From Martha to Mary. And back again. (originally posted 3.13.14)

I remember the first time I read the story of the sisters, Mary and Martha, and truly understood. I had been home from a wild adventure a little less than a month and was spending a few quiet moments delving into the Word. I read these words:

“Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]!’

But the Lord replied to her by saying, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; there is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.’” – Luke 10:38-42, Amplified Bible

I read it and I wept. At the time, which is eight years ago now, I had just spent six months out of the country taking deep breaths and serving and dying to self and uncovering old wounds and struggling and healing. And all of that after a few years of working too much and worrying too much and getting my heart broken again and again. I had fallen headlong into Mary’s world after being an angry, hurting, self-righteous Martha for longer than I care to admit. I loved the taking of deep breaths. I loved walking in the world with a heart full of love rather than battling at everything and everyone.

But somewhere in recent months, I went back to bustling about with my finger pointed and my head down and my tongue sharpened for battle. Love and laughter falls easily from me these days, so harshness and bitterness are always an exhaustive practice. I don’t have the energy for them much anymore. But lately, I just feel overworked and out of breath and like I’m scrambling over mountains each day. The days hold far too many people and nonsense and activity for this introvert. My inner Martha is in full force.

Today I had enough. I left the office for lunch and went home to lay on the couch with my phone off and my computer closed and my eyes shut and I breathed deep and remembered the smell of the ocean and the Andes where I breathed for the first time, and felt my heart rate slow and calm sink into my bones. I prayed, “Lord, help me to better manage my time. I don’t want to DO. I want to sit at Your feet and BE. All this doing profits me nothing.” When I opened my eyes, my friend’s cat was sitting on top of the couch purring away and looking quite ridiculous due to the heft of kitty perched precariously on the smallest point of a couch. The giggles came then, full release of laughter at a silly joy. Praise the Lord who brings rest and joy in the middle of chaos.

This life is a wild, fickle beast. Nearly untamable. But the One who loves and saves invites me (and all of us) to breathe deep and sit at His feet. It is an invitation to be one of those who have “chosen the good portion.” Amen.

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