Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver - Review

Having a Mary Heart in A Martha World: Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life by Joanna Weaver
hardcover, reprinted 2007, Waterbrook Press
ISBN: 9781400074037

I was surprised at how quickly Joanna Weaver jumped into my head. I'd barely begun reading chapter one and suddenly my own thoughts were appearing in published form. As Joanne retold the biblical story of Mary and Martha, two sisters with very different approaches on how best to serve the Lord when He is a guest in their home, she puts into words the struggle so many women face - the "Martha" mindset.

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World is best summed up in a simple reminder Joanna fives us. "The world clamors , 'Do more! Be all that you can be!' But our Father whispers, 'Be still and know that I am God.'" The Martha in us becomes overwhelmed with duties, 'to do' lists, responsibilities, and our own daily calenders. With the three Deadly D's: distraction, discouragement, and doubt in Satan's arsenal, it's not hard for us to become envious and even irritated with the Marys out there.

Why? Because Marys stop to smell the roses. Marys take time to read their Bibles consistently. Marys listen to that deep yearning to 'be still' and know who God is. The Martha in us feels that same yearning, but it's only added to our lists and continually pushed aside in favor of more immediate concerns.

Joanna's book is one of the very few I've seen on the market that addresses our innermost
thoughts, desires, and struggles between the Martha side of us and the Mary. She addresses the hazards of chronic worry - that nail-biting thought that usually starts out small and ends with a box of tissue and deep agitation. As Joanna so effectively puts it, "If my God isn't bigger than life, then my life is bigger than God and that's when anxiety takes over."

"It all goes back", she says, "to what God desires". I felt a thrill when I read that. So many authors play around that one truth - she meets it head on. And what does God desire. He wants us to serve Him, right? Yes, but our first priority is that one thing we all crave whether we realize it or not: true intimacy and fellowship with God.

Joanna gives several examples and ways to accomplish this: put true worship before work, do not make worship, prayer, and Bible study items to be checked off a list but let them become the things we do because we delight in Him. We do that by simply coming before Him. Put aside the check lists, the schedules, and the emotional upsets.

"Be still and know that I am God."

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World does an absolutely excellent job in getting to the heart of the issue, in pushing aside all the other distractions, and coming face to face with what God desires. This book has become one that will forever be a part of my bookshelf and one I'll turn to again and again. The book also includes a 12 week companion Bible study and here is a link to the reader's guide.

Joanna Weaver was voted the Most Promising New Writer of 1997 at the Mount Herman Writer's Conference. She has authored Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and written for publications such as Focus on the Family, Home Life, Aspire, and The Evangel.

A pastor's wife for more than eighteen years, she and her husband have counseled many couples, both those approaching their wedding and those struggling in marriage.

The Weavers live in Montana and have taught young married classes and spoken on the topic of marriage throughout the northwestern United States.