JOURNEYING INTO AND THROUGH MY SABBATICAL – PART 1
ME ON SABBATICAL? I’D NEVER CONSIDERED THE POSSIBILITY
In the past 10 years I’ve walked and prayed alongside of a number of friends on various types of sabbatical! Then on Monday 8th April these life interrupting events began to unroll.
A GOD SET-UP!
During the first week of April I was in Orlando for 3 separate events of The Global Alliance for Church Multiplication (GACX) This proved to be the fullest 6 days of ministry engagement of any time in the previous 3 years of international and national travel and ministry commitments. Each Monday at 7am 6 of us from GACX leadership “zoom” connect for a 30 minute video prayer call. It is a wonderful way to begin our weeks unitedly in the throne room of our King.. As we finished, my ever dearer Brother, Nate Vander Stelt, our EVP, quietly asked if I could hang on for a few minutes posing this question of the Lord: “Lord God are You seeing what I am seeing and that Colin is “running on empty?” As Nate spoke the word “empty” suddenly this wilderness vision of my heart, unrolled in my mind as seen below.
“RUNNING ON EMPTY?”
Then Nate prayed: “Father God would it perhaps be in Your heart that Colin go on a sabbatical?” At the word “sabbatical” into the vision poured this river of clear living water and in my heart I’m agreeing with Nate saying “OH YES LORD!!” Beginning that very afternoon in prayer with my Sweetie, Nancy, and followed over the next 10 days with our Personal Intercessory Team (PIT Crew) and ministry team partners there was a continuing witness of the Holy Spirit toward me taking my first ever sabbatical.
GOD GUIDED AND PROVIDED
in every detail over the next 6 weeks before my flight to London on May 15th. My precious Little Boetie, Rich Millar, picked me up at Heathrow and drove me to a tiny little village called Broad Haven on the magnificent largely cliff faced coast of Wales. Part of God’s provision was the very reasonable rental of a beautiful cottage that a client of Gayle’s (Rich’s bride) owned just 30 seconds from the beach.
LET ME ASK YOU THIS QUESTION
Do you have 1or 2 close friends who can serve as accountability partners that have the freedom and liberty to speak into your life? In order to continually grow closer to Jesus this is an essential element in your walk with God. If you do not, pause now and ask our Father to bring you a Paul, Timothy, Barnabus, Ruth or Naomi who will speak honestly, boldly and with the love of Christ into your life. Shortly before I left I was praying with Jeff Gowler the President of Global Media Outreach and because Jeff has this liberty to speak into my life he sensed the Lord nudging him to ask me this question: “Knowing you as I do, Colin, you probably have a schedule coming together in your mind for how you will spend your time with the Lord, right?” Of course he was right on the mark and then Jeff said ever so gently, adding that this could just be him in the flesh, but I think I’m hearing God say: “ NO AGENDA Just come apart with Me!” Wow! I immediately let go of all plans and schedules and felt this weight lift off my shoulders. I will write about lessons learned in Part 2 of my sabbatical story.
LET US PRAY NOW: “Lord God, may we incline our ears and come to You and listen, so that we may live! Lord, as You used Nate and Jeff to speak about course corrections into Colin’s life, what might You be wanting to say to me? Has my spouse been trying to tell/ask me something and I have just not been listening, Lord?”
God has quite often spoken to me audibly and His voice sounds exactly like my Sweetie’s voice!! 😂😊😂 Yes my Brothers! God calls us to LISTEN to our Brides! Sisters, humble yourselves because very occasionally God may use your husband to speak into your life too. Then on the other hand God may be nudging you to be that “bold loving like Jesus friend” to speak into someone else’s life! Listen! Listen! Listen, for His voice. We arrived in Broad Haven, swam in the very invigorating ocean (55%F) then, Rich drove off leaving me totally alone, not knowing a single sole, unplugged from all communications, even the Lord seemed to pull the plug on me for much of those first 14 days. I found it very difficult to pray or even read God’s Word and praise the Lord, Jeff’s no agenda word would free me to take 2 and sometimes 3 naps a day. I realized just how absolutely exhausted, burnt out and running totally on empty I had become. I’ll be very transparent, there were many moments that were straight up very hard. I’d literally ache for Sunday evenings to switch on my phone, have wonderful prayer and share times with my Sweetie and a few times with our sons, their brides and a huge encourager was Facetiming with our precious Little grandson Caleb.
God Created Much Beauty in The Coast of Wales
Just being in the midst of such striking beauty was one of God’s lifters of my soul. Thank You Jesus. I took long steep climbing walks north and south on the coastal trails. By the 3rd week these grew into exhilarating prayer walks and Father gave me clear blue or gently cloudy skies 87% of my 41 days. The local Welsh residents would say, this many clear days in a row just does not happen and I’d smile in my heart and say: “Thank You Lord!”
‘Hephzibah’ means My delight is in her!
Our Father gave me a soul refreshing delight in the Hephzibah Baptist Chapel family and was welcomed as a part of their 70-80 congregation each of the 5 Sundays I was in Broad Haven. It’s strange how different circumstances can cause different responses. I would be in the midst of wonderful simple worship and thinking: “Oh Lord I just want this to go on and on, please don’t let this service be over.” Let’s be real! Sometimes we might be thinking I’ve got a lunch to go to, Pastor it’s time to wrap it up! The reason that I did not want to leave the sweet fragrance of the fellowship is that I would be in those moments of loneliness again. Here is the Lord’s sense of humor. The night before I left home my Sweetie prayed that the Lord would keep me from experiencing loneliness. Cindy Carr from our PIT Crew had also been led to pray that same prayer. I confess my pride in saying: “Me! Lonely! No never!” When I was unable to either pray, read God’s Word or hear His voice in those first two weeks I got to know loneliness big time! A short word from Sister Ro Taylor: “During a test the teacher is always quiet!” was a great encouragement to me and it was shortly after that I began to hear the quiet whisper of the Lord’s voice in my heart.
PLEASE SHARE THIS IGNITE:
I will write about lessons learned in Part 2 of my sabbatical story. If God has spoken to your heart as you read this please ask Him if there are 1 or 2 friends to whom you might share/forward this IGNITE Part 1 as this lays the foundation for a Kingdom expanding life challenge I will be making in Part 2.