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Eight Powerful Keys to Peace

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There is no doubt about it, being a woman, wife, and/or mom is tough today. With so many crazy things happening in our own families, relationships, jobs, and schedules – not to mention the complete insanity going on in the world – a peaceful heart may seem like an impossibility.

Yet, each of us has a built-in longing to live in perfect peace for ourselves. And we desperately desire peace in our families and for our precious children, too.

Eight Keys

Here are some critical keys that I have found on my own journey of discovery to become a peaceful wife and mom:

  1. Choose to allow Jesus alone, the Prince of Peace, to sit firmly on the throne of your heart. If anything/anyone else competes for His place there, you will not experience His peace. Peace is part of Jesus and His character. It is something we have because we have Him and we are close to Him. It can’t be separated from Him.
    • You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isa. 26:3 ESV
    • “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV
  2. Carve out the time you need with God to praise Him, to thank Him, and to fellowship with Him. As you spend time soaking in His love, His Word, and in prayer -He radically transforms your mind and heart. He restores your soul. Receive the tender love of your Good Shepherd. This leads to great peace because you allow yourself to sit at His feet, to be with Him, to know Him, to be still before Him. You allow Him to care for you, protect you, love you, and provide for you in spiritual abundance. He is so very generous to those who come to Him in faith and trust.
    • He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isa. 40:11 ESV
    • Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 ESV
  3. Invite God to help you examine your fixed beliefs and thinking about Him, relationships, and yourself. As you allow Him to help you eliminate lies (big and small) and embrace His truth, He heals you spiritually in amazing ways. His truth truly sets you free. This leads to the ability to have peace with God, with your children, with others, and yourself.
    • “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 ESV
    • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV
  4. Develop the discipline of taking your thoughts captive for Christ so that you can walk in the victory of Christ over negative emotions, tempting thoughts, and even crazy hormones. Then you can often avoid even starting down the mental and spiritual pathways that lead away from peace.
    • We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Cor. 10:5 ESV
    • No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13 ESV
  5. Get rid of anything God labels as sin. Whether it is sexual impurity, porn use, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, lust, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, gossip, pride, self-righteousness, dishonesty, stealing, false teaching, idolatry (putting anything above Christ in your heart – even marriage, a relationships, a boyfriend, beauty, money, children,  happiness, or a career), a cult, or an addiction – it all has to go. You can’t have peace and sin at the same time. It is impossible!
    • Now He commands all people everywhere to repent, Acts 17:30ESV
    • Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.Matt. 3:8 ESV
  6. Seek to treat others with respect and honor on your end, responding with the power of the Spirit rather than in destructive ways. When you set a godly example, you open the gates of heaven to pour the Lord’s Life, healing, and peace into your family and relationships
    • Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 Pet. 2:17 ESV
    • Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Rom. 12:10 ESV
  7. Give up attempts to be responsible for/trying to control other people’s decisions. The ability to accept other people and their own God-given free will is such a gift! When I try to control things over which I don’t actually have control, it creates anxiety. A lot of anxiety. But if I focus on what God has given me control over – myself – and trust God with other people, this is a huge key to peace.
    • But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2 Tim. 3:1-5  ESV
    • Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV
  8. Forgive other people – wholeheartedly. Forgiveness may seem impossible in some situations, and it certainly is difficult. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. But unforgiveness, resentment, and bitterness are toxic. They lead to anxiety, hatred, contempt, and, eventually, even to violence, suicide, or murder if left unchecked long enough. Forgiveness releases you from poison. It allows you to have full fellowship with Jesus and sets you free to live in peace with others as far as it depends on you. (Forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. Trust has to be rebuilt when it was broken. Trust is conditional.)
    • Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32 ESV
    • But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt. 6:15 ESV

CORRECTION ON A COMMENT LAST WEEK:

I had a comment on my post briefly last week where I inadvertently said, “Jesus gave up His deity.” YIKES! That is NOT what I intended to say! I meant to say, “Jesus gave up His rights to claim equality with God – even though He was God – and put on the heart of a servant.” (Phil. 2) Jesus was fully God and fully man.

My deepest apologies to anyone who saw that, and to the Lord. I long to handle His Word rightly with every word I speak or type.

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What are some keys to peace you have found on this journey?

REMINDERS

My Mission and Vision 

My Commenting Policy

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

7 Keys to Finding Real Peace  – different keys from the ones in this post. 🙂

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Respecting My Children?

Fear Fuels My Need to Control

The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord is a book for moms of any age. It’s an easy-to-read, step-by-step guide to help you discover the abundant spiritual life and divine peace that is available to you in Jesus. It gets into the meat behind these 8 keys, and much more. Honestly, it would be a blessing to any woman, even those who are not married and who don’t have children. But it is especially designed with moms in mind. The best part is, as you become a Peaceful Mom, you also learn to give the same tools to your children so that they can learn to live in God’s supernatural peace, too. There is no greater gift than that for our children!

 

“My Husband Thinks We Should Move!!!?!?”

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

I love to take real-life situations and seek to approach them biblically. God has given us a LOT of instruction, help, and wisdom to use in times of conflict in our marriages and in almost any situation. As we learn to look to Him and His Word for biblical principles, and as we learn to depend on Him in faith and prayer – we can then learn to notice His promptings and leading in the details of our unique situations, as well.

Today, let’s picture a scenario where a husband* announces to his wife something like:

  • “My job is being relocated in two months to the office 2 hours away.”
  • “I found a better job opportunity out of state.”
  • “I think a move would be best for our family.”

A wife may be tempted to have a  knee-jerk reaction – like, “NO WAY!!!!!!”

Most of us don’t like change too much. It’s easy to immediately hate the idea and blast a husband with all the reasons this can’t possibly sane.

  • “Well, then, you need to get a job here. There is no way we are moving.”
  • “You can move and the kids and I will stay put. I’m not going to uproot them.”
  • “The kids are settled in their school and they have friends here.”
  • “I love this neighborhood and this house. I’m not giving it up!”
  • “I hate that idea.”
  • “I don’t care what you say, I’m not going!”
  • “Absolutely not! End of discussion!”

Sometimes it’s easy to freak out in a situation like this and be contentious, defensive, and argumentative. But what if, instead of freaking out and immediately rejecting our man’s idea, we take a deep breath and listen? He may be hearing from the Lord. He may not even know it, himself. But what if God is leading in this idea? What if I am fighting God? How could I possibly know for sure – yet?

SOME BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES TO KEEP IN MIND IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS

  • “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42
  • Let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:33
  • Train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:4-5

God does work through things like circumstances, job transfers, a husband’s ideas (as the God-given leader of the family), job offers, and other situations to lead us into His will. Of course I am not saying that every job transfer announcement means, “It is definitely God’s will for the family to move.” Or that every idea a husband has is God’s will. We do need to pray and seek the Lord in times of decisions. So do our men.

But we have a sovereign Lord! If only we could grasp this precious truth! He is even able to take awful things like natural disasters, wars, and persecution – things Satan intends to use to destroy us – to lead His children. And He can certainly use good things to benefit us, too (Rom. 8:28-29). He will never leave us and never forsake us!

It could be that God wants to lead us into a new place where we will be greatly blessed. He may have just the right church family waiting for us, just the specific neighbors He wants us to have as our friends. He may have mentors for us in the new place or an amazing new ministry. Or, it may be that our children’s best friends and future spouses might be there. That is what happened when my Daddy’s job was relocated in 1987 from Pittsburgh, PA, to Columbia, SC! I sure hated the move at the time, but now, I am grateful beyond words!

Our cooperative spirit with our husbands, and – even more importantly – with the Lord, makes a huge difference! It also helps us to shine for the gospel and to draw others to Christ.

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

Maybe I could consider approaching a big, potentially scary decision, in new ways:

  • Listen to his ideas.
  • See the merit and good points he has, as well as the reality of the situation.
  • Ask for some time to pray to:
    • Seek the Lord.
    • Be open to Him.
    • Die to myself.
    • Really determine to trust Him no matter how He may lead.
    • Yield everything in my life to His will and hold things loosely in my hands.
    • Desire God’s will and His greatest glory for my husband, my children, and myself, even if I don’t know exactly what may happen.
  • Then after I have prayed and am calm, I can share my heart respectfully. I can share my concerns politely, in a friendly, cooperative way.
  • Maybe, in time, I might even be able to get excited about the idea. It could be a grand adventure the Lord has prepared for us all!

God is the One who is outside of time and space. Not me. He is omniscient – He knows everything. I definitely do not. He knows absolutely everything about the past, the present, and the future. His wisdom far exceeds my own. I want to be cooperative when He is opening a new door He has for my family.

*NOTE – If your husband is suffering from uncontrolled mental health issues, uncontrolled drug/alcohol addiction, if he is abusive, or not in his right mind, please seek appropriate, trustworthy, godly counsel and help from your local church, medical professionals, and even the police if necessary.

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Have you experienced a time when your husband believed that your family needed to move and now you can see God’s hand at work? Or maybe you had a move where you went kicking and screaming, only to realize later that God was in it. We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Your story may be just the inspiration another wife needs to see.

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My new commenting policy.

My new vision for ministry.

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My Husband Doesn’t Want a Baby, but I Do

My Husband Wants to Go Where?!?!

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A Real Life Example of Respect and Submission

What Headship and Biblical Submission Look Like at Our House

Taking Our Thoughts Captive – VIDEO

 

Withholding Sex

Photo by Nik Lanús on Unsplash

First, let’s define “withholding sex” so that we are on the same page.

Withholding sex would mean – I purposely won’t have sex with my husband when I am actually able to. 

(This applies to both spouses, but I only write for women, so I will be addressing only wives in this post.)

In that moment, he would like to have sex, and I am able to, but I decide that:

  • I just don’t feel like it.
  • It would take too much effort.
  • I want to hurt/punish him by turning him down.
  • I don’t care about his legitimate sexual needs.
  • I don’t care that I vowed to be his “to have and to hold.”
  • I don’t care that he feels bonded emotionally to me through sex and that it would bless him, just like I want him to talk with me and connect verbally with me.

The main issue here would be my motives. My motives, as a follower of Christ, are to be holy, kind, honorable, respectful, loving, and good. My motives are not to be selfish, uncaring, apathetic, hurtful, or malicious.

Scripture teaches a few principles that I believe apply to how we are to relate to our spouses (and all people) and how we are not to relate to them:

  • Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Cor. 13:4-5
  • The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23
  • Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Heb. 13:4
  • Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:19-21

(Check out the NOTES at the end of this post for a few clarifications.)

Let’s take a look at a passage in scripture about this issue:

“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Cor. 7:1-5

Each spouse is to voluntarily and willingly yield to the other. It is a decision made by each individual. It is not forced on anyone.

Some people misunderstand this concept of each spouse “having authority” over the other person’s body to mean that God is saying a husband can rape his wife or take sex with her by force. Or that a wife can violently force her husband to have sex with her against his will. That may be the world’s definition of “authority.” But it is not God’s. Let’s note that the passage never commands a me (or anyone else) to:

  • Take what I want.
  • Use violence to get my way.
  • Physically abuse my spouse, it is my right.
  • Be selfish if my spouse is sick, upset, or hurting.
  • All that matters is what I want, not what my spouse wants.
  • My spouse owes me sex, so I don’t have to have any concern for if this is a good time for him.
  • Be as thoughtless as possible.
  • My sex drive is the only thing in the world that is important.
  • My spouse’s needs for other things don’t matter.

The commands are given to each spouse to be giving, generous, and available to the other spouse when possible.

Sometimes spouses try to beat each other over the head with this passage, demanding sex from each other. That breaks my heart!

In God’s economy, “authority” is not about taking things by force. It is not about being a selfish dictator, tyrant. It is not about exalting self and selfishness. It is about humility, selflessness, and having a servant’s heart.

But Jesus called them aside and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. Matt. 20:25-27

The one flesh relationship in marriage is supposed to be a beautiful picture of the one Spirit relationship we have with Jesus. Jesus doesn’t spiritually force Himself on us. Ever. He respects our free will to choose to abide in Him or not.

The goal is: selflessness. Unity. Oneness.

Sex is supposed to be a picture of the one Spirit relationship Jesus has with His people. It is supposed to be beautiful and a mutual blessing.

Each spouse should seek to be loving, kind, respectful, understanding, giving, generous, thoughtful, and sensitive to the other. It is about being selfless and loving with the agape love of Christ. It is about seeking to edify the other. Not about taking what I want for myself.

Scriptural principles prohibit believers in Christ from using violence or force to demand their way:

  • The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Ps. 11:5
  • Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isa. 58:4
  • Love does no harm to a neighbor. Rom. 13:10
  • Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Pet. 3:7
  • Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Col. 3:19
  • Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:4
  • Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Cor. 10:24
  • We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Rom. 15:1-3
  • But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. … 2 Tim. 3:1-8

SATAN’S STRATEGY:

Satan’s strategy before marriage is to try to tempt us into having sex outside of God’s plan.

After marriage, his strategy is to tempt us into not having sex with our husbands. Or – to desire it with someone else. Again, he encourages us to go outside of the loving, good, life-giving boundaries God has set up in His design for sex.

Let’s not be ignorant of the enemy’s strategies to steal, kill, and destroy our marriages, our husbands, our ourselves, my precious sisters. In this area, or in any other.

PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,

We invite Your healing Spirit into the marriages, families, and homes of all who read this post. We invite Your healing for spiritual, emotional, and sexual intimacy. We invite You to raise marriages up from struggle and pain to victory and wholeness. Lord, rebuke Satan and all of his plans to steal, kill, and destroy in our marriages. He has no authority in our lives anymore. We are dead to this world and we are under the authority of Jesus! Satan wants to divide us in our marriages. He wants us to hold onto hurt and bitterness. He wants to leave families and marriages in shambles. Let us refuse to cooperate with him and his plans. Let us submit all to You – Your Lordship, Your wisdom, Your glory, and Your will. We invite Your love and power to sweep through our midst and to bring new supernatural Life into our husbands, into our marriages, into every area of intimacy, and into ourselves. Let our marriages display the power, beauty, and glory of the Gospel. Not for our selfish purposes – but for Your Kingdom!

Amen!

COMMENTS:

I am not planning to have comments on this post. Thanks for understanding. No one answers to me. Or to any other commenters. I don’t want to create more confusion for anyone. Or become engaged in inappropriate conversations in mixed company.

We answer to the Lord and to our spouses on this issue.

If you have concerns about this issue, please check out what the Bible has to say. Pray. Take your issues to Him. Invite His healing into your marriage. God’s wisdom is really the only thing that matters.  (Please always compare anything I say to the Word of God.)

<3

Also, check out the resources below. 🙂

RESOURCES:

Let’s Talk about Sex – this post has links to all of my other posts about sex including resources for wives whose husbands want a lot more sex than they do and wives whose husbands want less sex than they do. It also has resources for wives who have pain during sex.

If your husband is purposely refusing to have sex with you, please check out Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin.

A Precious Example – and in this post, a couple who has been married for decades shares what this concept should look like in practice in a Christian marriage in a beautiful way.

If one of you is struggling with porn or a sex addiction, please check out this resource www.xxxchurch.com. There are resources for men and women who want to find victory over porn addiction in Christ. There are also resources for spouses of those who are addicted to porn.

Forgivenwife.com is a resource for wives who have gotten into the habit of withholding sex and want to heal and change in Christ.

Unlock Your Libido is an ebook for wives who struggle with low libido and want to see God heal their marriage by His power.

If you want more connection emotionally/spiritually with your husband – I have a lot of resources on that here. My desire is to see marriages whole, vibrant, and healthy with strong intimacy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Leave me a comment on another post and I will help you find the posts that may be a blessing. Some examples might be:

If you have very serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced, trustworthy one-on-one counseling.

If you need a referral to a Christian counselor, please check out the free service available at Focus on the Family.

ABUSE – if you are being abused by your husband (or wife) please contact a trusted, experienced counselor, your local domestic violence resources, or the police. Or get in touch with thehotline.org.

IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST – please read this post.

NOTES:

  1. I don’t believe it is “withholding sex” if a spouse is actually not able to have sex at that moment.  So if a spouse is very sick, in a lot of pain, is physically unable to have sex for some reason, is away from home on business, etc… the other spouse would want to seek to offer grace and understanding. Of course, if there is some kind of sexual dysfunction, disease, or emotional pain, a spouse would not want to ignore it and let it go on untreated. He/she would want to try to find healing for the situation so that one can try to be available to one’s spouse if possible. (If healing is not possible or may take some time, please check out this post.)
  2. Another situation where it may be unwise to have sex is if the spouse is involved in an unrepentant affair. I have seen God restore marriages after adultery, many times. But it is my understanding that the wayward spouse would need to repent and produce much fruit of repentance before a sexual reunion could take place. And the faithful spouse is not biblically required to take back the wayward spouse. But – they may decide to do so as an act of grace if the wayward spouse sincerely repents and trust is restored and they feel led to do so.
  3. If there is major tension or a wife is really hurting emotionally/spiritually – it is certainly fine for her to respectfully ask for what she needs to feel safe and secure so she can relax and feel right about having sex with her husband.
    • There are times when talking through something first is a necessary step to begin healing.
    • There are times when having sex first and talking later can be a wonderful pathway to begin healing.
  4. Husbands tend to connect emotionally (and sometimes even spiritually) with their wives through having sex. Sometimes husbands don’t have the same need for verbally connecting emotionally that wives do. We have different needs and ways of feeling connected. I’d love to see both spouses selflessly seeking to meet the other’s needs and being understanding and compassionate.
  5. Withholding sex before marriage is not a sin. It is obedience to God’s Word.

 

The Cure for My Compulsion to Control – Part 2

We are continuing a series that started earlier this month:

Once I see that God is God and I am not and I begin to rebuild my thinking on His Word and truth alone, I am ready to begin the next phase of healing from my controlling ways.

GOD’S TRUTH WILL SET ME FREE IN EVERY AREA

I allow God’s Light and Truth into the the deepest foundations of my spiritual beliefs about every topic. I invite Him to help me completely tear out my old foundations and fixed beliefs that I have cherished for so long. Then I invite the Lord to help me begin to build on Jesus Christ and His Word alone.

  • Anything that is not from Him has no place in my life and has to be trashed. It is poison.
  • Anything that is from Him, I must embrace wholeheartedly even if I don’t understand it or like it at first.

I have to be ruthless about this. And yes, it is painful. But extremely necessary.

This is the path to peace and miraculous spiritual healing and deliverance. If I don’t do this, I will suffer a lot more pain in the long run. This is not a one-time-and-done thing – it is the path I will continue to take for the rest of my life. There are layers that God will reveal to me and I deal with each one as I see it. It is part of the refining and pruning process.

I have to be willing to question the things I have believed – maybe things I have thought were true since I was very young. I need to question the things I learned and absorbed growing up and even as an adult. Just because I have thought something was true for a long time, doesn’t mean it is true. Just because it feels familiar and feels safe, doesn’t mean I can keep it.

It is ALL about Him from now on and about what He says and how He sees me and everyone and everything.

I read my Bible with new eyes, inviting God to:

  • Teach me!
  • Change me!
  • Heal me!
  • Show me Your wisdom!
  • Empower me to obey whatever You ask of me!

I commit that I will obey God and do things His way from now on – with any passage I can clearly understand. And if I don’t understand something in scripture, I will seek to understand and obey. I commit to learning sound doctrine and to handle scripture rightly. Whatever God asks me to do, I know it will be the best thing for me, for my marriage, for my family, for the kingdom, and for His glory. Bringing Him glory is my highest purpose!

For me, the next step in healing was to see God’s design for authority for His people.

GOD DESIGNED A SPECIFIC AUTHORITY STRUCTURE FOR ALL BELIEVERS

Authority

When Christ is Lord, I also yield to His structure of authority in my life according to 1 Cor. 11:3, Rom. 13:1-3, and other scriptures. I don’t buy the world’s messages or trust my own human reasoning.

God chooses to lead me (and all believers) through His Spirit, His Word, prayer, circumstances, and also through people in places of designated authority in my life: church leaders, government leaders, police officers, managers at work, my husband at home, and parents for underaged children. He provides people in leadership positions to protect, provide for, bless, lead, and create order for His people.

Of great importance – in God’s design, positions of authority/roles have nothing to do with a person’s value. This is the opposite of the world’s system where greater authority = greater value.

Every person has equal value in His eyes. Each of us are made in His image (Gen. 1:27). Men, women, different races of people, older people, young people, and babies are all precious and dearly loved by the Lord. We are all co-heirs with Christ (Gal. 3:28). If anything, God has a special place in His heart for those with the least amount of authority – children, babies, the unborn, orphans, widows, refugees, migrants, and the poor. The purpose, in God’s kingdom, for this authority structure is that those who have the most strength and power are supposed to use their gifts to bless, provide for, nurture, and protect those under their care. And those who are in positions to lead are held to higher standards by the Lord.

For more on the concept of God’s structure for authority in every area of our lives, please check out these foundational posts:

I need to know who has the God-given proper authority in various areas of my life.

I know that God has ultimate authority and sovereignty over the universe. Then when I understand what humans are in places of God-given authority and what their responsibilities are vs. what my responsibilities are – I learn to stay within my healthy boundaries and I don’t try to take on authority/decisions that don’t belong to me. If I usurp someone else’s position of God-given authority and try to do someone else’s God-given job or if I disrespect those in positions of God-given authority, I will bring judgment on myself according to Romans 13:1-3.

When I honor God’s design in any area of my life, including this one, it leads to so much weight being taken off of my shoulders and leads to His peace as I trust Him, honor His will for me, and don’t try to control things that are not mine to control. Then I am cooperating with and submitting to God rather than fighting Him. I can’t please Him if I am opposing His methods.

God leads His people through human leaders to teach us to trust Him and to increase our faith. He did it with Moses. Some men rebelled against the authority of Moses during the exodus – and they paid a hefty price (Korah’s rebellion) because:

God counts rebellion against people in positions of God-given authority as rebellion against Himself.

God also led His people in the New Testament through the apostles and then through elders, deacons, pastors, prophets, and teachers. He accomplishes His will through kings, queens, presidents, and governors. He works through our managers and bosses at work. He works through our police officers and military leaders. He works through our husbands – even unbelieving ones – to lead us into His will. And He works through our parents and teachers when we are children.

God always has a clear authority structure for us to follow. It is His choice and part of His wisdom to lead us in this way “through cords of human kindness” (Hosea 11:4). If a person in a position of God-given authority abuses that position or asks us to defy God or His Word, then we must choose to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). We don’t blindly follow people. We must use discernment. We don’t follow people into sin or away from God. God is the only one we can trust absolutely.

God uses our willingness to honor human God-given authorities to help us learn humility – which is one of the most important virtues in His sight – and to grow spiritually. Until we learn to properly submit to a person in authority, we can’t act as a person in authority in godly ways.

Note – I don’t want to allow people to abuse authority in my life and I don’t want to allow other people to take over the decisions and responsibilities that belong to me. If someone in a position of God-given authority is abusing his/her position, there should be other authorities over that person to whom we can respectfully appeal.

BEING IN A POSITION OF GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY

When I have a position of God-given authority – I am a boss, a government official, a police officer, a teacher, or a parent of underage children – I must humbly always keep in mind that the purpose of God giving me such a position is always to accomplish His will and His purposes. It is not about me. It is about taking proper care of His beloved people and about doing His will. It is about dying to self, not becoming a tyrant.

Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-27

 

 

Note – I have a whole chapter in my new book, The Peaceful Mom, that is releasing March 27, 2018 that may be a blessing. It is all about how we develop skewed thinking and how to correct it. There is a very helpful chart with a large number of lies we may be tempted to believe, the truth of the Bible, and scripture references to support those truths.

RELATED

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

 

The Cure for My Compulsion to Control – Part 1

Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

Last week I shared about how we can develop a compulsion to control other people, situations, and the Lord in this post. I thought I “had to try to control” other people and situations. I truly believed it was my responsibility and that everything would be a disaster if I didn’t make sure it all worked out right.

When I try to be in charge of things that are out of my control, I am trying to carry a very heavy weight that I was not designed by God to carry. This leads to extreme stress, frustration, depression, discouragement, anxiety, and a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. It is not the path to peace.

THE CURE FOR MY COMPULSION TO CONTROL IS VERY SIMPLE

meinchargeI need to have proper thinking about God, events, other people, and myself. I need truth.

In my old way of looking at things – subconsciously – I saw myself as very big and God and other people as rather small and mostly within my sphere of control. I would never have articulated it like that – because it sounds audacious. But this is how I lived. You could see it in the fruit of my life.

I am not saying it is painless or necessarily “easy” to give up control – but it IS simple when I see the differences between:

  • God’s responsibilities
  • Other people’s responsibilities
  • My responsibilities

Here is reality:

Goddiagram

 

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Ps. 8:3-4

When I understand who God is and the place of people in the universe, then I can begin to properly relate to God, people, and myself.

THE TRUTH

  • God alone is God, I am definitely not God. Not even close.
  • God sent Jesus, His Son, to be the only Savior people need. I am not a savior.
  • God’s Spirit is the only one who can open blind eyes and convict people of sin. Not me.
  • God sits on the throne in the highest heavens. Every knee will bow to Him alone.
  • God has put all authority under Jesus’ feet.
  • Angels bow down to God, even the demons believe and tremble.
  • God alone is worthy of worship. I am not.
  • God reigns over the universe. I do not.
  • God has all power and all wisdom. I do not.
  • God loves me, and all people, very dearly because He IS love.
  • I have value because God loves me and I am created in His image.
  • My purpose is to love and obey God and bring Him glory – and to love others with God’s love pouring through me.

I can influence God, people, and circumstances to a degree, for bad, or for good (if I allow God to work through me). But I can only control myself – my attitude, my motives, my sin, my responses to others, my words, and my actions. And even then, I can only control myself in a healthy way with the power of the Spirit.

Just to recap, my actual responsibilities are to:

  • Control myself with God’s power.
  • Love, obey, and worship God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength – which brings glory to Him.
  • Love others with God’s love.

God3

 

I can be set free from my illusion of control. And that is definitely all it was – an illusion.

God’s truth truly does set me free! I can repent from my pride – my huge pride – thinking I was so big and important. And humbly receive God’s truth. What freedom!!!! I seek only to control the things that are truly mine and I trust God with circumstances and other people.

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND WILL

Within God’s sovereignty is His permissive will and His perfect will. God’s permissive will is larger and accounts for people’s free will, their sin, the effects/consequences of sin, and Satan and his influence. But all of these things operate in the confines of God’s sovereignty and only what He allows can happen. And He uses all that does happen ultimately for His glory and for the ultimate good of those who love Him – to help conform us to the image of Christ.

He doesn’t make choices for us or violate our free-will. That is a good reminder for me that it is not my place to violate other people’s free-will either. God wants us, more than anything, to have the choice to voluntarily love Him or to reject Him. People need that choice in their relationships with me, too. The price of our free-will is very high. For us and for God. We experience earthly and eternal consequences of our choices. But we can never fall outside of His sovereignty and even Satan can never do anything without God’s permission. 

freewill3Godsperfectwill

This is how, in Christ, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He does the heavy lifting. He takes responsibility for the big stuff.

THE FIRST STEP ON THE PATH TOWARD PEACE

I can step down off of the throne of my life and invite Jesus to reign as Lord over every part of my life.

This means total, humble, absolute surrender to Him, His will, and His control. I hold nothing back from Him.

This feels pretty terrifying at first because I have only really trusted myself before. But as I taste and see that God is good, I begin to realize He is much better at being deity than I ever could be and He is trustworthy. Infinitely more trustworthy than I am! He is the only one who is truly worthy of all of my faith, obedience, and submission. I also begin to realize that trusting Him is wise and safe and trusting myself is the most dangerous place to be.

NOTE – Don’t just take my word for anything. Dig into the Bible yourself. Find out what God’s Word has to say about these important issues and choose to build your life on Christ and the Solid Rock of His Word!

RELATED

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

The Spiritual Healing That Is Available to Each of Us in Christ – by Radiant

7 Keys to Finding Real Peace

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

The Pain That Pushes Us to Control

Surrendering the Burden of Controlling My Husband – by Shannon Popkin

 

RESOURCES ABOUT GOD, HIS CHARACTER, PEOPLE, AND FREE WILL

The Attributes of God – by www.gotquestions.org

“Who Is God?” – Secret Church series by David Platt

In the Image of God – by John Piper

A Beginner’s Guide to Free-Will – by John Piper

 

RELATING PROPERLY TO GOD

Humility – by Andrew Murray

Absolute Surrender – by Andrew Murray (free download or audio version)

 

The Pain That Pushes Us to Try to Control

Photo by Civalias Kune on Unsplash

In my experience with women who feel they have to be in control of situations and other people, there is usually some level of trauma or hurt in her past. The level of trauma can vary. But usually something happened that caused her, as a young girl, to develop the following kind of thinking:

  • The people who are supposed to be in charge are weak. (Maybe they are incapable, absent, traumatized, or addicts.)
    • My parents can’t even take proper care of themselves. I have to be the adult and take care of them.
      • I have to be the savior for my parents.
    • My parents can’t/won’t take care of the household. I have to take care of it.
    • They are not able or willing to take proper care of me. So I have to take care of myself or no one else will meet my legitimate needs.
      • I have to be the savior for myself.
    • I have to protect my  younger siblings or something awful will happen (maybe something awful did happen, and I felt I should have been able to prevent it but I failed).
      • Our parents have failed my siblings.
      • My brothers and sisters need me.
      • I am the only one who can help them.
      • I am responsible for their lives, safety, and wellbeing. I am the parent now.
      • I have to be the savior for my siblings.
  • I am responsible for other people.
    • I am responsible for my parents.
    • I am responsible for my siblings.
    • I am responsible for other people in the world.
  • I have to take some of God’s sovereignty on my shoulders because if I don’t, everything will fall apart.
    • People who are in positions of authority in my life have failed me.
    • They seem wimpy and weak.
    • Everything is up to me.
    • It is my duty and responsibility to be sure things go right.
    • It would be irresponsible of me not to take care of other people because I am the only one who can.
    • I can’t be irresponsible and cause other people to suffer like I suffered.
    • I can’t be irresponsible and cause myself to suffer again.
    • Yes, this weight of responsibility for everything and everyone is way too much, but if I set it down, it will result in catastrophe like I have experienced before.
    • Stress, worry, anxiety, and bitterness are just the price I have to pay for having to be in charge. There is no way around those things. This is what love is.
    • I can’t trust anyone else. They will fail me.
    • People in positions of authority represent God to me, and so I have to conclude that God must also be weak, incapable, or absent.
    • I can’t really trust God.
    • I can only trust myself.
    • I have the wisdom that people need. Only I can help everyone.
    • I have to be the savior for everyone.
  • I am not secure financially, emotionally, relationally, or physically. 

Some Things That May Have Been Triggers:

  • Someone got hurt and she took full responsibility and believes it was completely her fault (even if it really wasn’t). She can’t forgive herself. She feels compelled to prevent something like that from ever happening again. She feels overly responsible for other people because of this.
  • Perhaps her dad was very passive or absent and her mom was completely in charge and had a controlling personality and being a controlling woman/wife/mom just seems “normal.”
  • She may have been the oldest child and was given, or felt she had to take, extra responsibility for her siblings and felt she had to act like a parent more than a sibling.
  • Her pastor or parents may have taught, or she may have misunderstood, that people’s free will is huge and God’s sovereignty is very small.
  • She may have heard that she is responsible for making sure people go to heaven or it will be her fault they end up in hell.
  • She may have witnessed some horrific tragedy or accident at school or somewhere else and blamed herself for not being able to stop it or for not being able to save everyone.
  • She may have been taught that God does not exist and she can only depend on herself.
  • She may have personality traits tend to lean toward being a fixer, doer, and in charge.
  • Her sinful nature is happy to help promote control and pride.
  • She may have bought some of the messages of radical feminism, even if she didn’t study it, just by absorbing it from our culture.
    • Women should be in charge.
    • Men are evil.
    • Women are goddesses and are always good.
    • Men are idiots.
    • Women are very wise.
    • God either doesn’t exist or He is a woman.
    • You can’t depend on the God of the Bible.
    • The Bible has no authority over our lives as women.
    • The Bible is not true.
    • The church has no authority over our lives.
    • No God-given authority in scripture has any right to guide, lead, or direct women.
    • Everything rests on your shoulders as a woman to take care of yourself.

The bottom line is this:

  • She believes she must make sure everything turns out okay and that it is her responsibility to do so.
  • She has a small, wimpy, or non-existent picture of God and a picture of herself as big, strong, and powerful.
  • Self is on the throne of her life, not God.
  • She is ensnared by pride and unbelief.

She develops some skewed thinking about God, others, relationships, and herself. That skewed thinking becomes the foundation of her understanding for how to relate in marriage and family later.

When someone’s core beliefs about God, other people, relationships, and themselves get skewed (and all of us experience this to some degree) – the only way to heal is for that person to be willing to examine these core beliefs against real truth. We must learn to take our thoughts captive for Christ. That is a scary thing. A painful thing – at first. But it is a necessary pain that leads to healing. Kind of like the pain of having a wound full of gangrene debrided. It is necessary to get rid of the toxins and the lethal infection. As we tear out the faulty foundations in our thinking, we can invite God to help us build all of our fixed beliefs about important topics on His Word and truth alone.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matt. 7:24-27

 

We all tend to develop wrong thinking as children. Then we build our lives on those messed up beliefs. But when we build on anything other than the truth of God’s Word, we are building on sinking sand. Things begin to collapse the farther we go along in life because the foundation of our belief system is faulty.

It takes great courage to be willing to examine our fixed beliefs and to question them. And to allow the Lord to show us His infinitely higher way of thinking. We have to tear out the old foundation and rebuild a new foundation for our belief system on Jesus and His Word. It is hard. But it is worth it.

As we do this, we have the incredible blessing and gift from the Lord of finding spiritual, emotional, and relational healing in Christ.

Next week we will dig further into the cure for a compulsion to control.

SHARE:

If you struggle with control, is there a specific event or situation in your past that you can link to this struggle? You are welcome to share with us.

Much love!

RELATED:

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced (My new book, The Peaceful Mom, will have a whole chapter on this issue with a chart of lies we tend to believe vs. the truth of God’s Word – the book releases March 27th, 2018).

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

The Spiritual Healing That Is Available to Each of Us in Christ – by Radiant

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ – VIDEO

Facing Our Deepest Fears

Experiencing God’s Victory over Fear

But I’m Right! I’m the Better Leader. I Should Be in Charge.

Why Won’t My Husband Lead?

My Husband Is Not a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Often Don’t Notice

TAKE THE QUIZ – Are You a Peaceful Wife?

Photo by Tamara Menzi on Unsplash

I would not have described myself as “un-peaceful” years ago as a wife. But, as I reflect on my heart and approach over nine years ago, I only had fleeting moments and flickers of peace. Peace seemed to last only a few minutes – or sometimes – only a few seconds. I really hadn’t ever experienced a continual stream of peace before. I didn’t even realize that was possible.

I was a Christian. I received Christ at the age of five.  I thought I was a strong Christian woman, wife, and mom. I went to church multiple times per week and read my Bible every day. I prayed constantly. I only listened to Christian music. I could quote tons of Bible verses. I wanted so much to impact the world for the Lord and to be a light to those around me. I wanted to be the best possible wife and woman.

Sadly, the fruit of my life did not reflect my intentions or the fruit of the Spirit. I really didn’t understand what was wrong or how to fix it.

The Quiz

Let’s do a bit of a self-evaluation together and see how you are doing with being a Peaceful Wife:

  1. Do you ever feel like you have to take charge in your marriage because your husband can’t or won’t lead?
  2. Do you ever find yourself feeling or acting impatient with your husband?
  3. Do you feel like you have to be the “adult” in the marriage?
  4. Do you notice your mind racing with worry and all of the possible “what-if” scenarios that could happen in the near and distant future for your marriage?
  5. Do you find yourself upset because your husband is not making you happy and is not the man you want him to be?
  6. Do you tend to feel like you are really the only one who knows what is truly best for your marriage and that if things don’t go the way you believe they should, everything will be a disaster?
  7. Do you sometimes grapple with holding onto grudges, unforgiveness, or bitterness against your husband?
  8. Do you feel like if only you had a better husband, or better circumstances in your marriage, you would finally be able to feel real peace and happiness?
  9. Does your husband feel disrespected, controlled, mothered, or smothered by you sometimes?
  10. Does your husband not seem to appreciate all of your helpful suggestions and shut down or get angry when you give him advice?

How did you do?

If you answered, “yes,” to any of the above questions, you are not alone. In my experience, a lot of wives struggle with a lot of these same issues. I know when I began my journey, I was filled with anxiety, worry, doubt, fear, bitterness, resentment, loneliness, and discontentment.

Being a Peaceful Wife doesn’t come naturally. But if you are looking for peace as a wife – and as a woman – you have come to the right place! Be encouraged. Help is on the way! I have such great news to share:

All of us have an invitation to live a life of constant peace.

Real peace begins when we allow the Prince of Peace to sit firmly on the throne of our hearts and lives.

I have personally been on this journey for over nine years now. And no, I am not the perfect woman, wife, or mom. But I am not who I was. I am not where I was emotionally and spiritually years ago. God is changing me. Growing me. Transforming me to be more and more like Jesus. Not by my heroic efforts or human wisdom, but by the power of His Spirit and His Word.

That is what I long for every wife, and woman, to find.

book-on-table-optimizedI’d like to invite you to check out the resources I have for you here:

Weekly blog posts to encourage wives on their journey. You are welcome to subscribe via email to receive a new post in your inbox to nourish your soul each week.

A Peaceful Wife Blog Facebook page with extra encouragement.

Videos and skits for wives on my Youtube channel, April Cassidy.

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord

Note – My book is most relatable to wives who tend to be “Type A,” driven, perfectionists, and “fixer” type personalities. If you are in a marriage where you tend to be shut down and your husband tends to be more controlling, angry and/or emotionally/verbally abusive, or you just need some extra help growing spiritually in your marriage, please check out this resource – Nina Roesner’s eCourse “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.” 

How Marriage Books/Blogs/Seminars Can Be Dangerous

There are all kinds of wives who read marriage blogs and books with all kinds of histories, bents, personalities, tendencies, and marriage dynamics. There are many different levels of spirituality. Some are unbelievers, some are baby Christians, and some are in various other stages of spiritual growth in Christ.

I think of there being a continuum in a lot of areas of our personalities and approaches – things like:

Too Quiet <——> Too Talkative

Passive <——-> Controlling

Self-harming <——-> Other-harming

Doormat <——> Bulldozer

Conflict Avoiding <——-> Conflict Starting

This is very simplistic – I realize that real life and real people aren’t always that black and white. But it may be helpful for the sake of illustration.

When it comes to reading about marriage and finding what is most helpful to point us to Christ and His healing, truth, and love – sometimes what one person on one end of the extreme needs is the opposite of what someone on the other end of the line needs. The healthiest place of balance is usually a thin tightrope in the middle of these fleshly extremes. We get there with the help of God’s Spirit’s power and the truth of His Word. But we may need different approaches to our marriages depending on our particular bent, filters, wounds, marriage dynamics, and personalities.

Some resources will be helpful for all wives, especially things about our walk with the Lord. We all want to get to the same end result – becoming the godly women and wives God calls us to be. Finding healing and hope for our marriages and families in Jesus. God’s Word and promises apply to us all equally.

NOTE – There are also some marriages where one or both spouse is also abusive – emotionally, verbally, financially, physically, and/or sexually. That can impact how wives hear, or mishear, things even more – especially about topics like respect and biblical submission. This is why sometimes those who have experienced abuse may do best reading resources for wives specifically designed for those who have suffered from abuse or talking to a specialized godly counselor in person one-on-one.

TWO BIG DANGERS

If a wife who tends to be a strong, Type-A, take-charge personality reads resources designed for wives who tend toward passivity and being too quiet, she may tend to hear:

  • “Stand up more for yourself, insist on your way more than ever, be even more strong against your husband and even more dominating. All that matters is your opinion and what you need. Don’t let your husband have a voice at all. Your husband is entirely at fault for 100% of the problems in your marriage.”

Of course, that is not the message that was intended in a biblically sound resource, but that is sometimes what Type-A wives might hear from resources designed for wives struggling with passivity. This is what strong personality wives especially tend to hear if they read resources for wives who are being emotionally abused by their husbands – when they are truly not being emotionally abused themselves. We have to be really careful.

If we Type-A wives read something and then feel emboldened to be more controlling, more disrespectful, more harsh, and more condemning toward our husband, that is probably not be the best resource for us. We may do best focusing on dealing with our own sin and our own obedience to the Lord rather than how to change our husbands or how to try to address our husband’s issues, at least at first. We may need to address our husband’s sin at some point, but we will need to deal with “the beam” in our own eye first, in most cases.

If a wife who tends to struggle more with being too passive, too quiet, too respectful, and too submissive to her husband reads material for wives who are more controlling, she tends to hear:

  • “Be quiet and say nothing All that matters is your husband’s opinion and what he needs. You don’t get to have a voice at all. You are entirely at fault for 100% of the problems in your marriage.”

Of course, that is not the message that was intended in a biblically sound resource, but that is sometimes what certain wives might hear from resources designed for wives who do struggle with control.  If we think we hear that we need to be oppressed, completely quiet, doormat-like, and to take all the blame in the marriage – that resource may not be the best resource for us.

We may do best focusing on receiving God’s love, healing, and truth into our own hearts first, and learning to think rightly about God, others, and ourselves first, rather than focusing on respecting our husbands first. And we need to be able to get rid of the toxic messages we have received and learn to use our voice and influence. Eventually, after we have healed a good bit spiritually, and we understand our influence authority and godly femininity better, we can begin to understand the concepts of respect and submission in a healthy way, rather than a toxic way.

There are some resources we may need to avoid, at least for awhile.

OTHER POSSIBLE DANGERS

  • If we don’t know Jesus personally as our Savior and Lord, His Word and principles will not make sense (1 Cor. 2:14).
  • Of course, we need to evaluate any resource for sound doctrine and compare it to scripture. Not all resources labelled, “Christian,” are doctrinally sound.
  • We have to know scripture for ourselves and we need the Spirit to help us handle God’s Word rightly. Otherwise, we can twist God’s Word or accept teaching that has been twisted – false teaching.
  • We have to guard our hearts and minds because we could misunderstand or misinterpret correct teaching and sound doctrine in the Bible and/or from Christian teachers. (Ideally, we would have a godly husband we could check with on these things, or a trusted godly mentoring wife to ask about anything that seems confusing.)
  • It is possible for us to try to make changes in our own power without God’s Spirit, even if the teaching we read is biblical, this will not work.
  • It is possible for us to focus on what our husbands should do and ignore what God calls us to do, and that we could develop an entitlement mindset.
  • It is possible for us to read only about what wives should do and ignore the big picture and to enable an abusive husband to continue in his abuse or to leave our husband’s sin unaddressed when we really should address it biblically in a godly, respectful way.
  • It is possible to want to change ourselves in order to try to get our husband to change – which could be manipulation.
  • We can sometimes make a human author’s writing more important than the Bible.
  • We could submit to a particular teacher rather than appropriately submitting to our husband.
  • We can let Christian resources/teaching replace our time with God, the Word, prayer, and our walk with the Lord.
  • We can get legalistic about books, lists, posts, and suggestions from human authors.
  • We can expect a human teacher/author/blogger to spoonfeed us and not invest ourselves in our walk with the Lord.
  • We can make wanting a godly marriage an idol.
  • We can make wanting our husband to be saved an idol.
  • We can focus too much on our marriage, and even pray too much for it. Jesus and our walk with Him have to be first by a long shot.
  • Sometimes abusive husbands can take material written for wives about respecting our husbands and biblical submission (even in the Bible) and try to cram that down their wife’s throat in extremely selfish, ungodly ways as they totally ignore all of the rest of the Bible and all of the instructions for them about how to live for Christ and about being godly husbands. That upsets me beyond words!

If our motives, our hearts, and/or our understanding are not right, any resource (including the Bible) could be dangerous because we are likely to misunderstand and misapply what we read.

SOME SIGNS THAT A RESOURCE MAY NOT A GOOD FIT

It causes us to feel:

  • Emotionally/spiritually crushed and hopeless.
  • We are being pushed more toward an extreme. (i.e.: Your marriage problems are 100% your fault, or everything is 100% your husband’s fault. Rather than realizing we are responsible for our sin, our thoughts, our motives, and our obedience to God and our husbands are responsible for themselves.)
  • Guilt, shame, and worldly sorrow that leads to death rather than godly sorrow that leads to repentance and life.
  • Entitlement and/or sinful empowerment to do things in selfish, destructive ways.
  • We are moving farther away from the Lord and His healing.

This requires wise discernment from the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we may feel legitimate conviction about sin. That is a good thing, even though it is painful at first. Then we can repent and allow God to heal and restore us. But if we are sinking into a terrible depression from the enemy or we feel completely paralyzed, confused, or stuck, we may need to reach out for help or look for other resources, at least for a time, to find the healing we need in Jesus.

SOME SIGNS THAT A RESOURCE MAY BE A GOOD FIT

It causes us to:

  • Realize legitimate sin, wrong thinking, toxic lies in our lives that God wants to remove and help us heal from.
  • Hate sin more.
  • See more of the love, grace, mercy, truth, holiness, and wisdom of God.
  • Love God more.
  • Love others more with His unconditional love.
  • Think more biblically.
  • Understand other people’s perspectives better.
  • Understand our own perspectives, motives, and thinking better.
  • Find tools to help us deal with our sinful tendencies.
  • Look to the Holy Spirit for help.
  • Depend on God’s Word more.
  • Grow in our faith.
  • Grow in the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

WE ALL NEED THESE THINGS FIRST

A saving relationship with Jesus Christ as not just Savior but also Lord.

Spiritual Healing in Christ – by Radiant

The power of the Holy Spirit

A Renewed Mind – by John Piper

Time Alone with God – by Francis Chan

Time in the Word of God

PRAYER

Lord,

We all want to be close to You. We all want to think rightly about You, our husbands, and ourselves. We all want to experience Your healing and Your power in our lives. Help each of us to find the resources that best fit us and that most help us plug into Jesus and His healing, truth, and love.

Amen!

SHARE

What are some resources you have found you need to avoid, and why? What are some resources that have been a blessing to you?

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RESOURCES

Wives who tend to struggle more with being doers, fixers, and taking over often do best reading about things like:

Wives who tend to struggle more with being too quiet and passive, especially with husbands with very strong personalities tend to do best reading about things like:

Sometimes, as we are learning, we may swing too far one way, then the other. So there may be times we need to read some other resources to help balance things properly. Some resources are helpful for all of us no matter where we are in life at the moment. And, always, we need the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to direct and guide us and to give us the ability to be godly women and wives.

Wives whose husbands are truly emotionally destructive/abusive (narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths, etc…) tend to do best reading resources like:

Note – I could have, in the past, used Leslie Vernick’s material to destroy Greg if I had read it years ago when I was steamrolling over him. That would have been a harmful resource for me. But for a wife who is in specific circumstances, her material can be exactly what she needs.

 

 

 

 

A Young Wife Seeks to Honor Her Husband, Not Prosecute Him

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

A guest post from a young, Christian wife in response to last week’s post:

I have had a major problem with (acting like my husband’s prosecuting attorney) and continue to if I am not careful. I’ve been married only three short years and I’ve followed this blog very closely. It was, and continues to be, a blessing as I continue to walk with my husband in our very early stages of marriage. As I’ve continued on in this journey there are a couple of things that I’ve found to be helpful that I would like to share in case it helps anyone else.

TWO KEYS I HAVE FOUND

What I’ve found to be extremely helpful is studying and memorizing the specific scriptures about what God wills for wives in relation to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-33) and then asking God to do two things:

1) To allow me to understand in a practical way what these particular scriptures mean and how they can be applied to my life in a practical way, for day to day living. I pray in faith and believe that He will guide me, even in the midst of a situation. The Bible states:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:5-8)

2) That GOD work a respectful, submissive attitude into my heart. Though we may DESIRE to respect our husbands, we cannot walk this out in our own flesh! This is a biggie. We can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5). It will take His spirit to actually complete His will. Romans 7:21-25 states:

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

DEALING WITH DEFEAT

I know we may have times in which we gave the Devil a little more of a foothold than we ought have (Ephesians 4:26). I have beaten myself up and often given up because I’ve felt so defeated.

When I dwell in my sin I feel more and more defeated and wonder why I even try.

But most recently, I’ve tried simply asking God for forgiveness and asking Him to show me how to handle it more respectfully the next time. When the next time rolls around (sometimes within the same our, or even within seconds!) I wait expectantly for the Lord, remembering His commands and trusting He will give me the strength to carry out His will:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me. (Philippians 4:13)

A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON RESPECT

One more thing. I am an elementary school teacher. I thought about my authoritative role as a teacher and how utterly disrespected I’d feel if one of my students said or acted towards me the way I often act towards my husband. It would be completely untolerated and it would be inappropriate.

In the same way, I thought about my own boss (the principal). Would I walk up to my boss and say and behave the way I behave with my own husband with him/her? Of course not! I’d know I’d be fired and it would be completely disrespectful to behave that way in the first place.

It’s interesting that regardless of our understanding on how to respect parents, teachers, bosses, etc… we fail to see the importance of giving our husbands the exact same respect and to follow their leadership. We will behave respectfully towards our bosses and others we see as authoritative (as we should) but our husbands we disrespect right in the face of God.

It stings as I write this, because I am so guilty of all of this. But it’s still something I wanted to share as God continues His work in my life.

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE

Honestly, even if I had treated my co-workers or patients the way I treated my husband in the past, it would have been totally inappropriate and disrespectful. As believers, we are to treat all people with dignity, respect, and honor. And all the more so when it is someone in a position of God-given leadership in our lives.

SHARE

What kinds of things has the Lord shown you on this journey to become a peaceful wife? Are there areas where you are struggling and you would like to talk about things?

Much love!

RELATED

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – There is a chapter on disrespect, one on respect, one about submission to Christ as Lord, a chapter on God’s design for submission in marriage (what it is and what it is not), dealing with conflict, asking for things respectfully, etc… This was the book I needed desperately 9 years ago when I first began this journey.

Spiritual Authority Basics – for all believers in Christ relating to how we treat those in positions of God-given leadership

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

Posts about what biblical submission is and is not

What Is Respect in Marriage?

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Do You Think Women Are Always to Blame for Marriage Problems?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Am I His Prosecuting Attorney?

Me in 2003 – 5 years before the Lord opened my eyes

MY OLD WAYS

Ugh. This describes me for so long in our marriage. I would often decide we had an issue. I would think nonstop about it all day – determining all the questions I would ask Greg so I could verbally nail him to the wall. I was completely sure I knew all kinds of evil motives he must have had toward me. I spent hours carefully gathering my evidence against him so I  could prove to him how wrong he was with all of my strong arguments.

When he would get home – there was no happy welcome or smile from me on those days. I lit right into him. I was in “prosecuting attorney mode”  – determined to get him to admit how wrong he was and how right I was about any and every little issue as I cross-examined him under a microscope. That was all that mattered to me at the time – being right. I had no idea what I was doing to Greg or our relationship.

Of course, if he dared to address an issue in my life, even the smallest thing, I would all-out viciously verbally attack him. I was the only one allowed to do the questioning. I was the only one allowed to confront. Not him. I could disagree with him. But he best not disagree with me or he would suffer my wrath.

I was dumbfounded that I would ask all of my carefully crafted questions and he refused to say anything. Oh, that made me so mad! Fighting mad. I escalated my volume and vitriol when that happened, thinking he would surely answer me if I increased the intensity of my attack. I would make him answer! I thought he didn’t say anything because he knew I was right and he had no ability to defend himself against my superior reasoning abilities and character. I thought he was quiet because he was guilty of all of my accusations against him.

Many years later, after God opened my eyes to all of the sin to which I had been so blind for over 14 years in our marriage – I was able to finally see. Almost nothing about my husband matched up with what I had wrongly assumed for so many years.

Greg didn’t answer me because I put him in a no-win situation.

I had misunderstood his heart, thoughts, words, and actions completely. I was determined that I knew the truth and was right and that he was wrong. That was the only paradigm I would accept all of those years. And how could he even have started trying to explain anything – even if he wanted to – when my vision of him was so distorted?

It turns out, I didn’t know his heart at all. I didn’t know his motives. I was completely in another book – not just on another page.

What I thought was true all that time – really wasn’t. I had deceived myself. I was emotionally and spiritually completely exhausting to be around. I was verbally abusive. I didn’t call him names, generally. And I never cussed at all. I just took many verbal shots at him to undermine him, to label him, to condemn him, to blame him, to attack him, to show him how everything was his fault, etc… Then I resented him for being emotionally unavailable to me. He should love me more!

God! You need to change this man and change him RIGHT NOW! He is hurting me by not loving me the way I want him to. How could he be so cruel to me to unplug from me like this?

I don’t know if I could have understood back then if Greg did try to explain even if I had been willing to try to listen. I had no idea how different Greg’s perspective and mindset was. Usually, if he started saying something, I cut him off. I was convinced I completely understood the situation without ever hearing his side of things. I thought I already knew what he was thinking and what he would say. How I wish I had stopped attacking him and tried to listen.

To answer before listening– that is folly and shame. Prov. 18:13

GREG’S DILEMMA

So his choices at the time were:

  1. Try to explain himself, knowing I would refute anything he said that didn’t match my pre-conceived (and extremely inaccurate) notions.
  2. Fight me verbally.
  3. Say nothing to defend himself and just let me rant on by myself and continue thinking and assuming the absolute worst lies about him.

He knew it was futile to explain himself to me. He didn’t want to fight me. So he often chose #3 – which seemed like the lesser of all of the evils. He withdrew from me. He shut down. He became a shell of the man he was when we got married.

Turns out – husbands don’t really like to feel like they are coming home to a verbal firing squad or to an interrogation. Really, no remotely emotionally healthy person enjoys that. No one revels in the stress of feeling like a criminal defendant who is being cross-examined by a prosecuting attorney who has already judged him/her to be guilty. Most husbands want to have peace, harmony, joy, and contentment at home. They want to feel safe with their wives emotionally. Isn’t that honestly what we all want in our relationships?

WHOSE INSTRUMENT AM I?

How might we come across as if we are cross-examining a witness at a trial?

It is often our tone, our facial expressions, our emotional intensity, and our constant barrage of pointed, accusing questions.

It is extremely hurtful and frustrating to be utterly misunderstood, vilified, falsely accused, and wrongly condemned by someone who doesn’t actually know your heart and who isn’t even interested in trying to understand the truth or in trying to heal the relationship.

Ultimately, we long most for our husbands to share their hearts with us, to emotionally connect with us, to cherish us, love us, and adore us. So – let me just mention, my precious sisters – this “prosecutor” approach repels our men (and anyone else). It causes them to shut down their hearts to us. It does not make them want to open up to us and be vulnerable. They know they are not safe with us when we act like this because they are not safe.

It was sobering for me to realize that I was not acting in the power of God’s Spirit when I acted like a prosecuting attorney, like an accuser. In fact, I was acting like Satan and cooperating with him. “The accuser of the brethren.” I had actually allowed the devil to get a huge stronghold in my life. I didn’t realize it. I was blind to my sin back then.

I unwittingly invited him to set up a base camp in my heart and mind by holding on to pride, resentment, unforgiveness, etc… And I gave him free access to my thoughts, heart, mind, mouth, and body. I thought I was living for Jesus. My words often said I was. But the Holy Spirit was not in control. The fruit of my life was the fruit of the flesh not the fruit of the Spirit. I had allowed myself and my mouth to be an instrument in the hands of the devil to try to destroy my husband.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own
hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov. 14:1

How I NEVER want to go back to that awful place again! I had a lot of repenting to do – to the Lord, to Greg, and to other people in my life, too.

 

Thankfully, there is so much hope for all of us in Jesus! We don’t have to stay in this awful toxic place where we destroy ourselves and our husbands and other people. Jesus can set us free from this snare. We can turn away from our sin and turn to Him to let Him cleanse and heal us by His work on our behalf on the cross! The Lord graciously healed me, and in time, He eventually also healed Greg and our marriage. How can I ever thank Him enough?

That same healing is available to you. You can have peace with God and you can live in peace, as far as it depends on you, in your relationships with people. The key is to know the Prince of Peace and to allow Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life. He has to power to change us as we yield to Him in faith, trust, humility, and obedience.

I have so many posts that may be a blessing to you if you find yourself in this place where I was years ago. If you are ready to stop cooperating with Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy in your marriage and you are ready to cooperate with God’s good plans for your life and marriage, check out some of these resources. He can set you free from Satan’s prison just like He set me free almost 9 years ago.

RELATED VERSES:

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike; he who would restrain her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand. Prov. 27:15-16

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. Prov. 21:19

 

NOTE – This post is not designed for women who are truly in danger with abusive husbands.

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Posts about husbands being our idols – being enmeshed with them, expecting them to meet our deepest spiritual needs that only Jesus can really meet.

Posts about being enmeshed

Posts about being a controlling wife

A Fellow Wife’s posts

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

Posts about fear – which is often the real motive behind my control

Posts about bitterness

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

If you have a very difficult husband, please check out Nina Roesner’s Strength and Dignity eCourse, or seek one-on-one private counseling with a trusted, godly counselor.

 

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