Carole Lewis Talks Retirement

Carole Lewis Talks Retirement

My First Three Months

I almost laughed as I typed this header for my article, because it seems I have been busier than ever the last three months, which is exactly what people have told me. If you’ve always been a busy person, you will still stay busy.  This month I wanted to share some truths that I thought I knew, but that God has solidified in my heart.

God’s Timing Is Perfect

Two years ago on my 70th birthday, I began earnestly praying for God to tell me the perfect time to retire.  Jeremiah 33:3 says, Call to me and I will answer and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. God and I have walked together long enough that I did not doubt for a minute He would let me know when to retire.  What a shock the evening of December 2, 2013, when the Holy Spirit spoke these words to my heart, “This would be the perfect time for you to retire.” I was in my car after day one of a three-day First Place 4 Health planning meeting.  I know the Spirit’s voice, so I never doubted that it was not Him speaking to me.  You see, the Spirit never shouts; He just speaks in a soft, gentle voice.  The next morning when I announced that I would be retiring soon, our staff was more than a little shocked.  No one had any advance notice—not even me.

I remember years ago hearing Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God, say, “God’s timing is always perfect; He is never late.” Henry said that his wife says, “And never a minute too early either.”  I have experienced the truth of those words these last three months.  As you know, my husband, Johnny, was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer in 1997.  The cancer never grew until this last summer when he became hormone-resistant and the cancer started growing in his bones and liver. In December he began, for the first time, having bone pain.  We had tried the last drug that our doctor thought might work and after two months, Johnny’s counts were still climbing so the drug was stopped.  He began with a pain patch in December, but it had to be increased to a stronger and stronger patch almost weekly.  By the end of February, both of our Oncologists recommended that we look into Hospice as they have the knowledge and ability to manage bone pain.  The first two weeks of Hospice was like a full-time job with meeting all the caregivers available to help us.  I am thrilled that Johnny is now pain-free and we are settled in with Hospice.

My Identity Is Not My Job

I thought that I knew this, but I have been amazed that I have not had a second thought about the decision to retire. Nor have I had a moment of sadness feeling like I no longer have a purpose. It is sad that so many people believe the lie that “they are what they do.”  Men meet each other and say, “And what do you do?”  The Lord revealed this to me a number of years ago when He told me that my ministry is with “hurting women” rather than the First Place 4 Health program.  I will be there for hurting women as long as I have breath left in me.

I Have A New Resolve

Last July at our 2013 FP4H Summit, the Lord and I had a “come to Jesus meeting” about achieving my weight-loss goal.  I began the very next day, which was Sunday, July 28, to fill out my tracker.  I have not missed one day and I am resolved to continue until I reach my goal, whatever that number might be.  I know God will show me the perfect weight for my age and fitness level when I get there.  My job is to stay faithful for however long it takes.  My goal is to be as healthy and fit at 85 years old as I am today.  The Lord may deem otherwise, but I don’t want poor health to be the consequence of my disobedience.  These are just three of the things I have already learned:

  • Is there something God is asking you to do because this is the perfect time?
  • Do you need to ask God to show you that your identity is in Him and not in your job?
  • What do you need to do to become healthy and fit in all areas?
  • I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.  My prayer for each of you is that God will speak to your heart as He has spoken to mine.

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