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SABBATH: MOMENTS OF REST AND RENEWAL

A blog I posted a few months ago and I still believe its applicable to our day-to-day lives so here it is. 

As of 2 May 2021 Sambulo and I have been married for a year! Boy does time fly by even during a pandemic. The past year was full of hardship, growth, constant unknowns, and a lot of humility. Marriage is definitely not easy, but it’s definitely worth it. With a new season comes challenges and obstacles you must learn to hurdle over. Sambulo and I adopted his aunt’s grandchild Calisile three months after we were married, which added to my daily load way more than I attended. Wife, mother, and all the responsibilities which come with the two in addition to being a full-time minister between working for Timbali and being in church leadership. Two months in and I was definitely losing my mind.

I found myself constantly full of resentment towards Sambulo and Cali. I barely got time to find my footing in marriage and boom we have a soon-to-be teenage child. I was drowning and I needed help, but I felt too proud to ask others for assistance or share with anyone. So I choose to lay my burdens down at the feet of Jesus and believe He would fill me where I lacked. I would spend some time in prayer and hoped God would strengthen me. He did for a time, but then the same resentment would creep up a few months down the line. I was frustrated and full of anger towards God. “I’m tired Lord,” I cried out.  And that small still voice of the Holy Spirit responded:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 ESV emphasis added

“Come to me all who are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] – Matthew 11:28 AMPC emphasis added

Rest.

How could I have forgotten the importance of rest and the need for a Sabbath? Before getting married I made it a point to schedule a Sabbath weekly. I would find myself painting, reading, journaling, spending the afternoon in my hammock, going for hikes and walks, meeting a friend for coffee, a few of the many things which fill my beating heart. The Spirit revealed to me I’d forsaken the only thing which would fill my cup for the many tasks in which I needed to accomplish each day, Sabbath.

Sabbath.

A few years ago I picked up a book in the Christian Book Store in Eswatini by Shelly Miller called “Rhythms of Rest.” Unfortunately, it sat on our bookshelves for almost 2 years untouched and unthought-of. After my revelation that I needed to rest I decided to pick it up. Miller’s book is not only filled with encouragement and wisdom, but it’s filled with stories of women who are also struggling to build a Sabbath lifestyle with the busyness they’ve grown so accustomed to. Sabbath has to do with knowing there are things on my to-do list to accomplish, but choosing to rest and recharge with the Father anyways. It’s a sacrifice I need to walk in order feel completely renewed.

The following is a passage from Miller’s book where I find encouragement. Miller writes,  

“(Sabbath) allows us to wait with expectancy. Waiting can imply mindlessness, boredom, wasting time, passivity – even hopelessness. But in Hebrew to wait simply means ‘to hope.’ As we wait, God reveals his purpose in the preparation he is doing within us, and our hopeful outlook is the result. Sabbath invites Christ to come into our everyday life, to rethink priorities and celebrate his faithfulness. Sabbath is a weekly preparation and anticipating for making space in our lives for Christ to come. Sabbath rhythms are generous; they are not about guilt.”

RHYTHMS OF REST- SHELLY MILLER

What I was reminded of when I read the passage above is that I am just as, if not more important than the things I am attempting to accomplish each day or those who I am serving. On the Sabbath God reminds me of who He is, what He’s done, and what He is still trying to accomplish through me. Participating in the Sabbath communicates to the Father “I am here. I am available. Speak to me God. Give me rest.”

Today in this very moment, I barely recognize myself from the woman I was more than 6 months ago. My cup is filled. I am at peace with the many obstacles found throughout my daily life. I am energized and I am able to pour out each and every day. I can even go to bed at 11pm (if you know me you know that’s way passed my normal bedtime) and wake up at 4:45am completely rejuvenated, simply because I choose to sacrifice my busyness for rest.  What a blessing the Sabbath has been to me.

What does Sabbath Exactly Look Like?

What does Sabbath entail for me? Well it simply means dirty dishes sit in the sink until the next day, my husband and are our children scrounge around looking for food for themselves, a premade dinner the previous day is popped into the oven or leftovers are warmed up in the microwave. It involves time spent in prayer, reading the bible, sinking into a good book, going for a walk, enjoying a cool breeze, sitting in nature while listening to a podcast. Sabbath could be writing, disconnecting from the social world, giving thanks for the previous week and the blessings it was filled with. The Sabbath could also look like sitting on the couch watching with the family, playing Dutch Blitz for hours, baking an afternoon snack or so many other unplanned refreshing activities.

The Sabbath means for me there is no plan, there is no to-do list, and nothing is scheduled. I am present, I am attentive, and I am expectant. I just get to be.

Sometimes I find it’s hard to schedule a solid 24 hours straight to Sabbath. Life happens and things come up which may not be a part of our daily plan. And that is where grace comes in. Some weeks I intentionally break up my Sabbath into Sabbath times. For example, maybe once in a while I have to work or serve on the day intended for Sabbath for a few hours, so I can only Sabbath from 1pm – to the next morning. Then I would choose another day in the week, for instance Wednesday from 7am -1pm to Sabbath. Still dedicating myself to giving God a solid 24 hours throughout the week.

I’ve heard many different ways in which people can split up their times for Sabbath. Some do the first 3.5 hours of a day 7 days a week. While others choose to split up 8 hour increments throughout the week. Some can’t give a full twenty four hours, while others solely depend on an hour a day. There is no judgment here. I am not the one who gets to choose what rest looks like for you. I am simply here to share what the Sabbath has done for me and encourage you to find your own Sabbath rhythm.

What can you take from this?

  1. Be encouraged. You are not the only person who struggles with the busyness of life.
  2. Find your own Sabbath rhythm tailored specifically to the season of life you are in.
  3. I encourage you to make sure your rest weekly.
  4. Bonus point: Make sure you communicate your need for help to your spouse, a friend, or another person in which you can confide in.

Before I go. Please note I never intended to write a blog about Sabbath. As I type I am writing this during a time slot I made available to partake in rest. I am more than honored that God gave me this to share with others in these two hours I have been typing and editing. I’ll leave you with this. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you. May He give you strength and shower you with rest. May you place all of your burdens before Him. May your time with Him refresh your souls.

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