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Full Blown Martha Mode

Telling Your Story
by Bev Berens

Published: Friday, July 6, 2018

It was on. The gauntlet was down and the clock ticking.

I was in full blown Martha-mode and everything had to get done that was not yet done. And by everything, I mean everything.

Everything from finding mates for the bag of unmatched socks (which no one would ever see since it's stashed behind the trash basket in the bedroom) to the second round of ridding every room, cupboard and closet of every stray piece of anything that ever existed, stocking the freezer and refrigerator with dozens of home-cooked meals, desserts and enough groceries to feed a regiment for three weeks, perfectly weeded flower beds and each gravel stone in the driveway correctly aligned and facing the same direction.

Because I had company coming. I had a reunion in the making that took over 40 years to orchestrate.

Everything had to be ready.

Everything had to be perfect.


Then I could relax and pretend making everything perfect is just my easy breezy nature. Then I could be all cool, calm, collected and neatly attired complete with makeup and a fresh coif when they arrived. I could be the perfect hostess, not the sweaty hostess who is stashing last night's unwashed pans in the oven hoping no one notices.

Oh Martha, Martha, Martha.

Why are you stressing yourself out, Martha? Even your chiropractor noticed the stress when he put your neck back where it belonged and then ordered up a good dose of Vitamin B's, just like you would give a cow that needs that extra boost when she is feeling a little overwhelmed.

Why are you worrying, Martha? You know it's not about the atmosphere of surroundings and gourmet meals but rather the atmosphere of friendship and fellowship.

Shame on you, Martha.

Why can't you concentrate on the momentous occasion at hand and forget about details no one else will ever notice or ever care about? Like a bag of unmatched socks somewhere in the house?


I tried being Mary, but I was stuck in Martha mode with the throttle wide open, barking orders to everyone in my way.

The big day arrived, and I was ready to make the final pass, even though my list was impossibly long and, well, just plain impossible. But my hopes and spirits were high as I tapped into the Power with my devotional book, Bible and coffee nearby at 5 a.m. It was time to get this show on the road.

Refuse to worry.

That's it. The first words of the devotional for the day. Refuse to worry. I could have stopped and closed everything up right then and there. The devotions went on with some supporting scripture, which pretty much ran through my brain before I even read them. It was like God had just spoken directly to me. Do you suppose he instructed the devotional's author to write those specific words for June 25 just for me? Because He knew that on that date I would open to that page and be admonished to stop worrying? Yes, He probably did. He's not beyond something like that, you know.

"Refuse to worry, Martha. I got this. Everything will be fine, Martha. Everything already is fine. You are enough, and everything is already enough. Relish the miracle of the moment that is about to happen. Refuse to worry, Martha."

And so, I did. I stopped worrying, threw away the list and behaved like a normal woman. I stopped being Martha, because whether I actually matched socks and froze enough food to last all summer or not, everything was already OK.

Bev Berens is a freelance writer and FFA parent from Holland, Mich. She can be contacted at

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