I have no idea where this post may go. I have so much on my mind. Cleaning, decorating, cantatas, cooking, shopping, how to make a little drummer boy outfit out of a sheet. I'm feeling a little stressed out these days. Are any of you? I've known for a while that this would be "the" week. The week of parties, recitals, and cantatas. I have tried my darndest to prepare myself mentally and to also get as organized as possible. I'm really bad at organizing. You know how some people love to plan, organize and do? I continually stand amazed and in awe of those people. They just know what they are doing. They set a goal and they get it done. I've come a long way, but I am still very lacking. I don't think that it helps that the progress I've made in that area is often refuted by the fact that I have 3 children, one of whom is 2. Need I say more?
Yesterday was rather climatic for me. I headed over to the church to help our music minister set up the family life building for our cantata. He had asked me to be in charge of the drama and I knew that meant I would end up helping with the decorations too. I am so bad at that kind of stuff. Luckily we have a lady who is phenomenally talented and artistic and she is doing some of the decorations. As I stood there with our music minister I felt like such a let down. I gave my opinion about a couple of things, but alas I am not one of those people who can fly in, perform a miraculous makeover and make those around me glad I am there to do such things. I began putting out the "snow" and had most of it done when I went to the nursery to check on my children. Sarah and Eli were sitting at the table coloring some pictures. Kate was nowhere in sight. She was in the girl's bathroom with two toilet bowl brushes FLOODING the bathroom. I am not kidding. She was almost up to her knees in water.
I lost it and we headed home where I could keep my children in familiar territory. I really wasn't feeling good and that was even more frustrating because this was really the worst week ever to be feeling bad. I kept telling myself I was just stressed out. Finally by the time Josh got home I decided I needed to go to the dr. I've shared that I actually enjoy the quiet time in the waiting room but I assure you that is not why I went. We have insurance but our co-pay is not good enough for me to just go and hang out! As I sat on the couch reading "The Smithsonian" (I couldn't pick up "Southern Living". I just could not take the pressure of looking at people's perfectly decorated homes and perfectly baked cookies. Just couldn't handle it) I noticed that the music was a little loud. Now, I am a music person. I usually don't know what to do with silence. Not that I get the chance to experience that much at my house, but I am bad about always having the TV on or something to have background noise. But yesterday, I CRAVED silence. I wanted to just stand up and say "For the love of Pete can you turn that music down!!!!!!!!"
You can breathe easy. I did not do that. I convinced myself I was just being a scrooge because I didn't feel good. I tried to continue my reading even though I couldn't think straight. I felt a little better when the nurse was writing down my vitals and put his finger in his ear when one singer hit a particular note. He thought the music was a little too loud too. When I say that I was craving silence I mean I felt like I could not take another sound. No music, no voices, no squeaky shoes on the floor. Have you ever been at that point? I realized right in that moment that I desperately needed some time at the feet of Jesus. I had been running non-stop trying to do all of these things to celebrate Him and worship Him, but the truth is, I was really, really missing Him. I was a Mary living in a Martha's world.
In case you are not familiar with it, the story of Mary and Martha is the story of two sisters who are dear friends to Jesus. They were also the sisters of Lazarus, the man Jesus raised from the dead. There was a certain day we are told about when Jesus was at their home and Martha got a little peeved that Mary was just sitting around listening to Jesus talk and not helping Martha in the kitchen. Have you been there? You start sighing...you put the dishes away as loudly as possible...you dramatically sweep through to gather leftover dishes making a scene. And yet, nobody seems to get the hint. Well, Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen the greater thing by spending time with Him. As you can imagine that didn't go over well with Martha. Not only was she doing all of the work, but now she is being told Mary is the one doing what is right!!
I've been guilty of judging Martha harshly. Of saying, "Why couldn't she just chill out about all of the housework until Jesus left?" It made me think of times when I still lived at home and we would sit down to watch a movie and my Mama could not sit down until she had picked up the whole room. I didn't get it. I was content to sit in the messy room and watch the movie. Of course, that was before I became the Mama and the one responsible for the state our house is found in. It just happens. One day before you know it, you are the Mama. You're the one saying "I don't know how you can relax in a room that looks like this!" Even as laid back, non-organized and lazy as I am, even I worry over it. I've had to take back all of my judgments on Martha this holiday season as I have found myself worked into a frenzy about all of the details that (to me) just have to be taken care of. Just tonight Josh was laying down for bed and he asked why I was staying up. I, of course, did not understand why he doesn't understand that there are 850 billion things to do. It's not important to him that I bake homemade peanut butter blossom cookies, that I scrub the hood over the stove or that I wash the rugs. And now, I realize, is that really important to God either?
I'm a slow learner, have I ever told you that? This morning Josh had to make a 2 hour drive to get sound equipment for the cantata. He took the kids with him. Yes, I nominate him for sainthood. Finally, my house was quiet. I was so tempted to get to the cleaning. Mop the floors, clean the fridge. But I couldn't. The urge was so strong I couldn't stand it. Jesus was beckoning. I had to spend time with Him. It was more important than the floors. More important than cantata decorations. I just needed Him. The Mary part of my heart couldn't take the busyness or the running anymore.
I went to the book of Luke and began reading about the birth of Jesus. For some reason the very first part of that story we always hear, "And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Ceasar Augustus that all the world should be registered." (Luke 2:1) was on my heart. As I began to read that story one verse really stood out to me. Verse 19 tells us, "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." Can you even imagine? Can you even begin to consider the things on Mary's heart that she was pondering? In the midst of shepherds and angels, Mary was taking in this miraculous child, the Messiah who had been prayed about for so many years. She was working things out in her heart.
Every year I feel like God has to reteach me this lesson. He has to remind me that this season is not about all of the trappings and traditions. It is about pondering in our hearts the gift God gave us when He allowed Jesus to be "God with us". It takes my breath away. When I think of the silly things I get stressed out about I either want to dissolve into a fit of hysterical laughter or weep that I am so easily misled. Ultimately, I just stand in awe that the gift this season represents means that I get to sit at the feet of Jesus.