Why I Put My Wedding Rings Back On – a Guest Post

By a sister in Christ… I’m so thankful for her willingness to share for the first time in a post. I never get tired of hearing how our amazing God heals broken people and relationships:

Bare fingers fussed around the edges of divorce documents. Time had passed long and hollow since the sparkling bands of diamonds and emeralds had graced the ring finger of the two becoming one. I was ready for divorce. I felt done. Yet, I lacked peace.

When I’d last prayed the still, small voice had spoken into my spirit “six months.” Six months what? I’d thought. Six months until he changes? Six months until this nightmare is over? Six months until I stop crying?

I decided to meet a lawyer just to get the legal facts. I’m certain my jaw dropped when she said,

“It’ll be six months until you’ll even get to court. Maybe you want to think about it some more.”

I had felt God wasn’t working and had been thinking the dry season without visible change was His sign I should divorce. Now, I had a stirring of hope. I apologized for doubting Him and counted six months on the calendar – about the time of our vacation to the ocean. Tired of waiting around for him, I had planned it for the kids and me. I would pray about it until then and make my decision when we returned.

In the meantime, I read the book, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord,” and the Peaceful Wife blog. April’s counsel was challenging: turn your eyes to Jesus. Stop making an idol of your husband. My heart was full of unbelief, anger, and unmet needs and hurt. And pride. Other wives felt the same. What sort of crazy road was this? we all wondered? Yet, the women who had gone before us were all singing the same song over our souls: turn to Jesus.

“God is sovereign, not your feelings” April would said. That struck a chord with me.

The time of the vacation arrived. A few days before leaving, we had an argument. Normally I would have been crushed. Angry. Confused. Oh, it hurt. But this time I didn’t give in to the feelings. This time I prayed. And again the still small voice reached out to me through the storm.

Put your rings back on.

When God speaks, the layers of meaning in one sentence, one word, can be endless. I knew immediately the command to put my wedding rings on was a call to fight, to humble myself before Him, to stand strong, to stop being lukewarm about my marriage. I was either all in or I was out. It was time to stop sitting on the fence and crying because things weren’t changing.

I slid the cool metal circles over my ring finger. I felt like an idiot. They were like a sword piercing my pride. He probably doesn’t even know where his ring is – if he even has it anymore. The bitter thought quickly receded, however, when in that one act of obedience I suddenly understood this moment was not about a marriage to a man, but a marriage of a woman to her God. The rings symbolized a vow I had made to my husband, but more than anything else they were an outward sign of a vow I had made to God to stand with Him as a helpmeet to my husband through life.

“I’m so sorry, Lord!” I cried out. As I repented of betraying the commitment I’d made to Him, His Spirit filled me anew. The rings sparkled and danced with life. I’d forgotten how beautiful they were. For a moment the pain of the years lifted and I was a bride once more.

What I noticed next was a prompting of the Holy Spirit to confess out loud that I wanted my marriage to work. This was difficult. Part of me wanted to be free from the hurt and humiliation. I had been encouraged by several friends to file for the divorce and move on. In my heart though, I knew I still loved him and dreamed of having our family together again. I felt ashamed at having this longing in the face of such unlikely odds. The prompting persisted, so alone in the car I would whisper, “I do want our marriage to heal, Lord. I still love him. I love our kids.”

This continued for several weeks. I watched War Room. I made a war room in my laundry room with pictures from my wedding day and each of our children. I posted scriptures and hand written prayers and simple words like Bring him home, Lord.

 I stopped fighting against the guidance of the wives who had gone before me, both in the Peaceful Wife blog and other forums He had sent my way. I let Him make changes in me. I focused on being more sensitive to the Spirit and simply got closer to Jesus. I got out of the way and God moved.

It’s taken some time, but there has been a real softening in my husband’s heart. He has apologized for the years wasted in anger. He listens to me now when I share my heart. He even tells me he loves me and I can hear in the tone of his voice it’s true.

I’ve thrown out the divorce papers and have begun to dream again.

And, yet, more than anything, my heart has the peace of a woman who has put God first, a wife who has learned (and is learning) to die to self in order to be a vessel of His goodness and redemption in another’s life. I thought I knew how to be a good wife. But I never asked Him how to be the wife my husband needed. God didn’t just want my cooperation. He wanted my submission.

Playing at the park today, I saw a woman I hadn’t seen in a long time. She looked at my rings and said “Oh, your rings are so lovely.”

As I pushed my son on the swing, the light of the sun sparkled over them as if imbued with Heavenly majesty. “Thank you.” I smiled. “I think so, too.”

SHARE:

If you would like to share a struggle you have had for a post idea or how God has been working in your heart and light bulb moments God has shown you – you may leave your story in the comments or submit it to me privately on my Contact page. 🙂

I’D APPRECIATE YOUR HELP:

If you have read my book, I would love for everyone to leave a review on Amazon. If I get 18 more reviews, my publisher, Kregel, will provide more funding for promoting the book. 🙂

RELATED:

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord by April Cassidy (book link to Amazon)

God Stopped a Wife’s Divorce Plans

The Bible and Divorce

Kristen’s Story – Being a Peaceful Divorced Wife

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done”

Should You Strive to Keep Your Husband at ANY Cost?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Measuring Intimacy

(NOTE – This post is not for wives experiencing severe issues in their marriages – like infidelity, a very controlling husband, an abusive husband, a husband who is not in his right mind due to mental illness/drug abuse/alcohol abuse, etc… If you are in such a situation, please seek appropriate one-on-one help and godly counsel.)

I used to try to use the frequency of intimacy, date nights,  deep discussions/emotional connection, or the frequency of loving emails from my husband to measure the quality of our marriage and to attempt to measure Greg’s love for me. When I saw that we had a day with one or more of these things, I would mentally check things off on my list and conclude – “Check, check, check. Yes! Our marriage is awesome! We are close and everything is good. Greg obviously loves me today!”

I thought I was “more secure” in his love if he did these things on my list.

I didn’t count the things that I didn’t think of as being loving – things like Greg taking my car to get new tires, renovating the house, helping with the children, taking care of the yard, taking out the trash, sitting beside me and cuddling quietly while he watched TV, eating supper with me, coming home right away to be with me, etc…

The next day or the next week, if there was nothing to check off (in the specific way that I counted things), then I was upset. My emotions were at the mercy of what Greg did or did not do for me on my narrow checklist.

The problem is – real intimacy isn’t about checklists.

It isn’t about a formula. It isn’t about me sitting back and expecting to be catered to and holding a checklist over my husband every moment to make sure he is doing the things I want him to do. It isn’t about me being entitled. It isn’t about something that is necessarily measurable or something that could be charted on a graph each week or each month.

I am not a boss doing a job performance review. I am not a kindergarten teacher monitoring and judging his behavior – giving him a smiley face or a frowny face each day.

I mean, there can be SOME value in realizing, “We are not talking, not having physical intimacy, and not doing anything together at all for weeks on end.” That means there is a problem – unless you are in a major crisis at the time or under very severe stress. So – yes – it can be good to be aware if things suddenly plummet and seek to address any issues.

Real intimacy is about a relationship with a person who is unique and who has his own feelings, issues, problems, triumphs, challenges, and baggage. It is about seeking to understand my husband better and to discover his perspective and his masculinity. It is about us getting to know each other and being a safe place for each other. It is about creating a harbor of peace and a sanctuary where authenticity and vulnerability are cherished and protected. It is about allowing him to be himself. It is about enjoying each other.

In real intimacy:

  • There is freedom. We both have free will to make our own decisions. Neither tries to control or dominate the other.
  • There is joy in being together and getting to know each other’s worlds and explore each other’s minds, hearts, perspectives, and bodies.
  • I understand that my husband always feels connected to me and bonded with me unless I say that I don’t feel connected. So I am free to rest in his love for me – even when it is unspoken. (Perhaps your husband feels the same way?)
  • I enjoy and appreciate what he gives me.
  • I learn to understand and marvel at the ways he shows love to me.
  • I approach my husband and his masculine world with wide-eyed wonder at the opportunity to get a glimpse into his world.
  • I share my feelings, needs, perspective, desires, and concerns respectfully and lovingly in a way that honors Christ and my husband.
  • If I think he acted or spoke in an unloving way – I do not take offense immediately – but rather seek to understand his perspective in order to avoid making wrong assumptions.
  • I am not afraid to be with my husband or to be away from my husband.
  • I am stable when he is there and when he is gone – because my emotional/spiritual well-being depends on Christ every moment of every day, not on my husband.
  • There is some healthy emotional/spiritual space between myself and my husband.
  • I share my feelings simply and let them go. I ask for what I would like simply, briefly, without pressure or coercion. I don’t have to use guilt/manipulation/playing the martyr. I know my husband can hear me when I speak my concerns and emotions simply and briefly. I trust he will think about what I said and seek to do what is best.
  • I know how to confront my husband if necessary about sin in his life in a godly, productive, Spirit-filled way.

Now I realize that if I am more focused on being able to chart or check off things to prove to myself that my husband loves me – I have some motive checking to do in my own heart with God.

  • Am I trying to find my fulfillment or security in what Greg does for me?
  • Am I expected Greg to fulfill the deepest needs of my heart that only God can really fulfill?
  • How do I respond when he doesn’t do what I want him to and I can’t check off my list? Do I respond with resentment or bitterness?
  • Am I content in Christ alone?
  • Am I finding all of my fulfillment, acceptance, love, peace, strength, purpose, power, and identity in Christ Jesus alone?

When I stop idolizing my husband and put Christ alone on the throne of my heart – I am free! I am free to engage in intimacy on every level and to enjoy it with my husband. But I am also free to be content and stable emotionally/spiritually if my husband is not available to do things with me that I would enjoy or if he slips up and has a moment (or even a season) of being imperfect and human. I can be content when my husband does loving things for me or when he doesn’t. I have received God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and unspeakable love so I have these things to give in abundance to my husband, who is my teammate and fellow traveler.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11b-13

RELATED:

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

Is My Husband Bound by My Personal Convictions?

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Expectations

Security in Christ

Godly Femininity – Part 2

 

 

enjoying a sunny afternoon

 

 

If you have not read Part 1, please read that to get started. 🙂

Can you imagine if you had witnessed godly examples of femininity at home as you were growing up, in your church, at school and in your community? This is what God desires – for children to be immersed in godly examples of masculinity, femininity, marriage and family thousands and thousands of times as they grow up. Then, godliness will seem “normal.”

For those who did not have godly examples (and that includes all of us to one degree or another), there is a lot of work to do in dissecting out all of the ungodly examples we have experienced that programmed us to think that those things were “normal” so that we can consciously reject them and choose God’s ways. It is my prayer that our children will get to experience each of us living out a godly example for them by God’s power working full blast in us. 🙂

It is my prayer that even though recent generations dropped the ball and we as a culture, even in the church, have veered hundreds of miles off course – that God might cause OUR generation to rise up and become a holy generation that will leave a godly legacy for those who come behind us. We have the power and treasure of heaven at our disposal. May we spend our lives for Christ, demonstrating godly femininity to everyone around us for His greatest glory!

Jesus Christ has set us free! The world says that freedom is the right to do what we want. But the freedom we have in Christ is the power to do God’s will. We have the power to choose not to sin when His Spirit is flooding our souls.

  • The only power we lose when we obey God and fully submit to Him as Lord is the power to destroy our marriages, ourselves, our husbands and children and others.
  • We gain the power of heaven to breathe life, healing, blessing, joy, peace, faith, kindness and goodness into our families.

GALATIANS 5:13-18

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF GODLY FEMININITY THAT GOD WILL CULTIVATE IN A WOMAN MORE AND MORE AS SHE ABIDES IN CHRIST AND HIS WORD ABIDES IN HER (these are all very brief descriptions):

AS A WIFE

  • She is a helper to her husband. (Genesis 2:18)
  • She brings all of herself – her personality, her talents, her gifts, her intellect, her emotions, her ideas, her desires, her vulnerability to her marriage. She cleaves to her husband. (Genesis 2:24, Proverbs 31, Song of Songs)
  • She is authentic – but she is not her old sinful self anymore. Some wives say, “I want to be free to by myself in my marriage,” but what they mean is, they want to be free to be their sinful selves. That is always a destructive choice. A godly wife has the power and ability to be her new self in Christ. She lost the destructive power of her sinful nature because her sinful nature died with Christ and was buried and now she counts herself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. (Romans 6-8)
  • She respects her husband genuinely and finds the good in him to appreciate (because of her character and the Spirit of God filling her soul – not because he always “deserves” it) and she honors her husband’s God-given leadership, allowing him to make the final call if there is a disagreement and trusting God to lead her through her husband even when she doesn’t understand and can’t see how it will work out “for good” from her current perspective. When he asks her for something, she makes it a priority to try to do what he has asked of her with a godly attitude. (Ephesians 5:22-23, 33, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 11:3 – If a husband is asking his wife to clearly sin, please check out the post Spiritual Authority for more info.)
  • She does good to her husband all the days of her life, not evil. (Proverbs 31)

—–

  • She is open and receptive to her husband. (Song of Solomon)
  • She studies to understand her particular husband, what speaks respect to him, his needs and the things that most bless him. (Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-6)
  • She assumes the best about her husband, not the worst. (I Corinthians 13:7)
  • She is loyal to her husband and doesn’t badmouth him to others. She never bashes him to their children, extended family, coworkers, church members, friends or on social media. (Ephesians 5:22, Proverbs 31, Ephesians 4:29-30)
  • She deals with any sin in her life before approaching her husband about sin in his life. (Matthew 7:1-5)

—–

  • She is affectionate with her husband. (Titus 2:3-5)
  • Her presence, attitude and respect for God and her husband speak much more loudly to her husband about her faith than any words she could ever say. (I Peter 3:1-2)
  • She has a gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear that is of great worth in God’s sight. (I Peter 3:1-6)
  • She comes to her husband humbly, gently and respectfully with his sin privately first, and only if he won’t repent, does she involve a godly male mentor/pastor to help them if there are serious problems. She does not smear him to family and friends or ream him out on Facebook. (Matthew 18:15-17) (How to Confront Your Husband about His Sin)
  • She seeks godly, biblical help if there are very serious issues in her marriage, but she rejects ungodly and unscriptural counsel and seeks God and His Word and His Spirit above all else. (Matthew 18:15-17) She is prepared to separate from her husband and trust God, seeking His wisdom and wise, biblical counsel if her husband continues in severe unrepentant sin and she or her children are truly not safe. She prays for reconciliation if they must separate, and she focuses on her walk with Christ. (A Peaceful Separated Wife, A Peaceful Divorced Wife, The Bible and Divorce)

—–

  • She depends on the wisdom and power of God to know how to respond to her husband’s sin and she is sensitive to God’s Spirit and responsive to what He leads her to do in a given situation. (Isaiah 30:21) (Portia’s Story)
  • If her husband is an unbeliever, she shows the power and love of God to him without words but by her respectful attitude and by honoring his leadership. (I Peter 3:1-2) ( Spiritual Authority, When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God, My Husband Wants to Go Where?)
  • Her husband feels safe with her spiritually, emotionally, sexually, physically and in every way – and he knows he can always trust her. She is never violent toward him. She doesn’t yell, scream, cuss or make threats. She is not scary, intimidating or threatening. She does not bully him. (Proverbs 31:11)
  • She is her husband’s crown. (Proverbs 12:4)
  • She learns to speak her husband’s language and to become fluent in his way of relating and speaking and learns to interpret him accurately and to understand his heart with compassion. She seeks to see him with God’s eyes and love him with God’s love. She wants to treat God’s beloved son well. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

—–

  • Her focus is on Christ not self. She has no insecurity – because she trust in God not self or worldly things. Her security is based on heavenly realities and truths and the promises of God in His Word. (Romans 6-8)
  • She doesn’t have to argue – she has way more powerful methods of communication at her disposal than arguing, nagging, criticizing, complaining, condemning or humiliating her husband. She knows exactly how ineffective and destructive and sinful those things are and they do not even tempt her. She knows how to use her power and influence for good, how to share in a respectful way and how to submit to Christ and to her husband even if they lead her in a way she did not anticipate. (A Real Life Example of Biblical Submission)
  • She does not submit to her husband if he clearly asks her to sin. She submits first to Christ. (Please see Spiritual Authority for more detail in this.)
  • She doesn’t try to control or change her husband, but seeks to bless him. (Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5:22-33)
  • She builds her marriage and family up and does not use her words, attitudes and actions to hurt or harm anyone. (Proverbs 14:1)

—–

  • She appreciates and values her husband’s headship, covering and protection over her. (I Corinthians 11:3)
  • She joyfully gives herself sexually to her husband whenever possible and seeks to meet his sexual needs (even if they are greater or less than her own biological desires at the time). (I Corinthians 7:1-5)
  • She honors her sacred marriage covenant and does not threaten to divorce or seek divorce. (Matthew 19, Malachi 2)
  • She trusts God’s Spirit to work in her husband’s heart to draw him to Himself and does not attempt to verbally drag her husband or force him to God, she knows her  words are not the most important or effective tool. (I Peter 3:1-2)
  • She values and appreciates her husband’s masculinity. She sees and admires the good things about her husband’s manhood and supports him being a man, she doesn’t try to make him be more feminine or think more like herself. She marvels at his strengths and protects his weaknesses. (Song of Songs, Proverbs 31)

—–

  • She is comfortable in her own skin and feels beautiful even if she doesn’t meet the world’s current definition of beauty. (Song of Songs 1)
  • She enjoys being attractive for her husband in a healthy way. (Song of Songs and Proverbs 5:19)
  • She smiles often. She is a delight for her husband to be around.  Her beautiful attitude, contentment and joy in Christ draw him to her. She is not needy, clingy and desperate for his attention. (Philippians 4:4-8)
  • She is glad to talk with her husband about things that interest him. She loves to learn about his masculine world and perspective. She rejoices in his uniqueness and his masculinity and does not shame him for being different from her. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She is ready for adventure with God and with her husband (Exodus – a  picture of God leading His bride through the desert to the Promised Land)

—–

  • She is willing to wear a hat/scarf as a tangible symbol of her willingness to honor her husband’s God-given leadership at church/during prayer. (I Corinthians 11:3-16)
  • She supports his leadership even when she doesn’t agree. She shares her heart, concerns and needs respectfully, then trusts God to lead her through her husband. (Spiritual Authority post at the top of my home page and Submitting under Protest, Biblical Submission, as well as Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband is Always Right)
  • She brings her husband comfort. (Genesis 24:67)
  • She brings beauty to her home and to relationships. (Genesis 2, Song of Songs, Acts 9:36-39)
  • She desires to make her husband look good that he might receive honor from others. (Proverbs 31)
  • She doesn’t look down on her husband (or anyone) but humbly acknowledges that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. There is no room for her to boast or brag in anything except for Christ and what He has done for her. (James 2, 1 Peter 5:5, Proverbs 22:4, Philippians 2:1-11, Ephesians 2:8-10)
  • She is not abusive in any way – physically, sexually, verbally, mentally, emotionally, financially, etc… (1 John 4:20-21)

AS A MOTHER

  • She values, cherishes and nurtures any babies or children that she has before and after birth. (Isaiah 49:15)
  • She seeks to train and teach her children to know and love God and His Word. (Deuteronomy 6)
  • She loves them with the very love of God. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She desires to be a godly example to them. (Deuteronomy 6, Titus 2:3-5, Malachi 2)
  • She does not put her children above her husband or above God. (Genesis 22, Matthew 10:37-39, Luke 14:25-34) (Respecting Our Husbands as Fathers)
  • She is affectionate (Titus 2:3-5)
  • She extends the truth, mercy, grace, love and forgiveness of Christ to her children. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

IN HER WALK WITH CHRIST

  • She holds nothing back from Christ. She knows He gave ALL of Himself for her, and now she delights in giving ALL of herself for Him. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for Jesus. He is her LORD. He is her Master. She is willing to deny self and sacrifice anything in this world for Him. (Luke 14:25-34, Matthew 10:37-39, Genesis 22) (Dying to Self)
  • She hungers deeply for God, His Word, His presence, His Spirit, His will, His wisdom and His power in her life and the lives of those around her. She has a very healthy spiritual appetite. (Matthew 6:33, Matthew 5:6)
  • She does not merely read the Word, she listens, prays diligently to understand properly and applies it to her life – allowing  God to transform her priorities, her heart, her soul, her words, her desires, her behavior and her attitudes. (James 2)
  • She fills her mind, heart and mouth with the praises of God. (Exodus 15:2, almost the whole book of Psalm and many other places as well)
  • She desires “to live a life worthy of the calling (she has) received (and to) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:1-2)

—–

  • Her heart is soft, responsive and malleable in the hands of God, she does not have a hard heart against God and His Word or against others. (Ephesians 4:18, Hebrews 4:7)
  • She “(puts) off (her) old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of  (her) mind; and (puts) on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
  • She is open, receptive and tender hearted toward God. (Hebrews 3:15)
  • She has a sense of wonder about all that God has made and has done and will do. She is in total awe of Him. (Mark 9:15, Acts 3:10, Luke 7:16)
  • She is submissive first to Christ (James 4:7) and she practices biblical submission by honoring her husband’s God-given leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5, I Corinthians 11:3-16) so that the Word of God is not maligned.

—–

  • She leans on God’s wisdom, truth and understanding and does not trust her own human wisdom. (Proverbs 3:5)
  • She desires to live a holy life and to bring great glory to God. (I Peter 1:16)
  • When she sees sin in her life, she does not become depressed and withdrawn and paralyzed with worldly sorrow that leads to death, but has godly sorrow over her sin, mourning over her sin, rejecting her sin and turning to Christ in true repentance, longing to walk in obedience to Him in everything. (2 Corinthians 7:8-11, I John 1:9)
  • She is not overcome by fear, worry or anxiety, but has a Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • She prays fervently and continually – in a spirit of godly power, not a spirit of worry, anxiety or fear. (I Thessalonians 5:17, Philippians 4:4-7, Romans 12:12, Romans 15:30)

—–

  • She makes time daily whenever remotely possible to spend in deep prayer and study of God’s Word, asking Him to change her and make her more and more like Christ. (John 15)
  • She prays for her husband and others – not to tell God what to do or make demands – but to seek God’s will and His blessing for them and to seek God’s best for those she loves. She prays with godly motives, not selfish, greedy, condemning, self-righteous, prideful, malicious or vengeful motives – but with the love and power of Christ.  (1 Timothy 2:1-5, James 4:1-10)
  • She knows that she is more than a conqueror through Christ. (Romans 8:37)
  • She knows that nothing can separate her from the love of Christ. (Romans 8:35-39)
  • She savors and enjoys her blessings, her life and her Lord. In fact, she rejoices in Him always! (Philippians 4:4-8)
  • She is able to be at peace because she understands and trusts in the sovereignty, love and power of God to work all things for her good because she loves Him and is called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28-29)
  • She prays the promises of God into reality by her unwavering faith in Him and His Spirit working powerfully in her. (Daniel 9:4)

ENCOURAGEMENT:

God will develop these qualities more and more in us as He sanctifies us and grows Christ more and more in our hearts, minds and souls. This is a life-long process. It is not about us trying harder to be “perfect.” On our own, we are a branch that has been cut off from the Vine and we are laying on the ground. We cannot do ANYTHING unless we are attached to Jesus – the Vine – and His nourishing truth and Spirit flood our souls. THEN we will be fruitful in His kingdom. We cannot be perfect until we reach heaven. That is ok. But our God is so strong that He is able to empower us and to give us victory in sin and the power to walk in holiness as we abide in Him. This is all about us being in an intimate relationship with Christ and allowing His power to flow full blast through us and transform us according to His will for His greatest glory!

John 15:1-17

EXAMPLES OF GODLY WOMEN IN SCRIPTURE:

– Esther

– Ruth

– Rahab (a former prostitute)

– Hannah, Samuel’s mother

– Deborah

– the Proverbs 31 wife

–  Sarah, Abraham’s wife – sometimes she is an example of godliness, and sometimes ungodliness

– Mary, the mother of Jesus

– Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus

– Mary Magdalene after she came to Christ

– Priscilla, Aquilla’s wife

– Dorcas/Tabitha (whom Peter raised from the dead by Jesus’ power)

SHARE:

How is God working in your heart about the issue of godly femininity?

What is most striking to you?

How can we pray together for you?

 

Godly Femininity – Part 1

happy girl

This topic could be a whole book. Actually, there are some books about it! You can find some of them in my post about my favorite marriage books.

Recently, we examined femininity in general and then ungodly femininity. Today, we are going to talk about godly femininity or biblical womanhood. This is the real core of  God’s beautiful design for femininity. It is much more than any fluffy externals. I know we are just barely going to be able to scratch the surface in two posts – but I’m going to share some things that the Bible describes that godly femininity is. (Many of the scriptures I cite would apply to men in becoming godly men, as well. Some are only for women.  I will be addressing all of these references toward women specifically because women are my audience. But men are welcome to read along.)

GOD’S PURPOSE IN TWO GENDERS

God designed people to all be image bearers of God and to have fellowship with Him and each other (Genesis 2). The main thing to keep in mind as we study godly femininity is that ultimately:

  • God designed masculinity to be the picture of Jesus Christ – and His love, power, mercy, grace and strength.
  • God designed femininity to be the picture of the devoted,  joyful, peaceful, trusting, faith-filled, beautiful, spotless bride of Christ, the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

This is what marriage looked like in the Garden of Eden before sin entered the world and tainted everything good that God had created.

Each gender can stand alone to display God to the world – but when these two genders are combined in marriage, with their unique strengths, abilities and God-given roles, God intends a beautiful, powerful, tangible, living display of the intimate relationship Jesus desires to have and will have with His people. This is why the way he designed men and women – and the way He designed marriage – are so sacred and critical for us to understand and display in our lives – whether we are married, single, separated, divorced or widowed. We will be most fulfilled and most blessed when we operate in the roles, design and wisdom of God as women and God will be most glorified then, as well.

Ultimately, the purpose of our femininity is to bring great glory to God and to draw many to Christ!

WE CAN ALL BECOME GODLY WOMEN

Praise God, we are all able to become the women Christ calls us to be as we turn away from our sin in godly sorrow and turn to Christ in faith, depending on what He has done for us on the cross. This is all about His grace, mercy, forgiveness and His character and power working in us to change us. We cannot make ourselves holy. In fact, God describes our greatest attempts at righteousness as being like “filthy, bloody menstrual rags” in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). On our own, no sinful human has any spiritual strength to do anything remotely godly. We are totally dependent on God’s spirit empowering us and working in us to produce the life of Christ, the mind of Christ and the heart of Christ in us as He renews our spirits.

When we come to Christ with the saving faith that He generously gives to us – we cannot stay the same. It is impossible! God’s power and His Spirit working in our lives WILL radically change us. Our lives will exude more and more of His love, more and more self-control over our words/thoughts/actions, more and more good deeds and more and more concern and compassion for those in need. We will have more and more of the mind and heart of Christ as we submit to Him as Lord of all in our lives and hold nothing back from Him. Living in obedience to Christ becomes a joy as our thankfulness, genuine worship, praise and the regenerating power of God’s Spirit motivate us. We long for Him more than anything. He is our greatest delight and treasure!

(Here is a list of verses from the Bible about being a godly woman. That would be a fantastic study!)

The list below may be a handy reference to keep and pray over. Maybe you can focus on a few qualities per week and pray for God to develop these things in your own life? My prayer is that we will each prayerfully, humbly approach this list and allow God to reveal any areas that He wants us to focus on and yield to Him. 🙂 None of us will be perfect until heaven. This is the life long process of sanctification. I have thousands of miles to go on this journey myself and I can’t wait to continue learning all that God has for me. I am praying for each of you today, that God might speak to your heart through this post in a powerful way!

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A GODLY WOMAN THAT GOD WILL CULTIVATE IN HER MORE AND MORE AS SHE ABIDES IN CHRIST AND HIS WORD ABIDES IN HER:

SHE “LIVES A LIFE OF LOVE” (Ephesians 5:2)

  • She loves God with all her heart, mind, soul and strength. Nothing is more important to her than Jesus and she sets her heart only on Him for her greatest fulfillment, purpose, identity, love, acceptance and strength. She is willing to give up everything to have Him. (Matthew 22:28) (Are You Willing to Sacrifice Your “Isaac”? “Submission Means Holding the Things of This World Loosely“)
  • She loves all other people with the love of God. (Matthew 22:29)
  • She loves with the agape love of Christ described in I Corinthians 13:4-8. She is patient and kind. She is not rude. She is not self-seeking.
  • She does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. She does not dishonor others. She is not easily angered. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She always protects, always trusts (she seeks to trust others whenever possible, but ultimately, her trust is fully in Christ), always hopes, always perseveres. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

HER CHARACTER

  • She has discretion. (Proverbs 11:22)
  • She has control over her emotions, feelings, words and even her mannerisms, body language and facial expressions even when she has PMS, or is not feeling her best when God’s power is in control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • She trusts the Holy Spirit to do His job of convicting others and sanctifying them. She encourages people, exhorts and prays for them, but she knows where her responsibilities end and she does not attempt to play “Holy Spirit” in others’ lives. (John 16:8)
  • She is totally confident in Christ, trusting His Word and resting in His promises. (Romans 8)
  • There is a refreshing and powerful innocence about her. (Matthew  10:16)

 —–

  • She may choose to wear her hair long if possible, delighting in her “glory” according to God’s Word. (I Corinthians 11:3-16)
  • She smiles a lot in a way that even shines brightly from her eyes, radiating the joy and love of Christ. (Galatians 5, Matthew 6:22-23)
  • She is careful not to align herself with Satan as his assistant to join in tearing people down with accusations, criticism, judgment and condemnation. She knows he is “the accuser of the brethren” and wants no part in helping him. By submitting fully to God and resisting Satan, she does not allow demonic temptation to direct her thoughts about her husband, about God, about herself or anyone else. (Revelation 12:10, James 4:7)
  • She is honest and speaks the truth in love. She does not pretend or fake anything. She speaks up when she knows that is what is necessary, but she does this carefully, gently and humbly. (Ephesians 4:25)
  • She chooses her girl friends wisely and she doesn’t put them above her husband or family. (I Corinthians 15:33, Titus 2:3-5, Genesis 2:24)

—–

  • She cherishes the gift of being a woman and living out God’s design for her. (Proverbs 31)
  • She is nurturing to others – spiritually, emotionally and physically. She “gives life” literally but also figuratively. She is fruitful in her interactions with others. (Genesis 2, Galatians 5)
  • She anticipates how God will bring beauty from trials, difficulties and suffering and wants to absorb all she can from God in those times. She does not face an uncertain future with fear, but rather, with great faith in God. (James 1, I Peter, Romans 8:28-29)
  • She may get angry at times, but she is slow to anger, quick to listen, slow to speak and in her anger, she does not sin. (Ephesians 4:26, James 1:19)
  • She has meekness – which is “bridled strength” or “strength under control.” (Matthew 5:5)

 —–

  • She does “not let any unwholesome talk come out of (her mouth), but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
  • She gets “rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31
  • She is “kind and compassionate to (others, including her husband), forgiving (others), just as in Christ God forgave (her).” (Ephesians 4:30)
  • She purposely cultivates a spirit of thanksgiving in all circumstances for she knows this is God’s will for her. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  • She is a diligent and hard worker. (Proverbs 31)

—–

  • She takes responsibility for running her household well. (Proverbs 31, Titus 2:3)
  • She is prudent and has godly wisdom. (Proverbs 19:14)
  • She is modest and humble in her dress, words and behavior. (I Timothy 2:9-10, Ephesians 4:29-30)
  • She does not depend on charm or external beauty. (Proverbs 31:30)
  • She fears the Lord in a healthy way and she fears Him much more than any circumstances or any person. (Proverbs 31:30)

 —–

  • She dresses in a way that shows honor and respect for God, her husband, herself and others.  She does not seek to draw attention to her body but to Christ. She does not wear extravagant clothing, hairstyles or jewelry but allows her good deeds to be her ornaments.  She longs to not put any stumbling block in her brother’s way. (1 Timothy 2:9, Romans 14:13)
  • She is generous to those in need within the parameters of her husband’s leadership. (Proverbs 31:20)
  • She has great emotional/spiritual inner strength and honor. (Proverbs 31:25)
  • She has God’s wisdom in her heart and mind, she cherishes His Words and she speaks with godly wisdom and kindness. (Proverbs 31:26)
  • She is trustworthy in her thoughts, speech and actions. (Proverbs 31:11)

 —–

  • She does “not repay evil for evil but overcomes evil with good.” She trusts God to take revenge if vengeance is needed, she doesn’t take vengeance into her own hands. (Romans 12:9-21)
  • She answers softly and gently. (Proverbs 15:1)
  • She is filled with God’s “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control.” She is a pleasure to be around. She smiles and laughs easily. She savors and enjoys her family and her life (Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 4:4-8)
  • She has great faith in God. (Matthew 15:21-28)
  • She is genuinely humble. She understands how great, wise and holy God is and how small she is in comparison. (I Corinthians 13:4)

 —–

  • She is polite and well-mannered. (I Corinthians 13:5)
  • She is selfless. (I Corinthians 13:5)
  • She is vulnerable and able to share all of her entire range of emotions, needs, desires and ideas and articulate herself well. She knows her emotions are a great blessing and gift from God. She listens to them and evaluates her thoughts and motives as her emotions tell her about problems. But ultimately, she submits her feelings and emotions to Christ. (James 4:7, Proverbs 3:5)
  • She knows how to appropriately express her emotions and she knows how to discern when her emotions are lying to her and not to be trusted (i.e.: PMS, pregnancy, peri-menopause).
  • She cares about her husband and what he wants, needs and desires. (I Corinthians 7:34) She is careful to care even more about what God desires. (Matthew 6:33)

 —–

  • She thinks on things that are good, true, noble, excellent, praiseworthy, pure, right and admirable. (Philippians 4:8)
  • She takes her thoughts captive and does not allow unruly emotions or worry to hijack her mind or rob her of God’s peace. She, through God’s power, is in control of her own thoughts. Her feelings do not reign as tyrants over her. (2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:4-8)
  • She does not argue or complain but shines brightly for Christ in her attitude. (Philippians 2:14-16)
  • She shares her heart and her ideas, needs and feelings without being contentious or disrespectful  – but always speaks respectfully, gently, graciously and humbly. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She is full of grace, forgiveness and mercy because she abides in Christ and has experienced these things in abundance from Jesus. (John 15)

 —–

  • She never gives up on God, her husband or the marriage covenant. She keeps her word and her promises. (Matthew 19, I Corinthians 13:7-8)
  • She keeps no record of wrongs she has suffered. (I Corinthians 13:5 – for any wives who are truly being abused, please seek godly, biblical, experienced, wise help. “Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?”)
  • She rejoices continually in God and in His truth. (Philippians 4:4, I Corinthians 13:6)
  • She hates all sin and evil. (I Corinthians 13:6)
  • She tears out any trace of the smallest root of bitterness as soon as possible and doesn’t let it fester. (Ephesians 4:31)

—–

  • She is sober – not addicted to drugs or alcohol. (Titus 3:2)
  • She uses her words to give life and does not use her words to tear down or destroy. She does not gossip or slander anyone. (Proverbs 18:21, 2 Corinthians 12:20)
  • She is chaste – she does not entertain immoral or lustful ideas about real or fictional men (or women), she does not flirt with other men, she guards her marriage and her heart, she does not touch other men in a sensual way, she does not get involved in any trace of adultery, fornication or immorality. If she sees that there is a temptation coming, she flees from it. She does not want to create even the appearance of evil. (I Corinthians 6:18, Proverbs 4:23, I Thessalonians 5:22)
  • She is reverent and respectful in her behavior at home and in public. (Titus 2:2)
  • She does not allow happiness, her dreams, her desires or romance to become more important to her than Christ, her obedience to Christ, her husband or her marriage. She has proper priorities. She enjoys happiness when it comes, and romance when her husband offers it to her – but she is not consumed by a desperate desire for these things. Her only desperate desire is Christ. (Titus 2:3-5)

 —–

  • She teaches her children and other women good things. (Titus 2:3)
  • She loves her husband and children affectionately. (Titus 2:3)
  • She is sound and solid in her faith. She knows the Word and handles it well. (Titus 2:2, Ephesians 6, 2 Timothy 2:16)
  • She guards her heart, because it is the wellspring of her life. (Proverbs 4:23)
  • She is willing to forsake all others (family, friends, past boyfriends, etc) and leave them in order to cleave to her husband (Genesis 2:24) and she realizes in the same way that she must forsake all others in order to cleave to Christ as her Savior and only Lord.

 —–

  • When she sins or makes a mistake – she is quick to repent and apologize and take responsibility without justifying her sin. She keeps very short accounts with God and gets rid of sin as soon as possible. Her spirit is sensitive to the pricks of conscience that God’s Spirit gives her. (I John 1:9, Matthew 5:24)
  • She is content in Christ no matter what her circumstances may be. (I Timothy 6:6, Philippians 4:12-13)
  • She does not set herself up as an authority or teacher over her husband or men in the church. (I Timothy 2:12)
  • She develops the godly beauty of Christlike character, the hidden beauty of the heart which is a gentle and peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear, which is very precious in the sight of God. (I Peter 3:4)
  • She overflows with the peace and joy of God’s Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) (When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?)

 —–

  • She is patient and can be content even when she doesn’t get her way, trusting that God’s will will ultimately be done. (Galatians 5:22)
  • She is willing to wait on God and trust His timing, seeking His will far above her own. She is full of courage in the face of adversity. (Psalm 27:14)
  • She has great spiritual strength from an unending fountain of God’s power in her. (John 4:14)
  • She is able to look past suffering and difficult times to see the good God will bring from it. (James 1, I Peter, Job, Romans 8:28-29)
  • She is faithful to God and to her husband. (Galatians 5:22-23)

 —–

  • She cherishes a life-giving rebuke.
  • She has a teachable, correctable spirit and measures any criticism given to her against the Word of God accurately.
  • She finds her satisfaction, purpose and contentment in eternity not this temporary life and it’s ever changing circumstances.
  • She is not judgmental, critical, controlling, bossy, demanding or condemning. She is accepting of others, understanding and gracious in the face of their weaknesses.
  • She only accepts sound doctrine and tests the spirits before accepting something as being biblical or of God. (1 John 4:1)

 —–

  • She is strong enough in Christ to handle things on her own if necessary. (1 Samuel 25 – Abigail, Mary the mother of Jesus after Joseph’s death)
  • She is spiritually responsible for her own maturity and contentment, able to be spiritually and emotionally independent and secure no matter what her husband is or is not doing. Her dependency is completely in Christ. (Mary – Matthew 1, Luke 1, Philippians 2:12)
  • She deeply desires God’s best for her husband, family and everyone. (Matthew 6:13)
  • She weeps over sin – her sin and the sin of others and how it grieves God’s heart. (James 4:9)
  • She weeps over the lost and those who are in need. (2 Corinthians 2:4)
  • She doesn’t put ministry for Christ above her husband. (Matthew 19)
  • She does not use cutting sarcasm toward anyone but seeks to bless with her speech. She is not crude or vulgar. (Ephesians 4:29-30)

ENCOURAGEMENT:

God knows we are but dust and He knows our weaknesses. He loves us and made a way for us to be holy. Our God is so strong that He is able to empower us and to give us victory as we abide in Him.  As our Sunday School teacher says, “God gives us the control valve so WE decide how much of His Spirit we allow in our lives.” Christ is a gentleman. He does not force Himself on us but waits to be invited into every part of our lives. He wants us to surrender and allow Him to have control as Lord in everything. But that is our choice to make.

This is all about us being in an intimate relationship with Christ and allowing His power to flow full blast through us and transform us according to His will for His greatest glory!

ABIDING IN CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY WE CAN BE GODLY WOMEN:

“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. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:5-8

SHARE:

What is an example of godly femininity that you have witnessed?

What are  your thoughts as we are studying godly femininity?

Are you encouraged or discouraged and why?

RELATED:

Godly Femininity Part 2

The Importance of Spiritual Pruning

 

 

an unpruned, pitiful apple tree in our neighborhood
an unpruned, pitiful apple tree in our neighborhood

 

About half of this tree’s branches have completely broken in the past few years. You can see some hanging down that are broken and some big branches on the ground, and you can see how messed up the shape of the tree is toward the top half because of all the broken limbs.

Some interesting tidbits about How to Prune an Apple Tree – at www.weekendgardner.net

As you read these pruning tips, please be thinking about how God desires to prune us spiritually and why He does this…

1. Goals and Timing

There are normally two goals when pruning an apple tree:
Initially on young trees to encourage a strong, solid framework

On mature trees to maintain shape and encourage fruit production
The best time to prune apple trees is in late winter or very early spring before any new growth starts.

This entire article blessed me as I thought about the comparisons to pruning a tree vs God pruning our souls. Check it out if you have time, and think about how it relates to God pruning us like He talks about in John 15. You can also see images of properly pruned trees. They look very different from this one above!

Here is a pic of this same apple tree from this past spring:

 

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A discussion between the Peacefulwife and The JoyFilled Wife (for more of her story, please click here)…

TheJoyFilledWife:

You and I have had some great conversations lately about how God has used the absence of others to lead us to rely completely on Him, haven’t we? I think, when it all comes down to it, God wants us to see that He is more than enough. That He is able to fill every longing and every void in our hearts.

If our husband, children, friends, and family, were all to die tomorrow, our life would not be any less complete. We would be heartbroken, and understandably so, but our actual needs in life would not be forfeited. That’s something that the Lord has shown me much of lately. Spending nearly all of my marriage winning my husband without a word and truly not being able to rely on him to meet most of my needs and longings, the Lord was so faithful to show me that

My marital poverty was an opportunity for spiritual abundance.

I can say from experience that Jesus is more than enough. He is my first and truest love. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with my Savior for even the most perfect of marriages. I would rather live desolate than to never know the love of my Savior.

I was listening to a sermon yesterday by Dr. David Jeremiah. I couldn’t keep my eyes dry. He is so spot on regarding God’s purpose for pain and suffering in our lives. We must choose to look at every seeming deficit in our lives as a blessing in disguise. When God prepares us for greater things, He must strip us of the lesser. He is pruning us so that we may bear greater fruit for His Kingdom. Without that pruning, we would wither away and die. The storms of life are meant to expose our weaknesses so that we may strengthen them and build a stronger foundation. Without the trials and storms of life, we would never see the areas of our live that are disintegrating.

May we rejoice in our sufferings and the times when Jesus graciously tells us “no” so that He can say “yes” to something so much greater and more worthwhile.

Peacefulwife:

Thank you so much for sharing this. How I pray we might all cultivate this holy perspective about our trials and the obstacles and problems we face. I have experienced this, too. Having no mentors and feeling very alone in my marriage in the beginning years of this journey taught me to only look to God to meet my needs. I am thankful for that now!

There is an apple tree near a school in our neighborhood that has never been pruned. I think of how God prunes us as believers and how very important the pruning process (sanctification) is every time I see that tree. In the late summer, the tree is so loaded with fruit that the long unpruned branches begin to bend and bow over until many of them break completely off of the tree every year. The poor tree looks wretched! I can’t help but wonder what it would look like and how much more fruit it could bear if it were pruned properly by someone who knew what he/she was doing.

TheJoyFilledWife:

Some family members of mine have several fruit trees in their yard. It’s quite costly to keep them pruned and they are far too busy to care about doing it themselves. Every time I visit, I can’t believe how tiny the fruit are that grow on those trees. They are puny. If the trees were pruned properly, there would be large, ripe fruit growing there and the branches would be able to sustain the harvest. The puny, overly ripe fruit is completely useless. It never develops the proper texture or flavor to be pleasurable to eat. How similarly our lives are when we refuse to let go of the useless, worldly things in our life that choke our ability to ever be used for God’s pleasure and glory. If only we would stop resisting God’s faithful pruning and let go and let God, we would be amazed at the beauty of the fruit He develops in our lives.

 

THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES John 15:

 

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 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.

5 “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. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

 

THE PURPOSE OF ADVERSITY IN THE LIFE OF A BELIEVER:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Hebrews 12:4-12

 I Peter 1:3-9

 

photo 2-6

A Fellow Wife Reflects on Her Two Year Journey

Winding Country Road through autumnal Landscape

 

I first “met” a Fellow Wife  in October, 2012. I can’t begin to count all the discussions we shared together.   This has been a difficult, painful and challenging journey at times – as it is for all of us who seek to know, obey and please Jesus. We must die to self, go against the wisdom of our culture, deny our sinful nature, let go of the things we cherish most and seek to trust God rather than self. Now, as I see where she is today spiritually compared to where she was two years ago, I have to thank and praise God for His goodness and power! I believe that the more wives’ stories we can hear, the better. I know her story will bless you:

 

 

It was 2 years ago next month that I first began pursuing becoming a more godly wife. It was 1 year ago this August that I really got it–what this journey was all about and how it could work for me. At first I thought it was all about putting all these little behaviors into practice by memory and it was all about memorizing a new way of being and being someone different than I really was…. 1 year ago this month, it REALLY clicked for me and I saw that this was not about changing who I am and following a bunch of rules that would make me a plastic Stepford wife. It was about letting go of so many things I was trying to hold onto and manipulate. It was about learning boundaries and what and who I am and am not responsible for.

It has been a very interesting year. It has been a year filled with learning, changes and challenges. Sometimes I have passed with flying colors. Sometimes I have failed miserably and fell flat on my face. I thought I would take a look back at THEN (being the time period before I really *got it* or surrendered- and NOW (being 1 year into this new way of living and being married.) I will be very real with you about the good, the bad and the ugly. But it is my hope to reflect back for myself and share a bit of my story that it might help some of you relate or be encouraged. Let’s begin.

THEN: We had big arguments any time there was conflict. I fought tooth and nail, determined if I just hung in there and talked long enough, my husband would eventually get it.
NOW: Arguments are rare. I approach them differently… making it my goal to speak my thoughts and feelings and exit the discussion giving my husband time to process. Sometimes a few sentences is all I say because it is all I need to say. I have found that when I don’t act ugly, my husband is thinking about how I feel vs how I acted. He is more likely to apologize now. MUCH more likely.

THEN: I was an endless pit of need. My husband could not do enough to make me happy in the way of affection, attention or time. I griped and fussed about this often. He was very tuned out.
NOW: While I still want affection, attention and time from my husband, it is not my entire focus. I give my husband much more space to decide to give or not to give me those things. I am much more secure within myself. I don’t depend on him as deeply.

THEN: He never noticed me.
NOW: He compliments me on occasion…. maybe 1-2 times a month. This is huge considering in the past, years would go by without him complimenting me.

THEN: I thought I could control his feelings for me and his actions toward me.
NOW: I have had HUGE lightbulb moments that have taught me there is no way you can control another person’s feelings or make someone show they love you. At best, all you have is manipulation. You may manipulate your husband into making a gesture of love but neither of you are satisfied with this because you both know it isn’t from his heart, it is from your pushing.

THEN: I sit home and cried when my husband went out a few times a month. I whined. I pouted. We argued.
NOW: While I can’t deny I still feel a twinge of wishing he wanted to spend more time with me from time to time, I don’t sit home and feel sorry for myself. I go out with my girlfriends and have fun on my own. I arrive home happy and refreshed which makes me a wife he is happy to come home to.

THEN: I begged for time together. It was probably our biggest point of contention.
NOW: I no longer beg for time together. I will, on occasion, mention something I would like to do together. I still want to spend more quality time together. But I am okay without it and find other things to occupy myself. I hope someday that we spend more time together. But I can be okay either way.

THEN: There was no inner happiness in me. I kept myself in a constant state of worry over our marriage and worked hard at forcing changes I wanted.
NOW: I understand boundaries better. I realize I am responsible for myself and my own emotions. I realize he has the right to make his own decisions.

THEN: I was clingy and needy. Embarrassingly so. I thought the harder I tried to cling, the more pressure it would put on him to be affectionate and loving toward me. It never worked. In fact, it smothered him and repelled him. It also left me feeling desperate and altogether yucky. Not pleasant.
NOW: I understand how to give my husband space. While I am occasionally affectionate with him just because I love him and want to reach out to him, I give him a good amount of space. AND, I am thrilled to say that after some time had passed…. maybe 3 months?… he started searching me out. He now puts his arm around me sometimes. He will kiss or hug me when he passes me in the kitchen. He is overall more affectionate and loving. This was a wonderful gift! I learned that men need space to give you the things you long for.

THEN: I pursued him. Totally. And I did not like that feeling.
NOW: I give him room to pursue me… and he does. It isn’t as aggressively as I might hope but it is definite pursual.

THEN: I did not understand him or the ways he was trying to show me love.
NOW: I understand men MUCH better, although not perfectly. This is because I have studied and read several books on the subject. I have also learned to ask my husband questions. A lot of times I think he meant one thing when he really meant another. I ask him what he meant. I ask him how he feels. I don’t take for granted that I automatically understand him.

THEN: I called the shots and did things my way. This also weighed on me heavily.
NOW: I am perfectly happy with him being in charge. It makes me happy to submit to him. (most times). I trust his judgment. I feel much lighter without so much on my shoulders. I know that I can offer my perspective and ideas and then allow him to decide what is best.

THEN: I saw us as totally intertwined and as if we owned each other.
NOW: I have learned about interdependence and that I do not own him. He has to give his love freely to me and cannot do so if I am trying to force it out of him. He is defeated before he even begins.

THEN: I thought this was something I would do and then be done with- mark off my to-do list and move on.
NOW: I realize this is a journey. It is a lifetime thing. It is something I will always be learning. It is something that I will mess up on at times but will continue to improve on overall, with time.

THEN: He did not care about my feelings and was not interested in hearing about them.
NOW: He does care about my feelings, especially when I can express them in a clear, feminine, softly spoken manner.

THEN: I thought being a respectful wife was about following all these hundreds of rules that I could never remember all of them and felt very panicked at trying! I had true anxiety attacks for days after trying to implement all of them.
NOW: For me, this was all about releasing my husband and letting go of any attempt to control him. All other respectful behavior will grow naturally from that action. There are no rules to memorize. There are things you will realize and learn and click in place.

Overall, my husband is more of a leader because I vacated that spot. He is a bit more assertive now. He is comfortable correcting me through a gentle rebuke when I am disrespectful whereas before he had just given up and wouldn’t try to tell me because it did no good. I am more comfortable listening to him and truly hearing him and his feelings. If there is an argument, order is restored much more easily between us. He is more affectionate, more observant and overall more loving toward me. He has even done some very surprising, bold things to show that in the last year which I treasure.

There are still some changes I would like to see come to pass in our marriage. But even if they never, ever do, our marriage is much, MUCH better for my surrendering to him. It is healthier. I am healthier within our marriage.

This is a God thing. I could not have done this without God’s help. And every change I have made is backed up by God’s instructions on how to be a godly wife. God KNOWS how men work and how wives can best live with their man in a happy, healthy way. I cannot tell you the moments of amazement that I have experienced in the last year when I discovered how spot on April was about men or how spot on Shaunti Feldhahn was in her books “For Women Only” and “The Surprising Secrets Of Highly Happy Marriages”. My husband would verify almost 100% of the time that these were correct about how men think and feel- or at least how he thinks and feels.

But in addition to it being a God thing, it was a decision I had to make for myself, because being a controlling, aggressive wife that acted very masculine was not healthy for me or my marriage. That did not fit. It felt comfortable because it was all I knew but it wasn’t the way a wife should be. Making the decision to let go of my husband and give up my attempts to control him- which did not work anyways- and to find my own joy and contentment was a very healthy decision. I love this way of living.

Yes, I have had some times of hurt and frustration since I began my journey. But the times of true peace within myself and the peace that I have at not trying to control everything is so much greater. There are also many wonderful, sweet and joyful moments such as when my husband does decide to show his love for me in his own unique way.

I hope this offers you a word of encouragement to stay the course.

Am I Trapped by Material Things?

photo credit - www.luxuryhomes.com
photo credit – www.luxuryhomes.com

Materialism is something we have ALL been marinating in all of our lives. We may not even notice it, that is how “normal” it is in our culture – that drive and push to have more, to have the best, to indulge in a luxurious lifestyle and to find contentment in wealth, stuff and luxury. I know that I, for one, had no idea how much materialism affected my walk with Christ, my priorities, my loyalty, my marriage and my family. I don’t have all the answers. I am not perfect. I am still learning and am excited about all that God has to show me. I am really glad we can walk this road together, love one another and support and encourage each other as we learn to become the godly women and wives Jesus calls us to be.

A BUSY OR OVER FILLED SCHEDULE SQUEEZES OUT THE TIME WE HAVE FOR RELATIONSHIPS

One of the reasons we as wives don’t have as much time to lavish on God, our husbands and our children can be that we feel a lot of pressure to work to provide financially for our families. It can seem practically impossible to live on one income these days. And there may be cases where both spouses must work. There may not be an option. I certainly understand that. This is an issue that is between each husband, wife and God. In my own situation, Greg has asked me to continue working part time as a pharmacist. I trust God to lead me through my husband on this.

I would like to give us some things to think about. Sometimes, we feel so financially strapped because of our own choices. Sometimes it is because of our husbands’ choices. In that case, we can choose to be as frugal as we possibly can, and we can pray for God’s wisdom for our husbands. Sometimes, there are situations beyond our control – emergencies, disasters, job loss, health problems, injuries, etc… That can be completely unavoidable.

 

DO WE HAVE PRIORITIES WE CAN LET GO OF THAT ARE NOT HEALTHY? ARE THERE THINGS WE DON’T NEED THAT WE CAN CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE SO THAT WE CAN HAVE MORE TIME FOR RELATIONSHIPS WITH GOD, OUR HUSBANDS, OUR CHILDREN AND OTHERS?

Today, I want to focus on our financial priorities and how we might bring joy and less burden to our husbands financially. There may be priorities we have that we could drop in order to give our families more of our time and in order to decrease the financial pressure on our husbands and ourselves. Here are some areas to prayerfully consider. Please keep in mind, no one answers to me for any of these things. I am not saying that any of these things below are “wrong” or “sinful.” It is just wise sometimes, in my view, to hold every single thing before God and to allow Him to show us anything that He might want to change.

Maybe we could consider cutting back on things like:

  • $3000-10,000+ per year on vacations
  • thousands of dollars per year on restaurants/take out
  • thousands of dollars per year on hair color, haircuts/styling, nails, jewelry and make-up (for us and/or our daughters)
  • having the nicest, newest most luxurious car (maybe we could be content with an older car without having a payment?)
  • tanning beds
  • gym membership (maybe we can walk/run outside or at a county or church fitness center?)
  • the top of the line products if we need to renovate  (maybe something much less expensive would be just fine and we could be content with it – i.e.: laminate counters instead of granite/marble, for instance or a vinyl floor instead of stone)
  • thousands of dollars per year on professional portraits of our children
  • $1000-2000 dollars per year eating out for lunch
  • name brand clothing for ourselves and our children (maybe Wal-Mart, Target, Kohls, consignment stores, yard sales, flea markets, Good Will or hand-me-downs could work)
  • the number of pieces of clothing we and our children have
  • having to be in the absolute wealthiest school district or neighborhood in the city
  • debt – let’s not spend money if we don’t have money! Debt is such a trap! God commands His people over and over not to be in financial debt to others and not to charge interest to the poor. Debt can quickly become our master if we are not careful. Dave Ramsey has some amazing resources for learning to be godly stewards of our finances and to get out of debt.
  • thousands of dollars on Christmas and birthday gifts/parties for ourselves and our children each year
  • hundreds or thousands of dollars per year on home decorations
  • $4000/child per year on daycare (if we are not spending on all of these other luxury items, we may not even need to put our children in daycare because we may be able to live on one income in some circumstances)
  • $1000-4000 per year per child on baseball/karate/dancing/cheerleading/music lessons/etc…

Here are some very sobering thoughts from God’s Word – God’s parameters for us to be content each day are:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. I Timothy 6:6-11

Being content with what we have is a great way to show respect for our husbands as providers and it is a great way to show respect and thankfulness to God!

PARING DOWN OUR MATERIAL APPETITES

Think about if we cut back on just some of these things in the list above. Not all of them are bad. Some of these things are wonderful. It’s fine to enjoy these kinds of things at times. But, they are not essentials. These things are not a roof over our heads, our electric bill, food or medicine. These are extras. There are some women who make $20-35,000 per year whose entire incomes go to these things above. We have all been marinating in “the American Dream” all of our lives. It is SO EASY to make that into an idol that we cherish more than Christ.

  • Why do we want the things we want? Are we looking for fulfillment in things of this world that truly can never satisfy our souls?
  • What are our motives?
  • What are our ultimate goals in this very short life?
  • Could we be content with less? Or, can we be content with what we have?
  • What does God call us to do with our time and our stuff as disciples of Christ?

If we were willing to cut out some of these luxuries, maybe we wouldn’t even have to work full time or maybe we could even stay home if our husbands are on board with that. Maybe we would have the time we really need to more fully invest in our walk with Christ, in our husbands’ lives, in our marriages, in our children’s lives and in our homes? Or, maybe there are ways we could arrange our work schedule that would allow us to have more time with God, our husbands and our children. Maybe there are activities that need to go that really eat up a lot of time but don’t have much eternal value.

The thing is – relationships take TIME. A relationship with God takes real time. A close relationship with my husband takes time. A close relationship with my children takes time. Time is limited. I only have so many hours in a day. What will my priorities be and how can I best use the time God has given me?

I don’t have the exact answers for every wife. Your decisions are not really my business at all.  No one answers to me. This is totally between each of us, our husbands, our children and the Lord. God has different callings and priorities for each of us and they change at different times in our lives. We will each have to take inventories about these issues every so often and reevaluate and pray over how we are spending our time, resources, abilities and money and seek to change anything God would want us to change.

God has dealt with me about many of these issues – particularly when my hours were drastically cut as a pharmacist from 24 hours/week to 8 hours per week about 3 years ago, and then last year when my 12 hours/week became 3 hours/week. I understand the importance of spending frugally and trying to use our income and time as wisely as possible. Greg and I have always sought not to have debt, but to pay off our credit cards each month and to not spend what we don’t have. Our only debt at this time is our mortgage.

  • What does your husband desire you to do about working and about saving or spending? Are you open to allowing him to guide you in these areas and allowing God to lead you through your husband – even if you don’t agree with him right now?

(If your husband is actively addicted to alcohol/drugs/gambling, is involved in unrepentant infidelity or is mentally unstable, please seek godly, experienced, biblical counsel in person at your church or with a Christian counselor/pastor you can trust.)

I would like us to consider a few more questions:

  • Are there things God is calling me to give up so that I can pursue Him more diligently and/or so that I can devote myself more wholeheartedly to Titus 2:3-5 kinds of things? (This may even include social media, hobbies, tv, a volunteer position, even a ministry)
  • Am I pressuring my husband to earn a lot more money, to work more and to give me lots of nice things? Is that why he is working overtime so much and not home as much? To try to make me happy by providing more money for me to have the stuff I tell him I want all the time?
  • Could my love of material things and luxuries be causing us to miss the things that are most important in life?
  • Do I need to stop looking at HGTV, social media, magazines, commercials and DIY shows that promote materialism? Do these things promote a spirit of discontentment in me that does not honor God? (Many women may be able to read these things and not have a an issue. But, if you see them and notice that you are depressed and feeling discontent about your own life after watching them, then, that may be a problem.)
  • Am I willing to be content with what I have now, or with even less? What might God want to change in my life?
  • Am I allowing myself to deeply desire things that I really don’t need to the point that I am jealous or covetous?
  • Am I focused on comparing my life to the lives of others and I feel like the things I have aren’t “good enough?”
  • Do I allow myself to become bitter over the things I do not have?
  • Do I focus on “using things and loving people, or loving things and using people?”
  • Have I made an idol of a beautiful home, luxuries, nice stuff, expensive vacations, fancy clothes, beauty, stuff for our children or material things? (Do I believe I MUST have these things to be happy?)
  • How does God desire me to honor Him and be a godly steward of all of my time, resources and abilities in the area of spending, finances and stewardship?
  • Is it possible God may want me to scale back my consumption level and my spending? Might He want me to be willing to downsize our lives materially and in our spending?
  • Is there anything material or any activity that God may want me to sell or be willing to give up?
  • Is there something my husband wants us to give more money to (church, a charity, a struggling family member or neighbor) that may be something God may have laid on his heart to do for someone in need? Am I willing to prayerfully consider getting on board and be willing to be generous to those in need as God leads me through my husband?
  • If I want to give more to those in need, but my husband isn’t ready to do that, am I willing to wait on God to work in my husband’s heart and not pressure my husband into something that he is not ready to do, following my husband’s lead?
  • Am I willing to allow God total access to our finances and our possession in the present and in the future? If not, what am I holding back and why? What will it take for me to trust God with this thing?

Keep in mind, it is also possible to make minimalism an idol – where we try to have as few possessions as possible and pride ourselves in that. If your husband doesn’t want to pare down your lifestyle, but you do, be sure to honor him and follow his leadership. Don’t give away his things without his consent. And if he doesn’t want to give up the TV or eating out or vacations (or something else you believe would be best to give up) – that is ok!  You can share what you would like to do, respectfully, but then enjoy those things with him and trust God to work in your husband’s heart and to lead you through your man.

SHARE:

You are welcome to share your answers to any of these questions. Of course, the most important thing is that you spend some time with God and ask yourself these hard questions, allowing God to probe deeply into your soul so that He can do whatever He knows is best in your situation at this point in time.

For a word of caution about not going into legalism with the idea of paring down materially, please check out the comments!

RESOURCES:

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn

Radical by David Platt

overcoming idolatry

Am I Materialistic? A Peacefulwife VIDEO

“Refined” Shares Several Lightbulb Moments

from www.outsetministry.org
from www.outsetministry.org

In response to “Experiencing God’s Victory over Our Fear” A wife was concerned that if she “dies to self” she would have to resign herself to the idea of “never being happy again.” That is something that many of us wrestle with before we submit fully to Christ. In fact, I can’t even count how many times I have heard that exact line of thought.  Of course, it is a lie from the enemy!

Please check out how our sister, “Refined,” responded. I know you will be greatly blessed! 

I agree with April and the happy (because I got what I wanted) vs. joy (because I died to self and am now living for what God wants).

For me it’s been akin to an alcoholic learning to live sober. Of course living sober has so many more options in life and I have greater ability to choose my steps, my own destiny than be enslaved to this illusive concept of “happy.” But if a person has gotten used to living in the dark, how can she fathom what the sunlight is like? You don’t begin to understand the weight of your choice to die to self v. trying to get happy until after you’ve chosen that path on faith.

Nothing in you will feel good about it. You will have withdrawals!

Just last night I learned a bit more about the 3 types of men God created and I felt knocked on my tail. I couldn’t figure out if my husband was really a visionary or a commander. Either way, what knocked me down was how I could totally miss FOR TEN YEARS that God had a purpose for this man so much greater than making me the center of his universe.

My desire to feel loved and be happy created such a small life for us and I feel, at best, it was a great distraction from the larger plans God had for our family.

I literally felt totally disgusted. In the story about Moses winning a war because Joshua was fighting out front while Aaron and Hur held up his arms (Ex 17:8 – 13), can you imagine the outcome if either Joshua, Aaron or Hur argued with Moses rather than submitting to his instructions? Can you imagine Hur saying, “But Moses, I don’t feel important just holding up your left arm, how about I do something else more in line with my status?” or if Aaron said, “This isn’t fair! I can’t even see the battle from here, I feel so left out. You don’t really care about me!” What if Joshua said “I’m obviously so much more spiritual than Moses…he has me out here fighting when he’s sitting up there on that rock.”

My marriage is an amazing opportunity to take part in glorifying God. It is an awesome privilege that He would include me in any part of “His kingdom come” and here I was totally oblivious to such mercy! How many battles have we lost – not because of my husband’s humanness – but because of my inability to fall in line with God’s design?

The fear I had to fight this morning was that voice that said, “See, you’ve messed up so much! Why would God want to use you now? Why would your husband want to love you now?” And I remembered what a priest told me not so long ago – that sometimes God writes straight with crooked lines. What the devil would use to condemn me, my God can use to make me that much more qualified to be used by Him. These episodes of fear, rather than being yet another stumbling block, can be stepping stones to heights I couldn’t fathom from down below. I am now more ready to take my place in God’s plans than when I first said, “I do” because now I understand better what my place is and the immeasurable greatness of His glory. With humility, I accept that honor. “Happiness” doesn’t hold a card to that kind of joy.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Those amazing videos Refined is talking about are from my new friend, Carla Shellis, at http://www.mysparkleliving.com. I LOVED them, too. So powerful.

Here is the one about the 3 kinds of men for any of the ladies who missed it.

And here is the one about submission being a way for us to help our husbands “hold the shield” in front of our families (Submission is a Shield Part 2) in a powerful way. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this illustration. It is so worth your time, ladies!

 

I love what God is doing in you!!! WOOHOO!

I can’t wait to see all that He has in store for each of us.

RELATED:

My Demon

“Amy” Shares Some Encouragement and Her Story

photo-2

This precious wife, “Amy,” (not her real name) was generous enough to allow me to share what God is doing in her life with y’all!  PRAISE GOD!

I figured it was time for an update..
I have learned a LOT in the past few months..
But everything comes back to this..
This picture above is the MOST important thing to remember.

 

My husband and I still have our issues. But we are working on them. We still go to counseling. Godly counsel is so important. We have our person that we meet with, and we have someone we consider as a pastor to help guide us spiritually.

We are closer now than we have ever been. We’ve discovered a Love we forgot we had.
We pray every morning and every night, he makes me breakfast, we make sure to have some sort of physical contact, a kiss, a hug, holding hands every day.

It all starts with a changing of the heart. Changing your circumstance by changing your thought process.

You, (me) a human can NOT change someone else. You can manipulate, push, encourage, and insist the other person change. And most of the time these end up doing more harm. But you can’t change anyone.

Only God can change a heart. You can pray that God will work on them.  But like the flight attendants instruct on a plane in the safety talk. In the event of an emergency, help yourself before you attempt to help others.
Get your heart right with God, before trying to “fix” your husbands heart.

Believe me, I know it’s very hard. I still struggle.  I work in this daily.

How do you start to work on your heart?

  • Sometimes reading the bible is just to difficult to do..
  • Start by changing the music you listen to.. I challenged myself to the klove 30 day challenge! It has changed my everyday life..
  • Maybe start your day, as you are brushing your teeth, think of 3 things you are thankful to God for..

And mean them!
Yes you are thankful for your kids.. Home… Blah blah blah.. That’s good for a few days. But think of 3 different things everyday and tell God you are grateful!

What really hit me:

I thought about how my husband was treating me. How he ignored me, spent money frivolously, didn’t talk to me or even seem interested and had no regard my feelings.
What if, all the time, money, efforts and all my focus that I was giving to my husband – in trying to fix him and us – I was doing the SAME thing to God… to whom we are betrothed.

I was such a hypocrite.

Bro Denny Livingston has a series he is still preaching on Matters of the Heart. I’ve been listening, it is awesome!

  • Work on your heart, and do it because you Love God more than anything. Because He is worthy,  not because you want your husband to be fixed.  That is trying to manipulate God. He is not fooled.
  • Love The Lord your God with all your heart. God is the number one priority..

It all goes back to that diagram..
Change your heart, your attitude, and Love God..

I hope all is well with you!

Keep inspiring!! 🙂

RELATED:

A Peacefulwife Youtube Video “Respecting Our Husbands and Reverencing Christ” (13 minutes)

Finding All of Our Contentment in Christ

If you do NOT have a relationship with Jesus Christ or you are not sure if you do and you would like to receive Him as your Savior and Lord, please leave me a comment and we will talk about how you can have the peace, joy and hope that Jesus gives to those who trust Him and how you can know Jesus and receive His incredible gift of love, mercy, grace and forgiveness and how you can be made right with God here and after this life, as well. You cannot make yourself right with God on your own. The only way to God is through Jesus and what He did on our behalf. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6. He died to pay the debt we owed God, the LARGE, LARGE debt our sins have created. His blood is sufficient to pay our debt to God in full so that we can be in right standing before God and enter into relationship with Him based on the merits of Christ Jesus, not our own merits. We don’t have to pay the price of our own sin in hell. There is a way for us to have unity and communion and sweet fellowship with God through Jesus!  How to Have a Relationship with Christ

“Why Does God Not Answer Our Prayers?” – by Nikka

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This guest post is by my dear sister in Christ, Nikka, from the Philippines. You can read her post in its entirety at www.peacefulwifephilippines.blogspot.com

 

I think the problem lies not in the asking per se, but in what we are asking for, and in our attitudes and hearts, while asking for them.
The problem is we treat God as a Divine Slot Machine that dispenses coins in the form of “answered prayers”. We ask Him for something and we expect an answer pronto! When He does not give us what we want, when we want it, and how we want it, we conclude “praying” is a waste of our time. The “Machine” does not “work”! He just wouldn’t listen!

I used to throw a spiritual fit, back in the day when I did not really know Who God was and who I was in relation to Him.

Here is an excerpt from my diary dated March, 2003:

“I am not happy. I think I am actually depressed in the truest sense of the word. Will I ever snap out of it or will I forcefully do the snapping out? These months have held nothing but trials. I even feel alienated from going to mass nowadays. Stopped the daily masses or even the novenas. I still pray, yes, but it seems to me that God’s Will will prevail come what may and no amount of praying can change that. I also stopped going to mass because maybe, just maybe,
I am “bribing” God to do things I want Him to do by being overtly religious. I am trying not to overdo it but still have faith in Him. I know I can’t count on anyone but God and His Mercy nowadays.When one’s life is this messed up, only God Who created life can fix it…

I am so scared of rejection that I cannot pray to God for my particular intention lest He not listen to me and I just crumble even more. In my heart, God knows what I want and I don’t want to force Him to give it to me, so I don’t pray altogether. I’m scared that God will reject me.”

See how totally off and devoid of wisdom my idea of God was at that time?

  • I “prayed” a lot because I wanted to “bribe” God into giving me what I wanted.

and then….

  • I stopped “praying” because I knew God would not give me what I wanted anyway!

In even simpler terms, I “prayed” because I wanted God to conform to MY will, and when He didn’t do what I wanted Him to do, I threw a spiritual fit by not “praying.” Yikes! 🙁

That was not praying! That was bossing around the Big Boss. That was pure and plain as day, bullying! How dare the clay act so disrespectfully towards its Potter!!!

 

In my defense, I really didn’t know how to conduct myself towards God. I honestly thought, that was what one meant by “praying unceasingly.” I thought it was enough to just tell God what I wanted again and again and again, and He would get my drift. You know what I mean? Isn’t that what “praying without ceasing” meant? To be sooooooo persistent that even God would have no recourse but to give in to me?!

Matthew 7:8-11

8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

* * *

When I was at my most controlling phase in our marriage, my “prayers” consisted of asking God to:

– change Dong’s ‘erroneous’ work attitudes
– change Dong to make him more motivated
– change Dong’s lack of direction and to show him his life path
– change Dong’s idea of providing and give him a good job
– change Dong’s bad habits
– let Dong realize how lucky he was that he was married to me!
– etc. etc.
I was greatly disappointed in God at that time because He was not “answering” my unceasing “prayers”!!!! Dong was not “changing”!!!

Little did I know (I was so prideful and spiritually blind then) that I was not really “praying” but just blabbing and yakking and pestering God all those times! All my “prayers” were just long sermons and complaints to God about Dong. Just because I could point out ALL his sins did not make ME a saint! God must have put on earphones when I would start “praying”. I could really be quite talkative. I could “pray” for hours!!!

****  (Nikka describes 5 reasons God did not answer her prayers earlier in the marriage in her full post) ****

In September 1, 2013, I decided that I would submit fully to God,
and then submit to my husband, Dong.

I repented to God and I asked for forgiveness too from Dong for my years of disrespect and prideful behavior.
We decided to take baby steps in fixing our marriage, including our God-ordained roles in the family. We are still taking it a day at a time now, but things are becoming easier as the days pass by. Our “new normal” is getting to feel normal.

Around the time I submitted to Dong, the Lord had provided for us materially, enough for me to not have to work. I was also at a period in my life when I felt that I was “done” with my broadcasting career and wanted to just focus on our home. I figured, the Lord had been so gracious and generous with me for more than a decade, and I have done everything I wanted to do as far as my career was concerned. It was time to stop pursuing my worldly ambitions, and time to start supporting my husband’s simple dreams. (Not to say that I will turn down all opportunities if and when they do arise. I will still consider them prayerfully, but with my godly priorities in mind.)
One of us had to stop. It had to be me.

The Lord could not move in our lives while I was busy chasing after my selfish pursuits.
I was too dominant and my husband was too passive.

In love, for it to be real, there must be sacrifice. The Lord had to suffer in order to save us.
He had to die in order to give us Life.

Contrary to what the world says,
one “cannot have it all.”

And after years of living for myself and for my dreams, the Lord instilled in my heart a desire so strong, I just had to follow it.
For the first time in my life…
I wanted to keep still.
Today, I can joyfully say, that the Lord has been blessing us in all aspects and areas of our lives! There is great joy and peace and love now, that was absent or lacking before, when I was still too busy pursuing my career, my desires to be esteemed and to make a name for myself, all the while, searching for hallow meaning.

  • When I gave up my life to God, I was given a new one.
  • When I died to myself, I found my most authentic self.
  • When I got to know Him through His Word, I realized who I was in relation to Him: That I was NOTHING and yet He loves me.

I did not need to add onto myself any title or accolade.
I mattered simply because I was His child.
Jesus is ALL that mattered.
With Christ, I have EVERYTHING.

Jesus Christ died for ME.
And He died for you too.

Are you ready to hand over the reins and let Him rule in your life?

I did.

  • I am now free from all my bondages! 🙂
  • I am now enjoying a godly marriage with my loving husband! 🙂
  • I am finding purpose in my roles as wife and mother, sister, friend, daughter and neighbor…! 🙂
  • I have Christ’s peace, joy, love, strength, and hope… daily! 🙂

I still have problems. Dong and I still have problems. Who doesn’t? But they are “exciting” to have because we know that God will manifest Himself in them. He will glorify Himself through them.
Because you see, we serve a BIG GOD.
No matter how big the problem is, our GOD is BIGGER.
God never guaranteed a problem-free life, but with Him in control, every “yoke is easy and every burden, light.” (Matthew 11:30)

I cannot thank God enough for calling me by name, for opening up my spiritual eyes, for freeing me from all my bondages, and for giving me a new life.

 

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