Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The "Martha Moment"

Do you know her? Her name was Martha, and she knew Jesus. Yes, she knew him, and she loved him with all of her heart. One night, she invited him to her home for dinner, and I can promise you that she had a plan.  However, . . .

Something went wrong. 

Maybe her bread burned as she hand-placed each vine of grapes onto her finest silver tray. Maybe as she tended to her burned bread, the meat began to overcook. And as her anxiety started to rise, as frustration and disappointment seeped in, she bent her head down to cry, only to notice that her visitors had tracked dirt and mud all over her spotless dining room floor.

All I wanted was to make a perfect dinner for my Lord. She cried, tears dripping off of her chin. Why doesn't my sister help me? Should I have to do this all by myself?

Yes, Martha had a sister. Her name was Mary. And while Martha cooked and swept and labored, Mary sat. She sat at the feet of her Jesus.  

And when Martha asked Jesus if he cared that her dinner was going down the tubes while Mary just sat and did nothing, his response was, "Martha, Martha.  You are worried and upset about many things, but only one is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her."  (Luke 10:41-42)

Hello.  My name is Bailey Wenger, and I am Martha. 

 I love my Jesus, but it is hard for me to be still when there is work to be done, mouths to feed, a table to set. I love my Jesus, but it is hard for me to sit at his feet. Am I alone in this?  I ask myself, Why will no one help me? Should I have to do this alone?

And just like Martha, I ask my Lord,
Don't you care that they have left me to do the work by myself?

But rather than send help, my Lord calls my name.


But I'm too busy. I don't stop to listen. So he calls my name again, this time a little louder.

And I stop.

You are worried and upset about many things. But only one is needed.” He says. “Sit at my feet.”

But, Lord. There is work to do!

“Sit at my feet.” He says again.

I was reminded of this passage of scripture today as I had one of my “Martha Moments.” 

Like Martha, I had a plan for my day, and I had looked forward to it all afternoon. My plan was to cook yuca (cassava) fries. I had all the ingredients, I had prepared my recipe, and I had thought about it at least 104 times. Not only was I excited to try this new recipe, but I was also excited to share it with my fellow teachers. It was going to be a fun little afternoon project, or so I thought.  However, . . . 
Something went wrong. Then another thing. Then another thing.

I walked into the kitchen to see a pile of dishes on the counter beside the sink. I saw a stove top that was covered with splattered oil from Saturday night's breakfast-for-dinner.  Then I noticed the hundreds of ants crawling all around the sink.

One thing led to another thing, which led to another thing.  Yes, I was frustrated.  But I am a Martha.

I can handle this. I thought. As long as I still get my yuca fries.

I put dishes away. I cleaned. I sprayed Raid (a girl's best friend). And finally I was prepared to cook.

As I made the first slice into the yuca, my heart sank. It was rotten.  What was supposed to be a beautiful white yuca root was speckled with green and brown rot.  I reached for the other piece of yuca. It was rotten too!

I didn't yell.  I didn't cry.  I didn't say anything. I threw the yuca away, washed the knife, went to my room, and crawled into bed. I was frustrated by the dishes, the dirty stove top, the ants, and the rotten yuca. As I laid on my bed, I asked, Why, Lord? I had a plan. This was what I was doing today. I had a plan!

And into my disappointment, the Lord whispered, “Bailey, Bailey. You are upset and worried about many things. But only one is needed. Sit at my feet.”

I didn't even know what that meant, but I knew what he wanted me to do. 

Now that my plans for the afternoon were ruined, I crawled out of bed and made the 5-minute walk to the houses of the Good Shepherd Children's Home.  My first stop was Casita 5 – the older girls.

I walked in, and I sat.

I talked with the girls as they ate their dinner. We laughed together and joked together, and before I left Stephany looked at me and said, “Bailey, I like it when you come to our casita.” I like it too, I told her. A few minutes later, I heard my name being called from Casita 3 – the younger teen girls.

I walked to the bench outside of their house, and I sat.

Nohelia walked up to me, laid something in my lap, and ran away. I immediately knew what it was. It was the embroidery project that she has been working on for weeks. Until today she wouldn't let me see it. I saw first the white lace that she had sewn around the beige cloth. Then I saw the red rose and the green leaves. Then I saw the words. “Amigas, Nohelia and Bailey.” (Translation: Friends, Nohelia and Bailey). I melted. I gave her a hug and told her how much I love it and how much I love her.  

Then the girls and I walked to the soccer fields together, and we sat.

I sat as Kristhel braided my hair. Then I braided Kristhel's, Oliveth's, and Heysell's hair.

As I braided each girl's hair, I asked them questions.  “Tell me about your life. What do you believe about Jesus? What have you been thinking about lately?” Most of them didn't give long answers, but I loved spending that time with each girl, individually.   If I had made my yuca fries, I would have missed it all.

As the sun began to set, I stood up to leave.  

The Lord whispered.  Don't you see that this is better?”  

And I answered, Yes, Lord.

Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42