Archive for May, 2013

As Unto the Lord

Okay. So we have talked submitting. But that doesn’t mean much without a comparison. See, we submit to the government, knowing if we don’t follow their laws we could go to jail or be penalized. We submit to our parents, or at least did at one time (or pretended to.) It doesn’t mean a lot to “submit” unless it’s given a value.

As unto the Lord.

Now, I submit to the Lord because He has given me every blessing. All good things come from Him. He created me, and my children. He has given me beauty for ashes. I have a beautiful home, my husband loves me. I have a great family. I live in an awesome country. And this is why I praise, and submit, to the Lord. Right?

Wrong.

I submit to Him, because HE IS GOD.

Not for what He’s done.

For Who He is.

The Creator of the world, who did it all in seven days. The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. The Maker of Love. The One who knows all. There is so much I could say, and it has NOTHING to do with what He’s done for me. I pray, that if tomorrow I lose it all, I will still praise His name and submit to Him. Oh, I pray that so hard.

Now my husband.

He is not God. I don’t imagine your husband is either. He isn’t perfect. He makes mistakes. He has overcome lots himself, he will stumble and fall. He will hurt me. He will err in judgement.

But I must to submit to him, because of WHO HE IS.

Knowing that he will mess up, think of himself before me, make a rash decision, not think things through . . . I submit to him, knowing these promises:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. Ecclesiastes 8:5

So, what does it mean to submit, as unto the Lord? Well, how do we act towards our Lord?

-NEVER. Never. Never talk badly about him. Even, and especially, if it’s true. If you’re mad, and can’t get through it, get solid Christian help. That’s great. Vent to the Lord who created him. He’s the only one who can fix him anyways.

-If it’s not from your heart, it’s not true. Don’t pretend to agree with him. If you don’t, tell him in love but don’t be expecting your own way. If you don’t agree with his decision, don’t tell everyone but him. Pray for the peace of knowing that the situation will always comes out for God’s glory, if you honour Him in your obedience. For me, this is usually a “fake it till I make it” moment. I know it’s going to work out. But I want to fight, so bad. And then I regret it, and wish I would have just waited, just a day or two, to get my mouth to follow my heart. I’m getting there. Two steps forward, write about it, three steps back.

-It doesn’t matter if he believes the same as you. There is no description or qualifier here. It doesn’t say to submit to your Christian or perfect husband. Nope. It says the one you got. Obviously, it’s hard when your hubby doesn’t want you to go to church, or he wants you to do things that are not right. I know there are husbands who go against what God wants for you, or your marriage. That sucks. And that is not for some girl on a blog to speak to. That’s where the Holy Spirit and solid, God-fearing guidance come into play.

-Have a solid faith. If you have never allowed him to make decisions, or he isn’t capable (by history or character) of making good decisions, don’t give him something he’s going to fail at right out of the gate. Take small steps, allowing God to mature your faith, and allowing your husband to slowly take over leadership. Peter of the Bible did not walk on water the first time He met Jesus. As he came to know Him, witnessing His miracles and wonders, he took that leap. If you fully trust him, then it’s fine. If you’re afraid, let him and God earn your trust, with small steps. Pray for faith. He tells us that He will give what we ask for in faith.

And when you start giving these areas over to your husband, pray. With a desperate, pleading, and, dare I say, repentant heart. Many men cannot make good decisions because they have never been ALLOWED to. We, as women, need to own that. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to convict us where we need to be convicted. If we treated our husbands with the reverence and respect they deserve, just for being THEM, in all their imperfect glory, they would be able to rise up and be the men we so want them to be.

So what are the rewards? Why do this? Obviously, God tells us to. But what benefits are there for you, and your family? Stay tuned!

What did I say wrong? What was right? What is the hardest part of all this? I want to hear from you!

Well. I never professed to have it nailed. 

Ok, let’s rehash. First, know that ever since I posted the article on submission, I have done nothing but backpedal. It’s quite embarrassing, actually. But, my closing argument was that submissive women are just as strong as those who don’t. In fact, some might think stronger. I’ll let you decide that for yourself.

Ephesians 5:21-29 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Submission: Accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.

What does this look like in the year 2013? Women have made many strides since the Bible was written. We can vote, have high powered jobs, hold government office, and I don’t want to brag or anything, but I am now a person! I know, it’s great. But does the Bible change, even though society is virtually unrecognizable from those days?

I’m going to say, wholeheartedly and emphatically, NO.

So what does submission look like?

The biggest one for me: REALIZING THAT YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING

For real, I don’t. So why is it so hard to admit that? I mess up around our home every day. I’ll forget to set the timer. Leave a load of laundry in too long. Forget a child in timeout. Forget to pick up something at the store. Drive past the gas station, while on empty. Believe me, I could go on. These are just the things I FORGET. There’s also my mistakes: ignoring a child while I’m on the phone. Getting impatient with the Pretty One. Not following through on discipline when I just don’t want to fight. So why can I not allow my husband to do these things? At one time, and really, my natural state wants to nag him when he forgets his lunch at work. Or criticize him when he doesn’t handle the children like I would. At work, he is trusted with vehicles worth waaaaay more than the equity in our home. But I feel the need to look over his shoulder and say, “Well, you can cut his toast like that, but that’s not the way I would do it.” If we wonder why so many men feel the need to stay at work longer than they need to, look no further than the fact that men, in a lot of cases, are not welcome in their homes. They get yelled at when they help, and yelled at if they don’t. I know I am guilty of it, anyways.

MATCHING UP PRIORITIES

I can count on my two hands the amount of times that dinner was NOT ready when my handsome hubby got home from work. Seriously. He calls me when he leaves, I have it hot and ready when he gets home. The food, I mean. This was important to me, because all husbands want that, and it makes me a good wife. Right? NOPE! I’m realizing, now, years later, that he needs a shower at the end of a long day to ease into the hustle and bustle of our home. He is exhausted, and just needs a few minutes to clean up and get in Daddy mode. Huh. Kinda makes sense. Too bad I completely resented the fact that he didn’t seem to appreciate it. I told him to care and everything! Also, most days (the percentage was much higher before Baby #4, I think we’re now hovering around 70%) I had the house picked up when he got home. As in, nothing on the floors, toys picked up. Well. I can expect all the praise and accolades I want, but he would much prefer work shirts in his drawer, as opposed to still in the laundry basket (They were at least clean, okay?). So, now I write, with toys by my feet, coffee in hand, but, wait for it. . .  clean shirts in the drawer. It’s even easier. By adjusting my priorities to his, life is actually much simpler. Are all men like this? Have no idea. I’m only married to one. But it’s worth the question, “Hunny, what EXACTLY do you care most about?”

MAKING DECISIONS

Here’s the one we’ve all been waiting for. . . . letting him make decisions! We can say that we’re equal and all that, but when it comes to making decisions, especially with money, do we let our husbands? When faced with a decision, how many of us put in our two cents (or whatever it’s worth, the penny’s gone, and if you round down. . . ) and then get angry if they don’t listen to us? Or give them the silent treatment, or wait for them to fail so we can say, “I told you so!” That doesn’t seem like equal to me. I think that puts the pendulum totally on our side: if they don’t follow what we believe to be right, we get resentful. And I don’t know if you know the proverb about that, but a troublesome wife is compared to a leaky roof. Eek. That’s pretty annoying. And expensive. I don’t want him to be annoyed by my “having to have it my way.” I love him. I want him to want to be around me. Of course, in saying this, please realize that I am totally guilty of this. Actually, two days after my original post on submission, I blew it pretty good on this one. My HH made a purchase, without consulting me (he does not HAVE to.) I didn’t freak out or anything, but, um, my displeasure was known to all, believe you me. I gave him a good dose of girly mama attitude, but I didn’t yell or say anything straight out (NOT AN ACCURATE PICTURE OF BIBLICAL SUBMISSION). Well, wouldn’t you know. He worked hard, and ended up not having to pay for the purchase at all. Simple as that. It was given to him freely. Huh. If I would have worked through what I believe and truly feel in my heart before coming to rash judgments and, umm, emoting, I would have left it to him and God, and I would have been so blessed by it. But now, I was wrong and I had to apologize. Living and learning, I guess. I wish I would have knocked that one out of the park, and trusted him enough to mess up. See, I have found that there are TWO end results in letting my HH make decisions:

1. He is wrong. And he’s allowed to be. I am, all the time. I would much rather give him the grace and space to make mistakes in his own right, then ever stand in his way of something he believes in, or to regret something because of me.  If he messes up on his own, he is far more likely to apologize, not do it again, and learn from his mistakes. If I never let him take risks, either he won’t, and regret it, or he will, and will be too ashamed to come to me. I love him. I love him through the good and the bad. The thought of him not coming to me when he’s disappointed, and having to carry it on his own, breaks my heart.

2. He is right. And we, the family, are blessed by his decision, his knowledge and his leadership. ‘Nuff said.

Obviously, I am working on this one. Case in point. I totaled our car, and did NOT want another one. Mostly, I didn’t want to sell our holiday trailer to pay for it, because I love “camping” with the family as much as we can. He found a good deal, and he asked how I felt. I told him, truthfully, that I didn’t want a vehicle for the sake of our trailer. He overruled me. He doesn’t want me out in the country without being able to leave if there’s a problem. With the four kids, we can’t just ask someone to pick us up. So, he bought a car. It cost a little more than our other one, but it’s WAY better. The trunk’s bigger. Less mileage. Both fenders are painted. The speakers boom, almost like my old car. I love it. Yup. I was wrong. He was right. Good thing he listened to what he knew was better for us, rather than me.

PUTTING HIM AT THE FRONT

I’m not talking about priorities here (although I do have a strong opinion on that too.) I mean, letting him protect us. Not long ago we had problems with someone. It was bad. Our hearts were broken. There were many phone calls, screaming, crying, arguing, fighting. I dealt with it, to protect my HH. I would answer the phone, I would debate, argue, everything, to try and make them see how we felt. After one conversation with our pastor’s wife, I realized that I was trying to do what my HH is supposed to do. I let him handle it. He calmly laid down rules with this person. Problem solved. Completely. The crying, screaming, everything was over. I stopped making the situation worse by trying to make it better. He just eliminated the situation, and all relationships were restored within months. Even on facebook, I have a lot of old friends, and a lot of old guy friends. By putting my HH’s name before mine, I know that some people, guys especially,  think twice about what they say to me. They don’t know who they are talking with. I am not put in uncomfortable situations. I know one would say, just don’t be friends with them! However, I know that a few have been blessed by our family and our relationship, because we are SO MUCH different than how we used to be. I want to be a light to the world. But to do that, I need to be protected and sheltered by my husband. This goes hand in hand with. . .

LETTING HIM SHELTER ME

Especially, from myself. Up until a few years ago, seriously, I will commit to anything. And crying and not sleeping, I will follow through. I love to do things, to schedule things, head up and organize things. At the expense of myself, for sure. So now, I ask him. When I was due for the Pretty One, I asked him if I could organize VBS. I was due on the Monday of the program, and I went overdue with the baby before. . . and he said no. I am so darn glad. Then my mom, the other main leader, had a stroke, and the whole thing was cancelled. You know what? Life went on. My sanity remained intact, or at least at the level it was before. As it turned out, I ended up having our little girl the day before it was to start. Imagine how plain dumb that is? There is so much blessing in allowing him to decide my schedule. Obviously, a lot of it falls on me. But when the going gets tough, if I stop jerking at the chain, it is so much smoother. A couple months ago, when I was still pregnant, we were supposed to go downtown for ministry. I was so tired, and just over my head in life. He came home and said, I already cancelled it. All of a sudden, a weight went off my shoulder with a whoooosh. What a way to prove how much he loves me, and our family. If he would have “asked” me before cancelling, I would have said no. I hate not following through with what I say I would do. But, he knew ultimately what was best. He totally saves me from myself.

Please know, I am not a theologian. But I can read, and this is what it says to me. Now, to me, this is only the first part of the verse. As in, “Submit yourselves to your own husband.” There’s more to it than just a few nice and easy bullet points. It says, “as unto the Lord.” Oh boy. Also, this does not talk about what it means if you positively know that your husband is not listening to God, or have your best interest at heart. And mercy, that makes me sad. I’m praying about it.

What do you think? What areas do you struggle with? What irks you about all this? Love to hear your thoughts! Please, fight me. I don’t know everything. How many times do I have to say that?!?

Press Submit to Enter

A month ago, when I was phoneless, I watched CTV Newsnet to remind me of life outside my spaghetti speckled walls. No, not wallpaper. Genuine spaghetti sauce. I’ll get to it. Anyways, they were discussing the entertainment news, and right after the highlights on the Beib saga, they mentioned a new autobiography by Gabrielle Reece, a pro beach volleyball player. I was only half listening at first, reading the scrolling news on the bottom. But then I heard the word “submissive,” and my ears perked right up. The pretty, blonde, blowhard of a news anchor was discussing Gabrielle’s status as a role model. “Here you have a beautiful, tall, powerful woman who talks in her book about being submissive to her husband. In this age of feminism and equal rights, this is not someone you want your young girls looking up to.” She kept talking, but the blood was rushing to my face so bad I couldn’t hear anything else. Now, I don’t know much about this Gabrielle lady, but she has at least one gold star in my book. She seems to have accomplished quite a bit, but the anchors or mouthpieces or whatever they are completely discounted everything she’s done, because of that one simple fact.

I have been through a lot. My teen years were a complete mess. I struggled with suicide, depression, drugs, drinking, partying, and I was even arrested (not for a big crime, but still. It was scary.) I absolutely hated myself, and the relationships I had certainly fed into  my despair. I liked anyone who would give me attention. I was afraid to be different. Now, I have a relationship with Jesus. I know who I am in Him, and that’s all that matters. All my bonds have been broken. I have total and utter freedom, and I feel like I have something to share with the world. I feel like I am a good example of redemption. I try and be a good mommy. I mess up, but I always want to do what’s right. I’ve sacrificed for my family. But according to the media my own children, and especially our daughters, cannot even look up to me as a role model, because I both put my husband before myself, and submit to him in leadership.

Don’t get me wrong, I mess up. Just two weeks ago, I started a fight, based on a legitimate issue I had. I won, I was right, but I felt awful. I knew I didn’t do it the right way, and I felt completely stupid knowing that I was researching and praying about this post. So, please know that I am quite aware of my own shortcomings. I have been praying about this for over a month. Please hear my heart. My heart as a woman and as a wife is all about submitting to my husband. Now, before you start freaking out, forget everything you’ve heard about submission in the past. And then double check every single thing I say against God’s word. People (admittedly, probably men) have really wrecked something that can be the difference between happiness and strife, peace and conflict, marriage and divorce.

wedding

So what does the Bible say? These are some main ones:

Ephesians 5:21-29 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.

Most of us (even the unchurched) are very familiar with that first verse! But there is so much more to it. Just as Christ loves his church, covers his church and sacrifices for his church, so our husbands are to do for us. Just as we are to submit, obey and respect our husbands, they are to love us, cherish us and take care of us. Now, that may go against the grain. I know that gender roles are a thing of the past. But just as I don’t expect him to breastfeed our babies, he’d better not expect me to “man up” when I’m hurting or upset. It’s not part of my makeup. I feel things much more deeply than he does. I need him to protect my feelings and my heart. I need to feel wanted, loved and safe.

wedding1

 

What if you don’t feel safe? What if your husband is abusive? What does the Bible say about that?

1 Peter 3:7 says “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  There are two parts here I want to touch on. First, “heirs with you.” That denotes equality under God. Women are not second class citizens. We are equal in worth and in heritage. Second, “so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” That’s big. He’s saying here that if you aren’t considerate, and you don’t treat your wife with respect, your prayers will not be answered. As a Christian, and someone who believes that you must have a personal relationship with Jesus to be saved, this tells me that if you treat your wife badly, Jesus will not have a personal relationship with YOU. He won’t answer your prayers. He may not even listen to them, until you deal with that huge problem you have (and mercy, He will help you through it if you ask.) That’s huge. God does not condone wife beating. Anyone who has used this excuse in the past while beating their wives into submission is in a whole different ballgame. And they do not have God on their side. It is incredibly dangerous to enact injustice in the name of God. And man, does it make me mad. Anyone who has used the verse, “Wives must submit to their husband” in an evil, degrading or abusive way will be in big trouble. I think they will be in more trouble than those who beat or abuse their wives out of fun. Our God is a God of love and justice. He often speaks about the broken-hearted, the captive, and the defenseless. See what happens if you try to use His name and His Word for evil or to hurt someone else.

So, the next few posts will be about just that. Submitting to our husbands. And why submissive wives are just as strong as wives who do their own thing.

 

 

Believe me. I want to hear what you’re thinking. Comment on here, or facebook me. But either way, let’s chat.