As August rolls around, it means just one thing to teachers: back to school. This year, I have mixed emotions because it is my *last* year....ever. I'm sure I will have flashbacks and recollections of memorable students,---I already have---but I am positive that it is time. God has shown me with no doubts left in my mind.
See, two years ago, I thought retirement was an impossibility until I was social security age. I was *certain* I would die before retirement ever came. I thought a lot about a colleague, Rick Cavaluzzi, who literally brushed my shoulder as he angrily came into the cafeteria one day a few years ago. After I left the cafeteria, I eventually learned he had dropped to the floor with a stroke just moments after brushing against me. Following more strokes in the hospital, he died. I didn't want to become a statistic.
So, why did I think it was an impossibility? Back in 2000 when I was going through a divorce, I drew out my retirement. I was stupid, but I didn't know the ramifications. So, perhaps "uninformed" is a better word. It was as though those 12 years I drew out did not exist.
But, when God is working, nothing is impossible! Fast forward to two summers ago. I felt Him prompting me to check with the retirement system to see what I would need in order to retire. The response? $27,000 plus. My next question: Would my 401K annuity roll over? Yes, it would! That left roughly $7,000 for me to pay back to "earn" my years back that I had withdrawn. I decided I wanted to pay it off in one year so I could retire at the end of 2016-2017. When I set it up, about $300 was drafted from each paycheck to the retirement system. That's a lot of money to be losing each month, but God provided. He always provided through two part-time jobs and extra stipends at work. He even provided enough for me to pay off some debts. He. was. setting. it. all. up.
Fast forward about six months to tax time 2016. In 2014 I had owed the IRS, so this year I waited until almost the last minute to file my taxes. As I began putting the figures in online, I saw a refund pop up... A four figure several times over refund.... I didn't believe it, so I re-calculated several times. It was correct. Now, God knew something I had longed for: I wanted to pay off that $7000 early to the retirement system. At this point in time, what I owed the IRS from 2014 (I had set up a payment plan) AND the balance I owed the retirement system WERE COVERED by this refund. I was beyond floored! God was putting His stamp on my plans and bringing them to fruition by summer of 2017.
By now it is summer 2016. Our district reports our year of service in June of each year. By late July when I checked, the retirement system had me eligible to retire by 7/1/2017.
People *constantly* tell me I'm too young to retire, and ask, "What will you do?" I am not positive, but I know who does know. God has plans for me...other things for me to do. I will listen for His voice and do what He leads me, go where He leads me.