Before God opened my eyes to my control, self-righteousness, pride, disrespect, bitterness, and all of my mountain of sin in December of 2008 – I used to think things like:
- I want to give more to the poor. Yes, we are tithing and giving some – but I know that it is God’s will for us to give a lot more money to those in need. Maybe I should just give behind Greg’s back if he doesn’t want to do God’s will. God’s work is the most important thing.
- I want to take this homeless person to a restaurant and buy him some food. He’s obviously in need. How can I do nothing? I don’t care that Greg said he doesn’t want me to go out by myself to help homeless strangers and that he is concerned for my safety. This is obviously God’s will and Greg is not listening to God like I am.
- I want to go to another country to be a missionary, but Greg has no desire to do that. Maybe I should just go by myself even if he doesn’t want me to. God’s kingdom needs me!
I used to think that Greg was really holding me back from doing everything I was supposed to do in God’s kingdom and boy, was God ever missing out – in my mind, at least! Oh, what PRIDE!
Then, God revealed to me that when I am walking in faith and obedience with Him, NOTHING will hold me back from His will, certainly not even my husband. God can change my husband’s heart. God can give him the desire to help me accomplish what He wants me to do. And certainly, God can give ME the desire to help my husband in the ministry to which God calls my husband. God can change my heart. God can change circumstances and open doors that no one can shut. It turns out, the thing that was hindering my ministry for God the most for so many years was my own sin and disobedience against God. Also, He wanted to spend some serious time preparing, maturing, and equipping me before I was ready to do the thing He wanted to call me to do.
When I am walking in obedience and in the power of the Holy Spirit in the center of God’s will, no human will hinder God’s purposes for me!
Since God set me on this journey to become a godly wife and to learn to honor and respect my husband’s God-given leadership, He has shown me some things that I wish I had understood before.
- God doesn’t need me.
He may choose to use me as I am walking in obedience and in the power of His Spirit. But I am not the critical element in His ministry and in His kingdom. He is!
- If I have to sin against my husband and God’s commands for me as a wife to minister to someone or to give money to a ministry, that is a big problem. I need to STOP and pray. This is a huge red flag.
How can I think God will bless that? God’s Word says, “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). For God to be pleased with my ministry, I need to show reverence for Him and for His structure of authority in my life. (Now, if my husband forbids me from witnessing for Christ at all – that could be a different situation. If this doesn’t make sense, let’s talk about it together. But we can still seek to honor Christ first and then our husbands. And we need to use great caution about going against our husbands. There are many times that would be sin.)
- If God desires me to do ministry for Him, He is going to open the door of my husband’s blessing and favor.
If Greg is against me doing something for God, it may be that God has shut that door at this time for me. God may well be leading me through my husband. I can say to Greg,
“I really believe God desires me to do this, but if you are against it, I will trust God to lead me through you and I won’t do it.”
If God truly wants me to do something specific for Him, He can change my husband’s heart to give me favor with my husband (yes, even if my husband is not a believer or if he is far from God) so that I can do that thing for Him. THEN, He will bless that ministry because I am participating with my husband’s support and I am walking in obedience to God.
- I tend to want to run way ahead of God and Greg and do my own thing.
I have to be REALLY patient and wait and do things in God’s timing as He leads me through Greg. If my husband has concerns or objections, it is extremely unwise for me to charge ahead. It’s awesome that I want to minister to others. But what would be even more awesome would be if I am humble enough to wait on God and to do God’s will God’s way instead of in my own wisdom and strength.
God can even lead a believing wife through an unbelieving husband. This whole thing is ultimately about us and God. It isn’t really about our husbands – but it is about that we trust God to lead us through them (unless there are specific situations where we cannot follow our husbands). Ultimately, what we each need most is to hear God’s Spirit’s voice and prompting and to do what He shows us to do. His leading will always fall inline with His Word and His commands for us. And, most of the time, if God has a ministry for me to do, He will put it on my husband’s heart, as well.
Again and again – to me – the key is balance: proper balance and understanding of God’s Word, and willingness to obey Him completely. I can give God all of myself and I can give Him my desire to minister and to be available to Him and my willingness to do whatever He calls me to do. When my heart is yielded completely to Him and I am committed to total obedience to Him and to allowing His Spirit to fill and control me – He will open whatever doors are necessary and move whatever mountains He needs to move to accomplish His will in my life as I trust Him.
God is more important than my ministry for Him. My obedience to Him is more important than my giving money to those in need. I pray He will help us see things with His eyes and that He might empower us and our husbands to be about His work. But I long for us to only do what He truly desires us to do – and all that He desires us to do – and not anything else. When I first began this journey, I thought that if I followed Greg, I would never get to do anything for God. Turns out, God has led me through Greg in amazing ways when I have been willing to follow God first and to trust Him to lead me through my husband’s leadership.
There are some husbands who are spiritually abusive who don’t allow their wives to talk with anyone, to go to any church, or to do any ministry ever. That is a different scenario than what I am writing about in this post. If you find yourself in such a situation, please find a godly counselor to help you work through that in a healthy way. I pray for God’s clear wisdom and direction for those in such difficult situations.
If there is abuse going on, please search my home page for “abuse” or check out www.leslievernick.com for emotional abuse, or www.thehotline.org (a secular site) for physical abuse.