Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"...in her heart."

As a mother, I have hopes and dreams for my children.
I see their different personalities, their unique strengths.
I pray for what their futures may hold, that they would be bold and courageous to face whatever lies ahead.
Because, as a mother, I hope for an abundant life for my children, but I know that also means trial and hardship.
For anything worth something will cost us.
Our life.
I pray my children will not run from the cost, but will step forward into whatever God calls them to.

I pray.
For their wisdom.
For their discernment.
I pray.
For their marriages.
For my grandchildren.
I pray.
For their faith to be their own, and for their hearts and minds to be deeply rooted in Truth.
I pray.
For their steps.
That when they stumble they'll get up and keep walking, keep fighting.

Don't each of us pray these things for our children?
Whether you're a mother now or whether you will be someday.
Whether your children still run around your feet holding sippy cups for you to fill,
or whether they live in another state and don't call hardly often enough.

I hear things spoken over my children.
From teachers, friends, relatives.
From strangers who happen to encounter them in a grocery store, or babysitters from years past.
I embrace the good words.
I evaluate the negative words to see if they have merit, if they require action.

But, every so often something is said that sounds different.
There is a weight to the words spoken that goes beyond breath or annunciation or tone.
There is a power that is greater than human insight can have, because it comes from Someone greater.
It is when my heart senses this that I sit up straighter.
I pay closer attention.
And I do not forget what or how it is said.

"But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart."
Luke 2:19

I know I am not the only mother that understands this.
The desire for something greater for your child, and the quickening of your spirit when it is spoken to.
You grab hold of it and tuck it down securely in the deep, quiet places of your heart.
I think this is every mother, whether you have recognized it before now or not.

When the Shepherds came and "made known this statement which had been told them about this Child" (Luke 2:17), Mary held it close and deep.
When they told her what the angels said, that "there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11), she knew they were not mere earthly words.
She sat up straighter.
She paid closer attention.
She did not forget what or how it was said.
And I can darn well bet you that she prayed into it with all her heart.

I'm sure many things had been spoken to her about this Child.
People wanting to be encouraging, wishing the Child greatness.
People wanting to get their thoughts in, subtly (or not-so-subtly) commenting on how she and Joseph had not been married long enough for any conception to morally take place.
I'm sure lots of words passed between her and those who came across her path.
But these words were different, ones from her Father in Heaven.

"...and His mother treasured all these things in her heart." Luke 2:51

When Jesus was 12 and was able to converse with the teachers and scholars of the day, but went back with his parents instead to Nazareth and "continued in subjection to them" (Luke 2:51), Mary took note.
Here was His behavior reflecting what had been spoken of Him...
reflecting the Spirit of His Father in Heaven.

My children behave all different sorts of ways, but there is a kind of behavior that especially touches my heart, that captures my attention.
When they show love, kindness, peace...
when they are full of joy or patience or self-control...
when they display goodness or gentleness...
there is something in it that reflects the Spirit of their Father in Heaven.
I sit up straighter...
I pay closer attention...
...and I treasure it in my heart.

Can't you relate to that?
To hearing the calling of your child in words from Heaven, spoken through someone right in front of you?
In seeing the calling of your child in their actions, even unbeknownst to them... but you catch a glimpse?
And you hear it and you see it and you treasure it in your heart.

Just like Mary did with her Son, who is Salvation come to this world.

"And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."
Luke 1:45

She didn't just believe for her, she believed for her Child
...and she pondered it
...and she treasured it.

When we seek God for our children, He hears us.
And He responds.

God has spoken things to me about my children.
Some more vague, some more focused, but one recently that is quite specific.
When the words came I sat up straighter,
I paid very close attention,
and I will not forget what or how it was said.
I will think of it often, and I will treasure it deeply.
When things come along that confirm, I know I will take note.
And I will wait, and I will pray, and I will believe...
not just for me, but for my children.

What is it that you're hearing? That you're seeing?
Are you listening? Are you looking?
Pray into it, ponder it, treasure it...
...just like mothers through the ages
...just like the mother of the One who did not turn away from the cross, but faced it with the love of His Father, knowing it was His own children He was saving.

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