Monday, May 7, 2012

A Very Long Holiday

"I feel thin. Sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread. 
I need a holiday. A very long holiday." 
(Bilbo Baggins in "The Fellowship of the Ring")

We are in the midst of learning what it means to take "a very long holiday". Even learning on a deeper level what it means to take a "Sabbath rest". 

In anticipation of celebrating 40 years of being in full-time ministry this summer, my husband and I saved up some vacation days. In addition to these accumulated vacation days, we were granted a 30-Day Sabbatical. It all adds up to 3 months off. Three months off! A very long holiday for us. We are amazed. And one week into these three months, we are learning, and needing to learn even more. How to take a rest.

Jesus modeled rest for us. In an article in our ministry's monthly magazine, Worldwide Challenge, Katie Croft writes, "In Hebrew, the word (Sabbath) literally means 'to cease'. What ceased was God's tangible work of creation. What ensued was His holy delight. God rested."

"Come to Me,
all who are weary and heavy-laden,
and I will give you rest."
(Matthew 11:28)

In her article, Katie goes on to quote Mark Buchanan in his book, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, where he says: "Cease from that which is necessary. This is Sabbath's golden rule, one rule to which all other rules distill. Stop doing what you ought to do ... ceasing that which is necessary to embrace that which gives life."

Something to be learned more deeply - not just on "a very long holiday" such as our Sabbatical/Time Off, but routinely - even each week. 

As we are spending a major portion of our three months at our home, we obviously cannot totally cease from those things that are necessary, but we are actively seeking to focus on rest, and on those things that give life. Our first week was filled with life-giving gifts ...

Thanking God for His many gifts this past week ~

Extended Quiet Time with Him in a beautiful setting
Walnut Grove Park
A magazine article that came at the perfect time
Sharing our thoughts together as a couple - being of one heart 
Slower mornings

Making plans for a veggie garden
A son offering to help
Finding the perfect spot in our yard
Cedar 4x4s for the border
Tilling and purchasing plants and seeds

Sunny days
Patio flower pots planted
My husband's "green thumb"
Grilling and eating outdoors

Joy in cooking and menu planning
Summertime Chicken Tacos
New recipes to try
Grilled Monterey Chicken

Two grandkids here
A son here two days, helping
A daughter's birthday - missing her, in TX
Connections with a brother, in NYC
Help from him as we plan a trip to Maine

These words spoken many years ago to Moses - and for us, too 
"I will personally go with you ... and I will give you rest - everything will be fine for you." (Ex. 33:14)
Our need for Him to go before us, even in seeking rest
And His promises - always faithful
The incredible gift of three months off.

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 #388-416)

Linking up with Ann at A Holy Experience, and Laura at The Wellspring.

And with Gail at Bible Love Notes


  1. we are neighbors today @Ann’s...oh may your sabbatical be refreshing and energizing to your soul and may it strengthen your hearts as one...blessings to you~

  2. May each day be beautifully just what you need and want.

  3. Congrats, Cherry and your husband, on 40 years of ministry and on your sabbatical...praying that is indeed restful and that God continue to bless you both. Hooray for family and gardens :)

  4. A three month holiday sounds amazing!! Well deserved! :) The starts of your vegetable garden looks wonderful Cherry!

  5. I'm so glad that you and Dad get this time, Mom! And I love the pictures of the garden!

  6. So glad that you stopped by "my place" and commented! You're in the ministry too, you're a "nana" too, and you're going to Maine, one of my favorite places! My mama was born on Prince Edward Island, but grew up in Maine. Our vacation last summer for our 35th anniversary was to Maine, New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Nova Scotia. Oh, your long holiday sounds wonderful, and I think I need to read the book you mentioned too...

  7. Oh, savor your well deserved rest! God has been revealing to me how I might observe the Sabbath as well. I still smile when I think about how I fought Him on it, how I thought it was such a sacrifice--one I didn't think I needed to do. And my goodness, wouldn't you know it has been simply delightful! one day I will learn to submit sooner rather than later...

    I've missed my time here. glad I stopped by today!

  8. What a wonderful gift, Cherry! And a message I needed to hear today. Sabbath-keeping is counter cultural these days. Lovely to read of yours here.

  9. I pray that your 3 months will be full of rest, refreshment and blessing. Thanks for sharing these thoughts about Sabbath rest. I'd love to have you link up with my newer blog hop here:

  10. Hi Cherry,
    I’m so glad you linked this up with B&BB…love the thoughts and the pictures and quotes…the whole package. And speaking of refreshment, I’m writing this on a train from Budapest, Hungary to Zagreb, Croatia. After a month of ministry in a little Hungarian city and before another month of relaxed ministry in Budapest, my husband and I are taking 8 days in Croatia just for fun and refreshment. I don’t have internet, but I opened up your blog post before the trip so I could read it while traveling. And I’ll paste my comment into a comment box when we arrive. So I’m reading your blog and thinking of you across the globe! I’m praying you have a blessed holiday.