Expecting God on My Front Porch

For several years, I secretly longed for a front porch. Nothing fancy, just a small corner with a pot of flowers and maybe, hopefully, a swing. But it’s never been practical. So when I learned a front porch came with the new home we’re buying, my heart sang. You see, I’m expecting God to join me on my front porch. And I really need His help. I expect God to meet me on my front porch and help me with my 3 Rs of retirement.

Expecting God’s Presence

Something about being outside, amazed by God’s creativity, always makes me feel closer to Him. I worship in awe and wonder at His majesty. Even when I plan to read, being outside distracts me, draws me closer to God. I spend more time talking to Him and listening for His whisper as I meditate on His Word. I can see Him everywhere when I rest in His Presence.

Expecting the God’s Help in Creating Community

An introvert through and through, I feel some panic along with the excitement of moving into a new community. Meeting new people, reaching out and talking to strangers fills me with trepidation. God made us for fellowship. Not just with Him, but with others.

In my normal style, I pull my car into the garage, shut the door, and stay in my comfort zone. Me, my husband, a few good friends, and lots of books. Oh, I wave at my neighbors if I pass them, but I don’t know much about them.

So my prayer is God will nudge me to invite people onto my front porch. To sit and chat. Learn about one another. Develop relationships beyond a wave. Move me out of my comfort zone. Trust Him to work in my heart, growing and transforming me day by day.

And He’ll get me off of my porch. Get me up to say hello, start conversations with others. Build community.

I’m expecting God, and His people, on my front porch.

Linking today with Five Minute Friday.  

 

Three Retirement Rs: Rest, Relax, Renew

 

The three Rs of school are reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. Last week, I retired after 35 years of teaching. It’s time for me to replace those Rs of school life with different words. Words that I pray will help make me more content, less stressed. Focused on all God has planned and prepared for me. My new R words? Rest. Relax. Renew.

Rest

Probably the hardest R for me will be rest. Even when I’m not working, there’s a tension in my shoulders. A need to be doing s o m e t h i n g. To have a purpose. A plan. Keep busy. Be productive.

God calls me to rest. To be still. Jesus often left the noisy throng of people he ministered to and went alone to pray. When his disciples became to busy to even eat, he pulled them aside so they could rest.

Mark 6:31

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place, and get some rest.”

Rest doesn’t mean sitting and doing nothing. Thankfully, since I’m not very good at that. It calls me to pull away from the every day, the challenges, the noise. Rest brings me into the presence of God. 

Rest includes

  • Time in His Word, both studying and meditating. Thinking about what He says to me and how to apply it to my life.
  • Prayer. Talking to God, pouring out my heart. And listening to what He says to me.
  • Gift and prayer walks. Leaving the four walls of my office and venturing into the beautiful world He created. Taking note of all the gifts He gives. Gratefully acknowledging Who He is and how much He does for me.

Rest

Relax

I used to think resting and relaxing were the same. But relaxing is more about me. Doing things I enjoy. To rest, I need to pull away from the world and its distractions, but I relax right where I am.

Personally, I don’t relax well unless the house is neat and tidy, but I can relax in between loads of laundry or while I get up and down to move the hose and water the jasmine along the back fence. One of my favorite ways to relax includes sitting on the patio with a glass of iced tea and a good book, watching the birds and the train that meanders its way across the horizon. I love to relax with people I love over a leisurely lunch or coffee dates. When I can’t see people face-to-face, I connect over Facebook or Instagram. Once in a while, I may even fit in a nap.

Renew

Through rest and relaxation, I can put into practice the lessons God has for me. I read books that encourage me in my Christian life. I can’t wait to read through the stack of books I’ve collected over the last couple of years, always telling myself I’d get to them. That time is here!

I renew my commitment to God’s Kingdom as I serve Him. For several years, I facilitated a GriefShare group at my church, led small groups, and visited the sick and shut-in. As we prepare to move, I’m handing over those ministries to others and praying about being open to God’s leading in my new church.

It is always a challenge for me to wait for God. I want to jump in with both feet. But, as God has renewed and transformed my heart and mind in the past, I must exercise patience. Getting to know my new city. My new church. And letting them get to know me. Letting God, and His leaders, guide me instead of assuming the old and familiar are the right places for me, or if He’ll lead me to new. Growth and change are part of renewal.

Renew

Rest, Relax, and Renew

My journey into retirement just started. I’m not even used to the idea yet, but I hope you’ll join me as I learn where rest, relax, and renew leads me. I’m pretty sure retirement will be wonderful, exciting, and filled with new things.

I’m linking today with #tellhisstory and Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement Thursday, Tune In Thursday, Salt and Light

 

 

God’s Hands Hold My Future: Retirement Adventure

At 2:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Saving Time, the next phase of my life begins. I turn in my classroom keys and close the door for the last time. I won’t return in the fall because I’m retiring. What does the future hold? I don’t know exactly.

Much of the mundane tasks of life remain constant. Planning and preparing meals. Never-ending laundry (really, even for two people, why does that hamper fill up so quickly?). Trying to keep our home neat and tidy. But the stress of juggling that with lesson plans, grading papers, and touching the lives of seventh graders won’t be there anymore.

The Future Adventure

For my entire life, I lived in Southern California. Never more than an hour from downtown Los Angeles or Disneyland. More importantly, never more than 2 hours from family. But my husband, Van, and I bought a home in Prescott Valley, Arizona. A new state. New neighbors. A new church. An introvert by nature, I must rely on God to make new friends and find new ministries. To find my niche in this new place.

Our daughter and grandchildren will be six to eight hours away. Tears spill when I think of that, but the fewer must-dos of retirement bring hope of plenty of visits.

The Future Belongs to God

As Van and I talked and prayed about leaving the familiar and comfortable and stepping out into a new adventure, I prayed. That won’t stop as we get to know what God has in store for us in this new place. Specifically, I pray Proverbs 16:9 The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

 

My future, just like my past and present, belong to God. Through every life change, He carried me through. He never changes, always loves. I look forward to new adventures, directed by Him, as I step forward into retirement.

I’m linking today with Five Minute Friday. Join me there to read what others have to say about today’s prompt, Future.

 

 

Letting God Write the Lessons in my Retirement Plan Book

As a teacher, one of the tools I use is a lesson plan book to help order the day. After thirty-five years of teaching, I retire at the end of this school year. How will I spend my days now? No matter where I am in life, I have lessons to learn. And, to truly live well, I must depend on God to write the lessons in my plan book.

Today, I guest post at the Consilium: A Place Where Women of Wisdom Meet. Please join me there.

Absolutely, Positively, Definitely Sure

Absolutely. Positively. Definitely. 100% sure.

I used to think I knew without doubt how to be a wife. A mother. A woman of God. But the older I get the less I know.

Well, not really. But what I was absolutely, positively, definitely sure of in my twenties and thirties, even my forties and fifties, no longer seems quite so crystal clear in my sixties.

I struggle with that a little. Sometimes a lot. Crystal clear seems easier than murky and unsure. I feel comfortable when I can see where I want to go and the best way to get there.

Oops. I feel comfortable when I can see where I want to go and what I think is the best way to get there.

Those words-I want and I think is the best way-define a way of thinking that puts me in the driver’s seat. My plan. My way. Left to my own devices, I make a bee-line to my own goal like a kid doing a cannonball in a pool of people. I only see myself and my own agenda. Anyone-their plans, feelings, and needs-get lost when I close my eyes and jump without thinking.

God tries to teach me over and over again I need His plan and His way. And that means trusting Him even when that plan isn’t crystal clear to me.

I Am Absolutely, Positively, 100% Sure of God’s Plan

I can say with confidence God’s plan is

The only thing I need to be sure of is who holds me in the shelter of His wings. Who knows me better than I know myself. Loves me unconditionally. All. The. Time.

I know exactly where I’m going and how I’ll get there. Through the love and grace of God. That is crystal clear.

Time for #fiveminutefriday with Kate Motaung