Present in body. Lost in thoughts. Fighting in faith.
Had it not been for a captivating moment that day, the tyranny of my thought life would have suffocated my spirit of ministry to others.
I walked through the sanctuary doors with my granddaughter’s hand firmly enfolded in mine. She wowed the crowd with pink furry unicorn-horned earmuffs stretched across her long chestnut hair.
My Little One is fearless and filled with wonder; not the starry-eyed kind of wonder so much as the snatch-grandma-here-then-there variety. She can turn on a dime, stop on a mark and bolt like lightning. Add a large gathering of happy humans and it becomes more defense than dance for this less-than-graceful grandma.
The music faded as the voices hushed. I reminded Little One to respect others by placing my index finger over my lips. Her blue eyes watched my cue. She nodded and we turned our attention toward the stage.
I saw compassion on the pastor’s face. I felt a stirring in my spirit—as well as to my right. I sighed within, feeling guilty for thinking about tasks when I should be receiving the words of the pastor, for focusing on the weight of the impossibility of getting it all done without neglecting my Little One and my family.
My downcast gaze noted the color of the carpet, the anxiety in my chest, and possibly a smudge on my boot. My eyes wandered to random areas throughout my space until one site drew my attention.
Little One’s pudgy hand laying still and limp across my thigh.
My gaze traveled from her hand up to her arm and to her face; peaceful slumber nestled against my shoulder. In all my mental wrangling I hadn’t realized that she had settled. Her stillness—her peace—was a snapshot that caused me to ponder all the circumstances that came together to bring her into my life.
In that moment, an internal sensation prevailed: Overwhelming feelings evaporated and the treasure of perspective illuminated my focus. Moments like that are so brief they can easily be dismissed or passed over.
Mary—the mother of Jesus—experienced something similar.
But Mary treasured all these things,
pondering them in her heart.
• Luke 2:19 •
Mary didn’t speak the things she treasured; she held her thoughts in her heart. Her treasure—ponderings—were the result of hearing, seeing and feeling. Those thoughts were tied to more than ordinary moments. They were valuable treasures when received and would appreciate over time until some future moment when awe of God’s ways would prevail.
Mary’s treasure came at the culmination of her call, her journey, her labor and delivery, and the message from shepherds heralding the good news of her Son, our Savior.
The verb treasure (some versions use the word kept) means Mary captured a moment and chose to hold it close; she guarded her experiences. Her pondering meant that she weighed details of that moment against all that came before and all that was promised to come.
Mary’s intimate treasuring and pondering of the things of God means she had a place to which she could return when the stuff of life caused doubt or sapped her strength; she had a timeline moment to carry her through with confidence, and I gleaned a few gems for my life:
Perceive: When reading this verse in context it is apparent that Mary paid attention to her surroundings. Her experiences and observations intertwined with God’s presence established fertile ground for deep insight.
Protect: The things God illuminated were valued and deposited in the core of her being; those experiences became bedrock for her walk of faith.
Ponder: Mary spent time aligning God’s call with the events of her life; she reflected in light of the promises of God.
As children of God, there are times when God speaks in such a way that we know in our hearts that His plan aligns with His purpose for our lives, and those moments are undeniably sacred.
Mary’s moment occurred as Jesus lay in a feeding trough for animals.
My moment came as Little One lay against my shoulder.
What about you? Is there a treasure from God tucked inside your heart?
Charla Matthews is a sojourner in Christ who seeks to listen to—and obey—the single Voice of Truth. She thrives on communicating God’s Word through teaching and writing. Charla enjoys a good belly laugh, gets misty-eyed during profound moments with God, and strives for quality living with family and friends. Above all else, she loves Jesus without shame.
in the Quiver