Life with kids is abundant and joyful. It also feels relentlessly hectic. Balancing schedules and needs is no small daily task. We were just invited to four kid birthday parties this month (not to mention Amos' first birthday). I feel both gratitude for the many friendships that hem us in, as well as concern over the plethora of good things that fill our lives. Concern because too many things - even good things - can crowd out God's voice and rest for us.
And then there are the too many not good things. Poor choices of loved ones that drain and worry us. Strained relationships. Our own mistakes and shortcomings. And then there's the annoyance of illness, which has been no stranger to us. Jeremy wasn't too well last week. Days on end of nausea. Then Amos began vomiting on Friday. Eli and I joined him on Saturday, and Jeremy took care of the three of us. Good man indeed. It's now Monday night, and we're just beginning to perk up. The boys quicker than me or Jeremy. I nearly pass out every time I stand up, and am on a steady chicken broth & gatorade diet. Jeremy is badly sleep-deprived. Not one of our family's better moments, at least from our perspective.
Today I got to thinking about Sabbath, about taking deliberate time to rest and just be with God, and with each other. I felt cynical at first. It's hard enough to make the Sabbath a priority in our normal routines, to care out rest space that is freeing and restorative. How can we possibly do it with these unannounced interruptions? With emergencies and stomach flu? Sabbath rest...really? Yes. It is the unending invitation from our Creator since He showed us what rest looks like in his own creative work. It is the invitation and call to be refueled by the One who knows us best and knows what we need most.
I think Sabbath must become a rhythm of life. Each day must contain moments of rest, of reflection, of living very presently with God and those around us. The weekly day rhythm (found in the 10 commandments) is also a necessity as well. But sometimes, people like me have to start small.
So today, in the midst of having been inside and feeling yucky too long. I rested as I held Amos in my arms. I enjoyed doing nothing but playing with Eli's hair as he watched a video. I allowed myself to sleep while the boys were sleeping. And we'll try to carve out a day of rest this coming weekend, as we had last weekend until we all got sick. Life is so complicated, it forces us to be deliberate in reclaiming the values God has for our lives. And I am so grateful we love and are loved by a God who longs for us to be enveloped in his rest.
For further thoughts on Sabbath check out: http://www.christianitytoday.com/childrensministry/articles/daysetapart.html.