Transitioning Gracefully is Painnnnful!

Retirement . . . the word is threatening to me. Philosophically, I absolutely hate the idea. Most of us spend so much of our adult lives trying to gain ground in the areas we do our best work in. Retirement by its definition sounds so counter-productive to that. For a “type A” driver like me, it is difficult not to see retirement as a sort of resignation from meaningful contribution, stopping short of some unidentified goal. And yet, what one-dimensional, spiritually-limited, thinking this is!

Dad is now walking the streets in his heavenly home.  Hope realized!

Dad is now walking the streets in his heavenly home. Hope realized!

As I often reminded my sweet Dad, who sometimes wondered aloud if he hadn’t become just a drain on resources, when God makes the choice to wake you up in the morning, it is the outworking of His perfect deliberate will, woven with the promise of fruitful purpose threaded like a vine all the way through your waiting day. After all, God just doesn’t forget to call you home. For all those who are saved by grace through faith in His Son, heaven is our default (Phil 3:20). Our Heavenly Father has to decide NOT to let us move there quite yet or we would all be there already. He does everything well; His way is perfect (Psalm 18:30). His plan for today cannot be improved upon. . . period.

So, does this rabbit trail have anything to do with retirement?

My husband has firmly decided it is time for him to transition from his current occupation (aka retire). 2013 is target year for him. Quite honestly the reality of that continues to causes me some discomfort but it isn’t because God hasn’t been gracious in making provision for us and it isn’t because my husband doesn’t deserve his transition. It is just the process of change, I guess, that tweaks my own level of insecurity.

Life holds times of transitions which are necessary, in part, because of the impact of aging. Like it or not, we all share aging. But these normal transitions do not need to be disruptions in productivity or deductions in the value of potential contributions. In fact, praise God, they are intended to be just the opposite. Age is indeed relative (think Abraham and Sarah). What a wonderful thing it will be to go on a mission trip and be able to stay longer than planned if the need is significant. What a breath of fresh air to have time to invest my energy as a whole mind/body experience into Kingdom-building things. More time to write, what a luxury! What a blessing to note that everything I’ve learned throughout the course of this life I drag with me into the tomorrow God has planned. I’ve said it before, “He is the best steward of His own resources.” If all I am is devoted to all He is, life abundant awaits!

More time in Romania . . . ?

Sharing the gospel with the sweet people in a mountain village in Romania

Sharing the gospel with the sweet people in a mountain village in Romania

OR Quatemala . . . ?

More mission time with my precious friend in El Salvador--what's not to like about that?

All of this transitioning to a more relaxed schedule seems so overly simplified when you are young–more sleep time, opportunity to decide what you want to do and when you may get around to doing it–what’s not appealing about that? You wonder why “old” people make these decisions such a big deal. I’m remembering when I was a “youthful 40” I was known to say, “just give me half an opportunity to retire and watch me go.” Yeh, right! Those with big mouths and strong convictions often find it beneficial to eat their own hasty words!

As for me, I have already transitioned but I will never retire. Like the Apostle Paul, I want to go out fighting, to finish the race, to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. My sweet husband and I and our Savior are a team, for better or worse, in work-a-day occupation or retirement. Loving the inspired writings of Paul, I move with him when he states, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:13-14

Pressing into Christ during this transition,