Tag Archives: Encouragement

Using Your Martha to Be a Mary for Your Community and the World

When people think ministry they think big, they think nationally, globally. Which is wonderful, but most of the time those are things that just involve giving money. Yes Martha-ness earned that money, but it’s not the same.

Very often there is work that needs to be done; hands that are needed to minister not through finances, but through faith.JMW World and Community and the World @JessicaMWhite.com

Many ministries whether on the local or global area struggle with finding people who are willing to give of themselves; whether it be through their time, their skills, or their own knowledge. Marthas are desperately needed on every level: Men and women willing to seek Christ and His work, being Marys to those around them.

We are called to be the body of Christ, as part of His church; to minister to others as He would have us do.

“Christ has no body on earth but yours. No hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.”
~Saint Teresa of Avila
 

Wondering what this looks like? It can look different for everyone. Ever heard of soup kitchens? Food banks? Charities? These are all things that can use your Martha, and through your Martha create blessings of Mary.

This Week’s Challenge: What is one thing you’ve been meaning to do on a large scale? Something that will bless someone that you may never even know. Think about how you can accomplish that goal.

Click here to find more of my posts in this series: 31 Days | From Busy to Blessing

From Busy to Blessing – An Introduction

From Busy to Blessing How to Use Your Martha to Be a Mary @JessicaMWhite.com“I don’t know how you find the time?!”
“I wish I had skills like that!”
“I could never be that organized.”

Ever heard these things? I have. And I don’t deserve such praise. See, I’m not all that organized and I really don’t find the time. I’m rather lazy when it comes to serving others, particularly when they’re in my own family.
Priorities.
That’s the big thing. Priorities is how those things happen. And no, this isn’t going to be a series about how to prioritize or reprioritize or anything-else-itize your life. I’m certainly not in a position to tell you what your priorities should be, particularly since my own are rather skewed.
Heart.
That’s the other big thing: Even more so than priorities. A change in heart, how you look at the jobs that need to get done, is the best and biggest way to take you From Busy to Blessing. How you recreate your heart, bending it toward glorifying God and showing His love to those around you. This is harder than priorities, because a change of heart is something that is sought moment by moment, through constant awareness, self-sacrifice and lots of prayer.
What things are in your life that you can do, because you enjoy them, but still bless those around you with them? Come on…be honest. I know there is something that you like to do that can bless others, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate. It can be simple, mundane.
What this series is going to be about is how you can take your Martha-skills {the busy work} and use them as a Mary {Jesus seeking}: Taking you From Busy to Blessing.
First I want to share with you Martha and Mary’s story:

At the Home of Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better,
and it will not be taken away from her.”Luke 10:38-42 {NIV}

We ALL want to be a Mary. No one wants to be rebuked as Martha was. No one wants to be the person filled with discontent. No, nothing in this world should take priority over Jesus and time with Him and the Father. BUT, in this fallen world there is still work to be done, and someone has to do it.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for
the Lord, not for human masters.”
1 Corinthians 3:23

There is a way to use our work as worship. To seek God while scrubbing pots. To praise Him while wiping snotty nose and poopie bums. To love on others, while loving ourselves and our own interests. For you, you just have to find it.
For the next 31 days I’m going to share with you a variety of ways in which you can be a blessing while doing the busy work that needs to get done.
Will you join me? 

Fighting Against Satan’s Efforts to Keep Us Lonely: Countering the Devil’s Plot

Fighting Against Satan's Efforts to Keep Us Lonely

Fighting against Satan’s efforts to keep us lonely is no small undertaking. In my last post, I gave some ideas of how we can show grace to others and extend the hand of friendship to them. But what do we do once that’s been done; once the other person has reached for your hand too. Oh boy.Fighting Against Satan's efforts to keep us lonely: Countering the Devil's Plot @JessicAMWhite.com That’s when it can get so much scarier {bet you didn’t think that was possible!}. It’s not just casual and smiling and being nice anymore, it’s being real, and that can be so impossibly hard. It’s one thing to be “Fine” with each other, it’s another thing to allow someone into those parts of ourselves that we are too afraid to share.

I’ve realized that my interests and skills, can have a God glorifying purpose.

I love planning things…anything: So often though I’ve had no one to plan things with or for. I decided to take a leap, to invite a few ladies that I feel as though I have a budding relationship with and ask them if they would like to do things together, without our lovable littles. OK, but why? Why put all this effort in to trying to spend time with other women? Women who you may or may not actually “click” with.
I found this great post last week.  I could not have said it better. We were created for community. Not only because we were made to spend our time in the company of others for our own pleasures, but because we need the accountability. We need others who can lift us up when we’re struggling, congratulate us when we’ve done well, and call us out on it when we’ve made some bad choices, and through it all, love us anyways.

We were not meant to stumble through this life trying to do it on our own. We will fail. We need God. We need Jesus. We need each other. Having each of these will make this life a little more meaningful, a little more bearable, a little more worthwhile, and a lot less lonely. By leaning in to other women in our lives, we are leaning in to Christ and what He desires for us.

Though one may be overpowered,  two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

If we don’t make the effort, take the chance, we don’t know who we could be finding.

And you know what, even if you don’t find that kindred spirit of Anne & Diana legend, you’ll find someone. It may be the next person that we need in our lives, or just maybe someone who needs us in their’s. If we don’t take that first step bravely in truth, we are turning away from God’s glorious plan for us and His Kingdom.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.
It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables

If you haven’t already, I challenge you to seek out one or two people in your own life and pursue them: You might be pleasantly surprised. If you have, I’d love to hear how it turned out.

The Devil’s Snare: How Satan Uses Loneliness to Keep Us from God

Losing Loneliness Part 2 The Devil's Snare @JessicaMWhite

Satan uses our loneliness to keep us from God. After my post last week, about my struggles with loneliness, the outpouring I’ve received from readers as well as those in real life has been incredible. One of the commenters summed it up best, “Our pastor was just at our house last night. He said one of the biggest issues with the young moms in the church right now is loneliness… it’s not just you.”

After reading all the messages that people have been sending me, I realized a few things: I’m not alone in this {which I already knew}; it’s more prevalent than I realized; and this is borderline epidemic. Satan uses our loneliness to keep us from God The Devil's Snare @JessicaMWhite.com

People who I believed to be most definitely NOT in this category, are.

But, if we’re all desperate for a true, deep, intentional friendship then why don’t we have them? Why are we all struggling with this if we’re not the only one who wants it? Why are we A-L-O-N-E?

There is a simple answer, but of course it isn’t that simple….Satan. If he can keep deep, intentional friendships from happening, it is that much easier for him to attack us in our lives, to win us away from Christ, to keep us alone and at his cruel mercy.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Matthew 18:20


God created us for relationship, with Him, with Jesus, with others. If Satan can keep us all apart then we have allowed him to begin to pull not only ourselves apart, but every one of our relationships, including the church. If we stand alone we cannot worship the Lord the way we are called to.

This is so much easier said than done, isn’t it?

Fear. That’s what makes this so hard.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of bitchiness {and yes, I am intentionally using that word}. We have all felt the nasty looks, comments, and judgment from other women. Whether it was in elementary school, high school, college or the supermarket last week. It may even have come from other Christian women. Regardless of the when, where or how, we have ALL felt it.

Satan uses our loneliness to keep us from God The Devil's Snare @JessicaMWhite.com

In feeling it, over and over and over again, we have withdrawn into ourselves. We feel safer alone than to put ourselves out there one more time, knowing that we {more than likely} would once again be slapped in the face and our souls clawed at. It hurts. No one wants to hurt like that. The pain of loneliness is bearable, comfortable, expected, so much less humiliating than the pain of cattiness.

While I still don’t have the solution to this problem, I do have some ideas as to what we can do.

Be kind, none of us know all the details of anyone else’s story;
Be appreciative, if someone has done some thing that touched you {a card, a hug, a minute of time} let them know you appreciated it;
Reach out to others, whether they look like they have it all together in the friend-department or not;
Show grace, none are perfect, particularly when put on the spot, we don’t always say or do things the best way
{I know I’ve often said/done something only to be haunted later by how someone could have misunderstood me};
Pray, that no matter what we say or do or how someone takes it that God will use it for good.

 

Others in This Series
I. Giving Loneliness a Name
II. The Devil’s Snare
III. Countering the Devil’s Plot

Giving Loneliness a Name

Losing Loneliness Part 1 Giving Loneliness a Name @JessicaMWhite.com
The hardest part of loneliness is admitting to ourselves that we need friendship. I’ve been struggling with something. I’m not even sure how to explain what it is, but I guess the best word for it is loneliness. I’ve struggled with even writing this post for some time. It isn’t any thing that someone has said or done that has made me feel lonely and I certainly don’t want someone to take this personally.

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.  ~Douglas PagelsLosing Loneliness Part 1 Giving Loneliness a Name @JessicaMWhite.com

One of the most incredible things for me at Allume was Saturday night. Listening to Ann Voskamp speak, and worshiping the Lord with a room full of women. Crying arm in arm with a friend I hadn’t met until a few days before and hadn’t spent time with until we sat down for dinner. I have never experienced anything like that in my life. I have never, EVER cried on the shoulder of a friend. I have always been the strong one, the one who played bodyguard and comforter. No one has ever been those things for me.

I think knowing that something like that could exist, has added to my loneliness.

Allume, while wonderful: Life does go on afterward and ended up being a lot like high school graduation, when everyone has the best intentions of keeping in touch. But it just doesn’t happen. Life resumes and keeps soldiering on.

I’ve tried, but so often I feel as though in real life we are all way too busy and most women have no desire, or time, to gain a friend.

People always tell me that they wish they were better at keeping in touch: The bottom line is whether it’s a priority or not. I try very hard to keep in touch with people and usually end up feeling hurt.

It’s so easy to become wrapped up in our own every days.

I struggle when I meet new people with putting myself out there, following up, and then wonder if I come on too strong, when I haven’t heard from them in a while.

I’ve started going to a Mom to Mom group at a local church. The kids go too, and they get to have some fun play time with other kids. The group has certainly helped, a bit. I enjoy having a couple of hours to spend time in God’s word with other moms. But it hasn’t gotten rid of the loneliness. I’m the new kid on the block. Everyone there is already a friend to the rest.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Matt is my best friend…my absolute best friend. But I have been searching for a best-girl-friend for decades. I’ve been praying for at least the past few years. I’m not kidding.  In elementary/middle/high school and college I was always a floater, trying to figure out where I fit in best, who I could really make a connection with, and it just hasn’t happened.  I’ve often felt I’ve entered groups in which the friendships are already established.

I have {literally} a couple of friends that I’ve known forever, but unless I’m the one intentionally seeking them out for lunch-dates or emails, the friendships would most likely end. That’s hard, because I feel like the problem is me. And it may be. But I kind of wish someone would tell me that. Rather than me keep banging my hand against the wall.

So….

I’m not writing this post looking to share my pearls of wisdom as to the solution of this problem nor am I seeking pity. Just sharing my struggle with finding a meaningful, intentional friendship with someone that I just “click” with, because I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels lonely.

Others in This Series
I. Giving Loneliness a Name
II. The Devil’s Snare
III. Countering the Devil’s Plot