To My Husband on His Retirement

Dean, beaming, on his last day at work after his co-workers presented him with this cake

When the time of his service was over, he returned home. – Luke 1:23 NIRV

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24 ESV

Finally, the day has come. Your retirement. We’ve dreamed, planned, worked, and prayed. For years.

I have to admit: I’m a little scared. Because, after over forty years, there won’t be a regular paycheck every two weeks. Time to test the faith we profess: that God will supply everything we need (Philippians 4:19), so we don’t need to worry about tomorrow or the tomorrow after that or all the tomorrows God has in our future here on earth (Matthew 6:25–33).

My heart and spirit know this, but I’m having a little trouble convincing my head, which has always been the practical part of me. The part that wants to see before I believe.

But how much more do I have to witness?

God has always been there for us. Remember how He provided the heating oil we needed the first year in the “house”? Or a repairman for the recycled furnace?

I used quotation marks around house because it wasn’t really a house yet. It was a concrete block cubicle, an unfinished basement into which we moved when our first child was four and our middle child was 11 months old. The third one, a surprise, came along four years later when we’d just moved the bedrooms upstairs.

Dean takes a break from building the deck.

Our house-in-progress took over 30 years to complete. But complete it you did – while working 11-, 12-, sometimes 14-hour days. And finding the time to take us camping and being the husband and father we needed. Not only did you teach our children by example the value of hard work, you showed us all patience and steadfast love in action.

I’m so looking forward to the time together. At last!

It took me several weeks to get out of a funk after spending every day with you during the 10-day vacation we took exploring Michigan this past summer. I missed you terribly when we came home and you went back to work.

The high point of my day has always been the moment you walk in the door after work.

And now I get to be with you all day, every day. Except the days you go hunting or fishing. Or when I push you out the door so I can get some writing done.

My brother cautioned me to “be gentle, understanding, and patient” as you transition to retired life. To which I answered: “All of which I am not.”

And now, after four decades of faithful, loyal service to your employers, you deserve a long, healthy, happy retirement doing the things you didn’t have time to do all these years – hunting, fishing, going for long walks in the woods with your camera, and heading out with the camper (and me) to explore this beautiful country of ours.

I love you. Always and forever.

Bless this wonderful man, Lord, exceedingly abundantly above all he can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He deserves it. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 92:12–14

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

 

Work: Blessing or Curse?

 

Image courtesy of Creative Commons. No attribution required.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. –Colossians 3:23

It was over 20 years ago. The door had firmly shut on the job of my dreams –teaching – and, after I got over my major, extended funk, I realized this was an opportunity to pursue another one of my life’s interests – writing.

So I got a job at a local newspaper writing feature articles.

I loved it! I wrote human interest stories with a positive slant. Interviewing folks fascinated me, their stories intrigued me. I had the best of both worlds: a job I loved and freedom to set my schedule and choose my topics. But I was too stupid to see it. I wanted a position on staff, not be merely a stringer.

So when the society page editor resigned, I stepped into her position. I didn’t like it as much as writing people stories, but I was caught in a “climb-the-ladder-to-success” scenario. Excuse me, trap is a better word.

Fast forward a year or so, and I found myself in the editor’s office. Editor of the entire newspaper. I hated it. I hated the hours. I hated the politics. I hated everything about it.

In his book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg tells the story of a man who was offered the presidency of a university. A Quaker, he called together a half-dozen Quaker friends to help him discern whether this was truly a calling from God.

When asked what he would like about being president, he told them all he wouldn’t like. Finally, when asked a third time, he came face to face with the real reason he even was considering it: “Well, I guess what I’d like most is getting my picture in the paper with the word president under it.”

“Parker,” one man asked, “can you think of an easier way to get your picture in the paper?”

We can laugh, but that’s where I was. I liked the words “editor of the newspaper” behind my name, but there was no joy. I was absolutely, totally miserable. The mother of miserable.

Fortunately, I didn’t last long. I went to another newspaper, where I continued to write my devotional column, plus another column about my former town and also covered board meetings.

My sister’s death in 2003 made me realize I still wasn’t fulfilling my God-given calling. I was letting money and prestige dictate my job choices.

When you’re fulfilling God’s purpose for you (see Psalm 138:8), joy will fill you. Your work will be a blessing. But when you’re out of sync with that calling, uneasiness, restlessness, joylessness, and even downright misery will rule the day. Work will be a curse.

It takes courage to step out of the rut we’ve carved for ourselves, take off the masks, and leave the comfort of the known.

But remember, God has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11), and He will guide you, direct you, prepare the way for you, walk with you, go before you, and provide for all you need.

Commit your way to the Lord, and your plans will be established. He will make your steps firm (Proverbs 16:3 and Psalm 37:23–24). In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5–6).

Why not ask God what He wants you to be doing? His answer may surprise you – and will definitely delight you.

Thank You, God, for giving me satisfying work that uses the talents You gave me, fills me with joy, and fulfills Your purpose for me. Amen.

Read and meditate on Matthew 25:14–30.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.