Chronicling 40: Days 119-121

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Over the past few days, I have been involved in judging some theatre competitions, which I absolutely love.  I get notice of the pieces so I can familiarize myself with any that I don’t know.  I enjoy watching the live performances, and on the scoring sheets we get an opportunity to share notes on the performance so that they can improve for future competitions.

This past weekend was for High School students.  It’s an interesting space to judge because they are old enough to be more frank and direct (especially the seniors heading to college), but I am often reminded that they are in fact students.  They’ve had maybe 1-2 teachers influencing them, probably not workshops on the weekends and intensives over the summer.

I’ve judged these competitions in various districts over the state, but this weekend was in a new district and I was eager to meet new faces (judges) and see a new group of students.  Hands down, every district I have attended has had some of the most friendly judges.  Those who have been doing it for a while are happy to help the newer judges through the process.  It’s always been a fun space to be apart of, people who are not just judging but really care about helping these students hone their craft.

This weekend, it was different.

I was the first judge there, sipping on my coffee.  When she entered the space, she walked with such confidence as if this was old hat to her.  To my surprise it was her first time judging this particular district.  She rattled off big, impressive words.  I’m not sure if the purpose was to qualify herself to me… or set the tone that she was a professional regardless of who I was.

The second judge entered, like a diva onto a stage.  She was a queen. She was running the show.  As we watched the performers, we were not allowed to speak to the performers, but in the technical portions we could.  Immediately it became time to impress the teachers, students, and parents in the space with their knowledge and expertise.  There I sat, just listening and looking.  One was intent on pointing out flaws.  The other was insistent about teaching from her experience.  Their questions to the students were set up to trip the student up and give the judge platform to teach versus to listen to how the student came to their conclusions and decisions.

It was interesting to me, as an observer of this.  If these were college students, or professionals entering some sort of competition, then you have an expectation of excellence … and certainly at this juncture you would want to share your experience and wisdom with them.  For a group of high school students, who many were 9th graders competing for the first time, there is a gentler approach.  Instead of shouting the wisdom of the sages at them, asking them the right questions to get their minds thinking is going to go much further.

I thought about this in relations to conferences and retreats.   Sometimes the speakers come in, and because they’ve been given the platform, they elevate themselves.  They use big words and concepts, trying to establish the providence that they deserve to be in that spot.  When sometimes, what they really need to do is speak plainly to the heart of those who are listening.  Jesus knew how to put His message to the crowds in terms they would understand, that they were familiar with.  They didn’t get hung up on fancy words or ideas, but rather could soak in the words that were plain and simple.

I think of the Pharisees with their long prayers set out to impress the people with their knowledge and godliness… that fell flat because of it’s lack of humility.

If God has given me a platform, I shouldn’t have to prove that I earned it.  Why?  Because I am there to give the spotlight to God, not myself.  I should have a willingness to share my vulnerabilities and iniquities as an evidence to a God who equips the called… and sometimes those he called are coming from a mess.  But what is seems like a hurdle today can be used for God’s glory tomorrow.  When I am willing to share my humbled self, God gets to be on full display.

When a woman comes to me for counsel, this is not the opportunity to puff myself up and make it appear like I have it all together.  An attempt to stand on a platform of the “Perfect Wife”, “Perfect Parent”, “Perfect Christian”, etc.; as if I am some sort of expert.  When instead of listening with the intent of figuring out how I am going to respond, advise, direct, or sell my own self… I should be listening to ask the questions that will cause them to think and come to answers on their own.  Advising and directing as God leads and prompts.

 

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Chronicling 40: Day 25 of 365

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I’m twenty five days into writing, and I must confess something.  I really wondered if I would have anything worth saying 365 days in a row.  My life is not that incredibly exciting and I don’t really consider myself that insightful.  However it looks like 2017 is not slowing down… and Charlottesville has proven to be a striking moment.

I see eyes opening for the first time.

I see people who are facing that racism still exists, and exists to such an extreme extent… when for a very long time they have been trying to convince themselves it didn’t.

We can no longer say “that doesn’t happen today”.  It did, on Saturday.  Torches burning… only the pitchforks were missing. 

We can no longer say “that doesn’t happen here”.  It did, on a major college campus.  It wasn’t in some small town in the middle of nowhere.  Someone died.  Many were injured.

We can’t say “things have changed for the better”.  It hasn’t.  This time they were not afraid and came out from under hoods and robes. 

We can’t say “not my child”.  Not when a parent writes a public letter denouncing his son, whom he raised in the church to treat people equally.

The beauty in these ashes are those who are not longer quiet, the voices who are rising up, the ears who are willing to listen, and the stand that many are taking in the face of hate.

My friend Aimee said on the phone this evening, “Love must win.”

We know it did, on the cross.  We know there is victory over sin, even this ugly sin set before us.  But that doesn’t keep us from crying out, “Jesus come.”

Chronicling 40: Day 7 of 365

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I have a cat.  I say that because there are a lot of people who are unaware that we have a cat in our house.  In fact, we had a family member visiting not that long ago who asked: “When did you get a cat?”.

Our cat is seventeen years old, so yeah… we’ve had her for a bit.

The reason is that she was kind of anti-social.  She was fine with us, but if company came to visit… she was a ghost.  Slinking in and out of shadows, hiding in dark corners; you’d never know she was here.

In the last couple of years, however, she’s become the fixture in our home.  She visits people, even if they’ve only come into the house for the first time.  She has no cares about invading your space.  She despised our doxie, and now the two of them share space (we’re not at cuddling… yet).

I joked with my daughter that she had entered that time of the golden years when elderly people no longer care what people think.  Where they wear what they want, go where they want, say whatever comes to mind, and couldn’t care less of how others receive them.  Our cat has decided to live her best life in her golden years, and her playfulness and social visits are evidence of that truth.

We were discussing this a few nights ago, and I said… I hope that when I am the equivalent to her age as a human that I feel the same way.  Where I will wear whatever I want, do whatever I want, say what I really think, and have confidence in who I am.  Let’s be honest, no matter how far we get from high school days, there is still an element of us that is concerned with how others perceive us.  Our professional image, our ministry work, our family, etc area all impacted by how others view us.  We’ve been trained to put our best foot forward, at all times.

John the Baptist didn’t care what others thought of him.  Certainly there were those who thought he was a little off, gone mad, a little eccentric, etc.  But those who followed him had no doubt that he was a man of God.

Maybe I won’t wait until I am in my 70’s or 80’s to embrace all the facets of my personality, which were crafted in my mother’s womb by God who knew my name before it was ever uttered by my parents.

Disappointment Stings

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Have we not all been there, at one point or another, where disappointment strikes…. and it stings.   We feel the sting of disappointment in ourselves, because we failed to make the right decision.  Or, we may feel the sting of disappointment by others who failed us in some way or failed to live up to our expectations.  We may even feel the sting of disappointment when God doesn’t answer our prayers in a certain matter, despite feeling as if we are being faithful to His word and commands.   There are even times we are disappointed not in ourselves, other people, or God….  but just in the outcome.  Everyone may have done everything just right, but the outcome simply didn’t meet expectations.

When I was a child, I remember asking my mother for a clock radio for Christmas.  I had pointed out the one I wanted several times in store.  It was really cool, to a middle school aged child.  Classic 1980’s bright colors, digital screen, lots of buttons to do a lot of different things.  It was amazing.  This particularly year would be the only year in which I decided to sneak a peak at what my mom bought for Christmas presents.  I can’t recall if she hadn’t wrapped them yet or if I actually went through the process of unwrapping the package… but there it was… a clock radio.  However, it was not THE clock radio.  I was disappointed.  Not only was I disappointed, but I knew it was too late to get the one I wanted.  On Christmas morning, I opened that gift and set it aside.  I didn’t have the reaction my mother expected because I not only already knew what it was… I already knew I didn’t like it.  At that time, I couldn’t really grasp the struggles my mom faced trying to give us what we desired within the realm of what she afford.  I just knew I didn’t get what I asked for.

As a child, I didn’t understand limitations.  I believed you asked for things for Christmas, and you got them.  As we become adults, we must be able to let go of that child like expectation.

My mother did the best finding compromise between what I wanted and what she could afford.

Fast forward a few years, to my sixteenth birthday.  For the better part of the summer, I was working with my mom.  Every day we passed a used car dealership and I saw this beautiful car that I desperately wanted.  I have an affinity for classic cars, and this one was a beauty.  It was a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback and it was in my favorite color… green.  I knew that my summer job wouldn’t pay for THAT car.  I didn’t expect anyone would buy that car for my birthday either, I knew it wasn’t a “cheap” car.  I did however have an understanding of how much money I would need, and was willing to work for it.  On my sixteenth birthday, I woke up to an empty house.  There was a card on the counter, when I opened it… it read… It is green.  It’s a horse.  It’s in the driveway.  Then tucked in the car was a key that had a Ford symbol on it.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out… and I ran out the door as fast as my feet could take me.

However, in the driveway there was NOT a 1967 Ford Mustang.  Instead, there was a 1976 Ford Pinto Station Wagon.  My expression changed, I turned around, went back to my bedroom and cried.   My grandmother called me ungrateful… but she didn’t know about the car I saw every day on the way to work with my mom.  It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the car I was given, or what it took for my mom to buy it for me. In fact, I had not expected a car in the first place.  I grew to LOVE that car.   However, the way the message was conveyed caused me to believe one thing… when something else was delivered.  So, yes, I was disappointed at the time.

Part of being a mature Christian, I believe, is the ability to see the best in others.   Most often others intentions were not to hurt me, but to bless me.

I can see now my mother’s good intentions and how much thought she put into it. She had no way of knowing that my mind would come to a different conclusion than she intended.  Truth is, it had never crossed her mind that I would expect something differently.

By my senior year of high school, I had interviewed and auditioned for a major scholarship.  I really wanted it, worked really hard to get it, and came in second place.  I was disappointed.

When I was nineteen, I auditioned for a pretty big deal that would have landed me a summer job doing what I loved.  I made a miscalculation that cost me the job.  I was disappointed.

Into adulthood, I’ve worked on cultivating friendships that have fizzled over stupid things… and I was disappointed.  I’ve asked for specific things, prayed for specific outcomes, tried everything in my might to work things out in my own strength… and I’ve been disappointed.

Do you know what happens, to people who constantly feel disappointed?  They make one of two choices.  They choose to believe the world is out to get them, that nothing ever good will come there way, and they simply give up and stop trying.  Or, a person can choose to go another route.  She will continue on with life, doing what she has always done, to the best of her ability, not allowing disappointment to keep her from moving forward.  She will learn to expect nothing, and eventually she stops being disappointed and moves into a place of being pleasantly surprised by what goes right in life … and not focused on what goes wrong.

That is who I have chosen to be, and how to live my life despite a sea of disappointment.  I choose not to give disappointment power over me because I know there are hundreds more things that are going right and working out for me (and I may not even realize it).

We can choose to become women who work in all things as if we are working for the Lord, not for men.

Colossians 3:22-24

Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord.  Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically,[h] as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

Recently, there was a moment where disappointment started to rear it’s ugly head and I was starting to feel that sting in my heart.  His Word burned in my heart, and I was reminded that whatever I am doing is for HIS glory and not my own.  Whatever the results are, they are the exact results HE needs for His plans … not my plans.

Even when…. my prayers are not answered the way I want.

Even when…. those you expect to come through don’t.

Even when…. the outcome looks totally different than you expected.

Even when…. I can point the finger of blame at myself, or others.

Even when…. I cry out to God because I don’t understand why….

Because I know that His ways are not my ways.  His understanding exceeds my understanding.  I may see the big picture, but He sees the Kingdom view.  And I can trust that His ways are good and beneficial, that He always holds true to His promises, and that He cares for me more than I could ever comprehend.

If we can hold on to these truths… disappointment doesn’t need to sting but instead open our hearts to knowing something bigger is in motion.

Swept Away By the Lord & In Fellowship

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I am a big fan of Conferences and Retreats, they are places where we get to pull away from the every day and put all of our focus on Him.  There are no distractions, there are no interruptions.  They are an opportunity for total immersion into fellowship with your brethren in Christ as well as God himself.

This weekend, my home church held a women’s retreat.  We were blessed that a few other local small churches joined us for this time of fellowship and communion.

Speaker Michelle Howe pointed us toward having a “Swept Away” life in the Lord.   It is easy to be swept away by the world, the enemy… but it is a great thing to be swept away into relationship with God.  She suggested these daily actions:

  1. REJOICE (Isaiah 44:2) — the Lord has swept away our sins, therefore we have cause to sing for joy!  Rejoice in thanksgiving, prayers, song, praises, gratitude.
  2. REBUILD (Nehemiah) — when our walls are dropped, we rebuild them with HOPE that is found in the Lord and find we are restored.
  3.  RENAME (1 Cor 5:17) — we are a new creation in Christ, the new is here and the old is gone.  Our new name is Image Bearer, Christ Follower… not the labels of our oldself.

She then had the women at each table write their name at the top of a piece of paper.  Then, we were to pass them to our right.  As we received another woman’s paper, we were to allow the spirit to lead us to a word or statement about that woman… and write it down.  I’ve done this exercise before, but it has always been with a group of women that know me.  This time, with so many women at the event, many of us were seated among women we had never met or at least didn’t know very well.

After we received our paper back, we were instructed to circle 3 things… a statement that surprised us, a statement we expected, and a statement that we longed for.  What I found interesting was that the word I circled that surprised me, was the same thing I knew the Lord has been working on in me.  PATIENCE.  I don’t see myself as patient, but I have released my need to know and control the Lord.  It was interesting that someone would see that in me, a work that is coming to fruition.  The second word, was something I expected which was STUDENT.  I’m a student of the word in many ways.   But the third, the thing that I longed for someone to see in me was CHRIST.  In the past, when I’ve done this exercise… I’ve gotten a lot of great compliments.  But I’ve always longed for CHRIST LIKE to be in that list.  It’s been a “few” years since I’ve completed this exercise… and a woman wrote I was “light, like a city on a hill”.  It means my love for Christ, is no longer something that is inside of me… but a light that shines for others to see.  PRAISE GOD.

You can view Michelle’s full presentation notes here:  How to Live a Swept Away Life

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A member of our church then shared her testimony, and I’ll respect that sharing by letting her story remain her’s to tell.  But I wanted to share a few things that I took away from it personally.

  • We do not fool the believers around us.  Whether we speak up or not, believers can sense when we are struggling and will pray on our behalf.  The Lord brings our names to the attention of our intercessors in the church.  You have people praying for you, and you may not know it.
  • We swim at our own risk.  We may see the signs that the waves are dangerous, we know what lurks in the ocean.  We may dip our toes in the ocean of sin, slowly walking deeper and deeper.  There will be those of us who feel a little nibble, take heed, and return to shore.  Yet, some of us will continue to wade deeper, ignoring the bites.  We may not be paying attention to the waves coming overhead… or we are pulled into the riptide.  Taken deeper, unable to save ourselves from our circumstances.  Life may be a “swim at your own risk” event, but Jesus is the Life Guard who is always on duty.
  • Pursue the Lord in PRAYER, HIS WORD, IN RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM

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Speaker and Counselor, Amy Oliver spoke directly to my heart as she engaged us on the importance of seeking God directly in His Word, as well as a solid perspective on the Proverbs 31 woman.   Some highlights of her presentation:

  • Knowing who Jesus is, and being thankful for Jesus is not enough.  We must be in active submission to His Lordship.
  • Our prayer accepting Christ as our savior is not a stopping point, but a launching point.
  • The Word constantly and consistently calls us to RETURN TO GOD, to FOLLOW JESUS.
  • There is a difference between REGRET (being caught) and REPENT (broken and called to change).
  • His Word helps us to not only know WHO God is but to recognize the counterfeit that the world and enemy will try and sell us.
  • The fruit of our spirit is not a works based faith, but instead a natural response to act in obedience to the Lord.
  • In Christ there is REAL FREEDOM, in the enemy/the world there is an ILLUSION of freedom (but a price will be paid).
  • Good Christian things can become an IDOL in our lives if we allow them to take precedence first and foremost over our personal, devoted time to God.

A Proverbs 31 Woman is:

  • FIXED – she is rooted/grounded/secure in her role as an image bearer.
    • Women have a tendency to shift their identity as their circumstances or seasons of life shift.  If our identity is in Christ, then we need not shift but be rooted, so that no matter how things shift or change… we are still first an image bearer.
    • Women’s image or worth is not found in comparison with other women or the amount of likes a photo or story gets on social media.
    • Media tries to tell us who we SHOULD BE, God tells us WHO WE ARE.
    • The standards of the word are cheap, and they don’t last.
    • God knows our BEST, he is our MEASURE or STANDARD
  • FOCUSED – she is focused on HER mission, not the mission or calling of others.
    • Her success is not based on the success of her husband, her children, or her activities.  Her success is based on the mission the Lord has given her, thus what things we say YES to matters, why we say YES matters.
    • Requests of her time are weighed against her God given mission, she seeks the kingdom first.
    • Her life looks distinctly different from non-believers because she is mission focused.  Distinctly different, reflecting him, illustrating redemption.
  • FIERCE – she is fiercely dedicated to her task, she is not distracted or strayed.
    • She does not multi-task between her walk with God and the ways of the world, it is impossible to do so.  She is sold out for the better, kingdom calling… abandoning the world for Him.
    • She doesn’t have a guilty pleasure that is of the world, because she knows that it bears no fruit.  It does not set her apart from the world as a redeemed follower.
    • She does not repeat bad choices or behavior with a false expectation that this time it will turn out differently.  She knows the result of all sin is the same.
    • She wears the full armor of God, saturating herself in the Word.
  • FEARLESS – she is not afraid of this world, but fears the Lord.
    • Fear of the world = anxiety, depression, worry, etc.
    • Fear of the Lord = awe, reverence, worship, trust, etc.
    • Fear of the Lord casts out all other fears from the world.

When we have an encounter with God, we are changed.  There is a visible and noticeable difference.  How do we encounter God, how are we changed?

  • Know Him in His Word – evaluate the things in your life closely to know if this is something wasteful or worthy.  Anything outside of Jesus is fake, when we know Him through his word and our relationship with him, we can identify what is false and counterfeit.
  • Know Your Place in Him – Image bearer, then wife, then mother… and so on.  You are a priority to God, He gave his son for you.  Find your value and worth in knowing you are a priority to God, not based on what the world sells as valued.  Don’t try to be someone else, envious of their gifts and talents.  Instead, know what you are good at and DO IT.
  • Know How to Care for Yourself – your spiritual health is important, be intentional about your time with God, take a break away and invest in your spiritual health.  Jesus often retreated to be alone with God, to hear from Him and be away from the noise and distraction of the world.   When our spiritual health is in check we are mission focused, dedicated in prayer, deepening our relationship with Jesus.  Learn to set boundaries.  Find contentment with what the Lord has blessed you with instead of what others have that you lack.

Thoughts => Feelings => Beliefs => Words => Actions => Habits => Character => Destiny

(=> means influences, builds)

You can view Amy Oliver’s full presentation notes here:  Swept Away!

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This will be continued on Thursday with some take away notes from our breakout discussions/presentations.

Submission & The Proverbs 31 Woman

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When you get into a conversation with someone about biblical submission in marriage, things can get out of hand quickly.

First, there is a misconception about what biblical submission in the marriage looks like.  For those who are not understanding the scripture, or twisting it, they believe it is the woman being a doormat and the husband is the ultimate supreme dictator of the marriage.  They look at the first portion of the scripture from Ephesians 5, about the wife, and neglect that latter half that is directed to the husband.  Additionally, they are not acknowledging the very direct instructions given to husbands throughout scripture (Eph. 5:25 and 28, Col. 3:19, 1Peter 3:7, just to name a few).   It is true that some religious groups and families may use this scripture to advocate abuse and oppression of the wife.  But, remember, they are the bad apple amongst the bunch… unfortunately.  They give the rest of us a bad name.  When you tell someone you believe in “biblical submission to your husband”, they are envisioning you are one of these bad apples.  If you can get the opportunity to explain yourself, you can help them recognize the difference.

Second, there is a misconception that biblical submission in a marriage is going to look identical in every family, which is not only untrue but also not even practical.   Different families will have different structures in place based on the needs of the family.  A wife who has a deployed husband is going to carry a lot more authority in her home when it comes to making day to day decisions, than a woman who has a husband who works from home or a regular 9-5, Monday – Friday job.   There are some people/groups who define what the gender roles and responsibilities are, and sell them as a one size fits all package.  You will find some women in your life may try to convince you their way is the right way, the only way.  The truth is no two families in the Old Testament were the same, nor are they today.  Deciding what submission will look like in your home is going to come from God through prayer and communication with your spouse.

Third, you will find some people will try and refute biblical submission with the scripture found in Proverbs 31.  This woman is clearly not a doormat, she makes fiscal decisions, she makes decisions for the family and the household.  In fact, she does quite a bit of things that may be defined as “man’s work”.  She works out of the home.  She’s making major purchases (she bought a vineyard!).   Naysayers will try and push that if this is a woman who is of “noble character” and a woman to be desired as a wife, and ideal wife… then it negates biblical submission.   This is what I would like to address today.

WHAT IS BIBLICAL SUBMISSION:

Biblical submission is a two way street.  It requires something from both the wife and the husband.  She is to submit to his authority, he is to love her as Christ loved the church.  This means that she allows him to make the final decisions for the family & he takes the burden and accountability of those decisions before God.  He will love his wife so much that he will be willing to sacrifice himself (his time, money, resources, pleasure) for her.  He will consider her feeling, opinions and even expertise in his decision making.  It is a reciprocal relationship of mutual love and respect.

WHAT BIBLICAL SUBMISSION IS NOT:

Biblical submission is not a husband dictating the wife, or family, from a place of superiority.  It is not the wife having no voice, or opinion, on matters related to the home.  It is not a clear cut check list of “his duties” and “her duties”.  In fact, when it comes to gender roles in scripture there is no clear cut do/don’t do check list.  In fact, it is quite broadly defined.    Most of the very clear cut instructions are relative to how we treat one another, and how to unify ourselves as one flesh.  God didn’t dictate who would do the dishes, mow the lawn and decide the china pattern.

WHAT ABOUT THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN?  ISN’T THAT A LIST?

Yes, it is a list.  No, not necessarily a list for everyone.  If you believe that ANY WOMAN on the earth could accomplish all that is listed there, you will be let down.  First, it is acknowledged by scholars that the Proverbs 31 Woman was not an actual living, breathing woman.  Instead, it was an idea.  King Lemuel’s mother wrote him a letter detailing out what he should be looking for in a wife.  There is really nothing amongst that list of duties she accomplished that isn’t noble or good.   A Professor I once had, who was also a Pastor, told me that in scripture when you see a “therefore” or a “but” you need to stop and see what they are there for.  In other words, when you see a list like this and it is capped off with a “but”… that is when you are finally going to see the point of the scripture.

In the case of Proverbs 31 after the “but” you read “a woman who fears the Lord is worthy to be praised”.  The point of the scripture is that while all of this attributes, character, skills and abilities are great and desirable in a wife…. THE MOST IMPORTANT is that she is a woman who fears the Lord.  We know that if we are communing with the holy spirit, there will be fruit that we produce.  All of her attributes and skills and her very character are a result of her fear of the Lord.  They are her fruit.  Different women, wives, will produce different fruit. Just as some fruit trees produce oranges and other apples.  We are the body of Christ, we can’t all be hands.  We must also be feet, eyes, ears, etc.  If we all were to bear the same fruit, the world would lack & our service would be limited.

SO HOW DOES THIS ANSWER THE ARGUMENT AGAINST SUBMISSION?

To answer that, we have to go right to the scripture itself.  In Proverbs 31:11 we are told that “her husband has full confidence in her, and lacks nothing”.    This means that the Proverbs 31 Woman is trusted by her husband.  He can trust her to make good decisions in his absence, because they are of one mind.  She is not making these decisions based on her own desires or wants.  She is a woman who is of “one flesh” with her husband, her thinking is in accord with his.

Sometimes in our society we can find that a household could have two sets of rules.  Either because the parents are in disagreement, or even divorced.  So there are “mom’s rules” and “dad’s rules”.  I have seen women who, for example, will disagree with their husband about whether or not the kids can watch a certain tv show. So, when dad is at work the kids are allowed to secretly watch it, but when dad gets home the rules change.  Or, at mom’s house the kids are allowed to dress one way, but when at their dad’s house they can’t.  There is a LOT wrong with this thinking.  First, it illustrates that mom and dad are not a team.  Kids will learn who to ask, in order to get what they want.  Second, it creates confusion for kids because there are not clear cut rules and can create division between the parents.  Third, the children are being taught at an early age that they can manipulate or bend rules not just when home with mom & dad, but also in their future relationships.

The Proverbs 31 Woman has a husband that knows that when he is away, she will make the same decisions as if he was home.  He can TRUST her.

WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH SUBMISSION?

The Proverbs 31 Woman’s husband can trust her BECAUSE she is a woman who submits to her husband as the head of the home.  Over time, she has proven herself to be wise, to make good decisions, to be a good steward with the money, to make decisions as he would, and so on.  Over time, he has learned that she can be trusted because she was submitting to his headship.  The more she has earned his trust, the more he feels she is capable of making decisions in her absence.  When you are an Eph 5 Submissive Wife, the better you get at it, you become the Proverbs 31 Woman who has a husband that has confidence and trust in her.

When we as wives are doing things behind our husband’s backs, they learn that they can’t trust us.  If we have a different set of rules for when our husband’s are away, we are untrustworthy.  When we make purchases that we know he wouldn’t agree with, or do not consult him over the cost, we are untrustworthy.  Scripture says that those who can be trusted with much are given much, and those who are untrustworthy with little are given little.  This isn’t just applicable to God’s blessings, but also to how our husbands will respond to us.

A husband who wants total control of his home is due to one of three things.  He s either an authoritarian, married to an untrustworthy woman, or has a history with untrustworthy women (his mother, ex-wife).  The first, that is an issue with him & something we can pray for God’s hand in changing.  The second, that is an issue with us & something we can change through confession (to God, to our husband), prayer & becoming more trustworthy.  The third, is a combination of the two.  We must pray for his heart to soften and his ability to trust us be strengthened, but we also must continually prove ourselves to be trustworthy.  We must also have the understanding that patience will be required during this time.

TAKE AN HONEST LOOK AT YOURSELF

If you find that your husband wants total control in your home, you have to start the process of change by taking an honest look at yourself first.  Before you pointing the finger at him, you need to examine yourself.   Have you been honest and trustworthy?  Have your decisions been consistent with his?  Have you respected his headship of the home, or are you fighting to get your way?  Do you manipulate him to sway him to come to your conclusions or do you submit to his? Submission is not about giving up control. It’s about establishing trust.  The reward is that the more he can trust you, the more control you will have in your home.  Because not only will be in accord with him, but you will desire to be in agreement with him vs. your own ways.  In other words, you won’t do it just because God wants you to… YOU will want to.

TAKE A KNEE FOR HIM

If after your own self examination you find that the trust issues lie within him, take a knee.  The greatest gift we give our marriage, and honor we can show God, is by praying over our husbands and our marriage.    We can pray for the changes that need to take place in him, we can pray for our own strength and patience during the this time, and we can ask God to reveal to us any ways in which we may be showing ourselves as untrustworthy and not even see it.    In the interim, we still remain submissive & trustworthy wives…even when we don’t agree with him.  God will honor your obedience and bless your marriage.

A QUICK NOTE TO HUSBANDS

I’d like to address a point regarding trust with the husbands, please do not ever give your wife a reason to be untrustworthy.  What I mean by that statement is that you need to always remain approachable, understanding and compassionate.  If you tend to overreact to certain situations, your wife may avoid coming to you in order to not upset you.

Finances are one of the most touchy subjects in my house.  I have a set budget, and any time I have to come to my husband because that budget isn’t enough for that time period … he gets unhinged.  Finally,  I told him that I would rather sell my own possessions at a pawn shop than ask for more money.  That shocked him.  He had come to a place where money had become such an issue to him, that he had become unapproachable.    Do not be unapproachable.   If you wife comes to you over a subject that is your hot button, learn to: hear her, ask her for some time to think about it, take a step away until you are clear headed and then talk with her/give her your decision.  Don’t let her see you get unhinged.  If you let her know she can come to you with ANYTHING, at ANY TIME… she will.

ABOUT THOSE BAD APPLES

I can’t walk away from this entry without addressing those bad apples, the ones who give us a bad name.  We can’t deny that there exists groups who utilize submission in an unbiblcal way.  Wives and children are abused under the notion that this is something God has ordained.   As a body of believers we can pray for these families.  We can pray that the eyes of the husband are opened to his sin.  We can pray for the safety of the women and the children.  We can offer aid and shelter to those who are fleeing to safety.

If you are reading this, and you are in an abusive marriage…. THIS IS NOT WHAT GOD WANTS FOR YOU!  Please, seek help.