Just over a year ago I had a number of health complications that left me bed ridden and I had to have daily help with my kids and basically all my household duties. Someone else vacuuming and doing laundry for a family of 6 sounds like a dream right?! I have wished for that exact thing on many occasions until it happened to me and I was forced to let it ALL go.
Yep, that was me letting go of the way I run my home, the type of food I cook, the way I organize my pantry, the way I dress my kids and how I do my daughter’s hair every day. The generous loving hearts that pitched in during this time, staying with us and making meals for my 4 children and husband would ask if I had "this item" or "that ingredient" on hand to make dinner and I honestly had to tell them that I had no idea. I had become so far removed from the daily ins and outs of my normally very thoroughly managed home. This to me was bone rattling. I mean this was MY OWN fridge we were talking about! I was so grateful for the help I was receiving but a deep frustration and fury was building up inside of me that I did not see coming AT ALL.
Harder than the physical things I was dealing with was the complete helplessness I experienced. And in the back of my mind was the constant nagging of deep-seated expectations of what I SHOULD be doing but yet physically could not carry out. It made me feel “weak” and like I was “failing”.
Now this is probably so obvious to all of you reading but one day I had a moment lying in my bed where it all became clear and I, in shock, realized how much of a control freak I was!
I was NOT okay with not knowing what was going on with my kids. It drove me half-crazy that as I was stuck “resting” on the couch in our half-renovated house with “projects” and “things to do” all around but that my healthy, strong husband would rather sit and spend time with his sick wife when he got home from work. (which is actually so sweet.) I was DYING to get my hands on the house projects I had spent hours and hours just sitting there looking at and now I also had to endure sitting and watching someone else doing “nothing” right alongside me when in my mind there were so many things to do. I found myself starting to lash out at those I loved in an ugly attempt to get a handle on my world again.
One day God spoke to me while I was laying in my bed, right smack dab in the middle of the frustration and the pain. The words He whispered were so brief and so simple, but they radiated right through me. The Father, my Creator spoke directly to the centre of who I am and how I see myself.
He said, “My Martha. Rest.”
Of the two sisters that are spoken of in the Bible I definitely have always identified with Martha more than with her sister Mary and to be honest, I was under the impression that Martha was the “bad one” and the “lesser” sister.
In Luke chapter 10 we read about how Martha, Mary and their family welcomed Jesus into their home. As Martha is hurriedly making preparations, her sister Mary is content to simply sit and listen to what Jesus’ is saying. Finally, in frustration Martha exclaims to Jesus, “Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Jesus responds to her with this, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
I always have read these words of Jesus’ in a disappointed, sighing voice, “Martha, Martha”. To me His words felt like chastisement and scolding but on the day that God spoke those words straight to MY HEART the truth about God’s “tone” and the love in His voice became clear.
“My Martha. Rest”
He was not handing out judgement to Martha or to me but instead He saw us for who we are, and made a declaration that we belonged to Him, exactly the way He made us, and on top of that Jesus offers us something …. a gift.
As the perfect gift to all the Martha’s out there His is the offer to LIFT OUR BURDENS!!
Lifting our burdens isn’t just giving us a helping hand once in a while but instead He’s offering to completely REMOVE the weightiness of the responsibility and the tasks we carry.
His gift gives us permission to stop.
It’s a green light to enjoy the moment, a VIP pass that grants us access to a life of letting go and having a little fun or finding needed rest — guilt free.
In His eyes we are NOT less if we aren’t busy.
He’s not disappointed if we aren’t doing.
These past 18months I’ve learned that healing often takes longer than you think, healing is painful, and healing can be hard work. It's also often an extremely lonely place. This is no different if we are talking about physical healing or healing of the soul. I have needed Jesus to heal my heart, my mind AND my body. It has not been as easy or as quick as I was promised. The process of letting go has led me through bouts of depression and anxiety, feeling completely overwhelmed by fear and failure and with that, the extremely humbling realization of how utterly human I am.
At this point I don’t often get it right and day by day I have to work at unclenching my fists. It turns out that living burden free takes some practice. However, I now have a vision of what life could look like and I am fully committed to embracing that I am a Martha and that’s good; I am a Martha and I belong; I am Martha and the only things left for me to carry are HIS deep-seated JOY and unshakeable PEACE.
Guest Writer - Alison Dyck. Alison is a mom by day and a graphic designer by night. She is “Mom” to 4 kiddos, and can relate with the saying, that most days are like turning on a blender with the lid off. Somehow by God’s grace everyone is taken care of and His love and truth shine through the cracks and crevices along the way. Her husband Jonathan is the perfect balance to her creative, practical, homebody ways and luckily he doesn’t mind that she tends to “re-arrange” and tidy everything in sight. Alison enjoys a good cup of tea in the sunshine, gardening with her kids and her chickens.