I was at a birthday party Saturday and all of the parents started talking about their mothers being like Martha Stewart. Cooking, sewing, knitting, crafts - - everything was made “from scratch”. One father said that his mom would record Martha’s TV shows (long before she was a house-hold name) and copy the projects, sending her boys in to the woods to collect pine cones and baby’s breath, hanging flowers and herbs upside down to dry all around the house…
It reminded me of my own mom. She is Martha Stewart, too. In fact, she is more Martha than Martha herself, because she doesn’t have “people” to do some of the prep work and parts of the projects for her. Mom does all of her own work.
I remember many times when we would be in a store and see something that we liked, but the price would not be right. Mom looked at it for a few minutes, then said, “I can make this.” And we would walk away, leaving the item in the store. Sometimes the home made product would turn out better than the commercial offering!
Clothing, crafts, Barbie clothes… nothing was too much of a challenge. She could take a photograph in a history book and create an authentic looking costume, or turn a cardboard box into a “Gingerbread” playhouse (I have pictures to prove it!)
I think that she may not have saved any money by making some things herself –it was simply the challenge that was the draw. It was a creative outlet for a homeschooling mother of six.
During the conversation I suddenly realized that Martha Stewart is a “Martha”!
In my imagination, I picture the Biblical Martha with impressive homemaking skills. She was the one that people would talk about – “You have not been to a Christmas party until you’ve been to one at Martha’s house!” they would say. “The decorations were amazing and each person had their own place card made of pinecones and some sort of glittery stuff! The food… Oh, my! That roast lamb would just melt in your mouth! And have you ever seen a seven layer chocolate cake with homemade raspberry preserve filling?”
But I am also aware of the struggle that Martha Stewart has had in her personal life. That is an issue that “Marthas” tend to have – while we are busy setting about our work, trying to be perfect, hoping to impress – we tend to neglect inter-personal relationships.
“I’ll read to you in a minute, honey. I’m busy now. Run along and play.”
It is ABSOLUTELY possible to be both Mary and Martha wrapped up into one excellent woman. This is what I am working on in my life, now. For me it means putting relational things on the “to do” list…
“Time with the Lord”; “talk to husband”; “read to children”.
…And treating them with as much importance as “clean the kitchen”; “wash dark delicates”; and “prepare dinner.”
Even better, involve your family in your work. Teach them how to make everything “from scratch.” This way you can get your work done, build relationships, and pass your skills to the next generation – all at the same time! (Martha’s love multi-tasking!)
I am glad that’s what my mom did with me.
Now I will go into a store and see something I like and say, “I can make that…”
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. (relationship) She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. (relationship) She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. (work) She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. (work) She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. (work) She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. (work) She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. (work) In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. (work) She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. (relationship) When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. (work) Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. (relationship)She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. (work) She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. (relationship) She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (work) Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." (relationship) Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:10-31
Are You a Martha? Becoming an Excellent Woman