Sabbath – Part II

One of my first blog posts here was about taking a sabbath, but I have to confess that since then, I have gravitated back towards my own way of doing things. I am always well intentioned in setting aside a day of rest, and then it ends up looking a lot like completing random tasks and pretending that it’s restful. I might start off strong with a slow morning, but all of a sudden I’m making lists and crossing things off and running around BJ’s like a madwoman, elbowing people out of the way to get to the sample tables (just kidding about that last part… that’s my husband’s job). Anyway, after reading this post from one of my very favorite bloggers, I was inspired to re-commit!

I am reminded again and again that God commands us to take a sabbath for. our. good. He doesn’t want us to be unproductive or lazy- in fact, just the opposite! He designed us, and He knows that when we take a day to truly rest our bodies/minds/souls, we will be better equipped to walk out our calling during the week.

So yesterday, Josh and I sabbathed. We sabbathed hard.

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I love mornings and tend to wake up early by nature, so I caught a beautiful pink sunrise sneaking up over our apartment complex around 7am. It was quiet and lovely- the perfect way to start the day!

Since I am a foodie at heart, I wanted to begin our sabbath with a tasty breakfast. During the week we usually have some combination of eggs, toast, and smoothies, so I wanted something different. Something decadent and buttery and sweet. Cinnamon rolls, it was!

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The night before, I prepped this recipe and then on Sunday morning I just popped them in the oven while the coffee was brewing. Heaven on earth, I tell you. They were delicious, but next time I would definitely take the time to make some icing for them. We added a little bit of maple syrup which was just as good.

After cinnamon rolling, we headed to church and heard a great message on the book of Revelation. In the past 4ish years that I’ve been going to church, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone preach on Revelation! As always, our pastor was faithful to convey the Gospel, and I was reminded of the crazy awesome truth that Jesus took our punishment upon Himself so that we could be with God for eternity. A reality like that is hard for me to process, sometimes.

Back at the house we lounged around, read, ate, and played a little game of racquetball.

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In the evening, we had Josh’s cousin and wife over for dinner. I made this lentil chili recipe which didn’t feel like work at all because I literally just threw everything into the crockpot and didn’t look at it again until dinner time. My favorite kind of recipe! Also, I just love having people gathered around our little table. We served the chili with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and (homemade!) bread. Dessert was leftover cinnamon rolls, of course.

At the end of the day I felt rested and content. There were a couple times where I had to bat away those anxious feelings that told me I wasn’t being productive with my time, but I know that I need to let God’s voice of grace speak louder than our culture’s voice of more, better, faster. And that’s exactly what happens on a sabbath. It’s a discipline for sure, but one that I want to commit to joyfully, knowing that it honors God and brings peace to my soul.

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Homesick

Does anyone remember feeling homesick as a kid? Sometimes I would go to sleepovers and it would be so bad that my mom would have to come pick me up in the middle of the night. Yes, I was that kid. As an adult, though, my homesickness is different. It is a feeling I can’t quite put my finger on. Who am I missing? Which place am I missing? And most curiously- why?

The other day I was reading in Hebrews and this verse popped out at me:

“Therefore let us go to Him [Jesus] outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we seek the city that is to come.” -Hebrews 13:12-13

Ah. There it is. As believers, our “homesickness” is a longing for another kingdom- Heaven- and another person- Jesus.

More often than not, I enjoy this world. People, food, singing, traveling… These things often bring me great excitement and happiness. But just underneath that happiness is a layer of longing that never seems to go away. It isn’t fulfilled by any job or experience or person or meal. As CS Lewis writes so insightfully, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

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As followers of Christ, we are living in the in-between. We can experience great joy here on earth, but eternity has been set in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and we are reminded that this world can never feel like our true home.

To me, that is exciting! It means that one day all of our deepest longings and sorrows will be replaced by unshakable joy and fulfillment when we finally see Jesus face to face. I am filled with great expectation and hope as I read this truth:

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” -1 Corinthians 13:12

October & November

October and November in North Carolina are my favorite. They are so pretty and cozy, with just enough warm days thrown in to make you appreciate the cooler ones. Every year I try so hard to slow down enough to appreciate these fall months, and every year they seem to pass by before I’ve even had a chance to register that they’ve arrived.

This fall, there was some bitter along with the sweet. The start of October brought some big challenges for Josh and I, and we had difficulty dealing with them while living two hours apart. At the risk of sounding trite, I believe that ultimately God used those hard things for good in our lives and in our relationship. I will forever be amazed at how He brings such “beauty from ashes.”

On to the lighthearted stuff! Despite its difficulties, October was FUN. Josh and I went to the NC State Fair with some friends, where we celebrated our two year “meetiversary”! Woooo! A lot can happen in two years, let me tell ya.

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We also went to Charlotte one weekend so that I could celebrate a friend’s bachelorette party. We dressed up with a “day of the dead” theme  and went into downtown Charlotte for drinks and dancing. I’m secretly 90 and couldn’t believe I made it past midnight. So fun!

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Another fun thing Josh and I did was use a Sur La Table gift card to attend a cooking class! We made a salady thing, butter thyme chicken, green beans, and caramelized pear panna cotta. It was as delicious as it sounds.

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The beginning of November brought a friend’s wedding on Bald Head Island. We drove down with some friends, ferried to the island, and stayed with a very gracious couple in their Southern Living-esque home. NOT TOO SHABBY. The wedding itself was gorgeous, and I cried during the couples’ vows, as per usual. Josh must be so tired of taking his weepy wife to weddings. The reception was incredible, too- tons of delicious food, a live band, dancing, and a photo booth. Yay marriage!

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This crazy husband of mine decided to go take a swim in the freezing ocean water!
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Shrimp & wine foreverrrr

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In the middle of November, we received the sad news that my grandpa had passed away. So, we canceled plans and rescheduled appointments and prepared to drive up to Pittsburgh for his funeral. The roadtrip happened to fall on my 27th birthday, but it ended up being nice to get to celebrate with my family (especially my mom, whose birthday is the day before mine!).

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Is it bad that the best part of my birthday was the free Starbucks drink? I got their cold brew!

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On Thanksgiving, my sweet family brought the feasting to us. We celebrated at my sister’s house (she lives ~20 minutes from Josh and I) where there were all the classics- turkey, stuffing, roasted veggies, taters, pie. YES LORD.

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I am one of those scrooges who refuses to even think about Christmas until December 1st. So, now that the month is officially upon us… IT’S GAME TIME. I’m off to watch Elf, light twelve pine-scented candles, and belt out “Joy to the World” as often as possible. Merry Christmas-ing!

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