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Saturday, July 13, 2013

What GOOD Are You Giving Up?

And Jesus answered and said to her, 
"Martha, Martha, you are worried
and troubled about many things.
But one thing is needed, and Mary has 
chosen that good part, which will not be 
taken away from her."
(Luke 10:41-42 NKJV)

We have been studying Mary and Martha for quite a while now at OBS. That isn't the only place I have heard it either. A sermon at church, a sermon on the radio, and in personal readings. Going through my favorite Goodwill bookstore, I kept stumbling upon books about Martha and Mary. A teaching post I did for our last OBS, Stressed-Less Living, was on Mary and Martha. Last week's blog for Cultivating a Heart of Prayer was on Mary and Martha. And you know what, the more I ponder and read on these two, the more that I learn. New layers; new depth; new insights. It's as if the Lord keeps putting them in my path for a reason.

This week is no different. Something Wendy said in the video about John 15:4-5, really struck me. The whole discussion on "abiding" struck me. Forgive me as I paraphrase--I take notes in shorthand from my days as both a Secretary and Registered Nurse. It doesn't say how many times a day, what it is about, how it is done-it is about connecting with and PASSIONATELY pursuing Him. PERIOD. Then came the conference call. More words spoken into my heart about what I felt had already been "tugging" on my heart. Again, I paraphrase here. Spend time with Him. Doesn't matter how or when. Even if you miss a couple days. It's a relationship day to day. He just wants us. It doesn't matter how "perfect" it is. 

And, oh, doesn't this look like Mary's heart? At the feet of her Savior and Lord--passionately pursuing Him. It didn't matter to her what it "looked" like. It didn't occur to her to go through "much" preparation before drawing from Him. She is the perfect image of "abiding." As Wendy discussed the vine and the branches, here we see Mary getting her nourishment from THE flesh. Martha was worried about preparing, getting everything right, everything perfect. Mary? Came as she was.....and Jesus said that she had chosen the good part. 

I have been involved in leading Bible studies in some form or fashion for the last 2 years. It is a huge passion of mine. I LOVE to surround myself with my Study Bible, Life Application Bible, a commentary, and a Greek/Hebrew/Aramic dictionary. I love to have the house perfectly quiet. I love to have my highlighters, my pens, devotionals, my notebooks, my phone (for YouVersion of course), and so on. I even took a Seminary class last fall. I don't say this to brag, but I say this to show you it can happen to all of us. But what happened? Why did I "take a break?" And what GOOD thing am I giving up? Hmmm...

I became Martha. Frenzied. Panicked. Hurrying to get my stuff out, for what I thought (sadly), was "appropriate" everyday Bible study. The right way to do it, you know? After lugging out all of my goodies, I would crack open my Bible and BOOM! One of my 4 children, or possibly two, would wake up. WHAT?!? I only read one verse!! Now I have to put it all away so the little ones don't tear it up. Or worse--my beloved "Family Bible" bares the marks of a black marker scattered through a lot of Genesis. No small marks either. Marks as in colored in-can't read the words type marks. I became unsettled; agitated; "troubled" about many things-primarily my lack of a "quiet time." Which in turn, set the tone for the day. Even though I may have had an amazing night of study the night before, I was thrown off by my lack of being a morning person. Where was the love? The abiding? Why was I so set in my ways?

And then I remember....I go back, in my mind, to the days long ago. Almost four years ago. To the days when it seemed as if everywhere I turned I could "see" Jesus. Sweet fellowship. Talking to Him all day. Singing and humming Worship Songs as I went about my daily tasks. Hungry for Him and hungry for His Word. Receiving "God sap", as Wendy puts it, in abundance-I couldn't seem to read enough of His Word. Where did I go wrong? 

Then slowly, I look around me and realize...It doesn't matter WHAT it looks like, it only matters that I am passionately pursuing Him. I had lost that desire through "much doing" and not enough being. I would go hours without talking to Him except to throw up a "Dear Lord Jesus, please help me", (we homeschool our kiddos), or a short prayer for a friend. It became rote. Mandatory. Checking it off my list. I had never really heard much about "quiet time" during the former period. I just wanted to be with Jesus. Didn't matter when or how, I just wanted to be with Him. Whenever I could.

So now...what GOOD thing am I giving up to get BETTER with Jesus? My preconceived notion about what "quiet time" should look like. And no longer pursuing a "quiet time", but rather pursuing an ongoing, daily, moment to moment relationship with the Lord of my life.

My Lord, full of grace, truth, and  compassion, loves me. No matter what season I am in. Four years ago I wasn't homeschooling. He understands that. Four years ago, I had a baby that slept all day, a toddler that was content to play alone for a little while and napped as well. Two boys in public school. Four years ago, I wasn't involved in ministry. This is a new season in my life and God understands that, and for whatever reason--He loves me. However, much is to be learned about that season four years ago that CAN be applied today. I don't have to be so "methodical" all the time. I can sit at His feet, whether by "talking" to Him all day and just picking up my Bible and reading, or by deeper study as time allows. It doesn't have to look the same everyday. I just have to "abide." As Wendy said, abiding is "continuing in a permanent state." I can continually communicate with Him, and I can continually draw from matter what it looks like. 

Jennifer Newsom
OBS Executive/Teaching Teams


  1. As always Jennifer your blog blesses my heart. God blessed you with a beautiful writing talent. I pray I can be as good someday. Debbie W. (OBS Facebook Group Leader)

    1. Debbie-your blogs always bless me too. You are an amazing writer already sister!!

  2. Love this Jennifer! I can so relate to everything you said and it helped sort out my thoughts and issues to read your clear words and thoughts. Cheers to re-discovering abiding in Him in our new season of life. May God bless your new journey.

  3. Love this, Jennifer!! I, too, can get so worried about being perfect and making sure everything is "just so", that I lose sight of the real meaning of having a relationship with Jesus. It's so easy to get hung up on what we think is the right way, that we forget the purpose of what we are doing. Great reminders here!!

    Kris (OBS Small Group Leader)

  4. This. is. good. I'm feeling it so much... just to abide. Look for Him everywhere, not in what I think quiet time should be. To really dig in and drink Him in. Love your paraphrases. Passionate pursuit- may I embody this fully!

  5. Beautifully written Jennifer! I think God welcomes us into quiet time -- he desires our heart - that meaningful quiet time. It doesn't have to be wrapped in a pretty box with a big bow. Thank you for the reminders. ~Martha