by Beth Parkinson
Creative Media Assistant, CBN Europe
‘Rest’ can almost seem to be a curse word in some parenting circles, and I don’t know about you, but there almost seems to be two extreme camps when it comes to rest and resting. For some, rest is an absolute, ‘self-care’ is king – a refraining from doing anything, time spent completely alone, and with no obligations at all, which, let’s be honest, in the current climate sounds like a far-fetched idea to most of us.
The other extreme seems to be that, as a parent, rest is seen as self-indulgent. It is as if, when we’re not doing anything, or if we’re taking a rest from something, we are wasting an opportunity to grow, to be better parents, or to have more well-rounded children.
I’m pretty sure most of us fall somewhere between these two camps.
When I was a child daydreaming at playing ‘mums and dads’, I may have been focused on the giggles and games a new child would bring, but even then, I knew that the role came with responsibilities. When we actively engage in parenthood, we know that there’s practical needs to be met as we guide our young charges into becoming responsible, kind, independent young adults. We can’t simply opt-out of our responsibilities as parents when we get tired, this isn’t a monthly streaming subscription we can stop and then start again. But, we can learn to recognise what drains us and what replenishes us. We can learn as a family, how to order our day to get the essentials done, but still have time to enjoy one another.
As Psalm 127 reminds us, children are a gift from God, one that we can enjoy in partnership with him. Not striving in just our own effort.
As a mum, I love to sleep in until my little girl wakes me… but I’m seeing more and more that while there is value in physical rest, there is so much to be gained in having spiritual rest in my Father; getting up early, sacrificing one type of rest, and going into the day with my heart soothed and my soul rested.
Finding that rest can be easier said than done. But even in the small moments, in choosing my housecleaning soundtrack to be a podcast that refreshes me and reminds me of my purpose, or worship music that brings me into His presence, rather than an audio book or movie repeated for entertainment and distraction.
Rest, I’m learning, is not about turning off. But about tuning in.
Joy will not fall into your lap day after day. Happiness may, on the good days, but it can be a fickle friend, gone the time it takes for a toddler tantrum to blow in. Instead, choose joy.
A Prayer for Mothers:
Lord, give rest to the mums around me. Show them the moments of stillness you want to gift them in their day. Teach them to still the busyness around them and tune into you. Be the rest that they need. In Jesus’ name, amen.
My Prayer as a Mother:
Thank you, Lord, that you gift us rest, that you build us as a family, just like it describes in Psalms. Help me partner with you, finding my rest, first in you above everything else, and taking your presence with me into my family days. Let me learn your unforced rhythms of grace. In Jesus’ name, amen