I was so tired this morning and really would have liked to reset the alarm clock for our later obligations, but I am so glad I got up and went to church because I really needed to hear today's message. (More about that tomorrow.)
Our service starts at 9 a.m. and it's about a 40-minute drive, so we try to be out the door by 8:15. That's asking a lot of our teen/tween kids, I guess. Even Rachel, who was the only one to make it to church with me today, lamented on the way home that she has no time to rest, even on the weekends.
Being the sympathetic mother I am, I offered to not take her to her bowling league next Saturday morning so she can sleep in. But no! That's not what she meant! I suggested we turn down invitations from friends so we aren't tempted to stay out too late on weekend evenings. Oh no. That's not what she meant, either.
"But we always have to go to church," she says.
Yes, and the service is over by 10 a.m. and then we can go home and rest, I reminded her. Then I asked if she would like to skip her Girl Scout meeting this afternoon so she could rest.
Ummm, no. Not what she meant.
Bowling leagues, birthday parties, visiting with friends, hunting, confirmation class, Girl Scouts ... and compared with so many other families my kids are hardly "involved" at all. They don't play any after-school sports or do dance or gymnastics or martial arts or any of that. But a few different activities each requiring a minimal commitment can add up to some very busy days. So yes, I do sympathize with Rachel. Trust me, I would choose rest over most other activities including eating ... and really, I don't miss very many meals.
For me, joining my church family in a familiar setting, sharing hugs and handshakes and laughter, and catching up with each other and sharing the Gospel is as good as curling up with a blanket in a comfortable chair with a mug of hot cocoa and reading a book. It makes me happy. It lifts me up. I feel rested and cared for and loved when I leave, and I take that feeling with me out into the world.
Whether my children realize it or not, they do the same thing. I see it in the smiles on their faces when their Sunday School teacher seeks them out for a hug before they leave, or when one of the older gentlemen shows interest in Sam's hunting experiences or a picture Rachel drew. That's why I ask them to go with me. Someday they will make their own decisions and might choose a different path no matter how much I insist they follow the path of faith in God. If that ever happens I hope they eventually find their way back to a place where they feel safe and loved - a place they can lay down their burdens and rest. Yes, getting out of bed early on a Sunday morning is a pain in the behind, even for me. And no, we don't make it every single Sunday. But when we do it is so, so worth the effort.
Here's wishing you a blessed - and restful - day.