Conversations with a Colleague.... The Retirement Journey by Elsa Siriano
How do we retire from serving the Lord who has called us into ministry?
After 45 years pastoring churches in New England and New York state, we shut the church door and drove away.
It is easy to feel forgotten when we retire.
The hard part is NOT being the pastor’s wife, not having the fellowship, not involved in the women’s ministries, the day-to-day operations of the church, or having friends in the church, OUR church.
We now attend Faith Church, in Rochester, NY, where our daughter and son-in-law, Darla and Steve Edlin pastor. In the past I was introduced as “This is our Pastor David’s wife.” Now it’s “This is Pastor Darla’s mother.” Sometimes it’s an honor and sometimes I wish simply to be known by my name- Elsa. I learned to spell it as a child when everyone called me Elsie. It irritated me then that people got it wrong. Yet it’s in those times I remember: My name is written in God’s Book of Life. He knows my name and all that it holds. He also knows my whole journey and where I’m at now.
So with the feelings of loss in our ministry role, how can we manage the transitions toward retirement?
Use the talents/giftings the Lord has given you - For the past 14 years, my husband, David, and I have traveled a new journey.
So, in retirement, continue to use those talents the Lord gave you. They will look differently than the church setting, yet this new season brings new opportunities.
Leave a legacy - I admonish women to be busy blessing others. I give a neighbor family pasta sauce when I make it once a month. Find creative ways to share God’s love. The world still needs a Savior, and YOU may be the one to share that word of encouragement or act of love with them in their day.
Be an intercessor – During our busy days of practical ministry needs being met, we didn’t always have time for deep intercession. This is a great time in our lives to be intercessors. We have time to pray and encourage those in need.
Don’t be the old person that is grumpy and complains about the food, about the new songs in church, or about how the young people dress. Remember all that God has brought you through and the lessons you learned.