I have been learning that when things get messy, murky, or muddy one of the most helpful things to do is to stop. Does that sound counter-intuitive or counter-productive? Stopping does not mean doing nothing. Taking a special Sabbath can be a very powerful thing. It creates a space to listen for God’s voice, to speak with Him, and to allow God to do what only He can do—renew, refresh, revive, and refocus you.

This week God provided an opportunity for such a Sabbath rest. Mandi and I attended a retreat conducted by The Leadership Center, a ministry that aims to give people in ministry a place to rest and to be on the receiving end of care. In short, their ministry is to minister to ministers. This particular one was a retreat for couples in ministry. They offer it twice a year (October and February); four days and three nights at the Brookwoods Camp and Conference Center in Alton, NH.

It could not have come at a better time for us. We are in a very murky place. Right now I am in a period of transition between ministries. Byfield has treated me well and given me a generous severance package to help bridge the space between now and the next place God calls me to. I know that God has given me this time to focus on finishing my PhD thesis and to minister to my family. But what happens next? Right now I have no idea. There are no clear paths to follow. Simply said, we needed time to stop and listen.

And we did.

We got to have some time away from the monkeys (aka our girls) in a beautiful place…

We got to spend some time reconnecting with old friends and making new ones…

We got to worship together…

Have some special time together…

And to talk with God together.

Do I know what is happening next? No. But we are more at peace about what is happening now and with what will happen next…whatever that might be. Right now God is teaching us to be content in the murkiness of this time, to wait patiently, humbly, and expectantly for the way to be made clear, and that this “season between seasons” is a gift of His to be gratefully embraced, not a consolation prize or a sign of God’s dissatisfaction. It is a time of preparation.

God is good. He has always been good. He will continue to be good. We don’t have all the answers we want. But we have the faith we need.


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