Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mary and Martha: A lesson for the busy

I actually started this post back in August.  But I never got around to finishing it...so I scrapped it and started over.  And then I scrapped it again and started over again.  And here it is New Year's and hopefully I can get it finished!

I've missed my blog.  I enjoy writing.  I've always thought I'd write a book someday, but in the meantime this little blog fills that void.  I'd love to get back to it. But God has had other things in mind for my time lately.  He has been busy teaching me about Mary and Martha.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!” 
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

~ Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)

For a long time I never understood Jesus' perspective here.  After all, it wasn't that Martha was doing things she shouldn't.  The house does need cleaned.  Preparations do need to be made for the meal.  There are many things that need done to keep the household moving.  And in those days?  I shudder to think of what laundry was like.  Or meal prep.  The invention of washer, dryers and refrigerators has done so much for the modern woman.  Yet we are still so very busy.

The lesson began at the beginning of last summer.  I had childcare lined up for my return to work, but it fell through.  So I had to find new arrangements quickly.  There were lots of unknowns (we had no idea what elementary school Peter was going to attend...for example) so making long term decisions became pretty hard.  Normally I rely on God for such decisions - but I also have an idea of what His plans are.  He remained mum on what His intent was for our family on many things.  I had to live day by day.

Childcare arrangements for the summer were lined up pretty quick.  This was a God thing.  A friend needed a job and it so happened to work out.  BUT...these arrangements were to last just until school started.

I normally spend a lot of time researching, visiting and such in order to find God's best.  I rely on Him to show me the way, but I have always felt that we do have a duty to see what that is.  But this summer - God told me to sit down and relax.

I'm not good at relaxing.

Or sitting for that matter.

School started and He cleared the way for many things. We settled on sending Paul to the daycare we use, as it was opening up a brand new baby room.  There was a gap between when the summer care was going to end and when the infant room was going to open.  I was able to work from home (WFH) while waiting for the daycare infant room to open up.  I was SO BLESSED by this.  I got to kick butt and take names at work while spending more time with my baby - more time than I had ever gotten to spend with any of the other kids.  In fact, since my return to work I have had the distinct feeling of having baby Paul with me nearly ALL the time.  Not the "I NEED A BREAK!" feeling.  The "I'm getting to enjoy my baby more than ever!" feeling.

The infant room opened up and the birthday season passed - and for the first time ever I was cool as a cucumber.  Sept/Oct tends to be crazy busy.  The in laws tend to visit extra, birthday parties to plan and school activities all pile up - I promise myself every year I'm going to enjoy my kids' birthdays and every year I finish the season feeling stressed and wondering where the time went.

But this year - none of that happened.

So I have in fact been super busy.  I've had many things to do and unending lists.  But I found that time and time again, when I leaned on the Lord - everything got done.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. 
~ Proverbs 3:5-6
One afternoon I had a fussy baby on my hands, piles of laundry and other things that need to be done.  I was just plain tired and wishing for a nap.  So I took one - me and the baby of course.  I can't tell you how, but by that evening I was refreshed and looking around and found that everything had been done that needed to be done.  Every last thing.  It was amazing.

This is how God operates.  He's here in the midst of busy life and if we focus on Him, He makes the way available that everything that needs done is done.

When we stress ourselves and we are overwhelmed, the simple fact is we have taken on work that does not belong to us.  God is sovereign.  And that is a big word that a lot of people understand without really taking in the fully meaning.  Since God is sovereign - He knows your day to day life.  He knows what must be done and really what doesn't.  He knows your life better than you do.  And if you give these things to Him and let Him guide you even in the mundane day to day life - He will not steer you wrong.  And what this ends up looking like is you starting out a Sunday afternoon yearning for a nap with a to-do list a mile long and ending the day feeling refreshed and ready for the week to start.  All that is required of us is to let go.

And yes - He can hear those million reasons of why you can't.  Everyone has them.  I had them myself.

In the case of childcare search - if I didn't research how was I supposed to find His answer for me?  Turns out since I didn't have time, God sent the answers knocking on my door.  We all know faith is an action - and the action was simply opening up the door.  "Oh hi!  You want to watch my kid?  SURE!"  The action wasn't spending endless hours researching, touring and interviewing until *I* found the mystical answer.

In the case of countless TO DO lists - it meant I cut that list in half.  For Rebekah's sleepover party, I bought a couple activities and a cake and called it done.  The girls had SO MUCH FUN.  I didn't have endless activities like last year.  The party wasn't picture perfect - but life doesn't have to be to enjoy it.  The girls hung out and entertained themselves.  It was magical.  The activities I did plan, Rebekah told me she wanted.  So really - she planned her own party.  I just picked up a few things.  That is what it looks like to take a step back and let things go.

And now - this is a biggie - Christmas season just passed.  As if that weren't enough, I had knee surgery and am working on healing from that.  So it means I trust my husband to take care of some things that I actually like to take care of - and be nothing but GRATEFUL because that is what you are to another human being when they help you.  Our Christmas went off without a hitch. My oven even died, but because the Lord has been teaching me these things I just shrugged my shoulders.  It actually died at the perfect time (in between breakfast casserole and turkey cooking) and because of the way my day had worked out from the day before, I was in the kitchen to notice.  My stove dying on the worst day of the year couldn't have worked out more perfectly.  God was in that. 

So in summation, Jesus is simply asking us to understand that yeah...stuff needs to be done.  But don't put the busywork above relationships.  Take it day by day.  Each day is going to have a priority.  Today, it might be to vacuum.  The next day - it may be a much needed nap.  And in the end, if you prioritize sitting at His feet soaking in His glory each and every day, everything else works out.  God doesn't leave us hanging.  And He is big enough to not only handle the BIG HUGE world problems - but He is able to ease the burdens of the stressed out. 

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