Towels and A Sabbatical Year

My 40th birthday is right around the corner and I’m getting a crazy, scary gift.

For the last year, we’ve been really looking at the life we are living… and have found it wanting.   Wanting of time, energy, space.   We’ve found ourselves in dear relationships and opportunities but not the resources to love and serve well.  We are just too busy.  Too spread thin.  Too busy navigating the maze of American Normalcy.

We want to think.  We want to learn.  We want to live purposefully and steadfastly.  We want to have time to seek after God and not be weighed down by things of this earth. We want to care for our extended family and neighbors and friends with abandon.

For each family, this might look differently of how we get there.  For our family, it means downsizing.  It means exchanging our large house and yard for more time.  It means exchanging our job security for breathing room.  It means exchanging our routines for faith.  It means letting go and going.

Well, truth be told – we don’t exactly know what it really looks like.  We don’t know what the other side will hold.  But, we know that God knows and that He is working out everything for our good – but more importantly for His Glory.

The first step is the stuff.  The physical stuff around us.  This is unbelievably hard.  This morning I cried over towels.   Yes, I have enough for a family of 12 and we are only a family of 2.  I am having to trust the Lord with my towels – which really means trusting Him with my heart – holding on to the Truth that He will provide what we need, should it mean that we need a gazillion more towels.  I can share my towels knowing that God takes care of even the mundane. 

The second step is to step away.  This summer we’ll be moving to Virginia for a year’s sabbatical.  We are moving to my husband’s aunt’s
farm.  Although we won’t be farming, we will help her clean up, tear down, and figure out some things on the property.  But, during this time of physical labor – we will also have time to think.  To study.  To pray.  To write.  To examine.

And even though sorting out my towels seems overwhelming right now – I know it is nothing compared to the sorting out the Lord is going to do in us during our time in Virginia.  We are asking the Lord to speak into every corner of our existence and say to our souls, “I am your Salvation” (Psalm 35:3). 

It’s a grab-bag of emotions right now.  Some days I pull out the ticket that says Oooh!  An Adventure!  Other days I pull out the ticket that says We Are Crazy!   Some days I pull out the ticket that says I Can’t Wait!  Today I’ve pulled out the ticket I Wish I Knew What Was On The Other Side! Some days I pull out every ticket in the bag.

The One Thing we know for sure is that we have a good, kind, and faithful God who desires to be first in our hearts and minds.  We want to know more of Him and less of us.

And today that means letting go of some towels.


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