For starters, my boys knew the inside of my purse was no place for their sticky-peanut-butter-jelly hands.
My mama always told me, don’t ever let anyone rummage through your purse, closet, dresser drawer, or jewelry box.
It’s in those secret places a girl keeps her treasures, her private stuff. Of course if you’re anything like me, it’s more like a place where you stuff your stuff.
I remember as a kid getting in a ton of trouble for playing in one of those secret places. While the gatekeeper was at the grocery, Silly Putty and I played in the closet amongst Mama’s beautiful things.
However, I was busted that same night when telltale signs of my intrusion were left on the green sequined dress she was to wear to a dinner party.
As an adult of course, my mom never told us not to go into these places. It was an unspoken. Out of respect we didn’t enter unless we asked or were invited.
All that changed this past December when Mama went home to be with the Lord.
My sister and I were left with the task of clearing out her things.
I’m not sure what I expected when I entered her home but whatever it was, it wasn’t there.
There was no guard to watch over her treasures.
We were left with free range to the forbidden. We entered my mom’s secret places and carefully divided and boxed up years of memories. Some to toss, some to keep but most to give away.
It felt all wrong and screamed disrespectful, rummaging through all she collected and protected.
When I got home, my stomach felt like it was inside out. Like I’d just returned from a stealth mission with seized goods.
I looked around at my own home and my own stuff, and with disgust I thought—worthless.
It’s all worthless.
I collect and protect and for what? To one day have everything boxed up and given away?
That’s when I thought of the verse in Matthew that reads, “Do not store up your treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up yourselves treasures in heaven…..For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
Never does a verse become so relevant as when it becomes your reality.
It made me think twice about what’s important and what is not.
And then I had this epiphany.
Those weren’t Mama’s treasures at all. Earthly treasures maybe, but in the end it was only stuff she stuffed in places where kids weren’t suppose to go. And she knew those weren’t the things that mattered.
Because her best riches she shared with us—ones that couldn’t be bought or sold.
And those weren’t stored up in a secret place, they were poured out from her sacred place.
The place where Jesus lived in her heart.
Riches found in the countless prayers she said over us. Some still being answered today.
And the wealth of love she tucked away in every stray dog, cat and person she rescued off the street and the example she set for us to do the same.
They were in all the days she volunteered at church and in the community.
The hours she sat by our beds when we were sick.
Holiday celebrations and every home cooked meal.
Her treasures were poured out on us every time she cheered us on and cheered us up.
And every other selfless act in living out the life of a mama who loved Jesus.
Yeah, Mama had her secret places that were off-limits, and I guess I do too.
But that’s not where I want my true riches to be found. Not in some secret place, I want them to pour out from a sacred place.
The place where Jesus lives.
In my heart.