Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Sabbath rest for mamas

My day starts with an alarm clock ringing.  Gotta get that shower before the little people wake up or I'll be behind the curve all day.  Then mix up the pancakes and hurry to their room to change diapers, give morning hugs and kisses, and bring them downstairs to start the day.  Yes, this is my Sabbath rest.  Bathtime can get interesting, and the floor will inevitably need to be swept after the breakfast crumbs settle.  Today we are expecting friends for lunch (yay!), which means a little kitchen prep work while I wash the dishes.  And so on and so forth.

Is this Sabbath rest?  I've tried to practice Sabbath as a rest from the work of the week.  As a student, from studying and reading.  As an employee and wife, from work, cleaning, and grocery shopping.  But as a mama?  Do I take a break from changing diapers, washing sticky hands, reading books?

Clearly the answer is No!

So, where is my rest?

I've had Sundays when I struggled to wash and dress two small ones, braved the cold as I pushed the stroller to church, and hauled car seats up the steps, only to sit in the nursery and do what I would've done at home ... I wondered, isn't Sunday supposed to be restful?

I've had Sundays when I've felt resentful of my children's demands, believing that this was my time to be doing something "spiritual" and self-enriching, and that they were preventing me from knowing this kind of Sabbath rest.

I've had Sundays when I've thought - forget trying - and threw in an unnecessary load of laundry and started dinner for Monday... because what is the point anyway of pretending that Sunday is any different for a mother?

I've had Sundays when my burdens have been surprisingly and undeservedly lifted by a caring husband, by a surprisingly long nap, but a mental shift that can only be credited to the work of the Spirit.  I've had Sundays when I've treasured the long hours to spend with my children without the nagging obligation that I should be finishing (or starting) a chore.  I've had Sundays when friends sitting and talking and playing with my children has brought lightness to my spirit that I would have missed without the privilege of taking a Sabbath rest. 

People, I don't have the answers.  Every Sunday I wonder and I try to work it out.  But if I have learned one thing, it is that our Sabbath rest is not to be a spiritual cover-up for selfishness.  And I need to fight that selfishness every day, Sunday included.

May you experience rest and joy in our Savior on your Sabbath this week.


  1. I totally hear you on the "sitting-in-the-nursery/what's-the-point?" thing. There are some Sundays I honestly just can't do it, and end up staying home.

    And I think you're RIGHT on the mark with calling out our selfishness. Sabbath is a mystery sometimes, but it's NOT (Biblically, at least) a chance for us to do whatever we want. I've heard people (and maybe I've said this myself) describe the Sabbath as a chance for us to re-charge. Maybe. Maybe some days it happens, but that's not the point of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is for God, not for us.

    I've just been asking God to give me Sabbath rest in my soul throughout the whole week. On the Sabbath, I take a break from as many chores as I can. I let the mess go. I don't do the laundry. I leave it for the next day. I focus on my family and my spirit, as much as possible. Yes, as a mother and a wife, there are things that just have to get done, but that doesn't mean we cannot enjoy our Father as we go through the daily-ness of it all.

  2. Yes, I think maybe Sundays has most brought my selfishness to light now that I have children. I find it ridiculous that I have gotten frustrated at my children for wanting me to read books endlessly when I think I should be doing something more "edifying" for myself. How messed up is that, right?
    I like the way you say you approach it, and I've really liked your post(s) on Sabbath.