08 April 2016

Being a Martha

I was reading in John this morning, thinking about what a bad rap Martha gets from people. Like she messes up once, but then when her brother dies, she goes out to meet Jesus and has this wonderful, powerful interaction with him. She makes this gorgeous declaration that Jesus is the Messiah, and when she goes back to tell Mary, she calls him the Teacher. Which was courageous, because it was definitely deemed inappropriate in that day for a rabbi to teach women (though Jesus didn't care much about that, obviously).

So it's not fair that she gets branded the stick-in-the-mud who's only concerned with keeping up appearances or in the things that don't matter. She made a mistake. It is super easy for women who manage households to fall into that very same rut of thinking. Because the house does need to run! Someone does have to make sure people are fed and laundry is washed and floors are cleaned. She just let the banal distract her focus and she lost her real purpose. If I was young, that sounds like a horrible offense against everything I stand for, but it's a frequent struggle now that so many of my daily tasks are menial. I forget that wiping bottoms and feeding children and making sure some are learning how to count correctly and which color is orange, and some are learning to read, and some are learning to for heaven's sake stop climbing on the bunk bed ladder; you will fall and it will hurt. And for heaven's sake, nobody touch each other because it always turns into yelling or crying at each other.

The point is, it is easy to forget that this is not why I'm here. I'm here to love and serve God, and to follow Him where He leads. That is my act of worship. It currently involves more poop and pee and screaming than I prefer. But I can bring my children with me to the feet of Jesus, and I can like throw myself at his feet and say "I'm sorry!" when I forget. And get really upset that not one of the kids ate lunch well today. And also maybe threw the Teach Your Child to Read book across my room I was so frustrated. Which totally did not happen today.

Anyway, I like Martha. She was a real person who had real flaws and real virtues. I just really appreciate having a (female!) person in the Bible who is as nuanced as Martha in as few verses. I want to face my failures without heaping shame on myself, and I want to proclaim courageously who Jesus is and who he is to me. And when I meet Martha in heaven, I want to thank her, another woman who loves Jesus.

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