When I anticipated my retirement from congregational ministry back at the end of 2017, I didn't know fully what to expect. No one does, I guess. My brother is a life-long Firefighter and just retired from his 40-plus years of service to the community. Although he may think he knows what retirement will bring, in reality, we never really know.
I thought I would rest in my pajamas for about three months and then be good to go. Yeah, that didn't happen. Well, let me be clear. The first three months in my pajamas happened alright -- much to my husband's chagrin, I think! Then I got out of my pajamas and tried to get on with life, but I found out that three months wasn't a long enough rest for me. I needed another three months to get some semblance of "normal" back into my body, my mind, my emotions, and my spirituality.
It's just been in the last weeks and after six full months of retirement that I can see the beauty of this season of life. It's not the frenetic life we once led when both my husband Philip and I were working - he in the business world and me as a full-time minister. Life now is slower-paced, and yes, lots easier.
Retirement is a beautiful thing for me. It is filled with opportunities to be closer and more connected with my Lord and to be closer and more connected with my husband. I love that. I can now look at my life and say, "Okay, Lord, what's next? How can I best serve you?"
And after all those months of rest, I found that my heart still held the same desire to reach out to the same people group: cancer sufferers. I can retire from leading a congregation, from leading church services and even from teaching and preaching. But this retirement season would not be beautiful if I could not link my life with the lives of those who suffer with cancer and those who love someone with cancer.
I am more than happy that God has given me enough health, energy and mental focus to transplant the Cancer the Compassion ministry in our new home: Bend, Oregon. I will speak on my cancer journey at a local church in mid-September. And we will then host the first-ever Open House for Cancer with Compassion held in Central Oregon. And this will
begin the second chapter of Cancer with Compassion and we trust God will do good, good things in us, with us, and through us.
Thank you for this beautiful retirement, Lord. And thank you that I am able to bring Cancer with Compassion to Oregon! To you be the glory!