I am considered middle-aged. I don’t feel that way, but I am technically. I am not a college student. I am not a 20-, 30-, or even a 40-something. I am close to retirement age, but not retired. Why would I, along with my husband, quit our jobs and move to Kentucky to be long-term volunteers and AmeriCorps members?
In April of 2018 we will be married for 40 years. We have lived in different states: Indiana, Arizona, and Virginia. We have worked all our lives, though some of that time I stayed at home raising our children, then in later years getting involved with our church. We were working to have the good life. Or so we thought.
We did not raise our children in church. We believed in God, but we weren’t church-goers. We thought, well, we are good people, what else do we need? We needed a lot of help from the Lord, it just took us awhile to figure it out. We started to attend church after our daughter was married. We started to get involved with Bible studies and helping at the resale shop. I helped with a homeless shelter. I took care of an elderly friend part-time. God was working on me, but I still didn’t know it.
After we moved to Virginia, I volunteered at an adult day center. Soon, I felt like God was telling me that I needed to work there full-time. I think this is when I started to really draw closer to the Lord. I felt like my job was my ministry.
During this time, my husband and I were struggling. We still went to church, but if you don’t communicate, it doesn’t matter what you are doing. You have to work on your relationships, just like you have to work on your relationship with the Lord. We came to a point where we needed to decide what was important. Our jobs? Our money? Our stuff? Or was it our relationship with each other, and especially with God? We moved to a tiny house in the woods. I should say God put us there. It was our healing place.
It took some time, but we healed. We grew closer together. We were growing spiritually. God was doing a good work in us. We started going on mission trips with our church. We came to Christian Appalachian Project, Tim three times and me twice in 2017. God was calling us to Kentucky to serve the people of Appalachia. He had been preparing us for years, especially the last year and a half. We know that now. We quit our jobs, we did some serious downsizing, and we sold one of our vehicles. We came here with only what we thought we needed. We were finally trusting God for all our needs.
We thought we were doing what was necessary to have the “good life.” We were so far away from the good life. Jesus says in John 10:10… “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” That’s what it feels like to me--that I am living life like Jesus wants me to: to have the full life.
Do I still struggle? Of course. God is not done with me yet. I still need Him. I would love to serve here for many, many years. I hope that is His plan for me. I don’t know what His plan is. But, I know now, that whatever it is, it will be amazing! Because our God is amazing! I pray that everyone can know His love.
Peggy is serving as a long-term volunteer and an AmeriCorps Crew Member and Caseworker with CAP's Housing and Elderly Housing Programs. She and her husband Tim are members of the Jackson Volunteer Community. Opinions expressed in volunteer blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CAP or the Volunteer Program. If you would like to learn more about CAP's Volunteer Program or connect with a current volunteer like Peggy, please contact us.