A Sabbath Journey for Lent and Free eBook

by | Feb 21, 2017 | Lent, Sabbath

Originating from four continents, we gather in our London church kitchen at dusk on a regular Thursday. Four women hang heads over cutting boards while peeling potatoes, chopping garlic, cutting carrots and conversing about the cold. I push my pelvis into a metal island, grasp a paring knife and watch volunteers unfold tables into neat rows. Oranges are placed with precision next to cutlery in preparation for receiving homeless guests.

“Well, I can’t eat this meal,” I say without forethought when a bag of tomatoes appears as one of the ingredients to add to the giant metal pots simmering on the stove.

Suddenly, hands halt and conversation shifts in response to my outburst. Serving the homeless is suddenly about me. I want to eat my words but like tears forming from pungent onions, I can’t avoid natural outcomes. Questions ensue.

Coming Clean

While I’ve entered a new season of becoming a first-time author — navigating technical learning curves, stepping into the awkwardness of regularly speaking on platforms, and purchasing clothes based on how well the color shows up on television — I have also developed an acid intolerance. Not an intolerance for the acrid, but an allergy to acidic foods.

Imagine random tearful meltdowns in grocery stores and anxiety that accompanies meals every place except home. Try to explain acid intolerance to a waitress. Think salad dressing free, condiment free, free of tomatoes, limes, lemons, oranges, vinegar; free of milk because lactic acid.

Basically, I am now an expert label reader; an expert at bland, tasteless, and plain.

The ability to eat without fear, I have learned, is something I have taken for granted. And the discovery of an intolerance to acidic foods has created an ugly awareness of my intolerance toward uncertainty. I will never again roll my eyes over gluten free.

Beautiful Redemption

From the hospitality of friends while promoting Rhythms of Rest across five states in the US, and the generosity of those serving in our London church, I’ve been the recipient of extravagant love I did not expect or deserve.

Wealth isn’t defined by the tangible five senses but in the awakening of the unseen, intangible gift of love and belonging you can’t earn but only accept. It turns out I am rich.

Love looks like middle of the day grocery store runs by hosts for Ph water, soy milk, and copious amounts of kale. A Magic Bullet sent to your house in England by a friend in the US because she cares about your health. Belonging is a small pot of tomato-free curry simmering on the stove for one.

Jesus cares about the one who is burdened, the one who is broken, lost, and hurting in a crowded, busy world.

Your needs are never an imposition, never too much to ask, never overlooked by the One who was crucified in your place.

I am rich because God miraculously healed my body.

Intolerance is healed when we accept true love and belonging.

The Real Miracle

While entering a new season of life filled with interviews and invitations for influence, my mind, body, and soul have been remade in tandem. But I didn’t discover the miracle of it all until I rested.

Three weeks ago, I was bed-ridden with a fever and flu-ish symptoms after a night of excruciating pain from a sore tooth. I know this doesn’t sound miraculous but stay with me.

Wrestling with God in prayer, I listened to my body and trusted his presence in the pain. I awakened the following day feeling completely normal. My assumption that the anomaly was an odd, short-lived virus was dashed when my mother-in-law Geri revealed that she stood in for me during a time of healing prayer at a conference in Dallas.

“I am believing for God to completely heal all the things that are compromised in your body,” she wrote.

That changed everything.

I began to pay attention to the signs of recovery and all I know is that I can eat Mexican food again without feeling like a truck hit me. I can walk for miles without aching.

Can I admit that I believe God heals but my reluctance to share this with you reveals I didn’t believe I was worthy. What if the symptoms return?

Why Sabbath for Lent

Next week, we enter the liturgical season of Lent rife with equal amounts of heaviness and hopefulness. Forty days of penitence and sacrifice for experiencing Christ’s sacrifice anew mind, soul, and body.

In the same way we sacrifice eating chocolate, a glass of wine, or shopping at Target during Lent, I’m challenging you to join me in sacrificing a day for rest. And I wrote an eBook as a companion for the journey!

A Sabbath Journey for Lent is a different pilgrimage than most. It is a once a week reflection that encourages the practice of resting a different part of your anatomy. With scripture verses, soul stirring questions, prompts for repentance and intimate prayers, my hope is that practicing new rhythms of rest over six weeks will result in transformation, of returning to your true self.

Maybe you’re like me, afraid of what might happen if you choose to sacrifice a whole day for rest. Perhaps you think you don’t deserve it; you fear you won’t meet your Sabbath expectations.

It’s time to come clean from all your excuses rooted in busyness and accept Sabbath as God’s loving gift, instead of time earned from productivity. When we are weary, lost and burdened Sabbath reminds us that we are rich in love and belonging.

How to Get the eBook

Subscribe to the blog here to receive a download of A Sabbath Journey for Lent. Current subscribers received a download with this post in their inbox.

Join me here throughout the season of Lent as I share my personal journey of resting different parts of my body and invite conversation in the comments. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for mid-week discussions and live videos as we sojourn in Sabbath toward Easter. And subscribe to the Sabbath Society community for weekly encouragement delivered to your inbox on Friday.

If you are planning to join me for A Sabbath Journey for Lent, introduce yourself in the comments. Tell us where you live and what you want Jesus to do for you during Lent.

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Ann

    I’m Ann from Texas. I hope I can learn more about resting. & getting more into rhythm of rest.

    • Shelly Miller

      I pray that a weekly Sabbath practice through Lent will provide a rhythm of rest beyond Easter for you Ann. So glad you are here and haling from the big blue Texas skies.

      • Ann

        Shelly, my Ebola didn’t come through. Could you send it again? Thanks

      • Ann

        My Ebook sorry for autocorrect. Thank you so much Shelly

  2. Carol Grimmer

    I want to keep my focus on Jesus accepting and obeying His plan for my future.

    • Shelly Miller

      So glad you are here Carol. Welcome!

  3. Brianna Morehead

    My name is Brianna and I hail from Ohio. I’m hoping that during Lent I can learn to trust God more fully with every aspect of my life, especially physically. I’m currently expecting our first child (due late June) and with all the changes, the preparation and looming birth I’ve fought against a lot of fear and anxiety. So in the next weeks, I’m really hoping to draw nearer to Him and be refreshed.

    • Shelly Miller

      Brianna, I had those same fears and anxiety about being a mother the first time. I remember a tearful meltdown with my husband while standing in our bedroom closet (I know, random!). I was so afraid of what I didn’t know and how children would all change our relationship. Can I encourage you that it will be more than you imagined and God gives you everything you need when you need it. I pray this Lenten journey will provide a safe haven and deep trust as you wade into glorious motherhood. Welcome! And thanks for your honesty.

  4. PamC

    I have been receiving your Sabbath posts for about a month now. Just love them. This post spoke to my heart. I’ve downloaded the e-book. I attend a church that doesn’t really follow church seasons & I miss it so I’ll definitely be following along here. Thank you so much.

    • Shelly Miller

      Hi Pam, lovely to know you are part of the Sabbath Society community and I’m so glad you are enjoying the letters. I pray this Sabbath journey will provide a meaningful Lenten season for you. Welcome!

  5. Katie

    I live in Maryland near Washington, D.C. I’m praying that God would restore my joy in Him during Lent.

    • Shelly Miller

      Joining you in that prayer Katie. I am so glad you are joining us. I used to drive through Maryland/DC every summer for our family vacation at a cottage in Ontario. Fond memories for sure. Welcome!

  6. Mary Gemmill

    Mary from New Zealand journeying with you through Lent.

    • Shelly Miller

      Lovely to see you here Mary! Hope the eBook is a blessing. xx

    • Mary Gemmill

      I cannot find the link to the e-book in my email… please can you send it to me? Sorry about this.

  7. Jenny

    I live near Rochester, New York. I am a perpetually recovering striver; I am hoping for healing from this as I learn how to live connected to the Vine, truly abiding in Christ.

    • Shelly Miller

      Hi Jenny, I pray the Lenten journey will give you permission to exhale and rest without guilt. Welcome!

  8. Louise

    Louise from Canada. Looking forward to this Lenten journey.

    • Shelly Miller

      Lovely to meet you Louise, welcome! What province in Canada. We have family in Ontario.

  9. Sheri Matsumoto

    Hi, I’m Sheri, and I live in central California about 120 miles southwest from Sacramento.

    I’ve never done anything like this before, and I cannot relate to your healing, although I firmly believe God is able and willing to heal physical infirmities.

    I have had Lyme disease for 29 years (tick bite 3 years in a row when we lived for 11 years in Buffalo,NY) and wasn’t diagnosed until 12 years in (after moving to southern CA). I begged God for years to heal me…He hasn’t. Instead, He’s shown me through ongoing symptoms of physical decline that He is all I need, and He has truly become all I want – far above any physical healing!

    I’m looking forward to joining you in this new adventure!

    • Shelly Miller

      Hi Sheri, lovely to meet you and I’m so glad you are joining us! It sounds as though you have a rich abiding faith already and I hope this pilgrimage is a sweet exhale for your journey. Welcome.

  10. Marilyn

    I’m Marilyn from Arkansas I want my focus to be on Jesus, to slow down and rest in Him. To be refreshed, to see areas in my life where I’m in bondage.

    • Shelly Miller

      I am praying that the longing of your heart will be satisfied Marilyn as you practice rhythms of rest through Lent.

  11. Janet

    I’m Janet from Louisiana. Looking forward to the journey. I also look forward to your emails each Friday as I am learning to abide and rest. Blessings to you!

    • Shelly Miller

      Janet, glad to know the Sabbath Society emails are a good anticipation for you. Welcome to the Lenten journey!

  12. Donna Good

    Hi, I am Donna from Maryland. I am hoping to give up the need to be “plugged in” to the internet for most of my day. As a photographer, the web has provided me with a treasure trove of friends and information, but I find can’t stop looking for more inspiration, posts, news, etc. I know if I spent even a small portion of that time in prayer and reflection I could significantly change my life. And of course, it is NOT restful to be “plugged in” for a large portion of my day. Hoping to find balance and respite during Lent.

    • Shelly Miller

      I can empathize with the need to be unplugged and how hard it is to actually DO. I pray that this Lenten journey will provide some rich practice in letting go and leaning into Jesus’ chest for you. Welcome!

  13. Celeste

    Hey Shelly
    It’s been awhile. Reading your story about your son (& phone)and your emotions attached struck a chord with me as I moved on to read this email.
    You know I’ve been in the Sabbath Society for a while which should make me a pro but I know the truth.
    My excuse, they need me. My desire to be needed holds hands with ” I’m not allowed to take time for myself”. Suddenly while reading I realize that my needing Jesus surpasses my need to be needed.
    So, I am going to begin this season with renewed focus after all, Lent is about making all things new.

    • Shelly Miller

      Celeste, I always appreciate your vulnerable honesty and willingness to take a hard, productive look. I pray Lent will provide a re-boot for you in the area of life you mentioned. Waving to you from London. xx

  14. Ellen Cole

    Hi Shelly,

    I’m Ellen and I live on the North Shore of Massachusetts. I plan to be with you for this Lenten journey. As we accept God’s gift of Sabbath, I pray we will know His presence with us. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20). Thank you for encouraging us to be intentional about our need for rest.

    • Shelly Miller

      Welcome Ellen! I pray the Sabbath Journey for Lent will be an exhale for you. And I hope we will both be enjoying some warmer weather by the time Easter approaches. I am ready for spring, you?

  15. Terri Whitehouse

    Hello! I so appreciated your book (will be re-reading regularly)!!

    I would also love to read your Lent book but even though I am on your mailing list I am having a hard time tracking it down. Would you be able to help me at all? Please? Thank you very much!!

    • Pat

      Did you find it? Go to the original email and scroll down, there is a picture of two people walking up a hill – under there is a link. Also, scroll down farther and there is a big blue box that says to click for EBook…… Hope that helps!

      • Terri Whitehouse

        Thank you so much for your assistance but as I look back in my inbox I don’t have a newsletter that shows the image you referred to. Actually it looks like maybe I didn’t even get the email it was attached to. I just re-looked at my February 3,10,17 and 24 letters and none of them have the image you refer to. I see that image on a FB article regarding the Lent resource, but have nothing in my inbox with that image. I am sorry to be so difficult but would really love to use this resource for Lent. Thank you so much for your help!!

  16. Sue

    Hi I’m Sue from Cheltenham.
    I really enjoy reading your blog every Friday thank you. I’m struggling to find the Lent ebook link, could you forward it to me again, thanks.

    • Pat

      Did you find it? Go to the original email and scroll down, there is a picture of two people walking up a hill – under there is a link. Also, scroll down farther and there is a big blue box that says to click for EBook…… Hope that helps!

  17. Nicole T Walters

    I would like to follow along but can’t seem to find the download in my inbox either. Sorry, Shelly.

    I am in Newnan, Georgia and am seeking a breakthrough this lent in establishing rhythms in my life that keep me connected to Jesus throughout the day. Breakthrough in trusting instead of worrying.

    • Pat

      Did you find it? Go to the original email and scroll down, there is a picture of two people walking up a hill – under there is a link. Also, scroll down farther and there is a big blue box that says to click for EBook…… Hope that helps!

      • Nicole T Walters

        I think some of us are in the same boat in that we didn’t receive the email for some reason. I get all the emails and have one on Feb 17 and one on the 24th but didn’t receive this one. Strange! I even tried re-subscribing.

        • shelly

          I sent you an email Nicole. Hope it helps.

  18. Lorie

    I am Lorie from Colorado. My heart is hungry for this opportunity to establish intimate rhythms of rest with my Savior. I want my rhythms of rest to result in new life pouring from my soul. My prayer is that I keep my eyes on Him “attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze” (Numbers 21:9 AMPC).

    • Shelly Miller

      Joining you in your lovely heartfelt prayer Lorie. May God answer you abundantly, beyond what you imagine. So glad you are sojourning with us.

  19. Pat

    I’m Pat from Nebraska – I am desiring to Sabbath rest and hear what the Lord desires for me.

    • Shelly Miller

      Lovely to have you joining us from Nebraska Pat, thanks for all your help in the comments. Hope this journey through Lent is a blessing to you.

  20. Janice Ryschon

    I am Janice from Arizona. I want to keep digging deeper in my journey of Sabbath resting. I want quiet myself so I can better hear the Lord’s voice.

    • Shelly Miller

      So great to have you here Janice, I’m honored. I pray the Sabbath Journey for Lent will provide practice in abiding deeper with our Savior through the gift of Sabbath. May he meet with you intimately and answer the longing of your heart to hear his voice..

  21. Terry

    I am Terry from Mississippi and I want to rest more deeply both physically as well as spiritually in the Lord. I am praying that the Lord heals not only but my broken heart during this season of transition we find ourselves in. Thank you for all you do, Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      I created the eBook just for you Terry. I pray this Sabbath Journey for Lent will provide opportunity to not only rest but to meet with Jesus intimately. Believing with you for healing and safe passage through transition. So glad you are joining us!

  22. charlene cole

    Hi! I’m Charlene from Kansas. I am so excited to join this journey! I am asking Jesus to show me that i have abundant freedom to practice self-compassion without guilt or shame. Also that Jesus would reveal to me His compassion for me so i might rest without fear.

    • Shelly Miller

      What a lovely prayer! I know he will answer you Charlene. I’m expectant. Welcome to a Sabbath Journey for Lent, so glad you are joining us.

  23. Michele

    As natural caregiver I want to be more patient with my father, I want his complete healing from :cealiac desease, skin problem, brain problem, diabete, ear and eyes. First of all the celiax desease. For me I want to stay calm in every situation, keeping self control, to be kind with everyone. To have real friend who cares for me not just asking all the times especially when they are in need… I want to learn to trust more people especially woman. I eant the kind of friend which empower me. I want to forgive more, and live without bitterness.

    • shelly

      Michele I pray God meets with you intimately during the Lent season. May his presence be enough for all the ways you feel you have communicated falling short. I really appreciate your honesty here more than you know. Thank you.

  24. Sera

    I am from India. I need to learn to trust the Lord more.in every Trials.

  25. Barbara Dowden

    I am Barbara and I live in MISSISSIPPI I always look for an advent book to read. and my former Sunday School teacher in LA ,(Janet) shared yours. I am so glad.

  26. Denise

    Hi Shelly, I’m from the Atlanta, GA area and a newcomer to your blog. I found your Sabbath Rest book last fall and have savored it. I’m printing your Lent study and I’m excited to follow along to find rest in this season. Thank you for your ministry and your challenges to all of us to find daily rest. As I have allowed God to meet my heart in the quiet spaces, my relationship with Him has become so much richer.

  27. Julie P Dodson

    Ash Wednesday! And so Lent begins and Spring begins and a terrific wind storm. I’m thinking of this great howl as a Lenten cleansing, making room for the attention of my undivided heart for God. (Thanks, Shelly)

  28. Laura Wilkinson

    I am excited to to commit to a Sabbath. I have not received a copy of the ebook at my email yet. Could you please resend?

  29. Rebecca

    In the last few years,we have come off the mission field, my husband is now back in college earning a degree to help make ends meet (while still pastoring), our son is now entering college, and we all help take care of my aging dad. Rest..and all that entails is much needed. I’ve started reading your thoughts on “A Sabbath Journey for Lent” and have already been so blessed by your encouragement. Like water to a thirsting soul. God bless you for sharing your heart.

  30. Linda

    Hello! My name is Linda and I live in San jose, CA. Excited to be reminded about keeping a Sabbath; a day of rest in a hectic busy week. I was diligent about it for a time, but then allowed my rest day to fill up again.

    For Jesus, during this Lenten season, I am doing a “random act of kindness” every day. I would like to add to that by recreating a day of rest. Thank you for the inspiration!

  31. Amber

    Hi there! I can’t seem to find an email with the link for the Lent resource. What would be the best way for me to receive that? I seem to remember others having this issue but I am just now trying to sort it out. Thank you!! Amber

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