Leaning Into Sabbath: How I Plan, Prepare, and Observe

Hi there!

How is it going in your corner of the world? Here in my space we are all worked into a lather over Monday’s eclipse. Not so much because we are astronomy fans, but because our little town is in the path of totality and we are expecting the population of our county to swell from a normal of 25,000 to about 80,000 people. Crazy!! Every motel and campground is packed to overflowing. People have rented out rooms in their home for ridiculous amounts of money. The grocery store shelves are empty by the end of the day, and the lines at the gas stations are several cars deep. It is wild and will get wooly before it is all over!!

In the midst of all that madness I am preparing for Sabbath. In a post a week ago I told you of the way the Lord has drawn my heart into Sabbath as a result of reading Shelly Miller’s book, Rhythms of Rest. Each Friday I receive an email from Shelly prompting those of us in the Sabbath Society to prepare our hearts and homes for a Sabbath rest. This morning’s email offered some questions designed to set my mind to pondering. I thought I might ‘think outloud’ here with you about the answers to these questions posed by Shelly.

 

Leaning Into Sabbath

 

 

How did my Sabbath look last week?

Last weekend (I observe my Sabbath on Sunday) I spent Saturday preparing…finishing laundry and cooking a few things to eat on Sunday. Sunday morning dawned and I grabbed my iPhone and earbuds and headed out to exercise. While I walked I listened to Christian music in order to prepare my heart for worship. I also allowed the music to prompt my prayers.

We worshipped with our church family at Vertical Church, then came home. After a light lunch, I spent a couple of hours reading and resting.

Sometimes Sabbath doesn’t go exactly the way I plan, and I have learned to give myself grace when that happens. We needed a new faucet in our downstairs kitchen and my husband decided that late Sunday afternoon was the time to put it in. I helped him a bit with that, then made a Blueberry Cobbler as a reward for his hard work. While I usually do not cook on Sabbath, there are times that I do and Sunday was one of them. It just felt right to bless my husband in that way. The Cobbler was Mmmm-Mmmmm good!

How is the time set apart for rest informing my day-to-day life?

I look forward eagerly to Sabbath, knowing that my mind and my body will enjoy rest. To that end, I work extra hard on Friday and Saturday to get chores done so that I can cease my work at 7pm on Saturday and just be. Knowing that Sabbath is coming gives me something to which I can look forward. It is like the anticipation one feels about an upcoming vacation.

Honestly, I feel like I am a better wife to Greg because I am making time for Sabbath rest. I cannot explain it fully, but Sabbath encourages me to listen better and to (hopefully) serve my husband better.

How have Sabbath pauses made a difference?

Oh my what a question! I never, ever, in a million years would have anticipated the way Sabbath would make such a difference in my life.

As I spend time resting on Sabbath there is a quietness in my heart; a peace in my soul; a nearness to Jesus that calms me and draws me into His presence. Even when 7pm on Sunday comes, that quietness and peace remains for several days. On those days when life is hectic, I remember how I feel on Sabbath and my heart stretches forward toward it because it is so restorative and healing.

What do I need to do to prepare for Sabbath this week?

As I write this post on Friday afternoon, I have finished my 4th load of laundry for the day (How do 2 people generate so much laundry???). I changed the sheets on the beds, and am marinating chicken for a new dish that I am eager to try on Saturday. I did my grocery shopping earlier in the week  because…ECLIPSE CROWDS! Tomorrow I will finish up my chores and errands and begin to quiet my heart and lean into Sabbath.

 

What about you? I’d love to hear your answers to these questions

SDG/FCA!!!

 

Hey you! It is not too late to register to attend the Come Away retreat. YOU are the very lady that Jesus is beckoning to Come Away with Him. Click over to this page and learn more.

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We Are In A War! Let’s Do Battle!

Good morning! I will just go ahead and warn you…this is a multi-purpose post. I’m all over the board with it, so hang on.

 

Doing Battle For Our Children

 

 

I’m pretty excited that it is Friday and the weekend is here. Really, what I am excited about is Sabbath and a day of rest and worship. Y’all, I am leaning into Sabbath like my life depended on it. Because really, it does! After reading Shelly Miller’s book Rhythms of Rest TWICE, I am absolutely convinced that Sabbath is an all-out necessity. So, on Friday I change the sheets on the beds. On Saturday I do a couple of loads of laundry and prepare food for us to have on Sunday. Then, at 7pm on Saturday I settle in for Sabbath. No laundry is done on Sunday. Very little food is cooked on Sunday. I gather my book and quilt and spend Sunday afternoon reading and resting. Sometimes I sit on my deck and pray, while other times I visit with family and friends. My Sabbath rest re-charges me for the week ahead and draws me closer to Jesus. I really, really want to encourage you to lean into Sabbath. You can do it, even if you have littles in your home. It may be a Sabbath hour while they are napping, but you can carve out some Sabbath time for your heart.

 

Ladies, there is still time to register for the Come Away [retreat}. I have a couple of spaces open and I would love to have you join us September 15-17th for some intimate time with Jesus. It is a time when we will study the Scriptures, worship, pray, rest, and just cozy up next to our Lord. Would you join us? Go HERE to learn more about the retreat and how to register.

 

Come Away Retreat

 

Finally, I wanted to share something with you that I heard on the radio this week. It impacted my heart greatly, and I hope it will be a blessing to you, as well. The pastor on the radio was named Randy Snyder and he was speaking about how parents can impact the lives of their children. This is not the word-for-word quote, but it is close.

As parents, we go to war for our children every time we pray for them. It is the most important thing we can do for our children.

 

It really is true. While I have no children to whom I gave birth, there are a handful that of young adults that I love with all my heart. Charlie, Bree, Parker, Coleson, Kalem, Erika, my Compassion daughters, and a few more. It is privilege to go to war for them on a regular basis. I ask the Lord to give them hearts that love Him deeply and to bring them spouses that love Jesus more than he or she love them. I ask Him to guide them and lead them each day. I go to war for these young adults because I love them as if they were my own.

Do you have children or young adults for whom you go to war? Suit up! The next generation needs our prayers.

 

SDG/FCA!

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The Cure For The Try Harder Mentality

Hello there! I know it has been a while since I posted anything and I have been as contented as a kitten with a belly full of warm milk during my writing break. But, I got the urge this morning to hop on the Five Minute Friday wagon and offer a post using the prompt that is tossed out. Today’s writing prompt is the word TRY. Now, to write for 5 minutes on this word.  Ready? Set? Go!

 

The Cure For the Try Harder Mentality

 

 

TRY harder!

TRY to be the best!

Just TRY one more time!

All are worthy admonitions until they settle too deeply into the heart and mind and become slave-drivers and task-masters. So it was with me. The TRY admonition that I became enslaved to was ‘TRY to be enough’.

Do you even know how impossible that is if we do it under our own steam?

TRY to get the best grades.

TRY to be thinner.

TRY to be the most popular.

TRY to have the prettiest/largest/most well-decorated house.

TRY HARDER TO BE ENOUGH!

I’m absolutely exhausted just thinking about it, yet it was my mantra for decades. You see, I’ve never felt like I was enough…at anything. So I would TRY harder. And you know where that left me…exhausted, frustrated, physically demolished, and spiritually dry. Because, y’all, you and I do not have the capacity to be enough without the help of Jesus.

It is only when we cease our TRYING, rest in His accomplishment, and let Him live through us that we are enough. Now when I recognize that I am into the TRY harder mode, I stop and tell myself that trying harder will not work. I also say, ‘Leah, you are enough because of Jesus Christ’.

So, beautiful, friend, when you feel like you must TRY harder to be something that the culture says you should be, throw up a stop sign and tell yourself that you are enough in Christ.

 

SDG/FCA!!

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How Well Do You Listen? and the Come Away Retreat

How are you today? I know it has been a while since I dropped into your inbox with a post, but I came across something on a satellite radio program that really spoke to me. So, I am popping in today to share it AND to connect it to the upcoming Come Away retreat.

Before I get there, though, I want to tell you how I am being blessed by taking some time to rest and lean into Jesus. I am learning to be okay with not writing and posting on a regular basis. I am finding great pleasure and peace in giving myself permission to not be productive every minute of every day. None of this comes easy for me, but I know, with absolute certainty, that I am in the center of God’s will…resting, listening, praying, reading, and simply being. Each week I am planning and preparing all of my daily tasks in such a way that I am accomplishing everything that I can Monday through Saturday. Then when Saturday night comes, I am entering into Sabbath and into a time of doing things that draw me closer to the heart of God. Worship, reading, spending time with Greg, sitting on my porch listening to the birds sing, taking a walk, or visiting with friends and family. Y’all, it is so good to be able to slow down and enter into a rhythm of rest. After only 3 weeks of being intentional about this, I already feel calmer and less anxious. How do you do Sabbath?

 

As I am preparing for the Come Away retreat, I have been trying to be a good listener. Not only am I listening for the still small voice of the Lord to guide me and give me everything I need for the retreat, but I am listening to the ladies who have registered to attend. I have asked Jesus to help me tune into the needs of their hearts so that when September 15-17 arrives, I am able to serve them and minister to them each personally.

 

How Well Do You Listen?

 

 

My ears perked up last week when I was driving along listening to satellite radio. The majority of what I listen to is either Christian music, sermons, or talk radio. On this particular day, I had tuned into a secular talk show by a very well known personality. I remember nothing about the topic of the show. What stands out clearly in my mind is one line that the guest spoke.

It landed so heavily on my heart and gave me cause to pause. Here is the quote:

 

Two Kinds of People

 

 

Mercy! Isn’t it true? I want the be the first kind, but all too often I am the second kind. I want to be a great listener, but frequently as I converse with others I am spending more time thinking about what I want to say next than I am listening to the person. Conviction abounds!!

The Come Away retreat is 2 months away, y’all, and this quote, while not spoken by a Christian, has driven home a point that I really want to help the ladies learn with their hearts at the retreat. Flitter, I want to learn it deep in my heart, too.

God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We need to listen twice as much as we speak. As I think about interactions that I have had where I was the one waiting to speak, I ponder what might have happened differently if I had really listened.

Would I have heard pain in the soul of another?

Would I have discerned heartache?

Would my heart have been more tender toward that other person if I was not formulating what I wanted to say?

How would the world be different if I listened more?

How would the world be different if you listened more?

 

Ladies, I know someone who is eager to listen to your heart. Jesus is a great listener. If you would like some one-on-one time with Him, I invite you to attend Come Away {retreat}. We are going to spend time listening for His voice. Would you join us?

Go here for more details on Come Away.

SDG/FCA!!!

 

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When All You Want To Do is Quit

I am not a quitter.

I was taught from an early age to stay faithful to my commitments, even when it is hard. But in the past couple of years I have wanted to quit the hard stuff, like ministry. In fact, in the spirit of transparency, in the few couple of weeks I had decided to do just that. Later this year, after the Come Away retreat was in the books, I would quietly step away from writing and speaking and mentoring in order to ‘just be’. My heart craves ‘just being’ right now like you would not even believe.

 

When All You Want to Do is Quit

 

 

November will mark 10 years that I have been in ministry. God gave me a clarion call in late 2007 to a speaking ministry that shared Jesus and His grace.  That ministry bloomed into a writing ministry that has allowed me to publish a few books. That ministry blossomed into a mentoring-in-the-kitchen ministry that has been the most fun thing I have ever done.

So, how did I arrive at this place of wanting to quit? I’ve pondered deeply whether it is a result of God withdrawing my calling to ministry. I’ve even secretly hoped that was the root of it all, yet each time I have tried to settle into that, God has sent something or someone along my path to point me in a different direction.

Like a Scripture:  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable ~ Romans 11:29

Well, okay, there is that!

Months ago I sat with a wise and trusted counselor who reminded me that perhaps I have not allowed my heart to heal from the traumas I have experienced over the past 3 years.

Valid!

Almost nothing in my life right now is the way I had envisioned it would be. Loss upon loss. Hurt compounded like interest. There have been blessings come out of it but, like a good ‘bootstrapper’, in the beginning of it all I soldiered on, feeling the pain, but not allowing myself time and space to move through the stages of grief. Is it any wonder I have nothing to pour out?

Still the desire to quit nearly suffocates me on a regular basis. I feel as if I have little of worth to give, and the words that once flowed easily now seem to have dried up. I even have trouble coming up with a worthwhile Facebook post.

Maybe you, too, have wanted to quit. Maybe you want to quit right now. Your job, your marriage, your ministry, your mothering, a friendship, a hobby, life. You want to quit because it has become too hard, too painful, too exhausting, too _____________________. I get that! I really do.

May I invite you to do with your ‘quit’ exactly what I did? Take it to Jesus. Ask Him if He has ‘quitting’ in the plans for you. Ask Him to give you wise counselors. Ask Him to speak to your heart over the whole thing. Ask Him for books to read or music to listen to or walks to take that will help you find His plan for your ‘quit’. Ask Him for peace and healing, for heaven’s sake.

I don’t know what He will tell you about your quit, but I know that He gave me encouragement through Dr. Tony Evans to not completely throw in the towel. He is encouraging me to hop out of the rat race for a time, come to Him, and allow Him to heal my heart. I am re-reading Shelly Miller’s wonderful book entitled, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, and realizing that perhaps part of my ‘quit’ is my disobedience about observing a Sabbath rest each week. God instituted Sabbath for us, and the fact that I do not regularly observe a Sabbath rest smacks of self-sufficiency and pride. And we all know how God feels about pride!

So, where does this leave you and me, dear reader? Well, I might be here with a post, but I also might not. And I am okay with that even though the ‘experts’ tell bloggers that you MUST post regularly in order to get/retain readers. Y’all, I will be here when the Holy Spirit tells my heart to write, and not until. I am grateful for you, and I hope the Spirit gives me permission and desire to return to this space regularly one day, full of His words to share with you. I would be so grateful for your prayers.

 

Please do not forget about the Come Away retreat! Registration is still open, but there are only a few spaces left. So click over to THIS POST to find out more information about the retreat and how to register.

SDG/FCA!!!

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