So… I saw Bad Moms, and I laughed.

In case you don’t have any clue what movie I am talking about, here is a promo shot:

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First, I’d like to admit right out of the gate I didn’t walk into this movie with naive expectations.  The trailers gave a pretty good indication that there would be some inappropriate humor.  Second, I am not planning on giving away any spoilers.  There were definitely some parts I thought the movie could have lived without, not only for the story line but even in the presentation.  Sometimes it could go too far.  Third, there were some parts of this that were REALLY unrealistic when you are talking about any group of moms.  Lastly, there were also a LOT of truths.

Overall, I laughed and I laughed hard.  At one point I laughed so hard (as I was taking a sip from my straw) that I pushed air through the straw, which caused a small tidal wave in my cup, and that resulted in my drink landing in my eyes.  Which just caused a whole other fit of laughter for myself and those sitting around me.  I laughed until I cried and my stomach hurt.  Yet, there were some moments that I nodded in solidarity.  There were moments that were uncomfortable.  And, yes… as I said before totally unnecessary.

What I want to write about (and I’m up for conversation too) is WHY a movie like this not only resonated with moms but was drawing us in like moths to a flame.

My first thought is probably the most obvious, there is an enormous amount of pressure on moms to be it all, do it all, and do so perfectly.  Whether it is the perfect birthday party, bento box lunches, or simply making it to every school and sport activity… we feel the pressure.  We notice so much of what is around us, like the mom who has the perfect hair and make up in the parent pick up line… when we were struggling to get out of the house with a bra under our pajama shirt.  We see the kids with the perfectly styled hair, accessories, and sparkling white sneakers…. and we just spent the last 40 minutes looking for eyeglasses or a belt.  Other moms dropping their kids off early, and we are 10 minutes late because we had to go back home and pick up the flute that was left behind… or because our darling child took 15 minutes to brush her teeth.

How do these moms do it?  We cast shade in their direction, but really we are asking ourselves… why can’t I do it?

I think there are a number of moms who have run the scenario through their head of just saying no.  No to the requests by the husband, kids, school, coaches, etc.  An opportunity to just walk away from the pressure and enjoy life again.  To make the choice of not being the perfect mom anymore, and instead be the bad mom.

This brings me to my second thought, as you watch the trailers you see a group of women having fun. We are not talking bunko party fundraiser fun, but the kind of fun we had as teenagers  and young single adults.  The fun we had when we didn’t care what others thought, where it was ok to be silly, and there was an expected freedom in the general knowledge we were going to make mistakes and bad choices.  It takes us back to a time when we didn’t have to be an adult, and could just let loose and be free.

With motherhood came some sort of unwritten code of conduct, that we couldn’t be silly anymore.  We began to take everything too seriously, including ourselves.  Let’s face it, books and the advice of television “experts” reinforced this.  Reminding us over and over again that it was time to grow up, put away childish things, and get our heads out of the clouds.  As we did this, many of us sent fun sailing away for good.  We stopped smiling, we stopped laughing, and we stopped being silly.

The movie Bad Moms called out to that free spirit inside of us, that desperately wanted to laugh… and laugh hard.  So, it pulls out all the stops.  The women let loose in a way we couldn’t, and we live vicariously through them.  They say the things that roll through our minds & do the things we secretly wished we could.  (Ok, maybe not all of the things they say and do, but you get the point).

I also believe this appeals to Christian women so deeply because of the bar that is set for our expected behavior.  If other moms are feeling the pressure to be perfect in their every day life, Christian moms understand the additional expectations put on the Christian mom.  To have perfect children that love Jesus, quote the bible, volunteer with the elderly, and gladly donate all their birthday money to the missions fund.  To be women who are serious about the study of the Lord, leading small groups, inviting women over to mentor and pray together, to dress in simple clothes, and be ever diligent in our choices of entertainment.  There is a pressure that all of our time should be so seriously focused on Christ, that we can’t let loose and laugh until our sides hurt.

Confession… I saw the movie on opening night.  It’s taken me almost a month to admit I saw it, because frankly… I expected to be judged for it.  I was worried about what my church friends, my readers that look to me for wisdom, the women or leaders who are reading through my blog trying to decide if I would be the right speaker for their next women’s event… what would these people think of me?

I learned something from the movie though… my eyes were opened to how long it had been since I had laughed so much and so hard.  I realized how seriously I take myself and made the decision not to.  I embraced that silliness is okay and even healthy for my kids to see.  I made the decision that I wanted to laugh more, but with those whom I am the closest to… not a theater full of strangers.  I want that girl posse who has my back, in the most biblical way possible… and who will be silly with me.  Women who know how to laugh, smile, and stop trying to be something that is impossible to attain… perfect.

All of those parts of the movie that I thought were unnecessary, they don’t have to be part of my life.  But the good stuff… I welcome it.  We are all GOOD MOMS despite our imperfections and the times we muck things up… because we are LOVING MOMS.  In the end that is what matters.  The Lord didn’t call us to a life of misery, but of fulfillment and joy as mothers… and laughter.  So much laughter.

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Opened Eyes

MBA

Years ago, I had a conversation with a friend.  We were discussing racial equality, because any of my friends will tell you … I’m not afraid to talk about deep stuff.  Generally speaking, I prefer to do it in face to face conversations with people who know me.  Why?  Because I know they can see my genuineness vs. written conversations that lack tone, body language, and that personal touch that comes with seeing someone’s face.

I was sharing with her my inability to see that racism and discrimination were still as bad as she claimed they were.  (You most definitely can eye roll at this, Lord knows I am eye rolling myself so hard… I’m going to get a migraine.)    The argument she gave me, at the time, was that I didn’t understand what it was like to be discriminated against.  And I retorted back that I in fact did know.

As a woman, I faced discrimination.  As a professional working woman, I once had a man refer to me as “little girl”.  I couldn’t even count the number of times a man wanted to speak to my manager, only to see his disappointment when he found out my manager was a woman too.  Nor, the number of times this same scenario happened and I was in fact the manager.

Before that, in my youth, I can recall walking into local stores and being looked at suspiciously because of the way I was dressed and the people I was with.  The instant look of distrust, eyes watching us the whole time we were in the shop, just waiting for us to do something wrong.

At the time, I felt like “I get it” and “it’s not exclusive to any race”.    I’ll pause a moment, and let you get a few eye rolls in… and even a few verbal responses too.  I know…I know…

Now, I’m looking at things with a new set of eyes.  Why?  Because there are women who have taken the time to help me understand.  They are willing to have the uncomfortable conversations with me.  THANK YOU, ladies, for being gracious and not smacking me upside the head for my naivety.

These conversations don’t discount the fact that I faced discrimination as a woman.  However, even within those discriminating moments… there was never “hate” because I was a woman.  My male peers and counterparts respected me, my work ethic, and trusted me to do the job I was hired for.  My discrimination came only from those who didn’t know me.  Customers and clients who were interacting with me for the first time.  Even then, when they realized my authority (like it, or not)… their attitudes did shift.   In fact, one even came to prefer working with me exclusively after he was able to get over himself.  This is a different response than you’ll find in racial discrimination.  Where people of color (whatever ethnicity they represent) may not even be given that benefit of the doubt.

I recently reflected on a young woman I worked with, and how a customer once treated her.  She was a beautiful black woman, her skin was like midnight.  She was also disabled, only to the point where she moved a little bit slower than the rest of us.  Yet, she was one of my staff members that I could count on the most.  Need someone to stay late, she was the girl.  Need someone to fill in for another staff member out sick, she’d come in on her off day.  Never once did I have to fix a mistake she made, her work was accurate and dependable.  I can still recall MANY times I had to intervene with a client who was anything but pleasant with her.  At the time, I thought this issue was her pace.  But the more I have thought about it, the more I realized this was not their issue.  It was the “safe” complaint they could make, under the public eye.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook her thoughts about racial discrimination and our response to it.  She’s not a Christian… and her post was riddled with curse words that would make some of us a bit uncomfortable.  So, I’m going to paraphrase her (if you read this, I hope I do justice).

If you have never had to

  1.  run through scenarios of what not do in public places so you are not perceived as a criminal…
  2. have your parents explain to you how to behave if you get pulled over by the police so that you can survive
  3. wonder if a picture of you will be used out of context to justify you were a bad person…

… then sit down.

If your only contribution to the current conversation is to point out all the mistakes a person ever made as a reason why they deserved to die…

If you have a clean record, college honors, amazing career, beautiful family…. but do not have to live with a baseline of fear of being killed in the wrong circumstances…

… then sit down.

She was sharing her real feelings about her every day life.  This is her reality, so yes the news causes her to respond with her feelings.  And one thing I have learned over the years is that we all have a right to our feelings.  Regardless of the situation, our feelings are real.

And, as she finished her post she left the question:

Is that feeling worth at least a conversation?

Yes.  Yes it is.

It’s also worth some serious introspection.

You see, back in the day… when I walked into those stores and distrust was flung my way.  Yes, you could say I was discriminated against by the way I looked.  But, let’s be honest.  That look… I chose it.  Those friends… I chose them.  I could have walked right out of that store, gone home, changed into plain jeans and a t-shirt, adjusted my make up and hair, and returned to a very different response.  I would have been welcomed, no eyes would have followed me as I perused the shelves. I would have been greeted with a warm smile, a friendly how do you do, and thanked for my business.

That is not the same outcome for people who don’t look like me.   It wouldn’t have mattered if they walked in a track suit or a 3 piece custom fitted suit.  I could go home and change my choice of clothes, but they can’t go home and change their skin color.

My husband and I were talking about it, and he said….

It comes down to this, if you are pulled over by the police… what color do you want your skin to be?

He grew up in a predominantly black neighbor, and he can recall his own interactions with the police.  He told me that the cops in that area were hardened.  They were used to being lied to, and they expected the worst from everyone.  Everyone was suspected.  However, he also shared that he knows his interactions with them were far better than if he was a black kid.

Watching a documentary one night, our eyes were opened even farther.  When you can see the long standing distrust of the police in a community, from not so distant days where bathrooms were not only defined by gender but also color… you begin to understand.  You can see why communities, as one of the women interviewed stated, “protect their own”.  Because, at one time… innocence or guilt didn’t matter.  Those neighborhoods wouldn’t be so quick to hand over someone to the police, but instead would deal with it in their own way.  They took the risk that their lies to protect the innocent might mean a guilty person got away with it.  The recognized that the punishment that would fall on the shoulders of the guilty black man would weight heavier than if he was white.

If you think that doesn’t still exist, just look at the news.  A white, student athlete from Stanford raped an unconscious woman after a party… he was given a six month sentence.  A black, student athlete from Vanderbilt raped an unconscious woman after a party… he was given a fifteen year sentence.   And we wonder why a community of people has a distrust for our legal system?

We wonder where anger stems from?  We wonder where suspicion stems from?  We wonder where the pain stems from?  We wonder why “they” feel the way they do?

In the words of my friend:

Is that feeling worth at least a conversation?

This is where I believe we all start.  A willingness to at least have the conversation.  Maybe you have not experienced this discrimination or witnessed it.  But, I would challenge you to have those awkward conversations… the uncomfortable ones.  It exists.

It shows up when the teacher asks for the “black perspective” on a piece of literature from the only black student in the honors literature class.

It shows up when we assume a college student was accepted to an ivy league college because of the color of their skin vs. the merit of their work.

It shows up in how the media reports potential crimes, the photos they use and the details they share.

It shows up in how our judicial system dishes out punishments.

It shows up in the conversations that parents have with their children, and how different their life lessons are.

When we are willing to at least have the hard conversations, our eyes are opened a little wider.  Maybe things are not quite as we see them.  It may not be as bad as it was, but we still have a long way to go.

May we see each other with the same eyes that the Lord does, image bearers… our family of believers.  All of equal value, merit, worth, and love.

Thank you to those who are willing to have the conversation.  Thank you for the grace, as I am still seeking to understand.  May the conversations we have be fruitful!

EVERYONE LOVES A GIVEAWAY! Read on…

Today, we are going to begin a very special social media give away!  And it is simple, and easy to play.  You will have 3 chances to win!

Step 1:  Follow Me on Social Media:  Facebook Group, Instagram and Twitter.

Facebook Group:  Gena McCown – Valued More than Rubies and Pearls

Instagram:  gmc3mompsl

Twitter:  GMC3Mama

Step 2:  Try to Guess Which Item I Spy!  — Now pay attention, this is important… I have selected a different item for each mode of social media.   You can choose to select 1 item and enter it as your submission on all 3 social media sites – OR- select a different answer for each of the 3 sites.  Your choice.  Leave your choice in the “comment” section on Facebook/Istagram, and REPLY/RETWEET on twitter.

For example:  If we were doing a Halloween Ispy game… I would pick the Pumpkin for Twitter, the Black Cat for Instagram and the Candy Corn for my Facebook group as the winning token.  If you were on twitter and said “candy corn” – you wouldn’t win.  But if you were on facebook and said “candy corn” you would.

ISPYGAME

Step 3:  Wait!     The game starts on Monday and will close on Wednesday at Midnight.  Winners will be announced Thursday afternoon.

SO, WHAT IS THE PRIZE?????

To win… you must be the FIRST PERSON to correctly guess the pre-selected item, and you may only win ONCE.

One winner from Istagram, Twitter and Facebook will receive a free E-Book of “Pulling Back the Shades”.  Winners will be announced then contacted with their redemption code & instructions.

book_headerEBOOK… Courtesy of Moody Publishers, Inc….

@AuthenticIntimacy #AuthenticIntimacy #PullingBackTheShades #DanaGresh #DrJuliSlattery

 

Pulling Back the Shades – What You Should Know

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Do you know that some of the strongest opponents against the 50 Shades of Grey books and movie are those who are part of the BDSM community?

That means, those who actually participate in this type of sex IN REAL LIFE… call the scenes from the book inaccurate, misinformed & dangerous – on a mental, emotional and physical level.

Why is this important?
Because many a Christian wife has justified reading the series or seeing the movie as a way to HELP her marriage.
Those within the community express valid concerns that this will NOT help your marriage, but in fact do a lot of harm.
Let’s remember that we are called to keep our marriage bed pure.  That doesn’t mean that we cannot have fun with our spouses, and enjoy a spiced up sex life.  However, our marriage bed is also be to a place of respect, safety & love.

WHAT IS YOUR LEGACY

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I have to tell you, I am a fan of the show 19 Kids and Counting.  I also think I have said this before.    I know that every family is not perfect, and I am certain that we are only shown their best moments and not their worst.  And, I am totally ok with it.  There has never been a moment in my watching this show that I had the delusion they were perfect, had it all together, and didn’t occasionally mess up.  There have been times where I have watched the show & thought to myself “I would have handled that differently”.  There are also things I have noted to use in the future for my own kids, or advise those who are coming behind me with a simple “wish I would have known”.

I also have three kids, and I am totally at peace with that.  We made the choice to pursue permanent measures, because we felt our family was complete.  It was something that was in our heart.  No regrets, total peace.   I also have friends who have families of all different sizes.  A friend with one child, because despite their best efforts to, God hasn’t blessed them with any more.   A friend with six children, and one on the way.  Friends who adopted all of their children.  Friends who birthed all of their children.  Friends who did a little bit of both.  Friends who have “adopted” a neighborhood child into their sphere of influence.  Family comes in all different sizes and different colors.

Because of this variety of family philosophies, I am also exposed to a lot of opinions.  I understand where each family is coming from and I respect our different paths.  When they post articles on their blogs, facebook pages or family websites, you’d be surprised how much of them I read.  Even when they don’t fit my family.  Probably has something to do with my life long love of learning.  Just because it isn’t for me, personally, doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn about it or understand it.  In some respects, it makes me a better friend because it gives me insight into their family.

A few months back, it was one of these postings, that stopped me in my tracks.  The general gist of the post was about family size being important because without a large family, you risk your lineage ending.  Not just a biological end, but also a spiritual end.  The author indicated that as we increase our family size, we increase the number of soldiers in God’s army.  If we are not having children, we are hindering God’s troops.  Then we were asked to look at our own family & imagine if our parents stopped having children right before us.  In other words, what if you were not born & any of your siblings after you.  The author continued to point out that in their family tree, her siblings ahead of her didn’t have any children.  So, had she not been born, her parents would have no grand children.  There would be no legacy for that family, and there would be no one from their line fighting for the faith.

I looked at my family.

My grandmother came from a sibling group of 4.    She had 2 children.  Her brother had 1 child.  The other 2 siblings didn’t have any children.  Yet the generations prior were having LOTS of kids.   The numbers were certainly dwindling.

So it would seem.  My uncle was the 1st child, he had no children of his own.  My mom was the 2nd child, and she had 3 children.

My sister… 4 children.

My brother… 2 children biologically, 1 step son.

Myself… 3 children.

Our numbers were growing.  But this isn’t about us.  This is about my childless Uncle.

By all accounts of the author of the article, my Uncle was failing.  He wasn’t leaving a legacy behind.  He wasn’t contributing to the faith by building God’s army.  He wasn’t raising any children who would share their faith with others and bring people to Christ.

Yet, my Uncle has had more impact on children than any parent I know.

In his personal childlessness, no marriage either, my Uncle had an exponential amount of time to dedicate to others.

As a teacher, administrator and fighter for education.

As a volunteer in his community, from the commission board to flag football teams.

When he visited students in prison because their bad choices landed them there.

To the families he has counseled and walked beside.

The kids who trusted and respected him, and tip their hats to him as they pass him in the mall.

No matter where I would go as a kid, we’d run into former students who knew this man.  I have never overheard anyone speaking negatively about him.

His friends who have traveled with him around the nation and the world, will tell you countless stories of encounters with former students.  Literally, around the globe.  He runs into people everywhere he goes.  From Alaska to Africa.  In airports, cruise ships and little diners in the middle of no where.

In his childlessness, my Uncle will leave a legacy that can’t be counted or calculated.  His impact will affect generations to come, because of the dedication he put into the generations that passed through his doors.

Our legacy doesn’t stop with those who live in our homes, our faith doesn’t land only on those who eat at our tables.  Our legacy, our spiritual legacy, can be measured by our impact on every person we encounter.  Day to day. Year in, year out.

Because, in the end… it’s really not our legacy.  It’s Gods.  For we are all His children.

SPEAKING TRUTH – What is Truth?

MBA

I was thinking about how we interact with each other, as believers.   I can’t find any source in the Bible or reference in a sermon that indicates we should lie to each other.  In fact, the Bible commands us to not bear false witness. 

From the Old Testament, to the New Testament, here are just a few examples:

Leviticus 19:11  ” ‘Do not steal. ” ‘Do not lie. ” ‘Do not deceive one another.

Proverbs 12:22   The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.

Zephaniah 3:13  The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.”

John 8:44   You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Colossians 3:9  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

If you were to ask anyone what the opposite of a lie is, their response would be truth.  So, it would appear that if we are NOT to speak lies to each other, than we are called TO speak truth.

John 17:17   Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Ephesians 4:15   Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Ephesians 1:13-14   In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Scripture also tells us that Jesus is the Word, and he is Truth.

John 1:14    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 14:6  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If Jesus is the Word and the Truth, then when were are told in the scriptures:

John 8:32  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

2 Timothy 2:15   Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

We are being handed a very might assignment, we are not just handling the words that come out of our mouths … but we are handling the representation of Christ IN US.  We are charged to RIGHTLY handle the word of truth.  Not just words on a page, but the words of Jesus.

We must rightly handle Jesus, and everything He has said to us in his life and the words in the Holy Scriptures.

If we are looking to Jesus as “the Truth”… doesn’t that change how “Speaking the Truth in Love” means?  We are to be speaking about Jesus in LOVING terms.  We love him, we speak fondly of him, we don’t misrepresent him, we don’t devalue his ways with our opinions.

To speak Truth = To speak about Jesus

To walk in Truth = To walk in Jesus.

To declare Truth = To declare Jesus.

To worship in Truth = To worship in Jesus.

To come to Truth = To come to Jesus.

To believe and know Truth = To believe and know Jesus.

To handle accurately Truth = To handle, represent Jesus accurately.

To obey Truth = To obey Jesus.

To be established in Truth = To be established in Jesus.

Because, TRUTH — JESUS… sets us free, sanctifies us, purifies us, establishes us as part of an eternal kingdom. 

 

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.