"Keep company with me, and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."-Jesus
The final few weeks of our summer sabbatical were very special and restful. Kealy and I had an opportunity to spend a week together in Sisters, Oregon at the Kerith Springs Retreat Lodge, a bed and breakfast for pastors and spouses. We'd stayed there before, but this time it was extra restful! We had a blast enjoying the Central Oregon fresh air, shopping and eating at some of our favorite restaurants, as well as doing some great hikes. But most of all, we enjoyed the uninterrupted times of talking, reflecting and dreaming of the year to come. I'm so grateful for an incredible partner to spend life with!
Our final week of sabbatical was up in Mason County, Washington on a Southwest fork of the Puget Sound. We've never really spent much time in this area, but wanted to find a place where we could relax for one more week together as a family. We found an incredible cabin right on the sound that allowed for maximum rest and time together as a family. Some of our favorite moments were paddleboarding in the sound, enjoying our private beach and looking for crabs, jellyfish and shells. We had fun nights on the back porch roasting smores on the outdoor fire and doing devotionals together as a family in the morning. We also had the privilege of going sailing, a first for all of us, with some family friends.
These final weeks were a wonderful combination of rest, reflection and preparation for the return to work and 'regular' life. Leading into those two weeks, I wasn't ready to go 'back to work'. I wanted more time to rest, more time to recharge, and part of me was honestly worried that I would go back into the fall without feeling rested.
God was so good those past few weeks to re-energize us, to re-energize me, that when September 1st came, I was ready. Ready to engage again the life of our church. Ready to engage with the privilege of being a pastor. Ready to empower and equip people to faithfully follow Jesus in a unique and strange season. There is a reserve now, in me, that comes from this deep place of rest and peace that God was so gracious to give me.
From my vantage point, the sabbatical was a huge success. I am refreshed and renewed. Re-aligned with and closer to Jesus then perhaps I’ve ever been. My family and marriage is healthier and we were able to experience once in a lifetime opportunities that we’ll never forget and will continue to shape us for the rest of our lives. I’m extremely grateful to you, my family and friends, the leaders and people of CEC, for your prayers, support and encouragement of this new and different idea of sabbatical. Thank you so much and my God use all of this for His good and for His glory.