Mary was treasuring up all of these things in her heart and meditating on them.
I was in seventh-grade homeroom when she approached me with a smirk.
“What brand are your jeans?” she asked. “Where did you get them?”
Those jeans were my best-kept secret, my “please-make-me-cool” prayer. My mom and I were thrilled when we found the knockoff denim, identical to the expensive brand we couldn’t afford. But with one glance, she knew, and she carved me with her simple question, asked with smug intention. I stammered out an answer, cheeks burning and eyes downcast, and she grinned and went on her way. That memory has never left my heart.
Now the mid-thirties me wonders what the other girl was storing up in her heart. I wonder what fed her, what gave her joy, what made her celebrate and smile. And I wonder why it’s so much easier to store up words and experiences that hurt rather than treasure the ones that reward eternally.
I recall with clarity and swiftness the cruel, sarcastic, and plain hurtful comments that I’ve been on the receiving end of, but I have to dig deep to dredge up the kindnesses — the compliments, the gifts of good and real friendship, the examples of grace.
As a college-age camp counselor, we began each day with declarations. We’d gather around the flagpole, plant our feet, and loudly declare, “I am a child of God! I am more than a conqueror! I am beautifully and wonderfully made!” It was the best way to start a day — with truth stored up, spoken aloud.
Today, let’s choose to fill our hearts with truth and grace, to forget the old and ugly, and to treasure and ponder that which He says we are: Blessed. Loved. His.
Store up grace — for yourself and others — by treasuring the truth and beauty that’s found in God’s Word.
This message was written by Anna Rendell and appears in A Moment to Breathe, a 365-day devotional from the (in)courage community.
If you loved this story, grab your copy of A Moment to Breathe today. Right now it’s only $12.00, a 40% savings, on DaySpring.com.Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Anna, I’ve never taken Mary’s Luke 2 storing and treasuring to heart in this way, so thank you. I want to be faithfully memorizing the beauty in my days as sustenance for a future faith.
Blessings to you!
Oh, Anna, I love this post! I can remember hurtful conversations pretty easily, but your words have challenged me to remember the God-affirming words the most. I will treasure those conversations in my heart and ask the Lord to help me to spread encouraging words each day! <
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I can appreciate this story….middle school mean girls….I suppose passing through them is a right of passage in life?? My gift to friends this year is a copy of “A Moment To Breathe” along with the mug you see pictured with it above. Giving friends the gift of “being still and restoring their soul”…..can’t think of anything more needed that I could give…
Blessings and a joyous Advent season to you,
I can think of something that you have already given. You give the gift of love, prayer, kindness, compassion and friendship 365 days a year. Your friendship is a gift that I treasure and I am so blessed that I met you through this precious blog. I was blessed to be given this beautiful coffee mug and book of words reminding us to breathe, restore and be still. Every time I drink from my mug, I say a little prayer for you. Each day when I read from this devotional, I stop and thank God for the friendship that you so freely give. Material things are not always needed. You give the gift of yourself everyday. What a blessing and what a privilege to know you and share life issues with. Thank you again Bev for the material gifts of mug and book but also the gift of your heart.
I spent my early years in a Christian school. Each morning began with the singing of Oh Canada, followed by facing the flag with our Bibles over our hearts, proclaiming: “I pledge allegiance to the Bible – God’s Holy Word. I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…”
I don’t remember the rest of that pledge, but it was many years later that I read how lamps only illuminate the next step or two. This verse came back to mind: His Word is my lamp – not the football-field illuminator I so often wish for!
Those verses, stored and treasured, take on new meaning and fresh revelation as we travel through life. That is how God could promise that His Word would not return void: it takes root and sprouts into a tree of shade and nourishment right when we need it most. Thank you for this encouragement today; though my memory is not what it used to be, it is worth every effort to memorize His Word.
I have loved every single one of the devotions in this book, so far. I’ve only read maybe 10-15 of them, because I’m trying to save the book for next year. Such great writing in these pages. Can’t wait to read the rest of it. Love this one, Anna. ♥
I had the same experience with imitation jeans. I was in college at a football game and a “friend” called me out in front of everyone. It was hard to respect her the same after that incident. Since then name brands have left me with a bad taste. But I am secure knowing I can wear anything I want because I “wear” the true armor of God and HE is the biggest “brand name” of all. Better yet I got a good deal because my savior paid the price.
Oooh, so good! Thank you for the reminder of grace. Blessings!
I just bought some spiral bound memo books to make truth books for my kids and for myself. It is so much easier to believe the negative, but
I’m praying that starting our days with truth and carrying truth around with us will remind us to focus more on the beauty and less on the broken.
Rebecca L Jones says
I hate that I stored up things in my heart, even words from other Christians. It will break it eventually, while a proverb says for us to guard it, it is His peace that passes understanding that guards it best.
Pearl Allard says
Anna, thank you for the very practical encouragement to write down (or in some way capture) the kindnesses shown me. Just today, a dear friend touched me to tears with timely kindness. Yet it’s so easy to move forward and forget and dwell on the harder aspects of today, instead! How horrible is that? Tonight, I’ll journal to remember the kindness and magnify the good God gave. Anna, thank you so much!
This was what I needed to hear today. Thank you for the timing.
Theresa Boedeker says
Love your idea of treasuring up the good things, and letting go of the bad. Great image. I will never look at this verse in Luke the same way.
Nancy Ruegg says
I wonder if we forget many of the compliments and kindnesses bestowed upon us because it seems prideful to hold on to them. But you’ve given us a new perspective, Anna. What if we considered those kind words and deeds as evidence of God’s grace, delivered through His children around us? And then, what if we “gave” them back to Him in praise and gratitude? We just might be able to hold on to those truthful compliments and gracious kindnesses–without the pride.
Beth Williams says
Such great wisdom in these words. It is so easy to bring up reminders of the old, ugly comments & so hard to remember the kindnesses. I have made it a high priority to memorize scripture. Making myself recite it without looking at it. I had a great compliment bestowed on me by someone. A few years ago I was at the assisted living with my dad during lunch. He was having trouble eating, so I offered to help feed him. The fellow to the right looked right at me and said “you will get jewels in your crown for this”. It shocked me at first, but after thinking on it I realized God was saying well done good & faithful servant. This is where I want you now. I will never forget that day.