In Search of a Sabbath
5 years ago our first baby was born. Since then we have been steadily accumulating children. Now at three, our hearts are delighted and our home is full. Full of laughter and squabbles, toys and dishes, it’s a mixture of pure happiness and sheer hard work. I am slap bang in the middle of this phase of life that I adore and am utterly stretched by.
The arrival of our third, Lily, has brought such joy. She’s a true delight with her big smiles, chubby thighs, giggles and squeals. Yet the margins of free time have never been smaller, and the load at home increasingly great. I’m a stay at home mom. My home which was once my resting ground has become my place of work.
I’ve noticed lately that the constant grind of housework, admin and just basic tidying up needed to raise these little ones has begun to feel relentless. It’s a day-in-day-out cycle that never stops. I catch myself throughout the day strategizing as to how I can clean up or ‘get ahead’ whilst keeping the children entertained. Except that somehow I never arrive at ‘done’ and the list goes on.
Today is one of those days where it’s all too much. The laundry seems to be overflowing and the piles of clutter are out of control. Just as I’d planned to get something done the baby woke and everyone needed everything all at once. My patience was non existent. I wanted to throw away everything we own and be frantically productive to make myself feel better.
I have questioned for a while now if this stage of life just has to look this way. Or if perhaps there might be rhythms or keys that open the door to a different way of life. As I have let these thoughts rumble around in my mind, one idea has continued to bounce to the surface.
As I began to find out more, the very definition of Sabbath hit me in a powerful way. It quite literally means to cease, to rest, to stop. To stop. That hit my heart. A day a week set aside to stop the endless hustle and enter into something different. A rhythm designed in its very nature to break the monotonous grind of simply surviving.
My heart breathes at the prospect of that day. A day when my to do list is not allowed to be entertained and there certainly isn’t any laundry. There’s no striving or getting ahead. It’s a day where my only goal is to take delight in the life we have. And not just a vacation, a one off, but one that comes around every week with faithful dependability. When I think about it, a day like that could really go a long way.
It’s not that on every other day I’m some kind of productive machine. Quite the opposite in fact. There are items on my to do list that are genuinely years old. It’s just that the list is always there, always a possibility, always whispering that I could get more done and chastening me for not.
Well, not on this day. Not on my Sabbath. On this day I smile at my bare walls where the pictures are yet to go up and I’m thankful for my precious home as it is. I walk past my overflowing admin pile without guilt that I’m not making a dent. Today I play games with my children and let tempting thoughts of being productive pass me by. I take a nap with my baby when she wakes too soon. We eat ice cream and tell silly jokes. It might just become my favorite day.
It’s not that there won’t be mouths to feed or babies to hold or even a toddler’s dinner to wipe up from the floor. It’s just that on this day there’s a different kind of permission. And oh how I need it. It refocuses my heart and brings me back to a rest of soul that leaves me content with our lives now as they are, right now. I can see clearly on this day. I can taste what I truly have.
As I let myself refuel and replenish, I’m thankful for a God who whispered ‘rest’ to His people long ago. He knew their labor, He knows mine. He cares enough to tell us to stop. This God I love delivered an ancient rhythm and I’m finding it to be timeless.