If you have clicked on the My Story link and read about the events of the last year of my life, you will know that everything came to a head for me on an early July morning in 2014. I cannot adequately describe the feelings of helplessness and despair that filled my heart that morning. It was a build up that had been a year and a half in the making. Everything seemed to collide that morning and everything within me was screaming out for help. I knew something had to change. I didn’t know what the solution was, but I knew I needed help that was beyond my reach.
When I finally regained my composure and was able to think rationally, Jeff and I sat down and talked honestly about the problem for the first time. There were lots of tears and lots of solutions thrown into the air that morning. The most important thing on both of our minds was getting our lives back on track and finding the peace that had been lacking from our lives for a very long time. We were sitting on the couch in the keeping room when the plan that truly saved my life was developed. Jeff and I decided that the best thing was for me to get an apartment to get some space from the chaotic and stressful life that I had created for myself.
I had been going full speed for over five years, and the stress and exhaustion that I had been bottling up finally became too much for me. The house we were living in was too big for me to maintain, the collections I had acquired were too overwhelming, and the pace that I was living was impossible to maintain. It was our hope that the apartment would serve as place for me to rejuvenate, collect my thoughts, and live a simpler life. It was a very difficult decision for the two of us to make and coming to this conclusion had nothing to do with the love and respect that Jeff and I had for each other. I was on a sinking ship, and it was time to find a lifeboat.
I had always known that Jeff loved me, and I had always known that he loved me in a way that was unselfish and unconditional, but he truly proved it that morning. The strength he showed as the storm raged around him was nothing less than a miracle. The compassion and understanding he showed me was the kind that can only be shown by someone who truly wants the best for someone, even if it means stepping back and letting him find his own way. Jeff immediately found the ideal apartment for me, and it was only three miles away from our home. It was as if it had been waiting for me. God knew what I needed to do long before I did, and He knew where I needed to go. We made an appointment and went to see the apartment the next day. It was in a very quiet and serene part of town bordering a golf course. It had more than enough room for me, and I truly felt at home from the second I walked in.
We started making plans for me to move into the apartment and Jeff told me that I should take the items that meant the most to me. He suggested that I choose the collections and furniture that made me the happiest and to fill the apartment with those things. He wisely said, “You will not be happy or at peace if you do not have your primitives with you.” I knew he was right, and we had plenty of furniture to fill the apartment and to still have plenty of furniture for Jeff and the dogs to use.
When we told our plans to our family and friends, there was an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement. I had worried that people would not understand. I am sure that they did grapple with the logic behind our decision, but they rallied behind us and supported our decision with love and compassion. I will never forget these people for the unconditional love and support they showed us. My parents pitched in and started helping. My dad even took time off from work, which is something that he never does. My mom helped me clean and pack and talked to me at all hours of the day and night. Jeff’s mom and dad were by our sides the entire time and worked for days to help us make the move. They stayed with Jeff during that first week to make sure that he had the support that he needed. My brother and sister-in-law, Andrew and Amy, called and texted to offer their support, encouragement, and prayers.
My friend, Jerrah, came to the apartment several times and would often keep me company until early in the morning, many times talking and showing me the kind of support and love that only a true and devoted friend could show. She made sure I had food to eat and plenty to laugh about. My friend, Diane, showed complete support and understanding and loved me as only she can do.
Moving day was a very emotional day. I know now that God was leading the way and that He was keeping me on my feet as I made the move. There were many times that I wanted to change my mind and run back home, but God knew best, and He gave Jeff and me the courage to keep going. It took a while to settle into my new life, but soon peace began to fill my life. It started slowly and began to grow. Jeff and I and the dogs kept in constant contact and we talked, texted, and visited with each other constantly.
As the months began to go by, my little apartment became a place of quiet contemplation, thoughtful prayers, and rearranging of priorities. I walked into that apartment for the first time with a broken spirit, and God was beginning to heal my spirit. It took time. There were days when I thought we had made a mistake and God continued to reassure me that we had made the right decision. I recognized God’s voice for the first time in that apartment, and I began writing the posts for this blog within its walls. The apartment eventually became a very special place for Jeff and me. We spent many hours alone talking about life and what we wanted our lives together to be like in the future.
Jeff has always been my best friend and our friendship grew stronger during those talks in the apartment. We discussed our options for the future, we prayed together, and we talked about creating this blog. We planned the saltbox and made the decision to begin simplifying our lives by ridding ourselves of the things that we did not need anymore. We began selling a lot of our furniture and weeding my collections. As each piece that I was not attached to left my possession, a weight began lifting off of me. I soon realized that I had been trying to obtain peace through my possessions. While our possessions do bring us happiness we can become overwhelmed by the magnitude of them. Releasing some of those unneeded items would have never happened had we not rented the apartment.
As my year lease draws to an end, I can look back on the past year and realize that it has been a difficult year, but it has also been one of great spiritual and personal growth. I realize that God has placed a purpose on my life and that He is in control of everything. I realize that He is always with me, even when I do not feel Him and that His timing and His plans for my life are always perfect. I have a better understanding of what the most important things in life are, and I realize where my priorities and my loyalties should lie. I have come to realize that true peace and hope come from God and that none of us can make it through this life without Him. I realized that many of the people whom I took for granted or sold short in the past love me unconditionally and only want the best for me. I have realized that I live a very rich and blessed life. I realized that no problem is too big for God to solve and that He never leaves my side and that He is always with me.
It had been our plan to keep the apartment and continue to live in it while our saltbox was being built, but we found out a couple of days ago that God has a different plan for us. So, in the coming weeks, I will begin moving my things back into our house. I am excited and so relieved to be coming back home. Even as I write that word, home, I am filled with so much joy. I am so happy that I am coming back home as a new person and I am hopeful and excited about the future for the first time in a long time, maybe ever.
I know that the house will look different than it did when I left, and it will have some blank areas due to the weeding that we did, but I know that God has always planned for me to do that. Since our house is for sale, I will not be decorating it as much as I normally would, but I know that it will reflect my new life and my newfound existence. I will share pictures of the house when I get moved back in, and I am sure you will see the difference. For now, I would like to share some pictures of the apartment with you. As I said before, it is a very special place and I will never forget its importance in my life. I will never forget the growth I made there, and I will never forget the lessons I learned. I will be showing you one room at a time, and I hope you can see what a special place it truly is. The first room that I will be sharing with you is the living room.
God has been so good to me, and He has truly blessed me in so many amazing ways. I am leaving the apartment with a rejuvenated and healed spirit, and I am looking to the future with a new sense of hope and peace, and as you know, PEACE MATTERS.