It seems like this time last year was so far away – almost as if it happened years ago. Tie flies and sometimes its good to go back and have times of reflection. To remind yourself about those moments. A year ago my husband, Roelof and I flew out to Winnipeg, Manitoba to Kerith Pines. But how we got there is a bit of a back story which I’ll try to explain in as few words as possible! My husband is a pastor of a CRC church in Alliston, prior to him being a pastor he completed 7 years of intense schooling. In fact, the last 11 years of his life had been filled with overcoming many personal struggles, getting married, doing school, having children, moving in and out of countries, etc., etc. Busy. Hectic. Overwhelming.
All this compiled to an unhealthy rhythm for both of us of not taking to just rest. To have that time to breathe and to reflect on all the things that have happened to us over the last number of years. I often refer to ministry and schooling as ‘our’ ministry as I really believe it has deeply impacted myself as well. This journey is one that we are on together. We cannot do it alone.
And so last January, Roelof approached the board of his church to request a time of rest, of sabbatical. They graciously granted that time to him and to our family. I cannot begin to express the deepness of gratitude for that time. We had three months of not worrying about anything. We could just be. We got to worship together. Roelof was able to sit in a church with his family by his side and not be the leader. He was a receiver of that blessing of a Sabbath. We were able to do things that we would never have been able to do.
Our church sent us to Kerith Pines in Manitoba. I can’t begin to describe all the wonderful things that this ministry does. Kerith is a Focus on the Family Ministry Centre which is designed just for ministry leaders who need respite and care. From the time that you get there until you leave the focus is on servitude and rest. While we had some group classes and couples sessions, there was a lot of time for us to reflect together and just enjoy our time as just us two and no kids! I learned a lot about myself and so did Roelof and we learned a lot about each other. We were in a good place there. We actually had time to process things we had never been able to put to words. We read some great books, had great conversations, did a lot of hiking in the ridiculous cold and had great rest.
We did some sightseeing while we were there as well. One afternoon we headed an hour east to Kenora and spent some time exploring there and had some good beer at the Lake of the Woods Brewing Co. On our final day we also headed into Winnipeg and hung out with my cousin, Meghan, who had been studying there. We went to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights which was so incredible. Then we finished our night with great food and beer again!
Our week went by quickly, but it was what we needed at that time. It sustained us and it gave us some foundations together. I could write and reflect more but I’ll leave it for another time!
I shot all these images with my D90 crop camera and super cheap 35 mm lens. It was compact and small and I could fit it in my purse! I didn’t want to have the hassle of having to worry about my big camera and big gear!