It was an honour and a blessing to have a four-month-long Sabbatical at the beginning of this year. My last conversation in the church office before I left was about how I did not feel I physically needed the Sabbatical, but I was thankful for the opportunity. The longer I was on my Sabbatical, the more I realized how drained and empty I was.
5 women came alongside me as mentors and filled my cup in different areas. The first mentor took the time to study God’s word with me. The second woman and I spent time working on leadership skills and development. The third woman is a professional coach and spent 12 weeks working with me, helping me understand the design God has on my life. Helped me see how God has equipped me as his daughter with gifts and strengths.
My fourth mentor came along unexpectedly but gave me a broader view of life as she is a successful businesswoman who manages hundreds of people. She took me under her wing, gave me insight into her world and taught me some valuable lessons.
Lastly, I had a friend who ensured I had a lot of fun. Showed me that I need fun in my life and how to have it. All 5 of these women have had a lasting effect on my life. God wants us to have fun. What do you do for fun?
Some lessons I have learnt during my Sabbatical were not always easy ones to face, but lessons I would never have known if I did not take the time to be quiet and listen to what God wanted to teach me. It is essential in ministry to take the time to be reserved to slow down. I experienced this by turning to God in nature. I enjoyed the beauty God has given us. From Snowy mountains to crystal clear lakes in Alberta, Spring was starting to bloom in 3 different places. I once again realized how beautiful this earth is, and God did this for us, but we live such busy lives we don’t often take the time to enjoy it. Walking is such a great way to slow down and see life.
The more I look at what has taken place these past few months, the more I see it was divided into 3 different segments. The first segment was about discovering my weaknesses, shadows, and downfalls. I was starting to second guess myself and wondering if I was the right person for the position I was fulfilling and not sure if it would be suitable for me to return to my work at the church. I spent many hours in God’s word and facing some of the giants in my life.
In the second part, God showed me that I was his daughter designed for a time like this and that he gave me the toolbox I needed. I learnt more about the tools God has given me and who He has created me to be. This gave me confidence in who I am and the work I must do for Him.
I have been back in my position for almost 3 months, and I am now excited to see the third part unroll. God has shown up in so many areas of my life and given me a new direction and love for Him and the people I serve.
Linda-Joy Steenkamp serves on the Pastoral Staff of Chartwell Church as Family Ministries Pastor