To the Ones Who Ponder
I wrote this post over two years ago. It's surreal to read it because it seems like a lifetime ago and I can also remember it all so clearly. But I've been thinking about it recently. Maybe it's because it's Advent and the mother of Jesus seems such a relevant character. Maybe it's because the days are shorter and quieter and it's usually easier in winter for me to remember to crawl up quiet with our Lord. Maybe it's because, in every season, I need to remember my invitation into the quiet and uncomplicated presence of God. And maybe you need to be reminded that you're welcomed there as well.
I just wrote pages that no one will ever read. No one. Ever. Because those words, well, they aren’t for your eyes. The Lord is faithful to meet me on the pages of His Scriptures, but He is also faithful to meet me on blank pages. Since I was old enough to put pen to paper, I’ve written and written and written, and He has faithfully read and read and read.
Secrets. Hopes. Dreams. Anger. A few lies. Guilt. Sadness. Fear. Excitement. Happiness. Disappointments. Wishes.
He has read stories I’ve made up. He has read words scrawled across the page in furious anger. He has read pages dotted with drops of tears – tiny memorials of disappointment and loss. He has read thoughts that trail off and are never finished. He has read of my deepest hopes and dreams – those things I’m almost afraid to speak aloud. He has read the words I’ve later Sharpie-markered through to hide from the risk of another’s eyes.
He has read. He has revealed Himself to me there. And He has revealed myself to me there. There – in the secret places and moments and thoughts and emotions that no one else will ever see or know – right there, He has known me, and He has made Himself known.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Specifically this verse: “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
The visit from an angel. The conversation with Joseph. The way her life shifted after that. The journey to Bethlehem. The birth in a stable. The visit from the shepherds, exhausted and surrounded by men she did not know. The lack of her own mother and sisters and friends. Those tired moments in the dark of night, holding a baby close to her chest, thanking God He was hers, wondering where the girl she had been just a year ago had gone.
She treasured all those things, pondering them in her heart.
And I don’t think it was only because she had no one to tell. I think she knew the sweetness of moments that would only be cheapened in the telling of them. I think she knew something of the preciousness of thoughts that were only between her and her Lord. I think she knew, as she stared into the freshly formed face of God in a way that no one else ever would, that there were moments the Savior meant to keep only between Himself and His mother.
So we read her story, but we do not read her fears or secrets or joys or thoughts. We read an account of her life, but we do not read her journal. And do you know why we don’t? Because those things are none of our business. Mary kept some things just between her and her God. And, do you know what I think? I think He did the same. I think He honored her when He inspired His gospels by letting those unspoken things remain unspoken.
Because some things just need treasuring. We need to ponder them in our hearts. We need to lay them out before our Lord and know that they will go no farther. Not because they are unworthy or unsightly but because they are so dear and so precious and so deeply personal that no one but our Father would really understand.
I’m not talking about secrets that need to see the light of day. I’m not talking about wounds that need to be uncovered before another that they might be tended and healed. I’m not talking about those things that we hide in shame or fear. I’m not talking about isolation.
I’m talking about those sweet and tender moments when we get to whisper or write or dance or dream with only our Creator. I’m talking about the things that would be wasted if He were not so present. I’m talking about what might feel at first like loneliness but is actually the Savior pulling us aside, asking us our secrets, telling us His.
I’m right there right now. I’m pondering things in my heart. I’m treasuring them. I’m wondering about some of them. There has been grieving and rejoicing and a whole lot of changing. And I don’t really want to tell you about it. But I want you to know that it’s real.
And more than that, I want you to grab a cup of coffee and crawl up on your couch with just your God. What makes your heart beat faster with anticipation? What do you dream? What do you hope? What memories are so tender that you can’t yet tell another? What moments are so dear that you want to keep them just for yourself? What emotions are so raw that they confuse you? What passions run so deep that you’re afraid to let them surface in the presence of another? Share them with Him. Ponder with Him.
And hear His gentle whisper in response: I treasure these things too.
There are some things our Father means to keep only between Himself and His daughter.