As I mentioned in last week’s Sabbath Pause post, God set the example in Creation for a daily and weekly rest. Most evangelical Christians, Jews and Catholics observe some type of weekly Sabbath. Other religions observe rest periods as well. All of us, regardless of religious affiliation, observe some type of daily rest.
While rest seems evasive to most moms, the blended lifestyle can make it seem downright impossible. Here are a few times we rest in our home and how we do it:
When I mention the idea of Sabbath rest, your background has a large bearing on what comes to your mind. Maybe you grew up in a home that celebrated the Sabbath like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pa. They pretty much didn’t celebrate it at all! Maybe you grew up in a home where everyone headed out to the local restaurant on a Sunday afternoon after church so they could rest from cooking a meal. While I was growing up, the Sabbath meal was the most elaborate of the week because we treated it like a feast day!
There are a million variations on how the Sabbath is celebrated (or not). People that observe the Sabbath even choose different days of the week. Some practice the traditional observance of the Jews’ seventh day Sabbath on Saturday. Many Christians observe the Sabbath on Sunday in remembrance of the Lord’s Resurrection. Some ministry leaders choose a different day of the week altogether for their Sabbath because they are so busy on Saturday and Sunday.
If you thought this post was about those kind of specifics, I can relieve your mind. While I hold some sincere beliefs about Sabbath-keeping, I don’t think a debate about the details is helpful.
Whatever you may believe about which day to keep the Sabbath, God tells us to remember it. To set it aside. In the same way you would treasure a valuable possession, He wishes for you to treasure this day above all. In the Jewish tradition, they spent three days before the Sabbath preparing for it and the three days after the Sabbath reflecting upon it. It was the focal point of their week. God has given us the beautiful gift of rest, and He desires that we enjoy it.
Besides the command and the gift of the Sabbath day, I think it is important for busy moms to pause and take some time off each week. A walk in the park sans kids or an evening with friends at a coffee shop can make a huge difference in our perspective when we come back to the four walls we call home.
It is important for couples to have “rest” as well. Since a married couple is one flesh in God’s sight, withdrawing to just be together and dream is crucial to maintaining a great relationship. While we don’t do “date nights” once a week during this season, we strive for at least once a month.
All of us fall into bed sometime in the evening. However, most of us do not get near enough sleep. The medical community has implicated inadequate sleep quality and quantity in a variety of diseases and conditions. Even weight loss experts tell us that less than 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night can cause us to gain weight.
God set the pattern in Creation. A day actually begins with the evening rest before it. Adequate rest ensures that the next day will go much better. Inadequate rest can result in sickness, irritability and an overall feeling of overwhelm. For a mom and her kids!
Besides the rest we need in our beds each night, I think it is very beneficial for moms to carve out time alone each day. Even if it is 15 minutes before the kids wake up to spend time in the Word and prayer, it is crucial for us to spend time in worship and communion with our Creator on a daily basis.
Couples need to connect on a daily basis as well. It could just be discussing the day’s events before bed, but going days without meaningful conversation is a dangerous process.
I don’t have a solid Biblical basis for this unless you count the feast days God instituted for the Jews. However, many experts have advocated the importance of taking a longer rest period, perhaps a whole day or a weekend, a few times a year to refresh ourselves.
This is next to impossible for moms in busy families. We have our holidays, but most of them are anything but restful. Even on a “day off”, there is cooking, cleaning and laundry. Family vacations are wonderful, but they can be hectic as well.
In recent years, my husband has given me 1 or 2 “days off” a year. This is when I completely leave for the day while he takes over. Of course, there are some things that only I can do, and I have a bit of catch up when I get back. However, this has been a wonderful way for me to regroup and come back as a better wife and mother.
Although having small children and limited finances make it difficult, I think it is important for couples to get away overnight or for a weekend a time or two a year. This may seem like a dream to most of us. However, next week I’ll give you some tips and tricks to fit some or all of these Sabbath rest periods into your schedule.