Monday, November 25, 2013

An Apology and a New Direction

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I have so much I want to say, and in lots of ways I don’t know where to begin.

I want to thank all of you who have read this blog or followed me on facebook.
I want to explain some changes that are going to happen here, including the name change.

And, I want to apologize.  But I might be getting ahead of myself.  Let me start here:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” –Luke 10:38-42

Some of you who are Christians or who grew up in the church may be familiar with the story of Martha and Mary- and for those of you who arent familiar, this passage sums up most of what you need to know about these two sisters.  Do you see yourself in either one?  A little bit of each, perhaps? 

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At this moment in my life the above passage is so instructive to my heart and my mind about where the Lord wants me to be, and who He wants me to be.  Ladies, I have been driving myself crazy over the last few years trying to be Martha.  Not being Martha, mind you, because unlike our sweet sister in the story, I am not naturally efficient, organized, or task-focused.  But I have believed, through a series of lies I have bought into, that I am supposed to be Martha.  That to be a good wife, mom, and homemaker, I need to embody a task list, I need to be the perfect home executive that I think I see in women I admire.  I need to be Mrs Walton, or Margaret Anderson, or Martha Stewart, or one of the bloggers with beautiful homes and organized lives that I so admire, or some of the Proverbs 31-type Christian women who have inspired me to want to be the best mom, wife, and homemaker I can be, but who honestly have a different history, skill set, and personality than I do.

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But what I have come to realize, at the end of the day, is that I am a Mary, not a Martha.  I want so much to be good in this role that the Lord has blessed me with and called me to, but my natural skills and abilities in this arena are actually rather limited for various reasons, and my natural inclination is more towards study, and meditation, and relationship, and dialogue.  Whats more, I am a nurturer more than team-leader, the kind of mom that’s great with a snuggle and a snack and a story time, but struggles to keep everyone’s appointments in the calendar.  I have downplayed the value of this side of me for so long thinking that what really counted was how clean my floors were, how organized my pantry was, and how delicious, nutritious, and cost-effective was my meal plan.  In addition, I have been beating myself merciless in spirit over my perceived failures: my too-often dirty corners, my unfolded laundry, my chipped paint walls and my dusty, not so fabulous d├ęcor. 

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But I feel Jesus saying no more.  I hear Him calling me back to Luke 10 over and over again to see that its not only OK that I am a Mary, but counter-intuitively to everything I have bought into, it is actually BETTER.  And Im not talking personality here, because God has clearly given many women wonderful gifts of organization, cleanliness, and decorative creativity, and He wants them to use those gifts for their good and His glory.  But that is NOT my natural personality, and while Im still obligated to do my best by his grace to have a well-run home, my first obligation is to my relationship with Him.  And second is to my relationships with those people has put in my life.  Relationship over task.   Function over form.  Love over duty.  Grace over perfection.

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And this leads me to my apology.  I am sorry if over the years in my attempt to get my own sense of value from being the picture-perfect housewife, I have added condemnation or guilt to any of you other Marthas or Marys out there- Marthas who want to get a break from their own natural tendencies towards task to sit at the feet of Jesus, and to Marys who are striving to be something they arent.  I am sorry if I have put a foot forward that has been less than honest.  Im sorry if I have used beautiful images and left out the messy ones.  Im sorry if Ive put a filter on reality.  I promise to do my best by God’s grace to this no longer.

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Instead I invite you to come with me on a new journey.  Let’s all go with Mary and pursue our roles as homemakers at the feet of Jesus.  Let’s go to Mary’s house and learn about serving our family, our neighborhoods, our church, our world with love and grace.  Let’s be real, and let’s give ourselves a break once in a while!  My hope and prayer is that from now on when you come to this page, you’ll feel encouraged, accepted, and loved right where you are at, and in no way like you aren’t doing enough.  I hope to see you all soon!

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3 comments:

ashleynewman said...

I absolutely LOVE all this!!! I found myself thinking, YES YES YES!! Xoxo

Sara Marler said...

This is a beautiful post. Absolutely wonderful dear friend.

Chris said...

Hi Nicole, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/