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Leaving the church on our wedding day - May 28, 1994

“Wasting” Myself

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May 28, 2013 – our 19th anniversary. Picture taken in front of the church where we were married in 1994.

There is an incredible chapter in Watchman Nee’s “The Normal Christian Life” about “wasting ourselves” for Christ. If you haven’t read this book yet, PLEASE, PLEASE read it! I believe it should be a must-read for every believer.

Nee talks about Mary who, in the eyes of Jesus’ disciples, wasted that extremely expensive perfume on Jesus in John 12:1-7. And Luke 7:36-50.  Particularly, Judas (the one who betrayed Him) was upset, rebuking Mary for her act of love and telling her that she could have sold that perfume (it was worth 1 year’s wages) and given the money to the poor. Jesus, however, commended Mary for what she had done, saying:

“Leave her alone… it was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you. But you will not always have Me.” John 12:7 

There are times, Nee says, that God will call upon us to “waste” ourselves on Him.

The world, and even other believers, may say that what we are doing is a terrible waste of our time, talents, resources and abilities.

But there are times when God wants us to Himself. He may remove us from a place of ministry for some period of time. He may isolate us. He may incapacitate us. He may ask us to give up that which is most precious to us – as an offering to Him – without us knowing in advance if we will be able to retain the thing we hold so dear or not.

Nee describes a minister whose lifelong dream had been to have a Ph.D. He wanted to be called, “Doctor,” more than anything in the world. He wrestled with God saying, “I could bring You so much more glory and honor if I was Dr. So-and-so.” So he pursued his doctorate in divinity (I believe it was). Then, he lost the Spirit’s power in his preaching and could not understand why. He could come up with no message for his church each Sunday anymore. He went to God. God put His finger on this man’s pursuit of his degree. The man argued and argued with God, justifying himself, and kept on pursuing his doctorate until 2 days before his graduation.  He knew God was telling him NOT to get that degree. So, finally, within hours of achieving his lifelong goal, he surrendered his dream to God and did not finish getting his doctorate. God was pleased. His ministry was later greatly blessed. God showed this precious man that He wanted the glory, and that this minister having a doctorate would bring too much glory to the man instead of to God in his life.

Sometimes the world around us, and even our family and Christian friends, may say that we are wasting ourselves when we obey Him when He calls us to:

  • spend much more time with Him in Bible reading, study and prayer than time in ministry
  • stay home with our children or work just part time so that we can be with our children more to bless them, love them, nurture them and raise them to love and know God and His Word
  • prepare to be a housewife instead of going to college
  • be friendly to those who are socially awkward or outcasts
  • minister to the homeless, orphans, the poor and oppressed
  • sell all we have and follow our husbands to become missionaries in another state or country
  • give up a lucrative career to care for our husbands, our children, an ill family member, the poor or to do ministry
  • put our husbands and children ahead of ministry
  • spend less time at church so that our husbands and children do not feel neglected by us
  • remove some activities from our plate or our children’s schedule
  • take an unglamorous, low paying job, being content in obscurity
  • take an unglamorous, behind the scenes position of ministry in the church. being content in obscurity
  • cooperate joyfully with our husbands if they ask us to sell our home and our possessions and radically downsize to be able to give more to those in need and to be able to spend more time in ministry
  • submit joyfully to an unbelieving husband in order to seek to influence him for Christ
  • treat my unloving husband with honor even if he never changes
  • not have the same priorities as the world (sports, entertainment, romance, money, beauty, popularity, etc…) but to seek Him first and to truly desire to obey His Word even if we seem weird
  • dress modestly instead of showing off our bodies to men who are not our husbands
  • drive an old car instead of going into debt to have a new one
  • not give our kids smart phones even though “everyone else has one” if we and our husbands believe that is what is best for our children
  • act with integrity at work even when no one else does
  • suffer with a prolonged illness as He uses that time to draw us to Himself and to refine us
  • submit to our husbands’ leadership even when we don’t know how things are going to work out and our friends/family accuse us of having been “brain washed” or “joining a cult”

(These are just examples. They will not each apply to every wife and some things may apply at certain times but not other times in our lives. We must carefully hear what God is whispering to each of us individually at that time. He does not call each person to the same assignments He gives to others.)

WASTING OURSELVES ON GOD

God often kept His apostles in prison for long periods of time. That may have seemed like a waste to some. But we would not have most of the New Testament were it not for those times. When Paul first came to Christ, He spent 3 years by himself studying and learning and drawing near to Jesus. That was a time of training that God used to equip and prepare him for his ministry. Think of the story of Joseph in Exodus. God gave him two dreams to show him that he would rule over his brothers and parents when he was 17 years old. And then Joseph unfairly suffered for 14 years as either a slave or a prisoner. And yet, God had him in the exact place He wanted Joseph to be in order to become the 2nd in command to Pharaoh when the time was right. Moses spent 40 years in Egypt as the Pharaoh’s adopted grandson, then 40 years hiding in the desert before God called him to lead His people out of Egypt.  What seems at first to us like a waste of Moses’ life was actually very practical preparation for the job God had for Moses to do.

I don’t know what treasure God may call each of us to give up. In some ways, this is a daily thing of dying to self. I don’t know how much time God may set aside in our lives to have us all to Himself. But I do pray that we might each be ready to give all that we have to Christ even if He is the only one who benefits. Some women think, “If I obey God, and it doesn’t result in me getting what I want (a baby, more money, a bigger house, a husband), I am wasting my time!” But, if we are walking in obedience to Jesus, and we are lavishing ourselves on Him – that is NEVER a waste of our time or effort! He is WORTHY!!!!!!!!   As we give Him everything – He is pleased. We have an “Audience of One.” God’s opinion is the only one that matters. His approval is all we must seek.

What thing is there that you are holding back from God in your life? What is it about which you say, “You can have everything in my life, Jesus,  but not this”? I beg you to be willing to surrender control of that thing to Jesus and to be completely submitted to Jesus as LORD of every single thing in your life. You cannot begin to grow powerfully in Him until you are willing to do this. We must ALL die to ourselves and we must ALL be willing to lose our lives and everything we have in order to have Jesus.

WASTING OURSELVES ON OUR HUSBANDS:

There are often parallels between our submission, love, reverence for and devotion to Christ and our submission, love, respect for and devotion to our husbands. I think that is so fascinating!

There have absolutely been times when I thought to myself, “Greg is just watching TV. He doesn’t seem to care if I am here or not. He hasn’t asked me to stay with him. I could be spending more time ministering to wives online rather than ‘wasting my time here’ watching some TV show I don’t care anything about.”

But this summer when I had my blogging/social media break for a month – God revealed to me that I need to be beside my husband at night even if he is “just watching TV” and even if he is not having a big conversation every moment. Yes, there are great needs in the world and there are always women who will desire counsel and prayer. Those things are very important. But, even though my husband may never actually say, “I want you here with me in the evenings,” that is my place. He was able to better articulate this to me during my blogging break than ever before. When I make myself available to him, it gives him the opportunity to share things with me if he wants to. We have greater opportunities for intimacy on every level. Every night may not be a big deep discussion.  Every night may not be physical intimacy. That is ok. By my being there and making my husband my greatest human priority after the children go to bed, I bless him. If I am blessing my husband just by being in the room with him in the evenings, that is not a waste of my time. Even if he doesn’t really talk about it much. This makes our marriage much stronger. I am ministering powerfully to my husband just by sitting with him and cuddling with him while he watches TV.

Greg actually told me this past week as he had his arm around me, smiled and patted my hip,

“I really like you being right here.”

Wow.

Some of you may hear words like that every single day. Greg doesn’t make comments like that very often. Maybe 1-2 times per year. He doesn’t use adjectives like “really” and he doesn’t straight out say “I like” anything or verbally gush over things. Usually, if he likes something, he will say something like, “That wouldn’t bother me.” Or “I assume that would be ok.” So, I was floored. This was a VERY strong statement coming from him.

I am so thankful that I listened when God clearly told me in June to slow way down and focus more on Greg, our children and on Him.

In addition to making myself much more available to Greg in the evenings, I have found that if I stay in bed a little longer in the mornings, an extra 30 minutes, instead of rushing to go have my quiet time or answer comments as soon as I wake up, we have greater opportunities to connect on every level in the mornings, too. (Of course, this doesn’t work if I have to get ready for work, also.)

I try to ask Greg about once per week,

  • “What can I do for you this week?”
  • “How can I bless you?”
  • “What would you like me to stop doing?”
  • “What would you like me to start doing?”

I am a DOER. I like to DO STUFF. I feel productive and purposeful when I am DOING. I like moving and getting things done. I don’t like sitting still and “going nowhere”!

Interestingly, what Greg almost always says when I ask him how I can bless him is:

  • Relax!
  • Just have fun!
  • Enjoy the kids.

These things do not come naturally to me. I’m pretty awful at relaxing. I tend to want to say, “No, I mean, what actual THING can I DO for you that would really bless you?”

But now I am beginning to understand, when I relax and enjoy him and the kids, that DOES bless him. Greatly. It is dawning on me more and more just how important I am to this man I love and respect so much and that there are many ways he appreciates me ministering to him that he may not articulate with words, but that are extremely important to him and to our marriage.

And, imagine this… maybe this is more of what God wants from me in my walk with Him, too?

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

SHARE:

What does your husband ask you to do that you may tend to brush off or think of as being “unimportant” or “a waste” of your time? I’d love for you to share!

How can we “waste” ourselves in a beautiful way on God and on our husbands – or maybe a better term would be – LAVISH?

Husbands,

What are some ways you would like to see your wives lavish themselves on you that may seem “wasteful” to others but would greatly bless you and your marriage? We’d love to hear from the men on this.

 

74 thoughts on ““Wasting” Myself

  1. What a wonderful post April and I love how you were blessed in your obedience!!
    A similar thing has happened to me also. I am very much a doer and need to be always on the move, but I’ve noticed the more I just sit with my husband quietly watching him do house repairs or a show I’d rather be reading during….it truly blesses him. And all of a sudden he begins to share deep things in his heart and I’m so blessed!!!

    Just this week he had to travel for work and we missed each other so much. I’m sure it was because we had connected so much before he left. We teased about who missed who more….but what a blessing to my heart!! And I pray God continues to give me wisdom to bless my husband so we continue to grow in intimacy.

    My husband would prefer me to not run out of bed in the mornings too but it’s my exercise and quiet time (as my day doesn’t allow for it any other time). I’m praying through how I can still bless him in this area and yet do these things I know I need for my spiritual and physical health.
    Thanks for your continued ministry to us April!!! What a blessing you are!!!

    1. Angelique,
      WOW! I am thinking back to two years ago and how there wouldn’t have been that kind of teasing going on back then. God is so very good!!!! What He is doing in you, your husband and your marriage is so beautiful!

      Thank you very much for sharing. It is HARD for me to slow down, too. But – I am so thankful that God is helping me to understand how important it is!

      Yes, time constraints can make this very difficult to do. Praying for wisdom for you!

    2. Oh Angelique, this staying in bed dilemma happened to me this morning…in the end I stayed in bed and used the time to pray for him in my head…made me feel like I was doing something 😉 I too hate wasting time (waiting in long lines at the grocery store, waiting on hold with customer service, waiting at a red light…) but using that time to pray kills two birds with one stone, and makes me a whole lot more pleasant to be around!

    3. I’m new to your blog and searching for help in my marriage with my husband. I am pretty certain if I were to say to my husband what can I do for you this week? His answer would be leave me alone, don’t bother me. I know the issue are not all on him. I pray that the ill feelings and hatred that have built up over our 34 years of marriage can be resolved. Life is miserable like this and has been for a long time

  2. So glad to see you back on!! It’s been a little hectic on my end so I haven’t read some of your posts. (Counting the days to my week off)

    Oh goodness, April. What is with guys and TV? (Sorry, guys). When I ask my husband how I can bless him, he will point to the spot next to him on the couch, “sit and watch with me.” Or “Relax with me.” Some days I’ll go with it. Other days, I’ll give him a list of things that have to be done or I’ll “watch” next to him while I fold laundry.
    That’s where we are. I must say, though, that many times, he will offer to help me after whatever show he wants us together .. And he’ll either fold the laundry, vaccuum or do the dishes. 🙂
    Btw, last night, we watched God’s Not Dead. 🙂

    I whole heartedly agree with what you said here. In my experience, sometimes, you’ll feel a little unsure when everyone around you, including fellow believers tell you that you may have it wrong. (Did God really say…?) When you start to doubt, then keep running to God and keep asking for clarity. God is faithful and He will give it to you. And if your motives are in the wrong place, the Lord will reveal that to you too!

    ON the other side, we need to be the kind of believers that respect, honor and encourage other believers’ decisions to “waste” themselves or a part of their lives for God. If a friend goes up to you and tells you this is what they feel God is telling them to do, and maybe it doesn’t make sense to you, I suggest (and I’m preaching this to myself as well) to go to God yourself before you go on discouraging your friend or telling her she may have misunderstood the Lord.
    🙂

    1. p31mariec,

      Do you realize that we are coming up on 2 years since we met?!?!

      I am so excited to hear about what you are learning. I don’t totally understand the TV thing with our men. I know it is a way they feel they can unplug and relax and recharge. It’s so funny how much I have fought blessing my husband in this way for many years because I don’t think the same way. But, if this is all it takes to make my husband feel connected, loved and blessed by me – OK! I can do this! It doesn’t feel like I am DOING enough. But to see me relax with him really makes him feel special.

      Greg is awesome at grabbing the laundry basket now and folding laundry – without me even asking! THAT never used to happen years ago!

      And I agree with you, there are times when a wife may need to pull back from church to minister to her husband or may need to do something we don’t agree with – but God may be calling her to do this. Wives need our support and encouragement in those moments. We may not be privy to what God is calling them to do! VERY good point!

      Much love to you!

      1. Yes. I believe it was two years in July. 🙂 This part of my story (running into your blog) is on of many examples of how God knows all our needs and provides. I believe growth in me and my husband happened the day I chose to respect my unbelieving husband (without sinning). This choice bas literally brought me to my knees and drew me to my Heavenly Father.

        1. p31mariec,

          I am so thankful to have met you. I love seeing what God has done in your heart and I can’t wait to read all the chapters that haven’t been written yet!

          I know that was NOT an easy choice for you at all. I remember the battle very vividly. But how I praise God for His faithfulness and goodness in your life!

          For other wives who may be living with an unbelieving husband, here are two posts about that topic:

          My Secret Idol
          When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God!

  3. My husband is not a big TV watcher, but there are a couple of shows he enjoys that we will watch together.

    The two things I can think of that he asks most often is for me to join him when he goes somewhere. There was a day I had off from work for some reason or another, and I was so looking forward to a day at home, relaxing, cleaning up, getting things organized and cleaning out a few areas that needed refreshing! And then my husband informed me that he was going to be on the road that day instead of at the office, and he asked if I’d like to go with him. Um…YES! We had a wonderful time, talking about so many different things during the drive, and I got to see him interact with clients.

    Some times he will ask if I’d like to go with him on an errand to a store, or to run up to his office. I almost always drop what I am doing and say yes. The more time I can spend with my husband, the better!

    Another time, I had dropped my daughter off at a morning camp and planned to go home and clean as quickly as possible during the little time I had available, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it over the weekend. My husband made a comment that he could really use some coffee and would like to see me, so I disregarded my plans, went to Starbucks, brought my husband some coffee, and sat in his office with him until it was time to pick my daughter up. Some of the cleaning didn’t get done, but he didn’t seem to notice and even told me later how nice the house looked.

    I have at times felt like I was “wasting” time, or at least not being as productive as I could, but I know in the grand scheme of things, we only get so much time with our husbands and if he wants me with him, I’m going to take advantage of that!

    1. M,

      That reminds me of how my Daddy would always ask, “Who wants to go with me to the hardware store/bowhunting shop?” And I would always jump up and down and run and grab his hand, “Me!!! I want to go!” If my daddy was going somewhere, I didn’t care where it was, I wanted to go with him. Just to be with him!

      What a blessing. I’m so glad you shared this!

  4. Good morning April! I appreciate your words very much. This is the first post where it struck a chord in me. I am a housewife and focus my priorities on making our home a sanctuary and one where our children will hopefully thrive. I face challenging remarks from many people but the past two years it no longer rattles me because i know in my heart that creating peace in life is good. Last year, i found myself unhappy. I spent a lot of time volunteering at school and as a girl scout leader. Much of my time was spent in activities that seemed a waste of time. They also seemed to bring conflict into my home by adding stress from the obligations or from the women in the group. I began to ask myself, why am i sacraficing myself or my family for activities so disconnected from God. It was then my husband asked me to slow down. At bible study, my question to my group was. “Where does God want me to go now?” Well…funny thing is….he didn’t want me to go anywhere…his answer is “right here..being still…getting closer to me. Being calm, strong, loving, gentle and kind” i couldn”t believe that was what he wanted me to do. Really? That sounded too easy. It was then i began to realize how much i feel my worth from doing rather than just being…the true path to God for me is first learning to love him and the ways he has blessed me…and now to be gracious and loving to the people he has put in my life. Just like you, i felt unproductive sitting there on the couch in front of the tv…but my husband likes me next to him also. I can see the change in how he looks at me since i have been taking the time with him. In these quiet moments where i am not doing, god is urging me to change and bringing me much inner work i can do…in my heart.

    1. Gwen,
      Love this!!!

      Thank you very much for sharing.

      It is so easy to fill our lives with activities and things on a “to do list” that may be good things – but that may keep us from even more important things.

      I know every wife doesn’t have time to spend 2 hours per night with her husband in front of the TV. But – even if we just take 15-20 minutes and enjoy our men or seek to do something to bless our husbands whenever we can, it makes a big difference.

      I would personally love to see more of us focusing our attention on God, husbands and children and home – and a lot less attention elsewhere – according to God’s Spirit’s direction, of course! Sometimes things we think are SO necessary – really are not.

      I believe a lot of husbands would love for their wives to get rid of some outside commitments and focus more on being with them. This will take a lot of prayer and sensitivity to God’s Spirit and to our husbands. But I am so excited to see how God may move in each wife’s heart and life to bless her husband, marriage and children and to help her make time for God a bigger priority, too.

      Relationships – with God, with our husbands, with our children – take TIME. There is no way around that. May God help us use our time to most honor Him and to do what has eternal value in His sight!

  5. It’s interesting to me,that we recently had a situation come up that is related to this.Without getting into details, let me just say it would mean the world to me, if my wife would make time with me more of a priority, even if we’re just sitting on the couch, or yard, or lying in bed. Just having her near me, even if we’re not talking or doing anything, or I’m doing something and she’s not, gives us an opportunity to connect. You have articulated this so well in this post, all I can add is AMEN!

    1. Tjcox,

      Thank you so much for sharing a husband’s heart on this. As women, we don’t think of sitting quietly in the same room as being a meaningful activity. But, so many husbands have shared that it is very bonding for them. If you want to add anything to help us understand how powerful such a simple thing can be to our husbands, we are all ears!

  6. Hi April! Another great post as usual! Things are definitely on the uphill swing for my husband and I lately. We had a really good conversation on Saturday and he was very receptive. The whole dynamic between us is so much different than before. I often ask God during our conversations, “help me with my words”, and of course, “help me listen”.

    My husband and I spent a weekend out of town together a couple weeks ago doing some things we USED to do together all the time. (Mostly the things he enjoys). It was so much fun. Yesterday, he made cleaning the garage and getting some outside work done a priority. I’d been waiting patiently for him to move our daughter’s new bed in and that gone done as well. So I was busy inside the house, he was busy outside the house, but several times throughout the day he’d check in, and ask things like, “so how are things going in there?”, “is it coming together?” Unheard of!! He’s always just gone into his own little world and never bothered to care what I was up to. I know this seems so small, but it’s really big for us. 🙂

    TV isn’t the issue at my house, it’s his online buying and selling. He’s constantly on an auction site or on his email. We talked about it, and he acknowledged my feelings. I can’t believe how much we’ve discussed recently that didn’t cause the normal anger and hurt feelings and of course, hurtful responses. We laugh more. We say sorry. We say thank you. We say I love you. I can’t thank you enough April. Your blog and insight has changed my LIFE. It feels SO good to have him home so he SEES the changes I’ve made and I can DO the things God is asking me to do. Blessing my husband isn’t a chore, it’s a joy. God bless you!!

    1. Catherine,

      This is a GOD thing, my sweet sister! I am THRILLED beyond words to hear about all the changes going on with you. What a very different tone and atmosphere is in your home and marriage and family now compared to a few months ago. WOOHOO! PRAISE GOD!

      I am so thankful you shared how you are doing. May God richly bless your walk with Christ, your husband’s walk with Christ and your marriage for His greatest glory!

    2. Catherine,
      Even though we don’t know each other, I feel so encouraged and strengthen in my faith by what you share. I am sincerely so happy for you and appreciate you sharing your stories. God is so good!

      1. Mrs. M I will be honest and say that I didn’t trust God a few months back, and I didn’t believe for a minute this would happen. My husband has not been living at home and we’d been separated for nearly six months. He moved home about three weeks ago. I was ready to quit when he became ready to try again. <3 We shall see where this path leads, but right now I'm going to cherish every moment. May God bless you!

        1. Catherine, I just want you to know how happy I am for you and your husband! Praying blessings over your marriage! God is AWESOME!!!

        2. Praise God, Catherine! This is a miracle! I pray things just keep getting better and better for you, and as they do, keep living for Jesus and don’t ever forsake that first Love!!!!

          -HisHelper

    3. Catherine!!!!!!!!

      Praise God!! He has worked mightily on your behalf as you waited on Him. I pray He will continue to strengthen you and fill you and empower you to be the wife he has called you to be and that He will continue to do great things in your marriage to bring glory to His name

  7. This is such a heartfelt post, dear sister, April!

    I too am usually told by people that I am “wasting” my talents by not going back to my broadcasting ‘career’. At this stage in my life, I would rather “waste” myself on my family than on anyone or anything else. But nothing is wasted when done for the Lord!

    I share your ‘DOER nature’. When I am not “doing anything”, I feel like a lazy person, but it is exactly keeping still that the Lord requires of me right now. Just keeping still takes a LOT of energy and patience, but I am getting the hang of it! Thank God! 🙂

    I wrote a piece on “wasting my life” as per other people, for those who might be interested. 🙂

    WHAT?!? ME? “JUST” A HOUSEWIFE AND MOTHER?!?
    http://peacefulwifephilippines.blogspot.com/2014/07/what-me-just-housewife-and-mother.html

    Hugs, dear April and hello to all the Peaceful Wives here. 🙂

    <3

    Nikka

    1. Yes. I used to get that too, Nikka. I chose a less paying, less glamorous job but it is what makes sense for my family. I used to get the whole speech about how I can do so much better, my kids won’t be little forever and what will I do when they’re all grown up and I don’t have a career?
      My career is my family. Thankuverymuch. 🙂

      1. p31mariec,

        I am so thankful for you and for Nikka and your beautiful examples on this issue! Thank you for seeking to do what is best for your marriages and your children even though it is not popular and sometimes you are disrespected by those who don’t understand yet. Thank you for seeking to do what you believe God desires you to do. May we all seek to obey God regardless of how the people around us think or respond to us!

      2. Amen to that p31mariec! 🙂

        The argument, “Your kids won’t be little forever… What will you do when they are grown up and do not have a career?” is the VERY reason why it is important to think about quitting one’s ‘career’.

        The kids are not little forever, so use up all your time, talent and treasure cultivating and nurturing their souls. Once they are all grown up, they will never forget the love and attention that you gave them. That is priceless.

        A career? That’s what the world wants us to have. But it is clear that what the Lord wants us to be are keepers of our homes and helpmeets to our husbands. 🙂

        Titus 2:3-5 New International Version (NIV)

        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.

        I do not mind having a job to support the finances of the family. But a career? One that takes my best energies and my bestest self, leaving scraps for the family or none at all? No, thank you. Our hearts should always have the home as priority. I learned this the hard way.

        God bless you p31mariec!

        <3

        Nikka

    2. Nikka,

      I know you hear these words often – particularly from old colleagues, I am sure. But I am so thankful for what God is doing in you! And you are very right – nothing is wasted when it is done for the Lord and when we are walking in obedience to Him!

      Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story!

      Much love my precious sister!

  8. Wow! As i read this blog it has so encouraged me. I am a stay at home mom and pastors wife. I found your blog a couple of months ago. And it help me to be more submissive. This blog came right after my husband had talked about mar and the allibaster box. We had to make some quick descions on the kids schools that we where not looking to have do this year. Thank you Jesus we are being obedient. Love how Jesus uses you. It tough the area where we are called is my home town and i had to come to grips with i may never move. Thank april. JESUS IS LORD

    1. pastorswife2000,

      I am so thankful that this is a blessing to you. Being a pastor’s wife is particularly challenging at times – sharing your husband with a whole congregation can be hard! But I am so excited about what God is doing in your life, your marriage and your family! And I can’t wait to see all that He has in store for the church where you both minister, as well!

      I am praising God with you and AMEN! JESUS IS LORD!

      For pastors’ wives who may not have seen this post, here is a post just for you!

  9. April, I have a slightly different take on this. While I completely agree that making our husbands a priority is very important, I wonder if this can go to the other extreme?

    When my husband is home, I give him my undivided attention for the most part. I wait on him because he has worked hard. I sit in the living room or go outside with him and neglect anything else that needs to be done.

    I have a friend who is like this too. And what we have found is our husbands have become selfish. When I am sick or hurting and can’t do for him, he becomes angry. He seems to have no sympathy for me. He is sweet at he can be when I am doing for him.

    Right now I need a hysterectomy. I do have a surgery date of Aug 25 but my national healthcare insurance still has not approved it even though I have had 3 doctors confirm I need surgery.

    I feel very alone and feel like I have no support from my husband. He just wants me to get better so I can do for him and he doesn’t have to help with the house or errands.

    What is the happy medium here? I want to be there with him. I love our time. I like doing for him but I am feeling like I am doing too much.

    1. Daisymae,
      This is an important point!

      Absolutely it is possible to go too far to giving our husbands attention. It is always possible for us as sinful people to take things too far.

      I think the real test is – what are my motives?

      – am I seeking to honor and obey Christ?
      – am I seeking to bless my husband?
      – am I seeking the approval of Christ far above my husband’s approval?

      Or
      – am I doing this because I idolize my husband and want him to idolize me, too?
      – am I expecting my husband to fulfill me in ways that only Jesus really can?
      – am I afraid that my husband won’t approve of me if I don’t jump through hoops, is fear my motivation?
      – am I doing this to measure myself and to be prideful in myself?
      – am I doing this to try to change my husband and make him love me more?
      – am I really being self-seeking?

      If a husband is very selfish, that may be something a wife might need to address. Sometimes there are times when that is exactly what will most honor a God, and other times it is more productive for us to be quiet and wait on God, particularly if our husbands are far from God. I Peter 3:1-6.

      You can search my home page for some posts that may be helpful:

      – to Speak or Not to Speak
      – How to confront our husbands

      But, also, please keep in mind that my husband tends to be very passive and quiet. He tends NOT to ask for what he wants and needs. He tends to be selfless to the point that it is hard for me to tell what I can do to bless him.

      If your husband is more demanding, outspoken, selfish and aggressive/assertive – you may be approaching this issue from the opposite angle I am.

      How do you ask him for things you need?
      Do you share your feelings? Do you tell him when you are upset, scared, nervous, angry or sad? If so, how do you share?

      I know things were pretty rocky just a few months ago. I am sure you both Still have a lot of healing to do in the marriage as well as on your own spiritually.

      What does your husband’s dad do for his mom? What is their dynamic?

      Is your husband squeamish around sick or injured people?

      I don’t think it is going to work to neglect everything you need to do. It may help to talk with him about what he would like your priorities to be.

      How is your time with God going lately?

      What does your husband say about your recuperation time from surgery and your legitimate needs?

      Much love my precious sister! Praying for God’s wisdom and direction and for His provision as you face surgery.

      1. Daisymae,
        What happens if you say, “I need X on these days, please when I have my surgery.”

        And then, leave it with him and allow him to think about it without pressuring him? I don’t know your husband – so, this may not be the best approach. But, maybe it might be something to prayerfully consider?

        1. I told him I need him to take two days off to get me to the hospital and home but when I said I need you to be home by 5 to relieve my mom the rest of the week, he said I doubt that will happen. I can’t just leave work. He really doesn’t see the need if he thinks someone else can do it. My mom is 80. She can’t hold out for a full day and evening caring for me. If I let him think about it? He won’t. He just won’t be here. He has the “Oh you will be fine” attitude. I don’t think he is being mean. I just don’t think he sees the need. He think if I am home then I am fine.

      2. April, I have been thinking a lot today about times when I have been selfish and controlling. And wondering about the damage that has done. I feel like that is connected to this.

        I ask for things I need directly and he generally directly says no. He even said once that he thinks I am just trying to get him to do something for me…like it is a game. I have never once in my life done that. If I say I am too weak to go to the store. It is because I am. I hate asking other people to do things. I wonder if this is old baggage with him. He really hates when I tell him I am hurt or fearful or sad etc. It makes him irritated. He says I complain too much. Maybe I share too much.

        His mother is dead. He nursed her through cancer staying with her at the hospital etc. He doesn’t like to be around sick people at all but he can if needed. I don’t know his family was like.

        I have been spending a lot of time with God and my emotions and view of things are so much better. I am no longer an emotional roller coaster. Even though my husband does things to hurt me, I get over them quickly and let God deal with him. And my husband is better in many ways . He is communicating much better. I know his exhaustion plays a role in the way he is acting now. I just still would like to figure out what to do next. Perhaps it is still just pray and wait on God.

        When we talk about my surgery and recovery, he says that your mom, best friend etc will take care of you.

        I think I will be a lot better when I can have a life again. Right now I spend most of the day just sitting and that is not good for me mentally. It has been good to focus on God but I know depression is creeping in. I just try to tell myself this will pass. One day I will be strong again.

        1. Daisymae,
          I am praying for wisdom for you and for God to grant you favor with your husband, that he might understand you truly need him!!!!

          I wish I could hug your neck! I also wish I could magically make things better. I sure can’t. 🙁 But we will pray about this together – and maybe some of our other sisters can join in praying, too, that the week of your surgery might bring great glory to God in your marriage and that God might provide in ways we cannot begin to imagine!

          1. Thank you April. I am at a point that I am getting depressed. I have never been depressed in my life but this is just wearing on me. I can’t take care of my son like I need to. My husband works such long hours all he does is come in and go to bed.
            I know the disorder that I have can lead to depression but so far I have been able to control it.
            I so appreciate your prayers.

    2. daisymae,

      This won’t provide any practical help for your needs while you are recuperating, but if your husband is anything like mine, maybe this will help you in understanding your man. Nurturing and compassion do not come naturally to my husband. He likes to be in charge, and sickness and pain are often areas that I think some men avoid because these are things they cannot control, and it makes them uncomfortable.

      I don’t have any advice as to how to encourage your husband to take some responsibility for helping you through your recovery, but maybe, if what i said above applies to your husband too, it could help to keep that in mind as you do talk to him about your concerns?

      Praying for wisdom, provision, and quick healing as you go though surgery!

      -HisHelper

      1. HisHelper, Thank you. I think you are right about that. He can’t fix this and I imagine that frustrates him.

  10. Princess,

    I know this is a very, very sensitive issue for many women. I have known Nikka for almost a year now, and I know her to be very humble, compassionate, caring, loving and understanding with women. I know that her heart is that she desires God’s best for all women.

    I do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all about wives/moms working. But rather, I believe this issue is something each wife must hammer out on her own between her husband, herself and God.

    Nikka did have a very prominent career. She felt God’s calling to give it up. It has been a great blessing to her to be able to be home.

    God may have called you to be a doctor and a mom. That is totally fine. I do not believe Nikka is judging you.

    I think that it may be possible that there could be some women who could give up their careers who may not realize that they could. And for many, it would relieve a lot of the time pressure and stress that they are experiencing and their sense of not being able to get the things that are most important to them done each day. I actually have a post about some of our material and financial priorities in this regard coming in the next week or two. There are other women who believe they are called to work. Yes, it is much harder to achieve balance with our time when we work full time, but if that is something you believe God is calling you to do and you and your husband are happy with your life balance, that is great!

    I think that the key is our motives and how we are godly stewards with the time, talents and resources we have. And we must each be sensitive to God’s Spirit and our husbands, as well, not to mention our own mental health, ability to balance things and sanity.

    Nikka is sharing what she learned the hard way in her life. I don’t see her condemning anyone, just asking women to prayerfully think and consider this issue in the hopes that women will have no regrets. A fantastic resource for this issue of work/life balance for Christian women is Shaunti Feldhahn’s book The Life Ready Woman.

    I personally work part time as a pharmacist. I would love to be home all the time. But my husband prefers for me to work some. Does God use me to bless people at work? Absolutely!

    Can women who are home all the time waste time? Yep. My prayer is that we each might use our time for God’s greatest glory and our family’s greatest benefit and for the benefit of others around us, as well, no matter what God has called us to do.

    It is my prayer that this forum might be a place where women can find refreshment, support, love, encouragement, respect, prayer and edification.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. I praise God for what He is doing in your life and I can’t wait to see all that He has in store for you!

    Much love!
    April

  11. My precious sisters,
    These are difficult, sometimes gut-wrenching topics, we are talking about. I know that each of us probably agonize over our decisions as we long to do what God desires us to do in each situation – for our marriages, in our walk with Christ, for our children and for our careers/jobs.

    No human person can dictate what we each ought to do at any particular time in our lives. These are individual convictions that we must come to on our own, with the guidance and leadership of our husbands, with the power of God’s Word and His Spirit.

    Thankfully, no matter what choices we believe God is calling us to make – we can stand united as sisters in Christ, supporting, loving and praying for one another as we walk this road together.

    I want all women to feel welcome here- full time working moms, single women, stay at home moms, part time working moms, housewives without children, retired women.

    As believers in Christ, we have much more in common through Jesus than we have differences.

    Much love to each of you! I’m glad we can talk about difficult things and I pray we might be a blessing to one another and that Christ alone might be exalted here.

  12. In talking about whether to take part in ministry activities or not, I’m feeling like a current activity is a real test for me! Our church is going through a huge campaign right now for something that will be awesome, and my husband and I are on the planning committee. He and I are in charge of one aspect of the campaign. He is taking leadership (my husband is an amazing leader!) and I am sort of “working” for him in my administrative gifting.

    And I am realizing just HOW MUCH PRIDE I still have! As he shares ideas with me, for some reason my initial instinct is to “offer a different point of view” and say why that may not work, or why something else might be better. As he gives me directives, I feel myself tense up at having to take on that task. As he says he will email this person or that person, I feel myself growing indignant because I could just as easily send that email and show how involved I am too.

    Interestingly, we’ve talked about our dreams for years from now, starting our own business where I work from home part-time helping him, sort of how thejoyfilledwife talks about helping her husband with their business. If I am getting this riled up over one small aspect of a short-term ministry activity, how on earth do I think I can be humble enough to work for my husband in the future?!

    Perhaps it’s more my hormones making me feel this way, but oh how I want to cry thinking about how little I’ve actually grown when put to the test. Please pray for me to let go of ALL my pride, to trust my husband’s leadership and decisions, and to know when to voice my opinions versus when to be quiet!

    1. M,
      Please don’t be so hard on yourself and do not get discouraged but rejoice and praise God because you know He IS doing a great work in your life!! You are growing and changing and, obviously, the Lord is revealing things to you. (And that is what our loving heavenly Father does because HE LOVES HIS CHILDREN!!) All that is required of you is to agree with the Lord about the things He is showing you (in prayer) and ask Him to make those changes in you. We only slow down God’s work of sanctification in our lives when we try to make the changes instead of just agreeing with God when He shows us something and then repent and ask Him to change us. Don’t take on that burden because it is God alone who can change you. Just continue to fellowship with the Lord by spending time in His Word and then praying according to what He reveals to you through His Word and through your life experiences. This is the sanctification process. It is a beautiful thing when we realize that the reality is that the Lord is doing the great work of conforming us into His dear Son. We have many good things to look forward to by faith because we know God loves us and He is the BEST Father there is 🙂

      1. Eliza, thank you so much! I think you’re right, I’m trying to make the changes myself instead of thanking God for revealing the need for the changes to me and allowing Him to make those changes Himself. I need to just relax and let Him do His thing. Thank you for your wise and encouraging words!

    2. M,

      I am so glad God allows us to see sin like this. I know it is so very painful to see that it is there, but what a blessing to be able to repent and ask God to take it. Away and help us. Learn and grow! I am so thankful He prunes us.

      This may be a great preparation for something in the future. I am praying for you!

  13. I haven’t commented on April’s blog in a while; I have been reading the posts and comments ,but I have really not commented. I usually always have an opinion, so for me, it’s pretty odd for me to not be commenting (even though I am basically pretty new to this blog). I have been seeking God for His direction on an issue, and for w/e reason, He has not spoken to me. Today when I was reading this blog post along with all the comments, the Lord started speaking to my heart. (I’ve been going through a very quiet phase, but content just to wait on God.) The thing is, there are so many women on this blog who are coming from different places and stages & seasons of life. We are not all going through the same seasons of life or seasons of learning and growing. Also, some are believers with believing husbands, some are perhaps not believers yet but have saved husbands, or maybe also some are saved ladies but have unsaved husbands. Some have children, some do not, some have young kids, some have already raised their children. Some are now grandparents, some don’t have grandchildren. I am now a middle-aged woman who has already raised five children (but I’m not a grandmother yet.) What I can tell you is that we are all on a journey where we are learning, and growing, and changing. We are all not in the same season of life nor do we all have the same type of husband or even same types of children. I am now in my sixth decade of life, and what I can tell you is that we are all at different levels of growth and learning. This last season I have gone through is a season of being still before the Lord and being silent and listening and waiting on Him. I have learned, and grown, and changed so much (but the Lord is still not done with me yet!!). The woman I was in my 20’s is not the woman I was in my 30’s. The woman I was in my 30’s is not the woman I was in my 40’s. And now that I am in my 50’s, I am different even now. What I have learned is to love and respect every woman’s stage and season of life and to give room for other’s levels of growth and learning and seasons in the Lord or (just by living life and gaining wisdom by experiential knowledge). Believe me, you will have different convictions about motherhood and life in your 20’s or 30’s or 40’s or 50’s. So, we need to be loving, kind, and gracious and be more willing to listen to and respect other’s opinions and convictions as long as they do not interfere with Scriptural sound doctrine. I used to get really hurt and upset if somebody disagreed with me or didn’t support how we were raising our children. Now, I hardly ever get hurt because I have learned through the life lessons the Lord has given me that I should only be concerned with what God and my husband think ~ not what another person thinks. That took years of learning and growing in the Lord, and HE did the work and made the changes and taught the lessons and accomplished the growth & conformity to His will. We are all learning and growing, Ladies. And life is very short, so we should all strive to love and support one another and not take things very personally or get so easily hurt or wounded or offended. We really do have a choice because we really do have the power we need. We can do this with our husbands and others if we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. We can be content knowing that we are exactly where God wants us to be in life if we know that we are fellowshipping with God in His Word and in prayer, and we know we are obeying Him in every area as He is leading us. God will give us power to walk in love and do His will. God will direct us through His Word and our husbands as we seek Him and yield to Him. We all need to respect the place the Lord has each of us and be very careful to not speak or share in way that might hurt or wound another brother or sister in Christ (or even an unbeliever for that matter). ~ We must learn to respect that we are all not in the same place in life at the same time. God is working in each one of our lives in different ways at different times. Our circumstances and needs are all different, Ladies. I know I have changed many times on my convictions and beliefs as a mother and wife. That’s what “growing in grace and knowledge” is all about. I also used to be harsh and speak very strongly about what I believed. But I hurt people. And that was another lesson and time of learning. Now I try very hard to walk in God’s power and speak in love so that I do not hurt others or offend them when I try to share a belief or conviction or Biblical principle. We don’t have to hurt one another when we share. We need to think of others as more important than ourselves and be careful to not speak out of emotion bur rather just speak based on truth and in love and with respect. God bless us all on this wonderful journey called LIFE!!

    1. Eliza,
      Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and perspective! I love this!!! I want to keep your words in mind all the time as I seek to address such an incredibly diverse group of women – different ages, different backgrounds, different cultures, different stages in life, different challenges, different world views…

      Beautifully stated! Thank you!!!

  14. Thank you for this post, April. I have been meaning to comment for a few days but I was not able to until now. I am relatively new to your site but I love your posts and I just wanted to let you know you have been a positive influence in me and my marriage. God bless you and your family.

    I have been asking God for direction in my spiritual growth. This post really stuck with me. For three days in a row, starting with your post, I heard about “wasting” myself for God, spending more time with Him, and really just seeking His guidance. When a same topic pursues me for days, I know God is telling me something.

    I know I need to spend more time with Him and dive into His Word more than before. Sometimes I think I need to do more to feel I am serving God, but many times, all I need to do is stop and listen to Him. Many times I get ahead of Him because I am not patient or quiet enough to listen to His full answer.

    Thank you for helping me see that seeking God is not always about doing more but about listening to Him and following His guidance; whatever that looks like to me, not for what anyone else is doing.

    1. Aixa,

      I am so excited about what God is showing you! It is very much the “Mary and Martha” story, isn’t it? We want to DO stuff for God (and our husbands) – and that is good – but how much better to actually be still sometimes and enjoy and know them. 🙂

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. I really enjoyed this post April!! I just wanted to thank you for being so obedient to God. Your wisdom has changed my life and influences my thoughts and even my prayers!!!

  16. I am finding this blog very helpful. Thank you! Regularly my husband asks me to leave the mess and relax. He doesn’t like the noise of me washing up after dinner when he’s trying to relax and he’s tired. This is so hard to do as I know it makes the next day harder. I admit I sometimes get cross as I just want help and I do it anyway with a bad attitude, but your post encourages me to reprioritise what I deem important.

  17. Here is a template for how we could approach the body image issues…

    We can talk to God, confessing the things about our bodies for which we are not thankful – and asking His forgiveness. Then we can praise and thank God for:

    – our particular body
    – our hair
    – our facial features
    – our skin
    – our health
    – the gift of this life which is such a treasure

    And we can pray:

    “Dear God,
    Thank You for giving me this body in Your sovereignty. Forgive me for not being grateful. Forgive me for listening to the messages of the world about beauty that are not true. Forgive me for focusing on hating myself and my appearance. Help me to accept that what You have made is good. Help me to see the beauty in this body You have so generously and graciously given to me. Thank You that my worth in Your eyes is not found in my appearance or in the approval of the world, or even of my husband. Thank You that my worth is totally based on the fact that You created me and You love me more than I could ever understand or fully grasp.
    Help me to use this body wisely for Your glory. Show me how I can bless my husband with this body and this life. Show me how I can cultivate the beauty that is so precious to You – a gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear. I yield all of myself to You. I want to be a good steward of my body, my life, my health and my appearance. I want to bring glory to You alone. Help me to see what an incredible gift You have given me with this body. Thank You that no detail has escaped Your notice and that You want to use my body, my life, my heart, my soul and all that I am and all that I have for good and for the glory of Your Name and Your kingdom. Make me fruitful. I accept and receive this life and body You have given me. I want to be thankful for it from now on and I don’t want to complain about it anymore. You give good gifts. I may not understand all of Your decisions and choices at this moment, but I choose to trust You from now on instead of my feelings. And I seek to yield my body, my life and all that I have and all that I am to You. My body is Your temple. I open my heart to allow Your Spirit to have full control and to fill me. I want more and more of You and less and less of me. May Christ alone be greatly exalted in my life!
    In the Name and power of Christ Jesus, my LORD,
    Amen!”

  18. April, it is very helpful for me when you say that the wife has the higher drive with about 40% of the couples. That’s how it was in my marriage. But you would never know that from listening to Christian radio or hearing sermons, because as you pointed out, it seems like every blog makes it sound like the man always has a huge drive, and the wife doesn’t.

    I think that the lower-drive men are ashamed to admit it, because they feel that they won’t sound “manly” if they do. And the reason they feel that way is because EVERY Christian radio program tells them about the poor wives who have lower drives than their selfish, high-drive husbands.

    One of the fears I have had since my divorce is that I will not be the man that my new wife wants and needs, because that is the message I continually received in my first marriage. But I honestly believe that if both the husband and the wife have kindness, mercy, patience, understanding, and tenderness toward each other, they can have a beautiful relationship no matter who has the higher drive and who has the lower drive.

    1. Jim,
      I agree, this dynamic is not addressed much and it makes husbands and wives in the 40% feel like something is horribly wrong with them, when they may actually just be kind of normal.

      Men don’t like to talk about this. And wives don’t like to talk about it because they feel humiliated and like it means their husbands don’t desire them, which may not be the case at all. There is so much shame and so many hurt feelings unnecessarily, many times, in my view, about this.

      A couple will almost never have totally matching drives. And different seasons of life and age and health situations and circumstances may cause one to be the higher drive sometimes, and the other at other times.

      But YES! If we are in tune with Christ and we focus on blessing our spouse, we can find balance and even contentment and satisfaction.

      Thank you for sharing!

  19. April,
    PLEASE post this article on your singles sight. I have this book, and the “wasting” chapter is tremendously important for single women in Christ. I am one of those in obscurity right now, waiting on the Lord, “doing nothing” in the eyes of others. We must learn to minister to the Lord first before we can effectively minister to others.
    Thank you for this post!

    Renee

  20. This was such a great post!! I, too, am a busy, busy want to bring always productive “do-er” whose hubby is blessed when I sit and just relax with him. Thank you for reminding me that often this is the *most* important thing and not a waste at all!

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