One of my favorite Bible verses about parenting comes from an unlikely place – the Christmas story. As many times as I’ve read it, Luke 2:19 always brings Mary to life as a mom just like me.
“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
What great and wonderful things Mary had to ponder! Her baby was Jesus, the Son of God Himself.
His birth had been announced by an angel. She’d carried a baby in her womb without ever having a relationship with a man. In the midst of a trip to another town, while staying in a stable, she’d given birth. Furthermore, shepherds appeared in the doorway to worship her son. How full her heart and mind must have been with all that had taken place!
Mary kept these events fresh in her mind, she reviewed them over and over. Surely she thought long and heard about what all of this meant in regards to her child.
Admittedly, Mary witnessed miraculous events surrounding the birth of Jesus. We moms surely won’t share those experiences, yet we do have much to think about when it comes to our children.
What type of thoughts do you meditate on when it comes to your children? If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about them. Whether it’s how they’re doing in a particular subject in school, the way they’re responding to correction, or their latest friendship, I’m usually reflecting about what’s going on in their lives.
Recently I was talking (okay, obsessing) to my husband about something related to one of our girls. I’d had a bit of a run-in with her that morning, and I was focusing on a negative behavior. And honestly, in that moment, I’m sure my mama mind was blowing it out of proportion.
Being the voice of calm (as always), he gently encouraged me to think of all the positive things about her – and admittedly, there are many. As he listed a few of them aloud to me, I realized he was right. It was a reminder to me that I can let one negative incident color my perception of my child for days.
What I realized anew is the importance of focusing on the good in my children. If I look for the bad, I’m going to find it. And honestly, it’s often easier to see all that needs to be corrected, and the many ways they could do better.
If, instead, I focus on the good, I find it easier to encourage her. I can speak words that bless her and lift her up. Because if the good is what I’m looking for, that’s what I’m more likely to see.
Yes, there are issues that will need to be addressed. But with both of my girls, I want to make sure I notice and think about the good. After all, I sure like to be told what I’m doing right more than I like to hear about what I’m doing wrong!
Ultimately I want to concentrate on those things that have eternal value. My highest calling as their mom is to see them come to know and love their Savior. My daughters’ spiritual condition, seeing them develop a personal relationship with Christ, is my top priority.
If her room is messy when she leaves for school, but I know that she took a few minutes to pray and read God’s Word, that’s a win. If I see her being kind to a classmate who needs help, I’ll put less importance on the inconvenience of making a trip back to school to retrieve the book bag she left in her locker.
Our children are blessings from God, beautiful treasures that my husband and I have been given to raise. I want to take each day, each stage, each age, and see the good in it, enjoy it to its fullest. Yes, some seasons will be easier than others. But we will not pass this way again, these lovely young ladies or I.
I believe Mary looked back often on those early days with her baby boy. How special those memories must have been! May I, too, soak up the moments today, focusing on all that is good in my children, so that one day I’ll have many good memories to ponder.