Among a Mother’s Greatest Treasures are Her Memories
“Mary treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51). Among a mother’s greatest treasures are her memories. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). We are all familiar with Luke chapter two and the Christmas story, but I want to take a closer look at the story at the end of that chapter in verses 41-51. It’s the story of the “boy Jesus,” age twelve.
Jesus is more boy than adult as are most twelve-year-olds. Mary apparently failed to count heads the day her family left the festival to make the long journey home. She was probably busy corralling her other younger children (Mark 6:3) and naturally assumed that Jesus was where he was supposed to be. (Lesson one: Mothers should never assume anything!) The next day, Mary realized she hadn’t seen Jesus in a while. Panic, terror, frustration, fear, and anxiety began to grip her heart. If you’re a mother, you know that gut-wrenching agony of not knowing where your child is for ten minutes or an hour or longer. So, Mary and Joseph go back to Jerusalem in search of Jesus. Now it’s been two days since she last saw him.
“After three days they found him in the temple courts…” (2:46). Five days must seem like an eternal nightmare when your child is missing! “Just wait until I get my hands on that boy! He’ll wish he had never wandered off…after I hold him and squeeze him and make sure he’s okay and kiss him all over his face! Will God ever forgive me for misplacing His Son?”
“Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you” (2:48). I ask you, who is the adult here? (Lesson two: Don’t blame another for my own crazy emotions.) Jesus was simply being a twelve-year-old. This makes me feel better about my own inadequacies in motherhood. After all, there has and always will be only one perfect Father and one perfect Child, but there has never been a perfect mother. In other words, it’s okay to mess-up. Learn from it and move forward.
Jesus seemed puzzled that his parents were so distraught. They missed the obvious and should have known he would be in the temple. Many times, in our panic and haste we can miss the obvious. (Lesson three: Stay calm and think rationally.)
Mary amassed many treasures in her heart over the years. Twenty-one years later when she watched her precious son suffer and die an excruciating death on the cross, she would need those treasures more than ever. As her mother’s heart healed from the pain of losing her son, she could pull out a memory from her treasure trove and look at it and remember and smile. (Lesson four: Pain does heal.)
I, too, have many treasures stored in my heart of Jamie, our daughter, who died at the age of thirty-six. When the loss was new, it was impossible to see those treasures because grief is so overwhelming and consuming. However, after eight years of God’s healing the pain, it is much easier to open my treasure chest and pull out a beautiful memory and smile. I can visit the grief whenever I want, but I don’t stay for long periods of time. I’m well aware that joy and pain can co-exist, but I choose joy.
When we lose someone we love, we often ask the question, “Why did my loved one die.” Personally, I will never know all the answers to that question, but God knows, and I trust Him. I ask a different question now: “Why did Jamie live?” God used her life in countless ways to bless our family and others. She taught us many things about life and death. These, too, are my treasures.
God took the worst evil this world will ever know, the crucifixion of His Son, and brought about the greatest good this world will ever see, the salvation of man. If God can do that, and He did, then He can cause good to come from my pain and sorrow, and He has. I am thankful. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
If there had been no sin, pain, or suffering in this world, there would have been no reason for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem. However, this life is full of pain, suffering, and sin, so He came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). I’m so glad He came, for He took my sin and suffering away and gave me His forgiveness, comfort and peace.
God is the Creator of life, and He never makes a mistake. Every life has purpose, no matter how long that life is, whether a few weeks in the womb or one hundred years walking the earth. (Lesson five: Stockpile the treasures while you can!) I continue to accumulate precious memories with my husband Gene, daughter Janet, son-in-law Jeremy, awesome grandchildren Sage and Graham, and other beloved family and friends. Beautiful memories are indeed God’s gifts to us.
I also carry the treasure of Jesus in my clay jar (2 Cor. 4:6-7). Among a mother’s greatest treasures are her memories. However, knowing Jesus Christ, the crown jewel of heaven, as Savior and Lord is truly the greatest treasure in all the world.