“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.
Tricia Foster, pastor’s wife and dementia care nurse
The smell of Sabbath rest
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Ps. 46:1–7)
Several years ago, I started to bake a special bread for our family on Fridays. A couple times a month, we would invite friends to share supper with us Friday evenings.
Together we would light some candles, read Scripture and sing. The meal would always be more special than our weekly fare, and there was a feeling of excitement and anticipation as the evening arrived.
Our son would walk through the front door on Friday afternoon, and if the smell of bread was in the air he happily proclaimed that he knew we were having company.
Our kids all enjoyed the evening because after the meal they were free to play and stay up late while their parents happily conversed. Many times the dishes were left until the next morning.
This became part of our family’s rhythm.
On Friday night, all the activities of the week stopped. It was a night when Daddy didn’t leave to go to church. It was a night when we all ate, prayed and rested from all of the work and responsibilities we carried during the week.
Fast forward one year.
My husband accepted a new call. Our home didn’t sell, and we moved to another state and into someone else’s home. Our suitcases and a few plastic totes were all that traveled with us.
Friday nights are still our evening of rest. They look a lot different now.
Only a handful of times have I been able to bake bread since we moved. When I have, I can see the excitement on our son’s face when he walks through the door and recognizes the smell of it. He knows our special time together is about to begin.
Something as simple as the smell of fresh bread triggers feelings of joy and contentment combined with the expectation of our family gathering close. He knows what that rhythm feels like, and it helps him feel connected.
There is very little that hasn’t changed in our lives — a different school, new jobs, and a new state.
Our lives still feel pretty chaotic most days as we have yet to experience the comfort of deep friendships, and we still don’t have a home to call ours.
One of the only things that has remained is our family time on Friday nights, and our foundation, the true Bread of Life that never fails, remains in Jesus Christ.
Psalm 46 tells us about a time when mountains and kingdoms were falling all around.
God reminded the psalmist to be still in the midst of it all. God promised to be a refuge and a fortress.
One of the most gracious gifts we have been given is time to be still before God and to rest from everything that’s happening around us. There is joy to be found in celebrating this rest with others.
May God grant you opportunities to feel His rest this week, even when you find yourself in the middle of change and uncertainty. May a familiar smell or sound remind you of His goodness!
LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.