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Endings and New Beginnings…

Endings…

Where were you seven years ago? What was going on in your life? Does that time have any special significance to where you are today? We all have events in our life that are marked by the day they happened…either with good or hard or sad memories.

Seven years ago I retired from full-time church ministry—a good time in so many ways, and so affirming, but also so hard when considering leaving a ministry I had been privileged to build up over a time period of fourteen years.

I am so thankful for leadership who recognized my gifts and abilities and gave me:

Courage to take a risk and step into the unknown.

Freedom to soar in creative ways beyond what I could ever have asked God for, or imagined Him allowing for me.

Involvement with volunteers who were available to grow and deepen their walk with God as they developed skills and leadership ability. Some of them are now leading in that same ministry today.

And, oh, so much more…

My husband and I have lived in northern Canada since March of 1979…thirty-eight years. When we came to this city, I was a young Mom who was tired, disconnected from friendship, and longing to know God more. I am sure that there are many of you who might also identify with similar challenges…perhaps you just:

Moved to a new place

Decided to begin to attend church or changed churches

Got married or had your first child

Sent your first child to school or to college

Hit empty-nest

Lost your husband

Began caring for aging parents.

Perhaps you are an aging parent…perhaps you are suffering with a debilitating illness or know someone close to you who is…

Joy and sorrow seem to reside side by side in our lives.

Six years ago this past February, Mr. Van and I made the huge decision that I was going to retire from full-time ministry at our church. At that time, I had been on Staff for twenty-two years, twelve years of which I served in the office, and then, with a bit of overlap, fourteen years as the Director of Children’s Ministry. My official retirement happened in June of 2010, about sixteen months later. Our church was in a building program and so a good transition period in between was necessary.

I became a full-time homemaker again…much to my husband’s delight. More homemade meals, clean laundry actually put away, and my presence with a smile, most of the time, greeting him as he came through the door at night. However, tears were also a regular part of my day—grief is a natural part of change, no matter what that change is…

Right after I retired, a dear friend came bearing gifts. She knows me really well, and what she brought for me was a bunch of JOY—Bible Verses in this JOY container; a special cup (in which I have often enjoyed my morning coffee), and a magnet for my fridge with this verse from Psalm 118:24.

373Her words to me were: I just want you to ENJOY this time of your life…

Whew!! I really wasn’t enjoying life very much at all at that time—change was hard.

Then, in the spring of 2011, I was asked by our Church Leadership to become the Volunteer Director of Women’s Ministries where I served until December 2012. After almost twenty-six years, I handed in my church keys. That was a much harder thing to do than I had anticipated…and the tears continued to flow.

A few months into my time directing Women’s Ministry, I suffered a heart attack. No one knows for sure what caused it, but certain meds were removed from my regime, and needless to say, times of physical and emotional weakness were again added to my tears.

Whatever our age or stage of life, whatever our circumstances, change and transition are always there to deal with…

We are all on a journey, our spiritual pilgrimage.

On the timeline of history, we are just one little blip, living in this particular period of time, but with the opportunity to impact history forever.

Many of us have already chosen to believe and follow God.

Some of us are a ways down that road.

Others have just begun, or perhaps you are still considering whether to take that first step towards Him.

Joy in that journey…is it easy? Not at all. Worthwhile? Every moment.

Seven years seems like a long time, and yet it has flown by…how thankful I am for God’s presence in my life and His strength to face each day.

How about you?  Do you have an experience that happened seven years ago that caused you to draw near or closer to God? If you have freedom to share, please do so in the comments below…

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