What Kind of Friend Are You? A Mary or a Martha? (Part 2 of 3)

“Martha, dear Martha,….you are fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing …” Yes, Jesus said that to Martha AND… I know several of us, myself included, whose names could be inserted in Martha’s place.

The above Scripture is Luke 10:41-42, from The Message.  The NIV uses this phrase:  “You are worried about many things…” Yep, gifted in that department too…

How ‘bout you?  Are you a “Mary” or a “Martha”?  Do you revel in sitting at someone’s feet (as Mary did with Jesus while Martha stewed),  listening intently, completely spellbound by their every word?  Then you are a “Mary”.


We “Martha”s (!!!), fume and fuss over every single, solitary, silly detail and want everything “just right” at the expense of all who cross our path. (Pity the poor person who makes that crossing!)

Happy with Housework

This week and next, we’re going to become acquainted with two gals who are polar opposites, a la Mary and Martha.  They also hail from different generations.  We’ll glean “pearls” from their unlikely friendship.

Last week we started learning about the “Friend Chick”, from Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman.  (click on…for Friend Chick..To learn about other chicks we’ve discussed, you may click on… Just B U Chick, Princess Chick, Warrior Chick,  Champion Chick)

God Chicks

You can meet these Mary-and-Martha-types  in a beautiful book called Over Salad and Hot Bread—What an Old Friend Taught Me About Life by Mary Jensen.  It was a favorite in our Book Club.  This true story blesses women of all ages.


You will laugh and cry (a lot!).  My goal with you over these next two posts is to walk us thru’ some highlights without giving away too much of the book in case you haven’t read it yet!

Allow me to introduce you to Nancy Bayless and Mary Jensen.  Oddly enough, Mary is a “Martha”, and Nancy is a “Mary”, thru’ and thru’.  They met at a writer’s conference.  They had “a common love of books and good writing, a passionate faith, and a fondness for each other.”


Nancy said, “We write together like one mind.” Thinking they had all the time in the world, they began setting deadlines, outlining, etc., excited about writing a book together.  Mary said, “Nancy and I had a few years to learn how to be friends and just a few months to learn how to die.”

Hebrews 12:1 was their go-to verse:  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” 

 One of Nancy and Mary’s favorite activities was taking car trips together.  (Think Thelma and Louise minus the cliff dive.)  While reading this book, you’ll feel like YOU are in the car with them.  Nancy never left without packing snacks, never forgetting the chocolate!  Wise woman…


Mary was always the chauffeur.  Nancy navigated with maps.  Mary was the anxious type while Nancy was adventurous.  Nancy called Mary “a classy young chick” while Mary said Nancy was an “indefatigable optimist”!  Their differences are hysterical.

Happy senior lady with hands out stretched against blue sky

Nancy was tough tho’.  She pegged Mary almost from the start.  She actually said, “I don’t see how you can believe in God the way you say you do and be so worried about everything.”  Ouch!

Mary said, “Here was my first major lesson:  keep a positive attitude.”  Nancy recited Philippians 2:14 to keep Mary on track: “Do everything without complaining or arguing…” 

One of my favorite parts in the book is where Nancy challenges Mary to grow her faith.  Do you have a friend who challenges you to grow your faith?  Be thankful if you do!  Pray for one if you don’t!

Mary said, “So I began praying earnestly for a passion for God.”  Isn’t that beautiful?  Wouldn’t we all do well to pray such a prayer?


Excerpts of Nancy’s writing are throughout the book.  Each one is more lovely than the next.  Her expression of loss over her husband’s death is a tearjerker that’ll melt your heart.  She concludes, “And I know my season of joy will come again…when my husband enfolds me with an eager hug…on a street of gold in heaven.”

One fascinating element in this book is the relationship Nancy had with best-selling author, Jerry Jenkins.  You’ll hear more about his visit with her next week.  Nancy was very fond of Jerry.  He helped her with her writing as she did him. (One of the many books he’s known for is Left Behind which Nancy was blessed to get to read in manuscript form!)


Another lesson Nancy hammered home was:  “Get your eyes off yourself!”  Mary marveled at how Nancy “collected people”.  She was intent on figuring out what made people tick.  The “Rx” for that became a prayer from Mary:

“Lord, now that you’ve given me a passion for You, give me a passion for others, a feeling to go with Your command to ‘love one another’.  Help me be obedient, and flood me at the same time with that remarkable love of Yours that sees everyone as precious, valuable, and worth my while.”


Like Frieda McGee, who I talked about in the “Champion Chick” post, at ninety years of age, she’s extremely  “others-focused”.   Nancy, at eighty years of age, was exactly like her.  Mary’s children saw in Nancy, “courage, perseverance, acceptance and overwhelming patience with people.  They saw a life that Christ rescued and a woman who loved Him for it.”

Mary was amazed at how the friendship she and Nancy had taught her so much about living.  Next week we’ll see how Nancy observes and boldly addresses married couples. If you are married, tuck your toes under the table as they’re about to get stepped on! (She could have been a counselor!!!)

We’ll also learn a little about dying.  Tough subject. Nancy insisted on dying with dignity and grace—another excellent lesson.

Before we part, let’s recap this week’s lessons:

Keep a positive attitude. 

Grow your faith.

Pray for a passion for God. 

Get your eyes off yourself. 

Be ready for MORE in the next post! Blessings to you!

 ‘Til  next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to one of my dear friends, who is a TOTAL, 100%  “MARY”.  Best listener on the planet.  Funniest friend on the planet.  Funnier, her name happens to be NANCY!!!  And her favorite word is “indefatigable”!!! Remember Mary used that word to describe her Nancy.  My Nancy loves Jesus more than anybody and wants EVERYBODY to know Him and love Him like she does.  When she calls me on my cell, and I see it’s her, I start laughing before I ever answer the phone.  Many of you know her….let’s give a big shout out to Nancy Aguiar!  God Bless You, Dear Friend!)

Nancy Aguiar


Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Life Lessons

7 responses to “What Kind of Friend Are You? A Mary or a Martha? (Part 2 of 3)

  1. Pingback: What Kind of Friend Are You? Healthy or Unhealthy? (Part 3 of 3) | Worship with Words

  2. Nancy Aguiar – a truly unique and amazing woman! The glory of the Lord radiates from her to whomever she encounters! It makes me smile just to think of her.

  3. Robin Chaddock

    Elizabeth! This is just the best thing ever. We get to sit down together so seldom, and now I get to feel like we’re chatting every time I read a post. You are so gifted at writing about book and other writers. Someday, my dear, it needs to be YOU.

  4. Cassie Soete

    I sure do love Nancy A. too!!!!!!!!! Who doesn’t!!!!
    Elizabeth you are loved and a gifted writer…you go girl (great seeing you the other night).
    God is good. I am blessed to know you “little girls”
    Hugs, Cassie

  5. Betsy Heady

    E, love your post…have not read this book, but it sounds like a “must read”. I love your tribute to Nancy A! I have said many times that she is an angel in disguise and makes you feel you are the only one on earth when she is talking to you…she inspires everyone to love Jesus a little deeper!

  6. Nancy Aguiar

    Aw, Elizabeth, what a sweet tribute and GREAT post! Great lessons! Great reminders! Oh that we could be the perfect blend of both Martha and Mary! Loving you until the end of time and then forever more! Reaching for my phone… 🙂

  7. How I love your Mary/Nancy! Another great read! Thanks, Elizabeth.