Friday, May 11, 2012
The last enrollment
The first year after my retirement, Steve and I were able to travel in our RV, and because of the one-time annuity payout I received (known as a Golden Handshake) we paid off obligations and were able to keep a good savings account. Steve had not yet qualified for lifetime disability income, so he received unemployment and later, CA State disability. The Lord was good to us, allowing us to stay in our home with just his unemployment and my pensions from Jurupa and the Public Employee Retirement System, from my 13 years of school board service. Our drastically reduced income allowed us to modify our house payment before we even fell behind. And since our house in Wyoming has a small payment which renters are covering, we saw no difference in expenses there. Psalm 4:8 describes the way I feel about God's provision of a safe home for our family to live in:
I will both lie down in peace, and
For You alone make me to dwell in safety.
Amazingly, by the last quarter of 2009, we'd helped with Kriss and Marisela's wedding; and we'd given them Steve's unused Saturn. We helped Steven get settled in Fresno, where he began attending a Christian university where he founded a student prayer group, and also got his start in youth ministry at The People's Church. By 2010, Steve and I still traveled, with me driving the RV now. We also were blessed with fun togetherness by using our annual passes to Disneyland. This was Heidi's engagement year, so the Lord allowed us to begin our parental "contribution" for her wedding. And God brought about the finances to help with the author contribution that allowed the Bible study Galatians: An Exploration of Faith & Freedom to be published the following year! Retirement cleared my schedule to write the book as well!
2011 came in with a bang because of our daughter's June wedding at Kimberly Crest in Redlands. Yet, with only a minor amount of stretching, we were able to do our part to make our bride's day ideal! But 2011 also brought the realization that Steve needed more care than I could provide and still supplement our fixed incomes with my Mary Kay business, so we began to tap into another resource God had given us the means and wisdom to purchase: long term care insurance. At first, the caregivers provided companionship with tasks and chores, like gardening and walking the dogs with Steve over two miles a day. Fast-forward to 2012, and Steve is not only covered by insurance for 5 days a week of adult daycare at an activity center, but has home care beginning at 5 a.m. seven days a week. Only the Lord's good provision could make that possible, now that my arthritis is making itself felt and my growing business requires alertness and the enthusiasm and ministry I feel on the inside to manifest itself genuinely on the outside! Constant early hour wake-up calls (like Steve crying out "HELP" at 3:40 a.m. today) are for new moms like our Marisela, not for senior citizens like myself! I need to sleep in until at least 5:30!
I also thank the Lord that my flexible appointment schedule allows me to call or drop over to my 84.5-year-old dad's house in Redlands, now that he is slowing down quite a bit and calls upon me for the odd errand a couple of times a week. Praise the Lord that my Heidi and her husband Pavel live just a few blocks away from Daddy!
Perhaps you are under thirty years old and cannot fathom turning sixty-one; or you may be in your fifties with no plans for your senior years. Pray, my friend, pray hard for guidance. Jesus promises, in Luke 11:9,
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Hear James 1:5:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
And do not only pray for wisdom concerning your own life. Pray and plan your life and livelihood so you can best serve others. God may be giving you a bold vision for ministry, like He has given to a friend of mine. God will do what He has promised; but meanwhile, she is working hard to have the financial means to give of her time freely as His plan for her evangelistic ministry unfolds.
One day believers will come to that "last enrollment"-- our entrance into heaven. Pray, work and plan--because should the Lord tarry, you and I have decades of time for God to use us.
So live ready!