Sunday, October 9, 2011


The Eve of my very first Shabbat.

I know that I promised an update on our homeschool year.  But I just have to take a minute to tell you that it is 11:00pm, and I have finished all of my chores with an hour to spare before the official start of my very first self-regulated Shabbat! 

Shabbat is the Jewish word for Sabbath, a day of rest and cessation from work.  It was the fourth commandment out of the ten that God gave to the Israelites.  Somehow in our fast-paced, modern world, we have distanced ourselves from honoring the Sabbath.  We feel as if we do not need one, or we do not have the luxury of taking one because of all that there is to do.  Modern teachers tell us that we live beneath a new covenant, no longer bound by the Mosaic covenant.  I know that this is true in many respects, but I also believe that the ten commandments were not just handed out to bind us.  They are GOOD for us!  We do not think twice about keeping our lips from lying, or honoring our parents.  But that Sabbath command is...just...well...idealistic!  So we go about our lives, in a tizzy.  Forgetting that God himself rested on the seventh day after creating the world, and that maybe...just maybe...there is something to it.

For the past couple of years I have attempted to make Sunday my "rest day."  However, I have never held myself to it!!  Sure, I would try to keep Sundays as simple as possible.  You know, easier meals and kicking back in sweatpants after church.  Here and there, if I was really behind on laundry I would sneak in a load.  Or if I was behind on paperwork or school prep, I would take time to work on those tasks, thinking that they really weren't "work" but were quiet activities.  So I guess you could say I was practicing a half-Shabbat!  However, a half Shabbat--one without set guidelines or any a Shabbat that is easily broken!  On those Sundays when I was desperate for rest and actually honored my no-work rules--I often woke up on Monday morning to mountains of mess.  Like a bad Shabbat hangover.  Or found myself standing in the kitchen on my blessed appointed rest day, wondering what take-out to find for supper since I was NOT going to cook!  These are not restful practices.  I was enjoying the small break, but definitely not honoring the Sabbath.  Honoring the Sabbath--now that takes forethought!

I listened to a recent podcast, although don't ask me which one because I honestly do not remember...about taking a Shabbat with INTENTION.  The Israelites had to plan ahead for their day of rest, in order to fully honor it.  Manna had to be collected on the sixth day, because otherwise there would be no manna to eat on the seventh.  So today I figured out what my Shabbat would look like, and what I needed to do to preserve that day as purely restful and honoring to God.

It is 11pm, one hour until my rest day--Sunday.  I just finished putting away the mountains of laundry, which required me to tiptoe into the boys' room while they were asleep.  Okay, I felt a little bit like the laundry fairy!  They will wake up to a fresh closet of folded, clean clothes.  My husband will not have to ask me in the morning which drying rack contains clean underwear!  I did a load of cloth diapers at 9pm, when normally I would have just thrown up my hands and gone to bed and saved it for Sunday--justifying laundry on Sunday as a necessary evil of cloth diapering.  Excuse queen.  There are now clean, folded diapers in the nursery.  I spent the bulk of the day cutting up some veggies that my in-laws blessed us with!  Since tomorrow is hands-off as far as meal prep, I knew that I had to make use of those fresh items TODAY, or risk them spoiling by Monday.  I looked at the pile of fresh, organically grown butternut squash, tomatoes, and an entire box of apples...and made butternut squash and apple soup, homemade salsa, and apple crisp.  Now tomorrow, instead of tripping over laundry baskets and making a frozen pizza, I will be enjoying my family over a cozy autumn meal that is already prepared.  Now, was this hard?  YES!!  It took every ounce of my energy and lots of help from my husband since I also have three little ones running around my feet all day.  But I resolved to enjoy the pleasure of hard work for one day, so that tomorrow I can truly, truly REST.

I have found that I desperately need my Shabbat.  It is silly and crazy-ridiculous of me to ever think that I am superhuman and do not need rest--that somehow the rule of resting one day out of seven does not apply to my busy life in this modern time.  Honestly, I believe we need to take a Sabbath rest more than ever before.  To shut off our brains for one day.  To listen for God.

This whole Shabbat thing is a work in progress for me.  But I can tell you with honesty, that I am really, really looking forward to tomorrow!  I can do six days of hard work knowing that one day of rest is coming.  And next week hopefully I will be ready for Shabbat much earlier than 11:59pm.  Baby steps.

Making time for cuddles.

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