I originally wrote this in October of 2008. I’m trying to go back to some of these, edit them, make them a little better, and revisit the lesson God was teaching me. Enjoy Take 2 on Mary Mother vs. Martha Mother.
Since entering this season of mothering, God repeatedly teaches me new ways to understand His word . Perhaps some of these insights are meaningful only to me; my readers might think, “This woman is crazy. What on Earth is she talking about and where did she come up with this?”
But, here I am sitting at the keyboard trying to put into words something that God has revealed to me through motherhood. My blog, my thoughts, my life lessons, but I want to share it. Maybe one day I’ll write “Lessons Learned While Wiping a Snotty Nose” or something like that. I’ll include all the “AH HA” moments – the little principles God’s reveals to me through my daily mothering adventure. Some I’ve put down into words – tagged devotionals. Many are still in the development stage in my brain and sometimes you’ll read what is just a first draft of what I really want to say about a topic.
I desperately want to write more and I’m hoping revisiting some of my older missives will inspire me to seriously concentrate on this outlet for me.
Without further ado – a rewrite of Are you a Mary Mother or a Martha Mother?
Luke 10:38-42 (New International Version)
Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Having grown up in church, I’ve heard this story at least a million times. Some preachers tend to paint Martha as a really sinful person for working. Others are a bit more gentle with Martha, but the moral of this story is still the same – Martha missed the forest for the trees. Christ Jesus visited in her home, and a marvelous opportunity was hers – learning from the Master! Yet, she was too busy. Perhaps she was finishing icing the cake and making the coffee for the small group. Perhaps she was finishing some laundry or putting away the clean dishes. Reading this account, obviously human nature hasn’t changed at all since the days of Jesus. Two thousand years later, we too often get caught up in the minutia of daily life and forget the important things.
Sometimes I feel that as a mother, I fall into that same trap. So many things to do and so few hours to do them. Just the other day I’m doing some chores in the kitchen, K was watching cartoons, J was playing on the floor. And K needed me. Just as I was putting dishes in the dishwasher and about to start a load of laundry… oh, and then sort mail… and then fold a load of laundry… and then wipe the kitchen counter… and then make the tea. Well, you get the point. I had a million things I wanted to get done. And K is asking me to get something she needs, and I mindlessly fulfill her request and try to go to the next task. And K again calls for me. And If I recall, she wanted me to sit down with her and watch her show with her. And I start to tell her I’m busy and to just wait a little.
Next thing I know I hear that familiar little voice in my head. “Mandi, don’t be Martha.” K calls for me again. Now she’s wanting me to get on the floor with her and J and play. Again, I tell her it’ll be just a minute. And wait – the little voice again – “Mandi. Stop. You are concerned about so many little things. Choose what is better. Be Mary.”
At that point I stop. The realization hits me that all too often I’m a Martha Mother. And this is a trap that affects any mom – stay at home, work from home, work out side the home. Is the house clean? Is the food cooked on time? Do we have clean clothes? Are the bills paid? Is the dog fed? Are the coupons synced with the shopping list? None of the these tasks are wrong in and of themselves. Just like nothing was wrong with Martha being a good hostess. The passage of scripture commends Martha for opening up her home to the Lord and his disciples. Honestly, that’s awesome, right? Hospitality is to be celebrated! But Martha didn’t make the Main Thing, well, the Main Thing. Honestly, the cake and coffee could have waited. And Jesus pointed that out to Martha.
So, I’m going to strive to follow the Lord’s admonition and “Choose what is better.” I want to intentionally acknowledge that if some household task doesn’t get done right away, the world will not end. The socks can stay in the dryer; the sink can shine later. What matters is being the best mommy to my three little ones. Investing in these little lives and through my interaction with them building them up into confident, secure children who know that they are more important than a dust free coffee table.
Perhaps if I am more of a Mary Mother, I’ll be more Merry, too. Less stress – who wants to be worried and upset like Martha? I know my kids don’t need Mommy that way.
And there you have it. Be a Mary Mother.
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