Hope for Martha

It has been quiet on the blog for several months because I have a toddler. At the end of the day, after I’ve given him all my time, attention, and energy, I’m pretty sure all my brain cells are depleted and then set on fire, so there’s nothing left.

My little man keeps me laughing daily and is constantly blowing me away with things he’s learning and picking up. I’m so incredibly grateful for the privilege to be Mama to a firecracker, but boy is he a firecracker…and y’all, this Mama is tired.

If you have had or spent time with a toddler, you understand my absence. 😬

That being said, I’m here today to talk about something many of us ladies struggle with, though guys are definitely not exempt:

ANXIETY.

For the longest time, this was something that wasn’t discussed or identified as an actual problem, especially within our churches. Thankfully, the conversation has been changing in recent years, and people are talking about it more freely and openly.

If you don’t have anxiety, I’m happy for you. Honestly. But if you don’t have it, you can’t fully understand it because we can’t adequately explain it.

Case in point: I was speaking with someone just this week who does not live with anxiety. She asked me what I was thinking about (dangerous question), so I told her I had been having a new achy pain that day, so of course, my mind ran through all the possible scenarios and settled on the worst one. Then, it went to “What if I have to have surgery? What will Justin and Mac do if I’m in the hospital? What if there are complications? I’m supposed to start a new job this week. What will happen if I’m laid up in the hospital? How will we pay for a surgery? We’re supposed to go out of town in a couple of weeks. What will happen if I can’t go? Who will take care of Mac?”

My brain was jumping from “What if this happens?” to “Well, what about that?” faster than I could keep up. Instead of thinking, “I must have pulled a muscle” like a normal person, my mind spiraled out of control more quickly than I could reel it back in. I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but it’s not. It’s every day, often multiple times a day.

As I started telling my friend part of that thought train, her response was simply, “Woah.

If you’re one of the masses who unfortunately does live with anxiety, you get it. One little thing can trigger a mental (and often physical) response that can leave you feeling completely blindsided and exhausted.

I’m not here to tell you anxiety is simply always a spiritual/sin issue. For the longest time, that was the only narrative that I heard, and I’d say the same is true for many of you. It can be a legitimate physical issue that needs a doctor’s intervention.

My heart today is to say that there are times when there can be a spiritual issue, and speak to that in my personal life for just a minute.

Anxiety is something that I’ve struggled with for at least the last decade, but since becoming a mom, it has definitely kicked up a notch. I’ve also spent more time praying since becoming a mom because every day there are new things (like how to be a good mama) I know cannot be accomplished through my own power, but only through Christ working in me. That being said, I have spent a good bit of time lately praying specifically about my worry, anxiety, and fear.

Since the beginning of the year, a friend and I have been doing a Scripture writing plan each month with a different theme. Our theme for April is For the Weary Heart, and it has been such a blessing to this Mama’s weary heart. The other day, my writing was in Luke 10, and I saw something I’ve never noticed before.

Everyone who has spent much time in church knows the story of Mary and Martha. Quick refresher: Martha was running around busy serving everyone and doing things while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and soaked up His words. Martha comes to Jesus complaining that she’s doing everything while Mary does nothing. Jesus gently rebuked Martha, saying that Mary chose the better part.

While writing out the verses, I noticed Jesus did not rebuke Martha for her busyness…though that has always been the way I’ve read and pictured it.

In the verse, Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.” My mind immediately went to Philippians 4:6 where Paul instructs us to “be careful (anxious) for nothing.”

Jesus’ rebuke was over Martha’s worry.

I’m not a hostess or one who enjoys parties (shocking, right?), so I’ve never really identified with Martha in that story…but the other day, I realized I’m much more like Martha than I care to admit. Her running around and being “cumbered about much serving” was the manifestation of her anxiety and worry that everything be just right…and her need of control over the situation. *insert guilty facepalm*

Meanwhile, sweet Mary was sitting quietly at the feet of her Savior, choosing the good part that couldn’t be taken away from her.

My heart was so convicted.

My prayer has always been to be like Mary, but now my heart has been broken over all the times I have been just like Martha. Though she was there in the presence of Christ, just as Mary was, instead of basking in His love and His words, Martha went to Him complaining because Mary wasn’t helping her.

How many times have I wasted opportunities to sit and hear from the Lord words that would help my soul, but I was too busy worrying about things I could do nothing about and completely missed it? How many times have I not only missed that opportunity, but complained that others were receiving a blessing and I was not?

I’m so ashamed.

In my shame, I am so sweetly reminded that I am loved and redeemed…and I don’t have remain as Martha. My heart longs to be as Mary, and Christ will never turn me away, no matter how many times I have approached Him consumed by my own selfishness, refusing to believe His promises.

And what abundant, precious promises He gives.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

I could go on and on.

Maybe you’re reading this and are seeing yourself as Martha too. Maybe you’re feeling that same shame and conviction I’ve been feeling the last few days.

Let me encourage you as God has been encouraging me. Just as the verses above state so plainly, there is rest and comfort, even for us. We aren’t destined to live in stress and anxiety.

We can be like Mary and collapse at the feet of the One who can replace the turmoil with peace.

Take heart, sweet sister.

There’s hope for Martha too. 💜

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