Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World Week 4

We’re now on week four of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver, and I pray you are deep into this study.  If you ever have a question or want to write a comment about something you read, you are always welcome to do so. The group is informal and we encourage your participation. Use the comment box at the end of each article and share your heart with us.

Chapter seven in our book examines “the better part” Martha missed as she was serving Jesus and her guests. Sometimes we get so busy balancing our lives (hula-hoops as Joanna teaches us) that we often forget our inner self. We are not tending to our hearts. Women are very skilled at tending to the hearts of others while neglecting their own needs. Eventually we have a Martha-Moment and explode in frustration, grabbing the attention of our audience. Thankfully, Jesus was her audience and heard Martha’s heart.

“The story of Mary and Martha was never meant to be a psychological profile or role play in which we choose the character with whom we most identify. This is the story of two different responses to one singular occasion. In it, we should find not our personality type, but the heart Christ longs for us to have. A heart centered on Him alone.” Joanna Weaver

When you started this study we asked you if you are more like Martha or Mary, and at this point in our study you realize your heart matters more than your personality. Your role is to keep your heart centered in Jesus and walk by the Spirit. You can do this if you are Martha and you can do this if you are Mary. Your heart matters more than your service or your worship! “Make room in your heart for Jesus and he’ll make room for everything else,” writes Joanna.

In Chapter 8 of our bible study, Joanna Weaver introduces Lazarus to the conversation. She has written a beautiful book on this called Lazarus Awakening  and expands on the lessons learned from Lazarus. In our study, she uses the lessons to show how God’s will doesn’t move in a straight line, God tarries, and God releases His plan through our obedience and faith.

Prayer Requests

Please visit our Prayer Wall and post a prayer request or praise report. Take time this week to lift others up with your prayers.

Joanna Weaver Quotes

  • Sometimes we have to slow down in order to take a spiritual inventory and see where we stand with God.
  • Sometimes we have to realize how empty we are before we’re willing to be filled.
  • Consistency doesn’t mean perfection; it means refusing to give up.
  • It’s amazing what a little time-out can do for you. Especially when you spend that time with God.
  • What Satan intends for evil, God still turns for good.
  • It’s God’s purposes, not mine, that must prevail.
  • God takes Satan’s worst and transforms it into our best.

For Next Week

Group Discussion- Answer one question or as many as you like

  1. Name the hula-hoop responsibilities you have in your life. Which one is the most difficult to keep in motion?
  2. Give an example of a time when you put God first in your life. What happened?
  3. Look up the word trust in a bible concordance, such as www.BibleGateway.com and share a verse that speaks to you.
  4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

Author Christine Abraham

Founder and Ministry Director of the Womens Bible Cafe™ since 2009, Christine has led 60+ online Bible Studies for women. She completed a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University. She's an inspired writer, Amazon Top Reviewer and Blogger Follow on Facebook

More posts by Christine Abraham

Join the discussion 50 Comments

  • Jennifer says:

    1.Name the hula-hoop responsibilities you have in your life. Which one is the most difficult to keep in motion? Balancing a home, being w wife, school and life in general.

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. Seeing that there is hope to be able to balance all the things I need to do, however, putting my time with God first will really help everything else fall into place! Realizing this made me feel so much better!

  • Marie says:

    One of my fav verses – Psalm 56:3
    What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

    Fear can completely make us loose all of our hula hoops, so I find that relying on HIM and the prayers of sisters and friends from all over the world help too.


  • Maureen says:

    3. Verses on trust– just prior to this week, I made a little collection of scripture note cards for me to read daily to remind me that I am worthy of God’s love and to put my trust in him. Here are my favorite verses right now on trust–
    Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
    Deut 31:6 It is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you
    Psalm 2:12 I am blessed because I seek refuge and put my trust in the Lord
    Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I will trust in You, in God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

  • JEIPEL says:

    Group Discussion- Answer one question or as many as you like

    1.Name the hula-hoop responsibilities you have in your life. Which one is the most difficult to keep in motion?
    2.Give an example of a time when you put God first in your life. What happened?
    3.Look up the word trust in a bible concordance, such as http://www.BibleGateway.com and share a verse that speaks to you.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

    tthe hula-hoops in my life are being a mom to a 19 year old and a 6 year old,a wife,an employee and a step mom to 3 children I have to be all things to all people and still try to find time for me to delight in God’s plan for me.

    I have always put God first in my finances I know he will keep me fed and clothed and he has never not doen this for me. I sometimes feel like WOW he took care of it yet again.

    Leviticus 19:4
    “Do not put your trust in idols or make metal images of gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God
    I love this to me is says Jeipel trust me I am God what other proof do u need.

  • Judee Baysinger says:

    i really like Psalm 62:8
    “Trust in Him at all times, you people, pour out your hearts to Him, for GOD is out refuge.

    If we will only believe that simple little verse. GOD will take care of everything, but we get impatient and think we can do a better job. We miss some really great blessings by not waiting on Him to be our everything.

  • Keri says:

    My hula hoops are job, home, family, spending time with God.
    The hardest ones to keep in motion are spending time with God, and learning to take care of me.

  • Stasia says:

    Hula Hoops, wow , wife of 27 years, mother of 6 Team A ~ 25 yr daughter soon to be married, 22 daughter in college, 20 year old missionary daughter, we have served as missionaries for 25 years (All over Asia and the Pacific and now in Central Mexico, Homeschooling mom for 23years, Director of the Tepehua Community Service Project in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. I HAVE to get up early and spend time at His feet, or in the Living Room… I can feel it and so do all those in my sphere or influence if I do not…sometimes i feel I may be too busy to have the time, but all the time I “think” I am saving from not using that time at His feet ends up at His feet anyway because I either have to repent for a bad attitude (from not spending time with Jesus) or I have so much “heart baggage” I have to spend with Him to heal my heart… I need to do the right thing FIRST instead of my thing first

    • Stasia says:

      What wisdom, may you be blessed sister and may you be able to lay it all at His feet because He cares for you.

    • Angie says:

      I love how you put it Stasia and you are so right – when we don’t spend time first at HIs feet we end up there anyway repenting and with baggage. Very well said! I am praying for your husband to pass the driving test and for all of your documents and finances to line up perfectly so that you can return home and continue His work.

  • Jenn says:

    1.Name the hula-hoop responsibilities you have in your life. Which one is the most difficult to keep in motion?
    My hula-hoop responsibilities are: my three children (ages 8, 5 and 17 months), my daughter and getting her through a hard time right now, wife, daughter, student, friend, volunteer, time for Jenn, financial, and my new one- my Grandmother’s health care advocate. The hardest one to keep in motion is all of them at one time or another, depending what is going on.
    2.Give an example of a time when you put God first in your life. What happened?
    I am trying to do this now. I haven’t really done this in the past. I was raised Catholic and have been finding that I am just not getting what I need from the church anymore and I am looking. That is one of the reasons I have joined this group, I am trying to get over the guilt instilled in me that looking for a different way to interact with God is ok.
    3.Look up the word trust in a bible concordance, such as http://www.BibleGateway.com and share a verse that speaks to you.
    Proverbs 3: Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    I really like the end of Chapter 7, where she talks about the toy a gyroscope and how once you set it in motion it just keeps going and is very hard to knock over and that if we surrender our hoops to God, he can be our gyroscope and stabilize the turbulance in our lives! I am hoping that one day soon, I can surrender my hoops to him and feel his stability in my everyday life!

  • Miranda says:

    Hula Hoop? Humm? My dreams. When I got married I believed in happily ever after. But divorce left me a single Mother first (for about 23 years) and then a single person. We never had much money but this didn’t stop me from dreaming of buying a home (like my parents), having a degree ( have two) and a tiny bit of cash. But, what I’ve got are insurmountable debts, a house I can’t fixed, a career with no openings, and loans I can’t keep up with. Every month I step into the Hula Hoops and swing my hips hoping each time that I will get the rhythm and watch them work their magic. This study has encouraged me to set down the hulas, grab a cup of coffee, a few cookies (and my book) and sit at my favorite resting place with my closest friend, JESUS. I rest at HIS feet…And when I do slide down around HIS ankles I can hear Him say to my Spirit, “And now I will show you the most excellent way.” 1 Corinthians 12:31b

  • Teresa says:

    I found the lessons from Lazarus to be so helpful to me last week, especially the grammar lessons. I needed to hear that I shouldn’t put a period where God puts a comma. I have been feeling stuck in my work life and am actually taking two weeks off to rest and examine this part of my life.

    I had come to believe that this is as good as it gets – and I stuck a big fat period at the end of that statemet. Based on last weeks’ reading I have been praying for God to change me to be more willing as a first step, then to let go and surrend my future to God’s will. These steps are helping me recognize my situation as temporary and needing a punctuation change from period to comma. I have also been reminded that I will not escape bad things in life just because I’m a Christian. Jesus overcame and so shall I through his love.

  • Dawn says:

    What another amazing week.
    My hula hoops responsibilities are finances, trying to get my home in order, my job, ill husband and a son at uni in a different city and my family, also living in other different cities . The hardest one is my finances, every time I think I am getting somewhere something comes along –

    I have had so many favourite moments from this weeks study. I will definitely be using some of the ideas for a more creative quiet time and I have adopted the prayer Joanna Weaver uses in Chapter 7
    Teach me Lord. Show me the rythm of life. Be my centre. Amen.

    • Angie says:

      I agree with you Dawn that this was another awesome week and with lots of favorite moments! Finances are my hardest hoola hoop to keep in motion as well. I am praying for stability in this area for you.

  • Sheree says:

    I am trying to get caught up in my reading of this wonderful book. I have been suffering from terrible spiritual warfare to the point where I was about to throw in the towel. I really let the enemy get to me, and he thought he was winning. However, the peace of God that surpassess all understanding washed over me, because it is in HIM whom I shall TRUST and not put my TRUST in man. What tough lessons we have to learn in life sometimes for this truth to seek in!! I used my favorite online Bible tool…www.blueletterbible.org to search the word “Trust.” The verse that really spoke to me is Psalm 25:2 NIV, “In you I trust, O my God, do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.” I have also been reading “Lazarus Awakening” for our Bible study group at my church on Wed. nights. It’s amazing how these two books compliment each other and have really helped me deal with a very sensitive and hurtful situation I’ve been experiencing for the past month. I feel like I’m finally coming out of a coma from being hit by a train.

  • Trina says:

    1.Name the hula-hoop responsibilities you have in your life. Which one is the most difficult to keep in motion? Family, housework, financial,obligations….probably obligations
    2.Give an example of a time when you put God first in your life. What happened?
    During my teenage years I spent more quality time with the Lord then I ever have and he made everything fall into place and brought me peace so I was never attracted to what most teenagers were. I wasn’t perfect mind you but I wasn’t lost either and it has shaped my personality and shown me what really matters = )
    3.Look up the word trust in a bible concordance, such as http://www.BibleGateway.com and share a verse that speaks to you.Psalm 31:14
    But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

  • Julie says:

    Hula-hoop responsibilities I have in my life: work, family, kids’ activities, kids’ homework, household chores, doctor’s appointments, finances, spiritual life. Most difficult to keep in motion: my spiritual life. I am working harder at making more time for my relationship with God, primarily by doing this Bible Study and working on finding a time during the day to read my Bible, but I get easily distracted by everything else in my life.
    Trust: Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding” I struggle with wanting to understand why things happen the way they do, and this reminds me that it is not important for me to understand, but for me to trust that everything that happens is God’s will and He knows and understands why things happen the way they do.
    Favorite moment: Joanne talked about how “whatever keeps us from spending regular time with God–it is sin.” That is a very strong statement, but one that makes me think that, as much as I try to do what is right and stay away from sin, I am continuing to sin every day that I do not make God a priority. This is the kind of thing I need to hear to make me realize how important it is to make time for God each day, no matter what. There is no excuse for this sin.

    • Christine says:

      Make sure legalism does not impact your relationship with God. You can “be intimate with Him” as you go about your day, praying a blessing while you clean the home, praying for people sitting in the doctor office waiting room, listening to Christian music or bible study CD’s while you drive or wait in carpool. it may be more in balance than you think. As long as you have God centered in your heart, you’re balanced. 🙂 If you struggle about why God allows bad things to happen, you may benefit from a study on strongholds or spiritual warfare. When you make God a priority in your heart, He becomes a priority in your day and you filter all thoughts through Him. I recommend the book Invisible War by Chip Ingram in order to discern when the Spirit is convicting and when Satan is condemning. Its crucial to know the difference as you draw closer to God, because the enemy will weigh your heart down with guilt.

    • Sue Alice says:


      I know it is hard to spend time with God everyday, but as Christine points out so well you and see Him in all things as your day goes on………..look for the little things in the world, a butterfly, flower, some smile, and thank God for those reminders He is with you. Sing to Him as you drive. Keep up the good work . Praying for you always. I love you.

      • Julie says:

        Thank you for the encouraging words. I continue to try to make more time for God. He is always on my mind throughout the day, I just think I could do better about having a structured time to spend with him.

  • Melissa says:

    Another great week!
    1. The most demanding hula-hoops in my life are ages 6, 4 & 2.:) My responsibilities as a mother & a wife alongside the demands of our business that I run often adds a lot of anxiety to my daily life. BUT in the past weeks I have been feeling the glorious peace that comes from a consistent quiet time with God… I haven’t had that in a very long time and it feels AMAZING! I feel like the friend Joanna describes who said “I can’t believe the change getting alone with God is making in my life… I actually caught myself singing the other day!” “It’s the time we spend with God that provides the serene center to a busy, complex life.”
    4. I gained so much from Chapter 7! I love the concept in the excerpt by J. Sidlow Baxter on WILL. “Suddenly I felt hope- hope that I too could experience the joy of the Better Part. I didn’t have to wait until I felt spiritual to spend time with God. I just had to make a decision of the will, and the spiritual feelings would eventually come around.” This is so encouraging and true! I also personally really need to spend time praying over and applying RELINQUISHING CONTROL on pg. 128. I am praying first for a change in attitude. I am fearful that I may not be willing or ready to follow His call. It can be scary!

    • Christine says:

      Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your words as you change your attitude. Get closer to Him and ask Jesus to intercede, and by doing so you give control to Him. God did not give you a spirit of timidity, so when you feel that know its the enemy trying to turn you away from a calling. Stand firm and serve an Audience of One.

      For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Tim 1:7 NIV

  • Monica says:

    3. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding”. This is currently what I have been struggling with. I need to stop worrying about things that are out of my control and trust the Lord with all my heart.

    4. In Chapter 7 when we had to meditate and write about one of the passages, James 1:22-26 was an eye opener for me. It’s just a great reminder to keep me on my toes.

  • Susan says:

    1.Name the hula-hoop responsibilities you have in your life. Which one is the most difficult to keep in motion? husband health & healing – physical therapy & lifestyle changes, my health & healing – shoulder exercises & lifestyle changes, daughter – occassional babysitting & financial support, pianoist & piano student. I’m having trouble focusing on my health right now.
    2.Give an example of a time when you put God first in your life. What happened? During my husband’s surgery. I experienced peace knowing that I had turned it over to God.
    3.Look up the word trust in a bible concordance, such as http://www.BibleGateway.com and share a verse that speaks to you. “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.'” Psalm 12:2
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. I have several : – ” The only limitations of God’s presence in our lives are the limits we ourselves set – the excuses we set up to avoid being filled to the measure with God.” ; – ” a delay in answer is not a sign of God’s indifference or his failure to hear. It is a sign of his love. The delay will help us. It will make us stronger.”; – “you attempt to breathe life into something God intends to die, you become a stumbling block to Christ.”

  • Christy says:

    I have to say, I’m keeping up with my reading, but I’m slipping back into my Martha ways- putting off sitting down and refreshing in exchange for “lots to do in the kitchen”! It amazes me that it only takes a few short weeks for change to happen, and then potentially reverse again! I am fighting it along with the threat of falling over from trying to balance hoola-hoops!
    My family are my hoola-hoops- 1 for my 2 yr. old son and 1 for my 5 month old daughter. Then I have 1 for my house, 1 for my husband. Not too many, but they spin fast 🙂
    Psalm 23 has been a life-saver- my reminder that God MAKES me lie down in green pastures! I have no choice when but to stop and halt my Martha tendencies 🙂

    • Christine says:

      It’s possible the Spirit is showing you the vulnerabilities to your faith. Being a busy mom with young children requires more effort and focus. Your obedience is not unnoticed and He blesses you for this. Is there another mom in the area you can trade “free time” with? I did this when my kids were little. On Tuesdays I watched the kids for 2 hours while the other mom shopped, went to the gym or a bible study. On Thursday she watched my kids. With the right friend, this works great! Never feel guilty for taking time for yourself- when you are refreshed, the entire household benefits. God is good to His children- and you are His Daughter!

      • Christy says:

        Thanks Christine- I love the idea and you definitely hit a chord with the mommy-guilt! God’s love is so good and I appreciate your compassion!

  • Patti says:

    My hula-hoops include running my household, teaching part time, writing part time, running a business, and keeping up with my running (literally) and training for half marathons. I think the household (1 teenager, 1 preteen and 1 husband, all boys) is the hardest for me. No one else thinks or plans the way I do so I feel like I have to thing and plan for 4 people all the time or nothing will get done! That’s why I love my running/training so much…it’s all about ME! It’s my time to think, pray or just zone out from all the hula hoops that I am juggling.

    Nahum 1:7 (NIV) “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.He cares for those who trust in him”

    I think trusting God is the only thing that will allow you to have faith, and one of my favorite quotes this week was “Faith is about how you live your life in the meantime, how you make decisions when you don’t know for sure what’s next.” Trusting means letting go of some control, and that is very hard for me, but I am seeing in this book that I have to let go, loosen up, and trust God so I can be more productive in the ways He wants me to be.

  • Carolyn says:

    Name the hula-hoop responsibilities you have in your life. Which one is the most difficult to keep in motion?
    This is ever-changing. Some days it’s housework, other days it’s a peaceful home, or discipline, etc. For me, the easiest hoop to keep going is my 9-5 job. Then again, it’s not as rewarding as the responsibilities at home:)

    Give an example of a time when you put God first in your life. What happened?
    I learned about six months ago that I need daily time with God. Since that time, I have enjoyed more peace is my life.

    Look up the word trust in a bible concordance, such as http://www.BibleGateway.com and share a verse that speaks to you.

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

  • Erica says:

    I have fallen a little behind in my Bible study but I am loving it so far. I am on Chapter 6 and hope to get closer to caught up by the end of the week. Yesterday’s sermon at church was on worrying, so I have been reflecting and really examining myself and weeding out the worry.


    • Sue Alice says:

      1. My hula-hoop ressponsibilities are……… money, husband is ill and needs my care, moving again, and just trying to stay in these studies.

      2. Last fall when we moved, and during Alec’s by-pass surgey.

      3. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:18

      Sorry this is so short, I am goiing through a rough patch right now. Blessings to all.

      • Christine says:

        Wow you quoted the wrong passage so I looked it up to be sure. You quoted Proverbs 3:5-6, which I quoted to someone else earlier today. 🙂 The one you posted is gorgeous:

        She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
        those who hold her fast will be blessed. Proverbs 3:18 NIV

        Thank you for the typo, it makes my day!!!

      • Angie says:

        I’m sorry you’re going through a rough patch right now Sue Alice; I hope it’s a short one. I am praying for you and your family. I’m so glad you’re hanging in there with the studies though; God is faithful and will reward you for your perseverance!

  • Angie says:

    1. Name the hula-hoop responsibilities you have in your life. Which one is the most difficult to keep in motion?
    I don’t have a lot of external responsibilities but I do feel like I am going around and around trying to manage the following in my life:
    * Finances (my striving to gain financial freedom – being debt free and having a home of my own)
    * Helping with the care of my elderly parents
    * Concern over my 18 year old son’s future (specifically right now his getting a college education so that he can get a better job; his motivation is very low)
    * My unhappiness/low self-esteem over my weight
    * My struggling with feelings of jealousy and envy of a person close to me
    The most difficult to keep in motion is my finances. Just when I seem to get a little ahead, something comes along or I make another bad choice, and I am set back again.

    3. Look up the word trust in a bible concordance, such as http://www.BibleGateway.com and share a verse that speaks to you.
    Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    I was very encouraged by the “Creative Quiet Times” list on page 113. Having a structured quiet time has always been a struggle for me and I feel guilty for that. I realized when reading through this list that I do several of these things and seeing that I actually do spend quite a bit of time with God throughout my day makes me feel better.

  • Amy says:

    3. Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my TRUST in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I ENTRUST my life.”
    The Message says, ” If you wake me up each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting you.” Psalm 143:8 I really like each version. It is a reminder of how important my morning study is to the rest of my day.

Join the discussion!