Motherhood is a gift, but many of the moments of motherhood are filled with mundane tasks, like managing sibling rivalry and cleaning up accidents. In fact, just last evening, as a distraction from the chaos and noise of a day of schoolwork, I took my kids outside on a walk. I was hoping for some energy release and fresh air. By the time we had walked fifty feet down the driveway, my potty-training three year old had an “accident”. Just as quickly as it had begun, the walk was over. Back we traipsed to the house to change clothes and take a bath. The grandeur of the vision of mothering rarely matches up to the day to day experience.
Then, just in the midst of the mundane and the exhaustion, come unexpected, sacred moments with our children.
When my youngest son was an infant, I spent countless hours feeding, rocking, cuddling, and patting his back. One day, before his first birthday, I was patting his back after feeding him. Unexpectedly, I realized that he was gently patting my shoulder to the same rhythm. This was a sacred moment in my mothering experience. My youngest son is adopted. In that moment, as we hugged and patted each other, I was confident that he knew fully that I was his mom. His tiny hand and my big hand were comforting one another in unison.
All mothers experience sacred moments in their parenting journeys, but how much more must Mary, the mother of Jesus, have felt these emotions? She witnessed miracle after miracle as she raised her son: from the announcement of her upcoming pregnancy by the angel Gabriel, to His resurrection and ascension. In the second chapter of Luke, on two separate occasions, Scripture says that Mary “treasured these things and pondered them in her heart.”
After the shepherds came to see baby Jesus, Luke documents that they spread the word about all that they had seen and heard. I picture their great excitement and jubilation, stopping everyone to proclaim the news. Contrast this with Mary’s reaction:
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 ESV
As an extrovert, I struggle in the treasuring and pondering department. I’m more like one of the shepherds, running around broadcasting my thoughts to whoever will listen. Certainly, there is a time for shouting things from the rooftops, but I can stand to learn from Mary’s example. Some moments and experiences are so sacred, they deserve to be marveled over and held closely.
Mary serves as a sweet and holy reminder of the importance of motherhood. We are witnesses of the miracles of our children. No, we were not given the responsibility of raising the Savior like she was. Still, made in the image of God, each of our babies are miracles and signatures of the Divine.
As mothers we are given a unique perspective on the unfolding of who our children are and who they will become. We’re awarded a first class ticket to watch them grow and mature. When they are in awe of a new discovery, they come to us. When they are hurt and need comfort, they come to us. What a privilege!
Pause: Quiet your mind and your body. Think of a sacred moment you have experienced. Remember how you felt in that moment.
Renew: Although this post was about motherhood, there are also sacred moments in our walks with Jesus. Meditate on one of these experiences in your own faith journey. How did you treasure that moment? Did you write it down, pray about it, share it with a friend, or keep it to yourself?
Next: The mundane and tiresome moments often drown out moments that could be found sacred if we shift our perspective. Today, look for moments that you can treasure in your heart and take time to savor them. This can be done anytime: in the midst of chores, while exercising, or while driving down the road.
No matter the season of motherhood in which we find ourselves: the all-nighters with a newborn, the trials of toilet training, or the turbulence of the teenage years, may we learn to treasure the sacred moments.
Pause, Renew, Next!