Moms need Sabbaths, too

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

I’ve been thinking about the concept of a day of rest lately. The Sabbath day keeps coming up to me in various ways.  And every time it has lately, I’ve sort of wanted to smack someone.  I’m not a violent person, but I’m a frustrated person.  How am I supposed to figure out a day of rest when I’ve got two small children?  How am I supposed to figure out a day of rest when I’d like just to take a shower without rushing before everyone wakes up and needs me?  How am I supposed to figure out a day of rest when I have food to prepare eight times a day?  How am I supposed to figure out a day of rest when they need me all the time?  How?

So I’ve been thinking about it and praying about it.  It is a command from God to have a Sabbath and keep it holy.  It is His command to rest.  A quick search of the NIV Bible translation over on BibleGateway found the word Sabbath is used 154 times.  That’s a huge amount.  That tells me God was serious about it and that I need to be serious about it, too.  I realized that while I’m bemoaning my life as a mom with two small children and how busy and hectic that is that God has a whole lot more people to take care of.  Millions and millions.  He had a whole planet to make, which certainly trumps the slew of granola bars, PB&Js and cups of crackers that I’ll make today.  And yet He still needed a day of rest.  And He’s God!

I know that I need rest.  I can tell you how I get when I get overworked and overtired and overwhelmed.  I end up over-cranky.  It’s not pretty.  I turn into someone I don’t like.  I get grumpy with my husband and children.  I retreat into myself.  I get miserable.  Obviously I need a break sometimes.  We all do. We were designed that way.  God knows it, too.  Just like I don’t ask my children to do things just for the fun of it, so He doesn’t ask us to do things just for the fun of it.  He knows that we need rest.

I’ve come up with a few ideas about this whole Sabbath and rest thing while still being a mom to two small children.  I’m challenging myself as much as anyone else to somehow follow this advice as well.


First, I need to define what rest is to me.  In my head, rest means sitting in my recliner with my feet up reading a book and taking naps with no one bothering me.  (I should also mention that I’m an introvert and the best way for me to recharge my batteries is through alone time.)  While that scenario isn’t unholy or wrong, it also isn’t very feasible.  I remember days when I was a teenager and young adult that I could every so often just spend a whole day lazing around reading a book.  Nowadays that could possibly be an option maybe once every two years.  So, I need to redefine rest.

Second, I need to define the time of rest.  A whole day of rest is nice, but having a whole day to devote to anything besides my children is quite a challenge.  However, I do have five minutes here and there.  I can sometimes even eek out an entire hour or two.  Those smaller chunks of time are the key for me.  They refuel me throughout the day when I need it most.  Maybe as a full-time mom I can’t take an entire day off for a Sabbath, but I can take the moments I get and use them productively, which sometimes means just to rest.  Because I need it and because it is as important as doing laundry and cleaning the house.  It needs to be scheduled and OK.  I need to give myself permission to rest not only because I need it but also because God directed me to do so.

I’ve found rest in God during early morning hours.  I’m a morning person, so this works for me.  I like getting up early and starting my day off with quiet devotions and prayer time.  I am a much happier person when I do this.  Even just 10 or 15 minutes of rest in God while my family continues to sleep makes me feel more ready to conquer the day.

I’ve found rest in God when I’m driving my daughter to PreK and am listening to my favorite Christian music station.  In fact, that’s pretty much all I listen to, because it helps me and inspires me and reminds me of God throughout my day.  I especially enjoy the times in the car because everyone is strapped in and not climbing on me or needing constant supervision.  I really love the times I’m alone in the car driving to pick the big kiddo up from school while her brother finishes his nap (my husband works from home most of the time; I don’t leave the toddler home alone!).  Sometimes one song can refresh me and my perspective on the day.  Seriously.

I’ve found rest in reading for fun.  I have discovered that logging onto my laptop and perusing Facebook and Pinterest are fun, but they aren’t truly restful to me.  Reading, however, leaves me feeling more refreshed and, quite frankly, more like myself since it’s been a lifelong favorite hobby of mine.  I enjoy the R.A. Salvatore series on Drizzt but I also rediscovered the inspirational fiction section of my local library and continue to be blessed in many ways with those books.

I’ve also found rest quite literally.  By the grace of God (and I don’t say that as merely an expression, I fully mean it), my son’s nap and my daughter’s preschool times overlap.  So for two hours, four days a week I have child-free times. There are definitely times I use that time to eat lunch and nap.  I count that as productive because I know that rest will make me a happier mama who can enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening with her family.

While I may not have a traditional Sabbath, I know that I’m not alone. Moms and busy people everywhere struggle with downtime.  We struggle with quiet time to reconnect with God and with ourselves. And yet we need it. We were created to have limitations.  We were created to find our strength in God.  We can’t do that if we never stop doing things.  How do you find your Sabbath?

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