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Monday, February 4, 2013

Surrendering to Sabbath, finding ways to serve (a series about growth) …

She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
 Her children arise and call her blessed
    her husband also, and he praises her
Proverbs 31:27-28 (NIV)

I have joined Shelly Miller’s Surrendering to Sabbath Society. I thought I’d be the “special” one, the also-ran, the one trying but not quite making it. God is bigger than that, and He wouldn’t lead me into fellowship with a group of women just to make me feel badly about myself. That’s not God, and if I weren’t committed to being transparent, I’d be too ashamed to acknowledge my instant fear of inadequacy, and my anticipated “epic fail.” God is bigger than that. (Side note-here is one thing I’ve learned about God…He knows. Your capacity to be completely honest with Him is an opportunity to grow in faith…He already knows what you’re hiding. Imagine the trust you would establish by not needing to hide anything...but I digress…)

I bless God for this thoughtful approach 
 to Sabbath. It is an exercise in intentionality, 
in discipline  which will overtake my life, in time. 
For now, in faith, I take my baby steps.
Reading the experiences of my fellow sojourners, which I encourage you to do (they’re at Shelly’s Redemptions Beauty in the link above), encouraged me to be bold in my pursuit. To give my today’s best, praying that in faith, tomorrow’s best will be better. My first Sabbath prayer was for softness. I asked God to fill my heart and my mouth with wise, kind words (Proverbs 31:26).

In seeking a next step, I sought to serve as I imagine a good (Modern) Christian wife and mother ought. Sabbath might evolve into something more traditional, but for us, as a start, it is my opportunity to serve my family by preparing our home to be a restful environment where our bodies and our minds might be renewed.  I’m trying to get us to Romans 12:2 (KJV),
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
How? By creating an oasis of calm, soft, unhurried peace so that we might be able to experience the peace of Sabbath, undeterred by the noise and the busyness that fill the rest of our week.

How does one get to this transformative oasis? It is an exercise for me in preparation and Grace.  Despite the anticipation of a busy Sunday (church, music lessons, tutoring, a meeting in the City, rehearsal, preparation for Monday morning) I wanted to have everything covered in advance so there would be ease for us all. When our schedules collide like this, my beloved offers to order dinner. While I appreciate the gesture, I feel an obligation to be that Proverbs 31 women to the best of my ability.

I am thankful to report in my first effort at creating a transformative environment despite such a packed schedule, that we were able to plan and execute dinner, ensure scheduling and transportation for everyone to get where they needed, and we had a particularly enjoyable and blessed evening meal. Despite the craziness, we had time to sit together during and after dinner and enjoy family time. It should not have been possible despite all the moving pieces, but THAT’S God. I did more of what I committed to in my first Sabbath effort, surrendering to it by eating the elephant one bite at a time. I surrendered by taking baby steps

Someone wiser and perhaps more together than me might suggest that this is a model for the way I should manage my entire life, and I would not disagree. However, I bless God for the thoughtful approach I am taking to the Sabbath. It is an exercise in intentional discipline I believe will overtake my entire life, in time. 

For now, in faith, I take my baby steps.
God can handle the big. When you start out, it’s okay for your part to simply be the small.

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