The following verse has always stood out to me, and I think I understand it better after having gone through the past few weeks of our life.  (Another story for another post)  This passage comes after Christ was born…

Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

The Greek word used for “kept” is “syntēreō”, which means “to preserve; to keep within one’s self, keep in mind”  Mary wanted to know, to remember what she had experienced.  She pondered all of it, she synthesized everything in her heart-her innermost being.

When trials come, how do you handle them?  What is your reaction?  How do you respond?  Do you blow up?  Do you shut down?

I was recently very challenged in the way I would respond to my situation and the people surrounding the circumstances.  Worldly wisdom would have given me every right to blow up, chew some people out, throw a hissy fit, and stir up even more drama than already existed.  Yet, I knew that was not right.  It would have been a selfish reaction full of self-pity, and entirely fueled by self-justification.  That’s a lot of self!

I found myself in limbo-almost removed from the situation & able to see outside of it.  I was able to make a conscious decision not to overreact, not to indulge my flesh with self-centered choices.  It was as if I wanted to cry over the situation, yet I knew God was whispering in my ear, “Give it to me; let me help you process this.”  I spent the entire next day desperately pouring my heart out to the Lord.  I was even blessed with extra time in my workday to journal, read the Scriptures, reflect on the circumstances and pray.  While I felt like my heart would burst from the overwhelming emotion at any moment, God strengthened my heart, and truly sustained me.  I never shed a tear that day, I just constantly laid my burden in my Lord’s hands.

By the end of the day, I had a new understanding of what it meant to count every trial as “joy”, and was able to truly thank God specifically for the people, the circumstances, the details of my trial!  What an incredible freedom to celebrate even the worst of situations!  My heart was on cloud 9, swelling with joy in my God!  I have honestly never been able to do that so quickly before.  Not that I couldn’t ever, but it has typically been much delayed, and not without me making a bigger mess before the resolution.  I can only imagine that kind of processing and surrender was what Mary did as she held her child, her Lord in her arms.  What an occasion to process!