(Very similar style to our new home–only ours is even prettier!
Photo credit: www.houzz.com)
Two weeks ago today we arrived at our new home in Ohio, to begin retirement near our sons and their families. Steve’s forty-year chapter of pastoring churches has been completed.
Times of transition almost always prove challenging. The month of June was no exception for us. Saying good-by to our loving, supportive congregation in Florida was difficult. I wanted to split myself in two, leaving half of me there, and moving the other half north to be near family. Either that, or convince the whole church to move with us. Alas.
And then there are all the questions such as:
- Will the family still be as enthused about our close proximity a year from now? In ten years?
- Will we be able to find a loving, supportive church, where we can make friends and enjoy new opportunities for service?
- Will we be able to tolerate winter again, after four decades in the South?
But I already know the answers—in part.
- If the family loses their enthusiasm for our presence, whose fault is that?!
- I can trust God’s leading to the church home he’s already hand-picked for us. He wants us to grow and serve even more than we do.
- Of course we can survive winter! Billions of people do it every year. Besides, the warmth of family will more than compensate.
And warmth of family is just one of many joys proffered by this new chapter in our lives. In fact, I’ve become “misty-eyed from splashes of joy”* a number of times in this process:
- Last get-togethers (at least for a while) with old friends, accompanied by much reminiscing and laughter.
- A surprise party and reception where love permeated the very air we breathed.
- The dozens of thoughtful cards, notes, and gifts received.
- A real estate agent and moving company representative who both turned out to be Christians.
- The ride from Florida to Ohio with our younger son, Jeremy. (He’s a very funny guy!)
- The first glimpse of our new home, especially the spacious, newly renovated kitchen. (We had made decisions from Florida, trusted our son, Eric, with the details, and had seen the process only in pictures.) Just like the homeowners on HGTV, I cried.
- The stunning tree-top view out the kitchen/sitting area windows and from the deck, because the house was built into the side of a hill.
- A raccoon we’ve named Ralphie, whose home is clearly visible from our back windows and deck. We’ve chuckled at his antics.
- Friendly neighbors—one of whom works at Home Depot and has already helped us with an electrical problem.
- And of course, the privilege to pop over to Eric’s and Hilja’s—to enjoy their delightful cooking and company and Baby Elena.
I could list more, but you get the idea. Perhaps the phrase “splashes of joy” isn’t quite accurate. It’s been more like a flood.
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Oh, Father, how I rejoice in all of the splashes of joy, the good which you have given to me and my house (Deuteronomy 26:11)—INCLUDING the house!
* (Someone else’s expression–not mine—though I wish it was.)