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The flexibility and stillness of home

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

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A long-time neighbor, widowed earlier this year, has a "For Sale" sign up. Another family's banner announces, "It's a boy!" Our son is thinking about putting up garage sale signs. He's moving to the opposite coast, and he's hinting that wedding bells may be in his plans.

With the many changes I've experienced over the years, I know the mixture of anxiety and excitement a move or a new relationship can bring. I understand when my son talks about his fears. But when he asked me for advice, I decided to set aside some time to pray.

So I go for a walk along a trail that threads in and out of a stand of oaks, following a brook.

I know from experience that telling my son what to do - or not do - isn't what he needs.

But what should I say? Listening to the water in the stream, I think back. When I was a small child, my family was forced to live in a motel for several months. My dad had been transferred to a new job, and we'd left before our house sold. Arriving in the new city, my parents discovered they couldn't afford new housing while still paying the old mortgage. The house didn't sell.

My parents were worried, so I worried, too. I remember listening to them talk when they thought I was asleep. Dad asked, "What are we going to do?" I've clung to my mother's answer ever since.

She said, "We're going to do what we always do. You're going to work, and I'm going to take care of the girls. We're going to go to church. We're going to make new friends. We're going to explore and find interesting things to see and do. We're going to read the Bible every morning, and we're going to pray every spare minute. But most of all, we're going to trust God."

And in the dark, hearing Mother's voice, my little-girl heart found peaceful stillness. I knew how to pray, and I knew God loved us. I fell asleep.

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