The Lord was gracious to allow my husband to enter into a full-time senior Pastor’s role at a small church in Missouri back in 2018.
I became a Pastor’s wife; the “first lady” as some of the church members would call me.
This was before what I refer to as “My Great Wrecking,” where God disciplined me, opened my eyes to the Biblical Gospel, and has been changing me ever since. So, as a Pastor’s wife, I was immature in my faith and I’ve wondered if I was even truly saved? All I know is that I was self-seeking and was still in the deceptive “cotton candy gospel” where Jesus was all about ME! It makes me cringe now to look back on.
One of the things I said multiple times during our time as the senior Pastor’s family was something that I felt so “cute” in saying. (insert major eye roll here.)
When it came to times where we had carry-in lunches and events at the church, the women would go into the kitchen and prepare the dishes, serve, eat last, and then do all the clean up afterwards.
Where was I? Not in the kitchen helping.
Nope, I was out amongst the people….talking!
And when I felt defensive about why I wasn’t serving, I would say the following:
“I AM A MARY, NOT A MARTHA.“
Who else just gagged reading that?
If you’re unfamiliar with the reference, see Luke 10.
Basically the story goes that Jesus was visiting the home of sisters, Mary and Martha. When He arrived, Mary sat at His feet and listened while Martha scurried around fixing the food and cleaning the house.
Martha, frustrated with her sister’s lack of help, told Jesus she was upset.
“Don’t you care that she’s left me to do all the work myself!?”
Jesus told Martha that she needed to STOP worrying about everything (like the housework) and be more like her sister, who was taking in everything the Lord was saying, right there at His feet.
So in my “oh so clever” way, I applied this story (VERY NARCISSISTICALLY) to myself. I didn’t believe my strength was serving but in communicating and so I wouldn’t serve. I wouldn’t help really. I would gab. I would visit. I would “fellowship.”
Y’all the truth is I WAS LAZY! I was in SIN. I was making EXCUSES. I was UNCOMFORTABLE.
I have shared this in great lengths but my sin of LAZY touched all aspects of my life, including the way I was a Pastor’s wife. I “served” MY WAY. I wasn’t used to being domestic and didn’t want to be uncomfortable and so I just didn’t do it. I pretended, while believing it was actually true, that I was better NOT serving and of more use connecting with people. Except that I can’t remember myself leaving my little group of close friends to go “connect” with people I didn’t know that well.
My selfishness and sin ran so deep.
I wish I could go back in time and slap myself a nice one. Truly. lol.
I’d say: “REPENT! You are called to be like JESUS! Not a Mary. Not a Martha. JESUS! And He, as Lord, became the lowest and served those who deserved nothing but His Holy wrath! HOW DARE YOU!”
If I could go back, I would have humbled myself and WORKED, SERVED, HELPED, and been like Christ.
This past week we were in Philippians and wow – does this apply directly to this issue.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
I am just in tears, HOW DARE I EVER believe I am worth MORE than what I am and been commanded to be – puffing myself up and not taking on the role of a SERVANT when the LORD did this very thing and so much more.
“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a CROSS!”
Ladies, as I was brought down in my pride by the amazing and even terrifying grace of the Father, I had to confront SO many things I was and did. It was painful, shameful, and hard to think on but because I knew the Bible was RIGHT and my sin was SO WRONG, I had to confess, repent, and then be so grateful for the complete cleansing I was receiving in Jesus.
I still struggle with the woman I have been for 30+ years. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t be able to enter eternity with Jesus. I know I don’t deserve it. And I don’t. But it’s almost like, I want to reject His grace because I feel so unworthy of it. I am but Jesus has given it to me and I should cling to the cross with such a tight grasp that if it was literal, my skin would be cut open by the strength of my grip to the rugged wood.
Jesus loves us so wide and deeply. I can’t understand it but I will be grateful for it and praise Him in it. I will continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that God works in me to fulfill HIS great purpose! Phil.2:12,13
I share this to encourage YOU. 1.) If we seek God and ask Him to show us our sin, He will. Psalm 139:24. 2.) When we repent, He is faithful to forgive us from ALL unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. 3.) We no longer have ANY condemnation when we’re in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1.
No matter what foolish things you’ve done or said, when God forgives us, those things are in the past and God remembers them NO MORE. Hebrews 8:12
Going back to Philippians, here is a passage we need to commit to heart:
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
“PUT IT INTO PRACTICE!”
Serving may not be your strength. Maybe you’ve been lazy like me and those muscles haven’t been used. Humble your heart and PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE until it becomes a STRENGTH.
I know for me, when I repented and knew in my household that I needed to stop being lazy and start being the Homemaker He’s called me to be, it totally sucked to clean and be domestic. I hated it at first. But I kept doing it. I kept bringing it to the Lord. And guess what? He has given me a LOVE for it now. My hands are stronger for service than they’ve ever been! GOD HAS CHANGED ME! He gave me a new heart.
My mother and husband, who both don’t agree with Reformed Theology (what I know do see as Biblical doctrine) have both said repeatedly that they have seen a MASSIVE change in me, like I am a whole different woman. The fruit is the evidence ladies! ALL GLORY TO THE LORD!
He will change you too. Repent today, pick up your cross, and follow HIM.