Confessions of a Martha

In high school, Melinda and I petitioned the guidance counselor to waive our vocational class requirement. AP chemistry and biology should count, we said, because they are vocational if you’re delusional enough in your youth to assume that of course you’ll become a doctor. And how lame would it be to have to take Foods I and Home Economics and Shop and Finance? When are you ever going to use classes like that in real life? We wanted to focus on important things.

{insert maniacal laughter}

We were almost as serious about school as we were about church. We even went to a nursing home every week and sang. Tracey came with us, and that was good for the poor residents tortured by our efforts, as Tracey was the only one of us who could carry a tune.

When we studied the New Testament, I thought that Martha, the house-owner sister of Mary and Lazarus, the woman who would rather clean and prepare meals than sit at the feet of the Savior and hear the gospel from His own mouth, was inconceivable.

Then I had a husband, and an apartment of my own, guests coming for dinner or to stay. I had a kid and then a couple more, then a house of my own, and I wanted to say (as reverentially and humbly as possible):

“O Lord, hast thou ANY IDEA how much time, energy, anxiety, and preparation it takes to make mine hospitality ready for the succor of mine honored guests?”

Can you imagine the housework you’d undertake if the Lord were coming to visit?

A couple Sundays ago I baked six dozen chocolate cookies, two pans of rice krispie treats, and five dozen oatmeal butterscotch bars. I yelled at the kids, warned Dick away from the goodies. I scrambled to get ready for church and felt frazzled throughout the service.

When I saw Dick reading his scriptures on the couch as I slaved in the hot kitchen I snapped. (I may have said that one naughty word that Susan keeps repeating at the most inopportune of moments).

That evening, as Sally and I sat at the church ‘do (baptism preview) I’d baked for, I finally relaxed enough to listen to the hymns and feel the Spirit. I squeezed Sally’s hand and considered my life.

Holy cow, I’m a moron.

So my motto for this holiday season comes from Psalms 46:10:

Be still, and know that I am God.

I’m going to be still. Stare at my kids. Snuggle with Dick. Use paper plates. Simplify gift-giving. Bake only four kinds of pie.

And I’m going to realize that the only “experience” I need to give my kids is somehow helping them to know that He is God.


That’s what (I’m hoping) works for me.