Life looks different these days. It feels different. It is different. And yet, much is the same. No wonder some days I feel confused and conflicted!
Four months and counting since we made the official shift to this wild and curious new season of redirection, repurposing, refocusing. . . and as I whisper quietly, “retirement”. When you know something is right, deep in your soul and in your own human figuring, the big step seems exciting and even easy. It’s all the baby steps, “toe-dipping”, gently treading on the other side of the decision that once again require full and complete trust in the kind, loving Father who’s led us this far.
For every season of my life, even before I understood God’s affection for me and His gentle protection, I longed in my spirit to “get it right”. While my younger years showcased that desire by a crazy drive for perfection, I now wake up with a good kind of ache to just daily “do life” with Him, led by His spirit. To have a glimpse of His heart for that day. To fall in bed at night with a sigh of satisfaction, recalling where He whispered and left His handprint in my waking hours.
Some days, it all comes easy. I’m smiling along the way. Secure in His leading. Grateful and aware of wonder in the day. But other days? Not so much. I wrestle trying to fill time my way. Anxious for “the plan”. Feeling that old control bent rearing it’s head. It’s all a strange mix of listening, stepping out and waiting at the same time.
Along the way, while I’m longing to “get it right”, God’s graciously working muscles in me and illuminating “ah ha” moments for me. . .planting foundation for this new season. Nothing really brand new… just a much deeper working (some days painful) of familiar themes…
TIME. We watch adult children Peter and Krista with their young families, running through each day to just keep up with jobs, toddlers/budding teenagers, sports practices, house projects and rare unscripted hours together. Precious indeed is any free time. For us, the huge gift we have in this season is time. Days unplanned. No “must do” schedule. No boss directing our steps. Yet, more than ever in my life, I feel a sobering nudge and awareness…almost a holy whisper from God…”this time is precious… hold it and tend it with care… wait for My leading”.
QUIET. With time, I have the luxury of no limit on quiet in the morning. Still, it’s easy to jump in to news feeds on the phone, emails and chores, rather than grabbing hold of that gift. Slowly, my heart is embracing the fact that this season is a privilege and something to steward. In the quiet, He’s speaking, directing and settling my heart. With coffee in hand, Bible, pen and paper, I head to the backyard swing. My new spot. As I rock, birds sing (lots of them!), I smile at new budding flowers and settle in to the stillness (a work in progress!). Slowly, it’s becoming a “road map setter” for the day.
GRATITUDE. For nearly ten years, Chuck and I have been working the gratitude muscle with vigor. First trying to list 1,000 ways we were thankful (kudos to Ann Voskamp for her book that nudged us!). Then, starting each day with ten points of thankfulness. With the more sobering sense of each day being wrapped as a gift, I’ve started a new bedtime ritual. Not to be more spiritual. Just because I need it! Before I fall asleep, I ask God to remind me of where He was present, joys that unfolded, places where I sensed “I got it right!”. Maybe just two or three. Amazing how sweet sleep follows!
ASKING. We all know the basic principles and even commands about asking God for wisdom. No problem when I’m desperate or big crisis loom. But in the little things? As I’m enjoying weekly coffee dates with friends … old and new … one day I sensed a whisper “Don’t just show up”. I realized I may have intentionally pursued the friend to set a date, but never really grabbed hold of that time being more than just catching up chatter. Rather, again, it was a gift of time in relationship. Now, I sense a gentle reminder each time I’m driving to the coffee shop…”Ask Me for wisdom”… and I do. “Lord, make my words be yours. Help me to listen well. Let me hear what I need to hear.” Amazing how depth of conversation unfolds!
WORDS. I’m verbal processor. Finding words is not a challenge. No shortage of thoughts, theories and ponderings roll around in my brain at any given moment… ready to burst forth from my mouth. Yet, in relationships, “less is more” has become the new standard. Somewhere along the way, we’ve become the “elders” (not old, just older than many!). With that, suddenly I’m aware that my words carry weight. Too many and they’re lost. A few and they go deep. Now, I’m daily asking (even begging sometimes), “Lord, guard my tongue. Let my words be Yours”. Some days, I “get it right”. On others… let’s just say God is full of grace and I well know how to say, “Please forgive me for saying….”.
I’m grateful for the longing He’s put in me to follow, figure out His ways and deepen my trust that He will continue to put right steps before me. I’m smiling at the journey, knowing it’s never going to be finished and wrapped up… just ongoing at new levels with new understanding, work and wonder along the way!