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An Invitation for You, Mom

Let’s talk about rest.

If ever there was a cry from the heart of a mother it would be for rest. That deep, delta wave, rejuvenating kind of rest. Rest from anxiety, peace in our relationships, purpose in our everyday routine tasks, silence from the doubtful self-talk and worry, a reprieve from the constant multitasking that demands all our physical and emotional strength… rest.

If I were to promise you that the next several articles for this Mommy Musing column would be entitled, “Rest, and how to find it,” would you be interested? Well, let this be your formal invitation. You are now invited to pursue this rest you are longing for, without guilt or feeling you do not deserve it or cannot achieve it, because, dear fellow mom, you desperately need it. Whatever the timeline of your journey - parenting an infant, young children, teenagers, adults, or all the above – the Lord has placed you here and intends for you to be successful in this monumental task of motherhood.

I am fully aware that I cannot, despite every good intention, provide you with the rest you need. I can, however, share with you my own personal story with supporting Scripture to encourage you in your own journey.
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The first time I truly accepted this invitation to rest, I was walking my usual route. I wish I had the opportunity for long walks every day, but as it stands now, I can only manage when it works for the whole family. Walking has become a sweet companion: a time of separation, a break from talking, and enriching moments of observing and listening. The time a mother spends by herself greatly determines how she will carry out her responsibilities. It might even predetermine how we pillow our heads at night – full of worry, or ready for rest.

It is in these quiet times, regardless of how long or short they may be, we are faced with our feelings, our inner thoughts, and our cares. This can be difficult. We get so accustomed to interruptions, giving instruction, and working on autopilot that when a calm comes over our surroundings, we don’t know how to act. This is when the invitation for rest is being offered. We have a choice to come or go; to open ourselves up or create a distraction; to process our raw emotions or pretend we have it all together. The wonder of being a child of God is that He is always available, never too busy, and quietly anticipating our full attention.

You know the familiar verse in Matthew 11, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This invitation includes everyone - “all” - and it is specific to all who are knee-deep in the trenches of day-to-day combative labor - physical labor, emotional labor, and most definitely spiritual labor. It is an offer of exchange – labor for rest, anxiety for peace, heaviness for hope and joy – all given freely by the capable hand of Jesus Christ Himself. This is not a superficial rest but a lasting rest – “rest unto your souls.” Our soul is who we truly are at our very inner core – our likes and dislikes, personality, our desires, hopes, and dreams. Motherhood can disrupt our soul like nothing else. So much of our soul, who we are, gets squashed down and lays dormant, waiting to be revived for another time, another season.

We thought labor and delivery was a chore; come to find out, that was only the beginning of our labors as moms. And now that we have entered this exhausting and toilsome task, we can accept with gusto the invitation of Christ to come and be assured of His promise for rest.

Many counterfeits present themselves with their shiny, chocolatey coatings, promising temporary relief and freedom. Truth is, some days we need the vacation, the mental escape, and the fancy coffee. However, Christ’s offer for rest cannot be compared to the shallow look-alikes presented to us by the world. Sometimes, we think the promises of God are kept for us in the next life. But Jesus intends for every mother (really, every person) to receive this rest of the soul in the present, evil day in which we find ourselves.
“If you look at the world, you’ll get distressed;
if you look within, you’ll get depressed;
if you look at God, you’ll be at rest.”Elizabeth Elliot
The reality of motherhood is this: we have unlimited responsibilities with limited abilities. We might be made in His likeness, but we are not yet like Him. As a mom, as a human, I am not omnipotent! I cannot meet every need, including the needs of my own children. I am neither omnipresent nor omniscient! And yet so often, we live as if we are capable of being God. What a burden. What anxiety. What unrest. If we are to accept Christ’s invitation of rest unto our souls, then we must first accept that it is not about our work at all.

Before we can unwrap all the richness of this invitation, we first have to say “yes.” I will warn you though, this invitation from Jesus is not merely an acceptable option to becoming a successful mother. It is to be received with full anticipation and ready for use. The promise of rest is most certainly true, but it comes with a price.
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