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As I mentioned in my May newsletter, pursuing the important work that I felt God wanted to do in my soul was a major part of the 9 weeks extended home assignment I’ve just recently completed. And to some measure, the relative simplicity of stepping away from my roles and responsibilities in ministry for the first time allowed me to discover that space.
What was also significant was the guidance I had from a spiritual director who helped me discover new ways of prayer, silence, and solitude during this time of stepping away. It was a rich experience that I’m excited to integrate into my normal schedule in balanced ways that can keep my heart close to the Father’s.
This time of ‘stepping away’ also included time with my wife, Shelly, in England and Israel, and as different as these two places were in climate (cloudy/rainy vs. endless sunshine) and company (just the two of us vs. 45 of us on a tour bus), the common denominator between them was definitely walking (hence ‘soles,’ get it? ☺). Our feet carried us along so many different paths in both countries, helping us realize how different our lifestyle is here in the US as well as helping us feel very ‘connected’ to the sites and places we traversed.
Whether we were walking ‘where Jesus walked’ or through the streets of busy, modern London, we enjoyed it most when we were ‘on foot.’
And lastly, looking back on my time away from ministry, I’m grateful for the time I had by myself. Some of it was in our backyard, some on the golf course, and as I mentioned previously, some of it was on ‘retreat.’ Believe it or not, contrary to what some might think, many of us that are involved in full-time ministry working WITH people need significant time away FROM people. Don’t get me wrong; I love what I do in my ministry with NAB Gateway and all of those whom I get to do it with, but I’m forever grateful for the times I have to myself to recharge, refocus, and yes, re-connect with the Father. This extended home assignment definitely provided me with the time and space to do that and the challenge to find important ways to do these same things during my normal course of ministry life.
These past weeks were an amazing and fulfilling time. Thank you for your prayers for me during this season of ‘stepping away;’ and thank you as well for praying for me as I continue to re-enter normal ministry life and seek to integrate what the Holy Spirit has impressed on me.