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Stages of This Journey – Part 4

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In Part 1 of this series, we looked at some of the first stages on the journey of becoming a godly wife (based on my observations – this is not scientific!  You are free to comment about how the stages are going for you!):

  • 1. Conviction
  • 2. Repentance
  • 3. The Frustrating Quiet Phase
  • 4. Seeking God First – The Lordship of Christ

In Part 2 of this series, we looked at more stages:

  • 5. Giving Him Space
  • 6. Feeling Totally Overwhelmed
  • 7. Learning to Use our Words and Emotions to Bless
  • 8. Dying to Self
  • 9.  Developing a Grateful Heart
  • 10. Taking Every Thought Captive
  • 12. Feeling Discouraged because Your Husband Isn’t Changing

In Part 3 of this series, we looked at

  • 13. Extending Grace on a Greater Level
  • 14. A Greater Sensitivity to God’s Voice
  • 15. Finding a New Balance of Intimacy/Space/Closeness

16. WE SEE OUR HUSBANDS IN A NEW LIGHT

We are able to see that we and our husbands are fellow travelers on the same journey.  We see that we can support, encourage, cheer and pray for our husbands, but that only God can change them and open their eyes.  We see that we are on level ground with our husbands at the foot of the cross.  That we are equally sinful.  We approach our husbands with humility.  We have the grace of God and the mercy and forgiveness that Christ has given us and we are able to extend these gifts to our husbands freely as well.

There is a new deepening intimacy with our husbands, a greater friendship, a greater unspoken understanding.

We begin to see our marriage run more smoothly as we build it more and more according to God’s design.  We stand in awe of what God is doing in us, in our husbands and in our marriage.  We can be patient as God works in our husbands to accomplish his will – we are truly able to accept them and respect them as they are.

17. A PLATEAU (THE FIRST OF MANY)

Respect has become a fluent language for us now.  We don’t have to figure out exactly what to do in every situation like we did at first.  We are amazed at the masculine world in which our husbands live and we see that to understand masculinity helps us to achieve a much deeper understanding of God’s heart.  The more we learn about our husbands, the more we understand about God.  The more we learn about God, the more we understand about our husbands.  We can also see the world of masculinity that other men live in.

There is still much to learn – and we can’t wait to learn more, grow more and become the women of God’s dreams more and more each day.  We can see that we have scaled some mountains already, and that there are more in the distance ahead.  But we are undaunted.

At this point, it seems to me that many wives experience a time of prolonged peace and have more of a feeling that they “know what to do” – it isn’t emotional and spiritual contortion anymore to respect and to honor our husbands and to avoid control and disrespect.  Things begin to feel more “natural” and “normal” and the marriage is at a really amazing place.  There are some husbands who still have “not come around” by this point, but even if the husband hasn’t changed, the wife is in an amazing place with God.

Of course, it is still possible to stumble and fall.  But it seems like the tripping and falling happens less frequently and when it does happen, the couple is able to recover much more quickly now than before.  What used to take days or weeks to recover from now seems to usually only take minutes or hours.

We are becoming much better followers of Christ and our husbands.  Submission now seems like such a gift and blessing, not oppression.  We long for all women to get to experience this kind of joy!

Now, we can see what we are doing very quickly when we do get off track, and we know what we need to do to get back on track.  By this point, we are generally able to monitor our thoughts and take the sinful thoughts captive pretty quickly by God’s Spirit working in us.  We don’t usually even think the sinful, disrespectful thoughts.  We actually normally think about Philippians 4:8 stuff, thankful stuff, joyful things and meditate on God’s Word throughout the day and worship songs.  We truly find our joy in Christ.

Our hearts and minds have been regenerated.

Our prayer becomes:

“Lord,

I give myself FULLY to You.  I hold nothing back.  I want to know You more!  No matter what happens, only let me have Your Spirit and Your Word.  Use me to bring the greatest glory to Your Name.  I want your will and only Your will.  I long to be useful to You in Your kingdom.  I trust You whatever comes.  I thank You for the trials that You have used to strengthen my faith and to help me to grow in Christ.  Make me faithful to You.  Let my faith increase greatly.  Make me a big pipe through which Your Spirit can flow like Niagra Falls into the lives of all those around me.  I am so thankful for all You have done for me!  It is a joy and delight to obey You!

In the Name of Christ,

Amen!”

We realize that the things that seemed like such a sacrifice at first that we had to give up – our idols and our wisdom – were filthy garbage.  They were no sacrifice at all.  God wanted us to let go of dirty rags so He could give us true spiritual riches and treasures.

There is still much to learn, but it is not the daily and even minute by minute struggle that it was at first.

It took me about 3 years to get to this point – that was a total God thing.   It took Nina Roesner about 10 years, according to her, to get to this point.   I have seen some wives reach it in about 8 months to 1 year.  The length of time depends on how much we study, how willing we are to obey God no matter the personal cost to us, our access to resources that explain God’s truth, the depth of our understanding of our sin and the depth of our repentance, our willingness to allow God’s Spirit to work in us, etc…

18. WE REALIZE HOW CAREFULLY WE MUST GUARD OUR HEARTS WHEN WE ARE AROUND OTHER MEN NOW THAT WE HAVE ALL OF THIS KNOWLEDGE

A woman’s respect is extremely powerful to men.  It is tempting, when we understand men so much better, to want to give them respect if they are not getting it at home.  We now can see and feel their pain so deeply.  Our hearts ache for husbands who are wounded and hurting.  BUT – we must keep “the respect knob” turned down to “low” with men other than our husbands and sons.  We cannot be the primary source of feminine respect and admiration for other men.  Yes, we know what they need.  Yes, we know how to give them what they need.  But that is a dangerous road to walk down.  We must carefully guard our hearts and primarily use our respect skills on our husbands, our sons and in teaching other wives how to respect their husbands.

19. TESTS

The enemy is not happy about godly marriages or about people abiding in Christ and being full of His Spirit.  We will be targeted for attack.  It is crucial that we continue to stay in God’s Word and abide in Christ because if we begin to try to do this in our  own strength, we will crash and burn quickly!

We can expect times of suffering, trials and temptations.  God’s Word promises that to believers.  (I Peter, James 1, Hebrews 12)

  • God does not promise “health, wealth and prosperity” to anyone.  He promises that we will suffer, but He promises to use our suffering as a tool to make us more mature, holy and Christlike.

We long to obey God in everything, no matter the personal cost to us.  We are able to see the beauty, the blessing and the learning in our suffering.  We are even able eventually to rejoice in our suffering, knowing that God will use it to bless us.  And we can even look ahead to see that God will use our suffering to bless others.  We don’t have to fear suffering as long as we know God is with us.

I’d highly recommend that you listen to David Platt’s 4 part series on Youtube called “The Cross and Suffering.”  – POWERFUL STUFF for all of us to embrace and learn!

19. TEACHING/MENTORING

At some point, God may prompt us (through our husbands or others) to begin to teach what God has shown us to other wives.  Of course, “not many should presume to be teachers… because we who teach will be judged more strictly.  We all stumble in many ways.  If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man; able to keep his whole body in check.”  James 3:1-2.

God calls older wives to teach the younger in Titus 2:3-5:

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

There are so many women who have never had a godly example of femininity or how to be a godly wife or mother.  The needs are infinitely great.  It is my prayer that God might raise up at least one godly, Spirit-filled couple in every church of His around the world to teach His people His design for masculinity, for femininity, for living out our faith, for marriage and for family.  The last few generations dropped the ball in the most tragic of ways.  But now, God is calling our generation to rise up and become a godly generation in His sight and to pass down His wisdom to those who come behind us.

We become aware of the needs around us and the pain in so many marriages.  We become aware of God’s movement among His people around the world.  We have a heart for making disciples and for sharing the treasures of heaven that God has so graciously and generously given to us.  We can’t possibly keep this good news to ourselves!  We develop a global-minded prayer focus, seeking God’s will, His power and His movement among His people in churches around the world.  We yield ourselves and make ourselves completely available to whatever God may desire to do in and through us – no matter the personal cost to us.

7 thoughts on “Stages of This Journey – Part 4

  1. April,
    I appreciate so much the Biblical soundness of your teaching!! Thank you for that! You have mentioned numerous times how you spent a great deal of time in God’s word while He was growing you. I am wondering if there were certain books you went thru ( in the Bible or Bible study books), or did you do a
    topical study, etc? I often feel at a loss of where to begin to help me in my journey of becoming the wife God desires. If you have already addressed this, I apologize. Thank
    you! You are a daily encouragement! 🙂

    1. kk,

      That is my prayer, that I would only teach biblically sound doctrine and ideas. Please pray God would empower me to be faithful to Him and to His Word!

      I focused on the words of Jesus in the New Testament, Acts, the epistles, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Proverbs, the minor prophets- and I focused greatly on obeying God’s Word no matter what He asked of me to do and on learning about God’s sovereignty.

      Some of the Beth Moore studies would also probably be very good.

      I love to listen to David Platt’s sermons online, and Tim Keller’s and John Piper’s, also. 🙂

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.

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