I was so tempted to leave it at that. Really. It's 9:24 the night before this is supposed to post and it's been a week of crazy busyness. Just when I thought I had a moment to relax and to let my guard down, I turned around and found that I had either missed an appointment or was hours behind in my quest to accomplish everything I deemed needful for the day.
In my frustration, at times I've been anything and everything but gentle.
For me, this week's lesson was more about Jesus' gentleness than Mary's. More about God's grace than His expectations. (Praise the Lord!) More about Him knowing what is good and right and needful, rather than me just thinking I do. In my mind, God's gentleness towards me is always closely connected to his forgiveness of me.
I think this lesson is tough for me because I have a difficult time relating to Mary. I am a wanna be Mary, but in a Martha body. I just am. I would rather speak than listen, do than sit, be in your face rather than at your feet. I am easily distracted, easily overstimulated, and at times it takes something drastic to get my attention and get my focus realigned.
I wrote the following devotion just over two years ago. It tells the story of God's gentleness being displayed both for me and through me in a most unexpected place and time. It was based on the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10, and it's what I have to offer in the midst of my fumbling to understand gentleness.
As a mother of four I struggle with finding time to give each of my children the one on one attention they need, while taming the Martha in me. And lately, I know my oldest daughter has gotten the short end of the stick.
So when I heard the words, “The school called. They think Magigail might need stitches.” I should have been anxious to rush to her side. I have to admit though; my first thought was, really? Today of all days?
The tap on my shoulder came while I was standing at the committal service of a beloved man from our church. I can’t go now. I am needed here. There was serious grieving to be done, stories to be told, and dishes to be washed. A trip to the emergency room was definitely not on my agenda as I was making preparations for the day.
But as I went from the craziness of the morning to a calm emergency room, (sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?) I realized Jesus had invited me to sit at the feet of my daughter and, at that moment, be exactly where I was needed. In the E.R. we had time to do what is too often replaced by a list of other distractions.
We had time to talk about her day. I had time to hold just her hand, no one else’s. Time to watch her be nervous, and curious, and brave, all in a matter of minutes. Time to notice again what a remarkable creation of God she is. We had time together that cannot be taken from us.
I, like Martha, get worried and upset about many things. So I am thankful for a Savior who invites me to sit, first and always at His feet, and on this day, at the feet of my little girl, to show me what is truly needful.
Gentle and Gracious God,
You have placed this paticular fruit deep inside me. Sometimes it's pretty difficult to find. Forgive me. Guide me as I seek to balance everything else that demands my attention with the more important need to grow in a knowledge of you that will enable me to be more gentle, more like you. Give me the desire for more time at your feet, and remind me of the gifts you have given me that mold me to be your gentle hand and your calm voice to others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
I would love to hear today stories of God's gentleness being made clearly evident to you, or any other thoughts you have on this surprisingly quizzical and complex thing called gentleness.
Really. Now. You go.