I remember it like it was yesterday. I knew the day would come soon, but I was dreading it just the same. The day when your child stops taking his/her afternoon nap. Without that quiet break, the afternoon seemed to drag on endlessly. Would I survive until dinnertime? Would he?
After a week of trying to entertain my then 4 year-old, I was exhausted, irritable and not much fun to be around. Not to mention the fact that my little guy wasn’t winning any awards for his chipper mood either. I knew something had to change.
The next day, I gathered books and puzzles that weren’t in his regular rotation of toys and piled them in a bin to put in his room. That afternoon I told him that we were going to have family rest time. He loved the idea that he had a bin filled with “new” books and puzzles that were just for this time and giggled when I informed him that, “Mommy was going to rest too.”
For over an hour, that little brown-eyed boy looked at books and played with his puzzles, contentedly. I was amazed! The hardest part was actually getting myself into a rhythm of rest.
It is so easy for busy moms to get in the habit of finding something else that needs to be done around the house instead. That “to-do” list is endless… laundry, messes to clean up again and again, and meals to prepare. Like I said, endless. Coupled with the list, comes our own feelings of guilt for actually taking a moment for ourselves to regain strength for the rest of our day. I knew that list would still be there in an hour, but that time of peace and quiet wouldn’t be, if I didn’t use it wisely.
Family rest time became an hour where I was able to read my Bible, along with books that nourished my weary, momma heart. It gave me a time to pray and even occasionally take a nap, believe it or not. Most importantly, God used it as a time to pour goodness and truth into my soul, so that I had something to give to my precious loved ones around me.
Fast forward six years later. Now, I spend my days working part-time and homeschooling two kiddos and our family still implements family rest time. Being able to homeschool my children is a gift, but it can honestly be very hard and often draining. I’m a mom, a teacher, a counselor, a chauffeur and countless other roles to my kids 24/7. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I am not naïve to think that these roles will last forever. They are the most sanctifying roles that I may ever play in my life.
Fellow moms, we often give and do so much throughout our days that leave us feeling depleted and completely drained. Christ tells us “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.” He DOESN’T say keep going until you are at the end of your rope, nearly too tired to stand and are snapping at everyone in your path.
It is up to us to cultivate times of refreshing for our families and ourselves. We can only pour out that which we’ve put into our souls, ladies.
Heather is thankful for the grace of Jesus in her roles as a wife, mother, teacher, blogger and homeschooling mom. Former elementary and middle-school teacher turned adjunct university professor and homeschool teacher, Heather is passionate about teaching her children to “know God and to make Him known.” She loves encouraging other moms and educators on their journey to educate children through workshops and on her blog at aguidedpath.weebly.com. Heather, her husband and two children live in Memphis, TN, where they are actively involved in their church, leading a community group and helping in the children’s ministry.
In her free time, Heather enjoys hosting people for dinner at her house, reading, running, spending time with her family and trying all the fantastic local places to eat where she lives.