August 10, 2015

Making Sabbath a Delight With a Large Family

We are on a quest to delight in the Sabbath Day.

For a few years now, I have been aware that we are missing something.  Sunday has been a LONG, exhausting day for us.  I have felt no rest and little joy.  I believe that God designed the Sabbath Day as a gift to man.  I believe that He has asked us to go to Church on Sunday and spend the day serving, studying, pondering, and praying.  

In my soul I know that as we keep the Sabbath day holy we will be blessed.  But, often as I hustle my large family to and from our 3 hour church service and wrestle with them to find productive things to do, I know I am missing something.  Why do I sometimes feel a day at the lake would be more rejuvenating to my soul than a day at Church?  

My faithful heart just insists that I'm missing something.  We're missing the gift of the Sabbath day.  And, I'm determined to help my family figure out HOW to make Sunday more Sabbath.

I'm going to share my ideas with you.  Our Sundays have been feeling SO much better!!  They are still busy, but instead of feeling exhausted, when I am busy serving I feel envigorated and powerful!  (I think a weight is lifted in my soul as I give myself permission to use Sunday for service!)

My husband leaves before I wake up.  Our Church has a lay clergy.  Which means that people from the congregation are called to lead and preach.  Todd is part of the Bishopric and he spends many hours ministering others on Sunday.  He doesn't sit with our family at Church, and he goes early and stays late. 

I love the man he becomes as he serves others, so I am never bitter that his calling leaves me to navigate kids alone.

--Eating a hearty breakfast is important on Sunday.  My kids and I need food to keep us energized.  We leave our home at 9:20am and don't get home until 1:20am.

--I have noticed a tendency to miss my personal and family scripture study on Sunday.  I think this is part of the reason Sundays have been hard.  Making an effort to rise early, I dressed and took 30 minutes to study scripture and plan out my day gave me a sense of peace and purpose.

--On the way to church we sing, pray, and recite memorized scriptures.  It's our portable family devotional.  The younger kids love choosing the next song we'll sing.  We are trying to memorize the Family Proclamation.  We recite this as we drive to church.  (If I don't choose what fills our van-- it is naturally filled with bickering and contention.)

--I don't bring much to Church to entertain my kids.  I have a little pencil bag of toys for Ben and usually a small snack for him and Eve.  We have a few books.  Sometimes he is hard and I take him out, but my kids are all pretty good.  I really encourage them to get their energy out by SINGING.  I remind them that singing is like praying.  We worship God as we sing.  I believe the only way young children can sit through a three hour church is because they have time to SING and get some energy out.

--I cleaned up breakfast and really left the house clean before we left for church, so I felt peace when I got home.

--I wrote on our white board
Lunch- everything nachos: chips, cheese, salsa, avocado, refried beans, and sour cream
Dinner- baked potato bar, bacon, broccoli, cheese sauce, and honey dew melon (Ellie- bake the potatoes, Drew and Leah- make brownies and set table)
To Do- write a thank you letter or picture to gma and gpa moss, INDEXING

--We do everything nachos for lunch on Sundays or quesadillas.  I set out all the ingredients for them before I leave for church.

--I believe an essential part of being a disciple of Christ is visiting with people I love, especially those who are sick or struggling.  My desire to serve far exceeds my ability to serve.  I really need to get better at this.  I have decided to do my visiting teaching on Sunday.  The people I visit live 30 minutes from me and they work.  It is almost impossible for me to visit them during the week.  I'm recommitted to making appointments on the first Sunday of every month for the second Sunday of every month.  I often feel discouraged because half of the people I visit are not currently participating with our Church.  I've just decided to prepare a small gift and a message to drop to them every other week.  I feel empowered that my ability to serve isn't dependent on whether or not they call me back.

--My kids stay up at Church with Todd on the 2nd Sunday so that I can make visits.  The older kids watch the younger kids.  (I brought Anna with me yesterday and it was SO nice.)  I want to make rolls on the 4th Saturday, so that I can drop them off on the 4th Sunday.  (I'll just bring my kids with me for drop offs.)

--I want to get in the habit of visiting the sick or recovering in our congregation after church on the first and third Sundays.  I think my youngest will sleep and my older kids will read.  If I pack a lunch my kids will be ok.  Our church is 30 minutes south of our house.  Most of our church members live closer to church.  Visiting the sick is one of my new goals for Sunday.  Maybe I will do visits on the 2nd and 4th Sundays and encourage Todd to visit on the first and third?

--I love asking the Relief Society President on Sunday who she thinks needs a phone call or a meal during the week.  I want to get better at regularly serving throughout the week.  We have many in our congregation who could use some service.

--We have both elders and sisters in our ward.  They don't get fed by members everyday during the week, so I have decided to feed them each once a week.  We had the sisters this Sunday and will have the Elders on Tuesday.  It is a joy to feed the missionaries.  I believe my family is blessed everytime my children spend a dinner with these good people.  We have asked them to teach the discussions to my older girls.  So, often they come over and teach while I finish preparing dinner.  I love this.

--My youngest kids watched Rigelleto while we were cooking dinner, played dress-up while we were cleaning up and visiting with the Sister missionaries, and ran around outside the hour before bed.  We made sure we all straightened the basement before we tucked them in for the night!  They were so tired.

--I want to call my parents or siblings on Sundays!  We need to start a habit of Sunday Skyping with them.

--And finally, we started INDEXING yesterday!!!  We have been wanting to do this for so long.  Todd and Drew had a fireside to attend, so Anna and Ellie helped me to clean up dinner and put the kids to bed.  (I folded a load of laundry.)  And then we laid down together on my bedroom floor and figured out their family search passwords, downloaded the indexing software, and indexed our first batch together!!  We set goals to compete with each other... It was SO fun.

Geneological indexing is where you look at a historical record that has been scanned into the computer and type information off of it so that it can be made searchable online.  It is a great thing to do and is really fun!

My girls and I laughed together as we imagined these people filling out their draft cards with sallow complexions or missing the tip if their finger.  I felt so close to my girls as we worked together.

Todd and I finished our Sabbath with a reconnecting discussion about his fireside.  I think I fell asleep while he was talking.

Yes, my Sabbath day was long and full, but it really was delightful.  We're getting there!!
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