Building a Refuge in the Sabbath: A Guest Post by Kris Camealy

by | Sep 17, 2014 | Book Club, Guest Post, Sabbath

Today in week three of our Rest Revolution, it is my pleasure to welcome Kris Camealy to the blog, a Sabbath Society peep whose image could appear in the dictionary under the word encouragement. As a tireless prayer warrior for many, Kris has become one of my closest friends and greatest cheerleaders all through the gift of blogging. She is proof that friendship  can be deeply rich despite physical distance. I’m thrilled to share her creative spirit and generous hospitality with you.


Lately, I’ve been wondering how I managed before I began actively embracing the Sabbath. I work hard day after day, juggling kids and schooling, writing, activities, mentoring meetings, cooking, cleaning, and other various typical tasks. For years I did this seven days a week with virtually no real rest. I never thought about what Dr. Matthew Sleeth calls, “building a refuge in the Sabbath.” I knew there was work to be done and so I kept on going, day after day, ignoring the commandment to honor the Sabbath.

Art Journal

Who has time to take an entire day off from their regular responsibilities? What about falling behind? If I rest, when will I catch up?

In my mind, it was simple–Sunday was the perfect “catch up” day.

It wasn’t until about a year ago, when I took a closer look at God’s words about resting and Sabbath, that I recognized however I tried to rationalize it, the reality was, I’d been comfortable in my disobedience. Productivity was king and I thrived in the shadow of accomplishment while carrying the scepter of busy.

How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you. (Exodus 16:28-19)

After returning from Refine {the retreat}, I set up a space in my room specifically for creating art. At the retreat, I realized how important true rest really is. Taking a retreat opened my eyes to the necessity of making real time to linger with God. In making time for rest, I invite God to renew me. Sabbath is an invitation to sit with God, to commune long without rushing off to do–during Sabbath we can simply be.

Sabbath keeping is nothing less than grabbing onto the hem of the robe of the Maker of the universe. (Matthew Sleeth, 24/6)


The art table in my home sits as a constant invitation to retreat. When I kneel beside this low, antique table, I am renewed by the communion I find with God as I work. This small space is where I find refuge during my Sabbath.

In observing God’s commandment to honor the Sabbath, I am discovering a deeper friendship with the Lord. I’ve come to see the time spent in retreat is not wasted, but rather, it enriches my faith and deepens my own love for God. In his book 24/6, Sleeth points out that “you need quality and quantity to make intimacy happen. Fortunately God designed our schedules to accommodate both”. Sabbath presents itself as a designated space in my busy life to move closer to God, apart from the nagging to-do’s of my usual schedule. Sabbath is where I remember that “God is the source of my life.” Sabbath reminds me that the world will spin even if I do not.


Sitting at my art table, I become less and less aware of time. Caught up in the act of creating, in the sounds of music playing, I remember that all of the time I have been given is God’s first. The urgency of life shrinks in these hours of retreat. I don’t have to waste this precious rest time worrying about how I will get it all done. The time spent in refuge during the Sabbath is not wasted. I’ve seen God redeem this seemingly unproductive time, again and again, week after week. I don’t know how He does it, but it happens.

Sabbath keeping gives us the time to set priorities– (Matthew Sleeth, 24/6)

Observing the Sabbath requires me to slow way down–to stop where I am, lay aside the work and step into a pause intended for my good. Sleeth reminds me that God rested on the seventh day and that rest is holy. In order to grow and maintain my relationship with God, I must willingly offer up one day out of seven for retreat.

Art Journal
In stopping, I retreat. By retreating, I am renewed. Rest restores my body and soul.

Rest is done by stopping. By coming to a stop we give rest a place to happen. We make rest possible. (Matthew Sleeth 24/6)

What keeps you from stepping fully into Sabbath? What are some of the ways you experience God’s rest?

Leave your answer to Kris’s questions in the comments and then join us for more discussion at Redemptions Beauty Book Club, where we are delving into 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life by Matthew Sleeth every Wednesday in September. This week, Sabbath Society peep, Diane Bailey  is helping me lead our conversation.

krisAs a sequin wearing, homeschooling mother of four, Kris is passionate about Jesus, people and words. Her heart beats to share the hard, but glorious truth about life in Christ. She’s been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International, a ministry for which she serves as an advocate. Kris is the author of, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and the follow up, Companion Workbook. You can read more from Kris at

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here:


  1. Jennifer Camp

    Hi Kris and Shelly, I love your encouragement–and your modeling–to seek rest. I have been following Him here, too. And yes, I’m so amazed by the beauty of His surprises, His presence, His restoration of my soul. Kris, I love how you share how you get caught up in these moments of rest He gives, and how it sustains you throughout the week. Bless you both, and thank you.

    • Kris Camealy

      Jennifer, what a joy to see you here. Beautiful surprises–God is so great at those, yes? Much love to you, sweet friend.

  2. Sheila Dailie

    “Observing the Sabbath requires me to slow way down–to stop where I am, lay aside the work and step into a pause intended for my good.”

    Amen! And somehow, God honors that day of rest by making the other six cover the needful things. (And helps me adjust my priorities of “needful.”)

    • Kris Camealy

      He does, doesn’t He, Sheila? I am continually amazed at how He makes the rest of the days enough, when I step back and see what al we have managed. It’s a beautiful blessing that I would miss I think, If I weren’t walking in obedience. Thank you for reading, and sharing!

  3. Jillie

    Hello Kris! This is some beautiful writing, and I love your art creation too! I thank you for this wonderful writing about Sabbath and our [my] need to be obedient in this matter that matters so much to my God. Your quote from Exodus is one I know I must have read at some time, but never like today! And, “grabbing hold of the hem of His robe”? Oh, my!
    Something that often prevents me from stepping fully into Sabbath, I regret to say, is my husband. I know I cannot blame him fully, but he does not understand my need for solitude, or Bible reading, or journalling prayer. To tuck myself away in the corner of the house would elicit a response from him, and not in a good way. He is a Christian, but he is also all-man, not too greatly ‘connected’ with His Maker and not understanding of the need to get alone with Jesus. He never does this for himself. Never reads his Bible. And so, I have to steal time with God through the week while he’s working.
    In answer to your second question, journalling prayer and listening to old hymns or praise & worship are mainly how I find rest in God. I hate that through the summer I fall short in this and feel I have to play catch-up in the fall after my husband’s holidays are completed and he’s back to work full-time. I leave the T.V. off and do not answer my phone. I just revel in the silence.
    Thank you for this today. You’re going in my file to re-read often! 🙂

    • Kris Camealy

      Jillie, it can be difficult when others particularly people we are close to do not understand how personal our faith is. I will be praying for you and your husband as you navigate this within the boundaries of your marriage and faith. I know God is with you, and I am certain He will guide you along the way.

  4. DeanneMoore

    I have always liked the word “retreat” Kris for it’s different meanings—to pull away to rest and refresh, but also to pull back from fighting against all the world can bring against us. Sabbath is both of those things for us and the perfect time to let the Maker of all create new things in us and through us. Love your reflection here…carving out a new place for “creativity” in my life at present, looking forward to it.

    • Kris Camealy

      How wonderful Deanne. I never realized how important a space for creativity is, but now, I wonder why (and how) I went along for so many years without it! So glad you are working towards this. Your spirit will grow in this space. 😉

  5. Traci Rhoades

    “Sabbath is nothing less than grabbing onto the hem of the robe of the Maker of the universe.” That quote took me right to the story of the bleeding woman who had to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. What a comparison! Desperate for a Sabbath. A beautiful post.

    • Kris Camealy

      I love that, Traci. I hadn’t even thought of that story but wow! Yes! Beautiful connection.

  6. Ashley Tolins Larkin

    Kris and Shelly, I am learning how to make space for the sacred rest, to grab hold of the hem of God’s garment and, like a little one holding onto a parent’s leg and not letting go, say, “Take me with you.” I am learning to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace and am grateful for the ways you both model this, and for the ways you express that here. Thank you for writing this, Kris. I love you both.

    • Kris Camealy

      Ashley, it’s so great to see you here. You are walking in all the right ways when you are walking with God. Love to you, my friend!!

Pin It on Pinterest