I Retired! Now What?
Two years of prompting from my husband and more prayers than I can count, I officially stepped down from my position at Liberty Church. My husband tells everyone I "retired", but that just sounds so odd for me to say. For almost 14 years, my entire life was scheduled around the my job. Really my life, and to some extent my family's lives too. Each year, I would tell everyone what dates to mark off on their calendars so they would be available to help. Even our vacations were determined based on the outreach and fundraising events for the year. My mind was always filled with lists, dates, people who needed help and how to find volunteers to make it all happen. My eyes were always open, looking for potential auction items, sales on school supplies and sponsorship opportunities. Working for the church/outreach, often times required very long hours, and weekends. The lines between job and volunteer sort of blended together. No one ever asked me to work that many hours. It just sort of happens when your heart is tied to the mission at hand. Stepping away from a mission that has been woven into my life for so long has not been not easy. That is why it took me so long to make the decision.
My last days were definitely very bitter sweet and filled will well wishes from volunteers, coworkers, friends, and family. I am so very thankful to the amazing people who I've had the opportunity to serve with. I am forever thankful to my Pastor for asking me to come work for him. I had no clue at the time that I was about to begin a life changing journey!
When I finally made the decision to retire, people kept asking what I was going to do next. Next? This shouldn't be too hard to figure out. I am a planner so I definitely had plans. Well, maybe not plans, but I definitely had some ideas. I would love to offer my experience to churches and organizations near and far to help them create strong community partnerships that would impact families in a positive way. I love public speaking and teaching. Teaching students about the face of hunger, food insecurity and how they can make a difference is what I enjoy the most. I finally have time to do something I've wanted to do for over 20 years. I want to write a children's book. Reading to my own children and then watching them read to me are some of my favorite memories. We still quote lines from some of those books. I hope what I create, stirs imagination and giggles for children and adults. I definitely want to share some of the amazing lessons learned along my nonprofit journey as well. But here we are at the beginning of March and I'm no where close to making any of those things happen.
So now what do I do? Seriously, now what? I have asked myself this question daily. In fact I have found myself apologizing to my husband because I feel like I'm not contributing toward our future. Each time, he smiles and says, "I am just happy you are home and able to do what you want to do". As sweet as that sounds, it actually frustrates me more. What is it that I want to do and how do I make it happen?
One night last week after my husband went to bed, I was reading my Bible and journaling. The verse that really caught my attention was Isaiah 43:19. "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland". I sat there and read that over and over. Why did this speak to me? It finally hit me! Every single event or outreach I had planned while working was inspired by God. Each step was bathed in prayer and God literally directed my steps. Why on earth wouldn't I approach the next steps in my personal life the same way?
I am not any closer to figuring out all of the details and steps to making my plans happen. At least not on my own power. I am content in just being still at the moment trusting that God is about to do something new. I may not see it yet, and that's okay. There will be a path for me to follow created by God just for me.