Tick Tock

I’m always running out of time. There are only so many hours in a day, and I never seem to have enough. Not that I’m held to deadlines so much as needing more time to finish what I start. Life gets in the way. Or I get lazy and distracted. Or I get too caught up in the details, and then the clock is pointing its finger at me, guilting me into moving faster or moving on. One of the joys of retirement has been to put my wristwatch away. To relax into the days and do what I can without killing myself to get it all done now. I’m still working on that.

Priorities. I love to do so many things, it’s hard to do them all on a regular basis. Creative processes like painting, writing, music, cooking, sewing. Sometimes, it’s the tyranny of the urgent. The things that require my attention immediately get done first. Then there’s another fire to put out, and before I know it, I’m a slave to the “urgent” in my life. Because the clock is running out.

But “our God is greater. Our God is stronger.” Our God is higher than any other. His clock never runs out on me. He always has time for me. He is always waiting for me in the mornings, ready to listen and ready to share what he wants me to hear and know. “Our God is healer, awesome in power.” I’m working hard to get on God’s time clock and off my own. The people in my life are so much more important than the things in my life. So, more and more, I stop what I’m “doing” so that I can just “be” with whoever needs my attention now.

Of course, that means things don’t get finished on schedule sometimes, but they will get finished eventually. My walls will get painted. There’s really no hurry except for the schedule I set for myself. I save the reading for when I’m waiting or when I need to sit for a few minutes. I work on my new grandbaby’s quilt when I’m riding in the car or waiting in the doctor’s office or watching television. It all gets done. Kingdom things are more important than MY things. I’m trying to be more self-less and less self-ish.

Okay, so now I’m late and I need to go jump in the shower. Tick tock!

I woke up with Chris Tomlin singing Our God in my head this morning. Click here to listen.

Surprises

I love surprises, and I have one coming today! Today we are celebrating my retirement!! My husband is taking me on an adventure. I don’t know where we’re going, but I’m excited to get there because he is excited to show me. He is in control today, and I will let him have control because he has made all the arrangements. And because he is extremely excited about whatever this is!

The song in my head this morning is TobyMac’s Take It Away, which I wrote about on April 6th.

If you want to steal my show,
I’ll sit back and watch you go.
If you’ve got something to say,
go on and take it away.

And that’s exactly how I’m feeling this morning… My husband can take it away today. I feel very blessed that he wants to celebrate this major life event for me. And I can’t wait to see what he has in mind. It’s the same way with God. I give him complete control, and I sit back and watch to see what he is going to do in my life in the coming weeks and months. And years, for that matter.

This morning, I read again my post from April 26th called Decision Made. (read it here.) It is reassuring to me to read it again, to read what I was thinking and see how I was feeling then, and know that I made the right decision. Because this morning is an almost identical morning to that very day. And I’m feeling light happy and breezy. Trusting God for my future and excited to see where he will take me… God AND my husband.

To God be the glory!!!

Flip-Flops

How to be retired, lesson number One. Sleep at least till dawn! I flunked that pop quiz this morning and was up at zero-dark-thirty. Routine is good for a person, right? I am a “do-er” and I truly don’t know how to be retired. But the song in my head this morning is giving me a little hint. The line on a loop is, “No one but Jesus, nobody else can show us how” from a song called Ain’t I a Woman.

Did you know that “retirement” is not in the scriptures? I have always counted on the fact that God uses old(er) people. I’ve spent the first half of my life raising a family and earning a living, and, while I served my church through those years, I always felt as though there was more out there for me to do. More to see, more to try, more to learn, more to experience. And now I have more time to try.

Yes, I have stuff I need to do. My house needs some serious attention as does my body. Exercise, diet, cleaning, and painting are all on my list. And there are things I want to do like travel, expand my art and music horizons, spend a lot more time with family. The trick for me is going to be how to balance it all. One thing I know… My early mornings will continue, because keeping my appointment with The Lord in the mornings makes the rest of my day go right, whatever I’m doing.

Yesterday was a hard day, but I got through it one task at a time, one minute at a time, one hug at a time. There were two things I saved to pack until the last minute. One was my sign on the door… A painted wooden sign that says, “Dear Lord, please let this be a flip-flop day.” It has a pair of flip-flops painted on it with a beach behind it. Yes! The other was my little Bible that I kept on my desk. God’s instruction manual for life, including how to be retired. “No one but Jesus, nobody else can show me how!”

Cloud Nine

I am what they call “short.” Not in stature by any stretch (I’m a tall woman) but “short” as in “short-timer.” One week from today will be my first official day as a retired person. All the months of working and planning for these last few days are finally drawing to a close, and it’s almost time to turn in my keys and my badge and move on to the “next big thing” in my life.

I am SO excited, because God just continues to amaze me! Yesterday, the beautiful people I work with took me to lunch and threw a retirement party for me. When I got back to my office, I returned a call that has the potential to point me in a whole new direction… The one I’ve been feeling led toward for a long time… The direction I’ve been excited about and praying and hoping for… PAINTING! It may not pan out, but I’ve been on cloud nine thinking about the possibilities.

I love how God waited until my last week of working my “real” job to show me to something else. He saw my struggle with picking a retirement date, with leaving these people, with making such big changes. He knows how I feel led to stick with August 1st, and it feels as though God wanted me know that I made the right choice, that He definitely has other plans for me. And no matter what those plans may be, I want to honor God in them and through them.

I’ve never been a dreamer… You know those people who dream big and make it happen. But I’m learning. I’m taking to heart God’s promise that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I want to serve The Lord in my retirement… Which, by the way, does not exist in the scriptures. If God is willing and has a place for me, I want to lead Bible studies, serve my local church, work with missions, continue leading worship with my music, writing, cooking, art… And so much more.

Satan would have it otherwise. His fiery darts are aimed right at my heart, right at my mind and my desires. Already I have tiny niggling thoughts worming their way into my joy. The song in my head this morning is one line… “I don’t want to mess this thing up.” I’m not even sure where it comes from! But I do know that God’s will won’t take me where his grace won’t follow.

So, as my daddy always says, “Devil take the hindmost.”

the featured image is my attempt at Franz Marc’s Blue Horses and is a work in progress.

Let. It. Be.

“I wake up to the sound of music” every morning of my life, and this morning I heard almost exactly that line as my clock went off and I reached to stop it. I’m hearing the Beatles classic, Let It Be, in my head. I’m sure none of them ever had a thought that their song would be a classic, let alone end up in my devotional blog.

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be

These are great lines, and this song is every 13 year-old, fledgling pianist’s favorite. I can’t count how many of my piano students through the years that have done this song, or at least tried.

This morning, though, I need these words to soak deep into my bones.

Let. It. Be.

Stop. Leave it alone.

I have five days left in this phase of my life as a human resources administrator, and I am in major stress mode. Overwhelmed with all there is left to do before next Friday, working extra hours trying to get it all done, running up the halls to the printer and back, skipping breaks and meals… All in an effort to leave everything in as good a condition as I possibly can. And is it just me, or has the workload doubled in the last month??

I have been at peace with my decision to retire, without question. God has been leading me and calling me to other things in the last several months. But my perfectionist and control-freak self can’t seem to understand that all I can do is all I can do. This morning, I hear the words to this song and know deep in my heart that God is saying, “let it be, child. Do what you can to the best of your ability and I will take care of the rest.”

And so, today, I shall try my best to let it be. To let go of the control I’m trying to keep over everything, to stop pretending that I can do everything on my own, and ask for help. And enjoy my last few days with people I love and appreciate. And pack.

Oh, the packing! Let it be! It will get done.

Excuse me, but I don’t think so.

I need to go back and read my own blog. Just when I think I have a grip on my life and what I need to do in a tough situation, or how I need to behave in a particular situation… BAM! The devil jumps right in and says, “Excuse me, but I don’t think so!” He knocks the starch right out of me.

The last two days, post-vacation yet pre-retirement, have been nerve-wracking and exhausting. I’ve asked myself, “Why?” The answer comes down to this: I love these people!! Yes, I’m so busy I can’t find my desk. Yes, my Julys are usually super busy. Yes, I’m anxious about getting it all done before I retire August 1st. But the bottom line is that I love these people, and I love them for the work they’re doing for deaf kids across the state.

When you love someone, you hurt for them when they’re hurting. We do it with our children, our spouses, our friends… We cry with them, commiserate with them and try to find solutions. Mostly though, we are there. I think these days wouldn’t be so hard if I didn’t care so much.

Jesus did it for us. He loves us so much that he took the cross of shame for us. Beaten, scorned, spit on, bleeding, dying… All for this broken people He loves, no matter what we do or say. He cries with us. He intercedes for us with God the Father. And mostly? He’s there!! He’s HERE. Right here, right now. In this very room with me feeling the pain in my heart and begging the Father to make it better.

With my whole heart I want to glorify God in all I do. I keep falling and failing. And I try to get right back up again. Sometimes it’s just hard. But if it was easy, then Jesus wouldn’t have needed to suffer for us. His resurrection from the dead gives me hope that bits and pieces of my life can be resurrected. And made new and whole once more. And MY Lord can knock it out of the park!!

I have many songs running through my head, all discombobulated. I selected the featured image, a painting of a knockout rose I did a couple of years ago, because my favorite name for Jesus is the Rose of Sharon.

Insert Dream Here

I’m a wanna-be (insert dream here). I want to be a chef. I want to be a writer. I want to be an artist, a songwriter, a singer, a baker, an actress, and that’s not all and not necessarily in that order! I have so much going on in my mind and heart at one time that it’s hard for me to sort it out and decide what I should do right now. Unfortunately, wanting it to be doesn’t make it happen.

I’m learning to dream. It’s not something I grew up doing for whatever reason. We were more of a practical people. But I did go to college to study music… Specifically piano performance… And I was good at it (to my professors’ surprise!) But, I got sidetracked. I let other things pull me away and never finished. I never became a concert pianist.

I have the great privilege now of seeing my kids dreams come true. I get to watch as they put feet to their dreams and make it happen. And I’m learning from them!!! I’m thinking, “why not me?” God put all this inside me… All the drive and will to be creative, to learn, to teach and show others… to study, to paint, sing, write, sew, cook, draw, act, and love on people in the process. Why not now??

I always said that the word “retirement” is not found in the scriptures. I sure hope that’s true, because I do not plan to retire from life. On the contrary, I feel like August 1st can’t come soon enough so I can get started on my real life… The one God had planned for me all along. The life that I can still dedicate to Him and give back to Him as an offering of thankfulness and praise for all He has done and will continue to do for me.

The song in my head this morning got me thinking, didn’t it? It’s All For You Lord! Whatever I get my fingers, head, heart, hands into… It’s all for YOU.

Just like me, the featured image is a work in progress…

All For You by Mikeschair