Author: Teresa Schiller

This Is Sabbath

I had locked myself in my room, pouring over a bible study for the last month or so. While I referenced the study every so often, I had never actually shown my husband what I was up to. When I had finally brought it out last weekend, I was surprised at his interest in the workbook. Our kids started circling us, and had questions about the Bible as well. It turned into an open question forum for my kids; where they felt like it was a safe time to open up about questions they had. Nobody was in a hurry to go anywhere. We didn’t have an impending to-do list waiting on the table. It just became an unexpected family quiet time.

Although I was originally going to write about what it looks like to model what you want your kids and husband to practice, I just had an epiphany about what we had experienced that day: This is Sabbath.

I tend to hear about the importance of a day of rest in reference to stress. While I understand the busyness of what I do as a stay-at-home mom (who is also trying to write), I just stepped down from a 7-year season of juggling full-time work with my parenting and wife roles. I remember running kids to and from daycare. I would bring the pressure of work home with me through a leash called a “work phone.” I recall the stress of deciding who would stay home from work when fevers and mucus broke out among the kids. Dinners were not always healthy because they often had to be fast; we had a 2-hour window between getting home and getting the kids into bed. The stress we faced before was intense, and most families in Silicon Valley can relate.

A day of rest, now that I’m home, feels like a waste of time. I’m constantly trying to come up with things for my family to do on the weekends. While I may struggle with feeling like I don’t catch a break from being a mom, a family Sabbath feels unnecessary. That is, until last weekend.

The practice of Sabbath is like dropping a rock into a pond. The mud at the bottom of the pond is stirred up as the rock hits the bottom, and the once-clear pond becomes mucky. But as the pond is left alone, the mud settles, and the water becomes clear again. We are like containers of this mucky pond water. As we rush about our day, the water is shaken up and our thinking becomes foggy. It takes time for our thoughts to settle, just as it takes time for the mud to settle in a pond.

Joy in this time comes as you practice Sabbath. As you purposefully empty your calendar for a day, and learn to sit and truly enjoy one another, the anxious thoughts of things that need to be completed subside. The murky water clears, and as our family found, it was much easier to see more clearly. Initially, our kids wrestled with boredom, but then quieted down and sat in deep conversation with us. My son flipped through my workbook and asked about the devil. My daughter opened up to us about friendships at school. My husband asked for the “dude” version of my workbook.

To tie this in with the topic I originally wanted to write about, we can model this- the Sabbath- for our family. So many moms I know intentionally wake up early at 5am to spend time with God. We need this quiet time with God before we face another human being. This intentional time with God, in the stillness of 5am, has had such a healing impact on my soul. I encourage you to start with time alone, and start implementing a family Sabbath; not only to wind down, but to reconnect with the people you share a home with. The results may surprise you.

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