Where Our Treasure Is

March 31, 2010 | 36 comments

And this is why we don’t cling too tightly to the things of this world.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy.
(Lord, may we add mold to the list?)
… But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
— Matthew 6:19-20


The phone call came last week from the couple who live next to our little summer cabin on the lake.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, Jennifer,” Kathy hesitated, “But water is just gushing out the patio door of your cabin.”

A water main broke, filling the basement. We sent the plumber over to fix it right away, but the damage had already been done. Humidity and rising temperatures over these last weeks have been an accelerating potion. Tiny, microscopic spores burst into fuzzy patches that have grown and multiplied.

Mold has destroyed our lakeside cabin.

It was nothing fancy, this cabin, but much life and joy have bloomed under that ramshackle roof. We bought it early in our marriage, before we had children. Together, we painted every room, and we nailed and we hammered and … yes, even duct-taped a little dream on a lakeshore.

We filled it with third-hand furniture and family photographs and memories upon memories.

We named it Bela Vista, in honor our dear Brazilian friends who have a farm by the same name near Sorocaba, Brazil. (Bela Vista means “beautiful view” in Portuguese.)

The views are still beautiful, but no more will we watch sunsets from the deck of our little cabin. Because the house will come down. These ol’ walls will be trucked to a landfill, buried with the discarded waste of a four-county area.

Lydia, with the wise words, whispered in my ear today: “It’s OK, Mom. People are more important than things.”


Yesterday afternoon, we donned the white suits and the masks and the rubber gloves, and we laughed as we posed. We looked like CSI investigators headed into a crime scene.

Then, we went in for our first — and last — look at the cabin. We would recover as much as we could, as quickly as we could.

Scott opened the squeaky screen door into our cottage, all polka-dotted by wildly multiplying spores. I heaved a sigh, feeling my own hot breath under the mask. Was there a single square-inch untouched by the destruction?

I snapped frame after frame, with no time

to linger over the spot where I tugged a swimsuit over Lydia’s tiny frame before her first-ever boat ride. No time to pause at the kitchen table where we held Anna’s June birthday parties. No time to linger at the windows where we watched Okoboji sunsets and Fourth of July fireworks. No time to run gloved fingers along the nine-pound stuffed walleye I caught on the Lund, or the pillow decorated with the campanile. (The pillow was a gift from Mom, and a reminder of Scott’s marriage proposal to me under our college campus campanile.)

This is all landfill waste now.

There was so little to rescue. We pulled a few mementos onto the lawn, and packed them into the trailer.

As Scott locked up the cabin door for the last time, I surveyed the smattering of items we’d recovered. I also made a mental inventory of what they would haul to the landfill — pretty much everything we’d collected over all these years.

It’s just stuff. It really is. I have to say it to remind myself of this truth. For it is Truth.

Here’s the real treasure:

The memories of the birthday parties,
and the boat rides,
and the family reunions,
and the times we made pillow nests for rainy-day movies,
and Anna’s first steps on that carpet,
and the candlelight dinners,
and the bunk-bed forts,
and the decision to paint the basement in the craziest, wildest bright colors!
And the time we sang at the top of our lungs with the Nadas
until 2 in the morning.
And the waking up to early-morning pleas for sunrise boat rides.

None of that goes to the landfill.

For these are the things etched on hearts and memories. These are the things we store up, the real treasures that point to lasting God-deposits on who we are as a people, as a family. These are the parts untouched by moths and rust and mold.

Where is our treasure? It is, indeed, where our hearts are.

by | March 31, 2010 | 36 comments


  1. A Simple Country Girl

    Oh Jennifer, I am sorry for your physical loss. But you are so right and your post is brimming with His Truth. This very topic has been heavy on my heart lately. Indeed treasures on earth will one day burn beyond ash, but all we do for Him will shine with His glory!


  2. Rose

    Jennifer it is sad to see the cabin that housed so many of your precious memories ruined beyond repair. I know it must be a bit painful to loose it all but compared to what has been promised us in eternal life, it is a minor loss. The real treasure as you said is the memories and they will stay with you. Hugs!

  3. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Amen, sisters! Thanks for your encouragement.

  4. jasonS

    When I was in college a tornado ripped through our family home (that I was still living in at the time). No one was home thankfully, and the reminder that it's all just 'stuff' became very real. Some was salvageable and a lot wasn't, but like you said, it was sad but okay. You realize what's truly important and it's not the 'things.'

  5. Beth E.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your cabin, Jennifer! It must have been painful to walk through it and see the devastation. I know that's not where your treasure is, but it's where a lot of hard work went as you made the cabin your own, filling it with wonderful memories. Will you be able to rebuild?

    I'm so thankful that you have peace in the midst of such a frustrating situation. You have great wisdom and perspective about all of this…what a testimony, my friend!


  6. Anne Lang Bundy

    Jennifer. Oh Jennifer. I think I held my breath reading this whole post, as soon as I saw the line, "And this is why we don't cling too tightly to the things of this world."

    But the line that brought tears was the one with words of our beloved Lord:
    "Where is our treasure? … where our hearts are."

    Thank you for your heart. Thank you for all the ways you've made me part of it. Thank you for the ways you've let me have you in my heart.

  7. S. Etole

    It's a strange thing how as Christians we can rejoice in loss knowing that there is far greater treasure laid up … and yet, I am sorry you experienced this

  8. Lady Claudette

    What a beautiful reminder 🙂 Thanks, I definitely needed to hear this! Sorry about your beautiful cabin…but I am glad that you recognize the true treasure is all the memories you have.

  9. Cherie

    I'm so sorry!!! Your perspective is beautiful and convicting!

  10. john

    Sorry sis about your troubles. I think we should plan a proper funeral for the cabin. Call me if you want to talk.

  11. Runner Mom

    Oh, Jennifer, I am so sorry about the cabin and your "treasures!" Bless your hearts! But you are so right…it's those treasures that we store up in Heaven that matter the most. Good luck, my friend!

  12. Karen

    Your daughter said it all in a nutshell…

    So sorry for the physical loss but glad you will always have those wonderful memories….

  13. Jennifer

    Sorry for your loss–minor it may be, but still pangs these hearts of flesh. Can you imagine this day if you didn't know where your true treasure is?

  14. elizabeth

    Oh so sorry for your loss…but so happy for the happy memories of family time there…hopefully you can rebuild???

  15. Alleluiabelle

    Hi Jennifer,

    I Love you my friend. I am happy to see that you were able to salvage some things…so sad that you have to scrap the whole cabin…extremely happy to hear where your true treasures are stored…in your hearts and memories.

    I love your heart for the Lord, the way you make me feel when I am able to come here, the way He uses you in your experiences and writing to reach all of us.

    Thank you Lord for such a beautiful woman as Jennifer. Thank you for shining your divine light and wisdom through her here as she continues to live her life through you. Thank you for using her as one of your many vessels here on earth. I ask that you bless her and her family abundantly in all ways through your divine will.

    Big Hugs,

  16. Laura

    Oh, Jennifer. I'm so sorry. Yes, it's true that our treasure is where our hearts are. I'm so grateful for these precious memories gathered here.

    But I still feel sad with you. I'll be praying for you. Is it rebuilding time? 'Cause I know you've got the strongest foundation. 🙂

    And BTW, you make those CSI chicks look dowdy in that white suit!

  17. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Each of you…

    You bless me. Thank you for your encouragement and your reminders and your prayers. I'm touched in ways that I can't describe with mere words.

    Thank you. ((((Thank you))))).

    All my love to each of you…

  18. lynnmosher

    Oh, Jennifer, I, too, am so sorry about your earthly loss. It is sad to lose the things that house our memories. The outer shell may be gone but the inner glory of memories can never be destroyed. So glad you were able to salvage some things. Blessings to you!

  19. annkroeker

    Jennifer, you sure do set a wonderful example of how to respond in a godly, Christ-centered, heavenly minded way.

    I'd still be weeping in my mask, feeling the loss.

    Thank you for pointing us straight to Scripture, which points straight to the Lord.

  20. annkroeker

    It occurred to me that you actually have the "bela vista," the truly beautiful view.

  21. annkroeker

    It occurred to me that you actually have the "bela vista," the truly beautiful view.

  22. Beth E.

    Thank you for that sweet, sweet comment on my post. It truly touched my heart. I thank YOU for encouraging ME.

    Celebrating with you the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

  23. Bike Hampton Roads

    That fucking sucks, man. I'm sorry. Will insurance cover the loss? Are you going to rebuild? How long had the water been going?

  24. Bike Hampton Roads

    P.S. "Bike Hampton Roads" is McNarney. That must be an old gmail account of mine. Again, sorry about the house.

  25. patty

    🙁 praying for you all as you continue to let go…
    love you, friend

  26. alicia

    I am so sorry that you lost all your stuff! It is just stuff and the memoried will last as you said, but still not an easy task to tackle.
    You have a very wise daughter, just like her mama!

  27. Carey

    So sorry, Jennifer! I know it's just "stuff," but it's so hard. Praying for you guys!

  28. KJ

    As always when we're in the moment of any tragedy its so hard…I am sure the light will come for you and the plan is HIS right?! 😉

    Think of the many new memories you will make.

    Enjoy your time in Mpls.

  29. Kay @ Off the Beaten Path

    It all comes back to relationships doesn't it? Those that were created there, cemented there, bloomed there, celebrated there. At least you still have those.

    Bless your sweet heart. I hate it that this happened to you and your family, but I love your precious attitude. I know it's not easy.

    Happy Easter, my friend!

  30. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    I am so sorry that you are having to endure this loss! I pray that the Lord just ministers to your spirits and helps you to deal with the loss of some of your things.

    Love you – Beth

  31. Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife

    I'm sorry to hear this. Your attitude is absolutely amazing! Only God could create that in you. You pour forth the Spirit in your writings and encourage us all!

    My treasure is my home in heaven.

  32. elaine @ peace for the journey

    In 1999, our little town was devastated by the flood waters of Hurricane Floyd. Our church was even severely damaged, having to strip it down to the frame and starting over. A very painful time for our little community.

    I'm sorry for your loss and will remember you in my prayers as you re-direct your dreams and vision for a new thing in a new season.

    Blessed Easter walk to you and yours this weekend.


  33. César

    Hi Jennifer. What a loss!!! At least you rescue the stuff you couldn't replace. I'm glad you face the wreckage in the way you do. I remember when Caryl told me you have bought the cabin by the lake. Since then I think on the day I would be there, outside on the deck, in front of the Lake, with all the Dukes together having a nice time. It seems we will need to find another place to enjoy each other next time the Scaliantes go to Iowa. Not a big deal as long as we stay together. Hugs from Bela Vista, Brazil

  34. Tea With Tiffany

    Why is it I come to your blog and feel speechless? Because you always touch my heart with tender truth. What matters most. People. Faith. Jesus.

    So sorry about your sweet cabin. I know you will continue to store up what matters most. Memories with those you love.

    Hugs and prayers.

    Have a beautiful Easter!

  35. Missie

    So sorry to hear for your loss…but it is amazing the story and witnessing you got out of that loss. God works in different ways, and even though it is hard, that mold is making a difference in your readers lives.

  36. Shirl

    Oh my! I am so sorry!


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