Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Preparing for "Holy Leisure"

HOLY  +  LEISURE    =     "Holy Leisure"                       

Jeremiah 29:11:
"For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future."

This verse is a special one for me. It has meant different things at different times, as the Lord has used it to calm and encourage my heart.

He used this verse:
-in a season of singleness which got especially hard after turning 30 and the Lord had not yet shown me if I would find the one to marry (which I did shortly after).
-in my wedding; I put the verse on our wedding invitation as a reminder of His promise as I was entering the covenant of marriage and all that would bring.
-during the darkest time of my life; postpartum psychosis, depression and severe anxiety. The verse was something I held onto when darkness was smothering me and I literally felt hopeless and beyond despair.
-even now as a reminder of His ongoing love which carries me through all the life circumstances I will face.

When I sat down today, I didn't have any idea I'd be writing about that verse. I was thinking about preparing my heart for an upcoming vacation; a time I've scheduled for rest away from the busyness of my life. I'm glad the verse came to my mind, since I do want to prepare my heart. The last several months have been challenging and at times overwhelming. It started when my husband entered a depression that quickly became severe and led to him spending time in the hospital. It was so hard bringing my son there and then we'd have to leave without daddy and my son would just cry saying "Why can't daddy come home?" All I could tell him was that daddy needed special care from the doctors at the hospital. Just before this happened, I had accepted a leadership position in my mom's group at church. Our Titus mom's group has over 100 moms and my training had just started. I had also been asked to be the administrator for a "Lotsa Helping Hands" network for a dear family at our church. (Lotsa Helping Hands is a website where you can schedule caregiving when someone is in need.) For this family, I was responsible for putting things on the calendar (like cleaning, meals, groceries) and maintaining the website for the community of volunteers. My husband was brought through his depression, by God's grace, yet I continued serving in these other areas through this fall. It has only been in the last week I've received some extra help which has been a welcome relief. And if that wasn't enough, last month I was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat, (premature ventricular contraction); basically heart palpitations. Thankfully, the heart beat problem is not symptomatic as it's mainly from stress and not a concern for the doctor other than annoying for me at times. In light of this, I have sensed a deep need to take some time away; especially around this Thanksgiving holiday for reflection, renewal and relaxation.

With all that in mind, my son and I will leave Thursday afternoon for a 10-day vacation down at my sister's home a few hours south of where I live. Staying at her home is like being at a resort with its many rooms, spiral staircase and birds and wild life. I look forward to the simple joy of having no agenda; from enjoying a morning cup of coffee while just watching the birds come to feed, or packing my son in the back pack and heading off for some adventure at the nearby wildlife rehab center. I will have a full week of Otium Sanctum, "holy leisure" leading up to Thanksgiving day when my husband will join us for the holiday weekend. I just read about "holy leisure" in a book called "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard J. Foster. He describes it as a sense of balance in the life, an ability to be at peace through the activities of the day, an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, an ability to pace ourselves.

I'm looking forward to training myself in this way of holy leisure; to rest in Him as I go about each day. I am glad for an extended period of time like this where I can disconnect from projects and commitments and just enjoy some time away. It is truly a blessing to me.

I had all kinds of things I could have written about today; from preschool units of dinosaurs and pumpkins to beautiful fall pictures from a few days we had in the North Woods in September, but right now my computer is actually "in the shop". I'm glad I ended up with no access to the pictures I would have used to put those posts together and instead came up with this one. I'm also glad the Lord is preparing my heart for this getaway; a getaway from worldly things that bog down and a time of drawing nearer to Him, the Source of Life.

Thank you for visiting! I hope to post again soon.


tea said...

I'm glad you got to post this post too, Tracey. I love getting a glimpse of your heart like this. It sounds like you guys have had a lot to deal with lately. I pray your time away is a true blessing of peace and renewal. ♥

Annette said...

Tracy, thank you for sharing this post and your beautiful heart. I k ow you have been such an encouragement to me, leaving comments on my blog. I pray that the Lord would richly bless you and grant you rest while you are away. I pray for a refreshing and a renewing for you, and that our Lord will shower you with His love and a deep joy in Him. Blessings :-)

Mama Luvs Books said...

Hi there!!! Following you back from MamaLuvsBooks! Can't wait to go and check out your site!!!

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