Matthew 6:31, 32b

“Take no thought for your life saying, ‘what shall we eat, what shall we drink, or what will we wear for clothing?’ For your heavenly Father knows you have need of all these things.”

“We have arranged for you to stay in a fully furnished apartment until we can get you back in your house.” These words were a comfort to me as we drove our kids to the place where we would stay the next few months. We had just left our burned out house, where white squares in black soot now marked the spot where pictures once hung on the walls.  Our “fully furnished” house was nothing but a water-logged, soot-filled, broken-apart house. It was a strange feeling to own nothing but the clothes on your back.

I was relieved to have dishes, towels, and blankets at the apartment, but they weren’t mine. The ones I had were given to me as wedding presents, holiday gifts or bought at the store because I loved them.  Mine had memories attached, and they were gone.  Whenever I picked up the quilt in the family room and folded it up, it was special because my great grandmother made it for me. The machine-sewed “quilt” on the living room couch now, had no meaning to it.  Never before had furniture, blankets or dishes retained such meaning and at the same time mattered so little.  On the one hand, I did not want to lose the representation of the person or memory attached to that object, but on the other hand, I still had my husband and children; and that mattered more.  Ironically, it was a strange paradox. I didn’t care that I was sitting on an apartment couch that wasn’t mine, because snuggling in with me on that couch were my children, happy to feel secure with their parents.

We didn’t replace everything in the house because we realized we didn’t need it.  The idea of “simplifying” became real that summer as God provided for us those items we needed.  We simplified and it was very freeing.  And even though the previous objects of my house, so full of meaning, were gone, the memories attached to them lasted. Simplicity and happy memories: that was all we had, and that was all we needed.



  1. May 5, 2012 at 2:44 am

    I remember Cecil Murphey writing the same thing when his house burned (except they lost his son-in-law). I think it would please the Lord if all His people simplified their lives and possessions.

  2. Alida said,

    May 5, 2012 at 4:49 am

    It is amazing what one can live without. We had all of our belongings stolen in our move from Russia to Belize. We don’t have much but we have what we need.

    Blessings and joy to you and your family in your new and simplified life!

  3. May 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    You’re right, memories and our family are what really matters. To build up treasures in heaven, that’s what lasts. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Alecia said,

    May 31, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I know it must have been hard to lose those treasured things from your home, but sometimes when you lose everything you realize you only need very little. Having your sweet family by your side safe and sound matters more than all the pictures and quilts in the world.

  5. Jean Wise said,

    June 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Such a difficult time for you. A time to grief that loss yet learn the lessons in simplicity too. Thanks for sharing the lessons. I will take time today to appreciate what I have been blessed with.

  6. Ms. Kathleen said,

    June 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    So sorry for all your loss but praise the Lord your family is with you. We’ve been downsizing over the past few years. It is really a huge relief not to have all this stuff around any longer. The Lord will restore all that you need. Have a wonderful day!

  7. Denise said,

    June 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Bless you for knowing what truly is important.

  8. March 12, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    This is beautiful. How refreshing and so true. The things that matter most are not the things but the people who cannot be replaced. It is so inspiring that you can take that attitude away from losing so much. I’m certain God restored you ten fold. 🙂

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