Friday, January 30, 2009

Finding My Mary in a Martha World

Hello, come in. Can I offer you some coffee or ...Oh... watch the snow boots. Sorry for the scattered mittens and hats. You can't tell by it outside, but we had snow this week. Yes, a little bit of snow and a little bit of ice, but enough to go sledding and enjoy two days off of school.

Remember last week when I was grumbling about the kid's semi-week of school? Well, this week was also interrupted. Not by test schedules, but by snow and ice. Needless to say I did not get far with my Small Things this week. I did manage to print out Rachel Anne's schedules, but I failed to earn any of those awesome points.

Oh, except Thursday's. God bless my dear husband. I had to dash out for a meeting last night, didn't even have a chance to kiss the poor guy when he got home. When I returned all the supper pots and pans were washed, and everything else in the dishwasher. Washing dishes is usually my task, and Hubby's most hated task. But that evening he gave me a big ole' gift. Hmmmm, wonder it it had anything to do with our recent discussion on the 5 Love Languages.

So I didn't get far with the scheduling challenges, but something Rachel Anne wrote about Wednesday followed me right over to my devotional journal and re-read something that happened in December. She encouraged us to lay a few ground rules before we make our Housekeeping Schedule, a few being "Don't set your standards by" other people and "Don't Over Plan."

One Friday afternoon in December I had posted A Busy Day and gave a run down of everything I had completed that day and everything still on the old to-do list. There was a long list of tasks to be done within an hour before the kids got off the bus, and one of those tasks was my devotions.

After posting I began to iron, running my list in my head, calculating how long it will take me to complete the ironing, and maybe ... just maybe if I only read over my memory verse cards (while waiting for the kids to get off the bus) I could call it devotions. Hmmm, I thought to myself, what section am I studying? I needed to read a passage out of the Bible ... Luke 10:38-42, about Mary and Martha.

Are you familiar with that story? See Jesus comes to visit the sisters Martha and Mary. Martha is beside herself, trying to prepare food and make everything perfect ... and who wouldn't? I mean Jesus is sitting in your living room, next to the pile of Lego's, a princess dress and scattered pretzel crumbs. Oh my goodness, what did he just fish out of the sofa? A banana peel, I'm mortified.

During all this where is Mary? Sitting at Jesus' feet listening as he teaches. This is when Martha barge's in. She is a little perturbed (I think that is putting it mildly) that Mary is not helping her and she has come to ask Jesus for a little help in making her case. And what does Jesus say in reply?

"... but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better,
and it will not be taken away from her." ~Luke 10:42

OK, let's be honest with each other. Many times we have read/heard this story and think to ourselves, of course I would be sitting at Jesus' feet. Martha is off her rocker trying to do all that when Jesus is sitting there.

At that moment, as I was ironing, calculating the time of each task and wondering what else could be done before my mother-in-law came for dinner (and for the record my mother-in-law does not care about the state of my house) I realized I was Martha.

I had talked myself into thinking all my busyness was next to godliness because I was playing "hostess with the mostess" that night. And isn't hospitality a spiritual gift?

At these times what else can you say? My response to this little prodding on my heart "Yes Lord." I finished that shirt and sat myself down with my Bible, at Jesus' feet.

Let us remember that before we organize that schedule, clean up the house, finish the ironing, make the dinner and greet our first guest we must sit at the feet of the Lord. All else means nothing if we haven't started with the proper preparation and completed it with the proper heart-set.


Dani said...

Amen, girl! And I so often mess that up. My days go so much better when I give them over to God first thing in the morning.
BTW, you should look at my SS blog on the 5 Love Languages ( We are doing that study right now.

Camille said...

I agree with you. I love to "pretend" that I would be Mary, but the truth is that my personality would make me Martha. I have found a big difference in my attitude when I start my day with God, but I often let myself sleep in and have to skip that all important step. This is definitely something I am trying to work on this year.

One More Equals Four said...

As much as I would like to be Mary...I am almost always Martha. And a pretty grumpy Martha at that! In a world so full of expectations and pressures, it is easy to get caught up in to do lists, etc. thanks for a great reminder!

PolkaDot Mama said...

Great post today! I think we all need more Mary!

Shanna (Sweetie) Berry said...

Love your writing. I have to giggle, for at my house they wish I'd be a little more Martha....I suspect I offend more folks with my lack of busying myself for their visit than for the opposite! :) It simply doesn't come naturally to me, every step of organizing is learned by the "I can't live one more moment this way" method and then I learn how to submit to doing something about it....I'd say I'm in God's special needs class alot of days, and often a repeat student.

mholgate said...

Thanks for the coffee...and the insight! You are so right that we need to spend that time at Jesus' feet. I have written devotions and talked on the topic often, but it always comes down to the condition of my own heart. Am I putting Jesus first? Honestly, the answer is often no. But oh how faithul He is to remind me to call on Him first thing in the morning and throughout my day!

I pray you find your inner Mary, as I also search for mine. :)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm totally a Martha, and need to have that fixed. And what a great Hubby you have for doing those chores.

Fishy Girl said...

I couldn't agree more. Usually I am a Martha, but this week I have been a Mary with my children. They needed me....the house can wait.

Monica @ Paper Bridges said...

another martha here. I think it's easier to take on the things we can touch, kwim? Prayer and study is more difficult when you see the mess and work waiting around you. At least, that's what the dishes in the sink do to me.