Monday, February 9, 2015

Living Room Intimacy - Mary Heart / Martha World [Week 5]

You who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
 Ephesians 2:13

This truth mentioned in Ephesians saved me 19 years ago when I became a Christian.

The richness of this scripture is still unfolding to much deeper meaning for me.

The Lord loves me. The Lord longs for me to understand that I have been brought near to Him.

I have spent a good portion of my adult years trying to 'fix' some majorly screwed up relationships in my life, with little success.

It can hurt so bad when human love fails.....

When what you want isn't what someone else wants....

When what they need, you aren't able to give.....and vice versa.

I am beginning to understand that one problem in these failing relationships of mine is my expectations.

I expect these relationships to provide things they were never intended to provide.

In this chapter, Joanna begins to dig into the details of the most perfect unfailing love. A relationship that meets our needs, comforts, gives rest - is the fulfillment of every desire we have ever felt for what lacks in our earthly relationships.

All we really need is Jesus. For he is all the evidence we need. The Father actually wants us close and is willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure it happens. [pg. 65-66]

Understand me when I say, human relationships are important. But people can never love us in the way God does. His love is a feast.

I'd settled for stale cheese and shriveled apples instead of enjoying the rich table God had prepared for me. I kept waiting for the day I'd be worthy to sit at his table, never realizing that the cost of such fellowship was included in the price Christ paid for my passage. [pg. 67]

One of my favorite parts of this chapter is 'Spiritual Snicker Bars'. Here Joanna writes about the things we 'feed' ourselves that calm our spiritual hunger pains but do not meet our need.

We can fill up with spiritual Snickers bars while all the time our spirits are withering for want of real food. [pg. 70]

My spiritual Snickers bar is a listening ear.

If I can find someone to listen to me when I am upset or going through a difficult time, I 'feel' better. The problem is afterwards I don't get around to praying about it because my energy on the topic is spent even though the issue is far from settled.

Only intimacy with the Lord will heal my heart.

But even more than my need for intimacy with God is the fact that He desires fellowship with me!
I had to put an exclamation point there because that is amazing - He desires me!

Joanna writes to this so perfectly.

What an amazing thought - that Christ wants to spend quality time with me. That he looks forward to our time together and misses me when I don't show up. Once that message started sinking into my heart, I started looking at my devotional time in a whole new way - not as a ritual, but as a relationship. [pg. 73]

There are so many good things written in Chapter 5, but what I found most impactful are some of the verses Joanna references throughout.

"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. " John 14:23 
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me."  John 15:4
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3  

Those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior, the Lord is near.

Will you walk with me this week in reminding ourselves of His nearness and quieting ourselves so we can hear His whispering voice?

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, let us encourage each other.

1. On page 74 'Creating a With-Drawing Room', which of these ideas listed do you plan to implement within your quiet time?

2. 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. The 'Creating a With-Drawing Room' examples are really just a continuation on our topic from Week 1 & 2 of Tips for Distraction. I loved Elin's response to that question about starting the day with the Word. Maybe Elin has created that set up in her house described by the first bullet point. I like really like all three and do a combination. I try to keep my devotions and such, right by my bed to remind me in the morning (hopefully) or at night that it is waiting for me. I love the candle idea and started doing that in terms of quiet time recently. I had already been using a candle for dinners at home with the kids, to kind of make dinner special and try to create that peaceful atmosphere. I tend to think a lot in the car and so listening to Christian music helps me have little times of worship throughout the day. Every little idea helps.
    What I take from this chapter again, is remembering how I came to understand those verses in John 15:1-17 more clearly; the vine and the branches. I've read it many times (I even have a sign with the words on it my mom gave me) but this book really uses these verses to reinforce her idea of that equation: prayer + the Word + time = intimacy with God. "If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." I love how then the verses go straight into "remain in my love...Love each other." It is so spot on. If you are putting in the time with God you will bear fruit > show yourself as a disciple >and also be able to love others. When am I most out of sorts with others is when I am not having quiet time, duh. When do I have more patience, want to make an impact, and spend even more time with God > when I am spending the quality time with him. He is urging us, for our own good, to stay connected with him. I needed that reminder again in this chapter. :)

  2. I agree with you (and Joanna) Brook. So many times I take my hurt to the wrong sources that cannot satisfy. It wasn't until I went through an extremely trying ordeal where my name was being strung through the mud and( felt powerless to defend myself because of the position the person had) that I learned to take my cares and hurts to God. He really healed me. He made me whole. He comforted me. That was something no one could do. And trust me I tried dumping elsewhere! The time spent with Jesus was so special looking back now and I'm so grateful I had nowhere to turn but to Him. Even though I have this experience, I still need the reminder to continue taking my cares to him, no matter how little they seem.

  3. Thanks for sharing! It's a great chapter.

  4. The Lord is so loving to redeem our pain and struggle with a quiet call to draw near. I am encouraged by you, Jen. Thank you for your candid sharing.

  5. Your comment made me think of a place in the chapter where Joanna writes to these verses
    "It's the tree, not the branch, that determines the fruit. The tree is the life source. The branch has no power of its own. But once it get connected, once the sap gets flowing and those leaves start growing, that insignificant little twig will find itself loaded with fruit. And it didn't have to do anything - except abide." Pg. 77
    Thanks again for offering your thoughts to the discussion.