Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And on the Seventh Week, Mama Rested

I opened my planner and sighed. Another week loomed before me. How many more weeks until Thanksgiving? I felt ready for a break. It's been a great year so far, but with percussion and piano and gymnastics and ballet and youth group on top of our regular home studies, I was feeling frantic and spread thin. I wanted to rest, but I didn't know how to. (It's hard to let go of that math, you know. And history is so . . . so . . . chronological. It just keeps coming!)

And then I read an article by Angelina Stanford that introduced a concept to me which breathed renewed strength into my overloaded brain. She suggests using the principle of the sabbath to organize the school year: work for six weeks, then rest for one week. Spreading the 36 week school schedule over a full year with larger breaks for Christmas, Easter and summer ensures that learning takes place intentionally -- and in an atmosphere where even rest is strategically planned and greatly appreciated.

After reading the article, I ran to the calendar. We had just finished week five of the school year. Hmmm. Very interesting. My mind, body and spirit were telling me to rest, and here was that seventh week just around the corner.

When I was given the freedom to approach my year differently (and when I realized that I had just one more week to complete my first six), I dove into that final work week with renewed vim and vigor. It was amazing. We accomplished great things, knowing that our rest was almost here. It was like preparing for vacation. There were loose ends to tie up, assignments to check off, and a school room to tidy.

We did it. And on the seventh week, we rested.

So this week marks our first sabbath week. We entered it with a fairly loose schedule, knowing that there would be a variety of things to include that don't often happen during a normal school week, such as field trips, family projects and appointments.

I've marveled anew this week at God's design for his people. We are made to work, and we are made to rest. He modeled that for us in His work of creation, and our spirits respond deeply to that rhythm. Our time of work enables us to enjoy a time of rest with a deep appreciation for what has been done. In turn, our time of rest enables us to be fully prepared and renewed for the time of work that God has in store for us.

Now a full week off is certainly not always feasible for everyone's schedule. My own sabbath week is quite busy -- the mound of laundry and dinner-eager tummies haven't magically disappeared, and all of those music lessons and gymnastics classes I mentioned keep our eyes darting frequently toward the clock. But it's a different kind of busy -- even a restful kind.

So I challenge you to consider how your own schedule might be tweaked to welcome a time of rest. I was talking with my mom about this idea, wondering how it could be tailored for those with stricter work schedules. She laughed while suggesting that maybe one could take a break from flossing for week seven.

I'd love to hear from you. What are your suggestions for finding rest amidst that hectic whirl? Maybe you could stick a few meals in the freezer, easing up your cooking schedule for a brief time of rest. Perhaps you could shut down your computer for a few evenings, using that time to play Uno with the kiddos.

How might your work for God's kingdom be enhanced by periods of deliberate quiet? Just think! God has amazing things for us to accomplish. Our lives are His. We've been created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. That work is such a blessing. It is for Him that we will accomplish great things, knowing that our perfect rest is just around the corner.

John William Waterhouse's St. Cecilia, 1895. (No, my children do not lull me to sleep with their beautiful melodies as I, the sainted mother, rest in a lush garden. And yes, it sure would be nice if they did.)
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  1. Ah yes, the children lulling--but that would necessitate adding stringed instruments to the list of lessons . . .

  2. Precisely. And I already have visions of Aidan taking voice lessons so he can sing to me (and sound just like Josh Groban, of course).

  3. Mom, you have something stuck in your tooth.



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