Welcome to Day 15 of Parenting Pointers and Mommy Refreshers.
My heart longs to bless you this month as I write 31 days filled with nuggets of parenting wisdom. Each one is followed by a refresher to help you fix your eyes on Jesus and let your burdens go to Him. Sit with God in this moment. Find a place where you can breathe and hear from Him.
Today’s Parenting Pointer
A Little R & R
Part of what I’ve taken from all this study about rest and the need to allow downtime is that I need to teach my children to have space in their days as well. My boys are past the age where they naturally nap. What we do instead is have a mid-day break we call, “Quiet Room Time.” For the first fifteen minutes we lay still on our beds – that way if anyone needs to nap, they just might sleep. After that they can play quietly in their rooms or read on their beds for the remaining half hour. This 45 minute pause gives us a time to refresh for the second half of our day.
The other thing we do (not every day but at least two or three times a week) is to have tea. Now you know I have two boys. I’ve been having tea with them since my oldest was around two. Tea is a part of cultures all around the Middle East, Europe, Canada, Austrailia, Africa and Asia. In other cultures there is a later afternoon siesta. The wisdom of cultures way older than the United States is to pause and connect and rest in the mid-afternoon. I think when the early colonists threw tea in the harbor in Boston, they decided that was the last American tea party. I say we can pick up the custom again.
Having tea doesn’t have to be fancy. We do use some antique cups I have collected. I serve a bit of fruit, some sort of cookie or crackers and some meat and cheese or other little finger food. It isn’t important what you serve as much as it is to sit together and reconnect and slow. Often I read from a poetry book or from Aesop’s Fables. When my boys have friends over or neighborhood kids pop by at tea time, we invite them to join.
These two habits are just part of how I am teaching my boys the importance of slowing and taking a daily rest. I am teaching them to be human beings, not just humans doing. I am teaching them to step back and recharge. I am hoping these rhythms of rest go with them into adulthood and bless them as they lead their families and contribute to their workplaces. I hope you consider how to help your children to learn to incorporate healthy rest in their day.
An Easy Yoke
Some things bear repeating. Another way to say it is that God has to echo to get my attention. There have been times when God used a line in a sermon (sometimes completely unrelated to the main point in the message) a friend’s comment and then a reading in my devotional to reiterate a piece of wisdom or a warning or an encouragement.
One time was the summer we were considering sending my oldest son to camp. I was so concerned as the camp was not Christian. It was a camp devoted to outdoor and ocean skills and it was going to be a chance of a lifetime since a family member was generously paying the $3000 tuition on his behalf. In our home that’s money towards college, not summer camp.
God sent this verse: “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” Now, I knew this verse in context, so the first time it hit me, I dismissed it. Jesus prays this over the disciples about them being hated by the world and Him sending them as His ambassadors anyway. But, still it niggled at me – “I can pray this for my son.” Bit by bit over the next few weeks God repeated that same verse and I began to hear His invitation. He was inviting me to trust Him with my son as Jesus had entrusted His disciples to the Father as He allowed them out of the safety of His presence.
This trusting transfer is part of what we are called to repeatedly in Scripture …
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
How is your yoke?
In the Old Testament times leading up to when Jesus was speaking, a yoke not only meant that which was put on cattle or oxen, it meant any burden as well. Deeper than that, the term zygos was used to mean troublesome laws imposed upon one, Especially the Mosaic laws which were added to by the Pharisees. Jesus is giving us a layered invitation. He knows what bears down on us. We take on burdens that we are not meant to bear. We attempt to follow oppressive instead of receiving releasing grace.
When Jesus offers us to take His yoke, He is telling us we can live a life of freedom in Him – free from anxiety and fear. We can live free of having to earn what is graciously given. We can live free of the responsibilities which are not ours – like the outcomes of our children’s lives – while we devote ourselves to Him and His love and allow that love to guide us and flow out to our children.
If your burden is heavy, come to Him. He is gentle and humble in heart. You will find rest for your soul today as you mother your children. Keep coming to Him. Don’t just go once. Every time you pick up a stress or a care or a weight that is too heavy, come. Come to Him. Keep Coming. He will meet you right here in your motherhood moments and allow you the freedom He died to give – again and again.
Photo of tea food courtesy of kempinski.com; photo of tea courtesy of pinterest; photo of scuba diving courtesy of CIC Camps; photo of bedroom courtesy of asdahome.com; photo of welcoming hands courtesy of imagearcade.com