Retirement Adventure #5: Ready to Move

Eager to Move

Van and I are eager to move into our new home. And, we’re down to the wire. We think. Every day we drive the short two miles to our still-under-construction new house. For months, every day showed something new, even something as simple as a new wire. My sister-in-love documented every single change while we still lived in California and sent us pictures. Around 3:00, Van and I checked email, eagerly anticipating what new progress Judy recorded.

But now we’re supposed to close escrow on Friday-this Friday-things move in slow motion. We wonder, will it really be done? Or will we have to wait another week? Or two?

We already scheduled utilities, the internet, TV service (including Pac 12 so I get my UCLA games), furniture delivery, and the moving truck. Before we actually move all of our belongings and start unpacking boxes, we want to seal tile and put up window coverings, and every one of those things is ready. Will the house be done?

Patience, I hear God whisper. Look for the lessons I prepared for you in this season of waiting. Remember My faithfulness in every other season. Let me guard your heart and mind with peace instead of angst.

Lessons Learned Waiting to Move
  • Look back at God’s faithfulness in the past. Our new church, The Heights, did a series called, “If Time Was a Ping Pong Ball.” One sermon focused on remembering God’s past faithfulness to give hope for the future. When I do that, I remember God never fails. His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts; God’s ways are always higher than my own.
  • Strength comes by waiting on the Lord. When I read Isaiah 40:30-31, God reminds me:

Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall;

But those who hope in the LORD

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

I need to wait on God. He prepares the way and His time always is best.

  • Wherever I am, be fully there. Don’t miss what God has for me right now. Enjoy my family while I live with Judy and David. Meet new people in my new church. Drive around the new town and learn where things are.
  • Praise God for all He does for me. Take gift and prayer walks, focusing not on myself, but God. See Him throughout His creation, in the people He places in my path. Praise Him for His faithfulness and love.
Move from Impatience to Surrender

So, yes, I want to move into my new home. And I may begin moving in at the end of this week. But if I must wait a little longer, I can count on God to teach me. I surrender to Him and praise Him for all He has done and will do as I move forward in His care.

Move

Linking this week with:

Tea and Word Tuesday God-sized Dreams Moments of Hope Glimpses of Beauty, Monday Musings, Inspire Me Monday, Ra Ra Linkup, Trekking Thru, Tell His Story, Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and LightGrace and Truth, Faith of Fire, Dance with Jesus, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings

Neighbors Encourage, Help, and Love

Our Church Family Neighbors

The house echoed when Van and I talked. Furniture wrapped in blankets was the only thing left inside. Boxes filled the garage, all labeled with where they belonged once they arrived at our new home, 350 miles away. Everything we owned needed to go on the moving van in our driveway. A few minutes before 8:00 a.m., the first truck rolled up. Neighbors, our church family, coming to encourage, help, and show God’s love to us by loading our belongings and sending us on to our new adventure.

Men grabbed donuts and coffee and stood talking, catching up, laughing. These men belonged to Hillside Handymen Ministry, which Van helped with for several years. As always, before they did anything, they joined hands, bowed their heads, and prayed. Thanking God for Van and me, asking for God’s presence as they worked together, and for safety and smooth transitions as we relocated.

Neighbors

And then they began. Van’s brother, John, took charge of organizing the truck. And everyone else carried boxes, chairs, desks, file cabinets. A line of ants swarming, working together, and always talking and encouraging one another.

Neighbors        Neighbors         NeighborsNeighbors     Neighbors

It didn’t take long-45 minutes- until every box and piece of furniture sat on the truck. The house and garage completely empty. Almost reluctantly, knowing our time with these precious friends, our neighbors, was done, we closed the truck.

Neighbors   Neighbors

Lessons Learned from Our Church Neighbors

Over the years, I’ve seen these men in action. The difference they make in people’s lives. The Hillside Handymen truly reflect what Jesus said about being a good neighbor (Luke 10:25-37).

  • They show compassion whenever they see a need. Every quarter, they set aside one Saturday and go into the community to help single moms, widows, the elderly. Anyone who can’t afford or doesn’t have the ability to do home repairs on their own can ask for Hillside Handymen to help them. Each job is done with love and care. You couldn’t pay someone to do a better job than these men do. Individually, each man helps others whenever they can. Whether it’s lifting a box, repairing a sprinkler, replacing a garbage disposal, if a neighbor looks like they need help, these men step up and help others.
  • They encourage one another and build each other up through prayer, fellowship, and discipleship. Every work day starts with prayer for those they will serve and for each other. Before they go out into the community, there is a devotional focusing on God’s Word. Between work days, a prayer team prays for each man individually and the community. Many of the guys get together for breakfast or lunch during the week. They phone and text one another and encourage each other in a variety of ways when they aren’t working.
  • They have fun while they work. Laughter punctuated the morning. Whenever there was a lull in the work time, the guys talked about jobs, vacations, wives, children, and grandchildren. They teased each other.

Hillside Handymen hold a special place in our hearts. We will look back on the many times they touched our lives with joy and thanksgiving. And we pray we will be good neighbors to our new community, using the lessons we learned from these special men.

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith of Fire, Dance with Jesus, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings

 

New Everything: Leaving Familiar Behind

We arrived in Arizona yesterday; the first time in my life I won’t live in California. I left the familiar behind and moved into the uncharted water of new everything: streets and freeways, landscape, people. It’s exciting. . and a little scary.

God’s Presence in New Places

As I navigate a new state, city, neighborhood, house, and church, apprehension dissipates when I read God’s Words in Jeremiah 23:23, “Am I only a God of nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God of far away?” God travels with me from California to Arizona.

I know there will be plenty of times I feel lost. Literally. I have no sense of direction. GPS helps, but it will take me a long time to go anywhere with confidence.  And  questions rattle around in my heart: where do I fit in this new community? In this sea of new faces, who will be my friends? How do I serve in my church? What do I do with my time now I’m retired?

I moved to a new everything, but the most important thing-or rather, the most important person-God, went with me. “Who can hide in secret places, so that I cannot see them” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 23:24). He fills the heaven and the earth, whether I’m in California or Arizona.

God Moves in the New

Already I see  Him moving, preparing the way. His Word is written on the foundation of our home, verses we prayed in every room. So far, every bump in the road has been straightened out. Questions answered. Tasks completed. There’s been nothing to stress over.

But even if there was, God always knows what I’m thinking and feeling, rejoicing over and worried about. Psalm 139 reminds me:

Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

New Brings Grateful Expectation

And so, I look forward with grateful expectation.
I start my first day in Arizona with Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Speak, Lord, Your Servant is Listening

Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening in a New Season

It’s a new season for me. A new chapter, retirement. Next week, I move to a new city and state. I’ll be part of a new community and a new church. As I prepare to move, I pray, Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.

It’s easy for my task-oriented mind to make lists of all the things I think I want to do and try. My mind runs in a hundred different directions, contemplating possibilities.

But I hear God telling me, “Wait. Slow down! Don’t be in such a hurry to plunge in.” I remember my verse for this season,

In his mind a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening about How and Where to Serve

What if, instead of the familiar-working with kids, GriefShare, visiting the sick in their homes and the hospital-God has something new for me? Speak Lord, your servant is listening. Whether You want me to serve in the familiar or something brand new, speak, Lord; I want to hear You.

Maybe that’s why I’m so excited about my front porch and the Turquoise Table. I’ve never been one to reach out to my neighbors. Talking to strangers is not part of my comfort zone. But already, I crossed the street when I saw my new neighbor outside on my last visit. Introduced myself. Listened to him talk about his family and church.

One thing I know-I want to listen to God. Walk in the light He sheds on my path. First, I think, I need to simply be there. Listen to others. Build relationships. Not do, just be. Who is this retired Debbie? How will I be different? The same?

Speak Lord, Your Servant is Listening about Walking with Her Husband

My life with Van will be different too. We’ll have more time at home together than we’ve ever had in our 40 years of marriage. We’ve never been this just us. Erin and the kids will be further away. Except for Judy and David, my sister and brother-in-love, we don’t have community. It’s a new beginning. A blank page.

I don’t want to run off without Van. Or he without me. I don’t expect to do everything together, but I want us. Praying. Planning. Exploring. Deciding. As a team. Together saying, Speak, Lord, your servants are listening. 

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith of Fire, Dance with Jesus, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings

 

The Importance of a Clean Heart

Clean Amongst the Chaos of Moving

I dusted and vacuumed today. Big deal, you may think. Except, we’re in the midst of packing everything we plan to move to Arizona. Piles of stuff waiting to be boxed up sit all over the house. Only nail holes remain where pictures once decorated the walls. Tiny pieces of paper, torn to wrap china and crystal, dot the floor. Things we don’t want wait in different piles, until either Van or I make a run to Goodwill. And everywhere I look, I see the dust and grime of life coating tables, chairs, and floor. Oh, how I long for a clean house!

Clean     Clean

I toy with the idea of waiting until all the boxes are packed and nothing is left to do but clean, but I find it hard to sit still and relax. Just a little order along with the chaos is all I need. Maybe it’s my need for control, but I always function better when things are neat and tidy, even if it’s mostly on the surface. So today, I take a little time to run a dust cloth over the table tops, vacuum high traffic areas, make sure the sink sparkles. As Mom would have said, the house got a lick and a promise.

Clean

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

Believe me, I’m a much more pleasant person to be around when things look straightened up. So I sigh with satisfaction, able to relax a little better despite the clutter that is a necessary part of moving.

God calls me to keep order in my relationship with Him, too. When sin clutters my heart, I put distance between myself and God. Nothing goes well. My stomach churns and my mind goes in circles, searching for peace that refuses to come.

King David said when he kept his sin close and refused to admit it to himself or God, his bones wasted away and his strength was sapped. But as soon as he admitted his sin to God, he received forgiveness. (Psalm 32). The sin he chose, that he pretended offered happiness, instead robbed him of joy and peace.

But I can’t give my relationship with God a lick and a promise. To be at peace, I must do a thorough cleaning. God wants my whole heart.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Psalm 51:17

The Benefits of a Clean Heart

God calls me to draw near with a sincere heart. When I do, I receive the full assurance that faith brings, having my heart sprinkled to cleanse me from a guilty conscience (Hebrews 10:22).

Oh, yes, the benefits of a clean heart far outweigh any clutter of sin, no matter how I may try to convince myself the dirt can wait; I’ll get to it soon. Once I truly surrender to God, I can rejoice and sing. The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds me (Psalm 32:10-11).

Linking this week with God-sized Dreams Moments of Hope Glimpses of Beauty, Monday Musings, Inspire Me Monday, Ra Ra Linkup, Trekking Thru, Tell His Story, Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light