It'll be okay Martha

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Guest post by: Jennifer Wagner

So, there are these two sisters, Mary and Martha. Busy Martha, a go-getter, always in control. Sweet Mary, who lives in the moment. Both had just lost their dearly loved brother, Lazarus. In the throes of grief, Martha dashed about, making everything perfect, setting out a feast and allowing her gracious hospitable spirit to take full charge. She busied herself, lest she be caught up in the grief of her brother’s untimely passing.

Mary, on the other hand, sat at the feet of Jesus, her friend and Messiah. His presence was enough to wash away her tears. Martha, being always in control, swept into the room with Jesus, and asked that Mary be made to work, too, for there was a house full of guests and so much to be done. I’m sure Martha must have felt overwhelmed and maybe, even a little angry at her sister. Both Martha and Mary yearned to give their all to their Lord, yet Jesus gently chastised Martha, for Mary recognized that it was more important to be with the Lord, than to busy one’s self trying to serve Him. He calls each of us to come and sit at His feet and to rest in His presence. “Be still and know who I am.”

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Recently, J and I experienced our own grief, as we lost a pregnancy. As newlyweds, we were completely unprepared and taken back by this experience. After all, we’d only been married for six months! Our whole world was shaken in just a few days. For J, the experience was much more surreal… I was pregnant and then I wasn’t. It was easier for him to go on about his normal routine… work, home, church. For me, however, it was as if my world had suddenly stood very still. I tried to be like Martha, for a few weeks, until I became so overwhelmed mentally, physically, and emotionally, that I just shut down. The dishes piled up. The laundry sat in the hamper for days on end. Dinner became take out or oven meals. I slept all day. My inner Martha had become so overwhelmed by changing hormones and raw emotions that she just gave up, accepting failure. It wasn’t just any failure, but a dark pit of personal failure… I was a failure as a mother. I was a failure as a wife. I was a failure as a woman. During my darkest days in that black pit of despair, I had put a distance between J and myself. Surely, he wouldn’t love a woman who failed at keeping and giving life. It became an unspoken wall between us.

It was a dark moment in our marriage, when I couldn’t handle it any longer and I cried in my husband’s arms, admitting my perceived failures. J, with tenderness, compassion, and spiritual strength, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You are NOT a failure.” That was my turning point. J reminded me that for this season, I needed to sit at the feet of my Savior and weep. He reminded me to take time to let the Lord heal my heart and my body. I needed to give this over to Jesus. It has been a slow process, but I am learning… and so is J. Together, arm in arm, we sit at the feet of Jesus and let Him draw us near.

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Today… Wednesday… the middle child of the week. I have to admit Wednesdays are not as bad as Mondays, but they just don’t have the joy of Friday! Actually, I find Wednesdays to be perfectly unimpressive, totally dull, and dismally gray, even when it is sunny outside. It is just another day to sleep through. Today, I slept in, prepared my lunch, and headed off to work. The dishes need done. The laundry pile is growing. My to do list keeps getting longer, but I have peace. They will get done in their time.

Now, my inner Martha wants to have a cow! I mean, after all, housekeeping is one of the ways I serve my husband, and I had “failed”! For today, I simply told that ol’ Martha to “shut up, sit down, and enjoy the peace comes from the Lord!” She did so, pouting and resentful, but even my inner Martha cannot resist the joy of sitting at Jesus’ feet.

What a relief and freedom! I don’t have to feel guilty for “failing” to complete all the tasks on my checklist, including being a mother. I can quietly hand it all over to God. I acknowledged that He is in control, and that by putting all of my faith and trust in Him, all would be taken care of, so long as I keep my eyes on Jesus!

The grief and sadness are still there. I still cry in J’s arms. He still holds me close, as we discuss baby names and memorials. My body is still healing, as are our hearts, but it is with hope and joy that we grieve… Hope for the future and joy that for a few short months, we got to experience new life. For this season, J and I need to sit at His feet and to rest in His presence.

And you know what I discovered? As I draw near to Jesus, I draw nearer to my husband.

The wall was toppled the day I admitted my defeat. Since then, we have been more united, as we grieve our loss together, and that is a sweet feeling!


About the author

Jennifer is a stay at home wife, dividing her time between homemaking, directing church outreach, and blogging about life lessons, joyful living, and Christian values. When not writing, she's typically curled up with her husband, watching Netflix, drinking a caramel coffee, or snuggling her cats, Basil and Mocha Rose!

Website: The Newlywed Chronicles

Facebook: @thenewlywedchronicles

Instagram: @the_newlywed_chronicles

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