He restoreth my soul

The view from the hammock

Yesterday I sat down and rewrote my “how to raise amazing children” page because the first one I wrote previously wasn’t simple enough. It had been on my mind for some time, but yesterday I just felt I should take the time and do it.

That being done, the thoughts have lingered about how my reaching to be closer to my Heavenly Father brings Christ more into focus as the center of my life. And that affects everything I do as a wife, mother, woman, person.

You might want to hear a list of specific to-do’s that will make your child some wonderchild. But that’s not what I have discovered about motherhood in my 23 year journey.  I have learned that in trying to stay close to my Father in Heaven, He directs my paths and helps me with everything I need, not just motherhood. And that influence affects the way I mother in ways that are peaceful and strengthening.

This has been so much as a theme in my life–putting Christ at the center of my day–my thoughts, my focus–and how it makes all the difference in everything. The scripture that came to mind today, after a totally edifying walk with a good friend of mine, was “He restoreth my soul” (Psalm 23:3). That’s how I feel when I work to have Christ at the hub of my life.

One way I try to be close to my Heavenly Father is by pouring out my soul in prayer to Him. I also seek Him in the scriptures and try to follow Jesus. As I do this humbly, help comes to me. I feel closer to Him, I see His hand in my life, and I find answers.

The biggest part of all of this for me is patience and will. I have such a hard time being patient for answers, and I have such a strong will that I forget to verify if my plan (that I’m marching along doing) is acutally aligned with God’s plan. When it is aligned, things go so much better. I can FEEL it.

When I’m humble, when I’m brokenhearted, when I want to do God’s will no matter what, I FEEL peace.

I was describing it to my friend this way: Sarah and Nate both bought hammocks this summer. They hung them at different times between two trees in our backyard. I went out one Sunday afternoon and lay in the hammock. In fact, Nate gave up his spot so I could have “five minutes peace,” and Julia even came and got the puppy so I could enjoy the quiet and not have a dog trying to join me in the hammock.

I lay there, looking up into the branches of the trees, the warmth of the summer sun relaxing me. I just swung slowly, bathing in the quiet of the Sabbath afternoon.

That feeling of being relaxed, of being cradled in God’s hands, of being safe and at peace: that is how I feel when Christ is at the center of my day.

I want that feeling all the time. I want to make space for the “spiritual work” required to maintain that feeling. That’s my focus. I’m working on it: cleaning out my physical space, asking for God’s help to clean out my inner space, to make room for Him and His plan.

That is what I feel is the key to raising amazing children. You align yourself with God and what He has planned and then you watch and learn. And you see how He is raising you and how He is raising your children.


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