Which Martha am I talking about??? Well… I can say, with complete confidence… my mother is the ORIGINAL Martha Stewart. They are approximately the same age, but my mother is so much more special and talented than Martha. Let me explain…
My mom grew up in Peru, where she learned the art of hand crafting, sewing, hand washing linens, starching, cooking and so much more from her mother. Her mother (my grandmother) was so talented. She was a professional opera singer, an expert seamstress who made many of her own costumes, and she played the piano beautifully.
I remember many nights when my mother would stay up late at night and into the wee hours of the morning sewing beautiful dresses for her girls, for my aunts, and for her self. She would patiently make our halloween costumes, finishing them with sequins, beautiful buttons, bows, and other special touches that she would sew on by hand.
Birthday party invitations were always special, and hand crafted long before scrapbooking supplies were in style. I’m talking about the 1970’s!! I remember one invitation was a black ant cut out of black construction paper with little minnie mouse feet, a real lace dress with sequins buttons and a cute little face and antennas. Another invitation was made out of those little old fashioned 4″ plastic white milk jugs that was turned into a clown with a little white styrofoam ball glued to the top as the head with yarn hair, sequins buttons, felt clothes… She was so creative, and she always made our parties so special with delicious food and fun entertainment like puppet shows and kids music.
My mother worked long hours organizing her home, making sure it was always spotlessly clean, welcoming, beautiful, and always open for anyone at any time. Her home was, and still is, beautifully appointed and decorated, often sewing her own window treatments, pillows covers, bed covers, and slip covers for chairs or couches. Her pantry was always stocked, and meals were always delicious, even when her budget was tight. She never showed us if she was stressed, overwhelmed or upset. She was always emotionally controlled and joyful. She was and still is a hard worker, serving others first.
Not only has my mother worked hard at home, but she has always, ALWAYS been involved in ministry at church. Women’s ministry has always been close to her heart. She’s led Bible studies, home groups, ministered to women who had gone through divorce, or women who had husbands with addictions or recovering from addictions.What ever ministry God placed her in, she was involved 100%. It’s the example I saw through my young adult life and its what I patterned my own life after. Yes, she resembles Martha Stewart, but she also closely paralleled someone else that I find far more important.
The story of Martha and Mary in the Bible is one I’ve always loved. Sadly, I’ve always identified with Martha, because for 25 years, I’ve run into ministry full tilt, always busy working, preparing, juggling, running around, serving… frustrated because I felt like everyone around me was so un-committed to helping out in ministry. I’ve been the one who would fill in when someone was absent. I’d run myself ragged, become ill, and still keep running, exasperated at all the bodies sitting on the pews listening to the message the pastor was sharing, or enjoying worship. I need to say that I NEVER saw my mom doing this. Ever! This is Martha, only in a different setting.
And this is where I would say to Jesus… “Lord, do you not care that my friends have left me to do all the serving alone? Tell them to help me!” And, Jesus would say to me… “Giselle, Giselle… You are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for all the others have chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from them.” (a loose translation of: Luke 10:40-42) Sound familiar? It’s the exact conversation Martha and Jesus had about Mary.
Needless to say, my mom is a Mary. Mary was Martha’s sister who sat at Jesus’ feet, learning and worshipping. My mom was able to balance her priorities as Mary was, knowing that while hospitality is important, and that serving others and having your home in order, and working your full time job is also important, placing your relationship with the Lord first and sitting at his feet, worshipping him, reading his word, and spending time with him is far more important than anything else. This is when we hear from him, when he mends our brokenness, when he moves in our hearts and when we grow spiritually.
Mary’s heart was in the right place, and her motives pure, and Jesus knew her heart, just as he knows our hearts and thoughts.Yes, My mom has a lot of Martha in her, but in her heart and spirit, she’s a Mary. She knows her priorities.
This story isn’t just for women. It’s for men as well. You fill your lives with work, softball, golf, projects at home or away from home, filming silly things, playing around with your technology, fishing, hunting, building things, ministries with the children or youth, home groups, serving at church, music or whatever other busy things men do… The principle is the same. Slow down and take time to re-prioritize!!
Let’s all make it a priority to choose the “good part that won’t be taken away from us!”
And that’s… According to Giselle!