My eyes leaked ever so quietly, as tears splashed down in ripples of sad exhalation. They were so unexpected and I tried to catch them in an old handkerchief covered in flowers. The flowers were very unappreciative and didn’t need them in the first place. No one even noticed the tears, the ripples, or that old handkerchief.
Pain and grief and anguish are like that, reckon? It exposes that which we do not want to share…hidden and folded up in a cotton handkerchief…stuffed deep into our apron pockets. Ah, safe right there along with some clothespins, some wilted weeds masquerading as flowers…given in a chubby, little hand, and a Hotwheel that is missing one of its wheels…with the promise to repair it soon.
No sooner had that handkerchief been tucked away that the dog runs in covered with mud and messing up the newly washed floor. My husband wasn’t trekking too far behind yelling that the dog had turned up all of his cabbages whilst chasing a Jack Rabbit who had been happily snacking on those lovely green leaves. I just spin around and hide both my frustration and exhaustion to only see a pot boiling over on the stove.
Our hearts can be laid wide open by such days that rifle through our emotions. I recall quickly the account of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, when Jesus came into their village,
“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Dear Martha was quite overcome to take care of her guests, as she flitted from one task to the next. In her frustration with her sister, Mary, she complained sorely to the Lord even asking Him if He cared that Mary wasn’t helping. He didn’t immediately rebuke Martha, but He recognized that He could see all the worry and bother and frustration she felt. He validated it so patiently, but then He softly rebuked her. She was so focused on being a stellar hostess rather than sitting and enjoying her guests and learning from what the Lord was teaching.
Oh, how I hear Martha’s heart for I can be exactly the same. When I am preparing for guests to visit, I fret over every, small detail. This happened to me today, as I am preparing the Thanksgiving meal for when my son will be visiting on Monday. My heart had just set aside the loneliness from my husband and me being alone on Thanksgiving Day, but now it was overcome with so many things I had yet to do. As I was finishing up the Deviled Eggs, I put some Paprika in a sieve so that I could spread it evenly atop the eggs. No sooner had I started, when the sieve slipped from my hand, and Paprika went everywhere. Some of the eggs had too much and others none. I just started crying and telling my husband that I had ruined them. He came over to me and started hugging me and said, “Sweetheart — you put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Don’t fret over such things…the eggs will be wonderful.” I cried more and declared what an idiot I am. He said, “Oh, no, not one ounce of you is an idiot. You just expect more from yourself than you would expect of others.”
Martha and I would have been such good friends, but I would have enjoyed Mary’s friendship too. As women, we have a little bit of both ladies. It is very important that, no matter our trial, we learn to slow down and expect things to not always be perfect and when they are not, remember Jesus’ counsel to Martha. We must make sure that our minds and hearts are set on the important things or the “good parts,” and that would be Jesus.
I pray that as Christmas approaches you find the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him. In the process of slowing it down, you will find your family more relaxed too. Our heartaches bleed into our families lives, and, so we must do all to perform an immediate triage on ourselves, regroup, and start again. Set aside all of the other worries. Give that present to yourself now and in turn, you will be giving it to your family.
Hosana, He is Come! May all of your holidays permeate the sweet aroma of Christ. Do it all for His glory and as a witness to Him.
Soli Deo Gloria