It's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving... If you are hosting family and/or friends in your home you may be starting to feel the pressure. I know I am. I love hosting the holidays at my house. That doesn't mean that it is easy for me to do so. The pay off is when everyone has arrived and we finally sit down together.
I meet with women from my church on Wednesday mornings. We are currently going through the book, Enjoying the Presence of God, by Jan Johnson. Several weeks ago the topic of Mary and Martha came up. That story has always annoyed me... Jesus had gone to the home of the two sisters and Mary sat at the feet of Jesus while Martha did all the work. Martha asked Jesus why he didn't care that Mary was not helping her and wanted him to rebuke her... instead she was rebuked.
I am a Martha. My love language is service. I am not as good with gifts or words. I try but... I show how I feel more through what I do.
That morning at the women's group someone joked about becoming a "Mar Mar," a combination or balance of both Mary and Martha. They had no way of knowing that "Mar Mar" is a term of endearment used by my family for me. I've been thinking about it a lot since then.
I have a habit of setting the expectations I have for myself too high. I especially do this around the holidays. I want everything perfect for my family. I want the house to be sparkling clean and filled with the smells of homemade food and goodies. I want those Norman Rockwell moments to be imprinted on all of our minds to be treasured throughout our lives. But...
There always comes that moment when I have to accept that my expectations will not be met. On Thanksgiving that usually means about 3-4 hours before our guests are to arrive. The process will have started the day before but I keep it to myself...until I blow Thanksgiving morning. I am usually running on very little sleep at that point and feeling resentful that while I stayed up late into the night making pies or cleaning the rest of my family was sleeping and then did not pop out of bed bright eyed and ready to help me with fabulous attitudes.
Unfortunately, that is a big part of what the family remembers. With both girls being gone this year my husband and son both expressed a desire for me to plan ahead better. That didn't go over well with me. Not. at. all.
In fact, I was curious to know when I was going to have a holiday where food was prepared for me while I watched football all day... Also remarking on the fact that that seems to be every weekend for them round these parts. Thanksgiving is really a couple days of SLAVING for those that do it, right?!?!?
I cried. They just do not understand.
I'm sure I'll have another fit before our guests arrive on Thanksgiving. It is worth it to me. I think about my Mom and my Grandmas and how they made all our holidays so special. I didn't know then, but I do know now... they did it because they loved all of us. It brings me so much joy when someone asks me if I'm going to make a certain dish or they tell me that they love coming to my house. I love how our home is filled with full bellies and lots of laughter. I love providing a place for those that don't enjoy hosting large meals like that.
So... how do I become a true "Mar Mar"? This Thanksgiving production is not going to prepare itself while I sit on the couch with my Bible and coffee. Jan Johnson presents many ideas in her book for ways to turn your heart toward God even while going about your daily tasks. She talks about "breath prayers," that are just short little prayers as you go along. I'm going to try to be Martha in action, but Mary at heart.