A Pondering Heart

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“… and all who heard it were astonished at what the shepherds said. But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean.

When He was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. But when the feast was over, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. And all who heard Jesus were astonished at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were overwhelmed. His mother said to Him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.’ But He replied,’Why were you looking for Me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?’
Yet his parents did not understand the remark He made to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.
But His mother kept all these things in her heart,”
(Luke 2)

When I was in the throes of motherhood, I was rarely thankful for the thoughts from older people that go like this: “Just enjoy these days. They go so fast.” I kinda wanted to respond with a counter: “If you’re really missing the kiddo stage so much, I have some available and you are more than welcome to use them for a few hours next week to help you fill that void.”

Recently I came across some helpful “advice” for moms trying to find the joy in All.The.Kids. It was especially impactful to me during this time of year when I consider Mary – the mother of the Savior of the world. Though I may never be the mama/grandma that thrills at the thought of the ’24-7-children-everywhere-all-the-time-needing-something’ stage of life, I am aware of the moments that I want to hold closely. The ones that will never be exactly as they are now.

I’m not wanting to wish away the future. Nor would I ever want our grand-kids to “stay just like this forever.” That’s not the way it should be. What I want to do is to be present. I want to really see and know that the hugs and the funny ways they say the things and the giggles of this particular season are fleeting. Hopefully, there are hugs and laughter to come. But life will change and I won’t get to repeat this very moment ever again.

So, from someone who tires of the “enjoy it while you can” sentiment (I know that most people mean well), I give you some helpful thoughts about the art of practicing pondering …

Mary kept these things in her heart and thought about them often. She pondered, not just on occasion or when a feeling of déjà vu swept over her, but often.
This wasn’t tucking something away in the dark recesses of her heart, but rather a holding of them closely so that she could feel and touch and smell them.

The example of Mary gives me pause. This was the woman God hand-picked to carry and nurture and nurse and train His Son on earth. And she was thoughtful and pondered often Jesus childhood moments.

So, I challenge us all to each day take note of something in our children. Let’s recognize the miraculous in the mundane. I encourage you to look with love and wonder at this gift of motherhood that you have. Let’s take time to ponder and treasure:

Slow down
One of the first ways to implement the practice of pondering in your life today is to slow down. Breathe, pause. Too often you hustle through your day, running from one errand to the next.

Stop escaping
Instead of escaping from the hustle, retreat to a place of pondering. Rather than scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest to give yourself a moment of hard-earned peace, consider just…stopping.
Stop. Breathe. Thank God for some blessings. Remind your mind and heart just how much you love motherhood.

Journal
And each day, write down three things you’re grateful for. This can be in a keepsake journal or on a scrap of paper or in the margins of your to-do list or day planner. It’s not so much that you have a lovely place to keep it (although that’s an awesome thing to do and I recommend it!), but that you’ve taken the moment to do it. Gratitude focuses our heart and soul on what matters.

Contemplate
Stop and think about things. Like Mary, think about all.the.things.
Think about their wonder at the ladybug that was on the windowsill, their giggles at noise made emptying a box of toys, and the way they waved at strangers from the cart when you were grocery shopping. Ponder their faces and their hands as they waved goodbye to you when you left to run an errand. Consider the feelings they entrusted to you when they told you about a friend who hurt them. Reflect over stories they shared from their favorite book or movie that you had started to tune out. Revel in the beauty that they love you and want to share what they love with you.

God wants your heart to be for your children and He wants you to delight in them the same way He does.
Pause, breathe, ponder.
It will bring you more joy as a mom, help you remember your purpose, and enable you to see what God has for you in this life He has given you.

(Adapted from Graceful Abandon)

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