Welcome to Home Shalom!

Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shabbat Rest for Parents and Children

OK...so you have grown past this whole "is the 7th day Sabbath still relevant" thing. Than you really developed a love of The Day of Rest. Maybe you realized that running around for fellowship with others every week...is not restful; so you have come to the point where you would love to spend some Sabbaths at home quietly and content resting in Him with your family, studying and worshiping...and hey...maybe even a NAP! Or maybe you don't have fellowship in your region and every Shabbat is spent at home alone with your family! BUT your children don't quite understand the beauty of that...because they are children! They are full of energy and exuberance; always looking for new experiences and stimulation. In other words being still is not fun to them! How do we combine the 2?

Doing this is an art, a work in progress as we grow in our walk and as the children grow in maturity and the family dynamic changes through the years. It is actually (surprise surprise) a wonderful "shadow picture" of our relationship with our children and our walk with YHVH. It can be very revealing if we honestly observe its transition and try to be deliberate in its growth!

It is on Shabbat when the rest of "our world" stops. School, work, responsibilities, chores, news, politics, the market place, etc...we can just turn it off for a day and what are we left with? The absolute basics, the things that really matter! YHVH, His Word, worship, Creation, food, our personal family and our adopted (spiritual) family! What a precious gift!!!! Things can not (and SHOULD NOT) ever try to be escaped. These are things which YHVH has provided for us and the other stuff is what we add on. These are things that nourish and build us up...while the other things...they tend to take from us.

When we realized this, we became a little bit more deliberate about how we spend out Shabbats at home. It is easy to pass the day when their is fellowship involved with others. Whether it be in your home or away, the sun sets before you know it...but sometimes before we really find our groove with Shabbats at home alone...they can be very very LONG. The kids can get antsy, the parents can get antsy. The lack of "business" really leaves us in a state of boredom or DIScontentment...this is not an example of His rest, this is an example of us not being used to His rest! If we are honest, I think we would all admit this being a season for us...especially if we enter into this Walk in His ways with pre-exisiting children! (I am going to set aside our OWN issues for this article and focus on the parenting aspects.) What do we do with them???

ALL children take work regardless of their age. Do these things below sound familiar?

Older children: They will kick stones and say, things like "what can I do?", "I'm board" or "Can we do ____?" (Which we know is NOT in the Spirit of Shabbat...and are at a crossroads as to permit it or not.) How about "Are we done yet?".

Younger Children: If left to themselves, they always find extra trouble on Shabbat! Mommy and Daddy have slowed down and are not watching as carefully as normal. They are trying to rest, or studying or talking/sitting together; often talking about things they quite understand. They may fight, they may forget to pick things up, they may wine and fuss, they may even act sick or start "tattling" more than usual. They still need to be given things to do, they still need to be engaged and stimulated...the older kids might have learned how to do that by now, but the little ones (especially if you have a few of them!) really need to be directed constructively throughout the day, like they are through the week.

How do we do this and rest at the same time??? We have experienced all of the things I mentioned above! But it has always been our hearts desire to enjoy the Sabbath in its fullness. We work hard through the week and we are not getting any younger, our responsibilities have only gotten greater. We have come to recognize the beauty of Shabbat and we see that it is a precious gift. He has blessed us so much with His Shabbat...we really love it and look forward to it each week. We want to enjoy it...because HIS work is never done and the other 6 days we WORK.

Here are a few practical - deliberate things we have done to usher Shalom in our home on Shabbats spent at home with family*:

(*Disclaimer - we are in no way suggesting this is the standard way to do Shabbat at home. We are just sharing our journey in the process thus far, in the hopes that it may bless anyone who might want to glean a little something from it.)

These suggestions are in addition to what ever study/worship/prayer times you do WITH the children...which should not be forgotten.

First, Mamma and Pappa discussed and settled what seems to be in line with the purpose of Shabbat. We want this day to be set apart from all others days, because YHVH wants it to be...so we tried to "define that" for our family. We came up with the general list of things I mentioned above; YHVH/Yahshua, His Word, worship, Creation, food, our personal family and our adopted (spiritual) family and of course "rest". So we decided that the things which we did would fit into these categories as rule. We would abstain from things that did not fit these parameters. We also decided to abstain from purchasing and from selling. (Sometimes we have asked for grace in purchasing "necessities" if we are traveling, but we still try to prepare ahead for Shabbat and not to purchase...if we can! That means being sure have a full tank of gas and sufficient food prepared ahead of time for our outing and not to do things which require ticket purchases and such.) Anyway...back on the home front...

It seems fine to enjoy Creation on Shabbat, YHVH did on the first one! We love the outdoors, so if the weather permits, we like to be outside. Leisurely hikes on our property (or at a park), are very common for us on Shabbat. We love to observe His Creation at a slow an leisurely pace. Sitting on the swing outside as the kids play or taking a nap on a blanket/cot/lounger outside it marvelously refreshing! Ma and Pa have wonderful porch rockers we like to sit in and discuss the wonderful things that YHVH is doing in our hearts and minds and the things we witness in our childrens'. On Erev, we like to go out and look at the stars at night. This time of year we get an added light show with the lightening bugs flickering in the fields!

In the morning - we have a premade breakfast (like granola or hot cereal that crocked all night or fruit and muffins) and put food out other food around noon and graze casually through the day and for supper.

We have also put together what we call a "Shabbat Tub". It is a Rubbermade tub (or 2) of items which we have chosen ahead of time for things to do on Shabbat. We like to do as the spirit leads as a rule, but this will often times run into in depth study for the adults and we want the smaller kids to enjoy Shabbat too, and not be board to tears by content that is way over their heads... This tub especially comes in handy while some (but not all) are napping or when guests come over, or on rainy days. Its contents vary. We switch it out every so often (Depending on how often we use it. We may not use it for months, or we may use it every week for a month!) The tub contains things like bible story books, Study tools, Hebrew related items, Bible Puzzles, Bible Figurines, Bible Games, Reminder lists of Bible Games (like Bible Charades or Worship songs), bible videos, Music, Worship Videos, etc...

Shabbat is also a great time to spend practic music/instruments for worship and to dance together! Our kids do this regularly through the week by mommy's instruction as a part of "school" but it is often something, mommy and daddy will put off! (We are -suppose to be- learning instraments too!)

We would love to hear some of things YOU do!


Christine said...

wonderful post Pamela. I can so relate to the 'antsyness' with our kids too...you've helped me to ponder on the way we 'grow' into Shabbat. Thankyou. I appreciate your posts very much :-)

love and blessings,


The Heaton Family said...

Oh, I LOVE< LOVE< LOVE This! This is something that we definetly do NOT have a handle on yet. Thanks for the inspiration!

We have three children studying for either bar or bat mitzvah this year and they use shabbat for an more indepth time of study/preparation.