to mold living clay

I am now entering my fifth year homeschooling. What a blessing this opportunity is to me and my family! I am continually learning, am being humbled, and am basking in the joy of creating our days together. Something that continues to be at the forefront of my mind with the topics of homeschool, motherhood, and family is that our relationships are paramount. Specifically our relationships as parents with our children.

Raising children is such a gift from God! Nothing brings me more joy—nor has anything been more challenging at times.

Last night after my husband and I tucked our boys in bed and kissed them good night, I felt a burst of energy. So I turned on a favorite audiobook and began folding the mountain of laundry in our washroom. As I snuck in quietly to my two-year-old son’s room to carefully place some newly folded clean clothes in his closet, I paused to look at him sleeping peacefully in his crib. Enough light was pouring through the open door that I could see his beautiful lashes and plump pink cheeks. I watched him for a few minutes and went and brought my husband in to watch our precious boy slumbering away. It was one of those moments where a thought of this time’s fleetingness pricked my heart. What a dear time to watch him grow and laugh and learn words and say the phrase “You are precious-es.” (One of my favorite things to tell him, and he now tells me and my husband that we are precious, and it just melts me)!

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I went up to my other sons’ rooms to kiss them again and put away more clothes. They are growing so much. Their personalities and characters are unfolding more and more daily. I have found that days are often a stream of constant activity, but at night is when I can reflect. At night is when I have a moment to sit and breathe. Take it in. Let it out. Night provides me with perspective that I sometimes lack during certain moments of the day! Oh, how I love them! What at honor it is for us as parents to raise these beautiful, precious, pure souls. I think doing so is the greatest work and at times the most weighty responsibility. Most parents can relate to these nighttime moments of reflection I have described.

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I returned to my laundry reflecting on our day and the fleetingness of now. It had been a rich day. We read together, we laughed together, we learned together, we cooked together, we spent time out in the sparkly October sunshine together. It had been a really good day. I couldn’t help but feel so grateful for our time together. We are creating and building our life together, and that makes me so happy. Quiet evenings when I am finishing up things for the day are the times I get to reflect and ponder over things.

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What an amazing opportunity we have as mothers to nurture, teach, and shape—to create our homes and families. I am amazed at the creative liberty God gives us in this!

I read this a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since I heard itl. I loved this description Russell M. Nelson gave of a woman’s divine mission:

As a mother, teacher, or nurturing Saint, she molds living clay to the shape of her hopes. In partnership with God, her divine mission is to help spirits live and souls be lifted. This is the measure of her creation.

Aren’t those words inspiring?

I am particularly drawn to the phrase “She molds living clay to the shape of her hopes.”

What are your hopes as a mother? This is a simple question, but I think sometimes the intensity of life can cause us to crowd out our ideals. I also think that sometimes social pressures can crowd out our ideals—especially as our children become older and there is more pressure to do what our children’s peers are doing.

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Our hopes for our children create the designs of our days, and the design of our lives.

Here are a few of my hopes as I shape living clay daily:

  1. I hope they will develop their own personal relationships with God. I hope that they will develop deep roots of faith that will help them weather whatever spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical storms that blow their way.

  2. I hope to be able to have close relationships with my children. When they grow up, I want them to be my friends! I want to have rich conversations with them about meaningful things. I want them to know they can come and talk to me about what is on their minds.

  3. I hope they will develop a great love for learning and thinking deeply.

  4. I hope they will look optimistically upon the world around them and develop a cheerful view of life and people (even when there can be many negative and evil things seemingly everywhere).

  5. I hope they will develop confidence in their ability to develop talents and learn the value of working hard.

  6. I hope they will develop a deep appreciation for art and beauty. God is the master designer, and I believe He delights when we appreciate beauty and create beauty.

  7. I hope they will develop a deep appreciation for nature.

  8. I hope they will develop a strong sense of identity within our family and family culture.

  9. I hope they will be kind and generous-hearted.

As I have been thinking over these things, I couldn’t help but think about what allows our children to be moldable.

The relationships we build with our children enable us to mold them as clay.

When we nurture strong relationships with our children, in a very real way, they become moldable clay in our hands. This is not to say that they don’t have their own unique personalities, characteristics, and talents—but when we put in the time and energy to build relationships, they feel that Christlike love and energy from us as parents. And when that Christlike love is present, our children have soft, open hearts towards us and what we do.

When I think about the great gift it is to be partners with God, a great sense of joy and purpose comes over me! What an amazing opportunity. If ever I’m bogged down, I like to remember that—I am in a partnership with God (my husband and I are in a partnership with God). And I also find great joy that He entrusts me, you, us, to create. To lift, to enable, to design. To mold living clay.