Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Series: Wisdom from the Word

I am so excited...and a little nervous :) prayerfully begin a weekly blog post called Wisdom from the Word.
 It will be on Wednesdays.  Yes, because it starts with a W. :) And because it is the middle of the week and generally the time we all could use a little extra encouragement!  I have a few questions that I can use as back up, as well as some that our Ladies Bible Study has searched out together, but I would love to hear from you (use the contact form on this blog)!  Your name will never be mentioned and I would never betray your confidence. Please know that if you have a question you would like to ask but don't want me to answer it on the blog, just let me know.  Those close to me know they have that confidence, but I wanted to express it here as well. Another note:  the purpose of this weekly blog section is double fold...umm...maybe triple fold (tri-fold? do you say that?). Anyway,

1.  Of course, to answer your questions...but also so that many women will see that we have similar struggles.  They may not all look exactly the same, but I think it is helpful and strangely comforting to see that we are not the only ones with these questions and/or struggles.

2.  To dig into the Word together!  God's Word is our greatest source of wisdom and direction.  He has promised to meet all of our needs, He suffered and was tempted as we are, and His Word and promises are a comforting balm to a hurting soul.  What about those gray areas where God doesn't tell us point blank yay or nay or what to do?  I would say those gray areas are where most of our questions come from and His Word is still faithful to show and direct us to truth so we can rightly follow in His path.

3.  To dig into the Word together!  I know I just said that...but here is another aspect of it:  We need to be women in the Word.  We need to study it and know what it says.  For our own edification, for wisdom, and for direction--but also so that we have true wisdom to edify and encourage one another BIBLICALLY.  There are a lot of (us) women out there who are full of compassion, sympathy and empathy toward our sisters!  God made us that way and it is good.  But, just the care and compassion will only bring comfort temporarily (if at all).  We must couple that care and compassion with truth from God's Word as we are comforting one another.  (Read 1 Thess. 3 and 4) We should seek out women that we know will direct us to God's Word for answers. Likewise, we need to be the women who will direct others to seek God's Word for answers.  We are not to lean on our own understanding!  We must acknowledge Him and His ways and He will direct our paths! we go!  Question #1:

 My husband isn't being the spiritual leader.  I long for him to be.  I want him to lead us in family bible study.  I want him to pray with me.  I want HIM to make going to church a priority.  If he isn't, should I just do it or not?  I'm so confused!

This isn't the first time I have heard this question.  Bet it isn't the first time you have heard it either. Wonder if Christian men are continually asking each other: What should I do? My wife doesn't follow me.  I try to lead her, but she is so stubborn.  She doesn't do anything I ask because she thinks her way makes more sense.  I so want to lead her and love her as Christ loves the church but she won't let me! She questions me at every turn and then when I put my foot down she gives me the cold shoulder or waits for me to fail. I'm so tired of trying.  I give up.  Let her lead.  She does everything else-and better than me- she might as well do this too.

Dear reader that asked this question...I am not saying this is you.  But it might be.  It has been me.  By God's grace He showed me early on in my marriage some of the ways I was hindering my husband being able to lead as God intended.  I still have to watch for sinful attitudes that lead me down that path. We all need to step back, always, and search our own hearts first: 

Luke 6:42
How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart;Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

Let me first rejoice with you in gratitude to our Lord that you desire so earnestly what God desires!  It is God who has placed in your heart, as a woman, the love for biblical headship.  It is God who has given you the desire to pray and read God's Word with your husband and together as a family!  This is worth praising God for and rejoicing in the work He is doing in your heart.  Even the coming to someone for guidance is His loving hand leading you to truth and sanctification.

Second, I hear you!  This is hard.  Being a godly wife and mother is a big, wonderful, tough job!  We need God's grace, guidance, strength and power!  And we need our husbands!  Without going into a long 10 page bible study on how God gives us this need for our husbands, let's simply remember this truth:

Mark 10:6-9

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'  'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

God has made us one flesh with our husbands.  They complete us.  We need them! And I'm so glad!

Thirdly, though I rejoice in where God is leading you and I hear where you are coming from, I also know something important:  We can't make anyone be what they are supposed to be!  Oh, sure, we can whine, beg, use the silent treatment, give wife speeches, and all the other tricks we have in our fleshly wife arsenal....but those only put a band-aid, maybe, on the situation.  You can't change your husband and you can't make him be the spiritual leader he ought to be.  That is solely a working of the Holy Spirit in his life.

So what can you do? Well, the hard thing.  First, humble yourself before God and ask Him to help you. Ask Him to start by showing you if you are doing anything or have done anything to derail your husband's attempts at leading.  Reread God's directives for you as a woman and ask Him to show you areas where you are not being faithful and obedient.  Maybe you are, by His strength, doing all He has commanded you. Praise God.  If that is the case, press on sister!  Continue to walk in His truth by His grace.  He will be faithful to fulfill His perfect will in you and do the work He desires to do in your husband.  I have seen first-hand and heard many testimonies that attest to God doing mighty things in the lives of husbands because of the faithfulness of wives. And to answer the second part of the is always good to read and study God's Word.  Read and study the bible with your children.  Just don't do it in a way that would undermine or shame him.  We have bible time together every morning before we begin school and my husband isn't here. Maybe you could find a time like that where you could teach the children.

Maybe after sincerely praying and asking God to search your heart, He has shown you some areas you need to repent of and possibly seek forgiveness from your husband. Have you placed yourself under his authority? Truly? Are you asking for his opinion or wisdom for situations?  When he does make a decision for the direction of your family do you lovingly and joyful submit?  Do you use manipulative submission?  That is, do you convince him to make a decision based on your wants and then "submit"? 
Do you fix all the problems/issues but then complain to him that you have to do everything?  Do you love him by honoring him?  Do you let him know how grateful you are for him?  Are you "independent" or do you let him know that you need him, look to him, and depend on him in various ways?  They may not always show it, but our men need to be needed!  They love to show us they can and will take care of us. They want to be our hero and protector.  We multi-tasking super women need to step back and let them be what God created them to be!  And we need to remember what God created us to be. We are their help meets (aid, helper, right hand)!  (Gen.2:18)

So, the short answer (ha ha) is this:  Live out God's design for you as a wife.  Purpose to be deliberate about obeying God in how He would have you love and serve your husband.  In His divine plan, He will do a work in your husband.  It may not look the way you think it should-but His ways are higher than ours!  In the meantime, you will have a joy and peace knowing you are walking in obedience to the Father, regardless of what He chooses to do in the life of your husband.  You will grow in the midst of His grace and your children will see and learn so much from watching you trust in Him!

1 Peter 3:1-22
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

Proverbs 31:11
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.