“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 (NIV)
I’ve always been drawn to that one short line in Luke that talks about how Mary responded to the events that led up to the birth of Jesus and shortly after, with all that was being said about Him. She gathered them up in her heart like treasures and pondered on them.
I’ve spent the last year doing a lot of worrying about my adult children and my grand-children. There are so many things that I wish to see come into fruition in their lives and yet there is very little control, if any, to go along with that desire. Thus, the anxiety. Worry is a verb defined by Dictionary.Com as to ‘torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts,’ while ponder, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is defined as ‘to weigh in the mind; reflect and to consider especially quietly, soberly and deeply.’ As verbs, both are action words, meaning we have a choice to act in such a way or not.
Mary, the mother of Jesus chose to ponder rather than torture herself with worry She would have had many things to ponder over, most of which I could not imagine. I can however, relate to her mother’s heart. Here she held her vulnerable, new born, baby boy. Yes, great things had been pronounced over Him as the very Son of God; yet curled there in her arms was also her son, her little boy to cherish and protect. And that I’m sure is what she wished to do; cherish, protect and guide him into his future. That is what all good mothers wish to do. But even as we hold our babies, an inner voice whispers to us of the magnitude of it compared to our weakness. I’m sure Joseph, chosen as His earthly father, also felt the largeness of such a task before him to raise the Son of God. He too would have much to ponder and much wisdom would need to be relied upon.
All parents of either small children or adult children would do better, if rather than make ourselves sick with worry, we choose instead to ponder on the things that God shows us about them; His desires for them, His love for them and how we can best cooperate with His plan for their lives.
Our oldest son has always shown a strong affinity for farming and especially cattle ranching. From the age of two he spent hours cutting out pictures of cows from his father's cattle magazines and placing them all over our living room floor. Farming and ranching has been his dream and we have watched him build his operation and herd over the past eleven years. But this past year was a particularly brutal year for him with a combination of down turns in the markets and some bad luck and so this past week he had to down-size and I had to watch semi loads of cattle leave his yard. What will happen to my sons dreams? I really don't know but God has used this verse on the ponderings of Mary to teach me that torturing myself with worry is not the answer. Instead I need to trust that since it was God who created my son with his dreams and desires that He will best take care of him.
When our second son was born I had assumed that since he was a boy it would feel very similar to holding our first son. But the moment he was placed into my arms I knew he was his own, unique little soul. I sensed a deep inner strength from him and in that moment I felt God say deep into my spirit the words, “Someday that strength will be required of him.” Strangely, I didn’t worry about the meaning of those words. Nor did I torture myself over it as he grew. I simply prayed for him and trusted that since God had placed that strength in my son that He was the best one to show him his path. He joined the military straight out of high school, a place where he feels fulfilled and satisfied in using his God given inner strengths. I often have to choose not to worry over the ‘what ifs’ and instead focus on that moment almost twenty-nine years ago now when God spoke His word over my son into my heart.
Mathew 6:27 asks us, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’ Nor, by worrying can we add a single hour to our children’s lives or make their lives one bit better. This coming year, I plan to do a lot more pondering in my heart over my children and grand-children; to reflect soberly and deeply on what God is telling me about each one specifically. To treasure and pray over each thing about them. I choose to ponder.
Merry Christmas and may your New Year be one of reflection on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all He wishes to do in and around us.
Gloria can be found writing and pondering over life and her children at the hamlet of Caron, Sk., where she lives with her husband (when the wheels of his semi find their way home) and two cats.