Glimpses of Rest, week 2

Today we welcome two lovely Bible study leaders, Lorraine Thomas and Sara Nelson, to our Q & A feature. Both women began their professional lives in the financial world and understand Brianna Hines’ comment that America is a work-drunk country. It’s a joy to share a glimpse into the way Lorraine and Sara practice sabbath.

Lorraine Thomas

Lorraine Thomas and her husband John have been married for 24 years and have been working together in the same industry for 48 years and in the same business for 20 years. They love Eugene but mourn the ability to get up and go to someplace else for a change of place! 

This week Brianna Hines described America as a work-drunk country. Was there a time in your life when this description fit you? Tell us about this season and how you viewed the practice of sabbath. 

I have been working since I was 13 and have been self-employed since age 22. Work for me has always been a place of safety, one place I felt in charge and had the ability to make change. This sense of safety did not translate into my personal life in the early years as my home was often full of sorrow. When I married John and started a new life, we were both self-employed. It was great to have a partner who understood my passion, but it also meant that we were both always busy. The practice of sabbath was practiced as needed but not always with the idea that it was a primary need but a result of not working. That is not the same. 

Through this work-drunk season, did God reveal something to you that caused a shift in the way you today view sabbath and the work-rest balance? 

This time of COVID is the first time that we have made rest a priority as we had the time and lack of outside interference. Quiet, lots of sleep, and time to pray and walk and talk. What a wonderful thing out of a time of such crisis. We have had lots of time together, and it has been a sweet time for us. 

What is your favorite way to cease from toil and find refreshment?

I walk and practice yoga. I use these opportunities to empty my brain and concentrate on my breath and on the blessings I have been given. When I practice yoga, I pray. I walk the dog and pray. I walk the dog with John and spend time catching up. I marvel everyday about the body I have been provided and how wonderful it is to be able to do the things I do. 

Is there a special way you celebrate the day of rest?

Generally, I do not cook on Sundays. We enjoy the morning walk and then church together. 

In this week’s study, we discussed setting a guard over our rest days to guarantee we find both physical and spiritual restoration each week. What do you do — or would you like to do — to protect your weekly day of rest?

This study has made the PRACTICE of sabbath a matter of conversation, and it is apparent we need to name and claim our time of rest together as a time that is God’s for our benefit. That keeps it in our minds and on our hearts. 

Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson and her husband Todd will be married 20 years this summer. They met while both working in the financial industry. Sara is now home with their two kids — Ady (17) and Andrew (11). Andrew has complicated medical issues and is autistic. Sara loves to be outside, especially near or in water, to read, and to spend time with her family! 

This week Brianna Hines described America as a work-drunk country. Was there a time in your life when this description fit you? Tell us about this season and how you viewed the practice of sabbath.

When I started my first job after college, I fell right into the trappings of working all the time. I was new to working full time, new to a company that operated with a mindset of work over rest, and trying too hard to fit in and perform well. After a year, I crashed. I had stopped attending church and our small group and worked 60 hours a week. It was too much. I only felt like I had time to work and sleep, but soon that caught up with me. 

Through this work-drunk season, did God reveal something to you that caused a shift in the way you today view the sabbath and the work-rest balance?

God is good, and one morning on the way to work, I happened to listen to an old worship CD I found in my car. And it just clicked. I started crying and praying and knew I needed to re-evaluate work and get back to spending time with the Lord and our church community. Everything changed after that. I left that company within the next six months. I looked for a new job that offered more concrete hours with a healthier work environment. I began to prioritize not only Sundays but spend time with the Lord each day. Mentally and physically I felt lighter and that desire to make Jesus the priority has stayed with me ever since. It’s not always perfect, and I have seasons where it is better than others. But I do not want to go back to that feeling I felt 20 years ago. 

What is your favorite way to cease from toil and find refreshment? 

Well, I certainly wouldn’t turn down a 20 minute nap. I’m a huge fan! Or getting outside for a run or curling up with a good book. But I think for me, I need to start each day with Jesus. There have been seasons when early waking babies or toddlers have changed my schedule to a nap time prayer/Bible study time, but other than that, I find I handle all that life throws at me better if I have the foundation of starting each day in God’s Word, usually before the rest of the house is awake. If I am not grounded in the Lord, I will very easily fall to work and a to-do list. It is definitely in my nature, and I need constant reminders.

Is there a special way you celebrate the day of rest?

Our family does not currently have a Sabbath practice. We listen to church and then try to have a quieter rest of the day. While it is not something we have a set practice in, we are mindful that we need a day to recharge. We typically spend the day at home reading, watching a movie, getting outside, or playing board games. It is definitely a family-centered day. 

In this week’s study, we discussed setting a guard over our rest days to guarantee we find both physical and spiritual restoration each week. What do you do — or would you like to do — to protect your weekly day of rest?

Our son is autistic with sensory processing issues. He has been a good indicator of when things get to be too much. We are more mindful to look at our schedules and days with him in mind. It has been good for all of us to slow down and process life at a slower speed. And if COVID taught me anything, it was that we were doing far too much before. Being forced to slow down has been a blessing. The conversations and time together just the four of us have shown me we need to be mindful and protect that time. We only have a few more years before our children will leave our home, and I want to send them off with a foundation in the Lord and a mindset of the importance of resting and not getting caught up in the frenzy of this world.

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