Why You May Want to Keep This a Secret for Awhile…

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Husbands have a God-given need for respect.

If I can’t trust the perfect and only God who completely loves me and died for me, if I can’t submit fully to Him as Lord and reverence Him, if I don’t know my infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t know my husband’s infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t understand what the concepts of respect or submission are, or what character qualities are even worthy of respect – I am in big trouble. There is no way I can genuinely honor, respect, and biblically submit to my imperfect human husband – even if he is the most amazing man on earth.

This isn’t because there is nothing to respect in my husband, but because there is so much spiritual work to do in my own life. Whether I am too controlling and disrespectful, or too passive and “overly respectful and too submissive” toward my husband… we all need God’s healing in our own souls as the first step of this journey.

  • I had a lot of work to do with God before I could begin to be capable of truly respecting and honoring my husband.

I talk a lot here about that our motives for respecting our husbands and honoring their God-given leadership must be our desires to:

  1. please God
  2. bless our husbands

BUT – If you say to your husband, “I will respect you, Honey, because God commands me to,” that would feel very hurtful to him.

As wives, we would be horrified if our husbands said, “I love you because God says I have to,” right? We want our men to think, “I GET to be married to her and to love her!” Not, “I have to be married to her and I have to love her.” Our men want to know that we genuinely respect real things about them and that we honor their leadership because we trust them – not just because we love, reverence, and submit to Christ. Of course, most of us can’t really start here  – this is the goal, but there are many steps we must take to get to the place where we can really become godly wives who know how to do all of these things and have the power to be able to do them.

I need to be able to be a whole and healed woman (or at least, beginning to heal) – before I can respect or honor my husband properly. My primary purpose is to know and love God and to bring glory to Him. One secondary purpose is that I have the ability to be a godly wife because of Christ living in me. But even then, I can’t meet the deepest needs of my husband’s heart. Our deepest needs as people are met by Christ alone. I can’t be God to my husband. What I can do is come to the marriage from a position of great strength in Christ, knowing my identity, filled with God’s Spirit – then I can bless my husband and begin to breathe God’s healing and life into the marriage because then I have the power to do the things God calls me to do. I hope this makes sense.

As one husband shared, “Husbands don’t like ‘duty sex’ or ‘duty respect and submission’ from their wives.” Can we blame them? Wouldn’t we feel the same way if our husbands said something similar regarding their love for us?

Sometimes – with our husbands – less verbal/written information from us can be better about this journey… especially at first. Honestly, most husbands would probably be appalled to know how difficult it is for us wives to learn to respect them and honor their leadership. This isn’t because of any faults in them, generally, but because of the battles and struggles we face ourselves. Unfortunately, a wounded husband may not be able to see this – and would likely take it very personally that his wife doesn’t or can’t respect him.

WHEN WE ARE FIRST LEARNING, OUR WORDS MAY MAKE THINGS WORSE

Sometimes, there are ways we could share with our husbands that would be very hurtful before we begin to speak the masculine language of respect fluently. If you say things like:

  • This blogger lady says I shouldn’t tell you how dumb I think your ideas are.
  • God doesn’t want me to take over for you, even though I really don’t think you can handle this situation. Wow! It is so hard not to just jump in and do all of this myself!
  • I’m trying to figure out what things I can respect about you, but I can barely think of anything.
  • I am going to try to start respecting you now. Man, this is going to be TOUGH!
  • I’m going to try to stop being mean to you so that you will do more things for me.
  • I’ve decided I am going to try to respect you more even though you don’t deserve my respect.
  • I don’t actually trust you, but I am trying to trust God to lead me through you. So, I am going to cooperate with you even though I really think your ideas are terrible.

… try to guess how disrespected and insulted a husband might feel and the massive chasm these kinds of words could create in a marriage.

If these things don’t make you cringe – try imagining a husband saying these same things about loving his wife. That might help put it in perspective a bit more.

DON’T TALK ABOUT IT – JUST DO IT!

Most husbands don’t want to hear about what we “are going to do” or why we are going to do it or why we don’t want to do what God commands us to do. They just want to see our transformed attitude and life as God works in us. They don’t need a verbal play-by-play of what God is teaching us.

There may be exceptions – super spiritually strong husbands who understand the complexity of this journey and who don’t get offended when wives are struggling at first to understand who may be able to help their wives process these things. Or, God may prompt a wife to share something about what she is doing if a husband is continuing on in unrepentant sin. God may give you a very respectful way to share this. That’s fine. Please listen to God’s voice much more than my suggestions!

If you have a husband who is deeply wounded from years of disrespect and control from his wife and who may even be drowning in shame himself – adding more insults does not move things forward, it just sets you back many more weeks or months in healing his soul and the marriage.

(By the way – husbands have a very similar journey to make with God to learn how to truly love their wives that causes them to have to go through just as much contortion and changes as we do on our journey. All believers go through this painful, but necessary, process of sanctification where God refines and prunes us to make us more like Christ.)

One day in the future, when the marriage is much more healthy – you will probably be able to share more about your journey with your husband. And by then, you will be better equipped to share about it in ways that don’t insult him but actually honor and delight him. Then you can celebrate – together – all the miracles that God has done in your lives and in your marriage!

Much love to each of you!

NOTE:

  • We reverence Christ first as Lord and King.
  • We respect ourselves as daughters of the King and find our identity and worth in Christ alone.
  • We respect our marriage covenant.
  • We respect our husbands because they are our husbands and we seek to find the good in them.

Sometimes, it seems that women think that if they respect their husbands, they must disrespect one or more of these other things. No, not at all! And please remember that we are to hate sin, as God does… we don’t have to respect our husband’s sin. We can respect our husbands, God, ourselves, and our marriage while we stand against things that the Bible calls sin.

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?

My Husband Can’t Make Me Submit to Him or Respect Him!

The Respect Knob

To Speak or Not to Speak?

GENERAL DISCLAIMER FOR MY BLOG

If you are a wife who has severe emotional/spiritual scars, your husband is extremely controlling, you are experiencing severe issues in your marriage, or you think that “respect” means, “I have to do whatever my husband says and never say what I need, be quiet all the time, give up my personhood, smile in a fake way, and suffer,” – please don’t read my blog but seek appropriate one-on-one godly counsel. There are some wives who misunderstand what respect and biblical submission means – and my words – in very destructive ways because of the filters and severe wounds they have. Things that a healthy wife would be fine hearing and understand in a good way may crush the spirit of a wife who hears it incorrectly. That breaks my heart!

If you think that I am saying you “just need to take abuse” and you “shouldn’t get to ever share your concerns, needs, and feelings” with your husband, or “you aren’t as valuable or as important as your husband,” or “you aren’t a real person” – you are misunderstanding me greatly. These are not the messages I am trying to convey to anyone! If you think that is what I am saying, please stop reading my blog and seek resources that will better help you understand God’s Word and His design in your particular situation.

Ultimately, we must always each test anything that anyone else says (including myself) against Scripture. And we must each make our own decisions about what we believe God desires us to do. If you believe you are hearing destructive messages from me, leave a comment and let’s talk about it to be sure there is not a misunderstanding. 🙂

How God Has Led Me Through Greg – and BOOK NEWS!!!!!!!

April - a month after God opened my eyes January 2009
April – a month after God opened my eyes January 2009

 

This is a follow up to the post earlier this week “My Husband Doesn’t Have a Calling from God, How Can I Follow Him?”

When I dreamed about being a Christian missionary as a teenager, there was no internet. I could never have imagined that God would use me and my future life story to reach thousands and thousands of women (and men) around the world from about 200 different countries from my living room. I eventually prayerfully decided that God was leading me to become a pharmacist. But I always longed to be a missionary for Christ, too. It just seemed impossible for many years – the same years that I was cherishing a lot of sin in my heart, coincidentally, and not fully submitting myself to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.

I could never have imagined in December of 2008 – when God first opened my eyes to what an ungodly, controlling, disrespectful, prideful, selfish, self-righteous wife I had been – that He would use me to reach anyone at all. Ever. In fact, at first, I just wanted to go live in a cave and hide by myself for the rest of my life. I had no idea how to stop all of my sin, control, and disrespect or how to become a godly wife. I couldn’t even think or talk without sinning at first. It all seemed totally impossible! And it WAS totally impossible in my own strength.

There were excruciatingly slow steps. I spent 2.5+ years practically being a hermit – studying, reading, learning, growing, and praying alone with just God, myself, the Bible, over 30 books (about godly femininity, being a godly wife, respect, submission, and godly marriage), and my notebooks – every day for hours and hours – begging God to help me understand and to change ME.

GOD LED ME INTO MINISTRY THROUGH GREG

Greg surprised me in April of 2011 when he looked into my eyes and announced sincerely, “I think you need to share what God has taught you with other wives.”

What?!?!?

WOW! I didn’t see that coming! What an amazing encouragement! That is one of the moments I cherish most in all of my life. Makes me cry tears of joy every time I think about that night. God led me through Greg as I trusted Him to do so – even though I had no idea where we were going. Greg did not have an elaborate long-range plan – but God led us one step at a time. He is the One who has the long-range plan.

Of course, every couple’s story will be different and unique. Different husbands will have different personalities and leadership styles. Maybe some husbands will have things planned out way ahead of time. That’s great if that is what God shows them!

HOW GOD HAS USED GREG TO CONTINUE TO LEAD ME IN MY BLOG MINISTRY OVER THE PAST 3 YEARS

First, I began to write emails for the women in my Sunday School class at church about what I was learning. Eventually, I started sharing my ideas on my personal Facebook page. In January of 2012, God clearly showed us both that He wanted me to start a blog through the suggestions of two friends of mine – something I had never done before and had no clue about how to even begin, at first.

Greg was very involved behind the scenes – researching blogging, helping me with the technical aspects that confounded me, finding guest writers for me (in the beginning), giving me his perspective and advice when I got stuck, protecting me when someone on the blog got out of hand, listening to me talk about people I was meeting online, giving me advice as I fielded difficult comments, suggesting topics for posts, and listening to me hash through ideas. It was very much a team effort.

I could not have done this without Greg – or without God, even more importantly.

I was floored when Greg decided to start his own blog, www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com for husbands. God completely blew my mind that day again! (Greg named his blog based on something I had said when I started my journey, “I don’t really know what all this respect stuff means, Honey, but someday, when I figure this out, I want you to feel like the most respected husband on the planet!”)

I started out on Peaceful Wife with about 10-20 hits/day – mostly from friends on my Facebook page and from my Sunday School class. I soon decided to leave the numbers up to God. I knew enough to know that I didn’t have much control over that kind of thing.

“Lord, just bring whomever You want to bring here. Speak through me by the power of Your Spirit. Flow through me like Niagra Falls. Use me to point everyone who comes here to Christ, Your Word, Your healing, and Your truth! Use me for Your glory. Use me in Your kingdom’s work. I am totally available and at Your disposal. I’ll do whatever You want me to do. I am not seeking money. I am not seeking fame. I just want You and Your will.”

That first year, there were about 100,000 views. Greg and I were very surprised. The second year, there were over 1 million views, and this past year, there have been over 2 million views – for a total of over 3.3 million views.  Peaceful Single Girl has had over 1.3 million views now, total, as well. My Youtube channel, “April Cassidy”, has had over 335,000 views at this point. I have had the honor and privilege of watching God draw thousands of people to Himself and change many, many women’s (and men’s) spiritual lives and marriages here.

Um. This is so obviously completely a God thing, not an April thing. I have to give Him all the glory and praise! I am extremely blessed and greatly humbled that God allows me to be part of this in any way!

GOD LED ME THROUGH GREG TO BEGIN TO WRITE A BOOK

Around January of 2013, God lead me – through Greg’s suggestion – to begin to write my first book. Yikes! I had never written a book. It was a bit overwhelming at times and VERY different from writing blog posts! The first book I wrote, I later completely scrapped and had to start over completely from scratch. God continued to lay His message on my heart and refined it over a year and a half as I constantly sought His wisdom, message, leadership, direction, and His words.

Last year, Greg encouraged me to slow down. I was still trying to email all the wives who wanted to email with me like I had done when the blog was much smaller. I was spending many hours per day just on emails. We prayerfully decided that I had to stop the emailing ministry (even though I loved it dearly) and that I needed to cut back on the frequency of my blogging. Greg helps to keep me grounded – and sane. I’m so thankful for him!

OUR JOURNEY TO PUBLISH MY BOOK

We weren’t sure how we should publish the book. Greg and I researched every possible option. There was a LOT of waiting and praying. Things moved at a snail’s pace, in my view, if they moved at all. But that was ok. God had taught me to wait and to be content in the waiting over the past several years. I knew that God would direct us in His timing if this was His will. I knew my tendency to run ahead and I knew that if I did that with this – I would make a big mess. I sure didn’t want to attempt to publish a book if it was NOT God’s will! And I didn’t want to rush things and miss hearing God’s voice and direction and publish a book that was not Spirit-led.

I thought for sure we would self-publish about a year ago,  but Greg stopped me – thankfully – after carefully researching the company we were looking into. He just didn’t find any positive information from authors who had used them. That was a God thing, too. I was disappointed at first. But then I was so thankful that God (through Greg’s wise leadership) kept me from leaping into something that would have cost our family thousands of dollars (during a time when my pharmacy hours had been drastically cut)  that may have not ended well.

Last February, I googled “Christian literary agents” and found the Steve Laube site at the top of the list. I liked what I read on their blog and their site. They seemed to be well grounded in God’s Word and well-respected in the world of Christian writers and publishers. I read about each agent and read everything I could about their expectations and how to present a book proposal. I prayed about which agent I should contact, then decided to submit a book proposal to one of the agents out of the blue.

I had never been to a writer’s conference. I had never spoken with any agent before. What I was doing was rather unconventional and not the “normal path” most writers take to finding an agent.

God led me to an amazing agent there, Dan Balow. I sent my proposal and was surprised to hear back from him quickly. I knew that it could be many weeks before he might get back to me if I ever heard back from him at all. Dan suggested that my book needed to be professionally edited, but that he might consider representing me if it was properly edited. That was great news!! But – whew! Professional editing was going to cost $1,000-$2,000. That was a challenge. I thanked him and prayed about God’s will and for His provision for this need.

A few months earlier, God brought a new friend into our lives who is a professor at the University in our city and a member of our church. She became a reader of my Peaceful Single Girl blog when we first met. One Sunday, I told her about my book and what Dan had said and was shocked when she generously offered to edit my book for free. She has publishing experience as a professor and did an incredible job. I am beyond thankful for all of her diligence and hard work. What a blessing she has been to me! I cherish her friendship greatly.

When the editing job was done, I got back in touch with Dan Balow. God opened the door for me to sign a contract with him last July. Then, there was more waiting and praying (on my part) as Dan pitched my book to various Christian publishers. What a blessing to be able to just rest in God’s peace and sovereignty during this whole process and trust Him to open and shut the right doors. I’m really glad that God prepared me to do a lot of patient waiting years ago at the beginning of this journey. That ability has been invaluable during this process!

God opened the door for me to sign a contract with Kregel Publications  in November!

And guess what?

My first book should come out sometime between this November and next January!!!?!?! God-willing, of course!

I don’t know the end of this story yet. I don’t even know the next step. I don’t know what all God has in store for Greg, our marriage, our family, our health, our finances, our vocations, our ministries, the blogs, or the book. Greg doesn’t have a written plan. I’m ok with that. I trust the Lord with all of it – every detail. I want to hold everything loosely in my hands and allow God to orchestrate things for His purposes. I want to be content in Him alone no matter what else may happen. I will continue to pray for God’s will and nothing but His perfect will. God is already in the future. He already knows what is coming. He is already lining things up for our lives. He already knows His plans for each of us. He is perfectly capable of orchestrating every detail.

This same sovereign God already knows His plans for you and your husband, too.

God could change things at any time. That is entirely His prerogative. Every day is a grand adventure with Him as my Lord. He surprises me constantly. It is such an exciting, fulfilling way to live in the center of God’s will!!! God reveals His will to us a step at a time, usually. All we really need is His light for today. Just like God can lead me through Greg, He can lead you through your husband.

We can trust God to work in our husbands’ lives and in our lives to accomplish His will and His purposes. We can rest in His sovereignty and ability to communicate with our men and with us. Yes, He can even lead a believing wife through an unbelieving husband! I have seen that happen many times. We don’t have to try to take over or run ahead. Our husbands don’t have to have everything all mapped out for months or years ahead of time.  Human plans don’t always work out when we make them 1 hour in advance, much less months or years in advance. God’s plan is what is most important! We can wait on God and His timing. We can serve, love, and praise Him as we wait. And we can pray for His wisdom and direction in our lives and our husbands’ lives for His greatest glory! I can’t wait to see what God has planned for your life and to see how our stories all come together for His glory!

NOTE: If your husband is involved in serious, unrepentant sin, is not in his right frame of mind (due to uncontrolled mental illness, drugs, or alcohol), or is actually abusing you and you are not safe – please seek godly, experienced, biblical counsel and appropriate medical, police, or legal help if necessary. It may not be wise to submit to a husband in such situations. If this is your scenario right now, please don’t read my blog but seek appropriate help. (The Salvation Army, Celebrate Recovery, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, a trusted pastor, a trusted godly wife mentor, a trusted Christian counselor, etc…)

 

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April and Greg – January 2015

New Stories to Share

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I never get tired of hearing about and sharing what God is doing in people’s lives.  That is the greatest joy I get to experience doing this work for God.  I am so very blessed to have a front row seat to watch Him changing people and bringing glory to Himself in women’s hearts and in their marriages and families.  Sometimes I just want to burst I am so overflowing with joy every day.  A big thank you to these wives for allowing me to share!
***  Administrative note – I am going to have very little computer time for the next week.  I will handle comments and emails as I am able to. 🙂  Thanks for understanding!
WIFE 1 – DEALING WITH A CRITICAL HUSBAND
My dear Sister, Good Morning,
It has been two weeks now and I am doing very good.  All these years I’ve been trying to change my husband and I never submitted myself to God.  Now things have changed drastically and my husband verbally says that he is seeing so much change in me.  Although he brings up his cutting remarks here and there – that doesn’t affect me at all now.
When his words are hurting I ask God to show me where I should change here, maybe he is right.   If God also feels the same way – (I don’t try to justify) myself.  I just keep quiet.
This happened today morning, my husband was telling me about how I should handle better when our little ones fight for toys.  I was quiet even though I had different opinion and can feel the Holy Spirit talking inside me to be quiet and listen since my husband had been right before.   My husband said  he feels like talking to a wall since I am not acknowledging his words, then I realized that I’ve been talking inside me all this time and told him
“Ok, I understand. I’m thinking about your words”.
He was very happy when I said that.  He went to take a shower to get ready for work and came back and told me that while he was taking a shower God spoke to him that I am special and he should be considerate of me.  I was so moved and felt the love of God flooding me and thanked God for speaking for me.
Now I know that my husband can hear God’s voice only when we are silent.  Or only our voice will be ringing in his head.  How true!!
I thank you for making me understand this truth.  I can really enjoy the peace of God nowadays.
Your series of FAQ’s are very good and helpful.
Your ministry is a blessing to me.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
There are times when we need to share our feelings, times we need to share when we are hurt, and some times that responding with silence is best when our husbands are critical.  I’d love for us to listen without defending ourselves when our husbands offer criticism, to see if God might have something to tell us through them.  The most important thing is for us to be sensitive to God’s Spirit’s promptings about what to say and what not to say!
WIFE 2 – HOW A WIFE’S SUBMISSION BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN BOTH SPOUSES
April,
I cannot tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading this blog.
Even though I considered myself a woman of wisdom (age 57) who tried hard to apply Christian principles in my life, your articles have shown me I still have many improvements to make, and this has been truly humbling. I never really understood how subjection to my husband would ultimately bring out the best in us both, but I’ve already seen that it works.
We are undergoing more than the usual stress now because we moved and are renovating a building on a very limited budget. A few days ago we discussed whether or not to keep the older carpet in the bedroom; I didn’t want to keep and my husband did. We both presented valid reasons for our opinions. My husband listened to mine, and I listened to his, and afterwards, I said I would trust him to make the decision that was in our best interests, with all the information we had discussed.
He looked at me in surprise and said, “Yes, but I don’t just want you to give in to me but then be miserable every time you look at it, and then it would be all my fault.”
I told him I would truly accept his decision, and that meant I would focus on all the positives of keeping the carpet instead of the negative ones.

This was a turning point, April.

I learned–TRULY–that submission to my husband doesn’t mean I have no voice or influence; it just means that I TRUST my husband to do what’s best for us both, and can CHOOSE to see either the positive or negative side of whatever decision he makes.
When I saw the look on his face at this point, I wanted to cry, because it was suddenly tender. He said he thought we should ask the carpet cleaner–who he had arranged to come and give us an estimate for the cleaning–his opinion, and I agreed. The next morning, he thanked me for entrusting him with the decision, but said that his decision was to ask me if I would talk with the carpet cleaner and make the decision based on his professional advice.
  • If I had kept arguing to do what I firmly believed was best, both of us would have been unhappy.
  • But trusting my husband resulted in both of us feeling respected.

As it is, the carpet is going because that’s what the cleaner recommended. But even if it weren’t, I would be at peace.

Thank you again, April, for bringing such wonderful, godly counsel and reminders into our daily lives.
May God richly bless you!
Elizabeth

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

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  • This seems like more than I can handle (part 1)
  • When do I get to the “peaceful” part? (part 1)
  • I don’t want to lose my voice in my marriage. (part 2)
  • I feel like I am losing myself. (part 2)
  • I feel so lonely. (part 3)
  • I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not saying anything at all. (part 3)
  • My husband isn’t changing at all.   (part 4)
  • Respect doesn’t work on my husband. (part 4)
  • But I’m right!
  • I’m so scared to give up control! I need to be in charge! Everything will fall apart if I don’t take charge!
  • He doesn’t deserve my respect! (Part 6)
  • My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage. (Part 4)
  • Why can’t HE change first?  Why do I have to change when he’s the one who is so far from God and so unloving? (Part 7)

9. But I’m Right!

Hold on here, ladies!  This is probably going to be a painful one.  I pray that God’s Spirit will speak directly to you today – as I pray for every post.  My wisdom is worthless.  The only message that matters is God’s truth and His Word.  May we each be prayerfully attentive to anything His Spirit wants us to hear.

I’m going to deconstruct what God showed me a few years ago was really going on in my mind, heart and soul…  and – it was NOT pretty.

Here is what was behind my attitude for those first 14.5 years in our marriage that “I’m right.”

  • I truly believed that I was always right and Greg was always wrong.  Always.
  • I also believed that I understood God’s will and Greg didn’t.
  • I believed I was more spiritual and more spiritually mature than Greg.
  • I prayed daily and read my Bible daily.  Sometimes I prayed for 4 hours/day on my days off.  See how spiritual I was?
  • I told God what He needed to do.  I dictated things to Him.  I could just see it all so clearly.  So – I was happy to tell Him what He needed to do in each and every situation.  Because – I clearly knew best and had such incredible wisdom.
  • I believed that I was a strong Christian and Greg was not.
  • I believed I was “better than” Greg.
  • I believed I made better decisions than Greg did.
  • I believed I was smarter than Greg.  I had the grades and scholarships to “prove it”.  And I could quote so much more of the Bible than he could.
  • I believed I “had” to take over leadership in the marriage because Greg “wouldn’t” lead.  I mean – I asked him to make decisions.  And then I waited all of 5-20 minutes.  When he couldn’t come up with an answer after I pressured him that whole time  – I clearly had to take over.  He should think just like me and make decisions as quickly as I do – or he’s obviously “wrong.”
  • I trusted my wisdom much more than I trusted Greg’s wisdom.  His ideas didn’t make sense to me.
  • My perspective was the only one on the planet that I deemed to be “correct” and “valid.” If someone didn’t think just like I did – they were automatically “wrong.”
  • I set myself up above God, too.  Not consciously – but I believed I was “above” having to forgive people.  I deserved to hold on to grudges and resentment because other people were wrong and I was right.  There were a number of passages in scripture that I just blatantly ignored and did things my way instead – not even acknowledging that I was rebelling against Scripture.

I was blind to my mountain of sin.  I didn’t just have a 2X4 in my eye.  I had a massive forest. 🙁  Turns out I – April Cassidy – am a WRETCHED sinner.  I never truly faced that before.

So – I don’t know if you are able to see it or not –  It’s just so obscure and difficult to notice (ha!) –  but – my PRIDE was through the roof.  I’m not sure how God measures pride.  Mine was off the charts.

Quite honestly, looking at it now – my pride must have been as big or bigger than Satan’s.  He set out to be “equal” to God.  I set myself above God in my heart.  I worshipped SELF.  I trusted ME.  I thought I was an awesome Christian.  But I didn’t actually trust God.  I didn’t understand His sovereignty.  I lived as if I was sovereign and everything was completely up to me to make things happen “right.”

If you compare my line of thought with the Pharisees – I think I would have made a pretty “good Pharisee”  – if women were allowed to be Pharisees.  You know – Jesus had much more harsh words for the Pharisees who were prideful and self-righteous than He did for thieves, murderers, adulterers, tax-collectors and prostitutes.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6

God didn’t answer my prayers for Him to change Greg all those years.  I would get so mad about that, too!  I would pray for Greg to pray with me.  That was clearly God’s will, right?  And by that night at 11:30pm when Greg didn’t pray with me, I was SO ANGRY at God and at Greg.  They were NOT doing God’s will!  It was exasperating.  I tried to drag Greg and God around to do MY will.  But I didn’t see that my pride caused God to oppose me to my face.

Really – although I never consciously saw it this way and would never have SAID any of these things to myself or out loud, what I really expected was for:

  • Greg to submit to ME
  • God to submit to ME
  • other people to do MY will
  • other people to obey ME
  • people to admit that I was always right, wise and good
  • people to see that they needed my help and my wisdom desperately

I expected, basically, to be worshipped – because I worshipped myself.

UGH.

You know – when you see it all broken down and written out like this – it looks REALLY, REALLY AWFUL!

This is what in my heart when I was disrespectful, controlling and contentious.  

  • Idolatry of self.
  • The belief that I am sovereign, not God.
  • The belief that it is my RIGHT and my DUTY to make other people do what I think they should do.
  • The belief that it is the responsibility and duty of others to do what I say to do.

This is why I could get so angry if people didn’t do what I wanted them to do.  This is why I believed I should and could control others.  This is why I had the right to be disrespectful – because I had myself in my heart as god.  Other people owed me obedience and reverence and respect.  They would face my wrath if they wouldn’t cooperate with my leadership and my self-appointed “authority.”

  • Is there any sin that is worse than idolatry?

I am truly the chief of sinners.

I committed idolatry every waking moment for probably 30 years.  I thought I trusted Jesus.  I said I trusted Jesus.  But the fruit of my life and reality was that I didn’t trust and obey Jesus.  I was not full of His Spirit.  My sinful nature was in firm control and I broke the 1st commandment constantly.  Thousands and thousands of times – hundreds of thousands of times or more.  I was an idolator and didn’t even know it.

That is why I had no peace or joy.  I was worried, afraid and very lonely.  I was trying to carry the weight of God on my shoulders.  That is STRESSFUL!  And I was trying to carry the weight of the marriage and family on my shoulders that God designed Greg to carry, not me.  That was too much weight for me!

My pride repelled God and repelled other people.

  • Is there any sin that is worse than pride?  

That was the sin of Lucifer (who became Satan).  It is a root sin for practically every other sin – my thinking that I know best and my wisdom is higher than God’s and I am exempt from having to obey God’s Word because I am above God.

I am SO VERY THANKFUL that God humbled me.

THE TRUTH THAT SET ME FREE:

  • God is wise.  I am not.  God’s wisdom is infinitely higher than my own.  My wisdom is foolishness in God’s sight.
  • God is God.  I am a sinful, weak, small human made of dust.
  • God is good.  I am not.  My best attempts at holiness are like “filthy, bloody menstrual rags” in God’s sight. (Isaiah 64)
  • I am desperately wretchedly sinful on my own and I NEED the blood, mercy, forgiveness and grace of Christ.
  • The wages of sin is death.  Romans 3:23 – that is what I earned.  I deserve separation from God.
  • I didn’t just owe Him $2000 sin dollars or something small.  I owe Him BILLIONS.
  • I have sinned MUCH.  Now I have been forgiven MUCH.  Now I can love Jesus MUCH.
  • God’s Word has wisdom.  I need the wisdom of God and His Word.
  • God’s Word says that my husband is to be the head of our marriage and our home.  God designated Greg to be in charge, not me.  I Corinthians 11:3.  That is God’s wisdom for me.
  • Greg has wisdom to offer to me that will bless me.
  • I do not always know best.
  • I am not always right.
  • God always knows best.  He is always right.
  • Greg may know better than I do.  He may be right sometimes and I may be wrong.
  • Humility is beautiful and is the first step of this journey.  I must be “poor in spirit,” able to recognize my utter spiritual poverty before a holy, righteous, just JUDGE and King of the universe.

Submission begins for every disciple of Christ when we submit ourselves totally to Jesus.  Then, out of reverence and submission to Him, I then obey His commands to me as a wife to respect my husband and submit to (honor his leadership).  God is God.  I submit to Him!  Not the  other way around!

10. I am the better leader.  I have to be in charge.

That picture at the top of this post makes me REALLY sad now.  But it accurately portrays my attitude earlier in our marriage.  It is not a beautiful picture of marriage!  I made a selfish mess out of things.

God does not designate the husbands to be the leaders because they are “more valuable” or “better than” wives or because wives are “second class” somehow.  He designed marriage to be this way out of His wisdom and in order to showcase the profound mystery of the relationship between Christ and the church.  In Ephesians 5:22-33, God intends the husband in every marriage to represent the selfless, unfailing love of Christ for His church.  And God intends the wife to represent the reverence, adoration and submission of the church for Christ.

God has assigned us parts in as if in a “play” – that our children and the world around us might watch and be in awe of this relationship that points clearly to Christ and His salvation that is available to us all.

This is not about who has a higher IQ or a better college education.  It’s not about who makes a better choice about individual decisions.

This is about God’s wisdom that is infinitely higher than my own.  It is about His purposes being fulfilled in my marriage.  It is about His glory.  

It is about HIM – not me.

  • If God will be greatly glorified by me following my husband’s leadership – great!  I accept His will and His design.  I want to be the best follower I can be.
  • If God wants to show me that He is able to lead me through this imperfect husband of mine to accomplish His will – who am I to tell God that He is wrong and my way is better?  I humble myself before Almighty God and seek to obey Him in all things whether I understand it or not, whether I agree with Him or not, whether it is politically correct or not, whether anyone else is obeying Him or not.
  • If God wants to draw people to Christ through this particular design for marriage, and He is my LORD – then I am on board all the way.  “Lord, tell me what You want me to do.  I’m on it!”
  • If God wants to teach my husband to be more like Christ by having him lead in our marriage – I will support all that God wants to do in Greg’s heart and life.  I will be a teammate to Greg, cheering him on and blessing him as he seeks to fulfill God’s role for him.
  • If God wants me to be a servant to my husband and family and to others – that is what I want to be!
  • If God wants to teach my children and model for them how to submit to God-given authorities in their lives – then I want to set the most beautiful and God-empowered example for them ever and leave a godly legacy for them to follow.  I want those who come behind me to find me faithful by God’s power working in me.

This marriage thing is not about Greg and April.

It is about God.

It is about His kingdom.

It is about His glory.

What a blessing, honor and privilege to be God’s daughter, to be free from my sin, to have access to the riches of heaven, to be able to play the part God has assigned to me with passion, joy, thanksgiving and honor.

When I do things God’s way – He is glorified and I am blessed.

How a Wife’s Obedience to God Impacts Her Husband’s Soul (From the Archives)

This is a message I received from a reader.  She repented of her years of disrespect and trying to control her husband about 5 years ago.  She had learned some of these principles years  before, but a major tragedy in the family sent her reeling and now she is relearning and taking baby steps again.  What I really want wives to notice is not the time frame since her repentance to God – it is the changes that are happening in both the wife and the husband as she seeks to obey God.  So many wives think that if they obey God, they LOSE power and won’t get the love they want.  That is so far from the truth!  We GAIN the power of God working in our hearts and marriages.  And the riches of heaven.  It is all joy!

A MESSAGE FROM A WIFE WHO REPENTED OF HER DISRESPECT AND CONTROL ABOUT 5 WEEKS AGO AND HAS HAD GOD’S SPIRIT WORKING MIGHTILY IN HER!

It’s so funny… we have had such a good weekend, and off and on all weekend he will just give me these little commands. They are random, and not rude or anything… just small things like for example, we were at a birthday party and he said, “why don’t you go over and visit for about 5 more minutes and I’ll come over and we’ll say good-bye and head home.” I just cheerfully say, “okay” and do it.

Or, (I’ve been counseling a very disturbed wife and have really sewn into her life and yet, she still shows no changes and really kind of tends to use me), and he said, “I’ve been thinking and I really don’t want you to have anything to do with that wife anymore. I know you want to help her but she doesn’t want help, that’s obvious. So, I really just want you to stop counseling her and just pray for her if you need to.” I just said, “Okay, if that is what you think is best, I trust you. I will put up those boundaries.”

No other words, just cheerful obedience.

There are other random examples that I have picked up on all weekend, but these give you an idea of the nature of them. Each time I respond the same. No questions, no different opinion offered, I just gladly do whatever he has asked.

I find it funny because it tickles me.

My husband is not usually one to take such a strong lead. I must admit that it feels kind of good actually.

Then tonight when we were out again (it’s been a strange weekend of kidlessness)… my husband acted like he was fixing to say something, then he paused and said, “nah, nevermind.”

I said jokingly, “What? you have to say  it now!” because he had this little grin on his face about what he was going to say.

So he said, “Well, what I was going to say is that I love this place you are in your life right now. (he got tears in his eyes and said) This is really all I need, Honey. I can’t even tell you how much I love this. We have been through hell, and I mean real hell… like fighting to breathe on so many days hell, and yet, here we are… like this. I don’t know how much I can tell you so you’ll believe it, but this really is all I need. When you are like this, it just motivates me to want to be the best I can be.”

Who is this man? I am just floored that he is saying these kind of things to me! smile My God is working a MIRACLE in our marriage!! I am blown away!

I found myself tearing up too. All I could say was that I love this new place I am too, and that with God’s help, I plan to stay right here.”

That was the end of it, just that sweet, tender moment. Then we just went back to enjoying each other like we have been all weekend.

I know that what he is picking up on is exactly as you say… a peaceful spirit that does not give way to fear. I think it is ministering to him in such a way that he is experiencing a deep peace and confidence as well.

Like I said, simply mind-blowing! Only GOD!! I just keep saying that but it is oh so true!

Joyful Submission and a Boat

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This is an email from a wife I first “met” online last July.  God has been doing a HUGE work in her heart!  I know you will be richly blessed by reading her story.
I haven’t shared something yet that has been stirring in our house…..its been another example of me laying down my “rights” or “my will” and joyfully submitting to my husband.
So here it is….
My husband has been talking about buying a boat for as long as I can remember…but more intensely in the last year.
I usually just listen… but occasionaly in the past six months I have said,

“I’m not sure this is the best time for our family, but I trust you to make the best decision.”  I’ve then let it go and prayed about it!

My husband is probably one of the hardest workers I know. When he is not photographing, or editing images, or taking care of our girls or doing other “business” work, he is working on house projects, working in the yard. He rarely ever just rests, unless its 9:00 at night and he’s winding down. He gets a lot of joy from accomplishing things and making our home beautiful! I love that about him. He is very self motiviated and driven!
So naturally, if the guy wants a boat..then yes go buy a boat! You deserve it!
But…there’s the spiritual side of me..the one that thinks..“Shouldn’t we be spending our money on eternal things?”  We have friends adopting children right now in third world countries…suffering daily for this…and here we are buying a boat.  I struggle with that.  My husband knows my heart though and God knows my heart.
So here is what I have learned and I feel God is teaching me.
My husband didn’t have much growing up.  His parents couldn’t afford to send him on ski trips with his other friends, his parents couldn’t afford snowmobiles like all the other families near by. Growing up in Canada near a lake, those things were things most families had and enjoyed together.  He doesn’t want his children to not have things because he couldn’t offer those opportunities. My husband also enjoys making memories with his family..another wonderful thing I love about him.  He wants a boat…not so he can escape and go fishing… but so we can enjoy quality time together.
So he told me about a month ago that he put a down payment on a boat. Inside I felt nervous, but I smiled and said,  “That is so great!”  He couldn’t wait to tell me all about it.  I prayed again knowing if this was not God’s will, God would change his heart or it would not work out.  (From Peacefulwife – LOVE THAT BEATUIFUL FAITH IN GOD!!!!) Last week, my husband called me while I was driving home from work  (he never calls me by the way…usually just waits until I get home from work to tell me things).  He said, “We officially have a boat and can pick it up during your next school break.”
It’s very hard for me to just jump up and down when a big part of me is not so sure this was the best financial decision for us.  BUT I did…I said, “Honey that is wonderful. I am so excited. That is great!  Please know that I really do think this is great and fun and our family will have a lot of fun boating together.”  Usually, I hold back those feelings and express the negative emotions first.
When I got home that day, he continued to talk about how excited he was and all the fun we would have together on the boat. I agreed and added that the girls would have a great time and mentioned several things we could get for them like tubes and life jackets.  This was also very hard for me because I usually just smile and nod (when he’s sharing something exciting and Im apprehensive about). I didn’t let my emotions take over though and I shared in his excitement by adding to it.  It felt really good to do that eventhough it was very unnaturual for me.  
 
I kissed him goodbye and he left for a photo shoot.  I proceeded to take care of the girls and quietly thanked God that HE enabled me to handle that well.

I praised God for my hardworking husband and how God was sovereign over my life! And how God would always take care of me and my family! 

My husband  got home shortly after the girls were all tucked in bed.  I was in the kitchen making his dinner.  He greeted me in the kitchen with a kiss and said, “Honey, I just want to thank you for not jumping on me about getting a boat and letting me get one.”  I smiled and said, “Honey, lots of men have hobbies, like hunting and fishing and playing sports, etc. I am just so thankful your hobby or your interest includes spending time with your family.”  He smiled and said, “of course it does.” 
 
I quietly in my heart thanked God for helping me in all of this!! A year ago, I would have NEVER handled things this way. I would have robbed him of this joy. I would have sucked the life out of him.  He would have probably demanded he get the boat and I would have missed out on all the intimate moments leading up to it.  
I also thank God for teaching me this:
We may never adopt children from Uganda.
We may never go on a missions trip as a family.
But God is allowing me to partake in an amazing adventure with my husband. I know men most want and need their wife to partake in an adventure together.  I am learning to be his helpmate. I am learning to trust God like never before!  And in all of this, I hope that God will allow our marriage and our family to bring Him Glory! 
And yet, perhaps this is just the beginning for our family! The beginning of us serving Him him and honoring him in untold ways.  I know that I believe in an amazing God who has this adventure planned for us. I pray deep in my heart that He would allow us to bring Him great glory.  I also know my role as a wife and as a mom and as a child of the King.  I pray that God would continue to empower me through His abounding grace to be a wife:
  • that has loved one of his sons well
  • that has been generous and kind
  • that forgives him when he sins
  • lifts him up when he’s discouraged
  • comforts him when he’s sad
  • shares in his glory when he succeeds
  • that encourages him to become all God intends for him to be. (Sacred Influence, Gary Thomas)
It was yesterday that we drove three hours – giddy and excited – to pick up our new boat.  My husband was delighted. That morning he said I have been excited for this day since I was a child. I said, I’m so thankful to get to be a part of it with you. And then as we drove home with the boat towing behind, he took my hand and said five sweet words I’ll never forget,

“Thank you for trusting me.”

 

I DO trust him, but even more so, I trust a faithful God!!  I have abounding peace and joy today!!
Thank you for letting me share this story with you because you are a huge part of this change in me!!!
FROM PEACEFULWIFE
I love how this wife shared her opinion and feelings in a respectful way.  I love how she prayed and trusted God’s sovereignty to lead her through her husband.  And I love how she trusted his leadership and got to experience such emotional intimacy.  It will be interesting to see how God uses this in their lives for His glory!
Do you have a story about how respect or biblical submission blessed your marriage? I’d love to hear it! (Husbands, if you want to send me a story about how much it means to you when your wife trusts your leadership and cooperates with you and respects you – I would love to hear that, too!)  

How Respect and Biblical Submission Impacted a Husband's Soul

This is a message I received from a reader.  She repented of her years of disrespect and trying to control her husband about 5 weeks ago.  She had learned some of these principles years  before, but a major tragedy in the family sent her reeling and now she is relearning and taking baby steps again.  What I really want wives to notice is not the time frame since her repentance to God – it is the changes that are happening in her husband because of her repentance and obedience.  So many wives think that if they obey God, they LOSE power and won’t get the love they want.  That is so far from the truth!  We GAIN the power of God working in our hearts and marriages.  And the riches of heaven.  It is all joy!

 

A MESSAGE FROM A WIFE WHO REPENTED OF HER DISRESPECT AND CONTROL ABOUT 5 WEEKS AGO AND HAS HAD GOD’S SPIRIT WORKING MIGHTILY IN HER!

It’s so funny… we have had such a good weekend, and off and on all weekend he will just give me these little commands. They are random, and not rude or anything… just small things like for example, we were at a birthday party and he said, “why don’t you go over and visit for about 5 more minutes and I’ll come over and we’ll say good-bye and head home.” I just cheerfully say, “okay” and do it.

Or, (I’ve been counseling a very disturbed wife and have really sewn into her life and yet, she still shows no changes and really kind of tends to use me), and he said, “I’ve been thinking and I really don’t want you to have anything to do with that wife anymore. I know you want to help her but she doesn’t want help, that’s obvious. So, I really just want you to stop counseling her and just pray for her if you need to.” I just said, “Okay, if that is what you think is best, I trust you. I will put up those boundaries.” No other words, just cheerful obedience.

There are other random examples that I have picked up on all weekend, but these give you an idea of the nature of them. Each time I respond the same. No questions, no different opinion offered, I just gladly do whatever he has asked.

I find it funny because it tickles me. My husband is not usually one to take such a strong lead. I must admit that it feels kind of good actually.

Then tonight when we were out again (it’s been a strange weekend of kidlessness)… my husband acted like he was fixing to say something, then he paused and said, “nah, nevermind.”

I said jokingly, “What? you have to say  it now!” because he had this little grin on his face about what he was going to say.

So he said, “Well, what I was going to say is that I love this place you are in your life right now. (he got tears in his eyes and said) This is really all I need, Honey. I can’t even tell you how much I love this. We have been through hell, and I mean real hell… like fighting to breathe on so many days hell, and yet, here we are… like this. I don’t know how much I can tell you so you’ll believe it, but this really is all I need. When you are like this, it just motivates me to want to be the best I can be.”

Who is this man? I am just floored that he is saying these kind of things to me! smile My God is working a MIRACLE in our marriage!! I am blown away!

I found myself tearing up too. All I could say was that I love this new place I am too, and that with God’s help, I plan to stay right here.”

That was the end of it, just that sweet, tender moment. Then we just went back to enjoying each other like we have been all weekend.

I know that what he is picking up on is exactly as you say… a peaceful spirit that does not give way to fear. I think it is ministering to him in such a way that he is experiencing a deep peace and confidence as well.

Like I said, simply mind-blowing! Only GOD!! I just keep saying that but it is oh so true!

A Wife Shares Her Story of a Changed Marriage

couple walking
From a wife I began talking with this past summer – she has been actively working on learning to obey God’s Word to respect and submit to her husband for about 5 months at this point, I believe.  There were some very difficult and challenging times, especially the first few months …  THANK YOU for sharing!!!!!  I pray this might be an encouragement to other wives.
Merry Christmas, April. I would like to reply to your blog yesterday, “BUT HE NEEDS MY HELP!” 
For wives reading this, shaking their heads still insisting that God’s message of submission isn’t for them, take it from one with an unbelieving husband. It isn’t about how much smarter I may or may not be over my husband or that I am more spiritually mature because I read my Bible and he doesnt. It is about trusting God.
I am not sure if my husband has accepted Jesus as His Savior yet, I don’t think so at this point. But there is a gigantic change in both of us. He sees it in me, I see it in him – and the cycle of  respect and love is helping run our marriage and our home more smoothly. I know that my family and some friends may be shaking their heads because I have been deferring to my husband for plans and decisions involving our family. It is just not part of our culture now (to respect and submit to our husbands). But it doesn’t matter because my primary ministry is my husband.
I see in him a harder drive to do well at work and to provide for the family. There is an extra umf in him- even in doing work around the house. He even helps without my asking for help. I don’t have to  let him know when I am tired – somehow he senses when I am overwhelmed and he insists that I relax and he does the laundry or dishes (or gets our boys to do it).
He has surprised me with so many things these past few months that I feel like I am in a dream.
It all started with me FINALLY taking a GIGANTIC step of faith in God’s design for marriage – even with an unbelieving husband. It has almost cost me friendships (yes, even with Christian friends). And right now, because he does not agree with me going to Bible study, I do miss that face-to-face intimate fellowship you get in Bible study. But I am doing online studies and though I don’t have that face-to-face fellowship, I am still in God’s Word.
Like I said, I’m pretty sure he has not accepted Jesus as his savior yet but on Christmas eve, as I filled the house with Christmas music (I have been doing this all December), he said,”I love you, Jesus. But right now, all this Christmas music is just a little too much.” (Did you get the first sentence?)
Also, he surprised me with a charm bracelet for Christmas with little head charms for our boys (personalized w/ their names), a heart charm with his name on one side and I love you on the other, a MOM charm and… a cross charm. Many people who knows my husband will tell you he isn’t the most romantic person in the world- but when we were dating he was very romantic. After marriage, it kinda got a little lost somehow- the same way the wife he married got lost after marriage (he always used to complain that I changed when we fought). Now, things aren’t perfect – but by the sheer grace of God, our marriage is better than ever.
From Peacefulwife:
This wife is reaping some amazing rewards in her marriage and her walk with Christ from her willingness to obey God and do things His way.  It took many months to get to this point – and some very painful dying to self.  Men are designed by God to respond to respect and their wives’ trust and submission by becoming better men, by having a heart to serve and usually by showing more love.  Each wife’s experience with learning and implementing respect and submission has its own timing and rhythm.  Some husbands respond quickly.  Some are very confused.  Some balk at the changes their wives start to make at first – but later love it.  Some are more deeply wounded and untrusting and it takes them longer to trust that the new changes are for real.  Some may never respond with love to a wife’s respect –  men do have free will, after all.  Although most eventually do respond to their wives’ changes and to God’s power working in the marriage to some degree.  
Ultimately, I respect my husband and submit to him out of my love, reverence and submission to Jesus – NOT in order to change my husband or “make” him love me.  I set my heart on Christ – not on “feeling loved” by my husband.  I get the energy and power to do this from God’s Spirit working in me.  
For me – feeling loved was often an idol in my life – that became more important to me than Jesus at times in my marriage.  When I have idols in my heart – whether it is my own being in control, having my way, expecting my husband to be Christ to me, or feeling loved – idolatry NEVER satisfies.  I can expect to be dissatisfied, discontent, unhappy, empty, frustrated, lonely, clingy, needy, worried, anxious, afraid and miserable when I put other things or people in God’s rightful place in my heart – or when I am cherishing sin or living in disobedience to God’s Word.  God is going to make sure that idolatry, rebellion and sin don’t satisfy me.  He will only allow me to find satisfaction when I put Him in the place of worship in my heart.  When I seek Him first with all my heart, I experience the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)  I have to want HIM more than a strong marriage, more than my own way, more than anything!
Respecting my husband and cooperating with his God-given authority in my marriage is a lifetime commitment I make to Jesus – to live for Him – not knowing ahead of time what the outcome will be, but trusting Him no matter what comes.  It is a walk of faith.  I must put Jesus squarely FIRST in my life – by a long shot.  I lay down my life, my desires, my will, my plans, my wisdom and my goals.  And I seek Jesus’ presence, His love, His Word, His glory, His will, His wisdom and His approval.  He will reward me in my relationship with Him and in heaven for my willingness to obey His Word even if my husband never loves me as he should.  My job is to make sure I am abiding in Christ, clinging to Him, seeking Him above all else and living in obedience to Him.  My job is to seek to be a godly wife and mother and to honor Jesus and trust Him with the timing and results – that it will all be for His greatest glory and my ultimate good and my husband’s ultimate good.