For Moms Struggling with the Sabbath

"But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates."
Before I had kids, not working on the Sabbath was easy. But now that I'm a mom, some weeks I really struggle to keep the Sabbath holy. Most of my struggle comes from a single question: What constitutes work? Feeding the baby often feels like a lot of work, but obviously I can't not feed him. And what about dirty diapers, corralling hyper children, and warming up dinner? I consider all these things work, but not doing them would have seriously negative consequences. I don't think God wants me to starve my family or let them get diaper rash in the name of being holy.

Other things gnaw at me, too. Cooking dinner is work. So is picking up the house, doing dishes, and tossing in a load of laundry. I can avoid these things on the Sabbath if I plan ahead, though. For example, I can make frozen meals during the week (or even just make sure there are left overs on from the night before) so I can rest on the Lord's day. I can also make sure the dishes and laundry are done before Sabbath, and if I can't find the energy to pick up the biggest messes before Saturday, I can do my best not to be perturbed by them until the next day. The Sabbath also happens to be my "free day" - the day my hubby helps out more with the kids and gives me a little bit of time to do things for myself. This means I long to get out in the garden, or do a little organizing, or do some writing (for fun, not money). But all these things are work. Is it wrong for me to do them on the Sabbath? I cannot answer this question for you, but I know that for myself, as long as it doesn't feel like work, and as long as I feel rejuvenated afterward, I don't believe God minds - especially if I take the time to reflect on him and talk with him as I do them. Do you struggle with keeping the Sabbath holy? How do you cope with the responsibilities of wife and mother while still obeying God on his holy day? If you're struggling in this area, pray, pray, pray. God will help you come to terms with the Sabbath, and teach you what is right and good. The matter isn't completely settled in my life; I still long to rest more each Sabbath, but I know God is working in me, making me more like the Proverbs 31 Woman - even on the Sabbath.

1 comment

  1. Remember when Pharisees confronted Jesus about the Sabbath. It was at the time that Jesus was allowing His disciples to get something to "eat". Feeding your family, changing diapers, etc., are all necessities. God doesn't expect us to neglect our necessities. You are right, you can plan ahead and that would ease the stress a lot. My children know that Sundays we have one large meal late afternoon and then they can have a snack later. The large meal is prepared on Saturday. The left-overs are eaten on Sunday. When the children were small I had a Sabbath Basket. They knew they could only open it on Sundays after church. Inside the basket was biblical coloring books, bible stories, bible dvds, biblical games, etc. They would get to choose one and we'd sit as a family and either watch a movie or play a game. These items always led to a conversation about God. This was my way of helping my children to keep the Sabbath Holy. They looked forward to it and now that they are older I've heard them say that they miss the Sabbath basket. No matter what, the family is always together on Sunday and doing something together...not off in their own rooms. Hope this helps! Melodie