“‘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. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to You. You will seek me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.'” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
My career has ended, the retirement parties are completed and the gifts and well wishes received.
I was fearful this day would come after leaving my job several months earlier on a medical leave. I barely made it out of the school on my own that day–so wobbly and weak. I had hoped I would be able to return to work, but in my heart knew I probably couldn’t. My plan was to work many more years, but as I have recently learned God has other plans for me.
That day was surreal. I remember almost every moment–from driving to school while listening to my favorite band on a CD; to walking in the door to get my key. I remember sitting in my office with tears streaming down my face as my principal edited my goodbye note to tell parents I was going on leave; to the last two boys I counseled who were having friendship issues.
I remember specifically asking God out loud, while talking to my friend, why He would take me away from a career I had dearly loved; where I had the opportunity to help so many children; a career I was good at and had enjoyed and thrived in for 23 years? I’ve received no answer to this question and perhaps have no right to ask, but I believe I must trust in God, that God is compassionate and knows that in our trials we strive for understanding.
He and I have had several challenging conversations throughout my illness. When my body first began to fail, I was pretty angry with Him. I never stopped believing, but I walked around for about five months mad. I think that is alright, and I believe it is part of this process of grieving what we have lost and accepting what is to be.
There are times where some of the anger resurfaces. We are human after all and the Lord knows this and loves us despite our flaws.
I am starting a new chapter of my life. It is a bit odd to say I am retired at my age, and I’m not totally comfortable with this yet. But I admit, I know it is the right stage for me as I was unable to continue in my career. I am unsure where this new journey will take me and am not always patient, but I try. I do know, however, that regardless of what happens, I will trust in God and that He is with me on this ride.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for helping me to accept the changes in my life. I know there will be challenges that arise as I become accustomed to being retired. Please, Father, help those who have to leave careers or make other changes they are not ready for find peace and direction in their new future. Amen.
About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three kids. She recently retired from her job as an elementary school counselor. She is writing a book about her struggles with dysautonomia _ a neurological condition in which the autonomic nervous system breaks, affected such things as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and temperature regulation.
How have you learned to trust in God in times where you have had to make life changes that you really did not expect, but had to do as a result of your chronic illness?
Yolanda Adams always touches us. We hope this song “Still I Stand” touches you today as she sings about pressing on through it all, including the tears. We hope it is a nice reminder that you can trust in God.