Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Treasures of a Mother's Heart"

When I was a little girl all I ever dreamed of growing up to be was a bride and a mother. I can remember hours spent in our attic, stepping into my mother's old high-heeled shoes and donning a white towel atop my head or an old sheer curtain as my veil and walking the length of the floor as if I was in a large cathedral on my wedding day! If I wasn't playing wedding in the attic I was in my room with all my baby dolls, feeding them from plastic bottles, burping, changing, cuddling them until they quieted down. My baby dolls were my children. If older family members visited with their "real" babies, I couldn't wait to hold their precious ones. I was utterly enthralled with newborns and marveled at their perfectly formed, tiny features. I could sit and rock a newborn for hours. I still can.

Two of the happiest days of my life were when I learned I was pregnant with my very own children! I loved being pregnant, feeling them move inside of me and knowing God was knitting these gifts of life in His image, inside of me. I joke with my children that I "special ordered" them. My husband and I were fortunate to be able to plan for our children and when I prayed for them I was very specific. I wanted two children, a boy first and a girl second. I wanted our son to resemble myself and be a sensitive man like his father. I wanted our daughter to resemble my husband and be a strong natured, tom-boy type girl, unlike me, yet compassionate toward others. (I was frustrated with myself being so fragile and frilly. Life is tough on those who appear weak). And, honestly, God gave me what I asked for but I didn't know it right away.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, didn't pray to be the mother of the Messiah, she was told she would be by the angel Gabriel. She was informed from the beginning that she was carrying a boy, the Messiah, Jesus. She knew he would be the Savior of Israel. Yet, when Jesus was born and the shepherds came to worship, proclaiming the good news of the heavenly host, that this was the Savior, Mary did not join in on the praises and worship. Luke says "When they (shepherds) had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed...But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:17-19). Again, in Luke 2: 41-52, is the story of Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem when he was 12 years old, after the Passover to discuss Scriptures with the rabbi's at the temple. When his parents finally found him after searching for three days and nights and repremand him Jesus says, "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" Luke says his parents did not understand and "his mother treasured all these things in her heart" (Luke 2:51). This amazes me each time I read that Jesus' parents did not understand. I mean, they were told from the beginning that He was to be the Son of God, the Messiah...but according to what was written for us to know, I guess they weren't given specifics of His life on earth. And so, enveloped in the culture and day-to-day life experiences, when Jesus did out-of-the-ordinary things or said things that claimed him as Messiah, they cocked their heads to one side and said, "Huh?" It's like life was so "normal" for Jesus that when these extraordinary things happened Mary had to ponder them. They were treasures she had to gather into herself and mull them over in her mind. I'm sure she revisited her conversation with Gabriel hundreds of times! "God, is my son, Jesus, truly your son? Is he the promised one? Is this all part of your plan?"

In the past 22 years of raising my children I too have been like Mary. When I watch my son hold his wife's hand or tenderly hold his newborn daughter I ponder, "Is that my son? How did he become this man of honor?" I am reminded what I prayed for, "a man who is sensitive like his father." And as I watch my daughter be drawn to the missions field in Africa, I'm frightened and ask where did that boldness come from? I am reminded again, "This too is what you prayed for. A strong natured girl with compassion for the world around her." So, my mind and heart are at rest knowing God is in control. My children are becoming what God created them to be and I will not stand in their way. I will love them forever and forever offer them back to God for His purposes all the while treasuring these experiences and pondering them in my heart.

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