Meet Martha of Bethany

He Qi's "Martha & Mary" in The Life of Jesus series is available here.
He Qi’s “Martha & Mary” in The Life of Jesus series is available here.

Martha, Martha…

I have known both Mary & Martha all of my life. I have always thought of Martha as the poor, misunderstood, responsible sister of the lazy, irresponsible Mary. I always felt that I could relate to Martha, that I understood where she was coming from in doing all the necessary things one does when one offers hospitality. I “got” her irritation with Mary, who was just sitting there doing nothing. I felt the sting of Jesus’ words as if He’d spoken them to me when He gently chastised her and praised lazy Mary.

After spending a week with Mary, connecting with and understanding her like I never have before, my entire perception of her changed. And I mean completely and utterly changed. I wondered if I’d had it wrong all these years where Martha was concerned, as well, so I asked Martha for some one-on-one time and she graciously invited me to spend a week with her in Bethany.

I still share a lot of commonalities with Martha. I have a do-er personality. I have a keen sense of duty, of doing the “right” thing (even if it is too often accompanied with the wrong attitude). I get upset with others when they don’t do what I think they should. My sense of justice oftentimes leads me to ask the Lord to make things right when I feel I’ve been wronged by someone, to take my grievance directly to Him.

Against the newly painted backdrop of her sister, Martha’s shortcomings (and my own!) shine brighter than before. But like the saying goes, We learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. (Can I get an “Amen!”?) And tucked amid all of the character flaws that we share, Martha displayed something that I feel shamefully lacking in my own life – a beautiful, teachable heart.

Listening to her testimony again, I realized that Martha didn’t repeat the same mistake twice. I want to have such a teachable heart! I want to receive His Words to me and have them “stick” like that. I want to respond to His chastening as quickly and wholeheartedly as Martha did. I want to be sensitive to His teaching. I want to be changed by obeying His Word. I want to share that positive character trait with Martha, as well.

If your heart desires the same, I invite you to visit Martha in Bethany this week. Click here to spend some one-on-one time with Martha of Bethany.


Meet Mary of Bethany

John Forte's "Annointing His Feet #2" can be found here.
John Forte’s “Annointing His Feet #2” can be found here.

I know, I know. Last week I was confessing that there were too many Marys in the Bible to keep them all straight and yet, here I go introducing another. Stick with me, though.

Mary of Bethany is someone I’ve known all of my life, but I felt like I had more in common with her sister than I did with her. Maybe its because I have this thing about feet and she always seemed to be about the feet. I don’t know. With half-hearted enthusiasm, I reached out to Mary of Bethany earlier this year and was surprised to find that we not only connected in a couple of ways, but she has since become a woman I deeply admire and want to be like.

You see, I’ve always had this prejudice where Mary was concerned, this judgment of her as the lazy sister, leaving her sister to pick up the slack while she did her own thing. The more time I spent with Mary, however, and the more attentive to her testimony I became, the more I saw her in a new light – as an example of a female disciple. Jesus called His male disciples to leave their work and follow Him. I saw clearly for the first time that this was what Mary was doing, as well. I became ashamed at how I had always viewed her, leaving all the work to her poor, burdened, responsible sister, Martha, when what she was actually doing was following Him, just as His male disciples were. And she was praised for her choice.

If you’ve held off on getting to know Mary of Bethany, let this be the week you decide to invest in that relationship. She’s not your average Mary. And she is about so much more than just feet.

Click here to meet my new friend, Mary of Bethany.


Summer Bible Study FAQ’s

Some of the women you'll meet this summer, captured by
Just three of the wonderful women of faith you’ll meet this summer (as portrayed by He Qi, Slavujac, & Wilhelm Wachtel).

What is the Summer Bible Study?

A weekly Bible study to help you connect with the women in the Word on a personal level – to get to know them as friends and sisters and mentors and kindred spirits. Each week is “self-contained” (or module-based), which means if you have to skip a week due to vacation, sickness or just plain life, you can pick back up with the following week without feeling behind. (Also, because it’s module-based, you can choose to have a 6-week, 8-week, or 10-week study, depending on your preference and availability, which makes it ideal for church-based Bible study.)

What can I expect?

Every participant spends one-on-one time with the “woman of the week” – getting to know her culture, her history, her life, her struggles, her reactions, her relationship with God.

The study is organized into five days per week, 2-3 questions per day –

  • Days 1 & 2 are foundational, as they introduce you to the woman of the week.
  • Days 3 & 4 are more relational, helping you make connections (and form a friendship) with the woman of the week.
  • Day 5 is applicational, making connections between your shared experiences and what God’s Word has to say on those specific topics.

Can I do the study by myself?

Yes! Everyone participating will do the Summer Bible Study as an individual study. The focus is connecting individually to the woman of the week. You will undoubtedly be challenged as you get to know a new woman from the Word weekly because you are connecting one-on-one with her.

Can I do the study with a group?

Yes! I actually encourage you to add a weekly group setting to the individual study. I did this informally in my home once a week with three close friends. Some may want a larger group setting (at their church, for example) and some may prefer to get together with only one friend.

I highly recommend adding the group option for two reasons:

  • Each participant will each connect in a different way with the women in the Word and meeting together helps to round out the personality of the woman of the week by seeing how others connected with her.
  • It opens doors for connecting on a deeper level with the women in your present-day life as they share their struggles, their hearts and their connections with the woman of the week.

NOTE: Because the Summer Bible Study is module-based, it is ideal for your Women’s Bible Study ministry. Once you choose the length of the study, you can handpick which women you want to cover during that time period. Please email for more information on using the FREE Summer Bible Study in your church’s women’s ministry.

How long does it last?

This is a 12-week, self-contained (or module-based) Summer Bible Study. That means if you have to miss a week (or more), you will be able to jump back into it the following week without feeling like you are behind.

What is the time commitment?

Plan to spend at least 30 minutes a day during the five-day individual study. Like most things in life, you will get more out of it if you invest more into it.

If you add the small group element, 2 hours one day a week would be ideal.

How does it work?

Beginning Monday, June 6, I will introduce a new woman of faith and provide a link to the study for her. I will introduce a new friend every Monday following June 6 with her accompanying link. The last will be introduced on Monday, August 22.

How much does it cost?

It’s free!

What if I have more questions?

Please leave your questions in the comments or email

Girls Only Weekends

Once a month, these two head out for a weekend of camping and adventure. These are special weekends spent bonding over learning new outdoor skills, cooking over a campfire, and growing ripe from days without bathing - you know, boy stuff.
Once a month, these two head out for a weekend of camping and adventure. These are special weekends spent bonding over learning new outdoor skills, cooking over a campfire, and growing ripe from days without bathing – you know, boy stuff.

For years now, the girls and I have been having what we call “Girls Only Weekends” once a month while the boys go into Bear Grylls mode.

When my sister and niece lived nearby, we included them in our adventures, like this one to an indoor ropes course…

My daughter was fearless! This is right before we found out she needed glasses, but still. She earned a ton of street cred that night.
My niece was brave and tore through the challenges like a boss!

Over the years, we have also made some great memories with fantastic Mom & Daughter Duos like these at our Pinterest Party –

This Pinterest game was so fun...
This Pinterest game was so fun…
...the Moms decided to give it a go!
…the Moms decided to give it a go!
Making some good memories with these sweet Moms & Daughters
We made some good memories with these sweet Moms & Daughters, one game at a time.

These sweet Mamas & Daughters joined us for a Back-to-School Hair Bash one year –


Sometimes we do something completely new, like here when we volunteered with these cuties at a For the Nations Refugee Outreach event –


Or here when we volunteered in the community at the annual Plano Balloon Festival

First we work...
First we worked…
...then we played!
…then we played!

Or here volunteering to walk four-legged friends at the local animal shelter –

My sweet girl has such a soft spot for furry friends. Volunteering at the animal shelter is her most requested Girls Only Weekend activity.
My sweet girl has such a soft spot for furry friends. Volunteering at the animal shelter is her most requested Girls Only Weekend activity.

We’ve camped out at a state park, just the two of us in the tent…

Thankfully we travel with books because this campout, it rained. We spent a lot of time chilling on the bed reading about the Netherfield Ball.
It rained, so we read about the Netherfield Ball – together.

And we’ve hit the trails, like here –

Groupon. Rocks.
Groupon. Rocks.

Tonight is another such night.  It is the annual Mother/Daughter Lock-In at my church, where we have bonded over things like fashion shows and scavenger hunts, like here –



My daughter is too old for us to attend now, but the two of us will still arrive early & leave late…as volunteers. We will serve alongside other Moms & Daughters who have “aged out”, setting up, cooking, helping with crafts, organizing games, taking pictures and cleaning up. And in the doing of these things, we will add another mental image to the photo album of our daughter’s childhoods.

You, too, are in the midst of making the memories of your daughter’s childhood.  Look for ways to turn the ordinary days into extraordinary ones.  These are the days that will stand out in her mind in the future – and she will have shared them with you.  Seize the circumstances that present themselves! Create your own opportunities! Invite other Moms & Daughters to join you.  Or keep it simple, just the two of you.  Ride a bike. Have a picnic in your daughter’s bedroom.  Pick something from here or here or here. Just do something. Don’t put it off.  They are memories that will be enjoyed by both of you long after the moments have passed.