Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World

Finding Intimacy with GOD in the Busyness of Life

An invitation for every woman who feels she isn't godly enough...isn’t loving enough … isn’t doing enough…

The life of a woman today isn't really all that different from that of Mary and Martha in the New Testament. Like Mary, you long to sit at the Lord's feet...but the daily demands of a busy world just won't leave you alone. Like Martha, you love Jesus and really want to serve him...yet you struggle with weariness, resentment, and feelings of inadequacy.

Then comes Jesus, right into the midst of your busy Mary/Martha life-and he extends the same invitation he issued long ago to the two sisters of Bethany. Tenderly he invites you to choose "the better part"-a joyful life of "living-room" intimacy with him that flows naturally into "kitchen service" for him.


Check out Joanna’s new 10-week DVD curriculum at designed to enhance the study of the book. You can use it two ways:

  • DVD Study Pack: includes three DVDs of Joanna’s teaching and bonus videos, plus all the resources you need to promote your study or create a retreat! The pack includes a copy of the study guide packed with special features. Participants need a copy of the book as well as their own study guide (purchased separately).
  • “Book-Only” Option: If you’re unable to afford both the book and study guide, we’ve created a “Book-Only” leader’s guide that shows you how to use the DVDs along with the study in the back of the book. Participants need a copy of the book as well as a copy of the downloadable student workbook and viewer guides. You’ll find the links at

Watch the video by clicking here.


It all began with the desire to write biblical fiction. I've always been fascinated by the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10, but as I looked at the rest of their story found in John 11 and 12, I realized that there was much more than just a novel in these two sisters from Bethany. As I began to outline the actual book, God reminded me of a retreat I had attended many years before whose theme was: "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World." The speaker never even mentioned Mary and Martha, but the theme stayed with me and resurfaced as I wrote the book. I remember thinking, "Well, the book might stink, but what a great title!"

I had tried to find out the source of the title so I could get permission to use it, but no one seemed to know where it had come from. Eight years after the book came out, I was speaking at a Nebraska women’s conference when one of the leadership team asked where I’d found the title. I told her my story. Then Candy Arrington told me a story of her own.

“About fifteen years ago I was asked to be the women’s ministries director for our state,” Candy
said. “But I argued with the Lord, telling Him that they needed a Mary for this position and I was way too much of a Martha.”

“The Lord seemed to agree,” Candy told me with a smile. But then He whispered something to her spirit she would never forget.

“Yes, you are a Martha. But I want you to do this with a Mary Heart.” That phrase became her theme – Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. She put it on her stationery and that stationery went around the country. Somehow, the phrase ended up on a list of suggested conference themes and I ended up at one of those conferences! The rest, as they say, is history.

img_Candy1I can’t tell you how much it meant to meet Candy and be able to thank her for a phrase that has not only changed my life, but continues to impact the lives of women around the world. But what really touched my heart was the fact God cared enough to bring us together all these years later, solving a mystery that had nagged for years in my mind.

Thanks again, Candy, for your gracious permission to continue using the phrase God used to expand your life and ministry as well as mine!