A way forward for the muddy, wandering, try-hard woman

Katie M. Reid is a to-do list kind of woman, who closely identifies with biblical Martha. She didn’t choose to be a doer, God designed her to be one. And that’s a good thing! Yet Katie knows firsthand that your greatest strength can become your biggest weakness. For almost forty years, Katie wandered in a spiritual desert of tiresome self-effort; striving to be enough. But through a surprising turn of events, Katie discovered that grace is a gift to be received, not a prize to be earned. And that has made all the difference. It’s a grace to welcome Katie to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Katie M. Reid

In an effort to find myself, buried beneath real and self-imposed responsibilities and on a mission to recover fragmented parts of a weary heart, I started writing.

Under all the words, under all the stories, was someone who needed to be found: a daughter waiting to be reborn.

My husband noticed a transformation as I wrote.

A more fully alive version of myself surfaced. I smiled more easily and wasn’t bogged down with typical annoyances, because my creativity had a steady outlet.

But as my fingers tapped on the keyboard, I started grasping for more, trying to fill an insatiable hunger for validation that began when I was a young woman.

Under the guise of ministry, sandwiched between good works and moving words, I became a workaholic.

And in the process of following a great dream, I was careless with my greater dream of being a devoted wife and attentive mama. Sometimes I even neglected my posts at home for my posts online.

The tension of two callings threatened to snap me in two and sting those closest to me. I was so focused on the result that those dearest to me felt invisible at times.

I wandered from home in an emotional and spiritual sense.

I tried to implement strategies that could improve the situation, but the changes were short lived. It was as though I couldn’t help myself—true signs of an addict.

I wanted better boundaries, more balance, to be able to pause in the middle of a project (without resentment), but I didn’t know how.

So one day, on a country road east of our home, I reluctantly let God dig up the dirt in my heart as I ran (okay, jogged). From a place of desperation, with some trepidation, I prayed something like this: God, help! I’m scared to surrender, but I give You the right to control, again. I want to be made well, even though I don’t know what that process might look like. Please turn my heart home.

I took a wobbly step back toward Dad, with birds overhead and cornstalks as witnesses.

Not too long after this heartfelt prayer, Adam and I made time for a much-needed getaway. We dispersed our four children to various family members so we could reconnect during an exhausting summer.

It was wonderful to have time with Adam, no other responsibilities, just enjoying each other’s company. It was as if we were newlyweds again.

We had always talked about having five children. God had miraculously brought our fourth child to us through adoption, and we were planning on adopting again. But in an unbridled moment of trusting God, no matter the outcome, I found myself expecting shortly after our getaway. God knew just what I needed to be made well. Funny, because I sure felt sick during the first trimester.

God answered my roadside prayer in a most unexpected way, with a miracle.

He responded to my need for restoration with new life.

God turned my heart home.

While I was a long way off, He saw me. He could have reprimanded me for straying, but instead He met me there, mightily, in the middle of the mud, with grace.

He didn’t hold me at arm’s length but wrapped me up tight. He treated me as a daughter, not the hired help.

He gave me a gift when I deserved punishment.

He provided forgiveness when I admitted I was unable to pull myself away from the pen.

And if that weren’t enough, He went so far as to provide new life.

Thousands of years ago God’s people longed for a King to rule and reign and establish peace on their behalf. God answered their cries by sending them a baby, and many of them missed the answer. Jesus was more than the King of the Jews; He was the King of kings, who came to restore the people to their heavenly Father.

Sin had separated them from God, but He made the way for them to come home, both on earth and for eternity.

And Jesus did not come for just the Jews; He came for all of us.

He died and rose that you might have new life, no longer branded by sin, no longer an orphan but a daughter.

It’s so simple and so unbelievable at the same time. We deserve punishment, yet God offers a gift instead.

We bring Him our lack and He readily supplies us with enough.

When you find yourself in the middle of a harried or desolate season, or a wandering or returning season, may these truths remind you that Christ is already enough for you:

~   I don’t have to prove my worth by overcommitting. Christ already proved my worth through His commitment and follow-through to die for my sins (Romans 5:8).

~   Just because I am good at something does not mean I am obligated to say yes. Christ has specific assignments for me just as God has specific assignments for Christ (Ephesians 2:10).

~   Even when I act unrighteously, God’s righteousness remains on and within me because of my faith in Christ’s lasting and permanent work of salvation (Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:1).

~   When my offering seems meager and my resources are lacking, God can miraculously multiply and supply more than enough for the need at hand (Luke 9:16–17; Philippians 4:19).

~   God’s love for me does not fluctuate based on whether I do too much or not enough. Through Christ’s doing enough on the cross, and my belief in Him, I am loved and in right standing with God (Romans 8:33, 38–39).

 

 

Katie M. Reid is a firstborn overachiever and a modern-day Martha. As an avid blogger, Katie provides posts, articles, letters, and other resources for try-hard women on an ongoing basis. She encourages others to unwind in God’s Presence–through her writing, as well as through her speaking–as they find grace in the unraveling life. Katie has published articles with Huffington Post, Focus on the Family, iBelieve, Crosswalk, MOPS, (in)courage, God-sized Dreams, Purposeful Faith, Inspiring Families, and many other websites. She is also a contributing writer for iBelieve.com and Lightworkers.com and has been syndicated on ForEveryMom.com. 

Though she didn’t sit at Jesus’s feet like her sister Mary, biblical Martha was loved just as she was — and you are too. The new book, Made Like Martha, invites modern-day Marthas to sit down spiritually as they exchange try-hard striving for hope-filled freedom without abandoning their doer’s heart in the process. This practical resource is an invitation for overachievers to discover what it means to rest as God’s daughters without compromising their God-given design as doers. Doers need to be affirmed in their innate design to do rather than sit, yet also be reminded that they don’t have to overdo it in order to be worthy. This book is not an exhortation to add or subtract things off your to-do list, but it is an invitation to embrace the “good” of the Good News. It’s an offer to step into your position as a daughter of God and to enjoy life as a doer.

[ Our humble thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for their partnership in today’s devotion ]

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