Meet My Amazing Friend, Martha!

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Hey everyone!  I am beyond blessed to introduce my AMAZING friend Martha to the Kelly’s Korner blog world!!   She is one of the most remarkable women I have ever known, and I’m looking forward to helping the right man hit the jackpot with her!

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The first thing you need to know about Martha is that she is the perfect collision of North and South.  She was raised in Connecticut so she has New England culture, class, and sensibility, yet Martha has lived in Florida for the last 15 years, which has cultivated a deep sense of Southern hospitality, charm, and warmth. The diversity in her background makes her happy in a variety of cultures and climates, which makes her comfortable on both ski slopes and sand dunes. As a result, she loves to travel and has had many adventures around both the country and the world.

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Martha loves to laugh.  She has an incredible sense of humor and even as I type these words, I am smiling thinking back on years of hysterical memories shared with her.  Her intelligence gives her a very quick wit that you might not initially expect, based on her sweet demeanor.  She has a perpetual twinkle in her eye that endears her to everyone, both young and old.  Martha knows how to poke fun at herself, and she is able to make everyone laugh without making jokes at the expense of others.

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If I were to choose the one characteristic that stands out the most about Martha, it’s that she loves others so well.  She has an incredible heart for God, and His love pours out from every fiber of her being.  She lavishes love on her friends and family in ways that will leave you speechless. From unexpectedly picking up a friend’s favorite coffee to crafting stunning photo books of memories to celebrate milestones, there is no act of love too large or small for Martha.  The wheels in her mind are constantly turning with ways to shower the people in her life with love.

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As a teacher and a nanny to dozens of families over the years, she has multiple children she loves as her own. Former students return year after year to share the impact she has had on their lives, and the babies she has cared for view her as a second mama.  She encourages, she empowers, she challenges, she entertains…she brings out the BEST in every child she meets. Personally, I am so thankful that my son will grow up with her—at 10 months he is already enamored with and profoundly blessed by his Aunty M!

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Beyond the people in her immediate sphere of influence, Martha loves her community, and she often reaches out to people that she has never even met.  She has poured her heart into the Ronald McDonald House for years, caring for families who desperately need strength in times of need. I, and many others, can attest that she has made an incredible difference to those families during their most trying times.  Martha has also raised money and awareness for causes dear to her heart by running races and organizing charity outreach projects, often using these events to empower her students to make a positive difference in the world.  Martha has traveled to the Dominican Republic to help villages in extreme poverty, and she continues to support a family who captured her heart while she was serving there.   To say that she goes above and beyond to show love to all of God’s people is an extreme understatement.

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She is beautiful both inside and out, and the truth is, I could go on and on listing all of her phenomenal qualities and still not even come close to capturing them all. She never seeks praise or recognition for who she is or for what she does; she simply does what she does and is who she is because she loves. For her, it’s just that simple, love much, love often.

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In the end, Martha wants to share her life with someone who has a heart for God and is ready to embrace all that this life has to offer.  She longs for laughs, adventures, compassion, and understanding.  The perfect man for Martha would be someone strong, caring, and who prioritizes love of God, then family, then friends.

If you would like to know more about Martha for you or somebody else feel free to leave a comment or email me at jameemiller@me.com.

The Lessons of Heartache.

Lovebug,

You taught me something this week. Actually, to be fair, you and God worked together to teach me something and I’m pretty sure the lesson was harder on me than it was on you.

You and mama are thick as thieves. We spend the majority of every day together and much to my delight, have formed a bond that is rock solid. We know each other…well. You are comfortable to show me every side of who you truly are because you trust that I will love you in all of it…and you’re right.

Well, inevitably there are times when I have to run out and you are left in the hands of someone we love and trust, who adores you. This week I had a haircut and E was set to watch you, when you announced several days prior that you weren’t interested. Your anxiety about me leaving appeared on Monday, when you brought it up, before I had even mentioned the haircut on Friday. Your introspection never ceases to amaze me and you had already been assuming that since it had been awhile since you had been left in the hands of a babysitter, it was probably coming to that time again. When I explained the plan, you erupted into tears. “No thank you Mama leave, no thank you E play with you.” Heart. Broken.

I did what I assumed I should do…reassured you that it would be fun, that you would be fine, and that it wasn’t going to happen for four more days. For the rest of the day, you double checked that it wasn’t today and you continued to make your opinions known on what was to come. This happened again on Tuesday, then on Wednesday, and on Thursday. You were so sad that my heart wanted to cancel that appointment and just stay with you and love on you all day on Friday. Luckily, my head (and your daddy) said, “No.” Sparing you this sadness would only perpetuate your separation anxiety and would not solve the problem. Still, it hurt. There is this part of the mama bear in me that wants to protect you from all hurts, keep you from being sad at all costs, and make every day of your life filled with nothing but joy. And yet, I know if I do that, I will ruin you. I will rob you of every opportunity for you to see God’s faithfulness in our struggles and deceive you into believing that life is perfect. So we pressed on.

I prayed in the days leading up, arriving at a “Please God” crescendo on Thursday night. I wanted you to feel better about it in the morning and not have any anxiety about what was happening. As is often the case, God had other plans. My prayers were answered, but not in the way I requested.

Friday morning brought anxiety and more pleading for me not to go. In your uncertainty, I saw so much of myself. Longing to be in control, fearing the unknown, desperately grasping for security. I realized then that if you turn out anything like me, this will not be the last time you fear and want to avoid an uncomfortable and uncontrollable situation. So I listened to the God voice in my heart that told me to teach you what I have learned when I feel the same way…pray. Go to Him. Take all of your irrational fear, your mess, your anxiety and lay it at God’s feet asking Him to help you through each moment and guide you through each step.

I sat you on the edge of the bed and said, “Oh buddy…I hate that you are so sad and scared about this. Do you know what Mama does when she is scared and sad about something? I talk to God. I tell Him exactly how I am feeling and ask Him to make me feel brave and strong. I ask Him to give me everything I need to make it through what I am dreading. And you know what? God listens and God helps us.” We prayed together with your little two year old legs dangling and tears filling your eyes and we ventured out to greet E. Your tears continued and you clung to me, but I showed you that I trusted God enough to answer our prayer by giving you a big hug, telling you I loved you BIG MUCH, and walking out the door. Ouch.

I prayed for you as I left. In the grand scheme of life, this is such a small, small problem, but I knew it didn’t feel small for you. I know those feelings so well and really wanted to just make them go away for you, but I knew I couldn’t. This was just the beginning of God’s work with you—just has He has shown me, He will use every fear, every anxiety, every bit of trepidation to show that He is faithful in our trials, that He can be trusted, and that even when you feel alone, you are NOT. Not EVER.

My haircut took longer than it was supposed to, but when I walked back into the house I heard the soundtrack of a happy boy. Your feet slapped the floor as you raced around the corner and proudly proclaimed, “Mama!! I was brave and I was STRONG!” showing me your muscles. Triumph. Some might say that the victory was that you were able to be happy with the babysitter while I was away. Sure. But for me, the victory was so much greater. It was one tiny example, set in your brain and rooted in your heart that when we are scared, we go to God. That doesn’t mean that He takes the scary away, but that He is faithful to give us everything we need to walk through it and that we never have to take a step without Him by our side.

As I soaked in the BIG hug you gave me, I asked God to forgive me for almost robbing you of such a HUGE lesson. I asked Him to keep me from getting in the way as He molds you and shapes you into the man He has called you to be, because one thing I know for sure…He has BIG plans for you, little one.

I love you, buddy. BIG much.

Mama