Never having watched more than one episode in the past seasons, I lucked into watching “The Voice” this year when a young man from Kentucky blew the judges and audience (and me, too) away in his blind audition. Following Jordan Smith’s first performance, I was hooked and continued to watch and cheer for my fellow Kentuckian.
If you are unfamiliar with the show, singers audition and are then selected (or the singers select depending on the audition responses) by celebrity “coaches” who coach them through vocals, style and stage presence in attempts to win a recording contract. Viewers vote via texting and purchasing songs on iTunes to support their favorite contestant.
Jordan Smith’s performances were consistently on the top of the charts, sometimes bumping chart staples, Adele, and Justin Bieber, out of the way. Though he had talented competitors, it was still no surprise to me that he won during last night’s finale.
Along with his beautiful singing voice, there is something about this young man that many seem to gravitate to; maybe his humility, maybe his sincerity, maybe his faith, maybe he represents “real” people; the average Joe … whatever it is, he is a special guy. Watching his mother support him from the first show to tonight’s finale, I guarantee one thing… she knew Jordan was special long before Jordan did, long before his coach, Adam Levine, did and long before America did. And I would be willing to wager that she held on to that fact when times were tough for Jordan.
I don’t know Jordan’s story but from a very small amount shared during the show’s interviews, I would guess that he had some tough times growing up. He once mentioned image issues and often more times than not, those personal image issues are heightened when others tease, bully or even try to give well-meaning advice. As a parent, I know how difficult it is to watch your child hurt from the cruelness of others and watch their self-esteem suffer, particularly when you see the greatness of that child that he can’t seem to see himself. Probably much like the first time she noticed his great talent, she will likely hold tightly to last night’s win.
Just ask a scrapbooking, photographing, videoing or journaling everything parent, whether it is a cute story, a long sought after accomplishment or just a sweet moment in time, I think we as parents have those moments with our children that we always want to remember. However, we also have those rough or challenging moments; temper tantrums in public, siblings screaming because one has hurt the other, experimenting with scissors and their beautiful long hair, the day the teacher calls to tell you that your child is failing a subject, or a multitude of little (or big) imperfections that we’d like to forget.
Reminding myself of those good times and not so stellar moments makes the whole story of Christ and his life growing up that much more relevant. Jesus’ mother, Mary, had those moments to hold on to too.
The Bible says (in my paraphrase) that Mary listened to the words of praise spoken about her baby, thought about them, held them close and then treasured them. Later when we read about him being a preteen, we see his parents doing what I believe is a tad bit of discipline. ( I do believe he was perfect, but I also believe he was a child and still needed parental guidance) Mary and Joseph can’t find Jesus. They search for three days only to find him teaching adults. The Bible says they were astonished, but it also says they didn’t understand fully.
The astonishment of what others think about your child, the marveling at the thoughts of the greatness of your child, the treasured moments that you want to hold onto, that just makes Jesus’ family seem like your average family. Jesus’ family could have lived right down the street with their very average but loving family life.
Mary seems to have paid close attention to the words of others and her son’s actions. From these actions, she was able to treasure these things about her son and then hold on to them when he had to save the world and not stand in his way.
Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, a sister, a brother or even none of these, it pays to listen to what God’s people say. When God is ready to do a great work in the ones we love or in ourselves, to look with depth into a situation and hold on to those words and thoughts of others gives us the insight to set aside our desires and we can trust to let God do his thing.
As Mary rocked her sweet newborn, she held to the thought that her son was special…. more than just special but a Savior.
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29″Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss[a] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.” 33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49″Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.