Skip to main content

Has This Journey Gotten Easier for Me? Part 1

IMG_3020

I am extremely thankful for Kayla’s post yesterday – how I wish I could have read it during the first few years of my journey! I know it would have helped me so much! We have different perspectives and ways of looking at things, and I love that! I like to share as many different wives’ perspectives as possible.

This is my perspective on my journey.

The first 2+ years of my journey felt like complete emotional and spiritual contortion every single day.

It was VERY difficult, awkward and totally foreign. I felt like I was having to reinvent the wheel and figure out almost totally on my own what respect, disrespect, biblical submission, godly femininity and being a godly wife meant. It seemed like learning a foreign language without a teacher many days! After about 2.5 years, I began to not have to struggle as much to know what was respectful vs. disrespectful and I began to be able to do/say the respectful thing a lot more naturally without having to go through a big battle most of the time.  BUT – I spent those 2.5 years studying, reading,  praying, begging God to teach me for several hours every single day and I read over 30 books on godly marriage during that time and biblical femininity. I felt like I was getting a college degree in this stuff!

In the past two years, I have probably spent way over 4000 hours (I would guess a minimum of 30-40, but many times 50 hours per week) writing about the subjects of respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and godly marriage.  So – that has probably helped to keep me extremely focused on this topic, I would daresay.

Every wife’s story is different. Every wife’s timetable is different. I have seen some women for whom all of this seemed to “click” within WEEKS. But I have seen some women for whom it has taken 10 years or longer for things to really settle in their minds about becoming a godly wife and woman. There are MANY factors involved!  Please check out this post to see how the stages often go (by Nina Roesner, author of The Respect Dare).

  • Sometimes struggling on this road can come from sin we are still cherishing in our hearts: unbelief, disobedience to God, idols, bitterness, gossip, control, unforgiveness, pride, self-righteousness, etc that we don’t realize are still there. As long as we hold on to sin, ANY sin, we cannot have God’s power full blast in our lives.
  • Sometimes we THINK we have stopped all of our disrespect (or some other sin like bitterness), and don’t realize that we are still doing disrespectful things we don’t even notice that are keeping us stuck.
  • Sometimes it just takes time to learn and absorb so much. I often talk about, this process is kind of like “eating an elephant.” You can’t really eat it all at once. We can only absorb so much at a time.
  • Becoming a godly wife is part of the process of sanctification, too – which lasts our entire lifetime – as God’s Spirit makes us more and more like Christ. We will not be “perfect” until heaven!
  • My willingness to obey God and submit to Him plays a huge factor here. If I balk and rebel against what God asks me to do – I will definitely slow the process down dramatically – wandering in the wilderness until I am willing to obey Him.
  • Other times, we struggle because of intense spiritual warfare – none of us are exempt from that.

These things are all part of the journey. It can be slow going at times. Or sometimes we may have to be totally still, waiting, for a long time.

For me, it is like I was trying to push a car in my own power before. But now, I am in the car and there is gas in the car and power that I didn’t tap before – God’s power. Of course, it took me a long time to figure out how to get into the car, to figure out where the gas pedal was and how to use it and how to use all the controls. I am sure there are still things I don’t know are even there! There is still need for caution and care as I drive and there are dangerous road conditions, car problems, storms, problems and obstacles.

Is respecting my husband and biblically submitting to him now easier than it was those first 2-2.5 years?  

YES. 

When I say “easier” what I mean is, I understand very clearly now, usually, what is respectful and what is disrespectful. I don’t have to agonize for days over if something is disrespectful or not like I used to. It doesn’t feel like complete contortion anymore. I feel much more fluent in understanding men, Greg, respect, biblical submission and godly femininity. Doing the respectful thing comes pretty naturally now. But I do need the power of God to do all of this. I cannot do it on my own! As  you know, I reached my saturation point of how much time I could put into ministering to others a few weeks ago, realizing, my time with God was suffering too much and I was losing my power source. I HAVE to have Him and be filled with His Spirit every moment or I am unable to do anything good.

  • Do I spend much time listening to my sinful nature/demon now?  

No, not usually. Of course, that answer would change if I don’t resist his voice in God’s power or if I don’t abide in Christ! Or, there may be new temptations that come up later today for all I know. I know that temptation will come. I am not exempt from temptation. I am not exempt from being able to sin. I am completely capable of falling in any way if I don’t have my Power Source – God’s Spirit. If I am far enough away from God, I am totally able to crash and burn.

That voice is still there. Yes. But usually now, I immediately recognize the source and resist him and submit to Christ as soon as possible. I may have to take a break and stop what I am doing and go pray. That is ok! I seek to take each thought captive immediately and not allow those evil thoughts to marinate in my mind for hours or days or weeks or months like I did before. Only through the power of God’s Spirit working in me, I can see the lies for what they are and see the attacks and realize that if I cave in to those temptations, I will grieve my Lord’s heart so greatly and I will destroy my husband, whom I dearly love. I so do not want to do that! It is not worth it!

Now, I am able to see the price tag on my disrespect, and it is usually just not much of a temptation to disrespect Greg or try to control Greg when I have God’s power in my heart. I don’t feel tempted to belittle Greg, criticize him, yell at him, demand my way, try to control him, lecture him, try to be His Holy Spirit, demean him, berate him, scold him, etc…  I know now that if I were to give in to those things, I would cost myself SERIOUS intimacy with Christ and with Greg and I cannot afford to do that. I would set us back months, maybe years if I allowed myself to luxuriate in accusations against Greg like I used to or if I went off on him like I used to. When God’s Spirit is filling me up – my old sinful ways repulse me, they do not tempt me.

Usually, within a few minutes (or sometimes seconds) of internal dialogue, I recognize sin and seek to nip it and turn to Christ and His truth immediately. There is greater temptation when I am exhausted, in pain or hormonal. And, I am sure, if there were some major crisis, the temptations could be greater as well. The old temptations to disrespect Greg are not as strong most of the time. I have new temptations now that are bigger issues.

  • Is God’s Voice a Lot Stronger Now?

God’s voice is MUCH stronger now for me – but that doesn’t mean His voice is loud. I hear it more clearly now. I am LISTENING much more now. His voice is not loud at all. The voice of sinful temptation for me often gets progressively more LOUD, obnoxious, urgent, incessant, unrelenting and pressing if I keep listening. It feels SO IMPORTANT to act on that voice ASAP! The sinful voice tells me to do things that I would really LIKE to do – to “vent” or to “give him a piece of my mind” or say “your idea is way better than his!” or to “make things happen my way.” The quicker I can stop listening the better.

I can only hear God’s voice when I am very still – soaking in His presence, walking in the power of His Spirit, living in obedience, seeking Him with all my heart. Many times, what He asks me to do is stuff that I don’t want to do at first. Sometimes I don’t hear Him about certain things – like right now, I have not heard Him about exactly how to publish the book I wrote. So I am waiting until I have clear direction. I know He may lead me through Greg on this issue. So I just wait for God to speak to Greg or to make things more clear to both of us. I don’t want to run ahead of Him like I used to do all the time!  God tends to say things softly like:

  • “Go repent to Greg/his parents/your parents/your family/your children for your disrespect/pride/control.”  I REALLY didn’t want to do any of that, but I knew God was asking me to, so I did!
  • “Trust Me on this.” Sometimes if Greg made a decision I didn’t agree with, I would hear God tell me that He has it, and then I could just rest in His sovereignty and love, trusting the outcome with Him.
  • “Stop reading your Bible and being mad that Greg isn’t doing a devotional with the family right now and go cuddle with Greg and the kids and enjoy them.” (That was SO OBVIOUSLY God speaking to me that night about 2 years ago. I didn’t want to stop reading my Bible. I hated watching TV. I wanted to make the whole family read the Bible and pray with me. But, I went and cuddled with my family and enjoyed them, reluctantly. How sad is that!? But it was the right thing to do and I have been focusing on being much more intentional to relax with and enjoy my family – not a big strength of mine!)
  • “Write about this topic on the blog for tomorrow.”  Sometimes, in the spring of 2012, I would say, “God, are You sure? I mean, if I write about THAT, no one will ever want to read my blog again? But this is Your ministry and Your blog and these are Your people. I trust You to bring whomever You wish to the blog and trust You to give me the messages You want me to share from Your heart. I won’t look at numbers to measure my success, but only my obedience to You.” I would expect the numbers to drop the next day as everyone decided not to read my blog anymore, but every single time that I believed God specifically wanted me to write about something very difficult and “controversial,” the numbers would surge later. I didn’t understand it. But I learned to trust God and to be willing to write about whatever He impressed on my heart to write.
  • “Relax and be still. Stop being so busy. Just be still and know that I am God.”
  • “You are spending way too much time in ministry, and not enough time with Me.”
  • “Keep your eyes on Me, not on Greg, not on anyone else.”
  • Many times, God speaks to me through His Word, or through a Christian song, or through Greg, or through other believers.

Tomorrow, I will talk about my struggles.

RELATED:

HisHelper Reflects on Her Journey

Stages of This Journey

The Frustrating Quiet Phase

I Am TRYING to Respect and Submit, But My Husband Is Being More Unloving Than Ever! What Is Going on?

20 thoughts on “Has This Journey Gotten Easier for Me? Part 1

  1. Great post. I hope to be there at some point. My huge problem with saying how I want things, needing to control or “going off” is it seems I have zero self-control or there is no gap between when I start to get upset or think something and “go off.” I dont know how to stop it. If I start thinking something that he needs to do, hasnt done, etc., ill even start texting him about it while he’s at work. I just cant rest or wait to talk to him or think over something before speaking. Its gotten worse and worse. Causes me a lot of problems. I feel helpless and trapped by it. I know the nice/respectful way to approach him yet when Im in a situation where I need to bring up something- I have my blinders on and noone can stop me. Its so sad. I always blamed him b/c of his “actions” or whatever else he did to cause me to “lose it”. but now im asking WHY I do that and WHY I cant just stop and think and sometimes decide its not even worth bringing up or being upset over. The “demons” and “voices” have A LOT to do with it but its gotten worse now to where I dont need to have them telling me lies for hours/days, it can be one thing and I just take it and go with it. It would literally kill me if he did something to bother/annoy me and I didnt say anything at all especially if it was more on the important side. Argh its SO difficult. I attend church, read my bible every day, etc. I do get fed the Word but something is missing. I cry out and ask what it is!!!! I dont know how to fix this!

    1. I think it takes a LOT of prayer, study, practice, feedback and the power of God working in us. It takes time to see the different layers of lies, sin and warped understanding and to allow God and His Word to transform our minds and hearts. It is like learning to walk or learning to speak a new language.

      As we allow God more control and learn to abide in Him, He gives us the power, wisdom and ability to walk in obedience. It took me a LONG time before I began to feel like I had any clue.

      Am I perfect now? Nope!

      I still have MUCH to learn!!!!!

      I have a lot of posts on this.

      One is “replacing the tapes in my head”

    2. Hi Shana!

      I feel that the Lord is about to make a breakthrough in your life!!! I am hopeful for you, sister in Christ! Though you claim to have ‘blinders” on when you are overcome with the unbridled desire to rant at your husband or to tell him off on what he is doing wrong, the mere fact that you can acknowledge that:

      1) You have a problem.
      2) The problem is you cannot stop yourself from telling him what he needs to do or not do, etc… and
      3) You are giving in to the voices in your head and to your sinful flesh

      — are already signs that you are not as spiritually blind as you think you are. 🙂 That is wisdom right there. The ability to know that something is not right. Knowing it though is one thing, being able to do something about it is another.

      I can sense that you are trapped. You are in deep spiritual bondage, and long to be freed from the vicious cycle of wanting to point out your husband’s flaws when you so desire to just respect him and keep silent. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

      Prayer, my dear sister. Lots of heartfelt, humble prayers to our loving God.

      That and a repentant heart. Psalm 51:17 “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

      As a challenge, can you just for the day, just keep still? Do not judge him. Do not say anything bad to him. Do not even allow yourself to think badly of him. Today, focus only on his good points. Resolve to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises and your demons start their maniacal accusations against him again, hush them up by holding your tongue so as not to give them power or say something you might regret. And while you are doing this, keep in mind the verses … ” Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” —Ephesians 4:2 as well as Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

      I shared with you these verses because you cannot just STOP and have a void. You have to STOP and redirect your thoughts to God’s Word so your mind and your tongue can be bridled. 🙂

      This is a daily journey, Shana. All you need to do is take baby steps. Be patient with yourself too while at it. Nobody masters this! Not April, not me, not Kelly or anybody among us.. We fail but we rise up again. We sin, but we repent and move on. The important thing is you do not remain fallen. Just stand up and do your best again.

      You can do everything through Christ Who strengthens you!!! 🙂

      We are all in this together, Shana.

      God bless you and make you stronger.

      Love,

      Nikka

    3. Hi Shana! I read your post and later saw this Joyce Meyer quote that seems to really fit your situation: “The fear of sinning will hold us in sin, but focusing on Jesus will lift us out of it.” I am having to embrace the fact that God loves and accepts and actually still LIKES me even when I am not doing very well in an area or I’m exhibiting a not-so-godly heart condition! Even when I’m cranky or frustrated or judgmental or mean, God doesn’t instantly condemn me or throw me out of the family. He sees me as a saint who sins and who still has immature areas in my love walk as well. I’m like a garden with yummy fruit of the Spirit growing that the Lord has planted– but some ugly weeds are there that need plucking out as well. The garden is good – it was planted by God. The weeds are bad, but thankfully they are removable by God’s grace. When I know I’m accepted as a work in progress and can stop striving in my own strength to have a “perfect” attitude all the time, I sure am a better conduit of grace than when I’m really down on myself and feeling like I am just an unlovable jerk. The devil, not God, is our accuser and he wants us to live in a constant state of defeat.

      1. Growing up Spiritually,

        Love this! And thankfully we have a Gardener who knows just how to help us to grow and flourish and how to get rid of the weeds and any disease. 🙂

    4. Shana,

      This is going to take allowing God’s Spirit to be in control – which means first repenting of all sin. And then it is a process of learning to trust God and allow Him to have control and to learn to wait before responding.

      FIrst, most women go through “The Frustrating Quiet Phase” where we almost stop talking. That is where we begin to learn to have discretion and wisdom. Then, we begin to be able to tell what things might be beneficial to say. But first, we have to learn to stop using our words for death. After we have learned to stop the destructive words, then we begin to learn how to use words to give life.

      Your flesh is still in control at this point. It is going to require you to die to your old sinful self.

      This is PAINFUL!!!!!! And, self, pride, self-righteousness and sin don’t want to die. It is a battle.

      But as you seek God with all your heart and ask Him for victory and willingly allow Him to shine light on your sin and repent of it all – He will transform your heart, mind and soul!

  2. I too study daily to help reinforce my new way of life. Otherwise it is way too easy to slip back into old habits.

  3. April,

    I am grateful for your blog, for your godly mentoring and for our Christian sisterhood.

    When I repented for my sins and when God opened up my spiritual eyes, I was at my most “broken in spirit” state. Everything I was holding on to seemed shattered — my religion/faith, my career, my relationships with my immediate family, my relationship with my husband… We were also at a point in our lives when we were selling my parents’ ancestral home, etc. So, everything that brought me a sense of security, of comfort, of familiarity was removed from me… and I was left “naked” and “helpless” before God.

    It was in this state of brokenness that the Lord found the perfect opportunity to call me by name again. I was very poor in spirit. I answered Him and He convicted me of my sins.

    They were so many!!! I was stunned. I couldn’t speak for days.

    Then, I repented. Then, I offered my life and submitted to Jesus. Then, I submitted to my husband Dong. By then I was just so tired of leading, of living in fear of the future, of “controlling” our lives…

    Two weeks after that, I found your blog.

    I perused the top posts again and again. I printed them out, read them over and over… highlighted important points and read my Bible. Before that, I was scared to open up the pages of the Holy Book feeling that I could never interpret the verses correctly and I might be misled… but the way you shared about your life and quoted Scripture made me believe that I should stop the fear of reading the Bible and just do it. I felt that if you can put into practical application what you read in it, I could do that too!

    That started my love for the Holy Book. I now spend hours devouring every word, and understanding the wisdom embedded in them!!! I am so thirsty for God’s Word and the more I read, the more I learn about myself, my God and my faith. The more I learn about God, the more I find get to know myself and my relation to God. — that is, I am NOTHING and yet He considers me His Child. That I am NOTHING and yet, Jesus died for ME! All along, my notion of God was fitted according to how I thought Him to be, and not Who He really was — which was that He was sovereign and in control. I was not, even with my best efforts.

    What took you a good two years or more to learn Biblical submission, took me only less than two months to “learn.” So much so that just a few short weeks of practicing it in real life, my husband already asked that I blog it for Filipinas and non-Filipinas all over the world because he felt that godly advice on marriage is much needed in this day and age.

    Thank you for connecting the dots for us, April. I know that without your blog and without your transparency, honesty and loving leadership to us women, the path would have been more difficult. I praise God for what He has done through you and through your ministry. 🙂 I praise God for the community of women here who regardless of denomination bond together because of our common love for God.

    God is so good. 🙂

    Love,

    Nikka

  4. Hello, ladies! Today I had a small victory, and I wanted to share.

    Usually when my husband and I face a potentially stressful situation (especially when money will possibly be required), I get really tense and anxious. The anxiety doesn’t come from the situation itself though. Rather, I fret and experience the paralysis that comes from fear because of my HUSBAND’S response or even his potential response to the situation. I really want him to see trying situations as opportunities to trust God and walk by faith and not by sight, but usually he complains and gets heated up and maybe even a little irritated at God because life is “haaard” and there are so many tough circumstances that come up. Due to the fear of rejection and other anxieties I’ve had since childhood, I have had a difficult time staying separate from his stress and I usually take it all on, almost like it’s personally directed at me (which it isn’t!). I want to be on his team after all. 😉 I realize this may sound a bit out there, but welcome to my not-100%-renewed-yet mind. I have been studying mental strongholds (Great guest post the other day, BTW!) and slowly becoming willing, by God’s grace, to lay down the selfishness and idolatry that I brought into my marriage, especially my desperate need for CONTROL in emotional situations. The main motivation for me is really the price tag like you said– being full of fear just didn’t leave much room for God’s presence.

    Anyway, I dropped my husband off at work this morning, and about a block away, our car ran hot so I had to pull over. We have had limited finances lately and the car has been acting up a lot, so I knew my husband would not be pleased to see my texts asking for assistance. I prayed and stilled myself before he met up with me. I wasn’t totally relaxed as he vented his frustration and expressed his fears about what we were going to do next, but I clung to God and didn’t start my people-pleasy, anxious efforts at “helping” (offering unnecessary advice, trying too hard to seem agreeable and show my understanding, yada yada). Thankfully, the temporary fix to our car trouble ended up being way easier than either of us expected and we were both able to go to work when all was said and done. As I drove to work, I had such joy that my heart had remained quiet and still and not caved into the stress that presented itself. Yay!! One day at a time…

    1. Growing Up Spiritually,

      I can totally understand that when your husband gets upset it is tempting to feel anxious and to try to take on his emotions or be responsible for his being upset or try to fix it!!!! I have absolutely been there and I am sure that will be a temptation again in the future!

      I’m so excited that you prayed and sought God for strength and wisdom and power. That is awesome! And WOOHOO! I am so glad that the car trouble wasn’t as severe as it could have been!

  5. I second you NIkka and Kelly!! April has been such a channel of blessing!

    Shanna, I was in your place a few months ago…Oh the voices of the demon were so loud and clear and I would easily give in… I fell a lot of times, I messed up a lot… Created too many wounds for my husband and the hurt and the pain was terrible for both.

    A few things in order which I did to shut those voices…

    1) Since Feb 2013 I was in the process of identifying my sins (Idolatry, pride, self righteous, identifying myself as the spiritual leader etc) Though I confessed them, though I started practicing to control my anger, my tone and the voices in my head I failed miserably and my husband was ready for separation.

    2) He asked me to change myself before I destroy relationships.. He CAUTIONED me… He told me clearly that I should change while I always felt HE should change.

    3) I was not convinced about my need for change, but since he kept himself away from me I started missing him. That’s when I began to think how can I bring back life into marriage.

    4) One day while doing a simple google search I found April’s blog in Jan 2014 and the post was something like number of things wives do to make their husbands go away. That struck the cord… I REALIZED I WAS doing just that…. I almost spent close to 20 hours in two days to read popular posts in this blog…

    5) I wrote my story and my the mess I was in to April and the QUESTIONS she asked me made the difference to me!!!!!

    6) I had a clear understanding about my IDOLS, the IDOL was my HUSBAND AND MYSELF.. I wanted things my way… keeping ME above everything else… I had to purge my thoughts and my actions… It was hard… It wasn’t easy but soon I felt lighter…

    7) The most important question which made THE difference in my life was – WHAT IS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST??? Ahhh… this was my Ahhaaaa moment!!!… Where was Christ in my life, If I had Christ in His rightful place… If my relationship with him would be right… Everything will be right… My eyes were now open to see my HUSBAND as my HEAD appointed by Christ… And I began to see him as a co runner in this race of life… And I understood my role as his HELPER.. I understood that he is weak, sinful and needs CHRIST… But I was doing everything wrong by CRIBBING, DISRESPECTING, SHOUTING, LISTENING TO THE VOICES IN MY HEAD, SATISFYING MY DIRTY FLESH etc… And I was not being the HELPER God wants me to me… I started giving CHRIST the rightful place… Everything is not ALRIGHT now.. My husband still is the same… He does what he used to do before.. BUT I no longer REACT to his actions… I still hear voices in my head… But th moment I hear them, I tell them.. Jesus can you see whats happening, did you see how my husband hurt me?? But I submit to you… And when I go to him I find PEACE!!!!

    8) Now I know how SIGNIFICANT GOD is and how INSIGNIFICANT I am… Im far from being perfect, my storms in life have not reduced, I have too many problems to handle… I am WEAK, but HIS GRACE is truly SUFFICIENT in everything!!!!!

    I will keep you in my prayers Shanna…

    Lots of Love
    Vinodhini

      1. Yes for sure April,

        I’ve been writing my testimony as a post for you.. But its too long… Been praying and asking God to help me write only that which God wants me to… I will soon send a mail..

        Lots of Love
        Vinodhini

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: