Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014-5If there was anything that needed doing in 2014 today is our last chance to do it. I have no regrets.

I planned to retire in March and, after celebrating 25 years of service in January, did just that on March 14th.

I set out to tour Uganda, where God has called me to prepare to work as a missionary nurse. In April, my precious bride and I set out and met our future home as well as some very dear friends we made while in that country. There, God gave us a glimpse into what our future will hold and a burning desire to drive toward that mission.

I planned to return to school as a full-time student, tackling that fear which kept me from getting a college education all these years. I marched through the doors of my classes, made myself at home, and achieved higher marks than I ever imagined I could and made some friends who will be accompanying me in my preparatory track for nursing school and perhaps beyond.

I committed to develop my physical training program to include more than the rudimentary getting off the couch three times a week, and in March bought my first pair of running shoes. With training and a coaching mobile application, I progressed to a 5k then 10k run, then graduated on my own and finished the year by running my first half marathon.

I committed to getting a rein on my finances, and my bride and I have graduated from Mvelopes financial coaching “boot camp” and are well on our way to paying off our debts. The exception to this is a new student loan, which I obtained to meet the needs of this year’s tuition costs while both of us were briefly unemployed.

I renewed my commitment to do my part to maintain my weight and, as of this day, God has held me steady at my goal weight for three years and two hundred two days.


Looking ahead, I hope to keep up my grade point average. The adult 4.0 still balances against the sins of my youth to end up somewhere in the high 3s. I plan to graduate with my associate of arts degree following the summer term, during which I will also apply and (God willing) be accepted into nursing school. The fun will really begin in the fall term of 2015, when I hope to be a full-fledged nursing student. Allegedly those are creatures without social lives, forced into isolated study. I will be approaching it as a spiritual exercise, tackling each next obstacle as a fulfillment of my calling.

As for the rest, I am looking forward to keeping on doing what I am doing: seeking God’s purposes in my daily life and fulfilling them to the best of my ability; harming none I don’t have to and helping as many as I have the opportunity and resource; building myself and others up and abstaining from behaviors that would tear me or them down. In 2015 I want to leave the world better than I found it in 2014.

This semester is drawing to a close. With only two days left, I am relieved and amazed at what God can do when we just put Him in charge and follow His lead. I had a choice this past weekend: worry, fret, isolate, disappoint others, and cram for the cumulative final exam in Anatomy and Physiology or trust in God to refresh and recall all that I spent a semester learning. Harried holiday schedules have begun to collide and crowd out any extra time even this retiree might have. I even battled the temptation to break a commitment to sing in our church choir’s annual Christmas presentation to make time to study. As I deliberated I was given this peaceful thought which pervaded both concerns and my entire weekend experience:

The time for Martha-type preparations is over and the time for resting at the feet of Jesus in the Mary way has come. (Luke 10)

As I shared that little tidbit of peaceful reassurance, it progressively became more real to me. My spirit calmed. My thoughts slowed. My worries dissipated. On the eve of the great and fearsome exam, instead of cramming, I went to the concert. As the sound and light engineers, logistics managers, and many of the choir scurried around with last minute preparations, I stood in peaceful surrender, prayerfully accepting things as they were and offering the outcomes to God. My expectations adjusted. My perfectionist nature was whittled back to accept excellent, or even good, if that was to be the product of our service.

photo credit: Ansley Ward
photo credit: Ansley Ward

The performance wasn’t perfect. I didn’t come in on every cue, remember every line, or hit every note, but my spirit was at the feet of Jesus instead of on a stage, and I thought it was a beautiful worship experience. The next day was no different. I went to school, breathed deeply, conceded to accept whatever excellence God helped me attain, and discarded all expectation of perfection. With that air of calm I approached my study buddies and prayed with them before the test, first one, then another, each happy and grateful to join me in prayer. As the exam began, I recommitted myself to sacrifice worry as an act of worship, and recalled my diligent effort and submission to do the necessary work as further acts of worship, with the results being wholly God’s. Then, just like they always do, the walls came tumbling down! The fearful monster that had been the dread of all us A&P students was pacified by God. Though I was walking in its den, its mouth was clamped shut. There were moments when I heard its gravely growl and thought I caught a glimpse of its teeth, but its bite was divinely constrained. I stroked the now domesticated beast, finished my dance with it in about half the time allotted, and presented it to my professor with all the confidence of any I had taken before it.

The exam grades obviously haven’t posted yet, but I am confident and, having given the results to God, am completely secure that His will, which far exceeds my own, will be done. I am left with this constructive thought for the future:

A perfectionist is never content. I can strive for perfection only as long as I am content with excellence. God gives the purpose and the provision. My part is to accept His motivation and take appropriate action steps as my act of worship. The results are the Lord’s.

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6)