Cara is a mother of two adorable boys and an excellent writer. She has her own blog, www.carajoyner.com, where she shares “Reflections on faith, marriage, kids and intentional living.” We are excited to have her as a guest writer at Mama Knows What, and hope this devotional encourages other moms as it has encouraged us to “take it where you can find it.”
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
The longer I sit with this story, the more certain I am that God knows the heart of women. More than any other passage I can think of, these five verses strike deep at my core as a woman. I identify with Martha, but I want to be Mary.
Recently, I re-read this story following the birth of our second son. My first thought was “ugh…come on Cara. Be Mary. Tell your Martha heart to take a break.” But before the thought could even fully develop it was overridden by a second thought – HOW?! How can I possibly be Mary? I can’t even be Martha. Every piece of laundry we own is in a pile on the living room floor. Something has gone bad in the back of the refrigerator and is making itself known with a particularly pungent odor. When I go to bed tonight, I will wake up at least 2-3 times before the sun rises because one baby wants to nurse and the other wants to crawl into our bed. I don’t have a single shirt without spit-up marks and I’m pretty sure I’m looking at an old dirty diaper on the floor behind the dresser. Yesterday my two-year-old brought me a cup of water he scooped out of the toilet. This morning we woke up to find that when he crawled into our bed in the middle of the night, his wet diaper soaked through onto our sheets. How am I supposed to be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus in the midst of this mess?
This is a question I continue to wrestle with as a woman. I think we all do. My early college days were marked by hours of reading, journaling, and talking with friends about our spiritual journeys. So what does it look like to have “time with God” when you can barely find time to wash your hair?
I’m not going to pretend that I have any great wisdom to offer here. Instead, I want to share with you what I have gleaned from the experiences of other women that I love and respect. They are living out their faith in way that I admire, so I asked each of them the same question, “What did it look like for you? What does it look like now?” Here is what they said…
Jean (mother of 2)
Christy (mother of 3)
I found that an early start, when I could swing it, put me in a better frame of mind for the day. Sadly, I didn’t realize this until my second was born…but when I started getting up a little earlier (even just 20 minutes) the whole day went better because I’d had a quiet moment to pray/read/reflect and I was better for that. It doesn’t work for everyone…nor did it work every day for me…but when I did it, it was good.
Anne (mother of 3)
July was a particularly difficult month for our little family. It was also especially wonderful. On the difficult end, our 6-week-old was admitted to the hospital, money seemed to be drying up, and we experienced some painful disappointments. At the same time, God’s presence and provision was truly astonishing. On one of the harder days, I remember nursing Parker while saying under my breath, “You are bigger than this. I know that You are bigger than this.” That’s what it looked like for me to sit at the feet of Jesus during that week.
If I tried to read or pray during middle of the night feedings, I would fall asleep immediately. Typically, I fall asleep during night feeds anyhow and have to wake myself back up to get Parker into his bed. But for some women, that is sacred time.
Don’t worry about fitting yourself into a mold that works for other women. Rest in grace and know that He loves you. He wants to be with you. And those little moments are authentic and powerful moments.
Read this post and more great insights at Cara’s blog!