Martha was the sister my mom never had. They were shirt tailed cousins and had known each other from birth. Martha lived on a small farm 50 miles outside of Indianapolis. Her address was simply ‘Rural Route’ for many years.
A day didn’t go by that my mom wasn’t talking about Martha and her husband, Shorty. I cannot remember a time that I didn’t love Martha. As a child, I marveled at her outward beauty. She had a peaches and cream complexion with a smart smile, twinkling blue eyes and gorgeous blond hair.
Even though in my adult life I moved out of state and visits became rare, Martha has had a lasting effect on my life. It was in my maturity that I realized her outer beauty, although authentic, was enhanced enormously by the Christ like love that radiated from her being.
She was the epitome of grace and beauty wrapped up in country hospitality and charm. She taught me that money does not equal class. Because, it was at Martha’s house that I used the outhouse, a double seater! (Yes, they finally had indoor plumbing, but using the spare bathroom always required shoes!)
Wealth equals class. Martha was wealthy in all the things that makes life beautiful. Love of family, Love of creating art, Love of growing and nurturing plants and animals, Love of being quiet and still with her Lord, Love of creating hominess. When you left Martha’s presence you felt refreshed. Contentment and joy overflowed from her heart.
Hearing that Martha has gone home to the Lord brings me great joy. Even though I’ll never again hear her golden-honey voice call me, Bonny-boo. She has been released from the pain of this world and is now enjoying great glory. She’s reunited with family, Shorty and my mom. However, hearing of her passing is a bit like losing my own mom again.
As I mentioned, visits in my adult life with Martha were but a dozen or so. And truly, even when I was a child, visits weren’t but two or three times a year when mom and dad would pack up and go out to the farm for a day.
It’s not always the amount of time the makes a difference in someone’s life. It only takes a few encouraging words and a hope-filled demeanor to be remembered for a lifetime.
This just drives home the fact of how important it is to connect with people. Let’s not forget the Grassroots Marriage Movement (See the_generous_husband link here)! You can have the same effect on a couple in your congregation as Martha had on me.
It just takes simple concern and a moment or two of time. Grace a couple today with your interest. Your simple words of encouragement may make a lifetime impression on their marriage.
Most of Martha’s influence came not through being in my physical presence, but through my mother’s love and admiring words of her. There’s a ripple effect. If you positively affect one couple, you may never know the ultimate good it will do.
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