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Monday, June 23, 2008

My Time With Martha

My time with Martha

I headed down the dusty path. I'd waited a long time to visit her. She greeted me as I expected, in an ankle length tunic with worn leather sandals. She opened her arms and hugged me as if we'd know each other a lifetime.
"Come on in dea
r. I'm so glad that you found your way here. You mentioned in your note that you wanted to talk to me." She gently led me inside to an open air courtyard and offered me a drink sweetened with honey and a pita-like flat cake.

"How did you do it?" I quietly asked.
"Do what?" she lifted her head from the jug that sh
e was pouring out of.
"Change your spirit," I asked.
She giggled, and looked almost embarrassed by the question. "I had a feeling that you weren't here for my fig cake recipe."

"Well dear, I had some help." A look came over her, the kind of look one gets when they are recalling a fond memory.
She continued, "You see honey, I remember that day clearly. We were sent word that HE was coming and I did what I'd always done. You know, I did what I was born to do. I swept out the courtyard, I fetched water, I pitted olives, I pressed olives, I rinsed the stone dish, I prepared the honey and figs and if I had one of those fancy things that you call a "tub" I'd have scrubbed it too. I was prepared for this visit. I enjoyed it when HE visited, it was an honor to be in his company. HE could have chosen many homes to come and sup at, but HE chose to come and be with us, and I simply wanted it to be perfect."

She glanced over into my eyes and we exchanged a look that said, "I understand."

She went on. "I have to admit that by the time he walked up the path, I was READY, well my home was ready to receive HIM, but dear, my spirit wasn't. I don't even remember greeting HIM that day. I know I did, but I wanted it to be perfect, so back to work I went. I did everything as I'd always done, bringing out some fruit and water for HIM. I was still working and SHE just sat. I made it clear, as sisters will, just WHO had done all of this!"

"Do you know what I mean dear?"

I replied with a smile, "Oh yes I do and it's exactly the reason I wanted to talk with you Martha. You see, I have a spirit like you. I too am a first born 'do-er' myself. I'm afraid that sometimes I hear your voice amidst mine. I came here to find the balan
ce that you have found." She smiled back at me.

"Honey, I had many visits with HIM, but that one stands out. Not just for me, but for everyone that read about that day. I was a bit bothered by that for awhile. All those people reading about what I had done. But I learned so much that day and I'm pleased that HE chose to use me in that way." Martha moved closer to me as if she were going to reveal her heart. "We have been commanded to be hospitable, welcoming to all, to friends and strangers alike and full of grace. What I often forgot was how to stop. Does that make any sense to you.?"

I was tempted to stand on my stone and shout, "girlfriend, you have NO idea." I refrained and simply nodded.

"That day HE spoke to me the way only a true friend can. You know the kind of friend who can tell you that you have been a real "whiner" and say it in such a way that you "hear" what they are saying. That is what HE did that day."

She recalled HIS words clearly.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her”.’ (Read Luke 10:38-42)

Martha continued on, "I have to admit, I was taken aback for a moment, but it was the way that he said it, not as a scolding parent but as a loving friend and teacher. I had been missing precious moments. I'm not sure that any of this makes sense to you."

"Oh, YES Martha it does. What did you do?"

"That night, what you don't get to read is that we sat and talked long into the night. He told me how much HE loved me and how much the FATHER loved me, and that because of this love they wanted my heart.

HE told me how he NEEDED me to sit and listen at his feet~
HE needed me to listen because HE needed me to hear~
HE needed me to hear because HE needed me to share~
Share what I'd heard at his feet.

That is what HE wants you to know too. HE wants me to remind you to not STOP being you. I have to tell you I still prepare for His visits, but not just with the chores that have to be done, but with my heart as well."

As I listened, I understood. She spoke in a way I understood. She spoke in a "kindred spirit" kind of way.

"Honey, I want to tell you one last thing. Hospitality, service to others and graciousness are gifts that come from the Father. Don't confuse what I'm telling you. HE wasn't telling me to change EVERYTHING that day, HE was just lovingly reminding me what was most important. Between you and I, nobody can make fig cakes like mine. I've simply learned how not to let the demands and distractions interfere with my spirit."

As I rose, we hugged. I knew I'd love her. I knew I'd love her spirit, her spirit to "hear." She saw where she needed to make changes, heart changes, spirit changes, not abandoning who she was, just adjusting her spirit. It was a lovely afternoon and I felt peace.

As I walked down the path, I turned around to take one last glance at my kindred spirit, and just as I suspected, she was back to pressing olives. There was work to be done. I smiled, knowing that she was preparing in more ways than one for her next visit with HIM. Martha revealed such wisdom that day. She helped me understand the Martha in me and what a special gift that is. As I walked I felt something in my pocket, I reached in....Martha's Fig Cake recipe! I gripped that recipe tightly and smiled!

As I walked alone, I prayed...

Father, thank you for teaching me through those who have walked before me. Those who struggled in ways that I know. Thank you for gently revealing to me how I can change my spirit to be more like your Son, Jesus. Thank you for speaking always to me, for kindly guiding me on my journey.

Questions for reflection:

Would you and Martha have anything in common?

What would you ask her if you had the opportunity to sit and visit with her?

You'll find Lori most days over here...learning how to live as a "Martha."

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Anonymous david said...

this post is really enlightening.Martha and the guy 's story is really nice.
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June 23, 2008 at 5:08 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

This is really awesome my friend.

June 23, 2008 at 5:16 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Hey Lori,

This was just GREAT!! Loved the way you shared this awesome truth.

I think MOST of can truly identify. (I'm sure most can.)

Thanks for the gentle reminder to "re-adjust" some things in my life.

Blessings to you Lori♥

June 23, 2008 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Amy B said...


The battle of the day, everyday, is the struggle to remain balanced. Martha learned that and the fruit was displayed later when her brother Lazarus died. It is amazing. SO much truth here... another great thought provoking truth. Great job, Lori!

June 23, 2008 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

Dang it's hard to type with tears in your eyes! Did Martha tell you I'd been there earlier in the day? Thank you Honey - I think we 'First Borns' will need these reminders till Jesus comes back!

Awesome word, Friend!

June 23, 2008 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Funny, I just wrote a piece on Martha, but coming from a different angle. I'm not done with it and it's already over 800 words.... So, I don't know where I'll put it. Seems like Papa is stirring several of us to consider Martha's story.... Hmmmm

I too lived much like Martha for many years...God is breaking me out of it.

Thanks for sharing.


June 23, 2008 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger ChristiS said...

This is beautiful! Martha and I would have some in common...I'm not a constant worker, but when I am in a crowd, I'd rather be working and preparing than sitting down talking and listening. This is definitely the case at church...I'm 'doing' or thinking about doing instead of just sitting and being quiet and waiting for the Lord to speak with me!

June 23, 2008 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Very well written and said. I enjoyed writing your story very much! Cindi

June 23, 2008 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

Good job on this, Lori! Pretty cool the way you "walked with her"!

Loved it!

June 23, 2008 at 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Twinkle Mom @ Sunflower Faith said...

Excellent Job!!

Reading this post and Amy's review about "Having a Mary's Heart in a Martha's World" really prompted me to revisit my dog-eared book and re-read it.

I had been feeling a lot of that lately after the trip and I needed to be reminded to slooooooowwww down.

I'm a doer that's for sure but sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in "doing" that it's like having blinders and not seeing everything else around you and forgetting to take off the blinders.

June 25, 2008 at 10:36 AM  

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