April 14, 2012

Bon Voyage!

Since leaving Early we have had a fast, busy 2 weeks in Belton enjoying time with my folks and doing our best to help with a few fix up projects around their house. In the midst of this we have continued to sort through our things, trying to identify what is wise to keep and what we need to get rid of. We had a very successful garage sale and saw lots of our things go on to new homes - much better than them sitting in storage!

This morning we had fun taking bluebonnet pictures and enjoyed time with our pup before driving to Early. We had to say goodbye to her and left her with a dear family who have agreed to love and look after her for a while.  Geoff and I are leaving this Saturday for a much needed and greatly anticipated sabbatical.  We have been running at top speed on little sleep in many different directions for too long. It is is past time for us to slow down and devote our undivided attention to loving God and loving each other. We will be gone for a month long trip in which we will fulfill a long time travel dream and have the best opportunity we have ever had for a long Sabbath rest seeking the Lord together.

During this time we are excited about focusing our attention on why God calls us to a Sabbath, something our culture widely ignores - the Christian traditions included. There is no indication in scripture that this is something we can choose to do or not to do. Neither does Sabbath appear to be intended as a day that you get to do whatever you want, avoiding all unpleasant chores. Rather it is a day to set aside the desires and cares of this world and focus on the Kingdom of God. It is not about not walking too many steps, or doing/not doing dishes. It is about inviting the Kingdom of Heaven to earth, remembering why we exist here in the first place, and spending time with Christ drawing closer to Him so that we can see more clearly His work before us. We have failed to keep this as a mandatory day in our lives and we are hoping, by God's grace, to learn how to take hold of it.

I was inspired by a conversation with a dear friend this afternoon who was reflecting on her journey to honor the Sabbath. She referenced being intentional about not shopping, or worrying about finances, budgets, etc. on the Sabbath, because these were cares of the world and the Kingdom of God is so much more. This is one example (not requirement) of how we can find areas in our life to fast from for a day each week, just to allow God's presence to transform our worldview into a Kingdom view. If we can't focus on bringing His Kingdom in all we do, our labor, anxiety, and struggle is in vain.

We will be leaving Saturday and will return to the US mid May. I doubt I'll blog until then as our accommodations will consist of a tent and sleeping bags...no wifi included. So, if you're trying to get ahold of Geoff or I...we aren't ignoring you....we are just gone for a little while. Please pray for us as we enter this time of rest and reflection. Blessings to all as we seek to take hold of the Sabbath in our lives.

HIS KINGDOM come, HIS will be done, on earth as it is in HEAVEN

April 9, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Family is good. I have fallen in love with so many in Early, TX. A couple Sundays ago the church held a potluck/party in our honor - we felt so incredibly loved. People said so many loving things that I will never forget. The greatest blessing was that God gave us peace to accept their love. We feel bad for leaving, for moving on, even though we also feel God leading us away.

My Jeep!
One of the highlights of the party was when Mrs. H - a very special lady at the church - presented a surprise for me.  I recently posted about my dream Jeep and that Sunday she gave me one! YAY! It's four wheel drive, can climb up walls, and when it flips over it always lands right side up! Okay, it's a toy, but I've had a lot of fun with it! Many people put in so much time and effort to make Sunday special for us. Though it was heartbreaking to begin our goodbyes, it was also so refreshing to be filled up with love - we feel ready for anything!

My last day of Tuesday school was hard. I've enjoyed teaching some of the same kids for the past 2 years and have grown very attached! I love these kids so much and have so enjoyed watching them grow up. I was so encouraged by my co-teachers as well and honored by their encouragement and love. They all signed a devotional book for me that I will cherish.

Ivy lighting the candles for the meal
On our last Wednesday night Geoff and I hosted a combined meal/class and celebrated a Passover feast with the church! It went really well and we were so excited by the turn out and the feedback. This meal is so special to me and I love participating in it as often as possible. It brings to life the elements of the Lord's supper in a way that is hard to identify on Sunday morning or reading it outside of its original cultural context. I have so many great memories of celebrating the Passover seder with people from around the world, and I am so thankful to have been able to celebrate it with this part of the family in Early before we left.

Thank you so much for all of you who have loved us so well. We don't deserve it. That's what makes the family of Christ so amazing. May God richly bless you in every way; may He guide you in all truth, wisdom, understanding and LOVE that you may have life, and have it to the fullest!