Gracing Our Kids With Rest

Well, the Thrive Moms retreat happened.

What's been replaying through your head since Saturday? For me, it's Jessi's reminder that God is not yelling at us, he's yelling FOR us.

God has been chasing me down with this powerful truth for about a year now, and I loved hearing it again, this time from Psalm 32:7.

If this last year has been about redeeming my idea of how God sees me, last year was about rest. Resting actively, by rethinking the Sabbath, creating margin in my life, trusting him, and protecting myself from the hamster wheel while still pursuing the things God's gifted me for. And resting passively, by sleeping. Sweet slumber, right?

On this side of it, I have to tell you - having a year about rest was good for me, it really was. But it isn't all about me. Or you.

We're moms, so part of our calling is taking these good things, the things God kneads into us, and going beyond ourselves to put them on our families.

Do you ever get tired of everything your kids have to do? To be super honest, I think I'm in the middle of a big 4 month postpartum hormone dip or spike or something, and I've had all the feelings. One of those waves of emotion came right after the retreat, actually. I walked in and was instantly overwhelmed with all the toys the kids had left laying around from before I left that morning. Two Frozen costumes, an orange princess dress, a few tiaras, a tray with a bowl, spoon, and coffee cup on it, a book or two, and a green recorder. I was frustrated that everything was out, but I was also frustrated that they had to put it back. My four year old is great about cleaning up when we ask her to. Our two year old is...not so great. She needs a lot of direction and says things like, "Me can't, me too tired."

I hear you, sister.

As much as I enjoyed the "hiding place" Saturday, I thought about how my kids need that too. About all the cleaning up my oldest daughter does. I know they make the messes but sometimes it feels like that's all they do, all I end up saying to her. "Put those shoes back and put the doll back in the playroom and take your plate over and put your ballet outfit in your bag." She needs a rest too! Do you ever feel that way? Ever think about how can we train our children well and still pour out grace on them, giving them a hiding place, a protected place, a sabbath?

Several years ago I heard of a pastor's family who celebrated a sabbath rest in an incredibly fun, creative way. They'd sit down to dinner, and ask each person if they'd like dinner, or dessert first. And they'd truly let them choose! No catch!

Because the idea was that on Sunday, we remember grace. We remember that we didn't earn it. We remember that it is a gift. So on Sunday, in that family, you didn't have to eat your dinner to get dessert. You just got it, if you wanted it. How fun! What a celebration! What a relief! No more peas this time! I hate peas.

For years I couldn't tell the story without getting teary-eyed. It was so moving to me! I love speaking grace in a child's language - dessert.

I wanted to adopt this, but dessert isn't our thing, and we don't do fancy dinners on Sunday. Still, as my oldest has gotten older, I've tried to think of ways to implement this kind of idea, this kind of rest from everyday obligations, for her.

During the week, she rests during naptime for the other two kids. She's supposed to play quietly for a while, and then I bring her the iPad and let her play super educational games. Just kidding, she watches Netflix for Kids. Sometimes that goes really well, and sometimes it's a battle to get her to earn the iPad.

But on Sundays? She gets it from the beginning of rest time. We go upstairs, lay the other two down, and I set her up on my bed to watch her shows. If you ask her what her favorite day of the week is, she says, "Sundays, because I get the iPad now, and it's church day." I'm serious about the last part, she does love church, but she also recognizes, in some small way, that Sunday is a day of relief, of receiving, of no pressure. Of gifting silly things like time with the iPad.

We need to be caring for ourselves with active and passive rest, but we also need to be giving that to our kids. It doesn't have to be dessert or screen time, but it should be a breaking-in. A turning upside-down. A clear picture that represents a truth that even we forget daily - We love him because he first loved us. He did it all, paid it all, gives it all. End of story.


How have you "graced" your kids? In what ways do you relieve them of the appropriate responsibilities they carry on a regular basis? How amazing is their face the first time they receive that sort of gift?


Connect with Kristi at her blog, And Babies Don't Keep.