Sitting between my two overflowing suitcases: one to take back to the US, and one to stay in Italy.
Deborah came to stay with me during this time of moving, offering her van and physical help. What an amazing friend! Yesterday Deborah and I delivered a whole lot of stuff to Nina’s house: dishes and other kitchen items, sheets, towels, and all the food both frozen and non-perishable that we didn’t think we would eat in the next week.
From the beginning I have prayed for God’s perfect timing in organizing and executing this move, and that is exactly how things have turned out. Some things that I had thought were going to happen too late indeed happened right on time—but not early, as I would have preferred. For example, I had ordered boxes online from a local home fix-it center. I had ordered from the local store, itself, thinking that they would arrive in a day or two. Instead, as soon as I hit the payment button, a message came up saying that I could look for delivery in two weeks. So boxing-up stuff started two weeks later than I had anticipated—and that turned out to be just fine.
Tomorrow the moving company comes to take all the furniture away. I am donating the furniture to a missionary family that will be arriving in Italy in about six weeks. I’ve gone through almost all of the furniture at this point, setting aside stuff to give to local missionaries that need it. I have wanted for every aspect of this move to bless God’s workers here in Europe, and indeed that is how it is proceeding. I had far more stuff than I had ever imagined. Yesterday I found a professional microphone that I didn’t know I had. So I gave it to Deborah, since she does filmmaking and teaches filmmaking here in Italy. She was thrilled to get it.
I have two spare mattresses that I keep for extra guests. Deborah and I will use the mattresses in the next week that we remain here. Nina has asked for the kitchen table and chairs, so we will also have a place to sit. I’m also keeping the prayer chair for Nina.
All my own stuff is in two overflowing suitcases. I need to go through them and get rid of more stuff, but that can wait until after the furniture is gone.
It is really freeing to let go of all this stuff. A few months before I knew that I was a missionary God told me to surrender all of my finances to Him. I really struggled with this at the time. Having lost all that I had built my life upon just a year earlier, I felt that I had lost my very identity. I didn’t have a lot of money, but it wasn’t an issue that I had to worry very much about because the divorce had left me a bit of money. Now I thought that God was telling me: “Sell everything you have, give all the money to the poor, and come follow Me.” God patiently waited while I struggled over His command. Then I realized that it had all come from Him in the first place. Like Job I could only say:
I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord! (Job 1:21).
So I surrendered all of my finances to God and waited for Him to tell me to give it all away to the poor—He didn’t.
A few months later, He called me back to Italy as a missionary with the ministry of encouraging missionaries in this very difficult mission field. Part of that calling of encouragement was hospitality ministry. I do not have the supernatural gift of hospitality, but I did it out of obedience and to the very best of my ability. I put all of those finances from the divorce into this house and its furnishings, keeping a good stock of food handy to bless missionaries. Now all the money from the divorce has been spent, the stuff is soon to be gone.
Now it’s just me and God. I had prayed and prayed over this past year to get closer to God. This very well may be the answer to that prayer. It wasn’t the answer that I had anticipated or even wanted, but now I am realizing that it is a wonderful answer: it really is just me and God, traveling throughout Europe together, praying where He shows me to pray.
I’m actually thrilled to be entering this season without a house in Europe. I’ve never felt more alive. As I move into this new season of my life and ministry, I realize that I don’t even know where the line is between the two. I face a lot of unknowns and new territory, but I know that my wonderful God goes with me wherever I go, and I’ll go wherever He sends me.
For the next few days I need wisdom in paring-down the remaining items in the suitcases. I don’t want to keep too much, but I also don’t want to get rid of anything that I’ll really need in the months (years?) ahead.
Thanks to all who have prayed for me! God is good!
 Since my ministry is encouragement, and since this family is an answer to my daily prayer for more missionaries to come to Europe, this is something that benefits them, but also benefits me. The timing, again, is perfect.
 My children were grown and living far away, I had had to leave my beloved Italy when my husband had lost his job—the only move that ever made me cry!—my marriage of 33 years had ended badly, and through divorce I had lost my husband’s whole family, too.
 Jesus said this to the rich young ruler in three out of the four Gospels, see Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, and Luke 18:22.
 Something I hadn’t even thought about when God said to give notice on the house back six months ago.