Emotionally De-cluttering, Part 1: Giving things away.

April 2nd of 2015 was one of the coolest days of my life.
I was in California, visiting the Halters, with the boy I was dating/really liked.

I had my Instax and we took a bunch of pictures.


Whenever I take pictures with the twins, we divide them up at the end of my visit. They keep some and I keep some. Naturally, I kept that picture in the top leftish corner of me and the boy I was all about. I tucked all of my pictures into the collection of Instax that I kept in my wallet.

Four days later, that boy kind of messed my life up. and every time I opened my wallet to proudly show people the little loves of my life, I’d have to quickly shuffle past that picture of us. I couldn’t throw it away, because I was so hopeful that we could be friends again at some point. And maybe it wouldn’t be a picture of two people who had some great romantic love story, but perhaps it could be a testimony of reconciliation and forgiveness and the kind of love story that is often overlooked – the friends through thick and thin kind.

I held on hope for that even when he blocked me on Twitter. On his personal account and non-profit account and faith account and business account. and when he blocked me from his account in instagram. and unfriended me on Facebook. and blocked me from his non profit account on instagram. and banned my blog page from liking his non-profit Facebook… and his business Facebook… and when he blocked me on Pinterest… and when he banned me from liking his business page from my personal Facebook… and when he finally blocked me from liking his business on Instagram. It happened every few days over the course of two months, and I was radio silent the entire time, praying that the storm would die down and I could approach him with white flag waving, asking if it was safe to come out yet.

One day during the summer I was at camp, journaling. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to write his name in my new journal. I didn’t want this journal to be full of confusion and hurt. I wanted it to be hopeful and full of grace. I pulled out my pictures to tape one into my journal, and I saw the picture. I looked at it and cried a little bit because I couldn’t throw it away. It wasn’t trash. Knowing him was a special year of my life, regardless of how it ended, and I didn’t have the hardness of heart to throw it away.

So I ran to my friend Donna. The one who has been so divinely placed into my life to cry with me and to let me cry with her. Donna, who knows so deeply what it means to wait on the Lord. Donna, who has always shown me how to hurt with grace and gentleness. and I asked her if she would please take my picture and do with it whatever she thought was best.

donna // stephanieorefice.net

In September, I was hurting. and I wrote about Donna sending me a message at the very moment I needed her. In the message, she told me about that picture. She’d taken it all the way back to Australia and after having washed a certain pair of shorts THREE TIMES, she reached into the pocket and pulled out that picture.

You know how when people clean, they divide things into piles like KEEP, GIVE AWAY, THROW AWAY?
Donna let me give my emotional clutter to her. By accepting that picture and giving me a reassuring hug, she took the massive weight of a tiny picture into her life.

Sometimes when things hurt us and we don’t want to be reminded of it but we can’t bear to throw it away, we need to give it away to someone who recognizes the importance of it but who is more emotionally attached to us than the thing; who can be trusted to do what they see fit with our pain.

Right now one of my favorite songs of hope just came on shuffle, and the words of the song seem appropriate to share in light of this looking back on one of the most freeing moments of 2015.

“One, two, three, four steps
Take a little more with you
Show me one more step in the world
Thats all I need to move on.
-Will Reagan & United Pursuit

A little more. One more step. That’s all.

People of God by Will Reagan & United Pursuit // stephanieorefice.net



  1. January 20, 2016 / 8:43 am

    This is so beautiful and honest. Good for you for taking the steps that you need to be happy.

    • January 29, 2016 / 2:14 pm

      thank you so much <3 big things happen with little steps.

  2. Breeze Kruse
    January 20, 2016 / 9:08 am

    It is sometimes hard to let go of hurt.

    • January 29, 2016 / 2:15 pm

      for sure. but it’s hard to take hold of other things when you’re busy holding on to hurt 🙂

  3. January 20, 2016 / 9:58 am

    I’m glad you didn’t hold on to that picture or have to throw it away yourself. Giving it away was a good call, I think. I’m so glad you’re moving on!

    • January 29, 2016 / 2:15 pm

      yes! me too! not having to see that but then not having to throw it away was a good decision 🙂 <3

  4. January 21, 2016 / 12:55 am

    I’ve saved momentos like that too, because even when something like that hurts sometimes it’s nice to remember that at one point it was good…right? So glad you have Donna and her insight in your life. And I’m hoping your new journal is full of life and hope and Jesus, even in the midst of whatever may come 🙂

    • January 29, 2016 / 2:16 pm

      oh i am SO GLAD i have donna. she is brilliant and wonderful. i think it’s really important to let good memories not be tainted by later hurts, but it’s kind of like the whole inside out thing of joy and sadness, you know? please tell me you’ve seen that!

  5. January 21, 2016 / 6:22 am

    Having a friend that lets you dump and carries some of your baggage away is the best kind of friend to have. I haven’t had a break up in years, but I’ve had several friend break ups since we moved to Georgia while navigating that “why does it suck so much to make friends as an adult?!” journey and I really needed this today!

    • January 29, 2016 / 2:27 pm

      YES. i’m so glad it got to you at the right time. donna is such a precious friend to me – and i know she knows she can give away some of her hurts to me, too. friend breakups are almost worse than relationship breakups because why do you need to break up with your FRIENDS? it’s weird.

  6. January 21, 2016 / 10:47 am

    <3<3<3 I've loved being a part of your healing story!!!!

    • January 29, 2016 / 2:27 pm

      <3 i've loved having you as part of it – and i think that BECAUSE OF IT we are such good friends, you know?

  7. January 25, 2016 / 7:29 am

    I remember when this was happening and being so confused about the barrage of account blocking. I am so sorry you were hurt in this way, but I am very proud of you for giving the pain to someone else to bear for a period of time. xoxo

    • January 29, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      <3 <3 <3 thanks for being in my corner and for being confused with me and reminding me that what i was experiencing was abnormal, ahah. sometimes you just need someone to say "yeah you're not the crazy one." ;D

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