Returning

Posted: September 7, 2016 in Of Spiritual Things
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This Sunday, the 11th of September, 2016, I will be entering stage right from stage left.
Two and half months ago I stepped into a summer Sabbatical which I wrote about here –  Sabbatical?   Now I am returning.  Hm. Honestly, it wasn’t what I expected, but then again, I didn’t know what to expect. I will say that it wasn’t a vacation in the sense of most vacations. This was soul work.
The first few weeks I spent in my garage cleaning and making things. Things like an apple cider press, a swing, two tables, a work bench, and did I mention I did a lot of cleaning?

I have read a lot of books, read and studied the book of Isaiah from the Old Testament and have sat looking at the wall quite a bit. I have spent nights by a wilderness lake alone,

I have spent time with my wonderful family, cut my hair a couple of times, grew a beard and shaved it off, stirred the compost and went on dates with my best friend and wife as we celebrated our 25th year of marriage this summer.  Kristine has kept a list of everything we have done, just in case I feel I didn’t accomplish anything.

It has been a good summer and such a blessing. Blessed to be part of a church, Epic Life Church, that encouraged me to travel the sabbatical road and then who also continued to minister and serve each other and the North Seattle and Aurora communities.  Epic Life, you are awesome!

I have been wondering though, did I accomplish Sabbatical?  How will I respond to the question, “How was your time off?”
“Just the way it needed to be.”
This past weekend I drove out of town…to the tune of 1300 miles, into the mountains of Idaho and Montana, places that call out to my soul to settle down roots, plant a garden, raise chickens, goats and pigs and smoke a pipe on the porch each night as I watch the sun set beyond the prairie and mountains.  The kind of sunset that slows time down as the sky transforms into color so vibrant it would make #nofilter jealous. I spent just a few hours talking with my parents, sitting in a rural church under great teaching, and driving roads ripe with memories.  I could hear and feel those memories. Each road eventually comes to an intersection, the direction I turned in those bygone years would set my life on a path as God beckoned me on and I tried to follow, often from the weeds not the road.
“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception” Proverbs 14:8
Mark Buchanan says in his book, The Rest of God, Wise people ask, Does the path I’m walking lead to a place I want to go? If I keep heading this way, will I like where I arrive?”  Fools don’t ask that. They keep making excuses for themselves, justifying and blaming, all the way to nowhere. They dupe themselves right to the grave. They never change their minds.
Remembering can force contemplative thought. The fool, walks away from that thought and continues on, trying to run from past decisions. The decision to turn East when he should have gone West, haunts him, so he goes further.  Pride wells up forcing the man to continue, in light of possible embarrassment of making a wrong choice, and being a fool, only to become more of a fool. Flight becomes our prison cell.
I stopped.
Calling into the Big Sky, “God, speak.”
I heard of a pastor who would drive out of his city every five years and only return if he felt God was calling him to another five years. On my way across the deserts of Washington, I asked God if he still wanted me to be in Seattle. Am I to continue ministering there, in that city on the other side of the mountains? Or, have I done what I have been called to do and now could it be time to move to a new task, in a different location, maybe the mountains? Lord speak. I don’t want to make a move without your direction. I must give thought.
Then God, with his writing finger, stirred up the clouds and wrote a message to me…No, that isn’t how it happened.  I am reminded however of words from the book Contagious Disciple Making, “Obedience requires us to do what is right even if we do not personally benefit or would be put at a disadvantage by obeying. The inconvenience of the individual believer when living in obedience is an advantage for the corporate body of believers, resulting in fear of the Lord, long life for the body, and increase in the number of members composing the body.”  Please read that again.
I am blessed beyond compare to journey with Kristine.
 
Our Big God has stirred my core to continue in the direction he is leading. We must consider our path, our steps, think on them and trust our Savior’s guidance.  There is a next chapter in Seattle.  I don’t have a big new plan and marketing roll out. We don’t need it.  I think God is giving me just one word.
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Comments
  1. […] Returning | Keith Carpenter – Scribblings of a Dreamer on Sabbatical? […]

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