The Importance of Practicing Sabbath as a Family

The Importance of Practicing Sabbath as a Family | The Brown Tribe

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” — Exodus 20:8-11

As a single Christian woman, I practiced Sabbath (or a day of rest) every week. It was “scheduled” into my calendar so that I wasn’t tempted to see a free day to fill up with obligations and commitments.  This time was spent in solitude, studying the Bible and reading other books, being in nature and reflecting on all that God has done for me, as well as connecting with other people. Paul helped me solidify what Sabbath looked like when we were dating & newly married as well.

As life has ebbed and flowed and my roles have changed, it has been a struggle to keep the Sabbath as a day of rest. I’ve often fought these changes, wanting to keep the structure of what Sabbath used to look like for me and trying to re-attain that ideal.

Especially as a mother now, where toddlers provide never-ending activity, discipline, and opportunities to be sanctified, I struggle with knowing what our Sabbath looks like sometimes. The pressures of needing to get the housework done, feeding my family, doing all the unfinished projects and organizing around the house, being in ministry, and still finding time to study the Bible, write, and resting is a constant battle for me.

I need to remember that as these seasons of life transition so will my practice of resting. This is my stage in life right now, it’s chaotic and exhausting, and that’s ok – there’s grace extended for me – but I still need to rest and my family needs rest.

Here are some things God has taught me about how Sabbath can be beneficial as a family:

1. It requires us to slow down & enjoy one another. We can simply unplug and play together. We take walks, we play games, we go to the park, we have fun. As a family, our activities for “rest” are different than taking it easy and reading books, though we do that sometimes – mostly the kids’ books – but the benefit of simply being together as a family far outweighs the type of activities we do.

2. It’s a day of ZERO (unnecessary) work. Obviously we will be required to “work” in parenting our toddlers. We will never get “time off” from doing that so discipline & teaching come up each day. However, I do not do housework, no cleaning or fixing or organizing. I don’t cook any meals, we eat leftovers. We don’t work on necessary projects like fixing things, or yard work. This requires us find time throughout the week to get these things done, it requires us to use our time wisely. It also requires us to give ourselves grace in our “obligations”. There is freedom from performing when you’re motivated to honor God and connect as a family instead of getting tasks done.

3. It’s a witness. The world often looks at me like I’m crazy when I deny putting an activity on our calendar, even if it’s a really good one, because I want to guard our time and ensure that we are resting. This act of guarding our time has provided a lot of opportunity to talk about why we choose to do it.

4. It teaches my kids that obeying God is more important than pleasing man.  They are able to see we decline certain things in order to simply obey the Lord. We are able to refresh our spirits so that we can do those things later on without feeling burnt out.

5. It can still be consistent, even with young kids. Currently our time of Sabbath is on Sundays. It’s the day that we worship and spend the rest of the day with no agenda or obligations. Every once in a while this changes because we’re on a trip or something necessary comes up, but we make every effort to keep it consistent. As our kids grow, it will be easier to be consistent as they will be less “needy” for constant attention and direction. They will also learn to schedule things around a day of rest because it will be the same day every week. We are establishing the expectation at an early age so that there is already a habit of doing it as they grow.

6. It’s a sacrifice. There is wisdom in saying NO to more things to do, yet sometimes those events we say no to are things we would really like to do. It’s a sacrifice of our flesh to make our family’s reconnection and rest a priority. However, I’d rather we make sure we get enough rest and rejuvenation than pack our schedules full with good things that wear us out over time. Protecting my kids from burn-out, and myself & husband as well, requires wisdom in choosing how to make our routines and organize our calendar. I don’t know what Sabbath will look like when my kids get older, and potentially have activities or sports on Sundays. But we are already talking about what boundaries we may be making in the future. Obeying and bringing glory to God requires sacrifice. It is in these gifts that God provides us with the conversations about godly things with our kids and enables us to simply enjoy being together and to carry on through the next week before we rest again.

Does your family practice Sabbath (a day of rest)? How do you do it? Have you found some helpful tips you’d like to share in finding that time together?
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Monday Meanderings

Monday Meanderings: Weekly "Life" Organization | The Brown Tribe

Bible Study:
1 John & The Excellent Wife

Memory Verse:
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14)

Husband Encouragement:
* Pray for him – this week specifically praying the above passage, Colossians 1:9-14, over him.
* Let him grill something this week and try a new recipe

Train Them Up:
IAIN – We are finding all his pacis, wherever they are, and will be taking them away or cutting the tips off or whatever so that he knows he doesn’t need them anymore. He did just fine without one for Honey Pat and Papa Don last week while we were gone so we know he can do it, he just doesn’t want to. We’re also going through the “speaking respectfully to people” training as well instead of whining or demanding things. He’s such a funny and joyful little boy and he’s definitely got a hilarious personality, we’re just trying to hone down those abrasive parts.
CLAIRE – She loves Awana and preschool, she asks to do school at home and for us to read to her a lot. She’s starting to want to teach Iain so she’ll say, “Iain, watch me do it and then you try,” when they are playing. She also tries to be his mommy still so we’re hampering down on that habit but encouraging her nurturing character.

New Habit of the Month:
I’m taking a rest from any specific focus for the month of October.

MUST DO:
* Menu planning and grocery shopping
* Laundry & clean house

Menu:
Mon – Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad, Fruit
Tues – Breakfast for dinner: Eggs, Sausage, Crescent Rolls
Weds – Grilled Steaks, Salad, Sweet Potato Fries, Fruit
Thurs – 15 Bean Soup, French Bread
Fri – Leftovers
Sat – TBD
Sun – TBD

FUN THINGS!
* Playdate with Gennie & kids
* 1×1 coffee with Anna
* EWC (Excellent Wives Club)

3 things I’m thankful for today:
1. Such a fabulous vacation to Playa del Carmen with my husband to celebrate our 5th anniversary (8 months ago). We truly had a blast and came back really relaxed, excited to see the kids, and ready for the next 5 years before another anniversary vacation.

2. A husband who leads, and serves. He’s amazing! He leads me well, even if my flesh fights it sometimes God definitely uses Paul to draw me toward godliness.

3. Our kids are really good kids. They are funny, smart, adorable, and I love seeing God grow their character so that I can see their compassion for others, desire to help serve others, and loving, sweet nature. I’m so thankful that Honey Pat & Papa Don were so blessed by them and they did so great while we were gone. It is a wonderful thing to hear!

Prayer Requests:

1. I’ve got some test results that I’m hoping to find out tomorrow. Just pray for God’s will and for wisdom in what’s next.

2. Paul started a Mission Prayer Night twice a month at our house, which is happening tonight. Pray in conjunction with us for God’s Kingdom to be expanded throughout the world and that through these prayer nights, we would be able to identify others in our congregation who have a heart for missions in any capacity.

3. Paul’s parents are at the brink of a major life change – his dad is retiring from being a pastor in a small community for 25 years. He will preach his last sermon there this weekend and they are moving this week to a different community. I am so excited for this endeavor for them, but I can imagine the nerves that may go with it. Pray for wisdom over them as they seek to engage a new church family (not as the pastor) and that these exciting changes will be ways in which God shows His faithfulness and grace to them in new ways.

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Have You Found Your Support Sister? {Guest Post}

Have You Found Your Support Sister {Guest Post} | The Brown Tribe

It was right before dinner when I got the news. It wasn’t life threatening but it rocked my world upside down. The comfortable life I was now experiencing could change and I really had nothing I could do about it. My future laid in the hands of another. Within minutes I went from a joyful, carefree day to complete shock.

I tried to pray but honestly, my mind and heart were too sidetracked and I found it hard to let it go long enough to truly talk to my God.

Right away I knew what I had to do. I knew I needed someone to go to God on my behalf, when I was too weak. Everything in me wanted to call anyone I could find who would listen and tell them about all my what ifs and my emotions. I wanted to hear them freak out with me and together we could fall apart. I knew that was the wrong road to go down and in the end wouldn’t get me anywhere healthy.  So, I texted two very Godly friends of mine, told them some of the story and asked them to pray for me.

I told them what I was feeling and that I needed them to go to God for me and THEY DID! After texting them, I finished cooking dinner and sat down with my family to eat. Before asking my friends to pray for me, I was a mess. I had checked out and was journeying to that familiar pity party I tend to throw myself when things aren’t turning out like I like them to.

As their prayers were being raised, I could feel the peace begin to flow. It started with the ability to enjoy laughing with my family as we ate. Being reminded of the blessings I had right in front of me, I made the decision to take out a piece of paper and write out all the blessings I was thankful for in my life.

Blessing by blessing my heart felt lighter.

I began to be reminded of God’s promises to me:

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)

“For with God, all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)

“For we know that all things for together for good, to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“For I know the Plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and to give you a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Even though my circumstances had not changed, my view and fear of them had.  I began to become excited about what was in store and look forward to seeing what God had planned through this change of events.

The next day, I was completely full of joy and spent my day praising God while thanking Him for his purpose in my life.  I took time to reflect on the change that had occurred in my heart almost instantly the night before. In my reflection, I was overcome with gratefulness for my dear friends, my support sisters! I could literally feel their prayers over my life and knew that God had heard them as they came to his feet when I was too weak to kneel before Him.

So many times in life I have tried to do it on my own. I spent my time hashing over all the worries and fears instead of humbly calling on support in my time of despair. Instead of becoming stronger in my time of weakness I only became more afraid, more bitter or more desperate.

I call these friends support sisters because they are my sisters in Christ supporting me in my most uncertain moments. As women of God, mothers and wives, this is not just a luxury, this is a need! We need women in our lives who will pray over us, pray with us and go to Jesus on our behalf.

The Bible clearly states this in Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 and 12

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble…12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.  

A friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I have been blessed with a couple of these ladies in my life.  A dear friend who held my hand through the deep depression my husband faced and the toll it took on our marriage. In each season the Lord has blessed me with what I needed and I am forever grateful. He truly has fulfilled His promise,”Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” (John 14:14).  I asked for friends and support and He brought me gifts I will forever treasure.

You must not forget one important part of having a support sister, YOU must also be a support sister yourself to those who God brings into your life. You can not just take, you must give. I can tell you that when you give to this sweet friend that is truly where your joy comes from. To see God work in a life that you have cried out to God for is such a blessing. I have had to ask God how to be that friend that I am asking for in my life. He will show you and He will guide you. You need only to be willing to BE.

Begin today asking God to bring that woman into your life that you can lift up in prayer and who would be willing to fall at the feet of Jesus for you. If you have that friend in your life right now, thank them. Let them know what a blessing they are and how they have impacted your life. Thank God for giving you a gift of support and sisterhood!

Cassandra Stone guest post for The Brown Tribe

 

 

Cassandra writes at Raising Up Stones  where she encourages mothers and wives to embrace what may seem like the longest days but are the shortest years of their lives.  Her passion for making each moment count with her children, finding romance in the chaos and experiencing real intimacy with God is evident in all that she writes. You can join the journey on  Facebook, or Instagram.

 

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Blogging Through the Bible: 1 John 2:1-6

Blogging Through the Bible: 1 John 2:1-6 | The Brown Tribe

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin,we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

Perhaps I should’ve tacked this passage on to the last one since they really do go together, but alas, I didn’t so here’s a reiteration of some of the things I wrote already. I think hearing Scripture over and over again is critical to our spiritual walks so I’m ok with this! I just love the Bible, God draws us to Himself when we saturate our souls with His Word.

In this section we see more of the emphasis on God’s faithfulness in forgiving sin. Jesus Christ is our advocate, or “paraclete” in the Greek, which only occurs in other book in Scripture: John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7. It displays the fact that Jesus is intercedes for all believers. We know we are believers and have Jesus as our advocate when our actions put feet to our faith or when we keep His commandments.

While Christ’s atoning sacrifice is enough for all the sins of the whole world, that’s what propitiation means, many people do not know God or accept this sacrifice on their behalf therefore John wrote about the signature of a believer’s life. If someone knows God then their actions will support their profession of faith, while those who have no evidence of obedience to Christ display that they don’t have a relationship with Him and are considered “liars”, or in today’s wording, “hypocrites”.

Reflecting on what our mouths profess and then on whether or not we are walking in obedience with our actions and speech is a necessary component to following God.

Application
  1. What does it mean to know & walk with God?
  2. How is obedience tied to knowing Christ?
  3. In what ways do I have trouble keeping His commandments?
  4. How can I depend on Christ as my advocate in instances when I sin? In other words, what promises of Christ can I cling to when I have trouble believing that I am truly forgiven and not “beating myself up with guilt”?
  5. Read John 15:1-10 in conjunction with this passage. What does abiding in Christ look like?

For any bloggers who want to join me in this endeavor, however often you want to do it, please grab a button below!

“Blogging

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