Skip to main content
264245_8285

The Key to Peace

264245_8285

Having a solid understanding of where my responsibilities end and where God’s sovereignty begins is a HUGE key to peace that I was missing for many years.

THE WAY I USED TO LIVE

I ultimately trusted myself, not God.

I said I trusted Christ.

I thought that I was living by faith – but in reality, I lived as if God was far away, or not involved, or as if He was a wimp.  I had a HUGE picture of all of my responsibilities in my life and a very tiny picture of God and His responsibilities in my life – a warped understanding of my own identity and of God’s identity – that I can trace to my childhood.

As a child, I thought I learned that I was completely responsible for everything in my life and for other people.  It seemed to me that my parents “needed” my help.  It seemed to me that my actions and words greatly impacted other people’s lives in potentially catastrophic ways.  I thought I learned that I was very powerful and in charge.

If I believe that I am in control and all the circumstances in my life are completely dependent upon me – my decisions, my actions, my making things work out “right” – then I live as if I am sovereign in my life and I have the responsibility and duty to try to force things to go the way I believe they should. (None of this was conscious in my mind – but it is how I lived)

This is my core belief about who I am and who God is.  This is the crux of why I believe so many women are anxious, fearful and stressed out.  We don’t have a proper understanding that God is God, and we are not.

If I am worshipping and trusting myself instead of God – I will also expect others to submit to me, obey me and see that MY way is the only “right” way.  That is what I did.  That is why I could justify my controlling behavior in my marriage and in other relationships.  Because I believed in the core of my being that I was the only one who knew God’s will and who could see clearly and that I was the only one who could cause circumstances to work out right.  So it was my duty to try to make other people do what I knew was best.  I was protecting them from themselves, after all!  If only they would do what I said, everything would be fine.  I was “helping” them.  Funny – they didn’t seem to appreciate my help!  How could they be so ungrateful, after all I was doing for them?

My confusion about me not being God, me not being the Holy Spirit – led me to think that it was perfectly acceptable and necessary for me to take the lead in my marriage and tell my husband what to do and expect him to do whatever I said.  I was right!  He wasn’t.  I could clearly see that.  It was my job to try to make him do the “right” thing.  How else would he possibly do God’s will if I didn’t try to force him into it?  At the core of my belief about God, God was not very powerful.  I didn’t believe that God would change my husband.  I believed it was MY job to change people.

Trying to be in charge of things and control things that I actually don’t have any business controlling is extremely stressful!  And I was very worried all the time.   No wonder!  It all depended on me in my mind.  That was a LOT of pressure!  I was motivated by fear.  I couldn’t “let” the wrong things happen.  And it was entirely on my shoulders to be the “savior” in my life and the lives of those I loved.  Again, this was not conscious – but it is how I actually believed in the depths of my soul – and that motivated my behavior and thoughts.

REBUILDING ON THE FOUNDATION OF CHRIST ALONE

I thank and praise God that He opened my eyes to see that I am NOT God.  Not only am I NOT God – but I am a wretched sinner.   That was a huge shock to me!  I truly did not appreciate that until 4.5 years ago when God suddenly opened my eyes to my personal mountain of sin.

He showed me:

– PRIDE PRIDE PRIDE – I had set myself up, unconsciously, in my own life as equal to or above God.  I thought I knew better than EVERYONE – certainly better than my husband – about practically everything.  I really believed I knew better than God, too – since I was able to decide that certain scriptural commands didn’t apply to me.

– Idolatry – I put myself, being in control and my husband loving me the way I wanted him to up as idols – these things were more important to me than Christ.  I would never have said that to myself or out loud.  But when God showed me the way I was living – I knew that He was right.  I had been committing idolatry every waking moment for decades – and didn’t even know it.   I held on to anger and bitterness.  I cherished that more than intimacy with Christ.

– Unforgiveness – Jesus said after the Lord’s prayer that “if you don’t forgive men when they sin against you, God will not forgive you your sin.”  This is HUGE sin!

– Rebellion against His Word – I had unknowingly been disrespecting my husband and trying to lead in our marriage.  That was in total defiance of Ephesians 5:22-33.  I had been blind to my disobedience.

THE KEY TO PEACE

When I make Christ LORD, and humble myself GREATLY… when I understand God’s sovereignty and my weakness and smallness – then I begin to have a foundation for real faith in Christ.  Then I learn where my responsibilities end and His begin.  Then I do what I can to obey Him and to seek Him with all my heart – to love Him with all that I am and to love others – and I rest in His sovereignty and perfect love – trusting that He is working out the details of my life for my ultimate good and His glory because I love Him. (Romans 8:28).

His Spirit fills me and produces in me things that I cannot produce on my own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I can’t lose!  If things go the way I want them to, awesome.  God is in it.  I want to exalt His Name.

When things do NOT go the way I want them to – no big deal.  Because I am daily dying to self – dying to my sinful nature, dying to my will, my wants, my desires, my wisdom, my plans, my purposes, myself.  And I am seeking God’s will, his plans, His purposes, His wisdom, His goals and His glory.

He gives me a new heart so that I desire the things of God and want what He wants.    It is no longer about my will.  It is no longer all about ME.

Now I see that God is wise, I am not.  So I trust that He knows how to make things work out for His will to happen and for His greatest glory.

Then I can know that trials and suffering have passed through the filter of His loving, sovereign hands.  He will use it to make me more like Christ and for His glory.  That is my greatest desire now that He is LORD of my life.

So I can’t lose!  I have to win when Christ is Lord.  He is in charge.  He is working things out for His purposes to be accomplished.  I may not understand at the time – but I have faith, knowing that He knows best and He is taking me to the place He desires me to go.

That is how I can rest in His love and sovereignty and live with His supernatural peace that passes all understanding.

I don’t have peace because of my circumstances.

I have peace because I trust my mighty, powerful, awesome, holy, omniscient, eternal, faithful, loving, sovereign Lord – Jesus Christ.  I look to Him, not my circumstances.

IN MARRIAGE

I can have peace when I am not the leader.  I trust that my Lord is “sovereign enough” to lead me through my sinful husband.  If my husband is not asking me to sin – I know that it is God’s will for me to cooperate with and honor my husband’s leadership.  I tell him my feelings, my desires, my perspective – then I trust God to lead me through my husband, knowing this will bring great honor to Christ.  THAT is my goal!  That Christ be greatly exalted in my life and marriage!

RELATED POSTS:

What is Biblical Submission?

A Real Life Example of Biblical Submission and Respect

How God Used a Wife’s Great Faith and an Old Truck

Joyful Submission and a Boat

Love, Honor, Respect and Submission are Gifts

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

A Great Place to Start to Learn to Be a Godly Wife

Contentment Comes from Having Christ as LORD

19 thoughts on “The Key to Peace

  1. Great post April !! Wow it sure hit home. I used to be a very controlling person myself. My mom raised me single and taught me by example that a woman can do everything by herself. ( my dad was in the army and in Germany my childhood then passed of severe illness when I was 14). So not meaning to but she raised me very head strong and independent. We went to church and she wasnt the type of mom to go out with friends etc. so we were together or with family all the time. She always jokes around saying if it was legal , I could’ve moved out on my own at age 3 lol. She “brags” that I could always do things myself I didn’t need help, I can tackle the world myself and very strong personality. Well that was true but her comments and how I was raised damaged me to a point. She was a great and loving mom don’t get me wrong , but it taught me to be in charge, be in control. That helped in the work world. I was manager at 3 different places etc,( when I used to work before I met Rick, I’ve been home full time for 13 yrs now), but not so good with friends etc. I lost some friends because I was too in charge, my way or highway type of attitude. I ruled over my first husband and that didnt go well he didnt need a second mother. ( that’s not why the marriage ended tho, he was a non Christian and very verbally abusive and unfaithful). But I see how it can end a marriage. My husband Rick and I sure struggled the first 2-3 yrs of ours. I was so strong willed and independent that it drove him crazy. I didn’t have a dad in the home so I didn’t know that a wife was supposed to be submissive. Boy did that hurt our marriage. Rick was tired of me running the show, having it MY way all the time. When he would try to be the lead as God called him to be I’d knock him down. Not only him but God too. I took control of my life and didnt even listen to God, I knew best, it was my life after all! I wasn’t gona listen to anyone but me. Boy did that make for some stressful days and major headaches. God finally was able to get thru to me about 4 yrs ago and bopped me upside my head with HIS reality. Wow what a difference. When I started going to God with things I could feel the stress lift ( sure I still have some but no where near what it was, thank you Jesus), I felt that I didn’t have to do everything myself and it’s ok to ask for help. I feared asking for help before due to thiniking I’d be a failure. Rick said he had tried and tried to break my walls down and finally he and God did ! Boy has it been great. I now go to God before everything I do and very submissive to my husband, he is the lead where he shouldve been all along. Our marriage has been much better and I know that I dont have to do it all, I dont have to carry the weight of the world on my own. I have God and my amazing husband to help me and have them to lean on. I still have problems with perfectionism and have OCD, but not near what it was. So I’m still a work in progress but I am less stress and it feels good to have God and hubby with me in this life. My saying now is ” let go and Let God “

    1. Wow Michelle – this is so encouraging. What a beautiful testimony! Let go and Let God – that’s what I am learning. Blessings to you and your marriage. x

  2. Love the testimony from Michelle….greatly inspirational and opened my eyes to less control. And like she said, LET GO AND LET GOD!
    Thank you to the both of you!

    Aloha!

  3. Thank you Maggie. As I said I’m still a work in progress but trust me, it makes a world of difference in your life and marriage. I’m praying you can start to let go of your control too. Thankyou too April. Your posts are eye openers I love reading them.

  4. Your explanation of biblical submission is great and has given me much to think about.

    Submission is a personal struggle for me. Growing up I saw my mother suffer vicious verbal abuse from my father and it burned inside me that she never defended herself. In some cases I stood up for her because I was so angry. I was young and didn’t understand. I would always promise myself I would never let anyone walk over me the way she let him. I I think alot of these strong emotions of hurt, injustice, and anger have made it hard for me to trust and makes submission difficult. In my head sometimes all I see is him mistreating her and it makes me angry to imagine myself in such a position.

    But I have to stop and remind myself who I am submitting to. My husband is definitely not my father. He is kind and patient beyond words and is never domineering. I am very lucky. And of course I am submitting to God.

    Your words on submission and faith have inspire me. You make good points of how we submit because it is an act of faith that God will lead us and be there for us. By giving up control we make room for God in our lives. Room for God’s miracles and Glory. It is an incredible relationship of faith and trust.

    When we submit to our husbands out of love and reverence for Christ we submit for holy biblical reasons with faith that God is working in our lives and the lives of our husbands.

    We are not submitting to “worldly” views of inferiority. I think there is definitely a difference between the two. When women submit without belief that God is in their lives you wonder what they are submitting to. I begin to see the place of fear and abuse that created such anger in me.

    1. Linda,

      Thank you for your comment!
      I sometimes wish there was a different word than submission -because the world has twisted that to be a slave or something even worse. I love the definition “honor my husband’s leadership” or “empower my husband’s leadership.”

      But, yes! The most important thing is that I am submitting to CHRIST. And He calls ALL believers, men and women to do this! So it is ultimately an act of faith in Christ and obedience to Him – not so much my husband, although my husband greatly benefits. 🙂

      I can definitely understand why you had such fear. How i wish no child ever saw such a poor example of marriage! I pray for God to heal your wounds, my precious sister! 🙂

      Thank you for sharing your heart!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!

  5. Hi April, I am writing to you because I want to encourage you to write that book. Yours is the lone voice that has put it all together from God’s perspective, has lived it and been able to articulate it in humility. My wife is not dominant. She is super sweet, has a glass always half full outlook, quiet, gentle, a great mother and wonderful friend. When it comes to being a wife she gets low marks. In a word, she is defiant. She never apologizes. She is disorganized. She cleans up only when I get upset, or just halfway. She only wants sex once a week, unless she has her cycle which is always on the weekend. When she does consent she wears a T shirt, socks, underwear and socks. She says “she’s cold”. The first week of marriage I asked her why she didn’t like to be intimate. She said, with her back turned “I’m cool”. When it comes to raising the girls she says she is the “mama bear”. I have worked two to three jobs for thirty years as the sole bread winner. I have had to work out of state for four of the last eight years, because we ran through our money. Our last battle was because of this. It finally broke me and I had an emotional breakdown. It is at this point that I told her “you have to get a full time job”. She jumped up, pointed her finger in my face and shouted “you can’t tell me what to do” and out the door she went. I tried to stop her, but it just made it worse. We have five daughters. Two who had just graduated and moved back home. I have lived around her defiance for thirty years, but when the big girls came home it compounded it. I now had three wives. I share this only as a background to what it has caused me to learn. The first is reverence.

    Reverence and Authority
    1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is the Father.

    The head of Jesus is the Father. The head of every man is Jesus. The head of the wife is her husband. The head of the family is the man.
    Head means authority. Whoever is in authority bears the responsibility. Authority is maintained by rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior.
    Whoever is under authority needs to do exactly what they are told. Doing what you are told, without negotiating or resistance, and going the extra mile is refreshing to one in authority and is rewarded.
    Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
    Romans 13:3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
    1 Peter 3:6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord (master). You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
    Sarah called him lord. She recognized his authority over her. There are three words that all mean authority, found in Strong’s Concordance, lord, master and sir.
    John 13:13 You call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am.
    Matthew 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord.
    Luke 6:46 So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord’ (master) and you don’t do what I say?
    John 5:19 Jesus did exactly what the Father told him.
    Luke 22:42 Not my will, but yours be done.
    The husband is God’s appointed authority over the wife.
    Ephesians 5:33 See that the wife reverence her husband (for fear of rebuke by God).
    Reverence in this context from Strongs Concordance means: to fear.
    1) to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away)
    a) to put to flight, to flee
    b) to fear, be afraid
    1) to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm
    a) of those startled by strange sights or occurrences
    b) of those struck with amazement
    2) to fear, be afraid of one
    3) to fear (i.e. hesitate) to do something (for fear of harm)
    a) to reverence, venerate, to treat reverential obedience
    Not so much as for fear of him, but for God who placed him over you.
    Ephesians 5:21 Place yourselves under each other’s authority out of reverence for Christ.
    Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son (wife or daughter) though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.
    1 Peter 2:18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
    Wives, in the same way submit yourselves (even though they are harsh) to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
    This means to bear with them despite unjust suffering, without loosing faith (giving way to fear) that God will judge justly and win them by reverence.
    1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
    1 Corinthians 14:7 Love bears all things (never gives up), never loses faith, always hopeful (that God will judge and intervene), endures all things (like unjust suffering).
    Hebrews 12:9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we showed them reverence (fear). How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may become holy.
    Hebrews 12:14 Without holiness no one will see the Lord.
    Luke 12:5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
    Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
    Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
    To summarize:
    Reverence and authority go together.
    Recognize and submit to the authorities in your life, because by doing this you are submitting to God. Submit even to those who are harsh, without loosing faith, being hopeful that God will intervene. Do not give way to fear and take matters into your own hands.
    1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate (take matters into his own hands), but when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
    1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
    To reverence is to obey authority, out of hope for reward and fear of rebuke – from God.
    It is that simple.
    A husband is your authority, if you can’t accept this, then don’t get married.
    If you are married to a stern man, do not leave him.
    1 Corinthians 7:10 To the married the Lord gives this command: A wife must not separate from her husband.
    Rather win him back by your reverence and submission. A simple :Yes Sir” is all it takes (Sir means master).

    The second thing I learned was appreciation.
    Love for girls and respect for men, must be demonstrated. It can’t be words alone.
    – Respect is a demonstration of appreciation –
    It comes in many forms: cleaning the house, having intimacy when he wants it, saying “yes sir”, doing what you are told,, putting him before the kids and affirming that God speaks and works through him for her benefit as well the children. It can be a long list.
    I am sorry about the length of this running document, but see that God has given you a spirit of discernment that can weed through it and find some of it useful. I have yet to find a guy that understands this, much less a pastor. Yours is a lone voice. Thank you

    1. Dale Blankenship,

      One woman this week called me a “pioneer of respect and biblical submission.” It certainly has been a carving out the trail through the wilderness. When God revealed my sin, pride, rebellion, disrespect, control, contention, idolatry… my MOUNTAIN of sin to me in 2008, I was determined to learn to be a godly wife and to figure out what it meant to respect my husband and submit to him. I was determined to allow God to remove all of the cultural poison I had unwittingly swallowed and determined to build my life, my faith, my marriage, my womanhood on Christ and His Word alone. It was SUCH a struggle to figure out what all of that meant in real life. I spent MUCH time studying these passages you have listed – everything God says about authority and submission and reverence and respect, marriage, womanhood, manhood… everything I could get my hands on. I had no godly mentors or examples. I read over 30 books in about 2.5 years and prayed and studied for hours every day. I was so hungry to know God’s truth, to expose the lies and to understand God’s way. There were some helpful books – but none of them put everything together. It is my prayer that God might use me to connect the dots much closer for the women coming behind me so that they don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” the way I felt I had to.

      Please pray for me about the book(s), about my ministry to wives and single women, about possible speaking to groups. I am willing to be used of God to speak His message wherever He desires me to.

      This message is GREATLY NEEDED, URGENTLY NEEDED in our Christian marriages today.

      Please pray that God will raise up other women to be godly examples to teach and train the women of His church around the world. Please pray for a spirit of mass conviction, repentance and real heart regeneration by God’s Spirit in the women of the church (and the men, too). Please pray for a hunger for God’s Word. Please pray for His people to desire to obey God’s Word for His glory – no matter what the culture says – no matter what the price may be.

      I am available to speak with your wife if she is willing to email with me. aprilc@sc.rr.com

      I pray for God to open her eyes and for God to give you His power, His Spirit, His love, His mercy, grace and forgiveness and His great wisdom to lead your family in a manner worthy of Christ that God might commend you when you stand before Him.

      A wife who is acting this way has many deep spiritual issues that prompt her behavior and attitudes that need to be addressed in great detail. It goes all the way to the heart of who she really believes God is, what she understands about His sovereignty, setting up self as an idol, her definition of God, her definition of godly femininity, godly masculinity and marriage. It will require an entire regeneration of her heart by the power of God. Just like every believer must have.

      A woman’s level of respect and submission towards her husband is a very visible indicator of her level of reverence and submission to Christ.

      In a similar way – I believe a man’s love, selflessness and Christlikeness towards his wife is a very visible indicator of the depth of his love and obedience to Christ.

      It is all about Him, ultimately.

      How I pray that Christ will be greatly exalted in your life, in your home, in your marriage and in your wife’s life for His glory!

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I needed to hear this. God is definitely using you to speak to others. God is in control of all things. I’m a control freak, always thinking it should be my way too. God has opened my eyes, I too realized I have no control!! He has total power and I need to give to Him. I take 2 steps forward and 10 steps back though. I give it to Him and take it back when I don’t see my prayers answered now. Like Joyce Meyer says, I may not be where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I was. Even though I know I still have a long way to go and will always have to improve somewhere, I know He his using these trials for good. My daily prayer is for Him to use me, mold me, change me into his image. For me to be able to see others through his eyes and love them like He does. For we only suffer for a little while, then He will restore us and makes us strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10. Thanks again!

  7. April,

    You are truly a blessing to many!

    Key to Peace, I can so much relate to this!!! I just loved the way you summarized by the statement you made at the beginning of the post!

    “Understanding where my responsibilities END and knowing where Gods sovereignty BEGINS is the key to PEACE”!!!

    I’ve been following some of the things you said since a week, And, I’m having great PEACE with God, with myself and with people around me!!

    My ONLY fear is – I’ve been through this kind of process may be many times before and yes every time I’ve learnt something new and moved ahead. And there are so many times I’ve fallen and Ive somewhere become a bad example to my husband… Therefore, I’m scared of failing again – The fear is two pronged one that comes from my husband who cannot trust that I’ve changed and secondly, the fear which is within that I might fail..

    How do I overcome this?

    Love
    Vinodhini

    1. Vinodhini,

      Your faith cannot be in yourself. It has to be totally in Christ alone. You need Him every moment. Cling to Him and abide in Him and He will empower you to do this. 🙂

  8. Praise God your posts are truly Spirit filled. The Lord is telling me through your words He understands the battle I’m in and have been in since a child. I’ve never had another women’s perspective about the battle of control we as women deal with. Thank God He has blessed me in His timing with so many other’s stories on this website. He is a great healer and restorer if we just get out of his way. I look forward to learning more about Him and the mystery (I know nothing, I thought I knew everything) of women and men through this website.

    1. Shannon,

      It is great to meet you! I am so excited about what God is doing already in your heart and all that He will do as He continues to teach you and to mold you into the image of Christ. 🙂

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

%d bloggers like this: