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Don't waste your retirement

(me, my mom, & Ms. B)

I am beyond blessed to have my friend Barbara in my life. She has been a friend to me for about 10 years, and we have been through much together. We have shared many laughs and rolled up our sleeves together on many occasions. Despite my shortcomings and idiosyncrasies, through some rough waters and tough times, she has stood by me (and my entire family) as a faithful friend. My husband could not do what he does without her. My kids adore her. And I have learned by watching her what it looks like to "offer your life as a living sacrifice" for the King. No one has consistently modeled the heart of my Savior and "the basin and the towel" quite like she has in my life. And I know I am only one in a line of many who feel the same way about her.

Tomorrow she leaves for Rwanda. This will be her first time to Africa. I asked her to guest blog for me today about her trip. But before you hear her words know this: this is a woman who has decided to be on mission wherever she is, be it Florida or Africa. She is not following a fad or trying to get inspired or motivated to do Kingdom work. This lady serves her King day in and day out, and this trip just broadens her territory and her impact a bit. Here are her words:
As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires,
but rather for the will of God." 1 Peter 4:2

God's own are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them [Ephesians 2:10]. That verse in Ephesians is crazy!! The CREATOR of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, the KING of Kings has works -- good works -- for me and others of His own to do. How crazy is that?!! It boggles the mind. Some years ago, I read a quote -- "Watch to see where God is working and join Him in His work." Crazy!!

Joining GOD? That is like a 4 year old joining Da Vinci as he painted the Mona Lisa, or a construction worker assisting Dr. DeBakey [the great father of modern cardiovascular surgery] while performing heart surgery. Crazy that God calls us to join Him in kingdom work, and yet He does.

Ten years ago, the King brought a young pastor and his wife [Joe & Rachel Walser] to my then church in New Jersey. From the very first moment to use an old idiom, I knew "I was to hitch my horse to that wagon." God was working in and through them to advance His kingdom, and I wanted to join in. God, by His own plan, had it in mind that this then middle aged couple would co-labor with Joe & Rachel. Crazy!! And now as a senior couple, we got to join in planting a church with them here in Florida. Larry and I get to serve in so many ways here ALONG WITH alot of peculiar people (See 1 Peter 2:9) who we are crazy for, and it is CRAZY, absolutely crazy. I like to say, we get to do what angels long to do.

"All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. The length of our days is seventy years, or eighty, if we have the strength yet their span is but trouble and sorrow for they quickly pass, and we fly away."
Psalm 90:9-10

I just turned 60, and God has prepared another work for me in which to join Him [I know, crazy!] - I get to go to Rwanda through the Rafiki Foundation.

It takes my breath away. While writing this, I was reminded of a story... posted here which describes, I think, God's plan for His own.

A Bike Ride with God - Author Unknown
At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like the president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal.

I don't know just when it was that He suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring but predictable ... It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, and it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal." I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are You taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine. And we're off again. He said, "Give the gifts away, they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him at first, to be in control of my life, I thought He would wreck it; But He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. I'm learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ. And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He smiles and says ... "Pedal."

I love that story.... I love Jesus! So grateful that He does crazy things!

This Saturday, July 16th (returning August 2nd), I travel to Africa. I covet your prayers as I serve there. Of late, my mind has been on the times of Noah, before the flood when people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until Noah entered the ark, and the people were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. People busy with life, not expecting that Jesus could come back at any time. (Matthew 24:36ff). Please pray that I take every opportunity to witness. That God open for me a door(s) while traveling for the word, "to declare the mystery of Christ,...that I may make it clear which is how I ought to speak. That I walk in wisdom ..making the best use of the time. Pray that my speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that I may know how I ought to answer each person."

I believe it is God's plan for me to serve, here in Florida with LifeBridge Church and to go and serve in Rwanda at this time with the Rafiki Foundation, and in every place to take every opportunity to witness [Colossians 4:2-6] .

To God be the Glory!
What a way to spend your retirement! Will you join me in praying for her?

Barbara~ I love you and am praying for His glory to shine through you in Africa as brightly as it does here in Florida. Have a wonderful trip and hurry back to all of us who will feel your absence for these two weeks. You will be missed but we can't wait to hear every detail when you return!



Mary said...

Barbara - I am praying for you and for the wonderful things you will experience and do in the service of the King! With much love...

To God be the Glory! said...

I love you Rachel so very much!

Erica said...

Love you Ms. Barbara - praying for you and your CRAZY trip! Cannot wait to hear all about, praying for you always, and praying for those you will come in contact with as well.