I adore so many women in the Bible but these two women are my favorites.
The traditional depiction of Martha is a woman who is stressed, hair undone and busy. I’ve always pictured her as a fully capable woman who efficiently runs her house, opens it to visitors and keeps a keen eye on details that matter to her household. In the Bible, there was no mention of their parents. It was only Martha, Mary and Lazarus. It is safe to assume that Martha is the key person who manages their home. She has so many things to do and these things are good.
It is also safe to assume that Mary was not responsible for running their home. Instead of getting busy with the usual tasks a Jewish woman of her time is expected to do, she chose to sit at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said (Luke 10:39). She is quiet and vulnerable and did not care what people think of her as long as she is with Jesus.
Two personalities. Two women who chose good things. The other one chose what is better.
What Martha was busy with is good but her heart was discontent and her lips complaining. I believe that the tasks she was given were avenues for her to worship Jesus. I believe she was good at worshipping Jesus through her daily grind, only that she lost track of the heart of her worship. It happened when she started comparing what she does to what her sister does, when she questioned Jesus whether he cares or not.
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!” Luke 10:40
Martha, no doubt, is a good housekeeper. If the magazine existed during her time, she might very well be the cover of Good Housekeeping. Funny that she’s the namesake of Martha Stewart.
In Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, Sarah Mae shared her heart on the matter, “I would prefer to get rid of the word good altogether and replace it with gentle. I want to cultivate the area of “gentle homemaking,” which is the ability to be gentle and kind with ourselves in the process of making and keeping a home while being gentle and kind to those around us.
The book endeavors to get your home and heart in order in just 31 days. Everyday, Sarah Mae gives a Mary Challenge (where the reader is encouraged to sit still, search her heart and listen to Jesus) and a Martha Challenge (where the reader is given practical tasks to accomplish within the day).
As a young mom, I can relate to both Martha and Mary. So many things to do everyday for the kids, my husband and people I care for. I want my home to be orderly but I want it to spring from a heart that is surrendered to him. Every task can be worship to Jesus. It can only be so when we do it His way, with kindness and self-control. We can trust Him who wiped the disciples’ feet to help us in wiping our homes clean. In all these, a mom can be weary, vulnerable and easily angered. In that I trust Him all the more to give me kindness and patience along with firmness and diligence. A beautiful delicate balance that is only possible when we look to Jesus for approval and enlist the Holy Spirit’s help everyday.
These are my goals on Gentle Homemaking:
To make our home beautiful without the nagging and the anger fits
To make our home a haven to our family to rest, be vulnerable, to love and be loved
To make our home a reflection of my time with Jesus, His love and grace that abounds
My home doesn’t need to be sparkly clean. It doesn’t need to have the right decor and furnitures. It doesn’t need to be perfect. My home needs to be filled with love, gentleness and kindness. It needs to flow with life. It needs to have a life-giver.
Each mom is a life-giver from the womb to our homes. Let’s embrace who we are and ask the Lord’s help in all things. As Barbara Mouser once said, “[We are] the redeemed life-giver[s], enlivened by the love of Christ and continuously renewed by Him as [we] nurture others.”