Pulling away to the quiet

“In repentance and rest you will be saved, 

In quietness and trust shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30: 15

All of us are always soooooo busy! I will eventually get off of this subject of refreshing, but I have received so many letters, I know that the Lord has more to teach me and there is more to share! Soooo………..

My life has been clamoring with issues, details, pressures and drainers the past few weeks. I have 55 women coming to my home in one month for a leadership intensive to be trained to become better writers and speakers and to help us expand our ministry. Besides notebooks that need to be designed and written, speakers arranged, talks prepared, meals planned, hotel rooms reserved, transportation from the airport, there are the normal issues of home. The toilet on the main floor stopped working. My oven has died. The carpet in our den was stained in about 10 places, made  by a young woman we were trying to minister to, and now needs replacing. Some teens vandalized our neighborhood last night and tore out all of the mailboxes on our street and destroyed some other yards.

I have to make decisions about a multitude of speaking requests for 2010-2011 and spend lots of time in correspondence. I must get 55 hours of driving in with Joy. Sarah is in the midst of some important decisions, that requires lots of talking and praying. Clay wants me to help finish a publishing project. Joy is in the midst of a mini-crisis while away at Summit Ministries that is taking lots of time. Phone calls to the boys. Articles due, thousands of emails in my inbox–unanswered. Cooking and shopping and washing dishes daily for all who live and stay in my home. And, and, and. 

God so clearly says in so many passages, in quietness and rest shall be your strength–you will find strength when you are quiet and when you rest.

*****************

I had the illusion when I had little babies, that some day, life would settle down and I would have more personal time to myself. We find ourselves saying,”Life will be easier when…..When the baby sleeps through the night; when I am through having babies; when all are out of diapers; when they are all reading; when they can drive; when they are through with these teen, hormonal years, when…………

Yet, if we are not careful, we can fritter life away waiting for an elusive time in the future when we think all will be well, and we will have more time then to read, have quiet times, savor this moment with my children, be sensitive to my husband’s needs, pray about what is on the heart of Jesus, 

and then we miss living today to its fullest and for God’s glory. We miss the life that was the will of God.

We would all agree that we do not want to live the Martha life–always busy, busy, busy and a tad upset and grumpy, feeling sorry for ourselves, overwhelmed with the lists, having negative thoughts about our children, husband, life but we do not always take the time to evaluate and see ourselves as we really are. 

–but, as Jesus says,

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”

What are you distracted by? What are you focussing on that is stealing from your time? Your soul? Your emotions? Your body?

So many say, My children seem to be out of sorts, they are so demanding, they argue a lot, they are discipline problems, they are draining me–driving me crazy……

Even though, often, many moms are supposedly home with their children or committed to their children as their first priority much of  the time, they are not focussing on their children’s needs–having a restful, regular schedule; healthy food, engaging them in interesting activities–reading to them, playing with them, talking with them, doing chores with them, providing interesting, creative toys–taking an account of their children’s attitudes, needs, unspoken issues–

just enjoying them–filling their emotional cups, stimulating their hungry minds, challenging them with spiritual excellence and character, and investing in the kind of relationship that will make their children trust them and want to share their secrets and deepest heart’s needs -

-because the moms are so distracted  and busy with their own agenda–exercise, working and making extra money, house beautiful, getting their nails done, checking off all the boxes for the children’s educational goals, shopping, going out, keeping up with the Joneses, buying things and experiences, while exhausting their children or neglecting them, taking that job on so the kids can have more things or a bigger house or new car, or.(all the things the world is telling them that they need)

 She came to him (Jesus) and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.!” 

Do you ever pray like this, “Lord, don’t you see how busy I am? How many things I am juggling? How important I am with all the work I do with all the people who are depending on me? Don’t you realize how tired I am? Don’t you see how abused I am? Don’t you feel sorry for me? You are not doing a very good job of answering my prayers? Don’t you care?

I have discovered that God is never moved by my tantrums. He is pretty steady and waits until I am so worn out, I am still and seek His voice and face–just like that baby or child who has to cry it all out before they will listen to you, or accept your comfort. He does care, but he can’t speak to me quietly if I am screaming and talking constantly about my needs, my life, my worries,

Sally, Sally—I mean, Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,”

The world clamors for our attention and speaks to us in so many ways–your children need to be involved in all of the right classes or activities, or they will miss out. They will somehow be less–less intelligent, less skilled, less talented, …….

I am so important–really God’s gift to the world! I can’t seem to get everything done that I need to do, because God has given me more to do than I can possibly accomplish!  I have more to do than I can do. Everyone is really expecting me to: help them, write that blog every day; speak to their group, go to their meeting, say something interesting on facebook, answer their phone call, email them back, go to this luncheon, that meeting, that sports team,….….

or, I have a rebellious child and I am worried about the outcome;  

I have such a demanding, insensitive, or unspiritual husband

these financial issues and strain are weighing so heavily upon me

I can’t take all the criticism of my life and family

my Christian friendship is in danger. I have been so hurt by this relationship

So, often, like Martha, we take things into our own hands. We become busy in what we think is furthering God’s will or helping to accomplish the task, because He is taking such a long time.

We are busy, as Martha was–but we are not quiet–listening to Him

 –but oh the consequences

When Abraham and Sarah helped God out, they had an illegitimate son that created heartbreak and endless friction between the Jews and Arabs

when the jews demanded a king, like all the other people, it cost them their sons and daughters and taxes and wars

So many Biblical examples, but taking life into our own hands a
nd following the world’s agenda and expectations, always comes with a great cost.

But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” 

Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, she engaged her heart, she dropped everything she had to do, she listened intently, she worshipped, she was seeking and choosing what Martha was too distracted and busy to choose. There is evidently only one good part to choose and it would not be taken away from Mary since she chose it.

It is only in seeking to understand and know Him and learn from Him and ask for His wisdom and power that we can find the resources in which to live life in this world. 

How to choose the good part? How to make time for it? How to seek for it as for treasure? 

Part 2 tomorrow


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Comments

  1. Heather says

    Once again, you have touched moms where they really are. I too have fallen into the “I can’t wait till…” and miss out on what I have right here. Too soon they grow up! I also tend to get so caught up in getting things done, that those things that I became a stay at home for get put last on my priority list.
    “Lord, help me not to be a Martha!”

  2. Jennifer says

    Sally, I very much needed to hear your wise words today. Thank you. I am so encouraged and look forward to part 2. I’ll be praying for you, your family, and your ministry.

  3. says

    Thank you for following the leading of His Holy Spirit and delivering His words!
    Just Monday the Lord was speaking to me about ‘lists’ and here, now, He gently continues to pursue my heart- which is His, of course :)
    Many, many thanks!

  4. says

    I am always fed here…
    And it reminded me of one of my favorites scriptures, that I have posted above my kitchen sink:
    “And yet, “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.” (Ecc. 4:6)
    Am I doing many things so-so, or a few things well? Or one thing- worhsipping my Father… What a question! But it must be asked of me daily…
    And I mustn’t wait…
    Thank you, kind friend! (I met you in Boise in June- you signed my very first Sally Clarkson book, and I promised to pray for Sarah… doing so… it was such a pleasure to meet you!)

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