On a Monday back in March of 2020, I was clocking back in after lunch at Cedar Lake Village when I noticed a sign on the wall that caught my attention.
The sign said, “What feels like the end is often the beginning.” Let me tell you, those words shot through me like an arrow and got me to thinking about the recent major transition in my life.
In May of 2019, I retired from my two jobs. I had given the Christian school where I worked full-time and the church where I worked part-time nearly a year’s notice that I would be leaving at the end of school year. I had a long time to prepare for our move to Kansas. I enjoyed wonderful retirement celebrations at both the school and the church. A big deal was made about the “ending.”
But through it all, I didn’t give much thought to what might be the beginning after this ending. I realized that I had mostly been focusing on the ending. And these were good endings for me – big celebration parties, lots of cards, gifts and well wishes. I couldn’t have been more blessed by family and friends. It was a rich and wonderful ending for me. I was very fortunate since endings aren’t always so happy or filled with celebration.
Many endings are sad, hard and difficult to work through – a loved one’s end of life; the abrupt end of a project you’ve been giving your heart and life to; the end of a marriage – either yours or someone in your family; and the end of a friendship maybe because of a misunderstanding and hurt feelings. The list goes on and on. Life is filled with endings, many of them painful.
During the ending of my careers in California, I hadn’t given much thought to the new beginnings on my horizon. I was so busy looking back that I wasn’t doing much looking ahead.
Honestly, I think I didn’t dwell on it because I couldn’t see it. I secretly wondered if God would recreate what I was doing in California when I moved to Kansas. I knew that I was going to go back to work, but I didn’t know where that would be.
In retrospect, that was hard for me. I’m a planner and an organizer. I like things in boxes and compartments. I like the security that plans bring. But I had no plans – nothing on the horizon. All I could do was trust. And pray. And wait.
To my surprise, this trusting, praying and waiting didn’t always go so well. I frequently felt like God had forgotten me. Deep down, I knew that he hadn’t, but frequently I felt like he had.
How could that happen? I always considered myself strong in my faith in God. I can testify that God has always provided for me and always taken care of me. But now I frequently felt adrift. Somehow, through many tears, conversations and prayer, I worked through it with the help of my wife and my close Christian friends.
When I saw that sign while clocking in that Monday, my heart said a big AMEN! “What feels like the end is often the beginning.” Looking back, God was leading me through the ending and preparing me for the beginning.
God was directing, leading and providing. God had not forgotten me. However, I learned that I needed to be open to new things. I learned that things will be different – good, but different. God continues to stretch me and encourage me to trust Him to grow into these new things. I’ve found scripture from the book of Isaiah helpful:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
So, I share my story with you to encourage you to trust God if He is leading you through what feels like an ending – an ending in a relationship, an ending of a project, an ending of a life stage, or an ending of an ability. Please know that God has not forgotten you! But you will need to trust him to do new things in your life. God can be completely trusted.
Oh, and don’t forget that what feels like the end is often the beginning. Embrace the beginning. God is with you!
Cedar Lake Village