Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Tale of Two Sisters - Mary Heart / Martha World [Week 1]

Nurturing your spiritual life seems like one more duty - one more thing to add to a life that is spilling over with responsibilities. [pg. 2]

Wow! If she didn't take that thought straight from my heart!

I know having a daily quiet time is important. I even crave time to sit and receive from the Lord, but still - it is difficult for me to fit it into everything else in my day.

On the surface, I am a 'Martha'.

"Where's Mary? Has anyone seen Mary?" she asks a servant scurrying by. If Mary changed the sheets, Martha might have time to fashion an ark from the cheese and carve the fruit into little animals marching two by two. [pg. 4]

Hahaha! Every time I read this illustration Joanna wrote of what might have been going through Martha's heart, I laugh out loud.

I laugh because I so relate to her, building such high expectations for myself.

"If I preform perfectly - I will be satisfied, right?"

"If I go the extra (10) mile(s), it will be worth it, right?"

Right? :) I want to be able to say yes to these two questions, but the reality is the answer is almost always 'no'....actually, I feel tired, worn out, taken advantage of.....and even worse like I have missed out on the heart of the moment.

Joanna's writing in this first chapter encourages us to look closer at both sisters. Yes, there were two for a reason. Of course, we see ourselves as either more Mary or more Martha, but the Bible includes both, because in fact there are lessons to be learned from both.

Both sisters felt the full weight of Jesus' presence. They each react in their own way to how important He was to them.

Mary, like a magnet to His side, sat ready to soak in whatever He was going to say.

Martha.....kicked into high gear to honor Jesus with the best her home and homemaking had to offer.

Joanna's perspective pulls out a greater depth to Luke 10:38-42. It isn't that we shouldn't prepare food and our home for guests, but more that we should seek to understand the difference between what is 'nice' and what is 'needed'.

How nice would it be to offer the above mentioned efforts on our table?.....An ark of cheese and fruit animals! A+ Pinterest effort.

But really...all of that was not needed to make Jesus feel welcome. He came seeking her fellowship, not her fancy homemaking.

Joanna writes...

He isn't looking as much for workers as he is looking for sons and daughters - a people to pour his life into. [pg. 10]

What spoke most to me from this chapter is that Jesus seeks my heart not my ability.

My 'Kitchen Service' should flow from His anointing. And the only place I can receive His anointing is through 'Living Room Intimacy'.

Even though, by nature, I am a busy worker bee - not all on my to do list is 'needed' - there is space for me to make myself available to heart opening fellowship.

Even though I am naturally more of a 'Martha', I must choose the better part and meet with my Heavenly Father, as Mary did.

Let's talk about it.....

If you feel led, please comment below about all or just one of these items. We will focus on this chapter all week, so please jump in any day you find time. Also, please feel free to respond to others who have commented - everyone loves encouragement :)

1. Question 2 of the study guide asks what inanimate object best describes how your life currently feels? What is yours?

2. Who do you identify more closely with? Mary? Martha?

3. What spoke most to you from this chapter?

I look forward to hearing form you :)

- brook.

* All quotes mentioned above are noted by page number and are taken from 'Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World' by Joanna Weaver.

** Find out more about Joanna's ministry and how to purchase her books here.


  1. My learned nature is to be a Martha and my self learned and imposed sense of perfectionism. When my only child, my son, died 3 1/2 years ago, I learned what is truly life or death and to act accordingly. I have learned to give myself permission to just "be", to learn, to gift myself with needed time with the Father. That truly is life and death. All else pales by comparison. God rested, what makes us think that we cannot take the time to do so? I was so wonderfully surprised by the first chapter that I am so ready to dig in now.

  2. Thank you Brook for leading us to this book! It's amazing how God knows what we need before we even know to ask. Already he had been preparing my heart, showing me I should slow down (usually it doesn't happen until I injure myself or run myself into the ground). It's amazing because I'm really a Mary deep down. It's just my people pleasing tendencies pull me into Martha's same weakness of perfectionism. The greatest takeaway I had from this chapter was to accept my Maryness, even when it feels scattered. Just as she pointed out, Jesus didn't try to change who Martha was, but pointed out she could learn from Mary. I admire Marthas... to the point of imitation, but does it get in the way of admiring my God? Not only does it hinder me from coming as I am, I become frantic and so busy I don't soak in life with those I love, all while trying to keep up with those around me. Jesus was right, standing in awe is the better way. But when is Jesus wrong? 😆

  3. Thanks for sharing. It's so beautiful what you learned beyond your pain. :) I love how you mentioned it's a gift to ourselves to spend time with God.

  4. Jenny, thanks for your thoughtful words.
    I love where you say "accept my Maryness, even when it feels scattered" - that is what is so amazing and loving about the Lord, He longs to meet us where we are crazy, scattered, and tattered. I will be walking in my 'Maryness' with you this week, sweet friend.

  5. Joey, I love how you describe your time with the Lord as rest.
    For so long, I looked at my prayer and study time as a meeting with a packed agenda. It was often not very restful because I put so much effort into asking and getting my point across to God. I am growing daily in the truth that my time with Him is a place to be received. Although there are seasons of 'asking' God, the everyday fellowship should be one of rest.

    I am so thankful your loss has drawn you closer to the Lord.
    I am so glad you are part of this study.

  6. I am Martha X 3! Thankfully the Lord slows me down during my time with him and helps me to experience a tiny bit of Mary.

  7. I love this book! Thank you Brook for starting this discussion. I look forward to it.
    I identify with Martha because I am a worker. I'm not really into the latest fashions, home decor, or grand hospitality, but I do busy myself with other things instead of taking the time to relish life. I rarely "sit at Jesus' feet" and yet when I do, my mind is thinking about all of the things I need to be doing instead of focusing on my time with Him.
    This chapter spoke to me the need to spend that quality of time with God, that is uninterrupted and unhurried. I have told myself that I am doing enough for God already by teaching children on Sunday and Wednesday, going on a yearly mission trip, being there for friends, encouraging others to grow, etc. However, the truth is, I am not spending that quality time with God reading the Word, praying, and studying scripture for myself and my relationship with Him.

  8. 'uninterrupted and unhurried' that is sometimes the killer for me. Although, I would love this to be said about my quiet times with the Lord it is often the opposite - I am a work in progress :) and it is slowly getting better as I make the choice daily to make it a priority. I love most what you said about 'a relationship with Him' in the last sentence - because really, that is what He desires from us not work but relationship. Thanks for joining in, Joney :)

  9. Yes X 3! I am right there with you :) Like you said in your comment, when we sit down with Him, we see that Mary is there, no matter how strong the Martha. Thanks for your comment, Jane.

  10. I've spent a lot of time this week thinking about question one. What an interesting and difficult assignment! I've decided that the inanimate object that best describes my life at the moment, is the cozy red blanket on my couch. After the holidays I am feeling a bit lazy and sluggish- struggling to re-engage with my calendar and more structured routine.

    That being said, I am typically a very task oriented Martha. I love a good to-do list and the little check marks that go beside each task. I find that my most restful moments of the week come during confession and communion at church. They are my weekly reminder to be at rest in Christ... that I no longer have to strive.

    Thanks for starting this book with us! I'm looking forward to reading through it together!

  11. i love your choice for the inanimate object. It sounds so much more cozy and calm than mine - which is a pancake :) I chose this yummy inanimate object because I feel like my life is a flip flop routine. Sometimes, i am flipping back and forth between busy mommy and resting woman.....sometimes, I am flipping in between two equally consuming tasks that need to happen at the same time. For example, Wednesday afternoon I was preparing a chili dinner and a certain 3 year old who will remain nameless had a bathroom emergency that took me away from the stove. Several minutes later I came back to popping, burning ground beef :) Thankfully, I had an extra pound of ground beef in the freezer :)
    Thanks for your comment. I look forward reading more of your thoughtfulness as we continue with the book.

  12. I'm so glad to finally be reading this book. Thank you for creating a great opportunity to read and share and discuss, Brook!
    For question one, I thought of a clogged sink with the water still running. The reason for this is also an answer to question two. I am a split between Martha and Mary. When my Mary hat is on, the water flows effortlessly through the pipes because I'm in constant communication and fellowship with the Lord. But I find that if I miss one single day of having focused quiet time with Him, almost immediately, the drain starts to clog with the water continuing to flow. Before I know it, I'm in a panic because the water is rising. It isn't until I get re-connected with God that the drain is cleared and things get back to running as they should.
    For question three, I am realizing that being "busy" is not necessary or productive. Our most sure way to be efficient and productive is to kneel before Jesus and spend time with Him. When we do this, things become clear and we are able to keep a healthy perspective because when we have a relationship with Jesus, we desire to see things as He does. What's so cool to me about this is that when I am walking closely with Him and allowing Him to order my steps, I accomplish exactly what needs accomplishing...and better still, I'm not frustrated along the way! ; )

  13. Elin! Thank you for your insight. I loved reading what you have to say.

    "I find that if I miss one single day of having focused quiet time with Him, almost immediately, the drain starts to clog.."

    Yes! how quickly the slope becomes steep when we try out of our own strength to walk the day.

    "What's so cool to me about this is that when I am walking closely with Him and allowing Him to order my steps, I accomplish exactly what needs accomplishing..."

    How patient and sweet our Jesus is with us. He waits on us and then offers us the best of His love.

    Thanks for taking the time to give your thoughts, I look forward to hearing from as we go through the book.