Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Mary Heart

Have any of you read "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver? I have actually been reading a couple different books lately, this one and one called the Mission of Motherhood. Both are REALLY good. I don't have a great deal of good books at home. I love to read and I love these type of books that can be an encouragment spiritually, but quite honestly they are expensive. So, I've started taking advantage of my local library. This book was one I found there. I love it - on the front cover it says "Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life". Exactly what I need. Right now is so busy... the last few months it has gotten even busier. I have the daily duties of caring for my children The rewards are wonderful, the time with my children is wonderful, the work though is hard. I would say especially with toddlers, but then I know once they hit school I'll say especially with school age... But trying to train your children, potty train one, discipline, do a little teaching with my 4 year old since I opted out of 4K so I could spend time with her, life in general... its busy. Then with trying to eat healthier and be more frugile, that is another busyness. Again, the rewards are great -- we are saving money, I feel better eating healthier and I know the long term benefits are great, and I really do love to cook. But honestly, how much time do I have to spend in this crazy kitchen. Cook breakfast, eat breakfast, clean up after breakfast -- short break for getting kids dressed and ready for the day and somehow its time for lunch and the whole cooking, cleaning happens again. (I can't stand a dirty kitchen so I have to clean after each meal. Not to worry though, I'm saving time by not cleaning my bedroom :) Then supper, bedtime routine, and you start all over. Sometimes I don't know where the days go. I know many of you are feeling the same way. Then to make life even busier and a little discouraging our church has been having some "issues". We've been praying about things since spring, really wanting God to change things. Of course, the changes that God chose so far have been a surprise to us. Quite honestly, I've noticed lately that God really isn't following my plans at all, what's up with that. :) The first was that our pastor gave us a week notice in May and left. Not what we were expecting, but I do think this can be a good change. God is still in control. Another changes we have been praying about, is that people are so uncommitted. I mean, its easier to sit in a pew, complain, or not even come to services than it is to actually serve, right? I still don't know HOW God is working, but I know He's working. Kenny ended up going on a trip to Seattle with the teens, he wasn't supposed to go, but God changed those plans and had him go. He came home on fire and more committed to God and helping the church until God changes HIS mind (God's mind not my husbands), the teens came home on fire and committed to God -- and honestly, there is nothing more encouraging and convicting to see teenagers wanting to do things for God. As discouraged as I was and am, I don't want to be a stumbling block for him or the teens. So when he came home, we knew that if nothing else, that God wants us to serve Him and try to do what we can for the church. So now this is where we stand: My husband is a deacon, he's on the pulpit committee to find a new pastor, he's the youth pastor, he's the game director at Awana, he helps me teach SS every 3rd month. I'm in charge of typing and printing the bulletins, by "default" I have become in charge of Children's Church and nursery (unless I didn't want my girls to have this), teaching SS as above, teaching children's church, doing nursery, working in Awana, helping my husband with youth group, helping plan/organize our fall festival, responsible for my own "shepherding" because I'm rarely actually in church.... and I'm not saying this like we're the only ones doing things because others are just as busy at church. I'm just saying it because I have felt overwhelmed lately. And I even told Kenny jokingly "I know I'm getting no rewards in heaven because I'm grumbling as I do these things." Jokingly -- but seriously. And then the bad thing is that we are in a town that there is a church on every corner, (Honestly, if you are thinking of church planting, please don't come here, there is no need for more churches here, there's one on every corner, just not always enough faithful people wanting to serve in all of them.) churches where I could sit in, get fed and not have to lift a finger, my girls would have tons of friends, rather than the few kids that are at our church,.... But I know that God has not built me that way and He definitely hasn't built my husband that way. We were made to worship, we were made to Love Him, but in that we were also made to serve. So here I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday, discouraged about the problems, discouraged about my own personal time being stretched so much, and I sat down to read my book. Boy, it took all of 5 seconds for God to convict me. The author writes:

"Satan still plans his attacks around what I call the "Three Deadly D's of Destruction.: They are Distraction, Discouragement and Doubt. Throughout time, Satan has restored to these tactics to bring down God's best and brightest. The underlying strategy is farily simple: Get people's eyes off God and on their circumstances. Make them believe their "happiness" lies in the happenings that surround them. Or send them good news -- about somebody else. When they're thoroughly discouraged, tell them God doesn't care. Then sit back and let doubt do its work."

It is hard, to look around and feel like there is an easy way out, that I really don't need to be doing this work That why should I care if no one else is. To find myself unhappy just because I'm frustrated with the situations. My parents church is really big and doing well, that could be discouraging just because we wish our church was doing better, but then that's not where God has us. And we've actually benefited from that because my parents are taking Isabella to Kids 4 Truth there, so she get to go with them on Wednesdays instead of to youth group with us. (Which is also a help to us as she can be a cute little distraction for the teens. :) )

"(Satan) knows that if we're overly worried and bogged down with duties, chances are good our hearts will not hear the Savior's call to come. ..... getting our eyes off of what is important will certainly make us more vulnerable to attack."

(Luke 10:40) "Martha was cumbered about much serving", she was distracted, she was overwhelmed, she was bothered. Yeah, I've felt that way lately. Then I read the following, and this really hit me in between the eyes.

"'But even pure ministry for Jesus can become a weight we drag around,... Its called the treadmill annointing and it isn't from God.' ..... Even on those days when I have the best motives, my heart can be pulled away from doing things 'as unto the Lord' and settle for simply gettings things done. And when that happens, I can tell you, this Martha isn't very merry."

Yeah, me neither.

"Then when we're distracted, discouragement is just around the corner. Weariness creeps in as life overpowers us.... Discouragement breaks down our perspective and our defenses. Though we may have just completed great things for God, weary discouragement tells us we're useless, hopeless, and abandoned." She then talks about Elijah and how he had just had a mighty victory, but then became afraid of Jezebel. This is a prayer I need to pray for our teens, that they saw great things in their life, God working in them, and not to get their eyes off of God, not to worry about the noncommittment around them, not to get discouraged. But then the author shows us the story in 1 Kings 19 about Elijah. Even though he was discouraged and asking God if He even cares, doubting God, God sent an angel to bring him food and rest.
"When we're distracted and discouraged, tired and overwhelmed, there is no better place to go than to our father. He alone has what we need."

I decided to read more of 1 Kings 19 and I love these verses: "And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice." That's where God is, in that still small voice. And if I become so distracted and discouraged, I'm going to miss the blessings God has for me because I'm going to miss His still small voice.

Then she notes that God is concerned with what concerns us. Martha asked "Lord, don't you care?". "We have our questions.... but He wants us to trust His love enough to tell him what we are thinking and feeling."

"First, we can bring our needs to Jesus anytime and anywhere.... (Matthew 7:7)"

"Second, Jesus really cares about what concerns us. (1 Peter 5:7) Jesus didn't laugh off Martha's concerns. He didn't become angry. Instead, He spoke to her wtih infinite gentleness and tenderness recognizing the pain in her whining voice."

"Finally,Jesus loves us enough to confront us when our attitude is wrong. (Rev. 3:19)'.... Martha spoke her secret fear aloud, and we can too. But, like Martha, we must stick around long enough to hear the sweet reasurrance of his answer. Don't expact any explanations or apologies. After all, God is God."

Ouch. So that's what I'm trying to do, take my concerns to Him and accept His answers. Will I never get discouraged about this same thing? Yeah, right, I was getting discouraged again today. Just writing about it makes me a little stressed. :) Do I know HOW God is going to answer all my prayers -- nope, but I trust that He is going to work things out. And I've seen God answer some prayers already: There are other people in church who truly have the desire to help the church, our interim pastor has been great - he has such a heart for God, we are hoping to outreach to our community with this weekend's fall festival, I have seen people respond better to serving in areas than I thought I would. Here at home, we have new neighbors and they have 2 little girls. My girls and they have become fast friends -- this is also a matter of prayer as I feel I have extra training to do and it actually is more busyness for me as I think I will be having 2 extra little girls at my house every afternoon and I'm overly protective of my children and what they are doing, where they are outside, etc. I think the neighbor girls are in the "can we fool this woman?" and "what all can we get by with?" stage, but that will pass, they're learning quickly that I say no ---- alot. :) But Isabella said last night "God blessed us with new neighbors." She's never had a neighbor friend, our neighbors have all been older or have older kids. She's very excited! And God continues to show me how much He truly cares. When I am discouraged and tired, He is concerned, He's concerned for taking care of me, but He is also concerned with my questions and He is definitely concerned with my response and how I deal with things. And I have to remember to try not to get distracted, I can say no, I will say no to some things, but I have to at least be doing the things I'm doing for His honor and His glory, if not they're all in vain anyway. He is sufficient, He has my ultimate good in mind and I have to listen to His still small voice instead of the voices of discouragement all around me.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying this book. Have any of you read it? Its not a new book, I think it says copyright in 2002. If you haven't, get it and read it. I've only read 3 chapters and it has been great, can't wait to see what God is going to teach me in the rest. If you have, I'd love to hear what God has taught you.


steph said...

I love that book! We did it as a small group Bible study last year. Very convicting! For me it was different---I always equated work for God as "proof" of my love for Him. That study showed me that He wants me to LOVE him not DO for him. I really learend alot about enjoying God through being in his presence. It really released me from working myself to death and feeling frustrated about it. Anyways I will be praying for you. I have been right where you are, and actually God is doing some really weird (can I say that?) stuff in our church as well. It's hard to trust when you see no end to the blahs in sight. I'll pray for you and you pray for me! It's rough to keep my Mary attitude intact. but I know it's so much easier when I just stop it and let Him love me.

Andrea said...

I see that your life has been as crazy as mine lately. God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Know that I'm here if you need to vent, talk, cry, or anything else. I may need your shoulder too.