In the spring of 2016, my husband who had applied for his minister's license and myself had to attend a credential workshop. At the end of the two day workshop, we would both be interviewed by a panel of three before a final decision would be made. During one of the sessions for ministers' wives, we were informed that should our husband receive his credentials, he would be given a brown envelope which in addition to his license and other pertinent information, there would be a brochure that would be of particular interest to us.
What was this mysterious brochure? It was information about the "Clergy Cottages".
We learned that a nunber of years ago, two cottages were built on property owned by the district. This lakeside property was purchased nearly 100 years ago for the purpose of building a campground for young people. Today, this property is not only home to a very beautiful campground, it also contains two lakeside cottages reserved for credential holders and their families.
Once a year a minister is allowed to reserve a beautiful three bedroom cottage for two or three nights (depending on the time of year) for the sole purpose of being able to have a time of rest and relaxation in a quiet and beautiful environment. There is no charge to use the cottages. The only stipulation is that it may not be used as a place to stay while you are attending other events or for business purposes. It is to rest, recharge, regenerate.
This week was the first time my husband and I had used the cottages. Last winter we booked it for August in order to celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. While we did have a list of amenities and had been told by others that the cottages were very nice, we were still pleasantly surprised. Not only were they beautifully decorated, every comfort had been thought of, a great deal of care had been put into them to make them a true oasis. The past couple of days have truly been a time of refreshing, and truthfully it was a time that we desperately needed. It has been 12 years since we took a "real" vacation meaning we spent more than one day away from home and/or we were not attending some event or visiting someone. It is not that those things are not nice. They are but this time we had no real schedule, no one to please but ourselves ad could wander about casually as we pleased, or not.
It was a time of rest.
Today we packed up our things and left our lakeside retreat. Our vacation is not quite over yet, however. Before we are heading home, we are attending a play and having a lovely dinner. Then we are staying overnight at a hotel before heading home tomorrow afternoon. It has been a nice time of celebration and a nice time of rest.
In this upside down crazy world of ours, we need to remember that God not only knows but wants us to take time to rest. It is not just a nice idea. It is for our own good. Yes, He is our rest but that does not mean we do not need to stop, step away and have a time of rest.
This week my husband and I were reminded of something that we already knew. We need to set aside those extra-special times of rest as well and when we do so, we are better equipped to not just serve but serve well.