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

Participate in Life: My Retirement To Try List

Adding a To Try List to My Life

Try

Today, I feel officially retired. Because today is the second day I didn’t go to work. No sitting in meetings, watching the clock, thinking about all the other things I should be doing to get my classroom ready for Monday’s first day of school. Instead of a list of things to duplicate, check, plan, I have a Retirement To Try List. Things I hope to try now that my days don’t include working.

I spent much of my summer getting my feet wet with how I want to behave during retirement. My first retirement adventure involved trying water aerobics-something I never thought I’d do. A planner at heart, I gave spontaneity a try when my daughter invited me to go with her for a weekend in the mountains. The joy of that experience encourages me to try spontaneity more often.

Retirement To Try List-So Far

As Van and I prepare to move, we discuss what to keep and what to give and throw away. We plan where our furniture belongs, the style of window coverings, whether we need a new refrigerator. We’re also talking about new things we want to try as newly retired people.

  • Kayaking-Prescott has several lakes, and since we both love the water, we want to make kayaking part of our life. Kayaking isn’t really new, since we’ve done it before, but we hope to buy a kayak and spend time out on the lake on a regular basis. On our last visit, we kayaked with Judy and David and loved every minute.

Try List

  • Ballroom Dancing-Judy and David took us to two concerts; one at the old opera house and one in the town square. At both events, we watched people get out of their seats and dance. Even though I may not have much rhythm, I want to seize the moment and participate in life instead of merely being a spectator.
  • Bike riding-It’s been a long time since I rode a bike. Van and I used to do a small amount of bike riding in the early years of our marriage. We hope to make biking in our beautiful new city a regular part of our life. Of course, we have to start with circling the driveway until we build up enough stamina, but we have all the time there is!

Whether you’re retired or not, seize the moment! Start a to try list. And then, act on it. 

What’s on your to try list?

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings

 

 

Three Ways to Get Inspired

Van and I spent four days in Arizona looking at our in-construction new home this week.  The daily pictures my sister-in-love faithfully sends show every detail of the work completed, and inspired us; we wanted to walk through the rooms and see for ourselves.

More importantly, a friend suggested we write a favorite Bible verse as a couple on the beam over the doorway to our new home. “You’ll know it’s always there,” she said. We loved the idea and chose several verses to write throughout the house, but didn’t make it in time. Instead, we decided to write our verses on the foundation. And we knew if we didn’t get there soon, our opportunity would vanish.

We spent an afternoon together, taking turns writing verses on the foundation of the house and praying each one together. Once we move in, we hope to regularly read the verses in each area and pray we faithfully live for God in this home He provided us.

Sometimes we all could stand a little help getting inspired instead of being stuck in a rut or feeling discouraged. But you don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike out of nowhere. Seek it in these three ways.

Ways to Get Inspired
  • Read and pray God’s Word. Nothing inspires like reading God’s Word. We can find direction, His promises, and evidence of how He faithfully works in our lives without fail. Ephesians 5:19 tells us to encourage one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making music in our hearts to the Lord.
  • Take good advice from friends. Van and I loved the idea of dedicating our home to God and His Kingdom. First, we spent time individually choosing verses we wanted to pray. Then we shared those verses and prayed together. While we may have put up a plaque somewhere in the house, we didn’t think of making the Scripture part of the its foundation. Thank you, Karen Lochte for your idea.

Get Inspired

  • Read books, articles, blog posts. As we get ready to move, we’re thinking ahead to a new community. I have a stack of books I’m reading to give me ideas about reaching out to the people in my new neighborhood. Because I want to glorify God, I’m finding inspiration in books like The Turquoise Table by Krisin Schell as well as her blog and Craving Connection from (in)courage. I look forward to meeting new friends on my front porch.

We all need to get inspired sometimes. What helps you be inspired? Leave a comment sharing how you get inspired.

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

Collect Your Treasures in Heaven

Why Did I Collect That?

Van and I move from California to Arizona in six weeks. Every day, my sister-in-love, Judy, sends pictures of our new home. Yesterday, the drywall and stucco made the concrete, wires, and wood look like a real house. As I begin to fill boxes I wonder, how did I collect so much stuff? Stuff I don’t use, no longer want. I fill as many trashcans and bags for the Goodwill as boxes. And the only room I’ve touched is my office. Oh dear.

Our new home, slightly smaller than our current one, requires me to share my office with guests when they come to stay. That means really evaluating what I want to keep and what I can give or throw away. Why does it look like I collect office supplies? How many pens, highlighters, and post-it notes do I really need?

Sharing my space means sometimes I won’t have an office to myself at all. So I created a “portable office.” In a large basket, I placed my journal, favorite pens, lap top, Bible, and my current renew book, The Turquoise Table, where I focus on creating community in my new home by expecting God on my front porch.

Collect

Collect Treasures in Heaven

As I remember my 3 Rs of Retirement and sort through all I collected over the years, I remember God’s perspective on what I really need to collect.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

My portable desk contains what I need to rest and renew with God. Tools I need to deepen my relationship with Him. God, and my eternal home in heaven, are my true treasures. I don’t need to collect anything on earth.

Linking today with  Fresh Market FridayCounting My BlessingsFive Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Dance with Jesus.