Living in a Martha Season

Today I have a very special guest on my blog! My dear friend Rebekah from Surviving Toddlerhood has come over to share some thoughts with us! I first met Rebekah in a childbirth class in Fremont, MI when I was pregnant with Isaiah and she was pregnant with her son, Seth. Our boys were both born 3 weeks early, in the same hospital, just days apart! We have been friends ever since. =) 

Rebekah has two boys and is currently pregnant with her third baby. Although she still lives in Michigan and I’ve moved here, there, and everywhere, we have remained friends over the years. I know you’ll enjoy what she has to share today!
A few days ago I noticed a status that came through my Facebook feed.  A fellow momma of littles was sharing how she wanted to be spending her time like Mary, but life was getting in the way and she was having a hard time dealing with that.
It made me rather sad.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being able to spend hours of your time with Jesus, listening to him, calling on him, reading the Word and journaling, but sometimes as mommas of littles it is hard to do that. And guilt sets in. Guilt over what we aren’t doing.

The pressure to be Mary is everywhere. Look in any Christian bookstore and you will find shelves full of books on how to be a better wife and mother. One common theme that runs through them is an early morning quiet time before anyone else rises and how to be a Mary who spends her time worshipping at her Lord’s feet.
This is what my devotional schedule used to look like……
I had a whole list of things I wanted to do every time I sat down. The only problem, I have two littles who like attention and every time they interrupted me I started yelling at them for interrupting my “devotions”. Not really very Christ like behavior, but I had goals and the goals needed to get done. If I didn’t get all the things read that I was supposed to then I wouldn’t accomplish one of my goals for the year of reading through the Bible, but how much was I teaching my boys if I was raising my voice every time they needed something and I was reading/journaling/studying?
Of course the answer must be to get up earlier right? Jesus rose early and went to spend time with his Father… But that doesn’t work for me for a couple of reasons {if it works for you that is great!} 1. if I have a baby who isn’t sleeping through the night yet, 2.if I have to get up a bazillion times to use the bathroom during pregnancy, 3. or if my thyroid is being crazy. I have tried it but it was always driven by guilt. Guilt that I wasn’t being a “good” Christian. Guilt that if I wasn’t getting up early to spend time with the Lord than I couldn’t be a good wife and mother.

Being Martha doesn’t mean that there is not time for fellowship with God, but that we spend time with him while serving.

There is a time to be Mary and there is also a time to be Martha. My time to be Martha is now. I am serving God by serving others. By training my sons, loving and honoring my husband, keeping my house mostly acceptable. Later when my children are grown and can take more responsibility themselves then it could be my time to be Mary. 
Martha got a rebuke from Jesus not because of what she was doing but because of her attitude while she was serving.  She was distracted, anxious and troubled that her sister was not helping to serve her Lord. Her sister was sitting there doing nothing to get a meal ready for this man who was the Son of God.  Her heart wasn’t in the right place. Her actions weren’t wrong. Her attitude was.
Here are some practical ways to spend time with the Father while also serving our families:
1. Find a good children’s Bible and read it with your littles.
We have The Jesus Storybook Bible and we LOVE it! I love how it shows the thread of Christ through the whole Bible.  I learn lessons from this children’s Bible probably more than my boys do.
2. Write out verses on blank note cards and hang them where you can read them often.
On the bathroom mirror, on the window above the sink, anywhere you will see them and be reminded of the truths of God’s word is the place to hang these verse cards.
3. Play Christian music in the house.
We have just started pulling out our cd’s again and listening to music while we clean or play. It helps me to stay focused during the day and there really are less fights and less yelling that goes on while the music is playing. It helps everyone. I do have a couple of children’s praise cd’s but mostly we just listen to mine. Aaron Shust, Chris Tomlin, Amy Grant, Micheal W. Smith…. {I haven’t bought a cd in a really long time okay? :-)}
4. Try to pray more than just at mealtimes.
If there are bad attitudes happening, heart correction is easier if we rely on God’s strength not our own. This is me more than my boys honestly. We have prayed about favorite lost toys, over many owies and we have thanked God for lightbulbs and trains. Teaching your child that everything matters to God is something that will never be forgotten.  We are also told to pray without ceasing, so whenever you get a moment throw some thoughts heavenward .
5. Train your toddlers and preschoolers to leave you alone for ten to fifteen minutes.
This gives you a chance to sit down and read a few verses, meditate on them or pray over your day. I like to throw in a movie and make a cup of coffee to sip on for a few minutes. Now I know I just said that I’m in a Martha season, so this may seem to contradict everything I have said so far, but to survive toddlerhood at my house, I do need those few quiet moments. Because I really can’t do it on my own. I need to lean on Jesus.

15 thoughts on “Living in a Martha Season

  1. Found your blog through Rebekah's! I love this, especially the list of practical ways to spend time with the Lord while being with family. We love the Jesus Storybook Bible too … lot of good times reading it aloud!

  2. I love this! From my experience, the way it works is you open at least a little crack to let Him in (prayer over dinner, a Proverb in the bathroom) and suddenly He creates a space where that crack can get a little bigger for more time with Him. I love these ideas because the reality for moms is that we need to commune with the Lord when we are doing other stuff.

  3. It's a hard balance between the two, isn't it? And the balance shifts depending on what season of life you're in at the moment. So thankful for a God who gives us grace when we need it and is always available!

  4. I couldn't agree with you more! That is great advice. Sometimes I beat myself up because I'm not able to spend a solid 30 minutes with God in the morning but the little moments throughout the day add up!

  5. Great post! One of the things I've found helpful is building in redundancies. My goal is always to get up and have my devotions first thing in the morning–but that doesn't always happen. So I've got multiple things scattered around–a devotional book on my kindle; a children's Bible we read a story from every night; my one-year Bible on my nightstand. I don't hit everything everyday, but I am usually able to at least do something.

  6. I do think it can be hard to find a balance as well, hopefully these tips will help you keep things in perspective. Also, if everyone was a full out Mary I think there are a lot of things in our world that wouldn't be getting done. So don't feel bad for your serving!

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience Gina!! It is so good to hear from more experienced mommas who can encourage us in this! I totally agree with your point, and with Amber, all those little moments and readings can really add up to a lot and do help us to keep our focus where it should be.

  8. That's awesome!! I do have those ten-fifteen minutes on my morning schedule as well and most mornings I am able to get them in, but on the mornings I can't I definitely try to do something else off the list above. I'm glad that you have found something that works for you! Thanks for coming by Leigh!

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