Beating the Martha Mindset (Luke 10:38-42)

This has been one of those hard-fought weeks.  Everything is a struggle, and more than once I found myself in retreat: zoning in on the hurt or imagining what my pregnant belly would have looked like.  It’s even harder now that my sister-in-law has begun her third trimester, and it feels like so many of my friends are expecting or have newborns.  Every ounce of my being wants to have a baby – to endure all the aches and pains and beauties of pregnancy, to feel every movement and kick growing inside me, to finally hold that growing and kicking being in my arms, to give my husband the amazing gift of children and to share everything that entails with him…  In the past, I wouldn’t have admitted that to anyone because it hurt too much to pronounce that desire; it would have meant admitting to a “dream deferred,” and I didn’t want to admit how badly I was hurt by the method of deferment.  I though it was easier never to acknowledge the desire at all, somewhat in the vein of “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.”  Instead of allowing my dream to be expressed and comforted, it began pushing out in anger at everything, but mostly anger at myself and anger at God.

I tend to beat myself up over everything, whether I am at fault or not.  I blamed myself for losing four babies, and I have carried that guilt and shame for three years now.  Nothing so starkly pointed that out like my sister-in-law’s pregnancy.  Her “success” only felt like an indictment of my failures; the joy my husband’s family expressed over her pregnancy pointed out that I was a disappointment that had only caused pain with each announcement.  It is so easy to blame myself and hate myself for our losses.  If I am somehow culpable, then I don’t have to address how my belief in God’s goodness has been challenged.  I don’t have to question how and why my faith has been shaken.  And I have hated myself enough to shoulder that responsibility.

I have been Martha for most of my life; I have almost always known that I am acting out her role, begging Jesus to acknowledge her hard work and admonish her lazy sister to help out.  I never knew how to just sit at Jesus’s feet and listen until I had tried everything else.  I’m still a long way from Mary, and I have miles to go before I can accept myself exactly the way I am, but for the first time in my adult life I don’t hate myself.  I don’t need constant assurance to feel loved and validated.  I am an amazing creation of God; to think otherwise is blasphemy.  To hate myself as much as I have is to deny God in me and to hate what he created.  I am slowly sitting and scooting closer and closer to the Master’s feet, and it’s harder than I ever imagined to let go and just rest.

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