to me and surrender to His working.