A few weeks ago, I was told that my wife and I needed to take a break and rest. At first, I hesitated, considering how busy things have been at Shawnee in recent months. But after discussing it with Amanda, we agreed that we could use a few days by ourselves.
Our vacation rules were simple: no cell phones, messages, TV, or social media. We took groceries to the cabin so we didn’t have to spend a lot. We woke up early, went to bed early, prayed often, read frequently, talked a lot, and allowed room for spontaneity.
It’s easy to forget that God gave us the gift of rest for a reason, and I was amazed at what we accomplished while away. These are a few of the areas that our time away impacted, though I’m sure the magnitude of this will be felt for months.
Endless, uninterrupted conversation! As you can imagine, with four kids in our home, it’s been a while since Amanda and I had prolonged alone time. This allowed us the opportunity to have some meaningful discussions, verbal affirmations, and emotional transparency. It also gave us some spontaneity, which is far more Amanda’s nature than mine. I am extremely thankful for Amanda’s willingness to serve, but also her courage in remaining sensitive to what our family needs. Relationally, it was very beneficial.
I was able to linger longer in the word and prayer than in any other four day period in my life. The disciples sensed a need for this in Acts six. As the work of the ministry increased, so did their need for prayer. It was a great soul check.
Life has a way of becoming all-encompassing, where whatever is in front of you, is all you can see. Our time away allowed Amanda and I the privilege of placing some of that into perspective. Things we want for our kids, dreams we have for our family, focuses we have for our ministry—our time away allowed us to recommit to that.
We got snowed in while away, but we loved it! We both had a stack of books that a few of our counsellors had recommended we read. I think we completed most of them, which I’m sure will work their way into our life and ministry in the near future.
Ministry is soul work. Paul said: “So then death worketh in us, but life in you,” (2 Corinthians 4:12). In other words, what was for your gain came as my loss. This is the life of a minister. It leaves you depleted, so seasons of refreshment are necessary.
I am grateful for the opportunity to get some rest. I hope you will be encouraged by what we experienced, and I encourage you to seek out an opportunity to rest.