Originally published Tuesday, 20 August 2013.
Devotion 4 in the Summer Series "A Prayer for Armor"
We began our summer devotional series three weeks ago with A Prayer for Armor. The prayer is based on Ephesians 6:14-18. Last week we explored the breastplate of righteousness, and this week we are exploring the shoes of peace. How might they function in relation to Moms? Recall these words of our prayer, which I reprint in bold, and remember that the words in italics are from Ephesians:
(Above: The shoes of peace when rain falls in our lives...)
As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
Help our parenting methods to foster peace in our families. Give us discernment and grow us toward that end. May our home be a sanctuary when the world turns cold; may it be a place of comfort and safety.
I have been tempted to believe that having a peaceful home required perfection. There would be no yelling, fighting or deep rooted differences in opinion. What I am discovering, however, is that peace requires authenticity and commitment. Family needs to be real and committed to working things out. Peace is the result of resting upon that premise.
I have heard it said that young children are physically demanding while older children can be more emotionally draining for parents. Although I cannot personally attest to the latter part of this statement, as my oldest is only four, I can imagine it's true. With the developing child, there is a developing sense of self. You walk a fine line as a parent in terms of when to step in and pull back, accommodate and insist, and support and override. You are confronted with and experience a myriad of feelings.
My training as a pastor has impressed upon me that the universal impetus to action is unmet needs. We might think that we act based on feelings, but feelings (such as frustration, embarrassment and annoyance) stem from unmet needs (such as a need for love, respect, and appreciation). When we do some introspection and discover what those needs are, we have powerful information. It allows our dialogue to assume a more poignant level with another person and ultimately enables steps for mutual fulfillment.
A peaceful home cares about unmet needs. A peaceful home isn't perfect, but it cares enough to stop and listen when there is pain. It seeks to foster an environment of trust and respect. As a result, vulnerability is invited and authenticity reigns. The seeds of community grow as commitment to one another is a choice that's intentionally chosen everyday. Ultimately, a peaceful home exhibits the unconditional love of Jesus Christ...And I can imagine no place more comforting.
To pray, you are invited back to the full prayer from week one by clicking here: A Prayer for Armor.