The New Martha

Borrowing some old blog posts this week.

“Babe, you are going to kill yourself stressing out the way you do,” my husband recently told me.
He is right. My chest gets all tight, my head hurts, my stomach aches, and still I stress and worry and lose sleep thinking about this or that. I know I need to chill. To trust the Lord. To relax. But it seems impossible.
My husband really got through to me when he added, gently, lovingly, “Also, you’re getting, um…a little bit…grouchy.”
“Grouchy!?”
“Mmhmm. As in snappy and cranky. Most of the time.”
My first thought was, “Oh, I’ll show you cranky, pal!”
But he wisely left the room with a sad sort of smile and I settled into bed at 9…and didn’t fall asleep until 10. I’d like to say I pondered what he said and prayed it over and was changed from within
But I was up because I watched “Friends” and then “King of Queens”.
Life changing stuff, my friends. Life changing stuff.
But the next morning, I shuffled out of our room as soon as I smelled coffee and sat in the quiet with a mug and my Bible and my journal.
I sat for a very long time.
Then I wrote in my journal for a long time. And re-read some things from last year.
Then I spent a very, very long time soaking in Hebrews 1.
Lightening didn’t strike. The girls still woke early and I handed them books and asked them to sit quietly or go upstairs to play and they went (noisily and energetically!) back and forth between the two choices. There wasn’t a verse that stood out and brought me to my knees.
None of the things you think are going to affect you and work on your heart happened.
Except.

Communion. Fellowship. Relationship. Surrender.

Those things happened in a slow, steady, no-need-for-bells-and-whistles kind of way.
A few posts back, I confessed that I now relate with Martha where I used to look down on her. I completely understand how busy and stressed and indignant she felt. And I feel for her now when Jesus’ responds to her, telling her she is in the wrong. We don’t know how Martha responded to Jesus when He gently told her that the sister she was tattling on was the one in the right. (Luke 10:38-42)
We do know that the next time we see in her in Scripture, in what was quite possibly the darkest time in her life (the days following her brother’s death) she drew near to Jesus while Mary stayed behind.
I’m not a scholar and now is not the time to delve deep into their conversation. But I am struck by this part: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?'” (John 11:25,26)
Watch Martha’s answer. Remember Martha? The Busy One? The one burdened and troubled by so many things?
The same Martha that was so flustered while preparing a meal for Jesus and His followers that she couldn’t stop to hear the words of Life He spoke…this one that just buried her brother and is aching with grief and facing the One that she knows could have saved Lazarus if only He had come sooner…this one now answered Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” (John 11:27b)
What changed for her? In her own way, in the way that God called her to (that we won’t know the details of this side of heaven) she sat at the feet of Jesus and saw Him for Who He was.
She saw the Savior. The Christ.
Her Savior. Her Christ.
And suddenly, in the midst of turmoil and stress and grief, she was anchored to Him and no longer “worried and bothered about so many things.”
She set her eyes on Jesus and life balanced out. Life didn’t get easier. In fact, it appears it got worse.
Her responsibilities didn’t disappear.
But her eyes were on Jesus, our great High Priest that is loving and gracious; unmatched in His compassion and understanding, and her entire demeanor and focus shifted.
How I hope to cling to this as I continue to mother, love on my husband, write, and do my best to point others to Christ.
Yesterday my Bible study and quiet time wasn’t just something I needed to get done. It wasn’t an item to check off of my list.
It was necessity. To sit and drink from His wellspring of life is something I desperately needed.
My children didn’t sleep in so that I could focus. My calendar didn’t clear. My book didn’t sell one million copies so that I could stop marketing. My other two books weren’t miraculously written and edited.
But. The Lord sat me at His feet. He cupped my chin in His hand and pulled my eyes to Him and allowed me to pour out my concerns and stresses with confidence that He cared. He reminded me of what matters more than anything – Him.
Today I am packing and prepping to head to a women’s retreat with my church. I have been asked to give a short devotional on Saturday morning and am beyond nervous. I have a few chapters in the next book that take place in the town we’re staying in and I plan to work (just outlining) while there. I still have a to-do list. I’m still tired and drained and unsure of how to navigate this new life of ours.
But by the grace of God, I know that I have a rare opportunity to not plan meals or wash little faces. I get to listen and worship and smell the crisp mountain air and soak in my Lord. And I don’t need any of those things to worship and adore Him – it’s just a bonus weekend. The icing on the cake so to speak of my messy, loud, wonderful, necessary morning with Him.

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3 thoughts on “The New Martha

  1. Humble honesty. Love ya! Love the insight into Martha. Prayers for your retreat time, I am sure God will use you to bless and I pray you will receive what God has for you.

  2. hello from uk x i would love to know more about Martha….can u recommend any books…or bible passages. I did search for books on how to be more of a Godly woman….somebody suggested a book called Mary & Martha? but i couldnt find it online.

    I just yearn to be more ‘how He wants me’.

    im fed up failing. i do try.x

    1. Hello to the UK. I am so sorry that it has taken me this long to get back to you! I abandoned this little blog for a while and didn’t see this comment. You know I think the only advice I can give is to keep seeking the Lord through His Word. His word will never returns void (Isaiah 55) and He will never ignore the prayers of those longing to press into Him. I often feel like a failure, often I fall on my face wondering if I will ever get this life right. But I won’t get it perfectly right this side of heaven. We serve a gracious God that is slow to anger and abounding in love. Press into Him, seek Him. You will never go wrong reading His Word and asking Him to guide you in it. I hope that helps. Praying with you in the US.

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