Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Mary Heart

I've been re-reading the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. When I read it the first time I did what I usually do---devour it quickly in a frenzy of book love but then can't remember what I read just a few days later. It's hard for book lovers to find that balance of eating up pages and letting it nourish you at the same time. So this time I decided to take notes and actually physically write down the passages or sentences that resonate within. I did the same with The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado (which I also just re-read for the same reasons) which takes apart the Beattitudes and puts them back together in heart changing ways.

Anyway, while reading Having a Mary Heart... last night it suddenly hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks and I felt like such a dunce for not seeing it before. Mary Heart. Merry Heart. You see, this book takes the story of Mary and Martha, two sisters who knew Jesus personally--and by personally I mean that in every way. They actually met Him face to face in a physical way we never will here on Earth. But they knew Him personally in a spiritual way, the way we can know Him this side of Heaven. And this story about Mary and Martha is the main focus of the book:

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 work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

And so Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World speaks to the fact that so many women get caught up in serving the Lord that we neglect spending time at His feet really learning from Him. Having a 'Mary Heart' then is a heart that is willing to stop the busyness of life to sit at His feet. A Mary Heart seeks Him first, always and always first. A Mary Heart knows Jesus personally, intimately, even passionately.

So no wonder I felt so DUH! I've been sitting here all this time wanting A Merry Heart. Still do. But the emphasis was on joyful, cheerful nature. A Mary Heart places all of the desires on Jesus. I'm spiritually clued in enough to know that the only way to get that joy and cheer I thirst for is to drink up Jesus...but rather than Jesus being the means to the end, He is the end. For a Mary Heart Jesus is all you desire and by pursuing that desire and being changed by indulging in a desire for Christ, a Merry Heart soon follows.

A Mary Heart = A Merry Heart.

The Bible has two other Marys we all know and love. Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. I think they both had Mary Hearts, although theirs perhaps look different than the Mary, Martha's sister. Mary the mother of Jesus treasured in her heart all the things people said about her son, she thought upon them, she trusted what God said, she trusted what His angels and His people said. I think she is perhaps the greatest example of a Biblical woman with deep faith. Who had more to doubt than Mary? It all must've seemed impossible and insane but she had such faith in God she trusted in the impossible and insane. And her faithfulness was rewarded. Oh, that I could have her heart. A heart that treausures Him and finds deep wells of faith.

The Bible doesn't say why Jesus revealed His resurrected self to Mary Magdalene first. My guess is because of her Mary Heart.  She had been posessed by demons--I can't imagine nor want to even try what that was like for her. Tortured by the Enemy, not just tempted and tried as we all are...but posessed by his demons, torturing her from within. But Jesus saved her from this torture, and then forgave her of her sins because He loved her not for what she could ever do or be, but because she was a child of God.  Who wouldn't be devoted to such a Savior? I think Mary Magdalene's heart was perhaps the most devoted and that devotion continued after His death. She was there in the Garden because of her devotion to Him, and maybe that's why she was blessed to see Him first. She was devoted in her heart even when it seemed there was nothing left to be devoted to. And while the theory of romantic love between Jesus and Mary is a load of hogwash, I think they loved each other very much. A love so much more profound than romatic love, a love that is spiritually intimate, a love between the Savior and the saved. Oh, that I could have her heart, so full of love and devotion for the One who saved me.

Yes, a Mary Heart. A heart that desires Him always first and sits at His feet, a heart that treasures Him and is filled with faith, a heart that is devoted to Him even when it seems all hope is lost. And then if my heart can be all these will be Merry. It would be impossible to be anything else.

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