I’ve been told there is no word for retirement in the Bible. No one ever said, “I’m done. I’m going to take it easy and relax in the “big chair.” Not a chance. Retirement is just a change in direction, a time to reevaluate and to refocus. For me, it was a gift.
The first year of my retirement brought many challenges. I wanted to redirect my energy into serving in my church. I laid out a plan for what I thought would be a much-needed service in my church. It totally bombed. I was so disappointed. God was clearly saying, “You didn’t run this by me first. That’s not where I need you.”
Then my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I used my time to support him and prayer and devotion became a more integral part of our lives along with radiation and chemotherapy. I felt so blessed to be able to spend all my time taking care of him and encouraging him during his battle. Praise God, he is now four years cancer free.
My second year of retirement began with a plea from a friend to help raise funds for a small non-profit that fed orphaned children in Haiti and the rest, as they say, is history. As I prayed and sang along with the song “Oceans” that God would take me deeper into the water, he led me to Coreluv.
Proverbs 3:6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
I have volunteered for Coreluv for four years now but it has become so much more than just volunteering. The staff is like my family, the children we care for are like my own, and the missionaries are my “big kids.” I take every opportunity to share the story of Coreluv with others and invite them to know the joy of experiencing God through loving, fatherless children.
I have been to Haiti many times (I stopped counting after 10 trips) to watch what Coreluv is doing there and I am humbled by the opportunity to participate in what I believe is God’s plan for the children we have taken in. While not everyone is able to go on a mission trip, there are many other ways to serve these children and the people who care for them.
As a child I don’t remember anyone ever saying to me, “I’ll pray for you.” My heart breaks for children who have no one to pray for them. Praying for the poor is important as Isaiah reminds us, but to pray specifically for a child whose name you know is an opportunity to lift that child’s name before our heavenly Father. We spend time in prayer for our own children and families but to stand in the gap and pray for an orphaned child is an honor and a joy.
Be someone’s 43 miler. What? When Paul arrived in Rome after more than a month at sea, the Bible says, “the brothers came to meet him.” (Acts 28:15) The destinations from which they journeyed were about 43 miles from Rome. Paul saw them and took courage. You don’t even have to walk 43 miles to be an encouragement to others.
We have US staff who live sacrificially and work tirelessly. We have missionaries who live far from family and comforts of home. We have in-country staff who need encouragement to do the jobs they do. We have countless volunteers and advocates. All these people need encouragement as they take an active part in the Coreluv mission to provide six basic needs to our children.
What do you have in your hand? Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean less income because you no longer work for a paycheck. Some people actually find they have more financial resources because a change in lifestyle ends up costing less. Others have time to give. Whatever it is, if you put what is in your hand in God’s hand, He will multiply it.
In my retirement, I want to be like Caleb who was as strong after wandering forty years in the desert as he was when he spied out the promised land for Joshua. At age 85, he came back and claimed the land he had chosen for himself and his descendants. (Joshua 14) God blessed him because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly. What a legacy. What a way to give glory to God.
Psalm 92:14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
John 15:8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.