Are you a Mary or a Martha?

I like to think of myself as calm and collected. I even had a friend recently tell me how I was the most patient mother she ever met.

Ha! She should have seen me today.

I hate blaming my mood on the rush of hormones in my body. I really think that PMS is totally made up. Until I experience it.

Most of the time, I would say I am a half glass full kind of a girl. I don’t get easily angered, and for the most part I stay pretty calm (unless my sister and I are hanging out for more than an hour, but hey, she is my best friend and we know how to push one another’s buttons!).

Well, today I woke up expecting a full day of fun and sun. Our family made plans to get up and go eat breakfast, then head out to the museum. Poor husband fell ill with a virus, and the morning ended up a messy chaos of trying to get stuff done and help him feel better. Then I felt anger boiling within me. I started having this ridiculous pity party. All at once I felt sad, mad, helpless, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted! I started thinking of all the stressful stuff in our life: the bills we owe, the clutter surrounding me that I wanted to clean, and how long it had been since Brian and I had a date (or even a family outing).

That is when I unleashed on my poor husband. I let all my bottled up, nonsensical feelings out on him. I guess I just wanted to hear him tell me how much he loves me and appreciates what I do. Instead, he did what he should have done (or what I should have expected). He got defensive. He was like, “Whoa- what is wrong with you?!”. Which of course sent me into the crazy cycle. After about thirty minutes of hashing out what was really wrong, I left to room to get some air and pray.

After thinking and praying (the kind of praying where I was gritting my teeth to do it), I realized a few things. First, I hadn’t eaten all day. Second, I had drank too much coffee. Third, I made an impossible to-do list there was no way I could finish. Last, I spent my morning dwelling on negative thoughts instead of filling my mind with anything good.

As mothers, why do we do this to ourselves? I was literally a running on empty. Nothing good in my body, and nothing good in my mind. Stressing over the little, petty, chores that will never end.

After realizing why I was so stressed out, I slowly walked myself over to my husband and apologized. I explained to him I had a blocked goal (to have fun that morning), and instead of changing my attitude and moving on, I stewed with bitterness and got busy. Busy to the point of neglecting my inner spiritual and also my physical needs.

Three verses from the bible come to mind, and three lessons for me as a mother.

The first is that if I am to produce fruit and truly live an eternal productive life, I must stay connected to Jesus as my source of energy and life.

NIV, John 15:5
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

The second is that what I dwell upon is what comes out of my mouth. From my lips pour the spirit of my heart. If I am to speak with love, kindness, and grace then those things must be the things I seek in my heart. Only the Holy Spirit can change my heart so that I am able to speak love and truth to others. Otherwise, I am simply making noise.

NIV, Phillipians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

The third is that the most important thing I can spend my time doing is spending time in the Word of life. Time spent there is more valuable than any time tackling chores or work. That time fuels my time to do life well.

NIV, Luke 10:40-42
But 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!” “Martha, Martha,” The Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed- or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Don’t these verses leave you feeling lighter? I reflect upon these things and realize it is not all up to me to do everything. The most important thing I can do for my husband and daughter is sit at Jesus’ feet. That prepares my heart to make my home, and my life, good and fulfilling.

Do you ever let yourself run on empty? If so, do you ever find yourself hoping others’ will make you feel better instead of going to the Lord for fulfillment?


  1. says

    I so needed this tonight. I was just telling my husband how emotional I’ve felt the past week and I don’t even know why. I truly believe we have just had do much change in our life the past four months that it’s just a little overwhelming, but I’m so good at keeping myself busy I don’t notice the effects it has on me. All of it’s been good and great, but change is change, and God sustains us through change so I need to remember that in these season. This spoke to me tremendously, friend!

  2. says

    This post suits my mood in these days! I’ve been acting like Martha lately..I just listen to gospel songs to lighten my emotions and pray to the Lord for his help through what I’m passing right now.

  3. says

    When you took a step back and realized you hadn’t eaten anything but coffee, I thought to myself, “OMG, I do that so often!” Btw, in our church we chose saints and take their name. My name has always been “Mary” of Bethany (why it says “Mary Kelly Cone” on my facebook), because I’m so often a Martha that I want to remember to always be striving to emulate Mary’s listening and receiving attitude.

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