Sabbatical Blessings {8 Month Report}

I can’t believe that another two months have gone by! This means, of course, that another sabbatical report is due. {Click here to catch up on previous sabbatical reports} It’s amazing how quickly time goes when you’re not under extreme pressure. This sabbatical year has absolutely raced by. My husband and I agree that 2015 has been the fastest year we’ve ever experienced in ten+ years of married life and ministry.  And based on our past, this is a very good thing. While this year has held many days of deep grief and processing, it has also been one of the sweetest and best times for us as a couple and a family. As the weeks tick by and bring with them a desire to do what we are called to do, I am more aware than ever of what a precious gift a sabbatical is. Someday I will look back and know that this time was ordained by God to prepare and preserve us for the future. It is a rare gift that, sadly, few pastors and wives are able to enjoy.

Another rare gift for pastors and wives is the opportunity to receive counseling…mostly because we are generally the ones doing counseling. In the last two months we have begun seeing a counselor. I may be at liberty to write more in the future about the amazing fit that our counselor has been for our unique situation. I don’t even have sufficient words to explain how good this has been for us and how this has aided in our healing process. Our counselor is one of the wisest and Godliest people I have ever known. God is using this person to fling the door of hope wide open in our lives.

In the area of family news- I am back home now, after a busy summer work schedule. I’ve re-embraced the balm of being at home with my children, and we’ve begun our 6th year of homeschooling. A more restful pace of life has ensued again and we are grateful.

As I sat in my prayer closet the other day, I picked up my journal to write to the Lord, as I often do. I felt overwhelmed with the need to record “just a few” of our sabbatical blessings, lest busier days come and overshadow this valuable time. I wrote at the top of the page “Sabbatical Blessings” and began my list.

Halfway down the page, I paused writing for a moment and noticed a pattern I had been forming without even realizing it. Every single blessing started with the word “time.”

 Could it be that the greatest blessing of a sabbatical is time itself?

I was blown away by the impact of this thought. I’ve shared a lot of the struggles of healing and processing during a sabbatical. But there are abundant blessings, too! And I’d like to share just a portion of my list with you as my 8 month report. This list? It is such a valuable collection of God’s goodness and grace to our family:

*Time at home to read {good book + ink pen= heaven on earth}

*Time away from constant ministry criticism and pressure {you were a long time in coming}

*Time to communicate with dear friends in Canada {I love you, Facetime!}

*Time to attend conferences and marriage retreats {hello to finally having access to spiritual refreshment}

*Time to learn new skills {swimming and fear of water, I conquered you; violin lessons, you excite me with future possibilities}

*Time to heal from the past {it’s a process, and it’s progressing}

*Time to have fewer church responsibilities {hello to sitting down at church; I had forgotten what you were like}

*Time to live closer to parents and other relatives {hello to driving less than 30 hours to get to you once a year}

*Time to soak up the Word and encouragement {hello to pouring IN so I can pour out in the future}

*Time to receive counseling and therapy {seriously, where have you been all my life? you are life changing}

*Time to encourage others who are beginning ministry and missions {hello to opportunities and friends that God unexpectedly brings}

*Time to take care of my body/physical health {hello to paying attention to everything}

*Time to plan and dream {hello to freedom}

*Time to sit with my husband in church {why has no one told me how safe and delightful this feels?}

*Time to enjoy warm weather and southern delights {hello to craving sun and the disappearance of a vitamin D deficiency}

*Time to work through culture shock {hello to a ride more crazy than I ever imagined from living reverse culture}

*Time to pour into my children {hello to listening and holding and spontaneous fun}

*Time to nurture my marriage without the added dynamic of ministry {hello to not having to share my spouse or being on call 24/7}

*Time to think {hello to good change}

*Time to dream of future ministry {hello to returning desire}

*Time to be broken {hello to fewer expectations}

*TIME {hello, you precious gift}

Yes, sabbaticals are life savers indeed.…A gift that will keep giving for years to come. If you’re considering taking a sabbatical or giving one to your pastor, click here for resources and ideas.

XOXO,

A Kindred Spirit

P.S. “31 Days of Praying for Your Pastor” starts Thursday, October 1st. Sign up to receive posts via email!

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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 “Sabbatical Blessings {8 Month Report}

  1. How beautiful that the Lord has given this gift to you!! You’re on the right track by taking time (there’s that word again!) to write down your thoughts. It’s helpful to you and will be a blessing to others. After 22 yrs. in ministry I can say taking a sabbatical would have been a delightful thing at certain times, yet God didn’t see fit to do that for us. Take it in, breath in God’s grace and breath out God’s praise!! I’ll be praying for you as you allow God to heal.

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