Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while (Mark 6:31).

My mother recently said she needed some rest. I didn’t exactly understand why—she’s retired and doesn’t have much of a social calendar. She spends the bulk of her days praying for the family and studying God’s word. Nevertheless, she expressed a desire to get away with family for a time of relaxation.

Regardless of what I thought earned someone “rest,” I began planning a family getaway to Georgia for the six of us—me, my mother, my brother, my husband and both our children. I had to insist that my brother, husband and children set aside time on their summer calendars for our vacation with Grandma. Our lives are filled with work, summer programs and sports, so if this family vacation was going to work, we needed to be intentional about carving out time to retreat.

In Mark 6, in the middle of an impressive, busy tour of miracles, Jesus tells the apostles to “come and rest” and takes them on a boat to their next location. Seeing this, the crowd travels ahead to meet them, and Jesus seizes on the experience as a teaching moment for the disciples and the crowd.

I’m grateful for my mother’s wise mandate for us all to stop our busyness and to rest and be renewed.

I’m grateful for my mother’s own wise mandate for us all to stop our busyness—which rarely is miraculous, at least not on the scale of walking on water—and to rest and be renewed, intentionally.

Even prayer warriors such as my mom need to climb aboard occasionally and rest. We won’t be taking a cruise, but in the spirit of Mark 6:31 we will spend this summer near the sea. I pray that, as in Mark’s Gospel, we will become witnesses to and co-creators of an everyday miracle—the miracle of a busy, overcommitted family finding refuge together.


  • Designate a specific time of year outside the usual holidays for a vacation or intentional time to do nothing together as a family. The retreat doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive—it could even be a picnic at a local park.
  • Divide the tasks. Make sure the duty to feed the family doesn’t fall on one person.
  • Protect time for leisure and for listening for God’s voice amid quiescence. Carve out a time to share with each other what you’ve heard.
  • Pray this prayer together: “Grant us the wisdom to recognize when we need to take a break and rest, and the courage to prioritize our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.”
Adrainne Gray
Adrainne Gray is an ELCA deacon, a Lutheran Diaconal Association deaconess, a daughter, a wife, and a mother of a teen and one adult child.

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