This article appears in the Fall 2019 edition of Faith Hudson Magazine.
“You must be busy!”
This proclamation, frequently made to me by people who have just learned that I have two children at or under the age of two, is an understatement at best. Have you ever seen those little signs they sell in craft stores that say, “All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus?” Yeah, that’s me. Every day. But the good news is that in this perpetual-motion, loud, completely bonkers stage of my life, Jesus promises: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
Sometimes the rest Jesus offers isn’t my idea of the word “rest.” For instance, our toddler is in that stage of life when she wants to know if I mean what I say. She is testing the limits of everything, and she enjoys it when I lose my temper. I have to work really hard every day (and sometimes every hour of every day) to not absolutely lose it when I’m angry. This is perhaps the most frustrating thing I have ever done, and I used to work for Congress.
My version of “rest” would be total compliance from our daughter, but God is using these experiences to sanctify me and show me where I am still coveting sin in my heart. The truth is, sometimes I just want to get angry. Satan lies. He tells me I can’t hold it together anyway, and giving into anger would just be so satisfying. Jesus promises real rest — spiritual rest. But I have to work for it. I have to be in God’s word daily to know the truth, to pray daily (or hourly!), to respond to the Holy Spirit.
We believe that God was showing us what real rest is when he set aside the Sabbath day and made it holy. Just like giving of time or resources, it takes trust in Him and in Jesus that we can really find rest and refreshment. In our family, we try to honor the Lord’s Day by resting from our ordinary work and spending time together as a family, worshipping God, and learning about Him. I try to avoid cooking and dirtying dishes as much as possible on Sunday, so I make casseroles on Friday and Saturday to ensure we have leftovers in the house. Laundry is down to a minimum and any necessary online or in-store purchases are made by Saturday night. These preparations, in a house with two young children, really only amount to a couple of free hours on a Sunday to study the Bible or nap. But we have found that God blesses that time — and I find myself needing a little less coffee, but wanting more Jesus, every day.
(PS – I might still drink the coffee, though)