(This post was specifically written for the women who attended the Heart Retreat at Windermere, but even if you didn’t, you are not excluded! Feel free to read and apply this to your own experiences.)
Since my last post about gleaning, you’ve been frozen in my mind like a graceful statue, a bundle of grain in your arms, a wistful smile on your face, and the corner of your dress lifting gently in the breeze. This makes me laugh, because if you are anything like me, you dropped your grain days ago to make room for turkey and pumpkin pie. But that’s okay. The whole point of this little follow-up study is to remember and apply the good things the Lord did in us at the Heart Retreat. We can continue to do that with just a bit of time and effort, even in the midst of recovering from Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas. Let’s take a look at Mary, the mother of Jesus, as our next inspirational woman.
“When they (the shepherds) had seen him (Jesus), they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:17-19)
I like the way the New Living Translation describes Mary’s treasuring and pondering: “…but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Ruth showed us the importance of gleaning the good things the Lord has for us, and I think Mary’s example can teach us how to turn our gleanings into food for our hearts. But how do we treasure and ponder? What does it mean?
treasure: 1: to collect and store up (something of value) for future use: hoard
ponder: to weigh carefully in the mind; consider thoughtfully (dictionary.com)
The Lord has done many wonderful things in my life, but I have never accidentally kept them in my heart and thought about them often. If I am going to hold on to these precious things and consider them in a thoughtful way, I have to be intentional. Treasuring and pondering is certainly not a strength of mine, but when I do it, I feel like my heart has had a Thanksgiving feast. I really like the first definition of treasure: to store up something of value for future use. I like to think of it as putting my grain into the storehouse of my heart for the lean times that may be ahead of me. Pulling it out and feasting on what the Lord has done in the past will help to see me through those dry seasons.
So, what did the Lord give to you at the Heart Retreat? Did you make your list of gleanings? If so, let's start storing the grain in our hearts.
1. Read through your list. If you don't have one, you can still make one! Read this post, called "Glean" for ideas.
2. Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to treasure and ponder the things on your list. (Disregard the rest of this list if you feel He is leading you in a different direction. He is the best teacher!)
3. Consider this verse: "Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them." (Psalm 111:2) Take some time to tell the Lord that the things He gave you at the retreat are great and that you delight in the works He has done for you.
4. Ponder! This comes naturally to some, and for others may be like pulling teeth. I think I fall somewhere in between. Choose one thing from your list to ponder for now. For example, one of the things on my list is that the Lord reminded me at the retreat to let go of the things I can't control. To ponder this particular thing, I chose to dig a little deeper by studying. I looked up the word "control" in my concordance, and I'm so glad I did! For one thing, I found a prayer of Jeremiah's that really spoke to my heart. And I was also reminded of the different kinds of control: self-control, God's control, and also Satan's control. (If you don't have a concordance, you can use one online! Bible Gateway is one that you can use to search in different versions of the Bible.)
5. Write it down. I wrote what I learned about control in my notebook. I also wrote down my own prayer about it, too. I think this helps get it in my heart a little better.
6. Relax. One of my favorite things to do is to take a nugget from my day and ponder it as I'm falling asleep at night. You might like to try this with one of the things on your list. Put it in the front of your mind as you close your eyes to sleep. Ask the Lord to speak to your heart about it during the night. If it is a verse, dwell on it, saying the words to yourself as you drift away. Don't be surprised if you wake up in the morning, or even the middle of the night with fresh insight on that particular subject. My spiritual ears just seem to be more alert when the rest of me is sleeping. " I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me." (Psalm 16:7)
7. Repeat for the other items on your list.
I would love to hear of other ways you treasure and ponder, if you'd like to share. I hope you will stick with me for our third inspirational woman, coming soon(ish)!