November has been a crazy month as we had to make some life changing decisions including moving across the state. Along with these changes have come quite a few lessons to be learned. Here are a few …
- Self worth must come from how God looks at you and not how others view/treat you. [1 Samuel 16:7] I’ve learned this before but have recently had to remind myself of this. As a young person, I struggled a great deal with self esteem and confidence in myself. I never had much confidence in myself nor thought that anyone would think much of me. I still fight this, though people seldom realize it. Two obscure things helped convince me that I am a worthwhile person. A. Random men taking a second look at me on the street. (This was after having lost about 40 pounds) . B. Marrying a minister. (Somehow being a pastor’s wife gave me license to speak and “people would listen”). Over the past 26 years of ministry, I have become more confident, believing in myself. But now that my husband has been forced into early retirement, I find myself struggling to find my value again. I’ve been feeling quite lost, not so much though in my value as a person but in my place of service. I know that this will come as we settle into a new life. It’s just hard when you’re standing in the dark waiting to get your life back. My blogging has been good therapy for me and I plan to continue to allow this area of my life to blossom.
- You can collect a lot of unnecessary STUFF in 12 years. As a pastor and wife, we have always been blessed to live in a parsonage. Once you retire though, this becomes an added responsibility and financial challenge in your life. We’ve never had to be concerned about paying rent and keeping the lights on. But, in November, we have been realizing these concerns and the challenge of downsizing.
We lived in a lovely 4 bedroom 2-story parsonage and moved to a 3 bedroom townhome – half the square footage. At first, reduction was not hard. We found we had a lot of stuff we could let go of quite easily. It was the later reductions that were hard. There were things which I didn’t even realize meant much to me until I found myself standing in the driveway, haggling with a stranger over the price of a little blue dish. I came to realize that it wasn’t that important, but it did shake me up a bit. On the other hand, when it came to saying goodbye to my piano that had been a dear friend to me for 30 years, my place of consul and stress release …
THAT was a different story. I know that I will miss it dearly (as tears fill my eyes). And here’s the catcher, we still ended up having to rent a medium size storage unit to fill with items that won’t fit into our new home. I guess we’ll be having another yard sale soon. [Learning to be content]
- I learned some interesting things about really old hymns. Speaking of my beloved piano, I found an old hymnal while packing. So I sat down to play some music out of it. I learned three things. Churches used to sing a lot more songs with counter parts (which I love and wish we did more of). Secondly, there are some beautiful hymns that have been forgotten. Maybe someone needs to record them or put the words to new music. The Lord keeps bringing to my mind Psalm 40:3 “make music”. Thirdly, it seems they printed more hymns using the sharps back in the day and I know why they changed that … It is just way too hard to play them sharps!
- True friendship comes from the most unexpected places. Wow! As we were turned away from our ministry position (partly due to my health and partly due to a society that no longer appreciates older more experienced leadership), we found ourselves rejected, weary and alone in front of a moving van. Those with whom we had worked and developed “friendships” for the past 12 1/2 years were no where to be found. But there were a few that came to our side. There were friends from my homeschool group that I had not been in touch with in four years (due to my health) AND to our amazement neighbors and acquaintances from a nearby community church. [you know, one of those big independent churches that seem to be pulling everyone away from the traditional medium-sized churches] You see, their church encourages outreach and helping others in need. We were so blessed by these people who kept in touch with us during the whole ordeal, prayed for and with us, helped us financially, and finally “put their back where their mouth is” and helped us pack and load a truck. The True Family of Jesus
- Great Nephews and Bagels from Panera Bread are one of a kind and out of this world. The first morning after we arrived at our new home, our nephew left a bag of bagels on our porch. Oh my goodness, there is nothing like fresh bagels from Panera Bread. They blow away those round bread-like things in a plastic bag you find in the frozen section at the grocery. It was only a day or two before we were saying, “We need more bagels!” Before November, most of us never cared for bagels, if we had even tasted one before! It’s Biblical, we need bagels, too! 🙂
Well, that’s just a little bit of what was learned this month. We are still learning. Check back again in January.