His Circle of Love

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He saves them. Psalm 34:8

9.13.18 with word overlayI recently found out that Zack got some kids to walk the Prayer Path at the Youth Group camp-out this summer. He just shrugged it off  when I commended him for inspiring some teens to get closer to God. Despite him being a kid of few words, I needed more details. I had to dig deeper.

I asked him how he presented the Prayer Path to the kids. I made it clear I wasn’t going to judge his explanation; I was just curious to hear what words he used. He nonchalantly responded, “I told them you think about the stuff that’s bothering you on the way in. You give it all to God at the center, and then you feel better on the way out.” I told him I though he nailed it!

Being the greedy mom I am, I then asked if we could walk the Prayer Path together, just the two of us. He agreed.

As we moved through the labyrinth, circling toward each other and away, I realized it was a complete metaphor for Zack’s adolescence. As much as he’s distancing himself from me to define the line where I end and he begins, he also keeps coming back. As much as we clash, and almost bumped into each other on the path, we were finding our rhythm of how to navigate the teen years and be in the path’s space together.

The metaphor continued when I compared how we were each approaching the walk. Zack was sprinting through it like it were a race, wanting to reach the end, just like he wants to be grown up already. I was savoring the experience and moving slowly, just like I wanted to slow down his growing away from me.

Thinking about our path ahead, I started to worry. I began questioning my ability to parent him through the maze of adolescence. I was feeling very ill equipped with my lack of experience and patience.

That’s when I heard God say, “I’ve got him. He’s in the circle of My love.” It was so clear and profound, my breath caught in my throat. But as I leaned into God’s words, I found myself exhaling deeper than I have in a long time.

We moms analyze and dissect every interaction we have with our kids. We fixate on what we do right, what we do wrong, and the damage we might be causing our children in the process. We strive to fix our kids’ problems, and pave their way to a safe and smooth journey through life.

But the real truth is: Beyond loving them and doing our best, the rest is in God’s hands. No matter the ins and outs, and ups and downs of raising them, our kids are in the circle of His love. They will be fine.

Questions for Reflection:

     * Do I over-analyze what I do in my motherhood and its effect on my kids?

     * Do I find relief when I realize my kids are in the circle of God’s love?

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14 thoughts on “His Circle of Love

  1. This post had me crying from the start. What a powerful experience and great reminder for us all. These uncharted waters for all of us have been navigated over and over by God….it is up to us to remember that and trust.

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    • Oooh, Jess! I LOVE that statement: “These uncharted waters have been navigated over and over by God.” That sums the whole thing up in a nutshell. Thank you so much for that gem!

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    • Thank you, Jean, but I have SO far to go! I really have NO idea how moms parent without God. He is my rock, my go-to, and my guide for everything. I’d be lost in the sea of motherhood without Him. I do love your humility, Jean. As the mom of three wonderful children, it’s clear you’re doing a fabulous job yourself. Oh how blessed, Luke, Ali and Maura are. 🙂

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  2. I love this too, Claire! It’s one of the best that I’ve read. I know it’s in God’s hands what the future will bring with my kids and I pray that they will look for God when they are struggling. You have given Zack so many special gifts that I see him sharing with others as you have shared your gifts. He is very special!

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    • Thanks so much, Michelle! I return the compliment to you and Nathan. I HIGHLY recommend taking him to the Prayer Path and doing a walk together. It is incredibly powerful. I will cherish my walk with Zack forever!!!

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  3. To hear a younger person grasp the meaning behind the prayer path (so simple, so perfect) warms the heart. Our future is so bright! I have tried to impress on my own children to bring it to God when in reality I forget, in many cases, to go there first. How does that happen when someone has faith? I really never thought that could happen but life as it is the on going learning journey, does not stop and say “bring this to God”. It’s the reminders we read (shameless plug for Claire) and the people we surround ourselves with that give those needed reminders even for the strongest of faiths. Thank you again!!

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    • Well put, Liz! For ten long years, every time I told my spiritual director about an issue I was facing, she’d say, “What did God say when you took it to Him?” Each and every time, I’d respond with, “Oh crap. I forgot to do that again!!!” With her constant and ever-patient reminding, I FINALLY remember to take things to Him. But I do love the reminders. 🙂 (And thanks for the plug! You’re so sweet!) 🙂

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  4. A most inspiring, sensitive and compelling metaphor that will certainly reassure and comfort every mom who reads and reflects upon your touching experience walking the prayer path with Zach. Like the parables of Jesus Himself, there are so many levels here that anyone of us can meditate upon deeply and relate to in our own journeys as we walk beside those we love, move away from them,and as you described “bump into them” again on the path. Extraordinary!. I look for ward to your next reflection!!!

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    • Jackie, thank you for the beautiful response! I feel as if you’re unwrapping things I didn’t even realize were in the gift of my time with Zack in the Prayer Path. Thank you for teaching me just how much more that experience holds for us all!

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