Today is a very special day on the blog. At the beginning of each month I like to welcome other writers who have breathed life into my soul, and I am so excited to introduce a new friend to you all. I met Brandi on an online writing class called Compel and had the pleasure of meeting her in person at the She Speaks conference in July. This woman of God has been a continual source of encouragement for me, and I know you will be encouraged by her as well.
You’ll find Brandi Rennemeyer sipping coffee with her feet propped up on an overflowing laundry basket. She is a golfer wannabe, recovering perfectionist, and life-loving friend. Three children and a dreamy husband may fill her house with love, laughter and lots and LOTS of laundry but Jesus is her heart beat. She lives on the east side of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where the sun shines the same day the snow flies. Daily duties of motherhood and keeping house fill her calendar but “after hours” she writes about authentic faith on her blog. Life is a glorious journey of struggle and triumph woven together with faith. Her prayer is that as you join her for coffee in the midst of the mess you’ll find Jesus’ hand in it all.
Please give her a warm welcome! I pray that her words will lift you up, as they did me.
Oh, mommy friend. I see you there in the chaotic and busy; the endless cycle of dressing littles who’d rather play, pulling toothbrushes out of toilets, unscrambling cereal choices and finding the inevitably-lost library book. I know the secret envy of your heart to sip that cup of coffee and linger just a bit longer over the Word. I saw the tears of defeat at the text from your husband saying his very important meeting tomorrow would ultimately mean no yoga class for you. I also saw that flicker of anger, that flash of envy as you thought of all you sacrifice day in and day out with no recognition, no validation, no reciprocation.
I know. This is hard. It’s not that you don’t love them or don’t want this life. Quite the contrary, this is what you dreamt of for years. It’s just that you feel so empty, so spent at the end of the day. And when you aren’t feeling guilty about those feelings you’re angry about those feelings. Me too.
Can I tell you about my friend? She’s been here too. Her charges aren’t small children, but with the weight of her daily load, her siblings may as well have been. And like me, my friend has a hard time saying ‘No’, if she’s not caring for her family she’s hosting someone else’s. I think her reputation for great food and meaningful hospitality became an expectation. It was like she was born for it. I mean really, she’s so good that the community around her sent everyone, every need, in her direction. She absolutely loved it, but it quickly becomes overwhelming.
It’s a conundrum, the thing you love to do can become a trap, holding you captive from feeling any love.
One time she hosted THE Jesus of Nazareth. Seriously, could there be a more important guest? I can see it now. Jesus lounging at her kitchen table, surrounded by people she loved and adored. Stew simmering in the pot over the fire and Martha up to her forearms kneading bread. I bet He was sharing about his recent travels: stories full of glorious awe and miracles, stories of deliverance and profound truths. Perhaps Martha even got lost in his words so much that she forgot to stir the stew.
Maybe the sizzle of imperfection boiling over the sides of the pot distracted her from His words of truth. The distraction mounted pressure with unspoken, unfounded expectations. Surrounded by activity she felt isolated from being with Him. Getting it all done right and efficiently so that she wouldn’t fail her guests became paramount over the act of love to the One.
Things crumbled out of her control, she hollered and pleaded. She had allowed comparison to steal her heart’s worship. As she began measuring herself against Mary’s acts, feelings of inadequacy and jealousy started knocking. What had been worship was now a burden of anxiety and stress.
I see Jesus reaching across the table and lovingly touching her arm. Tilting his head and looking deep into her eyes He says: “Beauty, I am right here in the midst of you; don’t be distracted from that truth. Do what you have to do but keep your heart set on me – not the activity.” Jesus wasn’t upset at Martha’s choice to prepare the meal – her service was an honor to Him and His disciples. He just wanted her heart to be on Him and not on her service.
“God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.” 2 Cor. 9:8 MSG
Friend, this is the hardest job ever. But take heart, God resides right there too, right next to you in the loud chaos of daily life. He sustains you, He alone fills you. He has not left you, and never will, even in the crazy and messy, the ugly and busy. He is there. Be there with Him.
*The story of Mary and Martha which is referenced in this post is found in Luke 10:38-42.