Photo by dr_tr

By Melanie Mar Chow

I recently had a new revelation: the word “mind” can be referred to as a noun or a verb. Mind as a noun is most often used in day-to-day conversations in phrases like “are you out of your mind?” or “why did you hurt your friend by saying the first thing that came to mind?”

Those questions carry me back to childhood when the word “mind” as my mom employed it was “to be careful” or to attend to her lead: “Mind your voice, Melanie.” I remember how she would expect me to engage her direct gaze. She would add a stern tone to reinforce that she didn’t want to waste her words but wanted action. In 30 seconds, I heard, felt and embraced her command.

Fast forward to today. No mother, no family nearby and no challenge to be mindful about how I… [fill in the blank]. Today, I can either belittle myself, or calmly rest in the grace of God. On my mind are my memories of the times I raised my voice when raising my daughter. Too easily I got exasperated and did not take the time to think of and use different words that would be more helpful and loving. But then I realize that I am a sinner, but my reward is that I am saved by God’s grace. God is good.

Around this time of year, I often allow painful memories in my mind to bury me, but with the help of my paternal grandmother’s wisdom, I am able to find respite. For Melanie the child, my grandmother often helped me recite the memory verses that she said would fill my mind and one day would be there to be God’s grace for the moment. Today, I’m grateful for the cloud of witnesses that encouraged me and continues to encourage me, even if only in memory, but forever with the words of God that fill my mind and are etched upon my heart.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will

Col. 3:22 (NIV) Set your mind on things above, not earthly things.

Rev. Melanie Mar Chow serves God through Asian American Christian Fellowship, the campus ministry division of the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS). She has been an ordained American Baptist minister since 2004. A Pacific Northwest native, she currently lives with her husband and daughter in Southern California.


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