Preparing for Sabbath
After a week of endless cleaning and needy little ones, I expect that I should have the weekend “off” as if I could clock out of my career at 5pm on Friday. Yet somehow, the fact that it’s Saturday or Sunday doesn’t keep the crumbs from falling or the toys from finding their way into every nook and cranny (or my 15 month old from still waking up at 6am). I’ve heard multiple sermons on the importance of Sabbath, a day of rest. The Bible demands it; saying it’s essential to the Christian life and yet I still find myself sweeping crumbs on Sunday afternoon feeling not well rested and grumpy about starting another week.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized the problem wasn’t the unending tasks of a homemaker, but my lack of preparation. I was a little skeptical about this slightly outdated book from the 90’s, but Carol Brazo’s wisdom on keeping a home as a Christian woman has challenged and inspired me. In “No Ordinary Home”, Brazo touches on the importance of the Sabbath as she was raising a family and she gives practical steps to successfully resting even in a season of life with constant demands.
My desire is to go to bed Sunday feeling rested and prepared to start another week. Instead of dreading the ticking clock of the weekend, I want delight in the day of sabbath so that my cup can be full and overflowing throughout my week. Carol Brazo suggests that in order for this to occur, there is a lot of preparation to be done. It’s a no-brainer now, but it never occurred to me that in order to have a day free of chores and work, I needed to plan ahead. Starting Thursday.
Thursday: Find a verse to meditate on for the rest of the week (possibly related to church’s sermon series). Meal plan for the weekend and assess the housework that still needs to be done. (A.K.A. Finish the large pile of laundry so it doesn’t haunt you Monday morning).
Friday: Finish cleaning the house so you can start the weekend off with a clean slate. Get any necessary groceries for the following meals. (We try to allow one night a week for eating out and that usually ends up being Friday night).
Saturday: Tidy up any messes and prepare Saturday night’s family dinner and Sunday morning’s breakfast. **I used to think Saturday night should mean mom is free of her cooking duties and even though that is sometimes the case, I LOVE how Carol made a big deal out of Saturday dinner. She treated Saturday night as the kick off to a 24 hour sabbath and the best way to do that is around the dinner table. Her family would often invite guests over and they each went around the table and shared how Jesus was present in their lives that week. What a fantastic way to keep the conversation intentional and reflect on the work of Jesus even in our mundane week! After dinner, everyone helps with the clean up and you finish the evening with tea and dessert, discussing your chosen verse/topic that you’ve been meditating on. Finish the night by laying out clothes for Sunday morning.
Sunday: Try to be up and ready before the children and serve breakfast. After church, enjoy Saturday night’s leftovers or sandwiches (or something easy) from the fridge. The rest of the day is snacking on whatever is in the fridge/cupboards. Sunday evening is spent in quiet time bidding the weekend farewell. After the children are asleep, discuss the upcoming week’s schedule with your husband.
I was desperate for a change, tired of feeling worn out and grumpy as I headed into a new week. I wanted a taste of that rejuvenating satisfaction in the Lord. I wanted to delight in a day of real rest after a week of working hard. God created sabbath for a reason, we aren’t meant to work constantly with no end in sight. So I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t believe how much our weekend improved even after the first try! For the first time in a long time I didn’t treat Sunday as an end to my free time, but a day set apart from the rest. I enjoyed time with my family without thinking about the list of things that needed to be done and I woke up Monday feeling ready and willing to be mommy and homemaker. It may be off-putting, at first, to think of spending your precious Saturday afternoon preparing dinner and breakfast, but I found that knowing a complete day of rest was ahead made it exciting and more enjoyable to “work” on a Saturday.
I know that it won’t always be a walk in the park. Weekends get packed full with events, making it hard to slow down, but I will continue to fight for a day of rest for my family. I want our children to remember our conversations about grace around the dinner table, I want to fill our home with guests and hear their stories, and most importantly I want them to see that we made room for Jesus to be present in our busy lives, knowing that without him, there is no joy.
So would you join me in fighting for the Sabbath? I want to know, what do you do in order to ensure a day of rest for you and your family?
Cheers to not yelling at each other on the way to Sunday morning church, Jord.