Future Forward

Chinese lanterns, God’s light, from our back deck

We have been in transition around here for awhile, my husband and I.
(Unlike natural childbirth, this transition involves both of us.)
And unlike childbirth, we have been laboring far longer than 12, 24 or 36 hours. 
And the transition’s been going on for about a year.
We will not have a lovely new baby after this pushing and bearing down and hard work–
we will have a new chapter in our lives. 
My husband is retiring from his job.

Of course, things have progressed exponentially, as most labors do, and the birth pangs are becoming the most severe here at the end.  June 30th seems right around the corner.

Life is always more intense when a man deals with job changes.
(There I said that out loud.)  But it’s true. 
And if the man is the chief bread winner and he’s been winning bread for 35 years, well, it’s a gigantic, Titanic sea change.
Especially for my husband.  He wants to do something else, he just doesn’t know what.
He is a Project Man, an I-love-to-be-busy man.
But he is an older man now….and that puts a bit of wrinkle in the choices.
Then there is the government’s offer of a monthly payment.
Or do we chip away at retirement savings?
Oy–the choices. The pressure.

He started having chest pains recently,along with tightness,a worrisome heart rate–all the signs of stress-related heart problems.
(His heart’s been checked out, he’s fine).  But one’s body knows these things; the mind and spirit are all connected.
If the doctor says the heart is physically fine, the unseen pressure of the unseen….well, that’s still there.

After a conversation last night where we played ‘What If ????’ scenarios over and over for 60 minutes, it occurred to me that we were the silliest of sinners.

We could worry our words out all over the place, but had we prayed about this? 
Committed it to God, the burden-bearer and Creator/Supplier of our lives?

Uh, no.

So we did. 

While we were praying, the Father brought to mind Psalm 119, where I’ve been “camping out” since January of this year. We declared the truth in

v. 105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…” 
(“showing me where to place my feet and showing me the path ahead
a little at a time, but not all at once,” I’d written in my journal.)

Eugene Peterson says it this way in The Message:
“By your words I can see where I’m going”
(i.e., is it safe to step here?I mused)
they throw a beam of light on my dark path”
(so I can see the way ahead–a little at a time.
If we had the whole picture in our hands,
we’d just take off alone and never look back.”)

A little at a time.

So we asked our Father to show us the next right step. 
Not the whole thing, just the next right step, for the end of this month. 
Then the end of the next month, and the next…………

One footprint in front of the other, along the path He’s placed before us.
I couldn’t help telling my husband when we finished praying I had a picture in my mind of Bilbo and Frodo, the Hobbits, tramping through the woods, lanterns at their feet, revealing the way ahead.
And that made me smile.
Why? My husband’s name is Bill.

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6 thoughts on “Future Forward

  1. You found a lovely place to camp out for a bit. 🙂 The version in the Message brings out a nugget of truth!
    And that image of Bilbo and Frodo make me smile! We watched all 3 movies again recently with the two older kids, as my middle son is now old enough for them.

    One step a time, one month at a time… a step of faith for sure, friend…God is with you!


  2. One step at a time is right. We don't have to know the end of the journey; just the next step. Praying for Bill to feel better and for you to keep returning to Psalm 119–such a blessing.


  3. Oh, sweet friend, I will be praying for you and Bill as you go through this transition. You are so, so right. Men and their work–a complicated relationship. Love and prayers to you.


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