My Learning Curve: Restorative Sabbatical Part 4

This is part four of a four part series on a Restorative Sabbatical.  Please read the series – and be encouraged.

If your life is strained and parenting your children from the “hard places” is wearing you down, you may begin to think that hope is lost.  Is there anything you can do to turn your life around?  I hope that this series of posts is encouraging you to try something new.  It is very difficult to carve out time, but it may be necessary for you or your spouse to go to whatever lengths you must to find your way again.

Russ’ two Sabbatical Days had a huge impact – honestly, two 24 hour breaks transformed him.  In the quiet, Russ was able to hear God and to let his mind sort through the challenges of the last three years. His heart was able to engage again with what it means to love children who come to us with their hearts broken.  He remembered why we had done this and God showed him that our efforts are not wasted.  He was reminded that when we feel we have nothing to give, God’s love can flow through us.  We can be ministers of His healing love to our children.

Before Russ could get away for a third Sabbatical Day, he had a week-long business trip to Boulder, Colorado.  He did not have time for the trip, but he needed it, both personally and professionally, so I urged him to go.  When Russ travels there is the potential for serious challenges, but the benefits can outweigh the trials, and I’m blessed with helpful big kids and friends.  He left for Boulder with his Restorative Sabbatical in mind.  While his days were filled with work, he spent most evenings alone, often hiking, sometimes poking around REI, eating Thai food, and reading.  Although this was not nearly as powerful as his days of solitude, it continued to refresh and renew him.

Then God did something even more amazing. Russ was invited on a ministry trip to Kenya to visit programs for street children and, more particularly for him, to see agricultural projects that serve widows and orphans.  The story of how it came about is a blog post of its own, but in terms of my theme of “Restorative Sabbatical”, this trip was a key factor.

Initially Russ needed rest and solitude to restore him, but now he was ready to be renewed and energized. Only God could have orchestrated the timing of this process.  While in Kenya, Russ’ love for serving widows and orphans was revived.  He met amazing people who are teaching bio-intensive farming techniques to women raising their grandchildren, orphans who inherited their parents’ land, pastors who are modeling how to produce food for their families, and others.  He loved it.  Every day was an adventure and his mind sought God’s purpose in his being there.  How could he be most useful?  How could he use the education and knowledge God had given him?

Then he saw the need for clean drinking water and water for irrigation.  He saw hand dug wells filled with contaminated run-off, wells with broken pumps, and children walking long distances to gather water that wasn’t clean enough to drink.  Have I ever mentioned that Russ’ PhD is in hydrology and he teaches hydraulics, irrigation design, hydrology and similar courses?  You can imagine how excited he was to know that God had sent him to Kenya with the purpose of showing him this need.  We don’t know yet how God is going to open the doors to allow Russ to pursue this ministry, but the friend (and church) that took him to Kenya has been working there for many years and is interested in pursuing this with us.

Being busier is not healing for Russ, but using his gifts is.  We will be listening closely for God’s voice telling us how and in what ways He wants Russ to serve the people he met in Kenya.  Our children need their Daddy to be fully present with them and I’m not exactly low-maintenance myself.  But what we all need most if a man who is at peace with his life, in love with all of us, sold out entirely to God’s will, and serving in the ways God intends.

As I wrap up this series of posts, my conclusion about the Restorative Sabbatical is that rest produced restoration which produced hope.

There is joy in using our gifts to serve God and His children; we are ready for joy.

~Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

30 Comments

  1. Wendy
    July 2, 2010

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this all out! I am encouraged for my own family that I might yet still get back a husband who is hopeful and restored…because that's certainly not how life has left him right now! Blessings on your family!

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 2, 2010

      Wendy, we may be crushed for a time, but restoration comes. We need to take care of one another in these hard seasons and believe that we will emerge stronger. Hang on. Also, try to get support for yourself so you will have some energy to support your husband. When we are depleted, it is bad for everyone.

      Reply
  2. carla
    July 2, 2010

    I thank you too for sharing this, our whole family needs to be restored. I have ordered Deborah's book and am looking forward to restoration. I am seeing God working in different ways for our family's healing and it is so encouraging. Your blog has been a vessel that God is using to help guide us and give us hope!!!!

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 2, 2010

      Carla, I am so glad I have been helpful in some way. Which book did you order?

      Reply
  3. Giann
    July 2, 2010

    Wow! What a God thing! Thank you for sharing this with us.

    May I ask where he went in Kenya? We have missionary friends there.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 2, 2010

      They were in Nairobi, Kitale, where they visited Manor House (the agricultural program) and Kisumu (where he would like to the water projects). Where do your friends live?

      Reply
      1. Giann
        July 4, 2010

        They live in Kijabe, Kenya, where he works as a doctor at the hospital there. Here is their blog address: http://theshirleys.blogspot.com.

        We also have friends who will be going @ the end of this year doing the same thing. Here is their blog: http://uncommonroad.blogspot.com.

        Reply
  4. Laura
    July 2, 2010

    I am glad to hear of Russ' sabbaticals and how it has helped him. I had noticed that he seemed tense and a bit short tempered…somethingI had never seen before in him in all the years we had been family. BUT, my question to you my dear sister is, when do you take a restorative sabbatical so that you can be refreshed and renewed? Do you think it is necessary for you too or not?

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 2, 2010

      Thank you, dear sister. Just this morning Russ and I were talking about how I could get some breaks and how we can maintain what he has gained from his sabbatical days. We are trying to figure out if we can each get one day a month, as well as a couple of evenings together. We're also hoping to make it back to Montana this fall sometime. I have to confess to feeling a bit burned out these days. Two more weeks until the wedding and then I can take a deep breath.

      Reply
  5. Cassie
    July 2, 2010

    When I was a kid (and very literal in my thinking) I asked my Aunt why we prayed if God couldn't answer us back? She told me that I had to listen closer because God used the people around us to answer our questions. Over the year's I've experienced this to be true over and over. I can't tell you how much this "series" has spoken directly to my prayers lately. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Julie
    July 2, 2010

    Very cool! God is so compassionate to carry us when we are near the end and to show us hope and give us joy in the midst of the chaos.

    You go, Russ!

    Press on, Lisa!

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 2, 2010

      Thank you, Julie! I am excited to see what God has in mind. We want His dreams to be our dreams.

      Reply
  7. reneestauffer
    July 2, 2010

    Wow, amazing!

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 2, 2010

      Renee, I think so too. Thanks.

      Reply
  8. TheMamaHen
    July 2, 2010

    Your posts are such an ecouragement to me, like a drink of clear cool water on a hot day! Thanks so much for sharing and for challenging me.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 3, 2010

      Thank you Mama Hen. I figure that if I'm going to say something, I might as well tell it like it is – at least for us.

      Reply
  9. Shannon
    July 2, 2010

    You are beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 3, 2010

      Shannon, well thank you. It seems that God is doing something beautiful in our lives.

      Reply
  10. Kathrin
    July 3, 2010

    I am so happy all work out so wonderfully.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 3, 2010

      Kathrin, it's definitely still a work in progress. We have to figure out how to maintain the benefits Russ found. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  11. coffeemom
    July 3, 2010

    I have LOVED reading this series… It is SO important to restore and so very hard to carve the time out. Bravo to you guys for doing so and it's glorious to see the results and benefits. Has me brainstorming on how to get my Tom a mini sabbatical himself (silent retreat???)…..and maybe encouraging me to try to find a chunk or two in the week as well. Inspiring and as always, great stuff.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 3, 2010

      I've thought of you, and the other mothers of large families as I've written this. It is so hard to carve it out, but the alternative is worse. I hope you can find a way to create some quiet space in your lives.

      Reply
  12. Julie
    July 4, 2010

    Great stuff! Thanks so much for you'r honesty in this series. It really ministered to me.

    Blessings,
    Julie

    Reply
  13. Laurel
    July 5, 2010

    I sent an email to my husband today (since we are living in 2 places, and have very poor phone reception) … where I cut and pasted all 4 of your posts on this topic …

    His response …

    "Okay. I get it. (smiley) You can plan your time away for this coming week, if that works for you. I want you to be at your best and to give you what you need most, a restorative sabbatical."

    He will be home for 4 1/2 days this week. I will leave for 3 1/2 of those days. I made my reservations at a little country inn in LaConner. I am looking forward to rest, relaxation, time with the Lord, walks on the beach, prayer …

    Thank you, friend. I needed some way to communicate to my sweet husband how important it was for me to get time away, and how completely burned out I was after our most difficult year. He now understands.

    Laurel
    burned out mama of a dozen

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      July 5, 2010

      Laurel, I am so glad that you will have this time; I know it is going to be good for your mind and soul. If you haven't listened to the talk by Piper yet, make time for it. I believe it will particularly speak to you after this past year. I'll be watching your blog to hear about your Restorative Sabbatical.

      Reply
  14. learningpatience
    July 10, 2010

    Thank you for sharing this. I have found it very encouraging, and it has given me a great idea for my husband's birthday gift! 🙂

    Reply
  15. Ann
    July 10, 2010

    Powerful! An awesome testiment to Sabbath–resting in God.

    Reply
  16. Andrea
    July 15, 2010

    Again, Thank you for sharing this with us! Now, to figure out how to get my hubby who doesn't get on the computer, much less ahve time to read…read it… 🙂

    Reply
  17. Ashley Christian
    January 26, 2011

    Isn't it amazing what an impact a mission trip can have! My husband whom I had been praying for in his relationship with God felt suddenly and unexplainablely compelled by God to go to Haiti after the earthquake last year. He was able to go a few months later. Let me tell you God got a hold of his heart on that trip! He has not been the same man since, and I watch in awe at the first the Holy Spirit is still producing in his life a year later. Oh the powers of being restored! Thank you for sharing this hope! I do have a question, did you ever find it difficult to let him go for this time, even though his need was SO great, and think on yourself and how refreshing a sabbatical who be for you? I know this is something I personally would struggle with, my own selfishness, and I was just wondering if you had to wrestle with this at all or if the benefits for everyone and desperate place your husband was in would override it all?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 26, 2011

      Ashley, thank you for sharing this. I am so glad that your husband's life was changed by the trip. As for me, I am a selfish person and I had a hard time letting Russ go. It felt a bit like the captain taking a vacation while the ship was sinking. But, he was so deeply discouraged that i was desperate for change and willing to make whatever sacrifices I had to make to find the loving man I had married. He is so generous to me and I have gotten quite a few breaks here and there, some with him, and some on my own, so I had to "buck up" and let him go. We were covered in prayer and did so much better than I could have anticipated – thanks be to God!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy