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Tension During Advent?

Advent can bring the inner Martha out of me. Despite my best intentions to be more Mary-like during this time, there is just so much to do - gifts to buy and wrap, cards to sign and send, house to clean and decorate, cookies to bake...

I think many of us mommies have many of Martha's qualities; after all, she is a do-er, a server, perhaps even a tinge of a control freak. If I ever thought that I had only a little bit of Martha in me, Claire McGarry's book Grace in Tension helped me to admit otherwise. I have a lot of Martha in me!

Oh well, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. The second step may very well be to buy Claire's book.

Please do not think that Claire picks on us Marthas. She admits to being a Martha herself. As Claire points out, it is not Martha's qualities and servant heart that bring about her correction by our Lord, but her attitude and disposition.

In other words, buying gifts, decorating our homes, and sending cards are all appropriate ways to celebrate Advent. It is how we do it, though. In her book, Claire shows us how to set boundaries for ourselves, trim back on the extras, and ask for and accept help. Ultimately, she guides us to sit at Jesus' feet, like Mary, where we can be attentive and hear Him speak to us.

Claire helps us recognize the tensions we feel in life as a gift, a grace that can draw us closer to our Lord. He longs to have us find balance between serving and sitting still. Grace in Tension can help us find that balance.

This book is not a quick, easy read. It is meant to be a self-reflective read. By taking time to think about how to view our stress and tension as a G-I-F-T, this Advent, and life in general, can become less stressful and more deliberate and contemplative.

To help us, Claire will host a book club on Facebook Live at today and the next two Mondays, December 6 and 13, at 7:00 PM Eastern time. Even if you do not yet have the book, (which you can purchase on Amazon at you will benefit by tuning in this evening. Claire will talk about how God can bring good from the tension, stress and chaos in our lives. She will teach us how to use her G-I-F-T (Gauge, Invite, Filter, Transform) anacronym to transform our Advent and Christmas into the peaceful and joyful seasons for which we long. There will also be time for questions. So, visit the page on Facebook at 7 PM tonight to begin to learn how to rein in your Martha and set your inner-Mary free.

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Kelly Guest
Kelly Guest
Nov 29, 2021

You are most welcome. And I agree, gaining a friend through the book publishing process was an unexpected gift from God for which I am likewise grateful.


Thank you so much, Kelly, for writing about my book! I'm deeply touched and profoundly grateful that you've shared it with your readers. I hope it blesses you as much as you have blessed me. I count our friendship as one of the greatest gifts of this book journey. Thank you for walking the crazy road with me and supporting me all the way.

I'm also thrilled that you've let people know about the CatholicMom Advent Book Club. I can't wait to meet with everyone tonight and share a bit more about how God is always working for our good, even in the midst of our stress and tension.

Thanks again Kelly! You are a gift!!

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