Monday, March 19, 2012

The 10 Commandments for Parents: Remember the Sabbath

Rest here
Sit down with an iced coffee.  Breathe.  Know you are loved.  That it is going to be OK.
Deep in the center of my heart, I know that this is my calling.  This is what I am supposed to be doing.  Yet, there are so many moments (hours, days, weeks, even) when I feel overwhelmed at this responsibility, this delight, this joy, but sometimes this burden, to be the best mom I can be for my kidlets.

One of my favorite passages from Anne of Ingleside describes Anne's rival mocking her for placing her writing career on the back burner to mother six children.  Anne replies that she is writing Living Epistles now.  We are, you know.  The messages we write on the hearts of our children will be known and read by all.  And I fear that I am not enough--not patient enough, not loving enough, not wise enough.  Too broken to mother them the way I want.

The loaves and fishes weren't enough.  They were broken.  But a miracle happened when they rested in the hands of Christ and He blessed them.  It happens with us, too.  As we remember the Sabbath, (Rest. Grace. The breath of God on us and in us.  Redemption.  Jesus.) He transforms us and our relationships.

Reading through the book of Hebrews, the Sabbath stands out as a time of grace.  Relying on God instead of our own efforts.  We know that salvation isn't about us and our own strength being enough.  It is about accepting Jesus and the work that He has done.
"And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." II Corinthians 12:9 NASB
"Cease striving and know that I am God..." ~ Psalm 46:10 NASB
"This is the confidence that we have through Christ in the presence of God.  It isn’t that we ourselves are qualified to claim that anything came from us. No, our qualification is from God.  He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant..." ~ II Corinthians 3:4-6 CEB
My children don't earn relationship with me by never making mistakes.  That isn't the basis of my relationship with God.  And it isn't the measure of my relationship with them.  Just as I trust in God's incredible grace to be sufficient for salvation, and I allow grace to be sufficient for my children, I believe that grace is the only way to be sufficient as a mother.

When I was a child, remembering the Sabbath meant a frankly boring afternoon between church services while I was supposed to take a nap and generally whiled away an hour or two staring at the ceiling or sneaking a book. Now I wish I could take a nap!

A physical day of celebration and rest is important.  We need it.  Our bodies need it, our minds need it, our spirits need it.  (And as an aside, I have started feeling a stirring to look more closely at the ways my Torah observant friends observe the Sabbath.  There is a richness there that is drawing me, although I haven't done anything about it yet.)

Most of all, we need to remember the Sabbath in our hearts.  To let go of our striving and inadequacies, our fears and shame.  To rest in the everlasting arms.  To lay our heads on His chest and breathe in grace and the confidence that He will take our brokenness and transform it into something that still gives life.

For all of you beautiful moms and dads who are bleary eyed from being up most of the night with a sick tiny one, who are still feeling guilty over the grouchy words you snapped off earlier this evening, who are fighting to juggle the needs of your family and jobs and home and never-ending laundry, who have pored over so many contradictory articles about education/vaccination/insert topic that your thoughts are chasing each other's tails like tireless puppies, who are sinking into a quicksand of loneliness because your spouse doesn't understand, who are afraid that you just aren't enough:  Rest.  Enter into the Sabbath.

Photo credit: oliverkindall on Flickr


Note:  For any of you who are interested in the relationship between gentle parenting and the Sabbath, Samuel Martin has a fascinating article (over 9,000 words!) that delves into both topics.  For information on how to get a copy, please email and don't forget to check out his blog.  :)


J said...

I'm almost finished with 'The Rest of God' by Mark Buchanan. Great read, and offers such a good look at what the Sabbath could mean if we let it.

Pippi said...

Thankyou so much for this post. I really needed it.

arwen_tiw said...

I am sitting here crying, touched by the words you have spoken into my heart today. Thankyou.

Loralee said...

What a great inspirational post. Dh and I both appreciated it. I even pinned it on Pinterest (you totally need a Sabbathy pic for me to catch and pin ;) )

A.K. said...

I want to read Anne of Ingleside *right* *now*. Thank you for reminding me of how important our jobs as parents are, and how this role falls under God's providence as well.