Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh, To Be Mama Mary!

Today I feel as if every sign in my life is pointing toward the notion of being still. A good friend sent me an email this morning about how she was really making the effort to simplify things and just sit at the feet of Jesus, referencing the Biblical account of Mary and Martha. Later as I was catching up on some quiet reading while my children, thankfully, went down for naps, I read about the same concept. The chapter I read was about occupying our time with that which is fruitful as opposed to just being busy. Okay! I'm getting the message loud and clear! Maybe I am occupying too much time and energy just being busy and I'm missing much that is truly important.

I have to confess that I used to feel somewhat frustrated whenever I'd read about Mary and Martha. I got the point but I just immediately related to Martha. Not because I didn't want or crave time resting at the feet of Jesus, but because I have always believed in taking care of things. I could just imagine that if Mary was the only one running a home, her home might be a pigsty and she might appear flighty and completely uncommitted to priorities. I mean really, who is going to cut vegetables, set the table, and sweep the floor after dinner? It clearly wasn't going to be Mary. I guess Martha would do it....again. It's entirely possibly that Martha had that martyr attitude down pat. But, maybe she just wanted to make things absolutely perfect for the most important guest she had ever hosted. I can relate!

Fast forward to my life today. I admit that while I can so easily relate to Martha, I get the point. I know what Jesus was teaching and I want to be a Mary. I'm not attempting to reteach the story. I'm not attempting to dissect it either. But, I am honestly attempting to learn a lesson from this story that I need to apply in my life. The most important job that I have in my life right now is that of being a mother. I am employed full-time and am responsible for 4 very active clients. I rarely have quiet, uninterrupted lunch breaks; I have no paid vacations; there is little to no opportunity for promotion. Not sure that I'd want a promotion anyway. I really love and cherish this position!

Having said that, I am so often guilty of being Mother Martha. It's an easy trap to fall in. I have beds to make, laundry to do, a kitchen and bathrooms that constantly need cleaned (especially with young boys and their aim). I'm certainly not alone. All moms have this list and a thousand other daily responsibilities. It's easy to feel overwhelmed. It's easy to be consumed with being Martha and to forget about taking time to be a Mary to our children. I know that my children appreciate my Martha tendencies. Really! I think they like having clean clothes available, school supplies ready, toys in order, and good food at mealtime. They may not express their appreciation, but I know I'd hear complaints if their needs went unmet.

However, as much as they need and like that I can be Mother Martha, they crave the Mama Mary. They really need and desire my undivided attention. They want me to sit with them, play with them, talk with them, and respond to them. There are days when I so wish I didn't have to hear "Mom!" one more time. But, this is my job. They need me to be actively involved in their lives. They want to be noticed. They desire, more than anything, that I stop what I'm doing and pay them all of my attention. How often I fail to do this! It's easy to become wrapped up in my daily responsibilities and look at play time with my children as a luxury. Or worse....a burden. Was Jesus' visit to Martha's house a burden to her? I don't know the answer to that. But I do know that Jesus was hoping to help her see that the benefit of time with him would far outweigh the feeling of accomplishment from completing her tasks.

I relearn this lesson on a daily basis. Whenever I focus on being Mama Mary instead of Mother Martha, my kids benefit. They beam with joy when I give them the gift of my time. Just this morning, I spent some quality time with my daughter. We played kitchen, read books, fed the baby breakfast together, and shared a snack. I devoted my time and energy to making her feel that she was more important than my chores. It's doubtful that I send that message every day. I struggle. I waiver. But, all in all I see the absolute necessity and importance of being a Mama Mary to my children. The house will always need cleaned; bills will always need paid; and surely, the laundry will never be done. But, my children won't remain children forever. I so appreciate the way my Mom served our family and made such a nice home for us. But, some of my most fond memories are of times that she spent playing a game with us, taking us for a walk, or baking cookies with us. I can only imagine how she also struggled balancing her mothering responsibilities. Investing time in our children, however, is never wasted! I may regret times when I was too much of a Mother Martha, but I'm sure I'll never regret learning to be the Mama Mary that my children need me to be.

1 comment:

  1. I love this whole idea. I'm constantly trying to find the balance. Dishes will always be dirty, but in the years to come, they will remember not the dishes in the sink, but the time we spent together with full attentiveness. We undoubtedly complain at every stage and take our family for granted many days. I can tell you now that I don't have my kids sleeping in their beds every night at my own house, and I can't kiss them good night 7 days out of 14. . . I take NONE of it for granted, and I take every opportunity I can grasp to love on them.