This month our local art center is featuring the nativity collection of a well-known woman in our community. “A friend’s comment piqued my interest and I started searching for unique crèches in my travels,” she said. This display is just a small part of her extensive collection.

People collect everything from pocketknives, fishing lures, and matchbooks, to the more unique and expensive items. I started collecting turtles several years back because I related to their habit of tucking their head inside their shell for safety. I was afraid to “stick my neck out” or be noticed. I sought to blend into the background.

In my 40’s I learned the reason for my fears: childhood sexual abuse. I spent two intense years counseling with my pastor and several more years processing what I learned. This helped me move beyond the fears that held me captive. When I found a ceramic turtle with his head inside his shell, I purchased it and set him next to a turtle who’s neck is fully protruded—kind of a before and after picture of my life. I still have fears, but now I prefer  to experience life rather than hide from it.

When we bought a small apple orchard, I began to buy apple knick-knacks. I also collected owls for a while, but I can’t remember any particular reason for that. I just liked them, or maybe I wanted to become “wise as an owl.”

I don’t collect mice or find anything about them cute—perhaps because we live in the country and I’ve had to deal with their attempts each fall to find a warm spot in my home.

Joe Stowell, in a devotional he wrote for Our Daily Bread, said this about collections, “…it is sobering to think that once we leave this earth, everything we own becomes a part of someone else’s collection.” I wonder if my kids will appreciate all my “treasures?

More importantly, Jesus talked about our habit of collecting possessions in Matthew 6:19-20 (NKJV), “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”

Collections are a fun hobby and can add interest to our life, but they can also become expensive and obsessive. After awhile you may question, “Do I own my possessions or do they own me?”

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5 Responses to Collections

  1. Vie says:

    Our downsizing four years ago was so freeing–yet we’ve now filled our smaller house with new collections. Your post was wonderful–and a prompt to return to the simple life I so long for. To the dump, to the dump, to the dump-dump-dump!

    You are a blessing with your head stuck out, dear friend.

  2. Mark says:

    I remember the small article in the local newspaper about the nativity scenes that she was going to display. She commented, “There is nothing special to her about the birth of Jesus…”. Really?

  3. Marilyn Naseth says:

    Mark, I heard later that was a misquote and the paper published the next day one of its infamous corrections!

  4. Marilyn,

    Thank you for your honesty. It will help others who carry the pain of lost innocense. May our Lord Jesus give you strength to hold your head high. He knows your life and He cares. He loves you so much and has given you incredible talent and a tender heart. So glad to know you and love you as a sister in Christ.

    Love and prayers,

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