There is a beautiful path that leads from one small town to the next, and occasionally, when I’ve had one of *those* days, I take the kids to walk.  Sometimes we load up their bikes and sometimes we just walk nice and slow.  There are so many great places to get on the path, near the grocery store by the picnic tables, but if you take that section you have to cross a big road, twice.  And with four.  Well, you know.  There is another spot to get on, just down from the old bakery that is good for parking, but you have to walk along a semi busy road for a block or two to get on.  Recently, we’ve started parking at the edge of an asparagus field, laid to rest till next spring, and we unload and begin our journey where fewer cars venture and the peace seems immediate.

The moment my feet hit the trail the tight winding of my heart begins to release.  Gabriella begins spotting everything from fuzzy caterpillars to sidewalk snails.  She has an eye for the handiwork of God.  Deeply fascinated with the things He has created and instinctively filled with awe. Sometimes it take me a good fifteen minutes of observing and following before the concerns of this day fall and give way to this shared delight.

A friend of mine has told me many times that “delight covers a multitude of sins in parenting.”  Surely that is the truth, and the reminder seems to redirect my time with these happy, curious, little people.  However this time, here on this section of trail, delight uncovers my heart. It is here in the midst of falling leaves, climbing trees, and occasional squirrels that I begin to finally reengage.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Why is it so hard to see the gifts God has given from the inside of my home? Why don’t I come here sooner if I know He is here waiting to win back my heart from the cares of the day?

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” 

I think sometimes I feel guilty if I admit that it would require a change of environment to generate a change in my demeanor and spirit.  Today, however, I recognize that it isn’t time for THAT battle.  It is simply time to just embrace that there is a quick fix for Mama’s attitude problem, and rather than beat my head and grumble some more, I need to quick fix my eyes on the Lord.  I heard once that a famous pastor’s wife used to flip her apron over her head to pray and made a tiny sanctuary of peace, even if for a minute. Brilliant woman hiding from the piles of unfolded laundry.

“Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.”  

If we ever encounter each other out on the trail, and you spy me walking slow and drinking in the Lord’s goodness and savoring His gifts just smile and understand I am a work in progress.

Psalm 51:10, 12, 15.

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