My kids’ school year came to an end last Wednesday. As the last day approached, I could feel the weariness in my body and mind. There was a part of me that felt pure relief also when I picked them up on the last day, yet, I fought back tears in my eyes as I realized, “Whew! We made it, and they are all ok.”
As a mother, I’ve carried angst about the impact of this past year on my children. I’ve worried about not being there for them enough, or what it’s like for them to watch a dear loved one face cancer, or how they would handle the change in their routine and influx of extra help from friends, family and sitters, or how they will process the loss and suffering they’ve seen in our city. Seeing their three smiling faces on Wednesday reminded me that in spite of this school year’s joys and challenges, we are all ok.
I am also aware that my body and spirit are tired. It’s that kind of tiredness that comes from walking journeys that stretched me beyond belief in my trust in God. On more than one occasion in the last few months, I’ve looked at my husband and said, “I just am not sure of the way through or I feel like I cannot go on.” When I look back on these last months, God showed me the way and provided the strength and grace to keep on walking, over and over again.
I have no doubt, though, that even as this school year is over, and with God’s grace carrying me through, I seek ways to rest.
A few years ago at a conference for spiritual directors, I sat with a group of my friends at lunch discussing the idea of how we can take sabbath in our lives. Many around the table did not have kids and spoke of taking an entire day off a week for a sabbath day. To be honest, I was envious of this thought, and I could feel the growing resentment in me as I listened to this. My inner monologue was going ninety to nothing as I thought of the basic day to day tasks as a mother that would never go away if I tried to take a sabbath day – laundry, meals, getting a toddler to nap, and the basic care of children.
A friend, sensing my frustration, said, “What if you thought about sabbath in another way? What if you thought about it as Renewing Energy in Spirit Time?” She encouraged me to think about moments I could incorporate rituals of R.E.S.T. instead of taking an entire day for Sabbath. She encouraged me to look for moments that allowed God to renew my spirit, and she reminded me of Jesus’ words in Matthew’s Gospel, “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.”
Her words remain with me over the years, and I remember them now as I look for ways that I can seek rest in the middle of life with kids, work, and journeying with my grandfather. On one hand I know I have a role in carving out time for rest, and on the other, I savor the promise of Jesus’ words, “I will give you rest.” I know that R.E.S.T. is not mine to do alone. Like we talked about last week, Jesus is standing right next to me offering his hand to help.
Rituals of R.E.S.T.
I am going to carve out time to invite God to come in and Renew my Energy in Spirit Time. Here are a few rituals of R.E.S.T. I am going to try to include over the next ten weeks as our children embark on a slower summer schedule, and yet the rest of life continues.
- Prayer Time: My morning prayer time can continue. Even though my kids will not be waking up to alarms, I plan to still set my alarm before they are awake and savor my morning quiet and rest with God and in God.
- Savor my morning coffee: Sometimes, our morning schedules are a rush, and I feel I am drinking coffee at a sprint. The slower morning start will allow me to savor and linger over my cup of coffee longer. I might even take it outside and drink it on the patio and stare at the birds, trees, and sunrise.
- Pancake Saturday: Summer weekends in our home, tend to mean no children’s activities. Chris began a tradition many years ago of making pancakes on Saturday. This past year, our weekends have been rather full, and I hope we can implement this beautiful family tradition again of gathering in our PJ’s around the kitchen island cooking and eating pancakes together.
- Mesa Moments and other Prayers of Consideration: I hope to use the Prayer of Consideration that I write about in Busy Lives & Restless Souls and pause and consider what is before me, and notice who and what I encounter on a daily basis, and thank God for the gift of those encounters. Summer is when nature is at its peak in Louisiana, and I hope to take many “Mesa Moments“.
As I think about the coming months, I am turning to God and sharing with God about the weariness I feel and my hope to renew and refresh and rest. I trust that God will turn what I hope for into a reality in ways beyond what I can imagine.
What about you?
Are you tired? Do you seek rest? How might God restore you through rituals of R.E.S.T.?
Scriptures for Support:
- Matthew 11: 28-30 – “Come to me all who are weary, I will give you rest”
- Job 11:18-19 – “You will be secure because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety”
- Upcoming Conferences and Retreats:
- Trying to Say God Conference at Notre Dame Univeristy- Panelist for “Platform Building and the Foundations of Humility”
- USCCB’s Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America– Lead Panelist
- St. Joseph’s Academy Alumnae Retreat: Making Room for God in the Busyness (Open to any graduates of SJA in Baton Rouge)
- Rosaryville Women’s Silent Retreat: Everything is Holy Now (open to women ages 18 and up)