We start this season where we ended last season. With the idea of taking an informal sabbath one day a week, which is certainly not a new idea. In fact, God commands it in the Ten Commandments. But ... what if you are in a season of life where resting makes you want to laugh a little bit hysterically? Nicole and Sharon unpack what God wants and doesn't want from us when He tells us to REST. Join the discussion and ponder with us. Just how ought we to understand that command in today's busy world?
Welcome friend. It’s time to hit pause on your busy day and enjoy the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. Let’s ponder God’s Word together and find the encouragement we need to work well and rest well. The Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments podcast friend. This is episode 14 Sabbath-ing in Different Seasons. I’m Sharon Gamble, and it’s a joy to welcome you back for season two of our podcast. We’re all about rest here at Sweet Selah Ministries. So after our first season of podcasting was finished, we took a break. July is rest month for the ministry and Oh, it was nice to stop for a bit. Our last episode in season one, introduced the concept of Sabbath-ing. I shared from my own personal experience, my journey toward an informal Sabbath keeping that started when my children were teenagers. And you can hear all about it if you go to our website and check out episode 13. Nicole, my co host is in a decidedly different season of life. Four little girls, nine years old and younger. While I get to sip my tea and lounge about in my big brown chair after church on Sundays, Nicole, not so much. Little ones can’t just be ignored. In fact, they get quite loud if they are ignored even temporarily. There’s none of that quiet sitting for hours stuff going on. So Nicole decided to see what informal Sabbath-ing looked like for a young mom. And I can’t wait to hear what she discovered. Nicole teach us. What did you learn about God’s command to rest one day in seven while being a busy young mom?
Sharon, it’s so nice to be chatting with you again. It was really neat to hear how you did Sabbath and this is kind of how we started doing it. So, when I think of the Sabbath, I think of it as a Sunday for our family. And to be perfectly honest, Sundays were not a favorite day for awhile. It is super stressful to gather and dress four little girls under the age of 10 brush all their hair and be to church on time. And we were always missing a few shoes and definitely losing a few tempers. So that set the tone for the rest of the day where we didn’t view Sundays as restful at all. Josh and I really wanted to change that though. That’s not how we want our little girls to remember Sunday and not how we wanted to trudge through it either.
So initially we just started doing like a ‘Sabbath light’, I’ll call it. Saying no to big events, naps for everyone or quiet resting in their room while Josh and I watched a movie downstairs or tried to nap. But honestly that wasn’t much better. The kids would start to fight and we would get annoyed that our nap or movie time got interrupted and we would all be grumpy til bed. So by then the house would be a disaster and I would spend the rest of the evening rage cleaning and beating myself up for not doing this earlier. Not the best way to Sabbath.
So we knew we needed to change. We didn’t know how or even where to start really. But Josh had found this great book on developing good spiritual habits throughout the week to keep us focused on God. And there was this whole section on Sabbath rest that he showed me and he seemed pretty excited about it. So we read that together and I’d listened to a few podcasts on how different people did Sabbath-ing. And I even did a podcast on it with a lovely woman who’s been practicing Sabbath rest for several years. So I finally felt like we had the info needed to try this with our family. Any good habit we try to add into our lives doesn’t just happen. And we all know that. Eating healthy takes prep time. Exercising takes researching what workout to do, finding our sneakers and setting aside the right time.
This habit of rest was not just going to happen on its own, which is weird. You would think resting would be easier, but like you had said in the last podcast, Americans are just not wired to rest. And any parent of young children bemoans the fact that their kiddos weren’t born with an off switch or at least a hibernating mode. So it takes intentional planning, which sounds like more work, but I promise it was worth it. It was worth it for us. Just like when you climb a flight of stairs without getting winded, because you’ve been doing your cardio, the results make it worth it. Anything worth doing takes work and planning. It also really helps to have someone else in your life to do this with you. Sharon, when you started Sabbath-ing, what did Ray think of all this? Did you have anyone else in your life start this habit with you?
No, I’m not going to covet what you had. I was really on my own because Ray’s favorite activity on a Sunday afternoon was washing and polishing his car. Oh my goodness. I’ve actually never understood that mentality. You know, I go through the car wash twice a year and feel like the car’s clean again, you know, but anyways, at that season in our life, Sunday afternoons, we would wash down the car and, you know, scrub the tire things. What’s that part of the tire called?
Right, the rim. I mean, he had a really spiffy looking car and I did not have any rest on a Sunday. So when I started this whole Sabbath-ing, of course, I had to sort of prep him for the fact that the lovely Sunday car washing thing, wasn’t fitting with what I felt like God was calling me to do. So, but Ray loves the Lord and it’s hard to argue with all the commands about resting one day a week.
And so we started this new system, the girls were older, they were teenagers. We already did not let them do a job on a Sunday, like, you know, a Dunkin Donuts job or whatever. And we already didn’t let them do exercise like sports on a Sunday. So they already had things that they were restricted in. So I didn’t want to restrict them anymore. And I think they’re glad that I didn’t.
Yeah. That’s a good idea. It’s hard with teenagers sometimes.
It is hard with teenagers. It’s a little bit late to start this little habit with them. So I just did it myself and they all adjusted and they were all really sweet to me about it, but I was on my own.
That can be tough. I think it’s really hard for our men to lose a day of work throughout the week; to lose that Sunday because they have such limited time to do stuff around the house. And if it’s raining on Saturday, they lose that day of outside work. I know that’s really hard for Josh because he has things he needs to get done. So if it’s rainy Saturday, he’s like, well, but I gotta do it on Sunday.
And I know it. Yeah, it is tough.
Yeah. But he knows like right now is the busiest time of year for his job and he knows he needs the rest. So he is trying to make this a habit too, which is nice, but the struggle is real.
Yes, I bet it is. But I think it’s sweet that you guys are doing it together.
Yeah. It’s really helpful.
You said your girls were older and our girls, they’re just at the perfect age where they’re not too young to not understand and running around crazy. And they’re not old enough where it’s like, okay, this is more rules we have to follow. It was kind of easy to get them on board with this. So instead of just trying to send them upstairs to do things on their own, we thought we would try to get them on board and just kind of talk them through it. And so the very next day for our Bible reading, it was a story about the Israelites in the desert and how God had provided manna for them. And it was just too perfect. It’s like, God knew what he was doing. So we read this passage with the girls and it made it the perfect introduction to why we’re going to Sabbath and what we could do to make Sabbath an actual restful day. So I thought this passage would be great for our Sweet Selah moment today. Which is always the best part: reading God’s word.
Yes it is. And how fun we’re going to read what you read the day that you decided to start Sabbath. I love this.
Yes. So Sharon, would you start with verse 11? We’re doing Exodus 16, 11 through 31 today.
I will indeed. I’m very curious now. ‘Then the Lord said to Moses, I have heard the Israelites complaints. Now tell them in the evening you will have meat to eat. And in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord, your God,
That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning, the area around the camp was wet with dew.
When the dew evaporated a flaky substance, as fine as frost blanketed the ground,
Hmm. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. What is it? They asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them it is the food the Lord has given you to eat.
These are the Lord’s instructions. Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.
So the people of Israel did as they were told, some gathered a lot, some only a little,
But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot, had nothing leftover. And those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.
Then Moses told them, Do not keep any of it until morning.
But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and it had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them.
After this, the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family, according to its need and the sun became hot and the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared.
On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual four quarts for each person, instead of two, then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation.
He then told them, this is what the Lord commanded. Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a Holy Sabbath day set apart for the Lord. So bake or boil as much as you want today and set aside what is left for tomorrow.
So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning, the leftover food was wholesome and good without maggots or odor.
Moses said, eat this food today for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the Lord. There will be no food on the ground today.
You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.
Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food.
The Lord asked Moses, how long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions?
They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two day supply on the sixth day. So there’ll be enough for two days on the Sabbath day. You must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.
So the people did not gather any food on the seventh day.
The Israelites called the food manna. It was white, like coriander seed. And it tasted like honey wafers.’
I love how this just happened to be your reading Nicole.
Its just so perfect. And it’s so… It’s just cracking me up. ‘And then the people didn’t gather on a Sunday.’ Well that’s because God didn’t give them any manna to gather on a Sunday. He had to be really specific with them. Obvious. So, and I love that you included your girls in the discussion when you and Josh started this. I think that was so wise.
We weren’t sure if we were going to or not. We weren’t sure how, cause I didn’t want to make it a legalistic thing. I didn’t want like, okay, we’re doing this and we’re doing this. And I like to have like, you know, some sort of plan. I didn’t want to overwhelm them with this. So the next day, as I was trying to figure out how to introduce this to the girls or if we should, we read that passage and I’m like, guys, this is so cool. We’re talking about doing Sabbath as a family and what are some things we can do to like gather food the night before so we can rest because it’s hard to take care of a family of six and Mama needs help. So how can you help Mama out? You know?
I love that. That’s right. It’s even related to one of the main chores a woman has every day of the week.
Yeah, exactly. I love that God… This passage is so cool cause it just showed how God provided for them despite their bad attitude, because we often have bad attitudes and also how he made a space for Sabbath rest even in the desert. You know, he cared enough to help them take care of some important details, like what they were going to eat so that they could rest. Life was really hard for them during that time. But I love how God was instilling in his people, his pattern of rest for them during the hard times.
I love it too. And I love that he called it a gift. Yes. This is a gift. It’s not like I’m trying to make life harder for you. I’m saying I’ll let food last two days that normally doesn’t last two days because hey, kick back, put your feet up,
Right. It’s my gift of rest to you. So settle that for the night before and rest. Yeah. Josh and I kept waiting for life to slow down before we could plan out a restful Sunday. But it just, it just never happened. So we’ve learned to rest in the middle of the chaos and just do the best we can while we’re exhausted. Knowing that this will kind of get to be second nature after a while. If we aim for making Sabbath rest the habit or the rule, and then when we don’t and it kind of falls apart, that’s the exception. I think that’s what we’re trying to, trying to get going in our life is that pattern of rest.
I like that, I do.
Sharon, have you seen this in your own life? Has resting changed for you and was it hard to get back to it if you had one of those days?
When the resting didn’t happen?
You know, if I have to go two weeks without that Sabbath rest I am panting for it. My body now is so used to that rhythm that it’s really hard for me to miss now. It’s interesting how your body gets used to that work, work, work, work, rest, work, work, work, rest. So, it’s not as hard anymore to get back into it because I miss it so much. I just miss it now, which is really, really nice. So, but I did struggle at first because my work wasn’t done either. I don’t think anybody’s work is ever like just magically done on a Sunday.
So you have to leave it in the middle and that is a challenge. It’s always a challenge. But when we’re stopping in the middle, we’re trusting, we’re trusting that the work will get done later and that God is going to give us what we need and actually more energy because we stopped to get back into it again. And you know, some things I make exceptions for. Like my dad had open heart surgery in November and my mom could not drive to Maine Medical Center. So we kids took turns, driving her to see my daddy. Well, if he needed to be seen in ICU on a Sunday,
Can’t be like, Oh, I’m resting guys.
Yeah. Sorry about that. Hopefully he’s still alive the next day, you know, seriously, literally. So obviously there are exceptions, but I did find that I had to be careful because a lot of showers take place on a Sunday. A lot of parties take place on a Sunday. And if I said yes to every single invitation, I wouldn’t have a pattern anymore. So I really think that it’s staying in step with the Spirit and I think that’s the way God wants it to be. If we keep it just an ironclad rule, there’s no grace in it. There’s no mercy. There’s no kindness. But if we each time say, Lord, I want this day of rest. Is this an exception where you, like when you healed the withered hand, Jesus in the synagogue or is this something I should do? So, I kind of feel like there’s no formula, it’s a personal walk with the Lord in his Spirit. God wants us to lean in close for decision making. And I think the way you put it is great, there’ll be exceptions, but it shouldn’t be the pattern. The pattern should be work, work, work, work, rest. A gift.
No, I love that. There really are no rules or perfect ways to have a good Sabbath. And I’m trying really hard not to go there with the kids to like, Oh, we can’t do that. It’s the Sabbath. You know, it’s just making it, like you said, ‘God, today should we go to this event? Is this the shower to go to today?’ But I think if our heart is in the right place and we’re listening to God, we’ll know what things to say yes to and what things to say no to, you know?
So speaking of the heart, it was cool to see in the passage how God was giving grace to his people, even though they weren’t listening and they had bad attitudes, he still gave them the gift of rest. And I’m finding that Sabbath-ing is way more about my heart than anything else.
Particularly me as the Mama. Moms are kind of that center, that thermostat of the family and how we are feeling usually sways the rest of the family in that direction. Let me tell you, I am the queen of motherhood martyrdom some days, and we did finally manage to have a fairly restful Sunday. I would still find myself grumbling and slamming pots in the kitchen and picking up everyone else’s dishes and making food for them so that they could rest. And instead of just stopping and going and sitting with them, if they were all being still, I was just pining away in the kitchen while they had their rest. So that’s not good. Uh, so God has been convicting me on that. I’m so glad that God still offers me Sabbath rest, even when I’m grumbling in the kitchen. There’s a quote by Saint Augustine. He says our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee. There’s so much truth in that statement. And no matter how clean my house is, even though that’s nice for three minutes, that it stays clean. I’m never truly resting until my heart is in the right place to receive this rest as this free gift from God. You know it’s taken some practice to get to that place of accepting Sabbath as a gift from God. And it’s not something that I have to earn and God still nudges me when I feel like I have to earn it. But like you said, stopping in the middle of work, the work is never done. And I think it’s really humbling for me, for us, you know, to stop in the middle of a mess and see that the world still turns without us, that it’s God that’s making the world turn and not me.
My work can go undone for a little bit and I can rest in the middle of my mess because of him because he’s done the work; he’s finished the work for me. I can just rest and have a Sabbath.
Absolutely. You can. And it elevates the importance of rest, I think.
You know, I mean, we elevate the importance of work all the time. I must get this done. I must get that done, but we don’t put any value on rest. And when God says, one day out of seven, buddy, you just stop and rest. This is important. It actually takes rest from being viewed as lazy, which we are very capable of thinking it is to being necessary.
That’s really true.
And if we think of it that way, Oh my word, I better rest, or I will not have energy to do what I need to do this week. It’s almost like taking your vitamins, you know?
That’s true. And then you can work more efficiently when you’re rested. You know, there’s a gift to that.
Sharon, so did you start your Sabbath-ing habit first or your Sweet Selah moments first with God?
Ah, definitely the Sweet Selah moments. I started those when Mary was a baby and you know, started my every morning meeting with him, every morning meeting with him, and the system of Bible reading I did took me through the Bible every five years.
Yeah. So it, it took a while to get through that, but by the time Mary was 15 that’s three times through the Old Testament and it actually took me through the New Testament twice. So six times through the New Testament.
Therefore I had run into Sabbath a lot at that point.
You’d seen that word a few times.
Because when you read through the whole Bible, you know, you don’t skip Leviticus, you don’t skip Deuteronomy and the places where Sabbath shows up, although it also shows up in the Psalms, it shows up in the Prophets, it shows up in the New Testament. So, I just kept getting hit with this. Why in the world am I not doing this? And so that’s it, it came out of my Bible study really. It came out of reading the word and wanting to obey it.
That’s awesome. Yeah. I think that same thing here. I think once I started learning and practicing those Sweet Selah days and the daily habit of quiet time, that has really helped me to start forming the habit of Sabbath without the false guilt of rest. You know, like you just said, making rest an importance and not, Oh, I guess I’ll, you know, I’ll just rest. And those times of rest with God have been so refreshing. It’s left me feeling recharged and ready to tackle the rest of the week and those moments have prompted me to pursue Sabbath rest for our whole family. Cause I want them to, I want my girls to see that as I have four daughters and someday they might be four mamas and I want them to have that heart for rest and the attitude for it and not become martyrs like their mother groaning in the kitchen. So bad sometimes. (Laughing).
Setting the rhythm early is a great idea. It is.
Yes. I’m hoping it sticks for them. I’m hoping it’s something that they would want to do. So, I asked my girls, what would Sabbath-ing look like for you? And they came up with some really great ideas like reading, going for walks. Cuddling. Clara was big on cuddling, my three year old, family movies or board games and coloring and just talking with them about that was kind of a good reminder, that Sabbath-ing doesn’t have to be about sitting very still and being very quiet and not smiling. That we can have fun with the girls and that that’s rest. It’s something different than what we do throughout the week. So we were trying to see what we could not do in order to rest. Doing restful things is a great way to Sabbath rest as well. Um, any activity we do together as a family is just going to make some really great family memories or just getting out in God’s creation. There’s nothing like just walking. I think you had said when you were a kid you’d gone for walks.
Every Sunday afternoon, my parents took us for a walk and really, that was a wonderful rhythm.
Oh yeah. Just being outside and getting out of like the hum of life is nice.
So I asked them what they didn’t want to do for Sabbath-ing and they all said in unison ‘chores!’
That’s funny cause that’s the whole point.
Your kids got the entire point.
So they get it.
You don’t have to do chores on Sunday.
I said okay girls, what can we do to make this happen then? So we kind of talked about our normal, crazy Sunday morning routine. And I said, what should we do the night before to make Sundays not so stressful and frantic. And we came up with two things, they’re going to lay out their clothes and shoes.
Ah, shoes are important.
Yes, they are. And we’re going to make sure the dishwasher is empty cause that’s my girl’s job. They unload the dishwasher. I said, girls, if you unload it Saturday night, then all day Sunday, you don’t have to do the dishes. You know, you don’t have to look for your clothes and they were all for that. And I think then for me, I’m going to do food prep the night before, or we’ll just do take out on the way home and then I’m not going to take on any new chores or projects on Sunday. I think I’m just going to maintain the house at whatever level of cleanliness it is, good, bad or indifferent, it’s just going to stay there. But it was really good to walk with the girls through that process. I think it was way more easy to convince them to do extra chores the night before, if they saw the value of rest on Sunday and actually today on the way here, they’re like, Oh, what’s today Mama? Today is Friday. They said, Oh, tomorrow is Saturday, it’s chores day before we get to rest.
Oh really. I love that.
I’m like, yes. My eight year old said that. I thought that was so cute that she was, you know?
And you know what, I think that’s the goal. We should be, when is it Sabbath?
You know, like that’s the best day of the week.
When is it Sabbath? Oh, I get to rest in three days. Oh, I get to worship Jesus in church.
Oh I love that.
It should be the highlight of the week.
Yeah. And it sounds like, I mean, Nicole, already?
I know, they picked it up quicker than I did.
These young minds, you know? Sharon, what are your daughters doing now about Sabbath-ing? I know they have young kiddos too.
They do. And each of them thankfully are church goers, which is a blessing. They both are very active in their churches. So Sunday is already a set apart day, in the fact that they do church and they’re working through it like you are, how do we not be legalistic about this? How do we…? What is allowed and what isn’t like, one of my daughters loves crafting. It’s not a chore for her. In fact, sitting and reading is dull for her. She’d much rather be crafting. So she crafts, you know? So I think they’re looking at it as how do we make it a different day? How do we not do the normal work stuff without making it a legalistic trap? So it’s been fun, dialogue-ing with them about it because you and I are talking about it right now. And I think it’s got their wheels turning too. What can I do? How can I inculcate this into my kids in a way that makes it, ‘when is it Sabbath?’ Not, Oh no. It’s Sabbath.
Right. Oh great. We have to…
Oh yeah. Well, I read something too that said that if you work with your mind during the week, you Sabbath with your body. And if you work with your body, you Sabbath your mind. So it’s not just like everyone rest, everyone sit still. For your daughter reading is not restful for her. She’s very restless and I’m similar. I love a good book, but I love to be moving. So I’m knitting, I’m sewing. I’m crafting too. So I love that. There’s so much freedom in Christ and so much grace. And you know, if Sabbath-ing rest for my husband is out cutting down trees and stacking logs have at it my love. (laughing) I’ll be sitting in my hammock watching you but chop away.
Yes, yes, yes. And I think, you know, even where in that passage of scripture, we read where it said those that gathered a lot, had enough, those gathered a little had enough, there was uniqueness, even in the gathering of the manna. I think there’s uniqueness in all of us and it’s between us and the Lord. How do I honor you on your day and how do I obey the command to rest, to not do the normal stuff?
Yeah. Yeah. And if our hearts are there, he’s going to give us that rest.
He is. He is.
All through this, you know, prepping for the podcast and doing the Sabbath stuff this verse from Matthew 11:28 just kept popping in my head. I’m going to read it. It says, ‘Then Jesus said, come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.’ And it’s not, all of you who have worked super hard or not those who perfectly planned your Sabbath, but those who are weary.
And isn’t that me? Isn’t that all of us.
It’s all of us. Yes.
So I so desperately want that rest. I so desperately need it. And I’m willing to continue to push through the Sabbath day rest flops, when I try to do too much or make it work on my own strength instead of just resting in him. And his grace keeps me going as this becomes a part of our family’s life. So Sharon, I want to thank you for first encouraging me to start this journey. I’m seeing how your life has been so blessed by these patterns of seasons of resting in Jesus has sparked that desire to find that same pattern in our lives. So thank you.
And it’s fun watching you start this. I just have this vision of you and Josh laying on your bellies on the floor with the girls coloring and thinking how special is that? Because when is there time in normal life to just hang out and color with your kids? Not very often, and there’s nothing else to do, because you can’t work?
So you know, break out the crayons. And I think its just such a better way to look at Sabbath. In the olden days when my grandparents were young Sabbath meant memorizing your Sunday school primmer and all your Bible verses and sitting still and reading nothing interesting and not playing and not playing ball and all that stuff.
And my theory is that the reason that Sabbath went out of popularity is that that next generation said, no, no thank you. Right? So Sabbath had become in my grandparents’ generation to some degree, a chore.
It had become its own chore, the opposite of gift. And for you and Josh to decide to walk and color and read books and the cuddling thing, I’m gonna have to tell Ray it’s Sabbath. Let’s cuddle. So, I just think it makes it a day to look forward to, which is the way God planned it.
Well, my goodness, it’s time to stop talking and it’s hard to stop. There’s so much to say about this topic.
It is a fun topic.
Well let me close us in a word of prayer. And here we go, Lord, as we endeavor to honor you in all we do, including how we seek to rest one day in seven, God, help us to hear your voice. Help us to avoid the temptation to create rules instead of listening to you. Help us to avoid rationalizing work when it would be wiser to rest, help us Lord to honor you in every single way. We love you. We thank you that you command us to rest. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen. How about you podcast listener? What are your thoughts about informal Sabbath- ing? We’d love to hear from you. You can find us @sweetselah.org/podcast. Read our show notes or write a comment, please like, and follow us and tell your friends about the podcast too. We would love to get some reviews too if you wouldn’t mind. Reviews will increase our audience reach tremendously. But mostly thanks for listening. We love spending time with you each Tuesday. Next week join us for episode 15. It’s called Attitudes. Come join us as we explore Jesus’s words in Matthew on an interesting twist on what our attitudes should be like. Until then, may God bless you and give you a Sweet Selah rest.
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We are so glad you stopped for awhile with us. The Sweet Selah Moments podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for joining us.
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