When Ashley was born, my mother brought Sarah to the hospital to meet her new little sister. Sarah was just two and a half at the time, and when she arrived in the hospital room she did the most remarkable thing. Without anyone saying a word to her, she lifted the blanket to see Ashley’s feet and started to wash her feet. Ned and I were still emotional from the birth experience and we could hardly keep back the tears. I saw my mother’s eyes well up with tears also. Such a beautiful gesture, such a meaningful symbol, a moment we three will never forget.

This morning as I took my bath I washed my feet with my favorite Victoria Secret foot scrub and I used my favorite foot brush. I thought about what a wonderful mindful exercise it would be to cleanse ourselves from yesterday’s hurt feelings, unforgiving thoughts, or anger. If every day as we bathe we could mindfully surrender all bad thoughts and let them wash away with the dirty tub water. As as we scrub away the dirt from our feet, to also wash away the bad feelings we might harbor from our minds. As I washed the dirt from my feet I said a prayer this morning and asked God to cleanse my mind of any wrong thinking.

I have found that doing a physical act helps remind me to be mindful. I used to write my prayer requests on paper and put them in the Bible. This symbol helped me to surrender whatever I was asking and let it go because it was placed in my Bible. I learned this exercise in Catherine Marshall’s book "The Helper". I learned even more ways to remain mindful in her book "Something More". I still find it helpful to use a visual exercise to assist me in some new discipline or mindfulness.

When Ashley was very little she used to worry about things at night. Haven’t we all? We had a huge oak tree outside her bedroom window. I would tell her to hang all of her worries on the worry tree outside. She would imagine that she was hanging one worry at a time on the tree, and smile. It was a mindful exercise that helped her learn how to control her mind. Shortly after she would finish hanging her imaginary papers filled with her worries on the tree, she would fall fast asleep.

When the girls were first entering their teen years, the house was always filled with drama. I put a large piggy bank on the kitchen counter and called it The Miracle Jar. The piggy bank was one of those jars that you had to break in order to remove your savings. The Miracle Jar sat right next to a small pad and pen. Every time the girls or one of their friends came home with some HUGE dramatic circumstance I would have them write it on a piece of paper and put it in the Miracle Jar. I used it myself to help surrender all the things I was worried about with my teen daughters. Every time I would worry about someting I had placed in the Miracle Jar I would remind myself that I already had surrendered that worry. One circumstance after another seemed to miraculously be solved. The girls became mindfully aware that they were surrendering their drama to the Lord and leaving the outcome to Him.

I will never forget the day that Sarah washed her little sister, Ashley’s feet in the hospital. The innocence of a small child is wisdom. I love it now when the girls will think of thoughtful acts of kindness towards each other. We certainly have come a long way since they fought on car trips, squabbled over borrowed toys, favorite places to sit, and had dramatic arguments in their early teen years.

I have been working on trying to be more mindful about forgiving old hurts and renewing my mind. This morning washing the dirt from my feet, I mindfully swept away any feelings and thoughts from yesterday that would have hardened my heart. I washed away hurt feelings, the list of wrongs, and my critical spirit. I tried to remember the sweetness of Sarah washing her new little sister, Ashley’s feet and mimic that child-like spirit. The smile of a child is born out of a pure mind, a trusting heart and the joy of promise. That smile looks forward not backward and is brand new every day.

The song for this post is Smile of a Child