Then In this week’s Monday Minute Claudia shares with us what God taught her when it came time for her family to prepare for military retirement.
5 Practical Ways to Prepare for Military Retirement
by Claudia Duff
When my guy retired from the Navy after 23 years, it was sudden and unexpected.
I wish I could say we were fully ready, but we were not. It shook us to the core. We enjoyed our life in the Navy and the idea of doing something else was foreign to us. Girlfriends, it was a bumpy ride like being on a roller coaster that was on fire and the safety bar didn’t latch.
He had a glorious plan for our lives but, we couldn’t see it. It felt like we were living our lives in Shadowland. I won’t give you all of the details because they are not actually necessary to share the power of the truth of God’s word.
You see what I have learned in this 7-year season of retirement transition is that the circumstances of my life don’t define the power of my God.
He’s bigger just flat out bigger than being homeless, unemployed, and sick during the process of retirement. Ok, I’ll tell this much. Within the first nine months of retirement, we were homeless for 90 days or so, my guy was unemployed for eight months, and I had major surgery (total hip replacement). That’s a lot of stuff going on, all at the same time. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to survive that season.
But here I am still standing and not just standing but, standing in victory.
“He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:19 ESV)
A sweet friend gave me this verse. She didn’t give me a lot of mushy stuff when I shared what we were facing as a family, she just opened her Bible and read this Scripture. It was the best God encounter I have ever had in my life. The words just screamed, “This is not an accident or even a mistake. I got this and I am going to show you the blessings in the midst of this.” This broad place was the unknown corners of our life He hadn’t yet revealed. In the process, God continued to rescue us and He was pleased with us. It certainly felt more like persecution than blessing. But this verse, girlfriends, strengthened me again and again.
Last month I shared about how God took my prayer life to another level. My prayer life began to flourish in this season of retirement. I clung to the cycle of prayer but, it wasn’t enough I longed for more. As God carried us through the valley of retirement transition, he revealed some practical steps during my prayer time.
5 Practical Way to Prepare for Military Retirement
1. Pray Early. Pray for times and places to begin a retirement discussion with your family.
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6 ESV)
2. Share Expectations. Make a list of your family’s expectations during the transition into retirement.
3. Surround Yourself. Surround your family with people who will speak life into your transition as well as offer sound, clear, and decisive advice.
4. Pray Always. Then PRAY! PRAY! And PRAY some more! And keep a prayer journal. (I know I say this every month but, it truly is a treasure to look back and see what God has done!)
5. Begin ASAP. Begin your job search the day after you begin your service in the military, lol! Seriously, make a short list of possible places to live and job opportunities in each of those locations before you even begin to transition.
Preparing for Military Retirement May Be a Bumpy Ride
Like I said before, it has been a bumpy ride. More often I felt like the light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming train rather than deliverance from Jesus. Honestly, sometimes it was both. The train hit, but Jesus was right there to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives. We are somewhat settled in retirement life and it only took seven years. But, seven years later we have three high school graduates, one Bible college graduate, two college graduates, two daughters-in-love, three grandbabies, and one postgraduate degree. My guy loves his new job as a professor at Liberty University and I am over the moon that Lynchburg now has a Hobby Lobby!
Look up because our Redeemer lives and He lives in us. Retirement will be hard because we are doing something different. Change is unsettling, but God is the ultimate settler of all things because He is the grand Creator of all things. Look for Jesus in every circumstance of your retirement process and ask for help often and pray always!
Prayer for Military Retirement
Lord, make me to become a blessing to my family as we prepare to transition from the military into civilian life as retirees. Help us to see you in the things we encounter trusting you for every next step. Surround us with people who will lend a hand, support us through prayer, and give us encouragement as needed. In Jesus name. Amen.
Verses to Ponder
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV)
“[ God of All Comfort ] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3 ESV)