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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Left in Storage

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed,

and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

Luke 8:17 (NIV)

The past few years have been filled with transition, leaving much of our life packed away in boxes since May of 2021. Family photos, favorite pieces of art, home décor, and a lifetime's worth of memorabilia all packed away, left in storage. While it’s been unsettling to not have these items of comfort in view, it has made sense to leave them safely and securely stowed away until we were finally ready to bring them out again. Thankfully, that time is now.

In many ways, it feels like Christmas, opening so many boxes filled with our life treasures. Sometimes I find myself breathing a sigh of relief as I shed away packing paper and bubble wrap, revealing an old familiar item. “Oh, there you are; I’ve missed you,” I find myself whispering under my breath as childlike joy floods over me. And then other times, I am filled with complete surprise as an item emerges that I completely forgot I owned. It’s an exhilarating process!

As much fun as I’m having unpacking our life, there is also a downside. Like many people, over the years we’ve accumulated stuff that we don’t know what to do with but feel obligated to keep. High school letter jackets and old prom dresses, boxes and boxes of our children’s drawings, family heirlooms, and things we’ve used once and “may” use again in twenty years. My heart sinks whenever I open one of these boxes because now I can’t unsee it and I’m faced with a choice. Do I close the box back up and put it in the basement OR do I finally deal with it?

For the most part, slowly, I am dealing with it, one box at a time. It is however a slow, daunting process, but one I’m glad I am pursuing. As mentally and emotionally draining as it can be, it is worth it to find resolution and peace knowing these old boxes are being emptied, never to haunt me again.

To my surprise, I am also finding there to be a great spiritual metaphor in this process as the words above from Luke 8:17 settle in my mind, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” And I wonder, what do I keep boxed away in my heart and mind, left in storage because I simply don’t want to deal with it?

Pondering this question, I am aware that not everything I’ve “left in storage” is bad. Yes, of course, there are memories of brokenness and emotional pain I should deal with and lapsed relationships with friends I should restore. But there are also good things like dreams and passions I’ve boxed away. It’s a somber realization and I can’t help but wonder, “What is God trying to say to me in this?”

I tend to be someone who overthinks… a lot. Even so, what I know to be true is that God is not as cryptic as I would like to believe. Sometimes what he is trying to say to me through very practical life situations is simple and clear… “Pay attention and deal with what I’m showing you.”

The reality is, one day, at the end of my life, I will stand before God and be asked what I did with this life he’s given me. As I think about his moment, the above verse from Luke 8:17 comes flooding into my mind.

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

Everything about my life that I’ve left in storage or tried to hide will be brought into the light. Yikes! Now, I am certain the purpose IS NOT to shame me but to give me divine perspective on what could have been different. Of course at that point in time, nothing will change about those choices, so why bother?

Simple, knowing the question is coming, knowing everything will be brought out into the light gives me the good news… there is still time! Time to unpack everything left in storage, bring it into the light of God’s goodness, hope, and healing, and live without regrets. Yes, thank you, Jesus, there is still time!

Now, to be clear, I’ve not gotten this down and I’m still keeping some boxes closed up nice and tight in my heart, but I am open to God’s nudges to begin unpacking them and when the time is right I know he will join me in the process.

My hope for you is that you too will have confidence that God will join you as well when he starts pulling your boxes out of storage.

For Your Reflection…

What are you keeping boxed away in your heart and mind, left in storage because you simply don’t want to deal with it? Talk to God about it. Ask him to reveal to you when the time is right to begin unpacking.


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