I started this post last Friday, which inspired a talk I had to give that same day about myself and my faith. While this post isn’t exactly about my talk (but sort of) I thought I should share a bit about myself with you.
There are two significant “Marthas” in my life: Martha Stewart and Saint Martha.
My mother-in-law lovingly calls me,”Martha Stewart of the West.” I hardly think that’s accurate. I’m not neurotic about home keeping. When you’ve got a family, pets, and a business to run it’s not easy to keep the house clean. But she’s been my inspiration in a “do-it-all” sense. I’ve been reading her magazine since I was a teen and then into my 20’s when I became really obsessed with the crafts in her magazine. Because of her, I wanted to throw the perfect party, no matter what occasion.
I don’t claim to be a bible-thumper but I do have a strong Catholic faith and upbringing. Saint Martha has been appearing on Facebook feeds, books that I’m reading, conversations with friends and in church. When I went on a spiritual retreat a few years ago, I was placed at a group table labeled, “St. Martha.” (Was it random selection or divine intervention?) I vaguely knew of her only through references of being “busy like Martha.” Martha was known for serving others in her home. She was always the one in the kitchen.
At this retreat, I picked up a book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. It took me a year and a half to read through it (I’m not an avid reader). The book parallels the biblical story of Martha and Mary to the demands of today’s busy world and our struggles with “weariness, resentment and feelings of inadequacy.” What I soon realized that that both Martha Stewart and St. Martha are/were constantly busying themselves. They’re experts in the kitchen and masters of hospitality…
…but they are flawed.
We all can remember Martha Stewart’s stint in jail plus some other non-flattering things that get revealed about her. In the Bible, Saint Martha practically yelled at Jesus saying, “Why don’t you tell my sister, Mary, to help me? She’s just sitting there (at your feet)!” She was anxious and imperfections worried her.
St. Martha eventually learned to not be a control-freak and chose “the better part” in being at rest with her faith in God. Martha Stewart… well, I guess jail time made her a little more humble (note that I said, “a little”). Making crafts out of used tuna cans and plastic spoons with cell mates can do that to you.
There are “moments of Martha” in me—and perhaps everyone. It seems that the more I want control of things, they start to come apart when my desires aren’t met. My flaws are revealed. That’s when I realize that I have to stop and rest. Rest in the moment. For me, I found that I need to rest in God, whether it be counting my blessings, enjoying nature, or giving my worries to something that is far greater than I am.
Bloggers of my nature are perceived in a very “Martha Stewart” way. Readers think that we have pristine homes, beautifully decorated walls and perfect meals. As much as I would love to live like that, in reality I’ve come to accept that I am really this:
- Reheated coffee from 3 hours ago…and I’m still drinking it.
- Scattered music from a rehearsal last week. Yes, that song book is serving as my temporary mouse pad.
- My kid wanted me to read that joke on the popsicle stick yesterday. The stick didn’t make it into the trash yet. “What kind of bird never needs a hair cut? A bald eagle.”
- Raffle tickets from two weeks ago. My youngest took it out of the trash to reconnect them with staples and wanted me to keep it.
- School picture form that needed to be submitted yesterday or today… I forget.
- Plastic bag from a sporting goods store that my oldest didn’t put away because she was excited to try on her new soccer cleats.
- I don’t even know what’s back here… it must not be important because it’s behind my screen.
- This is work. Not play.
That’s me in my busy-ness. I’m not perfect but I’m still blessed. I’m blessed to be able to work from home and be available to my children whenever they need me. I’m blessed that I don’t have to constantly rely on factory-made frozen meals or fast food to feed my family. I’m blessed that I have a home where I can have friends over and make them comfortable no matter what state of mess the house is in—and that I have friends that don’t care how messy my house is (the mark of true friendship).
I’m resting where life needs me to be (and where God put me). That’s all that really counts.