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Sunday Rest For Moms: Finding Spiritual Rest on the Sabbath

Sunday isn’t a rest day for Mothers, especially those with young children. Let’s get real, most Sunday mornings getting to church is an ordeal in and of itself. I wake up early to start getting myself ready, my husband is a huge help with breakfast but we have four children, it takes a team effort to get them all fed and presentable. Usually I feel pretty spiritually drained by the time we pull into the church parking lot. 

We don’t even go to the early service.

Then there is the shuffle of getting kids to classes, that is if you can get them to go to class. We just finished a year long period where dropping Little Brave off for class involved teachers peeling him off me while he screamed for me to have mercy on him. I didn’t. I went to church. He’s my fourth and by now, Lord have mercy, mama needs all the church she can get. But it was a time consuming, stressful process every week.

Then there are the years I would leave to go fetch the crying baby from nursery. Or we’d be struck with weeks of sickness and never made it to church at all!

So just getting ourselves there is enough.

Then there is getting home. Tell me I’m not the only one! On the way home the younger kids are overtired, crabby and starving. After 5 minutes of after church drama, I am sarcastically announcing on the way home how much “I LOVE Sunday!” while my husband tries to ignore me(I don’t blame him). We fly through the door, all upset with each other while daddy tries to make sandwiches as fast as he can. Sunday isn’t much rest for dads either.

And I wonder why I am not the mom with a Sunday roast going while we are at church.

Everyone eats, then more scrambling to get the youngest kids down for naps. During naptime I recover the house from the morning, collapse for a short bit or maybe breathe in and out of a brown paper bag for a few minutes. Three of our kids are too old for naps so if I dare fall asleep they are guaranteed to come ask me for something. It is a Sunday afternoon law.

Big kid interruptions aside, the toddler goes down for his nap late on Sunday and wakes up from naptime at 4pm, so any rest at all is brief. Meanwhile Daddy is still drowsy from his Sunday nap when we are jolted awake for round 2 of our not restful Sunday. We eat something extremely unfancy for dinner, maybe spend a pleasant hour together as a family then it is time for all the baths and bed.

Most Sundays, I admittedly have had a terrible attitude about the whole ordeal, yet I love going to church. I just hate the stress of keeping the Sabbath a day of rest because that feels absolutely impossible for mothers of small children! During my year of focusing on rest I was determined to find a way to get more rest on Sunday, however God revealed something brand new to me to turn my thinking around.

I was missing the whole point of the Sabbath…

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” Exodus 20:8

I was so focused on the rest part of the Sabbath I was missing the part about holiness. Could the most spiritually restful thing I do on Sunday be to pursue holiness? To set aside my frustrations over the work of getting to church, the children fussing and preparing the food in exchange for a heart that honors God with my actions, might be just the kind of Sabbath rest Jesus is hoping for us to have. Not just a physical rest but a rest for our souls.

Because a mother simply cannot put aside her work for one day a week, her work keeps on going without end. What if Sunday could be a day to see my work differently, less like work and more like nurturing. If I could adjust my thinking to see it as a day to especially bless my family with joy, maybe I can start setting my sights on keeping the day holy as well.

This has become a freeing change in perspective! I feel more rested in my spirit on Sunday simply by letting go of the stress of not being able to have a day without work. I might even go ahead and whip up a pan of brownies or a nice dinner, because now it feels like something I can do to add joy to our day, instead of more work to be added.

A new question for my Sundays…

It used to be, is this work I should have to do on this day I should be resting?

Now I ask myself, can I do this task with an attitude that allows room for holiness?

Some tasks require more effort than others. Can I clean up my toddlers accident in his undies with holiness? That may require some whispers of help from the holy spirit, can I get an amen? But as a mother, those are the things we have to do, we may as well do them in a way that honors the Lord.

Other tasks don’t require as much effort but are still worth considering, if I make my family a special Sunday dinner, can I do so with an attitude that honors the Lord? Or is it likely to end with mama feeling resentful and frustrated. If it is likely to send me reeling, better to throw some frozen pizzas in the oven and keep my holiness intact

When my kids are older, maybe I can focus more on Sunday as a day of rest but meanwhile…

I’ll give my family a pleasant spirit at the very least on Sunday.

And drift to sleep that night with a heart set towards pleasing the Lord who keeps me steady.

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