Things Pondered: Beth Moore Shares Her Heart for Her Own Children
This article is courtesy of ParentLife magazine.
Pondered. It is a wonderful word. It is the practice of casting many things together, combining them, and considering them as one. In that moment, a host of memories must have been dancing in Mary's head. The angel's appearance. His words. Her flight to the hill country of Judea. Elizabeth's greeting. Their late-night conversations. The first time she noticed her tummy was rounding. Joseph's face when he saw her. The way she felt when he believed. The whispers of neighbors. The doubts of her parents. The first time she felt the baby move inside of her. The dread of the long trip. The reality of being full-term. The first pain. The fear of having no place to bear a child. The horror of the nursery. The way it looked. The way it smelled.
The way He looked. God so frail. So tiny. So perfect. Love so abounding. Grace so amazing. Wise men bowed down. Shepherds made haste. Each memory like treasures in a box. She gathered the jewels, held them to her breast, and engraved them on her heart forever.
These are some of my responses to Mary's worthy example. Words from a life absent of her lofty calling and excellent character. Experiences of an average woman, wife, and mother written to invite you to remember your own.
These are things pondered.
Why I Like Children
I like the way they are always full of surprises ... how they have a mind of their own from the very beginning and arrive just in time to be two weeks late. I like the way they look like little strangers the moment you feast your eyes on them ... totally unrecognizable, yet freshly detached from your own body. I like the way they come to your hospital room in a plain white blanket. I like how they look in their baby bed the first time you tuck them in it - so small that you decide they better sleep in your room.
I like the funny expressions they make while they are dozing. I like the way they yawn with their whole bodies. I like the way they never go for the applesauce disguising the pureed liver. I like how they smell after their grannies bathe them and bring them to their mamas. I like the soft bristles of their brushes and how their hair looks when you first get it to part.
I like the way they love you more than anyone else on earth has ever loved you. I like how they quiet to your whisper after all your friends and relatives have desperately tried to calm them. I like the first time they reach their arms out to you. I like having the prerogative not to lay them down for a nap and rocking them instead for all three hours.
I like the way they learn to entertain all the patrons at the restaurant with a spoon on the metal tray of a high chair. I like how they first say "Mama" and "Dada" with 20 syllables each. I like the dimples their knees make when they first learn to stand. I like how they learn to walk because they want to get to you. And, boy, do I like footie pajamas ... until the next morning when no telling what is in the footie. And I love sleepy hair. You know ... how it looks all fuzzy on one side when they first wake up.
I like the sudden discovery of sentences as their thoughts take the form of endless, delightful vocabulary. I like how you nearly die laughing once you realize what they are trying to say. I like how the letter "R" does not appear in their alphabet until they are at least 5 years old. I like their simple rules of socialization ... move or I push ... gimme or I bite.
I like how little girls think pink chiffon dresses are divine and little boys wear their cowboy boots with shorts. I like the way little girls prefer umbrellas and little boys prefer puddles. I like how they look on the first day of kindergarten — from the front. Not from the back. I like taking pictures of them with their friends every year on the first day of school ... that is, until you come across that first one in the drawer, and you cry because it went too fast, and you cannot go back. I like the way they know it is time to go, even when Mommy does not agree, because that is the way it should be.
I like how your children like you even better when they are grown. And how, if you are really lucky, they might have children of their own. And you can try it once more. And maybe do a little better. Because I like children.
Without a doubt, the strongest emotion I have ever experienced has been in response to my children. There is little debate that motherhood takes a woman to the breadth, length, depth, and height of the human psyche.
On a summer vacation in 1991, I sat perched on a large rock watching my husband and children prepare to take on the Texas-famous rapids of New Braunfels. Our three children, then 11, 9, and 5, all hooked together in inner tubes like little ducklings behind their father. Their bare feet were secured as tightly around the tummy of the one in front of them as they could wind them.
The "shoot" seemed to jump up and grab them as they began their frantic ride through the rapids. As they dipped, swirled, and spit water from their mouths, their expressions were so priceless that I laughed until my side screamed. Without warning, the laughter suddenly transformed into tears. Not just any kind of tears — overwhelming, uncontrollable tears. The attention-getting kind. As people stared at me, I thought of faking a heart attack, but I was afraid someone would try to give me mouth-to-mouth.
I was utterly humiliated, but I was not confused. I knew exactly what had done it. I was dramatically and painfully confronted by the incarnation of my own vulnerability. There was my Achilles' heel -— fashioned by the four people I love more than any others in the whole world. My life could be changed in the twinkling of an eye over any one of those creatures. In a second, my overwhelming love for them was transformed into excruciating vulnerability.
I cannot relate to any part of my Savior's perfection or His agony on the cross. The closest I can crawl into the backdrop of that pivotal scene in history is to imagine the emotions of that tender, naive mother. What must Mary's thoughts have been as she stood below her own suspended vulnerability?
I doubt this could have been a woman who stood in stoic control of her silent pain. Why would her Son have been so moved in the midst of His own ripping war with death that He cried out to His friend: "John, take care of her! Hold her! Lift her collapsing frame and assure her you'll be there for her! Do something!"
Somehow I feel rather certain that this mother was just like the rest of us. She cried out for her own death to escape the intolerable sight of His. Suffering to hide her own eyes, yet maternally unable to do so. She could not bear to stay, yet she could not bear to leave.
How different these moments must have been to "ponder" than those surrounding His birth. How she must have tried to shake the pictures out of her head for years to come. How she must have awakened and felt for just a moment that it was all a bad dream. And she would find Jesus back in that manger. Safe and sound. But it was no dream. It was a nightmare.
Since having my own babies, I have often wondered how different things might have been if God, in His perfect sovereignty, had allowed Mary to know the fate of her firstborn Son. The stirring thoughts that run through my mind are simply summed — thank God it was not me.