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Taking the Next Step


By Deacon Tammy Devine

ELCA Wellness Manager
May 2017

"… for we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

I have found myself in the midst of a life transition. Nine months ago, my husband, Mike, retired after serving 41 years as an ELCA pastor. Life hasn’t been the same since. Our old patterns and routines have been disrupted. But more importantly, Mike’s sense of his own identity has been disrupted, too. For 22 of those years, he was a long-term care chaplain. Now his purpose and passion are no longer daily renewed by serving and advocating for older adults. He has become more thoughtful about his spending now that he’s taking from instead of adding to funds. And he’s feeling less physically capable due to a painful and slow-healing shoulder after rotator cuff surgery.

These changes for Mike have meant changes in our relationship as well. These past months have felt a bit like our first dance. Out of sync, we still don’t have the timing down. We are working together to learn this new dance. We are listening to one another more carefully. We have restarted our devotional and prayer life. I keep reminding myself it takes time and patience. We are both discerning how this period of transition will unfold.

Discernment can be challenging when we navigate change. Each next step can feel tentative, like we’re walking in the dark. As people of faith, we must listen and pray more intently, trusting that God promises to be with us on the journey. Yet our new work continues to unfold as the Spirit leads us. We are called to live in hope and excitement for the possibilities we have yet to discover.

As Mike considered retirement he spent time identifying what he valued and contemplating new ways to use his gifts. He cares deeply about family and helping people. So, two days a week he helps our grandchildren get off to school, and he has started volunteering at the information desk at MSP airport to answer questions and calm anxious travelers. Mike is figuring out his next steps as he walks by faith into this new phase of life. With God’s help, we will keep figuring them out together.

Tammy Devine's monthly reflection invites you to consider how your faith and health are intertwined. She shares her personal journey to help support you in new ways as you strive to live well in Christ — for the sake of ministry in God's world. ELCA organizations, feel free to print or link to Tammy’s reflections in your publications.

Since joining Portico in 2004, Tammy has provided whole-person health promotion, education, and inspiration to ELCA rostered leaders and lay employees. Contact Tammy Devine at

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