Sunday, November 3, 2019

Mama’s Hope Chest by B. J. Bassett

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21

            When Mama was ten years old she received a special gift. One she treasured all her life. Her father gave her a hope chest made of rich cherry wood. Was it because she was the only girl with three brothers and he wanted her to have a place to keep her treasures? Or was it to store items for her own home someday, like the embroidered pillow cases from Grandma Hadley?

            As a child, I remember kneeling beside Mama in front of her locked hope chest, almost worshipfully. When she unlocked it and opened the lid, a whiff of cedar filled my senses. Together we peered inside. The first thing I saw was Mama’s bulky high school sweater with a huge letter “B” displayed across the front, representing her alma mater.

            She picked up a pressed gardenia—her favorite flower. Holding the dried corsage in her hands, she was reminded of the times she and my dad danced the Lindy, Foxtrot, and Flying Dutchman. Mama smiled. “A crowd always gathered around, to watch us.”

            A bundle of my dad’s love letters, written somewhere in the South Pacific during World War II, were tied in a blue ribbon and nestled in a corner of the chest. Mama never shared her letters with me. They were private.

            Mama held up a delicate baby dress with embroidery. “This was your dress. I saved it.” Mama said. “It cost fifteen cents. Your dad said we couldn’t afford it.” I’d heard the story before and I knew Mama had cleaned a lady’s house so she could buy it for me. I also knew that saving my dress in her cedar chest held a special memory for my mother. It reminded her of her strength and perseverance during hard times.

            Mama’s gone now and I’ve added some of my own treasures to her hope chest. My children’s baby teeth, exchanged for quarters under their pillows when quarters were a lot of money. And there are their art projects and school papers with prominent red capital “A’s” splashed across the top.

            I’ve also added my well-worn Bible with favorite passages underlined, and notes I wrote in the margins of the thin pages. Over the years I’ve written my prayers in journals, notating blessings and trials. They have been added to the chest, too.

            Someday, when I’m gone, my children may kneel in front of Mama’s hope chest and sift through my treasures. My desire is that my children will be reminded of my love and faithfulness to my Lord and Savior—that is not only my hope, but also my legacy.

            What is your treasure, your hope, your legacy?

Heavenly Father, I ask that not all my treasures be stored in a hope chest, but they will be living treasures—pointing the way to You. Amen

Reprinted from An Association of Writers Word Quilts



B. J. Bassett encourages others as an author, teacher and speaker. Her books include a contemporary novel, Gillian’s Heart; a historical novel Lily; Sweet Charity; A Touch of Grace—The G.R.A.C.E. Ministries Story; and coauthor of a children’s devotional My Time with God, Focus on the Family, Heritage Builders, with over 55,000 copies sold.

As a contributing writer, publications consist of Writer’s Handbook 2000, The Writer, and The Focus on the Family Guide to Growing a Healthy Home, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc.—consistently on Bookstore Journal’s Best-selling Christian Books List from November 1990 - February 1991, and voted the 10 Best Books for 1990 by Today’s Christian Woman.

Magazines, devotional booklets, curriculum and newspaper publishers include Focus on the Family, Woman’s World, The Quiet Hour, Pathways to God, Devotions, Harcourt Brace, WordAction, Gospel Publishing and Times Standard (newspaper).

She teaches writing workshops at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR and at writer’s conferences. As a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, she tells her story of rejection and acceptance, not only in life, but as a writer as well. She also offers book talks, including discussion questions and shares the journey -- from the seed of an idea to a published book.

Memberships: ACFW and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW).

She enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, knitting, munching warm scones oozing with butter and strawberry jam and sipping earl grey tea.


Kathleen said...

Lovely post, Bunny, and a timely reminder to build out legacies. Thank you.

HeidiDruKortman said...

I agree with Kathleen. This was lovely.

B. J. Bassett said...

My heart is full. Thanks for the opportunity to be a guest blogger.

Marie Bast said...

What a precious memory you have. It was so lovely, and what a great gift to leave you all to remember them by. I loved it.

Julie Arduini said...

I remember the smell of cedar when my mom opened her hope chest. You brought back great memories. Great post!

Marilyn R. said...

Beautiful post. I recall the scent and memories stored inside of our grandmother's and mother's hope chest.

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