At long last, everything that absolutely had to get done is done, and I am finally free to pack.  At 7:30am tomorrow morning, my dear friend Mackenzie and I are hitting the road for a 2-day retreat from our lives, and attending the Women of Faith conference in Milwaukee.  (For more about what that is, please see my earlier post.)  I can't wait!!!

I've been to two other Women of Faith conferences over the years; the 2nd one I will never forget, because it involved a road-trip to Nashville on the heels of a tornado!  We weren't even sure when we left Michigan that we could even get there - but we did, and the conference went on, and we survived our hotel experience by candlelight.  It was awesome.  ;)

Because of my prior experiences, there are three things I know I can expect over the next 2 days:

1)  I am going to meet with God, and He'll have some things to say that I'll need to hear.
2)  It will be FUN.  I am going to laugh - a lot.
3)  I will come away refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to re-imagine the possibilities of what God could do in and through my life.

So, thanks, Women of Faith, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, for making it possible for me to go.  You couldn't have known it 2 months ago when you picked me, but I really need this weekend.  I have no idea yet what God will do in it, but I know He has it perfectly planned.  And I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Book Review: Sabbath by Dan B. Allender

How do you review a book that literally changed your life?

Dan B. Allender's book on Sabbath explores the Biblical mandate for Sabbath-keeping by looking at the biblical text themselves, exploring some of the history around how God's people have traditionally and creatively celebrated the Sabbath over time, and sharing his own experience with the discipline/joy of keeping the Sabbath.  His mission from the very beginning of the book is to dispel both the rule-bound, legalistic perspective and the laissez-faire, "oh-that's-just-the-Old-Covenant" perspective on the Fourth Commandment, and to transform them into a new, joyful anticipation of what the Jews have long referred to as "the Queen of days."  (And he succeeded.)

I was encouraged by literally every chapter in the book to rethink my perspective on Sabbath, and to see it not just as a day of rest in which I do absolutely nothing except whatever I feel like doing or as a day off to catch up on housework and run errands, but as a day during which God's kingdom come and coming can and should be experienced more fully.  I've taken Allender up on a number of his challenges over the past few months:  I've taken a walk with an "enemy" - I've stopped completely retreating from the world and begun to invite people over for dinner - and I've started to plan a little more carefully for the day.  Sabbath is no longer just a stopping place at the end of a long week for me, but a deliberate pause in which to celebrate with Him and spend quality time in His word and with His people, enjoying creation, freedom, and time - and looking forward to eternity.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's willing to have their life - and perspective - rocked a bit.  My response to this book was to literally change the way I structure my time - and it's been an incredibly life-giving change.

Disclosure in agreement with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising":  I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.