June 12, 2013

Rest and Renewal

Every Sunday that Kyle preaches, he stuffs his notes into his preaching Bible, comes home, and sticks it in one of our kitchen cabinets. Eventually, the notes come out of his Bible and pile up in the cabinet until I clean them out, put them in order, and file them away for safe keeping. 

I love looking at those stacks of paper. They represent hours and hours of study, preparation, thought, prayer, preaching, and love. They speak of what God has and is doing in our church. They remind me of how God has grown me through my husband's faithful expository preaching. They even recall special visitors and events, as he writes little reminders to himself at the top of each sermon of who to introduce or what to announce.

I cleaned out the cabinet again last week, piled up sermons on Joshua, Luke, advent, and commissioning elders, and took a picture:
This picture says so much. These papers represent about a year in the life of our church, but it also speaks to more. Our church will celebrate it's fifth birthday in September, and these five years have been marked by blood, sweat, and tears. In addition, this summer marks my husband's fifteenth year in ministry, and through those years we've gotten married, served at an established church, had children, met incredible people, and seen God do unbelievable things in church planting.

It's time for reflection and renewal. It's time to rest. It's time to stop producing and simply be. It's time to receive rather than be responsible for others receiving. It's time to reevaluate priorities and listen intently for God's voice. It's time to be Christians and not professional Christians.

So on Saturday our family will be leaving for an eight-week sabbatical to pursue these very things. Our church is graciously sending us out and we are excitedly going. We plan to read, rest, play, and rest some more. I personally am eager to hear anew from the Lord, because I sense that He is shifting my paradigms in some way. I look forward to discovering what that looks like exactly.

The picture above represents my husband's work, but this blog very much represents mine, not just as a writer but as a minister and a mom. So while Kyle retreats from work, I will too. I am so thankful for you, my readers and friends, and that you give me an online space to do something that feels like worship to me. Thank you for reading and championing The Church Planting Wife this year. I look forward to sharing with you what God teaches me when I return in mid-August.

So what will you find on the blog this summer? Each week, you'll see two posts. One will be an oldie but a goodie, and the other will be a new post that I've prepared ahead of our sabbatical. Please know that I will not be interacting in the comment section, but you are invited to continue interacting with one another.

I would appreciate your prayers as we go into our sabbatical. I am tired. My mind and heart need sharpening. Our family needs good time together. Most of all, I crave a deeper intimacy with God. I look forward to coming back into normal life, ministry, and writing with a renewed heart and mind. I look forward to coming back to you.

Have a great, grace-filled summer!