Stories of Joy — Martha

The women of the Among Women panel have entered into each other’s sorrows. Now it’s time to share their joys. Here is Martha’s story.

Martha: “God specializes in redeeming impossible situations.”

“There’s actually no joy in widowhood as such,” contends Martha. “However, there’s joy in obedience and accepting that life as God gives it. ‘Count it all joy, in every sphere, in every phase.’”

Martha, being her own wonderful self.

Martha has moved through many of the spheres represented here, and she herself represents not only widowhood, but also age. She has walked with Jesus for a long time, and finds joy where many find only necessity – simple obedience to God’s call to live fully in a painful sphere. A large part of this call, one that brings struggle, but also joy, is learning to simply live as a person by herself.

Looking back through the years, Martha is struck by the way that she was very dependent on her husband, Wesley. “Wesley was a big presence everywhere he went,” she says, “and I was very content to live in that shadow. I really was. And I did not want to be anything else. But [since his death] the Lord has taught me… how to be…a person myself.”

There is joy in the knowledge that she can assert herself, and like the person that she sees. She carries no resentment for her years as Wesley’s helpmeet; it was a God-given position that she relished. But in the pain of her loneliness has also come the joy of seeing that she is able to rise to the challenge, and be a person in her own right, instead of one half of a whole.

Another joy in her loneliness is a greatly deepened relationship with God. Although she’s not certain why this depth could only come about after Wesley’s death, she cherishes the gift. Wesley may be gone, but she is certainly not alone.

“I’m learning that Jesus is all I need,” she says. “He really is. I don’t always feel it, but I know it.”

Martha hugs her daughter Rosie.

And, over everything, there’s the bittersweet joy of looking forward to heaven. She finds herself becoming more and more homesick as she sees her earthly life drawing to a close.

“I’m so ready,” she muses. “I have to fight against fear of my immediate future, because it won’t be long at my age, and I would love to just skip that and go on to heaven.”

Until then, however, she will continue to find joy in these gifts born of simple obedience in the face of a painful call.

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