Remember the Sabbath

Let me give you a rundown of our typical Sunday in the Dumas household.

4:45- Daniel wakes up. (Okay he snoozes, and THEN he wakes up!)

5:45- Maddie wakes up. 

6:15- The boys wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed. 

(Throw in a few meltdowns, granola bars, fruit snacks, tears, spills, and sticky hands)

7:00- Get in the car to go to church, with two boys, two guitars, various cords, cables, Bibles, lessons, big church bags, and a partridge in a pear tree.

7:15- Maddie remembers she didn’t print a lesson for children’s church. Pinterest to the rescue!

7:30- Start music practice 

8:30- First church service 

10:00- Sunday school (Daniel teaches)

11:00- Second service 

12:30- Lunch

2:00- Naps (always for the boys, sometimes for the grown-ups)

4:30- Back to church for night services 

5:00-7:00- Maddie teaches Bible lessons, Daniel plays games with the kids

7:30- Boys in bed

8:00- Get ready for Monday. 

9:00- Bed

And this isn’t even including when it’s soccer season! Sundays are anything but a day of rest in our house. A lot of worship leaders and pastors tend to take a day during the week as their sabbath; Many times, our Saturdays can be restful. But with both of us working full time, Sautrdays tend to be our days to catch up on housework, oil changes, outside time, grocery trips, etc. We have been in a season of busy. All of this led us to embark on a last minute mini vacation this weekend! I was off for my upcoming weekend shift at the hospital, and Daniel and the boys were off for MLKJ Day, so we finished up at church yesterday, and drove a couple hours to Ocean Springs, MS. It has been a getaway destination for Daniel and me for the past few years, and we thought we would tow the boys along this time. It was such a sweet time of rest, fresh air, and good barbecue. The relaxation was exactly what this mama/wife needed. We played board games and did puzzles, and we woke up with no alarm. I got to sip my tea in my PJ’s and get ahead on my Bible study, and Daniel was able to find a new coffee shop and read as well. To top it off, we stopped by the Stennis Space Center on the way home for a fun adventure. 

Needless to say, I feel like we truly had a Sabbath. While we can’t do this every week, it sure does encourage me to slow down more often. God knows how we work- when we are well-rested!  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus‬ ‭20:8‬ NKJV. It’s more than a command to go to church on Sundays. If you keep reading, He specifically discusses rest. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:9-11‬ ‭NKJV‬. 

So find a day this week to relax. Read some scripture. Soak in His goodness and know it’s in God’s design for your life. He doesn’t ask us to be super productive robots, only to love Him, and love others. We do both better when we rest. 

  

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Speak 

A few weeks ago, a group of students from a local church stopped by the hospital to donate toys for Christmas. There were about ten kids, all dressed in their Sunday best. One boy was in sweat pants, and the logo on his sweat shirt and his black eye indicated he was in a program for troubled youth. He was clearly just visiting. The students all came prepared to recite a Bible verse. I heard a common theme of serving and loving your neighbor; one student recited John 3:16. Their teacher was very organized. She knew which order the students would speak in, and she had instructed them to state their name and age before saying their verses. The boy in the sweat pants had resisted when we took a group picture, saying “I’m not really part of this.” It was clear he didn’t practice a verse with the others. But once all the verses were spoken, he stood up. “I know someone already said it, but I’d like to say John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” I have heard that verse thousands of times, but hearing this teenager was like hearing it for the first time. He said it, he believed it, and he could not keep silent. I don’t know what he did to be in his position, but I know God is using him and his voice. 

I was encouraged today to speak. A verse that comes to mind quite often is 2 Timothy 1:7, which says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV). Speaking requires boldness, courage. And God has given us just that, if only we would use it! I cannot stop thinking about that boy, and how hard it must have been for him to stand in front of a group of strangers, feeling like an outcast. But he spoke anyway. 

We sang a song this morning called Praise the King, by Corey Voss. A line that stood out was “The world could not ignore it when all the saints are roaring”. What a beautiful roar that would be. (Think Aslan in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe- chills!) This isn’t a roar of judgement or name-calling. It isn’t condemnation. It is the flow of praise from our lips. We were created for the purpose of glorifying God, telling the world about Him, and living as Jesus did. I will not be silent. 

In the words of Jimmy Needham, “Oh, so open your mouth, open it wide. Quit singing songs for a minute tonight. You can love with your hands, you can love with your deeds. How will they know if they know if we don’t even speak?” 

Why Jello?

I’m a full time child life specialist. I help children and their families cope within the hospital environment. Some days that means I bring a Barbie to a little girl after she takes all of her medicine. Sometimes that means I teach a child what it means to get an IV. Still, other days I am privileged (read:scared out of my mind) to help explain life-changing information. Like “You have something called leukemia. It means your blood is sick.” or “We can’t make your dad better.” There are a lot of days when I wish I were feeding the hungry or even home with my own boys. But when I can help a child get to the point of telling me “I know that everything has a beginning and an end. It’s just time to end.” or when a patient is finally able to have her port accessed without a panic attack, I know I’m helping. 

So jello- what’s that about? When I was little the only thing I knew about surgery was that it meant you either needed your tonsils or your appendix out, and you ate jello when the surgery was over. The surgery wasn’t fun. It might hurt a little when you woke up, but hey! You get jello! It was the glimmer of hope that left kids unafraid to have surgery, should the need arise. I like to think my job is like jello. No one wants to be in the hospital- but I can make it a little easier to be there. Need a prize? Done! Mom needs a tissue? Got it! Want to play a game on my iPad? Awesome. And just like jello comes in different flavors, I play many different roles. And I wear bright colors. 

So there it is. Unless you ask my sister, and then it’s a (fairly accurate) My Best Friend’s Wedding reference. 

  

Connections

I love making connections. Like when I find out I have a mutual friend with someone or when a person I know in one context shows up in another . The search page on Instagram- LOVE it! I always enjoy a good game of Seven Degrees from Kevin Bacon. So this morning when I learned of our new Sunday school series, called “Connections”, I was intrigued. Our topic today was Church Membership. I’ll back up by sharing a conversation I had with my boys on the way to church. Harrison asked why we were going to church. I started with the simple answer, knowing I was in for a string of whys. 

It’s Sunday. 

Why go church Mommy? (He’s 2.)

We love Jesus.

 Why?

 He loves us. 

Jesus at church, Mommy?

“Well no. He’s in Heaven.” At this point Hudson chimed in with “And we’re gonna go there when we die!” We were getting pretty deep before 7:30AM. I joked with Daniel that I would need to go to seminary to keep up with these boys! We went through more answers about why we go to church, such as praising Jesus for all the things He’s done, or praying to Him, or learning more about Him, or fellowship. Harrison finally got distracted, and I was off the hook. Flash forward to Sunday school, and we were asked to answer “Why is church membership important?”. Our answers as a class included things like stability, accountability, and commitment. We acknowledged the fact that while church membership isn’t necessarily outlined in Scripture, it’s a good idea. When we become Christians, we become a member of the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23). Church membership helps us focus on where we are. We stop looking for a church with better music, or more children’s programs, or funnier sermons, and start looking for how we can feed the hungry or who we can invite to church. 

So there is my connection. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my morning included two separate conversations on church. I think it’s good to periodically reflect on why we do what we do. I hope my why will always point to “because it’s how Jesus would have done it”. I’m a member of my church because it’s my family. Because they point me to Christ through Bible study, outreach opportunities, and prayer. If I ever begin to feel stale, it’s because I’m not moving. It’s not the result of a poorly initiated program. If you’re not a member of a church, I encourage you to make that a priority this year. Connect to a place that brings you closer to God. 

By the way, Kevin Bacon was at Carnegie Hall when my high school choir gave a performance. I believe that makes me ZERO degrees from Kevin Bacon. Just saying.