Mary & Martha... the sisters. When I was single, I was fascinated by Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus oblivious to her sister's yearning for help in the kitchen. Those days I could relate to Mary. Martha perplexed me... I mean, come on. Jesus! In your house! As I pursued God in my singleness, I had ample time to sit and study the words of Christ's teachings. The laundry could wait; it was, after all, just me. The dishes were usually done already and of course the floors were clean. I love to vacuum. So, as a single lady, I got Mary, totally understood the girl. Now? Well, as a wife of seven years, seven moves and two daughters later, I'm a little more sympathetic to Martha. Actually, I am Martha! I have to now MAKE time to sit and listen, study and write. You know the Mommy drill. Long gone are the simple days of being Mary.
I have evolved into a pretty organized housekeeper. I like things to be in their place... my philosophy, especially after all the moves, is this: If it doesn't have a place, we don't have need for it! I've been studying the importance of hospitality. I am trying to grow in this, especially in the areas of children in the home that I did not give birth to. Recently the little girls who live down the street visit quite often to play with my daughters. I have learned alot about myself during these visits. I find it challenging to keep my 'organized' house when not two, but five little girls attempt to camp out in the family room or race the baby doll strollers through my kitchen (which lasted about 3 seconds before the 'mom shutdown' occurred).
I came across this blog post the other day that really hit home with me. Here is a small excerpt from that post:
One phrase I said to myself over and over again during that period, and still do, is People Over Preference. The people and relationships God places in my life are exponentially more important that my petty preferences regarding my home, order, and cleanliness. I will choose the person over the preference, and pray for a patient heart." - Katy Rose, http://momheart.org/our-story-of-learning-hospitality
I cherish these words. I believe this is also a way of describing the balance needed between the 'Mary and Martha' way of living. With each visit from our little neighbors, I attempt to maintain Mary's way of enjoying the little moments. This, opposed to what my nature wants to do which is run around cleaning up the chaos of my little mirrors' last adventure. Now there are times that I oversee a 2 minute clean up with the girls, while trying to pull the reins back on my obsessive nature; remembering to breathe through the unorganized process, ha! After all, these children, our guests, are disciples just like my own daughters. Each day they are in our home is an opportunity to show them love and grace.
I am grateful for my seasons of relating to both Mary & Martha as I strive to stay the course of the journey. Can you relate to this struggle, this conscious effort of balance? Does the role of housekeeper overwhelm the preparation of your heart for what really matters?