Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

As I approach my 62nd birthday (one week from today) I am finding myself facing some things I never thought about before this time in my life. For one thing, I can't do everything I used to do. And sometimes I can, but just not as well as I used to.

For the last three years I've been a volunteer chaplain at a local hospital. One morning a week I went in, got my assignment for the day, and visited about 20 or 25 patients. I filled out a form on each one, talked to them about how they were feeling and what they might need, often prayed with them or held their hands and just listened. This week I had to give that up. At least for a while, and maybe forever. I have a couple of problems that made this job painful at best. Arthritis in my hands seems to be spreading exponentially (really, really fast!) and filling out forms became nearly impossible. Oddly enough I can type, but just can't write well. My handwriting, which I prided myself on, looks like my grandmother's. Oh well, I look like my grandmother so what did I expect. Now that's really ok because my grandmother was beautiful and sexy and gorgeous and stunning....well, not really but I thought so. And you think so too, I know you do. I'm sure you would tell me that if I asked but I'm much too modest for that.

I loved my hospital visits and I will miss them. But at the same time I feel like God is calling me to a new place in my life. I have no idea what it is but since He picked me up and put me in the hospital ministry I assume He'll place me wherever the next spot is. I trust Him on that. However, breaking up is hard to do...I'll miss the faces that light up when I say I'm from the chaplain's office, I'll miss the sweet stories many of my older patients shared with me and the bravado of the young, I'll miss the tender moments when a patient says "let me pray for you!" and the times I run into old friends or people from my home town. I'll miss the nurses who have joined me in prayer and the technicians who smile and usher me in because they think praying is more important than cleaning or making a bed.

I'm having a sad moment thinking on those things...but a joyful one when I remember that before He put me there I had no idea of the joy coming my way. Today I'm wondering just what He's up to now...and what task He has for me. I bet it will be even more fun than I've had at the hospital! I think it might involve some of you out there reading this post. I know that because of my training and education I'm a good listener....and some of you just need to be listened to. You need someone anonymous to hear your frustrations and your fears. Maybe I'm the one. Some of you are having difficulty understanding your teens...I used to counsel teens. Maybe I'm the one to give you wise counsel or Godly listening. Maybe you're just lonely or sad or afraid and you don't know why and you need someone to encourage you. Or maybe it doesn't involve the net at all. Maybe He's going to send me in a totally different direction. I think I'm looking at a whole new adventure!

33 comments:

Adrienne said...

Oh Marlene, I understand perfectly where your heart is. I will pray for you as God leads you to the next step of His plan for you. It's hard leaving a ministry you have loved and found so fulfilling but when He moves you on you know it will be right. So right! From my chaplain heart to yours, ~Adrienne~

Lori said...

I think you should definitely view your blog as a ministry. I read alot of blogs but yours is the one of about 3 that I absolutley don't miss. Your blog has it all...faith, humor, quilts.
I'm sure God will find more ministries to place you in, but never discount what you have going on here.

God bless you for all you do.

Tracy P. said...

Oh, Marlene, if I lived close to you I would totally come around with you and fill out the forms for you! I am a little teary-eyed and wanting to give you a hug! I'm so glad that you can see it's the Lord moving you to a new ministry. But I can only imagine how many lives you have touched, not the least of which are the staff you have observed your faithfulness week after week. And you will continue to touch many lives as I watch you do here constantly.

"Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, sister, have refreshed the hearts of the saints." Philemon 7

Twisted Fencepost said...

What a wonderful way to look at when a book is ready to turn the page.
Sit back, rest and wait. He'll reveal to you your next adventure.

Jacquie said...

I got teary-eyed on this post... exactly at the part that said "maybe someone is dealing with a teen". I have two wonderful boys (age 21 and 19) and have had some really sweet moments with them. But there are some extra tough, trying times, too. Thank you for caring.

I love your heart and your outlook on how God is still at work even though you must give up something you love. And I really thought that was sweet that "Tracy P" offered to do something like that if she could!

Living on the Spit said...

It its me kinda funny Marlene that both of our posts are about letting go...hmmm. I just adore you and I want you to know how much you are thought about today. I am sure God has a very special "next assignment" for you!

Love,

Marlene

Milah said...

Yeah, something big is about to happen. When God closes one door he opens another. I love that you are willing to be led to do His Will. You are a true servant. Hugs!

Raquel said...

I am sure that God will lead you just where he wants you. Sometimes it is hard to accept that he is closing one door, but just think what might be behind the next one! Much love, Raquel XO

sister sheri said...

Oh, Marlene! I love it when women are real! Sometimes it is okay to "quit"... and wait on God... and abide with Him... and let Him talk to us... about the next best thing! Especially when He tells us to "quit"... obedience! He loves it! Trust and obey... for there's no other way...

Gene Black said...

Marlene, I think that you are beautiful and sexy and gorgeous and stunning. Okay so maybe I am biased a bit by your wonderful attitude and sweet spirit....that is okay, isn't it?

Let me just share this small quote with you
"Perhaps what we are called to do may not seem like much, but the butterfly is a small creature to affect galaxies thousands of light years away." Madeleine L'Engle

Your gifts will be used in other ways, I am sure of it.

Maria said...

I just found your blog today through Mrs Goodneedle. It's funny how at all the stages in life, God doesn't just let us sit, does He? I'm at the stage where the sameness of life (laundry, messes, cooking) are driving me nuts. Yet, I know that's where God has me right now. My family needs me, and I need to do a good job. I just did a post on that the other day. God is Always Faithful!

Lindah said...

A super attitude , Marlene! God will use it and bless you. It will be exciting to hear what the next step is in his plan for you. In his time. Blessings!

Teresa said...

(((Marlene)))) you are an inspiration to all of us, and so needed in this crazy world we exist in today. Thank you for you servant heart and obedient spirit.

Calamity Jane's Cottage, Bonnie said...

Hi Marlene, I know he has plans for you and you just wait for my phone call this weekend, you'll think oh my goodness, what has he done....
I had to get caught up on your post and the deer camp story is a hit with me.
Missed your blog while I was down,
Bonnie

Rose Mary said...

It is always sad when things change~especially for people like me, who happen to be allergic to change.

But, I am always amazed at how God works everything out so perfectly and I know that whatever He has in store for you is wonderful!

Love ya,

R~Mary

Janera said...

I'd like to hug your neck, Marlene! I know this passage is a tough one, but your spirit is so positive about it. I will say that this blog is a ministry. Girl, you have ministered to me so many times here, and you may not even know it.

But I think there's something else, too. The door is opening, and it's going to reveal a grand vision when it's time.

Blessings, Sister and Friend

Janera said...

oh, wait. One more thing.

Teens?

Yes, Lord.

If you're serious, I'll take you up on that one.

Southern Lady said...

Marlene, I started my day by reading your post this morning and my heart goes out to you as you face this new chapter in your life.

What wonderful memories you have of your ministry at the hospital. I know your loving spirit and positive attitude touched the lives of countless people.

Isn't it comforting -- and exciting, too -- to know that God will be with you each step of the way as He reveals His special plan for you at this new stage in your life's journey.

You are truly an inspiration to so many of us, Marlene, and add a little sunshine to our days with your sweet and funny stories. I know God has great things in store for you.

Sincerely,

Janie

Linda said...

OH Marlene, I can so relate to this post!! After some praying and weeks of talking about it, I just quit my volunteer job with ChemoAngels. It was very hard - almost as hard as leaving my teachng job. I too know that there is another ministry out there for me. There is always a way to give back. I believe we will be shown the path in due time. Many hugs, Linda

Ivory Spring said...

Hi Marlene,

What a wonderful service you did in the name of the Lord! I am sure God has seen your faithfulness, and is now going to use what you have learned at the hospital for something else. Or maybe He just wants you to rest a bit...

Sorry to hear about your arthritis, is it going to affect your handwork and quilting? I hope not.

You are a sweet, sweet person -- may the Lord continue to use you to bring sweet blessings to many.

Ivory Spring said...

Hi Marlene,

It's me a again. I have meant to tell you that yes, the leaves are changing up here. I think it may due to the fact that we have had a much colder September here this year.

Also, thanks for your comment on my Cardinal quilt. The applique is super easy! ;)

Cyndy said...

As I was reading your post, I was thinking .... I think I know what God has in store for her. She can touch and reach so many people through this wonderful world of blogland. Ones that have a much easier time opening up while being somewhat anonymous. But, then I got to your last paragraph and realized you knew what direction He has for you, too. No matter what you have in store, at least it's great knowing He is always with you!

Cyndy said...

You came by my blog and asked a couple of questions. I guess this is where I go to answer them. Yes, I just added the picture. I'm not very photogenic and my daughter has been after me to put one on my profile. I finally got around to it.
It's so funny that you mention The Shack because that is on my list for the next book. My daughter and I were talking about it last night. Even though she had heard such good stuff about the book, she's hesitant to read it. She has a five year old girl and since it has to do with the murder of a 6 year old girl, she thinks she'll wait awhile to read it. Let me know if you enjoy the book.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What a wonderful ministry you've had! I know what a difference chaplains have made the few times I've been in the hospital, and I can completely imagine you doing that job so well! But how exciting that something new awaits!
Becky

Jan's Blog said...

Your spirit is so strong and so lovely that whatever He chooses for you to do I am confident you will do it with such grace and insight. You make me feel a sense of calm and peace so much so that it brings tears to my eyes. You minister to me and we've never met. Bless you and your next adventure.

Molly said...

What a loss for all those folks you visited! I'll bet they loved you, with your upbeat attitude and wicked sense of humour! Good luck finding your next calling.....

brenco1 said...

Marlene, I know that you will keep your heart and the door open for what is to come. Your post are uplifting and it seems by the comments that they are well read and received by others. May God bless you as you continue on with His work.
Brenda

Karen said...

My body is falling apart on me, too! With your trust and faith, I am sure you will be led to something very rewarding. Your faith comes through in your blog and that is inspiring.

Oma aka Meme said...

my friend- HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU NOW as I want to put it here while I remember because I too have reached that age of sometimes wondering what day it is----
bless your heart for all you have done for others and yes, I do understand the pain of your saying goodbye
I will pray for you and I know that God will have good plans for you-
huggles Meme

JudyL said...

You've helped me several times dealing with teen issues. Even when I wasn't seeking advice and you really weren't giving advice, your words of wisdom brought comfort or sent me down a path of thoughts I hadn't considered. As sad as you may be at giving up a project you enjoyed, it's exciting to wait to see what God has in store for you. It may be something so subtle, you don't even realize you're in His service but those of us who are touched by your knowledge and wisdom do appreciate it.

Vicky said...

We are all creatures of habit and this makes change especially difficult. Keep smiling!

Ducks and Books said...

Hi there! I just happened upon your blog through 'the preachers-wife.' She just happens to actually be my preachers wife, so I check her blog often. I just wanted to say hello. I teared up just reading this post. I don't know you, but you seem like someone I would love to hug! You really remind me of my grandmothers! I wish you the best in whatever God has in store for you! I hope to check back in soon.
p.s. I don't post very regularly, but feel free to check my bolg out!

Valerie said...

Whe HE closes one door, HE will always open another.