There she scurries, up and down, back and forth through the kitchen. The sound of her breathing intensifies as dishes clang and glasses rattle in the wash bin. Her mind races as anger creeps into her bones. Oh how she hates the chores, the constant busyness, the racing around, and the never ending tasks. She loves being a wife and mother, as well as a host for her family’s events and parties, but some days she simply longs to return to her childhood years, when running through the fields as her father plants and plows was the only thing expected of her. The crashing of the mop bucket jolted her back to reality. ¨Come on!” she furiously mutters under her breath as water floods over the kitchen floor leaving streaks of dirty brown across the tiles, masking the hours of work she had already completed. Weariness overtakes her as tears pour down her cheeks, mimicking the mess across the ground in front of her and giving signal of the impending meltdown that was sure to follow. She sinks to the floor, tears mixing with dirty water and anger. ¨It must be perfect. It has to get done.¨ The guest of honor had just arrived, and she knew that soon enough stomachs would be grumbling. ¨Where is she?” She questioned to herself. ¨She promised she would help me. She wanted him to visit just as badly as I did. She could at least have the decency to help accomplish all it takes to welcome this man into our home,¨ she spat. Fatigue got the best of her as this was not the first time her sister had pulled this stunt. She rose quickly to her feet, wiped the tears from her eyes, stood straight again, and flung the kitchen door wide open. She would make sure her sister heard her this time! Her narrow eyes grazed the room and settled directly to the front. She could not believe what she beheld. There her sister was, lounging on the ground listening to this man speak. Lounging! Relaxing, with no regard for what just transpired in the kitchen. ¨How dare she!” she bitterly whispered through gritted teeth. Her gaze met that of the man at the place of honor. How quickly he must have seen the fury, for he met her glance with one of compassion, understanding, and love, as his eyes seemed to whisper, “breathe Martha, for this too shall pass.”
I don’t know how many times I have said, “but it has to get done,” through a mess of tears as stress overtakes me. The reality of being a mother to a child with special needs is exhausting. I cannot count how many appointments we go to monthly, or how many phone calls transpire weekly, and how much runs through my head daily. I found myself crying to my counselor the other week, “but I just want to be normal. I want to have a job and be able to help financially for my family. I want to do activities other than support my adopted girl. I want to be normal.” As my heart screamed these things, my mind was reminded of Mary and Martha’s encounter with Jesus. Oh how I felt for Martha. I understand her in far greater ways than I can express. She had a heart to serve, but she longed for others to come alongside her and help. Can you imagine welcoming the King of Heaven and earth into your home? I can’t, but if I could, I know I would want my house to be spotless, shinning, and I know I would want a hot meal on the table that was then cleaned up in a timely manner. Martha’s heart was not wrong, it just got carried away and bitter. After she saw her sister lounging at Jesus feet, she went to him and asked him to tell Mary to help her. Jesus replied that Martha was worried about far too much, but the one thing that was occupying Mary’s thoughts, to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him, was the thing that mattered the most. At first I read this and felt Jesus was just insulting and dismissing Martha, but in reality, he was seeing her and saying she was right, just correcting how far she went with the thoughts. The chores needed to get done to create the ideal environment, but they were not the most important thing that day, and it was not a matter of what she was doing, it was a matter of what was occupying all of her thoughts. She was far too worried about something that in the scheme of life, mattered far less than getting to know her Savior. “Breathe Martha, for this too shall pass.”
There she was, over 2000 years later, still perfectly relating to that woman spoken of in the Bible. “I feel ya Martha,” she said as she closed the Bible. “I feel ya.” She was created to serve, this she knew, but many days she was exhausted. She spent her moments catering to what others asked of her, always willing to try rearranging her schedule to make it more convenient for the next. There was a lot on her plate, and that day it just seemed like a bit too much. “How do I do it Papa? How do I not get bitter at others but show them the way of service? How do I not crash and still find time for myself when so much must get done? How do I not break?” she whispered through the impending storm of tears that threatened to pour at any moment. “You sing little bird; you sing,” he breathed back. “But I don’t have time to sing! I don’t have energy,” she muttered in response. “Sing,” he breathed, “sing little one.” She sat at the piano playing the same progression over and over, longing for the song to flow as it did in times past, but the words could not come. “Breathe,” he whispered, “for this too shall pass. You worry about far too much. Rest in me.” The tears streamed as words finally poured from her mouth. She could feel the breakthrough, and no matter how small, she would take it. It starts small, oh so small, but worship was being restored, and breath was being replaced. Her heart stilled as she sank into the rhythms of the Father. “Breathe Martha, for this too shall pass.”
He’s so good child, so good. All the time God is good. To the parents who work, run ministries, disciple, lead Bible studies, have businesses, are busy with life, and are still fully devoted to their kids, God knows. It must all get done, but do not get swept into the wave of panic and fear of being overwhelmed, for when your mind is preoccupied with worry, it cannot hear the gentle voice of your Father. He is speaking in the stillness. I had a crazy revelation the other evening at a worship event my family and I run. I had scrambled all day trying to get things together for it, my mom was in the hospital at the same time (she is fine now, praise God), it was a close friends birthday and I wanted to spend time with her, my daughter was acting up, I hadn’t slept well the night before, and I barely had time to shower that day. By the time I got to the event and finished helping them set up, I was beyond exhausted. My feet could hardly hold the weight of my six and a half month pregnant figure as I slumped into a lawn chair, longing to sit and worship with those around me. I felt a tap on my shoulder, and there was someone needing my help, so up I went to finish what needed to be done. Many events like this are life changing. People are radically encountered by the Father, but for the events I help run, I notice that I struggle to even connect with Him because of how much I have been running around to get the event to a place where others are not distracted and can meet Papa in that place. But, this night was different. I did not spend any alone time with my Father, but I had a wonderful conversation with a girl who reminded me how beautiful it is to trust God and give Him your all. I watched old friends and new friends worship their hearts out, and I got to snuggle the cutest baby so her mother could worship freely. In the stillness with that child, I felt the Lord whisper, “I gave so you could connect. I poured out so you could be poured into. I gave so you could have.” My heart understood in that moment how much of a privilege it is to create a space for others to encounter Him. Did my heart long to have time that I could stand and worship without my feet aching or something needing my attention, absolutely, but did my heart get to that place without having the “room” to do so? Yes. This night, my heart got to worship in a whole new way. I realized what Jesus was saying to Martha that evening as she poured out her stress on him. It wasn’t about the fact she was doing chores. It was about the fact that she was overcome with stress that her heart couldn’t worship him. I saw as I ran around doing my duties during the day, I was overcome by stress to the point I could hardly enjoy the thought of going to the actual event and contemplated dropping off the items I was bringing, setting up, and then going home to sleep. It was an honor to see how the Lord spoke to me about the ability to still do all we need to do, to ask for help when needed, and to work hard, yet still be worry free and stress free in our hearts. Breathe Martha, for this too shall pass. Live from a place of peace.
She could feel the stress creeping up from under the bed, mimicking the monster she dreaded as a young child. His claws would surely grab her little feet as they hung over the side of the bed, so she snatched them up in a panic and threw them under the safety of the comforter. It came in waves these days, mainly as dark overtook the sunlight. Fear would slither in out of nowhere, screaming at her to give him her full attention, and when she was exhausted from a long day, there was hardly any hope of getting him off her back. Fear’s voice was loud, but tonight, her Papa was speaking peace. In the stillness between sobs she could hear the violin play. The harps soon joined, blending fluidly with the ringing of the bells as the cellos bellowed their notes into the despair that overwhelmed her. She had heard these sounds during the days earlier that week, and after three separate encounters, she was starting to believe that maybe, just maybe, it was her Father speaking peace. Oh how easy it is to question all the good things he does for the ones he loves. The orchestra continued to direct her heart to be still as she listened, grasping for the volume to increase. It was not easy to tune into the stillness, but when she did, she was overcome with peace and rest. “Breathe Martha, for this too shall pass.” Oh how she loved her Papa. He most definitely knew her far better than any other. She loved the picture marriage gave her of His gracious heart for her. The sobs subsided as her husband held her and her Papa sang over. Oh how good He is that He would give great gifts to those who pursue Him. As she drifted to sleep His words rang in her ear, soothing her and speaking life to her dry bones. “Breathe Martha, for this too shall pass.”