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

 

Realizing the Truth: Set Free Indeed

Free to Visit but Not Participate

Free from packing today; we’re in a stage where what we need to pack is what we need while we stay in the house. So this morning I decided to bake some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and drop by the school where I taught seventh grade English and History for twenty years. School, the world where I always feel I belong, where I’m comfortable and at ease. I know what to do and how to do it.

The counselor, Beth, both loved and hated my 365-day-a-year Christmas countdown. And even though I made her a year long calendar counting down the days until Christmas (Today? 130 days until Christmas. Share the joy!) I wanted to give her a small token of my love and appreciation of her and her support of me through joy and sorrow, success and failure. The small Christmas ornament said Joy, which I knew would remind her of her silly friend. I wrote a note on the back,

Free

Free to Listen

I planned my visit to coincide with lunch so I could say a last goodbye to colleagues. Sure enough, as I swung into the parking lot, someone pulled out, on their way to lunch.

Free

Out of habit, I walked through the staff door. But immediately, I saw differences. Usually, when I walked into the office, Joanne greeted me. Like me, she retired in June, so someone I didn’t recognize sat in Joanne’s chair. I must have looked like I belonged, because she didn’t question who I was or why a person she didn’t know came through the staff door. I smiled at her, and stopped at Judy’s desk. We chatted, catching up on family and summer. Again, I realized changes. Instead of worrying about all I needed to accomplish in a precious 40 minute lunch period, I gave Judy my full attention, listening without watching the clock.

Done chatting, I walked past the teacher mailboxes. My eyes automatically flitted to the middle of the rows. Oh, I thought, I don’t have to check my box. I don’t even have a box!”

I opened the lunchroom door. A chorus of hellos, how are you? greeted me. Hugs. Gratitude for the cookies. I settled into my chair and listened to the conversations. Getting ready for back-to-school night. Learning names of students. Juggling family and work. All of it made sense. None of it applied to me.

I was in this world of school. Comfortable. Familiar. I could empathize. Listen. But I didn’t belong here anymore. Retirement set me free to spend my time differently

Free Indeed

Now, instead of racing out the door, answering the same questions over and over, I drink another cup of coffee. My time with God doesn’t get cut short. In the quiet of my offie, I listen to His voice while He speaks to me through His Word. He reminds me of how truly free I am. Free of the wages of sin and death (Romans 6:23).

Just like I’m free from the fetters of school, I can walk by the things of the world. I don’t have to stop by the things that weigh me down, keep me from peace and joy. I can listen for His voice and follow Him.

Of course, this didn’t happen at retirement. Freedom comes the minute Jesus becomes Lord of our lives. Walking in this world I knew, but no longer tied to the demands of teaching, reminded me because the Son set me free and I am free indeed (John 8:36).

Linking with Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light  Grace and Truth, Faith of Fire, Dance with Jesus, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings

 

 

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

 

 

Priceless Treasure: God’s Word Sustains You

God’s Word Sustains Me

The fact of retirement starts to become real as I see Instagram and Facebook posts of former colleagues putting up bulletin boards. Not me. For the first time in thirty-five years, I don’t need to struggle with butcher paper, welcome signs, supply lists this year. Some people wonder if boredom may become a problem. I don’t worry about that; I never needed work for my reason to get up and go. The priceless treasure of God’s Word, the one and only thing that truly sustains me I have with me at all times.

Instead of racing out the door at 6:30, I sit at my desk with my coffee cup, Bible, and computer for a leisurely morning with Jesus. I don’t have to watch the clock; instead I can spend as much time as I want. Reading. Meditating. Talking to my Lord. Listening.

Sustains

Currently, I’m doing a study on the Names of God. This week the focus is on shepherd. And the passage I read is familiar, Psalm 23. I can say the words without reading them in my Bible. But I don’t rush; I savor each word.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

The Good Shepherd Sustains All My Needs

Retirement does bring some unknowns. Especially as we prepare to leave the family and friends who have sustained us for all of our married lives. As I read the familiar words, He reminds me of Who He is and sustains me.

The Lord is my shepherd. He cares and provides all I need. That includes my physical needs. I can rest in the assurance that He will take care of everything. No matter what happens in the uncharted water of retirement and moving, I don’t need to worry.

Most importantly, He restores my soul. Because of Christ’s love and care, I am on the path of righteousness. It’s only through Christ that I am righteous, washed clean. But I must follow Christ; I can’t go off on my own. The sheep listen for the voice of the shepherd and follow Him. When I follow the shepherd, His goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life, and I dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

That promise alone sustains me.

God’s Word sustains you, too. Spend time with Him, mining the priceless treasure of Scripture. What favorite Scriptures sustain you-in good times and hard ones? Let the Truth of His love wash over you as you spend time savoring all His Word holds.

Linking this week with 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

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.