Joshua, Week 5: Rules for Thrift Shopping
Tarah Curry, wife of First Free Rockford's new director of contemporary worship, reflects on the similarities between thrift shopping, faith and patience.
Tarah Curry
November 1, 2023

I have my own personal rules for thrifting:

  1. Never go in expecting to find what you’re looking for.
  2. Don’t rush finding the “perfect piece” and settling for something you don’t actually want, just to fill a space (fastest way to wind up with clutter).
  3. Never grab a cart as soon as you walk in (trust me).

And a fourth unspoken rule:

4. Don’t buy it unless you can visualize where it’s going.

But what does thrifting have to do with anything?

For me, it has a lot to do with my patience level. I am admittedly someone who is always working to curate the coziest home, room by room. I want anyone who visits to (figuratively) never want to leave. But it takes a lot of patience to both fill a room and to fill it intentionally.

When we moved to Rockford, my running joke to everyone I talked to was that I would have our house unpacked within the first day of arrival. Except I wasn’t joking, and I had high hopes. The real joke was on myself. Despite downsizing ahead of moving, I was still in over my head with boxes and bags and recycled boxes mislabeled from prior use. But after months of living inside a house that had transitioned from a cozy home to rooms of boxes, I was desperate to pull it together once we made it to our new location. However, in the same way the rules of thrifting apply to shopping, the rule of patience applies to making a house a home.

I (again, admittedly) don’t like clutter or half-done anything, so with each day it took to make our new home functional and relaxing, was an opportunity to grow in patience.

But again, what does this have to do with anything?

I’ve been reflecting on Jesus providing opportunities to practice faith, patience, and obedience. Where we are now isn’t at all where I expected us to be a year ago. Our move to Rockford was a huge leap of faith and an act of obedience that Eric and I both submitted to after months and months of prayer and uncertainty with where the Lord was leading us, but confident that wherever it was, He’d be there ahead of us. Somehow those pieces felt the easiest, even though I knew I was simultaneously surrendering comfort, close proximity to my favorite people, and the only city I’ve ever known in my thirty years of life. But the peace that came with this leap of faith was unmistakable.

However, I find myself wondering, where is my patience? It took patience to move through the waiting process. Selling a house, buying a house, moving ten pets, and unpacking a whole life in a new city. And that waiting period was hard. A lot of bumps, setbacks, and heaviness; but never anything that shifted our faith or retracted our obedience. If anything, our posture of submission sunk even lower. We trust you, God.

Yet that patience has been lacking as I navigate the reality of the here and now. We are here. We are pretty settled. I can find the patience for thrifting the perfect coffee table and unpacking my home; yet I can’t find the patience it takes to sink into deep relationships. I can’t find the patience it takes to fully transition from what life was to what life is. I find myself struggling with the hard emotions and the loneliness of something brand new. I’ve equated home to people and to comfort, and in a lot of ways that can be true. But it’s been a wonky aspect to navigate with this move. It’s a free-falling feeling, where I want to both fall gracefully into the comfort of what was home, what were comfort people, and what was easy and to be immediately placed in the throngs of established. But the reality is, there is no safety net. Except Jesus.

He calls us out of our comfort zones, not to land gracefully into a new, pre-established comfort zone.

He calls us into a deeper relationship with Himself. And there is something beautiful in the waiting of having nothing to cling to but the Lord. Of processing every hard emotion curled up at His side, knowing He’s catching every tear and hearing every heart-cry.

So I suppose my rules for thrifting apply to stepping into whatever the Lord has called us in to:

  1. Never expect what He’s called you into to look the way you expect it to look.
  2. Don’t rush for all aspects of the “thing” to come to fruition right away.
  3. Never push for the end result as soon as you get there.
  4. Don’t fill the hard-to-process emotions with junk; take them to the feet of the Lord.
Tarah Curry
Tarah is a wife, fur mom, avid reader, and sometimes writer. She is a Rockford transplant and lives here with her husband, Eric, and their house full of pets.


  1. Avatar

    What a great analogy Tarah!
    Your message spoke to my heart today in a very real way!

  2. Avatar

    Great insight, Tarah. Welcome to First Free and to Rockford.

    (I am from Crawforsdville, IN – my husband and I lived in Indy for a year before moving here 30 years ago.)

  3. Avatar

    You are a gifted writer! Thanks so much for sharing this! God has taken me through hard things to draw me closer to Him also. I guess most true believers will say that. I love your analogies! Thank you and Eric for your obedience! We’re so thankful that God brought you to First Free!

  4. Avatar

    Good analogy perspective regarding thrifting. Good places to do so here in Rockford, just ask to learn where.

  5. Avatar

    Tarah, from the moment you came into Eric’s life, I knew you were someone special. To know you is to love you!
    With the news of your move to Rockford, I was so happy for you both. I know the Lord had big plans for you both, and I am excited to see your future unfold.
    I love and miss you guys, but I do love watching my son singing and playing his guitar for the Lord on Sunday mornings.
    Love, your very proud mother-in-law!


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