Shabbat Part Two…

So, without any further adieu, here’s my Shabbat story:

The most important thing I learned is that I need to prepare all week for this one day. I need to be intentional about getting things throughout the week that I’ll need on Friday (or whatever day I observe the Sabbath). It feels like the complete opposite of rest to run around in the grocery store on the “decided day of holy rest” gathering supplies. It totally defeats the purpose.

It was frustrating that no one in Whole Foods seemed to know what Shabbat candles were, but bless them for trying to find them anyway! And when I tried Market Street, no one could help me locate them either. Everyone had Hanukkah candles out but those little white Jewish Shabbat candles were just elusive…nowhere to be found! I settled on plain white taper candles and figured God knew my heart & that I was a newbie at this whole Shabbat thing. As a last-ditch effort, I even went next door to the LifeWay store thinking they may have a Messianic section, but all I could find were candlelight service candles.


The look I was goin’ for…

So, I left LifeWay and drove over to Starbucks to drown my sorrows in a grande half caff, 2 pump, non fat, no whip, chestnut praline latte. I thought, “This will help settle me down!” Warm, over priced java goodness! When I got to the drive thru line, there was already another car behind me. When I tried to roll down my window, it got jammed 2 inches down from the top! There was no turning back. I tried to roll it up then back down again, but it kept getting stuck. So, I placed my order by cracking my door open and yelling my order over the door. On the way to the drive thru window, I told God He needed to fix my window NOW & when I pushed the button hard, it went down!

Oh, His mercy… I felt like Moses striking the rock out of anger to get water from it. Insert conviction here. For a moment, I almost wished it had stayed jammed.

When I reached the drive thru window, the barista asked how my day had been. I lied and said, “Ok”. But how can it be ok to wake up with a sore, scratchy throat, plugged right nostril, and all energy sapped out of you both physically and mentally?? I mean, this was supposed to be this great holy day of rest that I had desperately needed and committed to. But between the fact we really think being a drained, hot mess is ok (which is exactly WHY we need a Sabbath) and the fact we are just plain conditioned to respond with “ok”, I felt like I had no other option but to offer my pretty little lie in exchange for that grande cup of liquid sanity.

Well, on my way home, the “sanity” leaked in my cup holder. THIS was quickly becoming “not ok” and I was internally becoming “not sane”. Tears stung my eyes and anger gripped my heart. I shouted in my car, “This is supposed to be RESTFUL!” If I didn’t drive with my hands at “10 and 2”, I may have even shaken my fist in the air at God. Thankfully, I’m a safe driver & my hands stayed firmly planted on the wheel!

By the time I pulled into my garage, anxiety seemed to be getting the best of me. I seemed to settle for unrest, thinking it would be impossible to recover anyway. I started unloading the groceries and checked my phone. It was 3:45 pm and according to my Shabbat app (yes, I downloaded an app), I would need to light the candles at 5:04 pm. I glanced at my table and it looked like a war zone. The place I would need to usher in the presence of God, and the peace of Christ, looked more like the Valley of Dry Bones. It was filled with carnage from the previous week. Ugh.



At that point, I got to work. After all, it wasn’t the Sabbath yet, and I could still work and clean, right?! I cleared things off my table and started replacing stacks of books and papers with placemats, dishes, and my grandmother’s crystal. Make up bags, nail polish bottles and my Bible got replaced with honey, paper towel covered challah, and cheap, “non-Jewish”, white taper candles.



Time was drawing nearer to the lighting of the Shabbat candles. Because of that, I decided to simplify things. My grandiose dinner plans got thrown out, and were replaced with some chips, guac, and canned soup. In faith, I set places for my future husband and my future children. I turned on music by Marty Goetz (Pastor Mary Jo’s suggestion), and then my Shabbat app advised me it was time to light the candles.

And that’s when it happened. A holy heart change. An intentional engaging with God that all the sudden didn’t care about not having a pretty bread covering, official Shabbat candles, or an Instagram-worthy-dinner plated before my app alarmed. Yes, the shift happened when I tossed out my plans, and invited the Spirit of the Living God to fall fresh on me and take over.

And that’s exactly what took place.

The Lord breathed on me, blessed me, and communed with me. He honored me: honored my faith, honored my future husband and children, honored me with His presence.

Marty Goetz played on softly in the background while I fumbled through Hebrew blessings and spoke them over my husband and children to be.

Even though I was a “party of one”, I didn’t want it to end. The sense of His presence, the beautiful light from the candles, and my table full of love in faith.

I was more full of peace and rest four hours after entering into Shabbat than I had experienced in having two days off back to back earlier this week. A holy rest is different from simply having a couple of days off. It’s a filling of the Holy Spirit, and a communing with Him that begins to repair your body, soul, mind, and spirit from the felt effects of the world.

I knew after my first Shabbat with Jason and Alicia Ward, a few months ago, that I craved more of it. My mistake is that I thought I craved the carved out “chronos” time, the observance of the ritual, the tear-inducing blessings, etc.

But what I really craved was more of the Holy One, blessed be He.

Because God is faithful, and He has ordained this “goodly gift in His storehouse”, I know He will continue to bless my efforts as I learn more about the Sabbath.

Looking back, today was full of teachable moments. I’m glad it was all piecemealed together and filled with hiccups. God did a stripping down of religiosity and control. The Holy Spirit brought revelation, and shed light on areas where my fingers are gripped too tightly. It was reiterated in my heart to “hold all things loosely”.

Tonight, I’m left with hope of what REST will cause my life to look like in all areas. I think one reason observing Shabbat feels so good is that when we observe it, we’re walking in obedience with His commandment. Disobedience is what causes UNREST, anxiety, and many other unwanted changes in the body, soul, mind, and spirit.

Sabbath rest is a journey, and over time it will develop into a rhythm. So let’s learn the “unforced rhythms of grace” together.

Shabbat Shalom!

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message


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2 Responses to “Shabbat Part Two…”

  1. Ruth Says:

    Yes. I had no idea but now crave an understanding of Sabbath as well. I am so grateful to have a fellow believer, you, in my life. It is such a joy to watch others in relationship with our Spirit of the Living God.
    I’m humbled and excited beyond measure as I see your faith in action. Specifically as you’ve made room in your heart and on your table for your precious family. I’m personally on a journey learning about blessings. Jewish blessings, God’s blessings and how I can be a blessing to others. Its so comforting and validating to see God teaching others similar things.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. I look forward to more Sabbath adventures and discoveries.

  2. Kelli Moore Says:

    “I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” He is the only real rest. I am amazed and ashamed at the lack of rest in my life. It really isn’t a suggestion – it is a commandment. Thank you for this very powerful, honest, real, reminder that it is necessary to leave it to Him – while still being intentional about giving it to Him.

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