Have you ever heard the Lord clearly speak to you? I mean really speak to you in a way that you can’t help but respond? I seldom hear the Lord speak to me this clearly, but I recall a time where He did and I immediately knew I needed to change.
I did a Gap year last year in Michigan, and on a weekly basis a housemate and I volunteered at a homeless shelter where we either served breakfast or helped behind the service desk. My housemate, Catherine, has a natural gift of speaking to people and making them feel loved. She also has a beautiful gift of healing, and when she prays with others the Lord often heals them physically, emotionally or spiritually.
Each week without fail, Catherine felt the Lord ask her to pray with different people. This often drew her away from the service we were doing which were both at least a 2 person job. She always asked me if it was okay to leave for a few minutes to pray with someone. I always allowed her to go, but often reluctantly, knowing I’d have to work twice as much. But how could I say no to her, she was praying with people.
One spring morning, in the last months of our Gap year, we were in the kitchen serving breakfast. I was prepping the trays of food while she ran them out to the dining room. In the midst of the busy morning, Catherine came up to me and said, “This man asked me to pray with him, but I’m not sure I should. What do you think?” This was not uncommon since she normally checked with me before going out to pray, but today she seemed a little bit unsure of herself. Instead of encouraging this opportunity for the Lord to work through her prayers, I selfishly told her, “Yeah, I think we need your help here. Maybe you shouldn’t pray with him today.”
Catherine agreed with me and kept working. As she walked away, I clearly heard the Lord call me Martha. Though the word was so simple, my heart immediately grew heavy with guilt as I recalled the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). I then reflected back on my whole year of service at the shelter. How often I took the role of Martha and huffed and puffed inwardly, while Catherine took the role of Mary by simply being with the Lord in prayer and sharing His love with others. How ashamed and guilty I felt.
After Catherine came back to the kitchen I went up to her, apologized, and encouraged her to pray with the man. She agreed and prayed with him. Later she told me the Lord worked powerfully in his heart as they prayed for his ill mother.
In the days following I thought about my self-centered disposition toward this situation all year long, and I found myself repenting to the Lord. I now saw that this was not just something nice that Catherine was doing, but was something very important. She was using the gifts the Lord blessed her with to bring others to Him. How could I ever possibly step in the way of her doing the Lord’s will, especially with my selfish motives at heart? I then apologized to her because I had looked down on her, and even sometimes stopped her from responding to the Lord. Yet, she still loved me and forgave me, just as the Lord forgave me.
Looking back on that story a year later, I still see this as such a valuable lesson that the Lord taught me. He taught me never to judge the actions of others, because I never know how He is working in and through them. I still find myself often taking the place of Martha when the Lord calls me to model Mary’s action of simply being with Him. I often find myself cutting short my daily prayer with Him to jump into daily tasks, when He longs for me to sit quietly with Him. I rush through conversations with people instead of lovingly listening to what they have to share with me. I am quick paced and impatient when the Lord invites me to be peaceful and patient. Yet, He has given me moments of peace and patience and I’ve found that is the place the Lord speaks. And that is where Mary and Catherine experienced the Lord. In the quiet of their calm, peaceful hearts. I’m still learning how to be quiet, peaceful, and patient, but He is ever patient with me. I am grateful that the Lord calls each one of us to be like Mary, and to choose “what is better” by trusting that He is the lasting gift that will “never be taken away” from us.
Maeve Buganski was born and raised in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, located about half hour west of New York City. She is the second youngest of 7 siblings and grew up in the People of Hope, Sword of the Spirit Community. After her GAP year in Michigan, she moved back home to Jersey, and is now studying Event Planning at her local Community College. She also works as a nanny, serves with a high school youth group, and is part of Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO- a college ministry). Her favorite things are spending time with her big family, singing and playing guitar, and watching the sunset.
Pictured are her 3 sisters, sister-in-law, and Maeve (bottom right).