As a homeschooling parent, my days are often a whirlwind of activity, filled to the brim with lesson plans, extracurricular activities, and endless attempts at optimizing every second of our day.
It’s what we, as mothers, are told to do.
I had read countless articles by well-intentioned mothers, each offering tips on maximizing our morning routines and squeezing productivity into every nook and cranny of our schedule. I followed their advice with noble aspirations; I wanted to provide my children with the best education, the most enriching experiences, and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
However, reality often fell short of my ambitious goals.
Despite my relentless efforts, my kids often dragged their heels through our meticulously planned days, accomplishing little, and I found myself drowning in frustration. The to-do lists grew, but our sense of accomplishment shrank, and the toll it took on all of us was undeniable. Meltdowns became a regular occurrence – not just from my kids but from me, too.
It was during one of those moments of exasperation that a revelation struck me like a bolt of lightning.
The exhausting cycle of packed days, stressed-out kids, and emotional meltdowns was not going to change until rest became a central factor in our lives.
I needed to pivot, to transform the way I approached parenting.
My realization came one day as I was reading Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (NIV).
Jesus’ words struck a chord deep within me. His invitation to find rest in Him was a reminder that in the midst of my family’s hectic life, He is our source of calm and renewal. But even more so, it was a wake-up call for me to pursue slow, unhurried living within our family.
Since that day on my living room couch with my Bible in hand, when my world felt rocked to its core, our family has made some big changes.
For example, in our home we now have:
- Morning Rituals: We begin the day slowly and when everyone is ready. We come together for family prayer and read a short Scripture passage to set a calm tone.
- Simplified Scheduling: I have more of a skeleton list of to-do’s, prioritizing quality over quantity in activities and lessons to reduce rush and stress.
- Outdoor Exploration: When the weather permits, we spend time in nature as a family, going on slow walks, hikes, or picnics. Surprisingly, it’s while we’re outdoors that I have some of the most meaningful conversations and connections with my kids.
- Quiet Times: We have daily quiet times where everyone can read, color, or simply enjoy moments of solitude. This has been a game changer for us, and we all feel rejuvenated afterward.
- Unplanned Moments: I’m naturally Type A and a planner, but I’ve learned to embrace unstructured, spontaneous moments as a family, allowing time for play and creativity.
Taking to heart Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28 extended far beyond the weariness of my individual soul; they became a healing balm over the fatigue of our home and the pressures of our daily lives.
Choosing the path of slow, unhurried living, I watched in awe as Jesus transformed our home into a haven of peace.
Now (for the most part), the relentless rush of the world is left at the doorstep, and tranquility has taken its place. My kids still complain at times or don’t want to do schoolwork. But I now respond to them from a place of rest, and with the aim of maintaining our home as a sanctuary where stress and anxiety find no foothold.
When our homes become havens of rest, we shed the burdens of busyness and constant striving, discovering a deeper connection with ourselves and with one another. It’s in the unhurried moments that we truly see and hear one another, building bonds that withstand the test of time.
When we parent from a place of rest, we also grow spiritually. We model a life of rest for our children, teaching them not only the value of unhurried living but also the spiritual benefits of drawing near to God for refuge and renewal.
My prayer for you today is that your home can become a haven of peace as well, for your days to be characterized by unhurried moments, and for you to experience the richest blessings and the abiding presence of God’s grace.