Thurs., Feb. 8, 2018
Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
There are times when we have more change in our lives than others. For the past 60 days, I have been in an accelerated phases of change.
After 18 years of pastoral ministry, I stepped away from the two churches I had been serving on Nov. 30, 2017. Initiated by myself, my heart felt it was time to explore another calling in my life: writing. For years, I have privately wanted to focus more on writing. Serving two churches, having another part-time job, helping with family, remodeling a 100+-year-old house, community volunteer work — it all took priority. There have been times I’ve blogged and written regularly. Other times, not so much.
Armed with several ideas of what I could write about, I determined writing was not going to happen unless I reorganized my life. I needed to step back and be more mindful of choices I make.
So, I began a new chapter of my life on Dec. 1, 2017. It has been over 60 days and I’m still figuring out this new phase. The first week, I worked additional time at my part-time job. Then, I embraced a slower pace of preparing for Christmas. I enjoyed baking, preparing our special Deaton Christmas presents (more here: https://simplewordsoffaith.com/2017/12/24/the-winnebago-camper/) and organizing family gatherings.
While my family knew my Mom’s health would change overnight, we were still a bit taken off-guard how quickly it happened. Apparent daily changes began a couple days before Christmas. A couple days later, she was enrolled on Hospice.
Because I had stepped away from pastoral ministry, I had the flexibility to spend more time with Mom the last weeks of her life. For this, I am very grateful as it gave me time to reflect and think. (More here: https://simplewordsoffaith.com/2018/01/15/lessons-on-living-and-dying/)
Yet, real life continued. Less than 48 hours before Mom’s service, I came down with an infection which involved an early morning trip to urgent care. The night after we celebrated Mom’s life, Rick and I got home late. It had been a cold, windy and snowy day. Once inside, our house was cold. The thermostat confirmed this as it read 47 degrees. In the morning, Rick initiated a service call. It took a little convincing to ensure a repair person would visit our house that day and not two days later.
This was over two weeks ago. I still feel like I’m trying to get my feet underneath me. When someone asks how my “retirement” is going, it’s hard to put into words. I don’t think of myself as retired; just not earning a regular paycheck. I anticipated prioritizing writing several hours a day a priority, creating this discipline has been more challenging. It’s easy to fill up time with volunteer opportunities. Rick warned that it would be very easy for me to take on commitments that would distract me from writing. His advice is proving every accurate.
Rick’s work shift has also changed. For the first time in our 17+ years of marriage, we see each other EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. Previously, this only happened during the six-month period when I took care of Rick’s Mom at the end of her life. Rick works 12-hour night shifts. Therefore, mornings must be quiet. If I am home, we lunch together. I miss going to what was his parent’s farm and having lunch together on the days I work my part-time job. We’d sit at the table where we often sat with Rick’s parents.
What else has changed? Sunday mornings are different. A couple weeks into December, Rick admitted I have screwed up his Sunday routine. I no longer leave for the early church service at 7 AM. Rick enjoyed a couple hours on his own before walking to the 10 AM service. We are still sorting through Sunday worship.
The biggest change for me: figuring out a schedule that keeps me accountable, focused on what is important and flexible. There are so many things I want to do. Prioritizing them has been evasive. I am trying to build more quiet and reflective time into my life and not running a million miles an hour. I keep making lists. Sometimes, it takes a day or two to get things crossed off.
What hasn’t changed? Christ’s presence in my life. How I reflect and practice faith has changed. Jesus isn’t changing. I’m changing. I am trying to simply be along on this journey with Jesus. This is outside my normal wheelhouse. Yet, I believe I can learn more about Jesus, God and myself if I let my life evolve. I pray I listen to God closely enough to hear hints that get dropped along the way, pick up the most important ones and allow this period of change to become my more authentic self in God.
Lord God – thanks for being so consistent in my life. As I evolve, may I be guided by you to become more the person you desire for me to be. Thank you for always being patient with me. Mold me and make me this day. Amen.
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