But he (Shammah) took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it
and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory.
II Samuel 23:12 (ESV)
Dear friends ~
Six months ago, we woke to the first day of our one-year Sabbatical. Spring was barely waking up its sleepy head – now, here it is autumn through two seasons segued to the next in our Pacific Northwest.
Our half-year of Sabbatical has been varied and full – rest, play, home projects, travel, visits, and pretty much nothing that has to do with our former counseling, coaching, or writing. We are living the purpose of sabbatical. Meanwhile, we nor Holy Spirit have been idle as our reservoirs have been being filled up.
Though we are experiencing the reality of how retirement can keep you as busy or busier than working (it’s true!), our choice to take a one-year sabbatical in lieu of retirement still stands. We remain poised and attentive to the Lord’s next steps and season of our being vessels fit for the Master’s use. He is Creator God, and as shared with you before, we are in His keeping for what was before and what will be.
So, what have we been up to for the past six months? I (Nancy) recently told a friend on a long catch-up phone call of plans to write this “mid-way through sabbatical” newsletter. If for nothing more than to assure ones that we had not permanently ridden off into the sunset, never to be heard from again 😊
April – Upon locking our suite door at the end of business on March 31, the first ten days of April were consumed with a boatload of details. Did you know it takes as much time and mental energy to close down an office as it does to open one up? About the time we thought we had all the bases covered, one of us would remember something else. Eventually, the barking dogs of details put a cork in it and we could get on to the business of really starting our sabbatical! Two weeks of beyond-required rest followed at the ocean, our favorite place of refreshment. It was unseasonably beautiful April weather, having missed the heavy rain and winds the week before our arrival. We reveled in God’s blessing us in His weather patterns.
May – Spring was springing out all over! It was a month of rediscovering what warm May days felt like instead of watching with longing from the office windows. While still undecided about what to do with our office suite, we simply enjoyed being home, doing yard work, and erecting a canopy ‘room’ on the back patio. Enclosed by mosquito netting, it became a new to us bonus 10’ x 10’ inviting space (after buying the canopy on a summer closeout 2-3 years earlier…home projects sit and look at you, you know). We closed the month on May 31, Memorial Day, with a visit to Wayne’s father nearing his life’s end.
June – June 1 we boarded a flight to the east coast to spend time with our youngest daughter, her husband, and our two youngest grandchildren before their next two-year assignment overseas. While with them, we had the privilege of being present at our son-in-law’s Army promotion to full bird Colonel. It was good to be with some of our family unit, especially when we received the news that Wayne’s father passed midway through our visit. We returned home to a family burial two days later and his memorial service a week later. Immediately after, we entered the last full week of June – and in four days, sorted, tossed, packed, and prepped for vacating our beloved office suite. The fifth day went quickly with the help of two strong, hard-working high school guys. The U-haul was loaded with the contents of our office ‘home away from home’ and unloaded into a storage unit where it now resides for the time being.
July – By now, we had accomplished quite a bit, including some shorter trips to family in my hometown. Next up on the home projects list was revamping our son’s former bedroom into a home office for me (Nancy). Wayne has long had a landing place for at-home business details; mine was the dining table. Typing this newsletter, sitting in a new room furnished with my former office furniture, is the inaugural writing event for more of what I hope will follow and flow in time to come. It was a three-week project coinciding with several weeks of extreme triple digit heat and the nation’s worst air quality from wildfires. It was time put to good use – ending with a beautiful home project completed by Wayne from start to finish (after I mucked out the room…good things can come to life after the clutter and crap is dealt with). We celebrated some good, hard work by returning to, “Oh! We’re on sabbatical!” mindset and played.
August – Remember the old nursery rhyme, paraphrased here, “Cedar fences falling down, falling down, falling down; cedar fences falling down, my strong windstorm!”? The first week of August we were homebound while 128’ of new cedar fencing with metal posts was installed between us and the backyard neighbors. In a pandemic season that has seen a lot of jobs available and too few people filling them, we were gratefully impressed with the crew assigned to our fence replacement. I wish we could clone them. The rest of the month was filled with more details needing attention, day trips to friends, connecting via video or phone with our family, and enjoying – still – experiencing summer outside of the office.
September – This is our month. The first ten days were swallowed up swiftly, then we put the brakes on. The past three weeks we enjoyed excursions to places in our state neither of us had been before. Both of us born and raised and still living in Washington, we visited Curlew Lake near the Canadian border where Wayne limited out on his dockside night fishing expedition. Both of us being half-German, we also made a day trip to a little German-founded town that celebrates their annual Deutchesfest each September. We cheered on the tricycle and bed racers and helped the economy by enjoying sausage and apple strudel! The cherry on top of September was celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary with a 9-day road trip. Throughout the month we covered all the bodies of water – lake, ocean, river, and threw in Mt. St. Helens rejuvenated mountainside area for good measure (another place neither of us had visited before). Our oldest daughter was six weeks away from delivery when the mountain blew in May 1980. Four+ decades later, it is an incredible testimony to God’s design in nature at work – renewing, rebirthing, rejuvenating.
And now – here we are with October burnishing before us. Sabbatical continues in this month with its own flavor – more projects, more relating, more things we have looked forward to. We have enjoyed our coffee, waking to no alarm but our body clocks, and days filled with living that some may take for granted.
I have shared with Wayne that our extended morning time of soaking with the Lord and His Word has led me to feeling like the waters are rising again and pressing against the dam. Pray for the outflow. As for Wayne, he is looking forward to some extended time of solitude in nature this autumn. It is historically a time the Lord has met with Wayne in a deeper, more directional way. We have often noted that it is his “next steps” time of year; he is eagerly anticipating the weeks ahead.
Midway through sabbatical we continue to listen deeply to the Lord’s heart for us and future engagement. We have full faith that He will unveil right on time what post-Sabbatical will look like. In the meantime, we remain grateful for you and appreciate your thoughts and prayers for good toward us.
Our prayer is that you will experience a season of increased gratitude and answers in areas where your faith has not waned. We bless you with the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ, our all in all.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed,
the love of God the Father,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all.
II Corinthians 13:14 ~ The Voice
Wayne & Nancy Bentz / Mr. & Mrs. Shammah
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