Current Refinements

Author Insider gives you an opportunity to get better acquainted with some of your favorite female authors. It is a section of Christianbook.com where women authors discuss a topic related to their book or speak about what’s dear to their hearts. I hope you enjoy this special note from Susie Davis, author of Uncovered: Revealing the Secrets of a Sexy Marriage- Bonnie, Women's Editor


Susie Davis

Susie Davis is an author, speaker, wife, mother, radio host, and blogger. She is the founder and director of Susie Davis Ministries, a resource, event and web based ministry.  Her ministry is committed to creatively communicating biblical truth, encouraging believers to love God, others and self as demonstrated through the greatest commandment. (Mark 12:30-31)


Relationship Lessons from Mary and Martha


I know there were many times I bungled it with my firstborn, Will, now 21. When he was thirteen, I kept trying to do things the same way - enriching the relationship by caring for him. Waking him up...fixing his breakfast, asking him about his day...and it was met with increasing irritation. He didn't want a kiss on the forehead in the morning any more than he wanted a plate of hot scrambled eggs and toast. And he certainly didn't want to talk first thing in the morning about the details of his day. The quieter he got, the more I pressed in, varying breakfast choices and trying to be less chatty but still just as prominent.

I was struggling to understand my place with Will. I felt like the relationship was slipping away every time he pushed away the plate, both figuratively and literally. I sensed in my gut that I should back off, but I didn't know where to go. Because I knew that he needed me - as any teenager truly does need an attentive mother; however, I just couldn't find a place that was comfortable for both of us. I was ready to serve but unable to connect. I desperately needed to transition my skills as a mother. And what I now know is that I needed to move my relationship from doing to being.

This whole emphasis on being over doing finds its roots in the teaching of Jesus. While most religions instruct people to do certain things to garner favor with God, Christianity is about being in relationship with God. There are so many great examples of the relationship emphasis all over the Bible, but none fit so succinctly as the story of Martha, Mary, and Jesus. Luke 10 tells us about a scene in which Jesus comes to visit two sisters, Martha and Mary. In the hustle of getting a big dinner on for Jesus, Martha gets distracted with her to-do list and becomes irritated with Mary, who apparently was no help whatsoever. In verses 38-41 the whole story unfolds, exposing Christ's desire for "be-ers" over "do-ers."

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work?" Tell her to come and help me." But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken from her."

You see, Mary understood the concept of relationship priorities. She knew how to stop, sit, and just be, whereas Martha found her greatest drive was to fulfill a role doing.

And when Martha could stand no more, wishing to chastise Mary's apparent laziness, Jesus actually defended Mary's choice, saying in verse 42, "but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her" (NIV).

Now, while I acknowledge that this verse has direct application to being over doing in our relationship to God, I believe there is another overriding message. In this scene, long ago in a tiny village with these two sisters, I believe Jesus was mandating relationship. I think he was setting a standard for us, communicating not to get so hung up on all the doing stuff in fulfilling a role (such as in mothering) that we fail at loving each other and being in a relationship. It is the crux of what we need to do with our teenagers.

The whole concept of doing and being occurred to me while watching my husband father our son. When I was in the throes of scrambling to find my place and get things in order like Martha - my husband seemed to be making real ground with Will just hanging out - like Mary. He would stay up late, fielding random questions and listening to musings from our son, sometimes until one or two in the morning. Meanwhile I was crashing early so I could rise to get the kids up, make breakfast, and get them out the door. It seemed that while I was busy doing, my husband was busy being. And as I continued managing meals, carpool schedules, and the like, the pulse of my connection with my son seemed to grow faint.

It was breaking my heart, so I decided to try and reengage. Sometimes I would sit and fold laundry while he watched the History Channel, just making myself available should he desire conversation. And I started staying up late at night (which required a catnap almost daily) to catch momentum when he was more motivated to engage. I realized that for some unknown reason those late hours were sacred times for him. They were the times he opened up and was most receptive to deep talks and life reflections. So I prioritized them.

I have to say that a change didn't happen overnight and I still had my Martha moments with him, but slowly I began to see that I had inadvertently bulldozed ahead with my mothering duties and narrowly missed deepening the relationship with my teenager. I had to stop and renegotiate the way I interacted with Will as a young man in the making and ensure that I didn't plow over the important parts of being with him in my effort to be a "good mom" and fly through the checklist for my busy family.

Susie Davis


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