Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pondering like Mary

"Mary treasured up all these things 
and pondered them in her heart." 
(Luke 2:19)

Mary treasured and pondered.

She was still for a moment. Deliberately studied the moment, gathered up the details, and stored the in her heart to keep.  Maybe reflected on what this child's life would mean - for him, for others, and for herself.  Considering carefully the possibilities a baby Messiah would bring - the good and the hard.  But as she sat and listened to strangers share their story of angels and why they left their sheep to come, I can just see Mary in all her gentleness, graciously listening with a slight grin on her face.  Grinning and pondering in the midst of the shepherds' excitement, taking her back to her own angel experience just nine months prior. Another confirmation of the angel's message that her son would be the Son of God. And there she paused to cherish the moment for what it was. 

I can relate. No, I haven't had any visible angel encounters yet, but I find myself pondering more and more these days, wanting to preserve the moments of the first child I gave birth to 18 years ago today.

It was in and of itself miraculous for me. The first time I was able to lay eyes on the little being that had been growing and developing inside of me was beyond words! It was humbling and emotional to partner with God in growing and bringing this tiny person into the world. While my husband was going stir crazy after several hours in the hospital, I wanted to stay in the hospital where I had nothing to do but stare and ponder.  Treasure up all the details of the moment, and ponder what could be or might be in our future.  I wanted time to stand still...

The gospel author, Luke, also records Mary pondering and treasuring up the moments after she and Joseph had just spent three days anxiously searching for Jesus. Oh, how I would have loved to have heard that conversation and seen the look on their faces, when Jesus said, "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 

When reading this story of Jesus in Luke's second chapter, it feels to me as if this was a pivotal moment for Mary. Here she was in the midst of intense motherly emotions due to a very stressful situation. Her son had been missing for three days! Can you imagine what thoughts she had been pondering during those 72 hours? 

Yet there was Jesus, sitting among the teachers in the temple courts. Somehow Mary was able to settle herself despite all her emotions to once again treasure all these things in her heart for safe keeping. She was able to put aside her feelings, her motherly right to explain her anger, perhaps her need to correct, and relinquish her control and maybe even her own agenda of what she thought was right in that moment. She was able to step back, put her needs and wants aside, and realize her little boy was growing up and making decisions without her. He was 12 years old, near the age of Jewish accountability, and Mary was given a glimpse of Jesus' true purpose, a reminder of who he was created to be. I can imagine the angel's message over a dozen years ago was brought to her mind again. He will be the Son of God. Her role was not to keep him to herself, but to let go.

Yes, LET GO... (This is where all of us moms take a deep breath.) 

Mary knew her son was not just hers, but that Jesus was a gift to nurture and take care of for a time in preparation for his ministry on earth.  Just like our kids. They are children of God too. 

Their main purpose is not to be our kids.  
And our main purpose is not to be their parents.

But our presence in their lives plays a vital role in their life's mission and purpose if we choose to continue to let go as Mary did. I like to believe that pondering helped Mary let go. Treasuring up all these moments in her heart allowed her to release her son into the Father's hands as time required her to do and let God do His thing in her son's life.  

Perhaps that's why I'm pondering a bit more these days...because I have a big "let go" coming up in a few months. When my daughter walks across that stage to receive her diploma, will I have a flashback of my quiet moments in the hospital with her?  When we leave her at college, will I recall the memories treasured up and etched in my mind from long ago?  

The long drive home will be the perfect opportunity for me to ponder....ponder "Audra bunny rabbit" jumping around the living room floor, the Sleeping Beauty dress she always danced in, her little face looking out the bus window on the first day of kindergarten, her first basketball game that brought tears to my eyes, her high pitched voice in the back yard, the "look at me, Mommy" over and over and now the teenager who calls me "Momma", the countries we've traveled...

...Mt. Borah we surprisingly climbed and SUMMITED, the meaningful conversations together, picking stinky fish in Alaska...

...the BTB lacrosse goals, the unexpected hugs, the heartaches I had the privilege of comforting, sharing in the pain of good-byes, and watching her worship uninhibited before the Lord!

These are gifts from God I treasure up and ponder in my heart. I have to let her go so she can live out her purpose, but I can still hold on to the priceless memories she has given to me because they are mine to keep. 

Just like Jesus who had an important do our graduates.

Our children have a higher purpose 
than just being our kids, and knowing that 
makes a world of difference 
when I'm having to let go. 

Now it is time for her to live out her faith and find her place and her purpose in the new chapter before her. 

Jesus, may I respond as your mother did with such reflection, wisdom, and strength...

Treasure up!  Ponder on!  And let go!

I love you, Audra. Happy 18th Birthday!