IMG_0633It was finally time. The long awaited, desperately needed Sabbatical was now to be a reality. I felt like a runner in position, bent over the starting line ready to break lose as soon as the gun fired. Already I had heard “On your mark, get set…” . Waiting with baited breath to hear “GO”, I didn’t, I heard something else. Fear shouted loudly instead. Suddenly guilt coursed through my veins when just moments earlier it was desperate anticipation and excitement. The ‘GO” dwindled into a muffled whisper and all I could hear were the deafening shouts of fear, guilt and shame. My hope and joy for Rest, Renewal and Retooling fell dead in their tracks…thwarted!

Thus began my encounter with that which had me in such desperate need of Sabbatical in the first place. Fear has that subtle way of smearing its sticking film over everything. The latest layer of it settled on my heart when I realized that by choosing rest, I was choosing trust. My sabbatical would mean a relinquishing of my most important post; that post as a loving mother to my son and daughter in law who were weeks away from the birth of their son who they knew would die shortly after holding him in their longing arms. They needed me! Choosing rest would mean trusting God to care for them better than I could. Could I trust like that? Would I? The fear of being a ‘bad mom’ paralyzed me and quickly gave way to guilt. Guilt sucked the breath right out of me when I saw that I had a choice to make. Would I choose to put the oxygen mask on myself before trying to be the oxygen of all oxygen I thought my grieving kids needed? What if they got mad at me for leaving for a few weeks? What if they really needed me and I wasn’t there? What if…?? Fear to guilt to shame! Shame on me for being needy…and the beat goes on.These wicked triplets, fear, guilt and shame, disguised themselves to be the culprits that were proud to thwart, to hijack the divine plan that was provided and in place for my health and well being, for I really was in a desperate state. But, as is usually the case with chronic exhaustion, my guard was down, sound judgment was lacking. I was ready to blame anything or anybody for what was really my own choosing. I was too tired and worn to see that the very best way to help my children was to choose trust. The providential timing for Sabbatical was the first of many invitations that I courageously chose to accept. By choosing rest I stood with holy resolve in the deceitful faces of fear, guilt and shame and they had no power over me. My kids blessed me and sent me to the One who had open arms outstretched for me, trusting that He would return me to them with my open arms outstretched and ready to hold their broken hearts. And I did.Proverbs 3:21-24  Guard sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight…then you will go on your way in safety and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down you will not be afraid.

Our Sabbatical Journey: Insights on the Road Back to Life

steve and gwen head shot - 275pxFriends, I"m excited to share that both Gwen and I will be blogging soon about our Sabbatical Journey. As many of you know, we've unplugged, gone under the radar and not worked at Potter's Inn for five months. Fifteen years of pioneering Potter's Inn; giving and giving; caring for the souls of so very many leaders across the world left us tired, worn out and weary. Let me just spill the beans... our sabbatical has exceeded our hopes and expectations in every way. Despite witnessing our grandson dying and consumed with grief in our sabbatical time; despite the marriage of our third son, Cameron--and the addition of Lindsey whom we love already; despite knowing the fragility of raising our support and the thinness of finances at Potter's Inn--we felt called and compelled to take the time we've written about; taught about; coached so many folks across the world to do what we had NEVER done for ourselves----we took a Sabbatical.Both Gwen and I will be sharing our insights, lessons, take-a-ways and on-going questions and nagging fears about re-entry. I'm excited because Gwen has finally said "Yes" to documenting her own journey and pulling back the curtain--so to speak so you can witness her own journey and in her own words. I'll be sharing my road back to health in losing 60 pounds and watching my blood pressure drop significantly. I'll be sharing what I did and how I did it. It's been the biggest paradigm shift I've ever made thus far in my life. With the help of my medical doctor, now turned coach, friend and colleague in our teaching at Potter's Inn, we will both be blogging about the maze of un-doing habits, thinking and addictions and having our minds transformed about how we are now looking at food. I'm afraid for decades, I lived to eat---and now I am eating to live!Living in a world where we live 24/7 being "on", wired to the max and always available, we will both share why we stopped doing "social media" and insights we gained from our technology fast. The blog will be rich with insights we WANT to share and it is our hope that our own journey might benefit you in some, life giving way.Spiritually, renewal has come. A stream has come to the desert and we are rejoicing. We'll be sharing the significant books we've read that have nursed us to life and sustained us with courage for the next leg of our journey.In late May, Gwen and I will be doing our own "Re-entry Retreat" with a wise sage who will guide us to re-enter our life and work with all we've learned in these good yet hard months.You'll need to subscribe to the blog as it will be a DAILY update from Monday-Friday and will be replacing the Food for the Soul Daily Devotion for the month of June and perhaps a bit beyond. We'll see how it goes; how you're enjoying it and what your feedback is for us. So please do leave us comments.If you are subscribed and are already receiving FOOD For The Soul--the daily devotional I send out of my writings, no need to worry. You'll receive a link each Monday-Friday which will direct you to the blog.Take a moment and ask some friends to join you on our Sabbatical Journey and consider our journey as a place to have your discussions about your longings, desires and yearnings in your heart for your own life.This new way of sharing through this blog will begin mid-May. Be on the look for it and share it on your own streams of Social Media! We'd be so grateful.Every blessing,Steve and Gwen