The Practice of Pondering: The Depths of a Mother’s Heart
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Have you developed the practice of pondering as a spiritual discipline in your life? Mary did.
What picture do you have of Mary, the mother of Jesus?
Is it of a young girl, delighted to be the chosen vessel? Perhaps you imagine a simply obedient young woman, devout and faithful. I imagine a woman with dark eyes, an observant face, and hidden depths.
And I have much to learn from her.
She Was Thoughtful
The first time an angel spoke to Mary, she wasn’t afraid. Or even excited.
The Bible tells us she was confused and disturbed (Luke 1:29). And thoughtful.
She thought about what the angel said and tried to discern what he meant. She listened and she questioned (v. 34). Then Mary mulled over his answer and responded (v. 38).
She could have freaked out or passed out or laughed with incredulity.
But Mary pondered, asked, listened, and responded. Wow.
She Thought About Them Often
Luke 2:19 records that Mary kept these things in her heart and thought about them often. She pondered, not just on occassion or when a feeling of de ja vu swept over her, but often (Luke 2:19).
She contemplated the shepherds, lowly and smelly and rough around the edges, who came and knelt before the baby who had been kicking inside her womb, even though she’d been a virgin.
She pondered the angel who spoken to her and the message he brought, the quickening in her womb that was literally a diving experience, and even the miracle of his cousin John.
She pondered the trek to Jerusalem and the ancient prophecies.
And she did so frequently.
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.
Perhaps when the boys had played in the hayloft and came into the house sweaty with the stink of farm animal all over them she remembered the manger He had once laid in.
Maybe when she went with her husband to the Temple to offer sacrifices and saw the sheep in the outer courts, the shepherds who had worshipped Him came to mind.
When the moon was full and the stars at their brightest, her mind might have wandered to that Brightest Star that she’d only seen for such a short time. And maybe, just maybe, her heart knew that she tucked the Bright and Morning Star into bed each night.
She Treasured It All
So many things happened to Mary in such a short amount a time and she treasured it all up in her heart (Luke 2:51).
If you’ve had a baby, you know how it can all fly by in a blur of contractions, birthing pains, afterbirth pains, midnight nursings, and visitors.
And yet Scripture clearly says she stored it all up in her heart. She wasn’t missing a single moment and each detail was being treated like a treasure.
She cherished the words of Simeon and the joy of the old woman Anna.
She didn’t get angry when she found Jesus teaching His elders in the Temple after a three day search and just move forward; no, even that she pondered and valued.
She also questioned him, “Why?” (v. 48, 50). There’s that thoughtful leaning again. She listened, she questioned, and even in her lack of understanding she treasured the moment.
The Practice of Pondering
Sweet mama, are you familiar with the practice of pondering in your own quiet time?
It add so much depth to motherhood and is incredibly precious.
Related: Did I Waste My Potential When I Became A Mom?
Are you thoughtful?
Sweet friend, we have much to learn from Mary.
When God speaks to you, do you become thoughtful when your emotions wash over you? That’s not my personal go-to reaction, if we’re being completely transparent.
I’m more likely to freak out, call a friend, eat some chocolate, maybe fuss at God and call it prayer.
This is a beautiful way to grow in the Lord. Let Him bring new, possibly scary, potentially overwhelming things your way and respond with thoughtful contemplation instead of riotous emotion.
And more than that, as a mother are you thoughtful?
Do you look at the things your children do and think about them? Do you truly look at their hearts and their wonder and their frustrations and see what you need to see?
Do you look at these little loves you nurtured in your womb and/or heart for so long and see them as being made in the image of I AM?
They are, my friend. And they deserve to be thought about, not just survived.
Are your children frequently on your heart?
This is so beautiful. Mary didn’t just think on occasion about the miracles of Jesus’ birth or the way their lives were affected. No, she did so often.
Do you have a habit of just always moving forward and looking ahead?
I know I struggle with that, as do many Type-A women. We’re all about future plans, and resting in the present is a struggle. Looking back to the past, even more so.
But 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 childhoold moments.
Perhaps I need to learn from this. Do you?
I challenge you each day to take note of something in your child today. Recognize the miraculous in the mundane.
I have eight precious image bearers of Jesus running around my home creating chaos and noise…and joy and hope and delight. Which side do I see more often? Which do you?
I encourage you, sweet friend, to look with love and wonder at this gift of motherhood that you have. Don’t wish the days away; I know they can seem long, but take time to ponder and treasure.
Do you treasure it all?
When I think about the toddler years, they are a bit of a blur. There are always those memorable moments, of course, but much of it was just life.
I listened to the counself of older women who said things like, “This is only a season; just look forward and you’ll make it.” Have you heard that, too?
But Mary wouldn’t have said that to your or me, I don’t think. No, it’s more likely that she’d put her hand over yours, look deeply into your eyes, and share a smile rich with secrets.
She’d lean forward and tell you this:
Sweet mama, treasure it all.
And treasure it often.
Don’t wish away
the challenges or the struggles.
Your children are gifts.
Treasure them often.
How To Honor The Practice of Pondering
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.
Related: Slow Down, Mama: An Invitation to Stop & See the Beauty in Today
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.
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 your heart and soul on what matters.
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.
Take a moment to reflect over stories they shared from their favorite book or movie that you had started to tune out, and revel in the beauty that they love you and want to share what they love with you.
Pondering Will Make You A Better Mom
Sweet mama, you were made to live a life of joy-filled purpose.
You weren’t made to rush from one task to the next, never stopping to breathe. You weren’t intended to wish away the years.
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 pupose, and enable you to see what God has for you in this life He has given you.
This post is a part of the challenge to read the entire Bible cover to cover in just 90 days!