Every Woman a Theologian
— Make Room for the Better Part —
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Dear friend,
If you have sisters, you can relate to Luke 10.
In Luke 10, we meet Martha. Martha lives with her brother and younger sister Mary. The three are close friends of Jesus and live in Bethany, a few miles from Jerusalem. Jesus and his 12 !! disciples stop by the house and Martha wastes no time gathering food, preparing the table, and bustling about the necessary tasks for feeding 13+ people. Oldest sister vibes.
Meanwhile, her sister Mary has the gall to do… nothing. Or at least that's what it looks like to Martha. As Martha works and preps and cooks and labors, Mary sits at Jesus' feet to listen to His teaching.
I've heard countless messages on this passage. I've also heard this passage grossly misinterpreted to say that women with high capacity and high standards aren't capable of deep spirituality, which couldn't be further from the truth. At the same time, this passage challenges me - not because of the Martha-Mary dichotomy, type A versus type B jargon, or even the fact the work went undone. It challenges me because of Jesus' response to Martha.
I had the privilege of speaking on this passage on Saturday, and here's a little of what I talked about to the ladies:
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  • Martha sought Jesus’ authority and voice to GET something: to correct someone else.
    • Do we seek to correct others with our Christianity, or do we allow Christ to convict us? Do we see ourselves and our priorities truly?
    • Do we assume God’s authority to execute justice? Are we more in the business of keeping others in line than we are in intimacy with God?
    • Is God’s voice our vehicle or our destination?
      • We tend to use God’s word and leading as a way to bolster our own ego or authority rather than submit to His conviction and be led to intimacy.
  • Mary sought Jesus’ face to abide with Him.
    • She knew how to prioritize Christ.
    • She knew the appropriate order of life
    • She knew His voice
  • Ultimately Martha was doing GOOD THINGS GOD DIDN'T ASK FOR. She did what she thought God “would” want, when what He actually wanted was her presence; her relationship with Him.

Martha was solution/action oriented, but she was not Jesus oriented, so her actions were not in line with God’s will in that moment. She thought she knew what God wanted from her. But what she chose was performative, not relational. If she had oriented herself to Jesus first, she would have chosen the most important, necessary thing. Be Jesus oriented first and your actions will always be in line with His will.
Mary’s choice WAS a choice. She chose Jesus over the meal. But she could do this because she knew Jesus would not be put out by a late meal - she knew His character better than Martha, probably from repeated exposure. 
I think - based on her actions - Martha believed Jesus would judge or condemn her if she did not perform her duties. And her view of Him caused her to resent and rebuke God for expectations He did not even have for her. 
How often do we do the same? We blame God for the weight of our circumstances, the heaviness of the load. But Jesus is standing there with arms open, waiting for us to come to Him, saying: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Mary did choose what was better, not because it was her personality but because it was her relationship with God. Because she had spent time with Jesus before, she knew time with Him would be worth it again. She knew He would not be angry if she put dinner on the table later than usual because He desires presence over performance. So she said “yes” to the better part. She made room for intimacy.
Jesus was compassionate to Martha's mismanaged priorities. “Martha, Martha,” He said. “You are worried and distracted by many things, but only one thing is necessary.” To Martha, ALL things were necessary; everything was urgent. Jesus told her the opposite: only one thing is needed, and that's Me.
Seeking God is not a feeling that leads to habit, it’s a discipline that leads to intimacy. You choose to seek God, and God, who never moves, goes deeper and deeper with you. But you must make room for the better part, the part Mary chose, and you'll probably choose it again and again, in different ways and in different seasons, until you truly believe the love He has for you. And when you believe Him at last, you won't perform out of duty - you'll serve out of love.
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My Five Faves

  • Silas Marner: I finished Anna Karenina at last and started this one with a book club I'm in. I have never read it, and I love it already! It reminds me a little of Far From the Madding Crowd, which I also adored.
  • My visit to Sault Ste Marie: I had the privilege of speaking this weekend at Sault Wesleyan Church (below) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We had a delightful time with the women's ministry team and the ladies who attended!  Thank you to everyone we talked to at our table.
  • These KISS nails: I got so many compliments on this new style! I buy these at my local grocery store and a pack lasts me about 2 weeks. The nails are glue-on, and medium length works best for me.
  • My God Who Sees playlist: I am listening to this on repeat lately. So many comforting songs.
  • This episode of You're Not Crazy podcast with Ray Ortlund: I love this podcast for young pastors/ministry leaders and this episode was so good, I am listening to it again. 
  • Another great article for ministry leaders. 
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New on Verity Podcast

This week on Verity Podcast we will explore the question “Why do I still struggle with sin?” This is part of the new Beginner Believer series, exploring issues we face when we first come to faith in Christ. Episodes are new midweek. You can listen on:
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At Home with Phylicia

  • We are in Week 23 - second to last week of our homeschool co-op year! I can't believe we celebrate the end of the season next week. On Monday we got to watch the eclipse, which was special: Josh used a telescope to cast it onto a piece of paper (our town was completely out of eclipse glasses!).
  • The If/Then chart: We had some questions about this recently, so here are some details. On our family chalkboard we write out a list of if -→ then conditions for specific behaviors and choices. If you choose this behavior ----→ you also choose this consequence. It is clear, communicated, and calm.
  • My local Bible study group started a new discernment series: We are talking through false teaching/teachers and the Scriptures about them. We compare teaching to Scripture and discuss! (Petoskey, MI: We meet Mondays 7-9 PM)
for the awakening,