Saturday, January 22, 2011
Anyway, after these friends had moved away and we were in the Air Force and living in GA and Isaac was tiny, I remember talking to my good friend. (Her name's Joanna, btw) By this time, they had added twins to their family. In our phone conversation, she was talking about Rest Time at their house. I remember her saying,"As long as their are children in my house, there will be Rest Time." or something like that. I really took this to heart. At the time I had only one child, and he did NOT like to sleep (still doesn't). He was never a good napper and maybe that's why I grabbed onto the idea of a Rest Time. I also recalled my Grandmother telling me, when I was very young staying with her, "You don't have to sleep. Just lay there and rest." Joanna's rule in her house seemed to have some good footing, in my opinion.
As if my Grandmother wasn't enough, I learned at a ZOE conference a few years ago more about Sabbath than I had known before. I'm not just talking about the resting on the 7th day that the LORD commanded in the bible. Having a day for rest and worship is so important, He commanded His people observe it. Because our family values that, we try to limit our extra activities on Sunday. Beyond worship and sometimes a meal with friends, our family tries to mostly stay at home -- resting, playing games, being outside. What Rest Time is at our house is a daily Sabbath.
Back to one of Joanna's comments, "It's important for my kids to be able to be alone and to be quiet for a while." Being alone was so important, she made her twin boys have rest time in different rooms. I used to hate being alone. I am a pretty extroverted person and enjoy people and the energy that conversation and company gives me. But through our Rest Times, I have learned to treasure the quiet solitary moments I have. Rest Time lasts for about an hour at our house. When Eric is at work and the boys are at school, I still make Jaylie go rest in her room for a bit. A lot of times, she will go to sleep. Other days she just reads or plays with small toys on her bed. I use my hour to read (sometimes for fun, sometimes the Bible), to write in my prayer journal, to catch up on small things I am behind on (this isn't very restful, but makes for a smoother evening). Most days I do actually lay down on my bed. I have a pretty good view of our backyard and I like to watch the birds and squirrels and the trees in the wind (when we have some) I have also been known to have a little nap (luxury of luxuries!)
I have held to a daily schedule that includes REST for far longer than most of my friends. Perhaps it is because I have come to need it so much. I do notice a difference in my patience level when I have not stopped and slowed down for a little bit. I'm sure Eric and the kids notice too. I like to think of Rest Time as a little Sabbath; a daily Sabbath. It's a little time to stop and rest knowing the the LORD is taking care of whatever it is I'm NOT doing at the time. It's an acknowledgment of my place in His plan. He's got this. I can rest for a bit. And I find myself renewed and ready for the remainder of the day.
I really hope that my kids will leave our home rested, not rushed or hurried. I hope that they will take time to rest as they enter adulthood and not cram every minute full of activity and noise. God's voice is small and hushed sometimes. I hope that they can lean on Rest Time and learn to hear the voice of their Maker once their lives are busy and full of adult things. This is one habit I hope they will take with them.
Friday, January 14, 2011
From Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, 1596.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.
Friday, January 7, 2011
The Eternal Goodness by John Greenleaf Whittier
O Friends! with whom my feet have trod
The quiet aisles of prayer,
Glad witness to your zeal for God
And love of man I bear.
I trace your lines of argument;
Your logic linked and strong
I weigh as one who dreads dissent,
And fears a doubt as wrong.
But still my human hands are weak
To hold your iron creeds:
Against the words ye bid me speak
My heart within me pleads.
Who fathoms the Eternal Thought?
Who talks of scheme and plan?
The Lord is God! He needeth not
The poor device of man.
I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground
Ye tread with boldness shod;
I dare not fix with mete and bound
The love and power of God.
Ye praise His justice; even such
His pitying love I deem:
Ye seek a king; I fain would touch
The robe that hath no seam.
Ye see the curse which overbroods
A world of pain and loss;
I hear our Lord`s beatitudes
And prayer upon the cross.
More than your schoolmen teach, within
Myself, alas! I know:
Too dark ye cannot paint the sin,
Too small the merit show.
I bow my forehead to the dust,
I veil mine eyes for shame,
And urge, in trembling self-distrust,
A prayer without a claim.
I see the wrong that round me lies,
I feel the guilt within;
I hear, with groan and travail-cries,
The world confess its sin.
Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed trust my spirit clings;
I know that God is good!
Not mine to look where cherubim
And seraphs may not see,
But nothing can be good in Him
Which evil is in me.
The wrong that pains my soul below
I dare not throne above,
I know not of His hate, - I know
His goodness and His love.
I dimly guess from blessings known
Of greater out of sight,
And, with the chastened Psalmist, own
His judgments too are right.
I long for household voices gone.
For vanished smiles I long,
But God hath led my dear ones on,
And He can do no wrong.
I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.
And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.
No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts He gave,
And plead His love for love.
And so beside the Silent Sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.
I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.
O brothers! if my faith is vain,
If hopes like these betray,
Pray for me that my feet may gain
The sure and safer way.
And Thou, O Lord! by whom are seen
Thy creatures as they be,
Forgive me if too close I lean
My human heart on Thee!