Retirement plans are often things folks think about for some time. For me, the daily work as a registered dietitian assessing patients nutritional needs and recommending a nutritional plan of care, took up most of the hours of my day, and I had little time to think the last year I worked.
I had done some lay ministry in our SYNOD and hoped that might be something to occupy some of my time once again. But just the week before my last day, my sister called with bad news…she had cancer and needed a surgery. I told her that I would come and stay with her.
That was the beginning of a new ministry for me. I stayed in Florida with here all summer for the radiation therapy following her surgery, and then got her to come up north to my home for a six week break from doctors and visit family. Afterwards, I planned to go back for the winter to help her, and also allow me to save some money that I would have spent on heat.
My sister had been diagnosed with spinal stenosis and spondoliathias over 10 years prior. The pain limited her ability to stand straight, and she developed severe arthritis in her hips, so that she had constant pain and limited mobility. I was able to convince her to try a wheelchair for use to get out a little more in the community, as for the past three years she hadn’t been out to eat, and her circle of friends had narrowed as she was not able to keep up with the kind of activities they enjoyed.
She had become isolated and depressed. Shortly after surgery she started on Zoloft which helped her depression, and the outings we did, helped her to feel much more connected in the world.
Recently I was amazed as one of her old friends had said that she felt I had saved her life. She has made a 180 degree turn. I felt that God had called me here for this purpose. So ministry is available in unusual places. Never underestimate the creative plan God has to use you to help others.