My wife and I decided to spend New Year’s weekend with her family in San Antonio. During the weekend, I took a look at my year end retirement plan. I was pleased to see that my 403b had done better than expected. So much better that I thought I would surprise my family with an announcement. Sitting out on the deck with the cold north wind blowing down on us, I announced that I feel confident that I can move my planned retirement date from 2012 to mid 2011. This, of course, was met with excitement from Carol and others. Little did I know that this would also be the start of an emotional journey none like I’ve ever experienced. You see, God also heard my announcement so he began speaking a little stronger to me.
Monday Jan 3
I read a devotional email from John Eldridge ministries. I felt the title “An Adventure Begins” was a message to me directly from God. The article said, “An adventure is, by its nature, a thing that comes to us. It is a thing that chooses us, not a thing that we choose. He’s right about that, you admit. Alice wasn’t looking for Wonderland when she fell through the looking glass. Come to think of it, the four children just stumbled into Narnia through the back of the wardrobe.” This goes along with the main premise of Rick Warrens Purpose Driven ministry; God made me for a purpose, God made me for His purpose.
That evening, I read an entry from an RV dreamer (Terry Miller from Oklahoma) on RV-Dreams Forum . He announced that he had started a blog on Jan 1. So I went to his blog Ingoring The Barking Dogs to take a look. On the opening page of his blog, he wrote, “It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn’t see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives. “ God spoke to me and said very clearly, “Jerry, I have given you a pioneering spirit, a dream and a passion. I cannot guide you on the journey unless you are willing to take the first step.
Tuesday Jan 4
Tuesday’s devotional from John Eldridge, “A Passionate Voice Within”, said “Some years into our spiritual journey, after the waves of anticipation that mark the beginning of any pilgrimage have begun to ebb into life’s middle years of service and busyness, a voice speaks to us in the midst of all we are doing. There is something missing in all of this, it suggests. There is something more. “
The devotional ended with, “Sometime later, the voice in our heart dares to speak to us again, more insistently this time. Listen to me-there is something missing in all this. You long to be in a love affair, an adventure. You were made for something more. You know it.“
Wednesday Jan 5
Wednesday’s devotional from John Eldridge, “A Distant Whisper”, discussed that most Christians do not have the advantage of a mentor like Samuel had in Eli. We may hear the voice of God early in the morning but by the time we start our day, the screaming activities of our daily grind silence the voice – and we miss God’s message. We need to be like Samuel and heed the message. Yes, Lord, I know.
Monday Jan 10
I took Monday off because I had several personal appointments that needed tending. I enjoyed the relaxing day and got everything done. I jokingly called it a day to practice retirement.
Wednesday Jan 12
After I got to my office on Wednesday, I felt like God had spoken to me in clear messages daily only I was not listening to His message. When one of my dear friends came into my office, I felt a need to explain all that had happened since the beginning of the year. My friend listened with a sincere and understanding heart. After a long chat, I had a clear vision of what I had to do. I ended our conversation saying, “I know what I need to do.” That afternoon, I read a blog from another friend Alene Snodgrass from Corpus Christi. Her blog title “Don’t Miss the Miracles” was a complete message in itself. I knew without questions that God is up to something and I am part of that something.
Wednesday evening after dinner, I shared this emotional journey with my wife and daughter. There were tears of joy as I shared how God had been speaking to me by various means. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Monday Jan 17
When I got to my office on Monday, I wrote a memo to my boss that simply said I had decided to retire from Driscoll Children’s Hospital effective March 4, 2011. Just like that, in a simple message, I announced that it was time to close one chapter and begin a new one. The Prince of Peace brought me comfort. I felt Him touch my heart and say, “Now I can do in you what I’ve planned from the beginning.”