PKs Need Sabbaticals Too

PKsabbatical

I sat on my living room couch beside one of my mentors. A retired pastor’s wife, she and I worked closely together on ladies events and funerals and a myriad of other “pastor’s wifish” things during the past five years. In the midst of constant church transition, she and her husband were a rock of stability for us- always brimming with practical wisdom and comforting encouragement.

On this particular {and very rainy} day, she was in my living room because I’d invited her. I wanted to spend some quiet moments with just her before we packed up our Canada existence and moved down south. Really, I didn’t know what we were going to talk about, but I knew it would be encouraging and possibly life altering, as many of my chatting times with her were.

We were talking away about ministry and sabbaticals and such, when something she said caught my heart and didn’t let go. She was telling me how she and her husband took a year sabbatical between every ministry they had. But during one particular time in their lives, their “one year” turned into two years. This was because of some needs that their small children had, and she talked of God’s leading and specific guidance in their childrens’ lives during those sabbatical years, and how, looking back, she believed with all her heart that that time specifically helped to shape and prepare them for God’s plan for them in adulthood.

*Gulp* And my heart fluttered a little guilty flutter, because my focus had been so wrong. Not that I was neglecting my children or ignoring their needs, because those who know us well know that we’ve always included our children in ministry through music, visiting, cleaning, etc. But, honestly, all of the plans for our international move had to do with big grown-up things like helping a sick father in law and getting a break from full time ministry, finding the most economical way to transport belongings 2,000 miles, etc. Of course I would have more dialog with a teenage child {and perhaps I’d be even more aware of their needs}. But our small children were just tagging along with whatever we were doing, right?

It hadn’t really dawned on me until that moment on my couch that God has a reason for our children to live down south for a time.  In fact, what if our move was really about them and a need God wants to meet in their lives? Even though it feels like a “year of rest”  for us, this may be a crucial time in their development. Not only was and IS God weaving a specific plan for myself and my husband during this much needed sabbatical, but He is working specifically in the hearts and lives of our children as well- things that are both seen and unseen to us.

Our children aren’t just tagging along, creating their childhood from a piece of our adulthood.

Of course, we are just four weeks into our sabbatical, which makes me insanely curious as to how God will bless my children this year. But already I have seen His hand in providing a haven for them. We take a walk around our lovely neighbourhood, and I marvel that God gave us such a kid-friendly place to live. I look at our backyard and see the canal and smile because God knows how much they love to fish and splash. I see the woods in back of our yard and remember how much they enjoy setting up an “Indian camp” among the trees. I see our paved driveway and know how perfectly it suits their scooters. We live in a closed subdivision with cul-de-sac roads- this makes me thank God for the safety and non-traffic of our streets as the kids play.

And at our new church, our children are happy. They look forward to going to each service, and gasp with excitement over their new friends. “What are their names?” we ask, only to hear from Small Son and Tiny Daughter “I don’t know. But they’re my friends!” Who needs names, anyway? They just know they have friends. 🙂 I see our children giving and praying, and I can’t wait to see how they will grow spiritually in this time.

I look around our new home, and see how happy the children are with their large rooms, and with the bright sunbeams that flow onto them each morning. I see them squeal with delight when they feel the warm temperatures and early spring, not missing the piles of Canadian snow or all of the gear that goes with it. I hear them giggling and singing and exclaiming about how wonderful it is to be close to grandparents, after 8+ years of living far away.

And I know, I see…

God has some really special things planned for even the smallest of children.

Dear pastors’ wives, many of you have written to me recently to tell me that you are post resignation or on sabbatical as well. True, these times are times of grief and retrospection as well as rest and future anticipation. I’m quite sure that most of us adults won’t miss what God has for us in the “in between” times. But  while we’re focusing on that, let’s make sure we don’t miss what He has for our children.

Because sabbaticals are for PKs too.

XOXO,

A Kindred Spirit

P.S. Pastors’ wives, do you have a testimony of how God used a sabbatical in your children’s lives? If so, I’d love to hear it! Feel free to share by leaving a comment or sending me a message.

**If you’re a pastor’s wife who needs encouragement and friendship, send me a private message. Heart-to-Heart group #7 has room for more ladies. I promise, you will be blessed by the support and love of other PWs who are walking in your shoes.

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About Leah {Embracing Grace}

Leah Highfill accepted Christ as her Saviour and became a child of God at the age of 18. Originally from the USA, she and her husband moved to the mission field of Canada in 2005, where she served in full time ministry as a pastor's wife for 10 years. During their tenure there, they became dual citizens. Leah and her family recently returned to NC and are currently enjoying a much needed sabbatical for the year of 2015. She homeschools her children {Small Son is 9 and Tiny Daughter is 7} and teaches private piano lessons on the side. She can be found reading, writing/blogging, playing the piano and violin, or ice skating. A friend to ministry wives everywhere, Leah has a passion to inspire hope and to encourage women in their walk with God. Her first book, Expecting Grace, was published in 2013. Expecting Grace is the story of Leah's experience and survival of a life threatening pregnancy, and of many medical and financial miracles along the way. Her second book is currently in process. Join her grace-filled journey right here at Embracing Grace!

3 thoughts on “PKs Need Sabbaticals Too

  1. I know this is an older post but it happened upon my inbox today. PK’s need sabbaticals, too! I wish I had come to this realization earlier in our 22-year ministry journey. We are currently on an unintentional sabbatical. Things went down in a not so Christ-like way at our previous church and in the process of adults not acting accordingly our children were hurt. Especially our teenage son. Kids that once thrived at church and loved to serve Jesus no longer had a desire to even attend a service. I pray for their healing, that they won’t become jaded, that they will continue to grow in His grace & love, and that they will once again love to serve Jesus. We have been blessed by a youth pastor at a different church, that our son was invited to. For some reason (I know God is all over this) he has taken to ministering to our son, including him, contacting him, having him do techy stuff, etc. Our son who had grown tired of church and its “people” is now excited for and looking forward to attending this church for the summer. So as we wait on God to lead us we will joyfully look for the amazing “little things” that yell, “I AM here and I love you!”

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