Three weeks ago, Wednesday, a terrible tornado ran through the city I have learned to call home. I have been lucky enough to, unlike many college students, experience Tuscaloosa beyond the confines of campus. I almost feel like I have been here more than three years, and it truly is my home-away-from-home. There are families here that I love like my own (no one will ever be able to touch the hem of James and Katrina's garment though). Tuscaloosa is, and will always be, more than the city I went to college in.
After the storm I spent the immediate weekend at my real home to be, as my dad says, "one less mouth to feed and water" in Tuscaloosa. That weekend I was becoming anxious to serve my city. To help my neighbor. To show off my Martha (Luke 10:38-42) skills to the world. In obedience to my parents I stayed until Sunday. Then, I'd had enough. I had to get back. So, I packed up my bag and went back to the familiar place that looked completely foreign. I spent my first day out in an area that I drove through on my way to mentor at a local elementary school a few semesters ago. Once we passed through the red lights on University that over passed McFarland, I could no longer believe my eyes. The landmarks that I would use to help me know where I am, are no longer there. I remember telling people in my group, "I think that used to be the fire station." "That street used to be filled with homes." "That used to be an apartment complex." All of these places are now piles of rubble. Maybe they had one wall standing. Trees are snapped in half. It is so much to process.
Later that week I joined the group that was assembling hygiene kits at church. Here is where the Martha in me could have really gotten dangerous, if I weren't careful. Thankfully the Lord kept my mind on loving people and not on what HAD to be done. He provided abundantly more than we ever could have asked or imagined on several occasions. He taught me what it was like to rely on him for everything... it was the first time in my life I've ever had to pray for shampoo. He used His Church to keep me motivated. I was so proud to be a part of the Church last week, they blew my expectations out of the water! I was also very thankful for the community the Lord has provided me with in the college ministry at Calvary. Each night we met, ate, and leaned on one another's joys and pains to get through that day... and the next.
Last year my sweet roommate, Margaret Anne and I had a great conversation about how often we find ourselves being Martha's. So when I was in Barnes and Noble during my break week a book really caught my eye. I had seen my mom reading it, and new it had to be good (side note-I love that my mom and I share a passion for reading). As I picked it up tonight, I ran across this passage that describes the last week of my life to a "T."
Like Jesus, we must be about our Father's business. The closer we draw to the heart of the Father, the more we see his heart for the world. And so as we serve, we minister, and we love, knowing that when we do it to 'the least of these,' we have done it unto Christ.
When we put our work before worship, we put the cart before the horse. The cart is important; so is the horse. But the horse must come first, or we end up pulling the cart ourselves. Frustrated and weary, we can nearly break under the pressure of service, for there is always something that needs to be done.
When we first spend time in his presence-when we take time to hear his voice-God provides the horsepower we need to pull the heaviest load. He saddles up Grace and invites us to take a ride.
-Joanna Weaver, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World
P.S. Here's my shameless plug: If you're looking for a way to help, but want to make sure your money will be going to a place that is... "an all inclusive place of loving people living out the story of God"... that will for sure use every penny to glorify the Lord in all we do, see calvarytuscaloosa.org/tornadorelief :)
P.P.S. I'm NOT hating on Martha here! Later in the Gospels, you can clearly see that because of her encounter with Jesus, her world/life/attitude was changed. How could it not have been? My life is so parallel to hers right now. Think the Lord is trying to teach me something?