Treasuring More Than Parenting Warm Fuzzies

Last weekend my son Gideon celebrated his first birthday.   As I spent time reflecting on our first twelve months as a family of three, the well-known words of Luke 2:19 came to mind,

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Perhaps like me you’ve read this verse with a picture of Mary holding her new first born son in her arms soaking up the incredible, overwhelming set of emotions that accompanies meeting your child for the first time. It’s easy for most parents to relate to the reflection a sacred moment like this creates. Did you know, though, that a similar verse occurs later on in Luke 2 after Mary and Joseph experience a far different event?

When Jesus was twelve years old, he and his parents went to Jerusalem for Passover as they had done every year. As they traveled back home, Mary and Joseph realized that Jesus was nowhere to be found. Unbeknownst to his parents, Jesus had stayed back in Jerusalem and was at the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Mary and Joseph’s response matched what you or I might feel after searching for a missing child for three days. Luke 2:48 records this reaction and states, “When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’”

Immediately following the frantic search for Jesus that would have likely stood out as their scariest childhood memories of their son, we find this verse, “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51b

As I think about the many memories God has given me of my son Gideon, I want to relate with Mary on both accounts but I have to admit, it’s a lot harder to treasure moments of chaos, frustration, and inconvenience than it is to bask in the newborn glow so-to-speak.

Perhaps this is why I appreciated Rachel Jankovic’s book Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches so much. Through twenty short chapters of personal stories and reflections, Jankovic shares more than a deep knowing belly laugh between moms, she also shares great Biblical insight that has allowed her to treasure and grow in the less glamorous moments of motherhood. Take these lines from an opening chapter,

“The opportunities for growth and refinement abound here—but you have to be willing. You have to open your heart to the tumble. As you deal with your children, deal with yourself always and first. This is what it looks like and feels like to walk with God as a mother.

God treats us with great kindness as we fail daily. He takes the long view of our sin—knowing that every time we fail and repent, we grow in our walk with Him. It is easy for us to accept this, because our sins are, well, ours.

But our children sin against us, annoy us, and mess up our stuff. We want to hold it against them, complain about them (if only to ourselves), and feel put upon by their sin…It is no abstract thing—the state of your heart is the state of your home. You cannot harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender. You cannot be greedy with your time and expect them to share their toys. And perhaps most importantly, you cannot resist your opportunities to be corrected by God and expect them to receive correction from you.”

You see, I don’t want to treasure beautiful and hard moments with Gideon for the sake of treasuring them in and of themselves. I believe that God has given me these moments of motherhood for a much greater purpose than accumulating warm fuzzy feelings as great as they might be. I want to treasure the moments God gives me as Gideon’s mom in a way that ultimately helps me to treasure Christ as God shapes and refines me into the likeness of His Son. I’m thankful for books like Loving the Little Years that remind me to view parenting in this way.


One Comment

  1. Geyer said:

    Thanks, Emily, for a post laden with big truths and reminders my heart needed. I only have a teen left at home but this was still quite applicable.

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