Tuesday, October 7, 2014


We've been thinking about what it means to make Sunday a day of rest.  The idea of rest is very appealing when you are chasing after nine month twins, I'll give you that. But in a larger sense, setting aside Sunday as a day of rest gives a beautiful rhythm to the week.  An order.  And doesn't it make sense that God created it to be just so, presenting us with this gift of sabbath, knowing that we, just like God, need rest.

We have been taking small steps to set Sunday aside.  The easy part is spending time together.  We have always been a family that prioritizes family time over a lot of other good things: sports, hobbies, exciting adventures, even time with friends or at organized church activities.  It might be going for a walk, a bike ride, reading together or playing a game, but more often it's just embarking upon our own little projects and games in one another's company.  I love the picture above, which has everyone at the table doing different things: Ben is feeding babies, Zosia is helping Lily with homework, and Hugo, not pictured, is across the table peeling labels off of fruit (awesome way to keep a three year old occupied for thirty minutes!).  It's a great example of what I mean about being together but embarking upon our own projects.  

The tricky part is making our time together restful for everyone, especially as two adults who have five little children in their charge!  Fun is the easy part, restful is harder.  This past Sunday, late in the afternoon, I realized I had not gotten off of my feet yet that day.  And I hadn't really been doing anything aside from the regular day-to-day stuff of having a big family (getting kids dressed for church, feeding little people lunch, going to pick out a few pumpkins and mums at the garden center)!  I had made sure to pick out a simple dinner I could get started in the morning, and tried to get ahead on housework during the week.  Ben swooped in and gave me time for a fifteen minute catnap, which always seems to do the trick, and that gave me a feeling of rest amid activity.  

But here's the thing: I know that it is possible to actually rest, in a kick up your heels sort of way.  I did it when I was pregnant with the twins (just this time last year, come to think of it).  But making the decision to rest in a setting that has a lot going on, whether it's two members of a couple pursuing demanding careers, families where both parents are working (I don't know how you do it, guys!), a single parent, or a bustling family just like ours, does mean letting go of things being "just so," and for our current stage in life, a little extra planning.  It also means saying no to a great many things, which is hard!

I am hoping that with time, our small efforts will start to shift the way that things feel.  I would love to find a sense of peace and order at whatever stage of life we might find ourselves, and I really do believe that taking a sabbath is one of the keys.  

Have any of you tried or succeeded in making Sunday a day of rest?  What does it look like for you? 


Margo said...

Is that a potpie modeled after the one Smitten Kitchen just posted? I was thinking I wanted to do a single one instead of mess with individual ones. Yours looks so delicious.

We are pretty careful with our Sundays! We stay home in the afternoon and nap or read. In the evening, we always eat popcorn and whatever else is around (but no cooking!!), and often spend that time with grandparents or friends. I'd really like to make Sunday screen-free, too, but that hasn't happened yet. We don't do any type of business or work (not even church meetings - although we do go to the service). We don't shop or run errands or do yardwork or housework. Sometimes I sew if it's fun.

Julianne Van't land said...

I stumbled upon your blog sometime last year while I was also in the midst of the monstrosity of twin pregnancy. Your not-so-little family is so lovely and I so enjoy your reflections about your life together.
I don't know how you manage a family of five (except, I suppose, the way we manage anything - one joyful, wild moment at a time!) - my two seem to fill our home with chaos and happiness that is always just more than I can manage.

I would say rest for our crew looks like lots of family walks around our neighborhood and nearby forest preserve. While the babies soak it all in, my husband and I have time to process this mess of life and dream about what may lie ahead!


Adele said...

Margo, the potpie is a coincidence! Good autumn food, I guess. :-) Mine is Joy of Cooking filling and Better Homes and Gardens Old Fashioned Baking crust: I tend to improvise with pot pie because I make it so much.

Your Sundays sound great! I need to start implementing a whole-family nap!

Adele said...

Julianne, it's so nice to cross paths with you! And congratulations on your twins!

I am totally with you on the walks: I think it's one of the best ways to relax with babie(s!) in your midst. :-)

Lauren Oliver said...

I have also been working on my restful Sabbaths...
If you have a moment to rest and read, check out Sabbath, by Wayne Muller. (Here:

I've been reading through it slowly this summer/fall, and it is probably one of the BEST books I have ever read. It's rich with reasons why we need Sabbath and need to work toward having at least little Sabbath moments in our modern lives (and it's also such poetic writing, it's a pleasure to read). I think he was a protege of Henri Nouwen, so no wonder I like it!

Adele said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Lauren! I'm ordering it, and then we need to do a long distance book club.

Lauren Oliver said...

Agreed, Adele! Let me know what you think of it! Half of me wants to give it away to share its amazing-ness, and half of me wants to keep it and read it over and over again. So, perhaps I will be ordering more copies myself!