I began attending the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference (CCWC) in 2005. I came empty to the 2014 conference – no ideas, no direction, no purpose. I had completed the work I believe God called me to write. I wondered what God wanted next. My experience over the past nine years assured me that God would meet me on the mountain. I had no idea that God would speak with such clarity.
During these annual visits, I have made many close, fellow-writer friends. At the 2014 conference, I should not have been surprised when during breaks, or designated times of fellowship, several men and women I’ve grown to trust, offered to pray for me. On four different occasions, these fellow believers spoke the word, “Transition,” during their respective prayers. Then, one keynote speaker emphasized that God was about to bring a, “Shift,” into our writing ministries. I left the 2014 conference with a clear expectation that my life was about to change. Little did I know how much.
After 35 years of combined military and Aerospace Industry service to the Department of Defense (DOD), I had planned to retire on or about my 40th career-year anniversary. But at the 2014 conference, I had a sense that God was calling me to retire sooner. On June 4, 2014, I suffered a second, more severe, heart attack. While doctors and nurses worked to keep me alive, I asked, “Lord, is this the, ‘Shift’?” After I was released from the hospital, I had a follow-up visit with my primary-care doctor. She stated with the firmness of an angry judge, “You are never going back to work.” Because of the Doctor/Patient privileged relationship, I had let my doctor know – to a point – what I did in support of my company and the DOD. But no one, not even my superiors at work, knew all that I did, and for security reasons, nor could they.
Within days, a conflict arose between demands from work, my doctor’s insistence, and God’s calling. Work needed to know how my company would fulfill its contract responsibilities without access to the documents, points of contact, and who could replace me. Due to my medical condition, my company’s Human Resources representatives prohibited me from talking with anyone from my company or my customers. Throughout this period, I kept seeking God for what He wanted me to do. I had confidence the Lord had a solution that would bring peace to all concerned.
As my condition improved, I believe God granted me wisdom so that I could negotiate a deal between my doctor and my company so that I could be released to return to work. My company agreed to assign all of my programs to other managers as the program customers approved them. An example of how reluctant customers are to replacing, “Key Personnel,” I had one manager approved to assume my duties for one of forty-plus programs after one month. Then, God intervened.
Due to the President’s commitment to reduce defense spending, my company responded with several cost cutting initiatives. One included a reduction and restructuring to its staff. The day I returned to work, the company announced its early retirement offer to employees who were contemplating retirement in the near future. I saw this offer not only as a gift from Heaven, but for me, I believed that rejection of the offer would be an act of disobedience. Once I notified my customers that I would retire before Christmas, they approved my recommended replacements. This made both my customers and company happy. My last day arrived. I never knew the burden I bore until God lifted it off of me and set me free from it. The, “Transition,” or “Shift,” may still have steps ahead, but it is clear that The Almighty is ordering them. Thanks in part to last year’s CCWC, God gave me prior notice of the next chapter He has prepared for me to write for His glory, to advance His Kingdom, and have readers better appreciate His gifts of life and liberty.