Monthly Archives: August 2016

Mary and Martha

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By Judy Villanueva

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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 by myself? Tell her to help me!”

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

To sit at the feet of Jesus and let Him be my one distraction sounds both enticing and elusive. More often than not, I find myself in the kitchen with Martha, scowling at Mary and wishing so badly I could be the one sitting at Jesus’ feet.  I like to think that Martha loved Jesus from the kitchen amidst her many distractions and wish I couldn’t relate to how she let them postpone the joy of entering his presence.  But, I can.   As I slow down with this passage and take my pulse, I become aware that I am stuck in the kitchen!  I want to be next to Jesus, close enough to see the expression in his eyes and hear the tone of his voice. I know he is in the room with me but am not quite sure how to drop all my doing and find a place at His feet.  Do you ever feel that way?

This moment of awareness becomes a prayer and I ask Jesus to take my soapy hands and lead me out of the kitchen. “Help me, Lord, to turn away from the many things that fill my heart with worry and teach me to want only one thing — only One.”  I suddenly realize that what I really need is to look at Jesus!  One simple nod from Him is all it will take to help me drop my dishes and run to Him. Imagine this moment with me.

Can you see Jesus looking at you in the middle of your day and inviting you to come sit with Him?

Prayerfully, with my Bible on my lap, I imagine the scene and I look at Jesus.  He looks at me!  I see Him seeing me and hold my breath.  THEN, He gives me a smile and a nod and I run to Him!  I realize, as I make my way over, that I didn’t think there would be room for me and I wasn’t sure I’d be welcome.  But, looking up at Jesus face I find a big welcome and looking down at His feet, I find a place prepared just for me!

“Jesus, thank you that always see me. I give you permission to nudge me out of my busyness! Thank you that I will always see a “welcome” in your eyes and find a place in your presence prepared just for me. Help me today to bring that same welcome to others. Amen.”

How about you?

Where do you find yourself in this Bible story? Are you in the kitchen, busy with preparations? Or, are you sitting at Jesus feet?

Does the pace of your life leave room for noticing Jesus beckoning you to come to Him?

Do you define yourself by the “many things” or by the “only One”?

What do you need from Jesus today? As you sit at His feet and have His full attention, how can He help you today?

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Finding God

DSC_0527By Judy Villanueva

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. (Deut 4:29)

How sweet it is when my little grand finds me!  To be reached for by chubby baby arms is too wonderful to describe but the words “sheer joy” come awfully close! Sitting on the floor I quietly watch as my two-year-old visitor stacks and knocks over blocks with glee. Occasionally, she stands and runs in circles laughing until another toy beckons for her attention.  All the while, I see her sneaking peaks to make sure I am near and, every so often, she interrupts her play to find me.  Then, for a few cherished moments she crawls up on my lap and nestles in close for “kissies.”  As I soak her up, I realize how good it feels to be found, reached for and wanted! “Is it any different with God?” I wonder.  Does He, too, delight when we turn away from our toys and reach for Him?

I never dreamed that after so many years of being a Christian I would still be learning how to want God. That may sound strange but I find that life has a way of crowding out my desire for God with temporal offers of fullness.  I naturally know how to want these things, but want to want the Divine heart that watches and waits for my notice.  The thought that God delights when I reach for Him is as much mind-blowing, as it is an explosion of wonder!

The One who made all things wants me and reached across the heavens with a cross to make a place for me on His lap.

Trials always motivate me to reach for God, but my prayer is to grow in love for God and live interrupted by His presence, in breathless anticipation of finding Him and being found!

Last night, as my husband and I sat under a canopy of stars we decided to begin an experiment.  For thirty days we are endeavoring to spend 20 minutes a day in silent prayer. Our hope is to engage in a daily moment, 1200 seconds long, that consists of crawling up on the lap of God and sitting quietly in His arms.  What happens to worries and fears, I wonder, when we stop looking at them and rest with God instead?

In stillness, God helps us feel His love touching our lives.

When we stop talking and moving about, when we let His movements of grace interrupt our play — when we simply let God hold us,  we find our place on His lap where we are hugged and kissed — found, reached for and wanted!  Yes, He soaks in our presence and wraps us up in His.

 “Thank you, Father, for being my place of rest and for all the ways your reach out for me.  Help me to look up from my toys and find You in my days.   Thank you for the cross that reached across the heavens to find me!  Amen.”

What about you?

Do you want God?

Do you believe that God delights when you reach for Him?

How do you reach for Him?

Do you notice when God’s presence invites a holy interruption?

God wants you!  Reach for Him.

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