Friday, March 19, 2010

Serve my husband or throw away my Bible?

The most peculiar incident happened this past week. My darling husband participated in a memorial service for a relative who had recently passed away. There were several family members there and a couple of preachers from the family church. While Nate and Papaw were tending to the children, I tried to keep myself busy helping the ladies of the church with certain duties.

As I was transporting some food out the door I was stopped by a group of men; men well acquainted with my husband during his youth. And this is how the conversation goes:

Man #1: Now. Nate tells me that when he gets home you bring him his house shoes.

Me: (nodding my head with an approving grin), Yes, and I say, “Welcome home, my lord.”

Man #1 and the others in the group: What! (laughing), You better not let that get out! (laughing)

Me: What? You wouldn’t want your wives taking care of you and serving you?

All of the men: NOO! Ha, ha, ha

Preacher friend: Whatever book you’re reading you need to throw it out!

Now, honestly, I do not bring Nate his house shoes nor do I say, “Welcome home, my lord.” It is just a jest we have with each other. However, it is a serious jest we have about how God has changed my mentality over the years, since having children, and especially after the past few months. I’ve mentioned that even before having children or coming out of the workforce, I wanted to “take care of my husband and his home.”

I recently read a book that challenged my thinking even further. Passionate Housewives Desperate for God was oozing with great theological truths about the role of women in the household and the changes that feminism has brought not only to our culture but to Christianity. (The impact on Christianity is illustrated by the PREACHER'S comment above. Christian women have become feminist in their own rite and encourage views on egalitarianism. I walked in those shoes at one time, too. I believe man and woman were created equal in our importance to God. But most importantly, I believe God laid down roles within His government for us to hold as well. And for the woman, that does not include wearing the pants in the family. It means being submissive to her husband and serving her household.

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God really made me look into my role as mother and wife. Upon initially reading the book, I found my own words being reiterated from my post Losing Michelle. However, there was a difference. My views on “death to self” always came from a worldly view and not from inside the home. I knew I would need to lay down myself and serve others on the outside, but I had never put much thought into that happening in my own home. I never thought about sacrificing “me time.” When in reality “me time” is so contrary to laying down my life and following Jesus.

What does being submissive look like in our home? Nate and I both understand I am the manager of the home and he is the head. I take care of the constant flow of to do lists, chores, shopping, mailing, appointments, routines…the list goes on. However, my attempt is to do none of this without his approval. He makes the final decision on things like… if we have time or money for gymnastics or additional books. The wonderful thing about this relationship is he knows his and my strengths and weaknesses and we can negotiate and discuss. For example, I am a little less impulsive when it comes to spending but more impulsive when it comes to opening my mouth when I shouldn’t. He’s the opposite.

And the following is the hard part for me and I fail miserably at it on most some days. When Nate says, “Will you…?” I try, let me stress TRY, to get up and do it without a word. I try to not say, “let me finish this” or “after this…” Understand, in my nature I am very contrary and argumentative so this is very difficult for me some days. But, here are the reasons why I aim at submissiveness. Most importantly God commands me to serve others and be submissive to my husband. Also, it shows our children the way those governmental roles of God work. Dad serves and obeys his Head. Mom serves and obeys her head. I, the child, too should serve and obey all those in authority over me. If I get grumpy when I am asked to serve or do, then I should not be surprised when my child reflects that same attitude. And the number three reason… this has done wonders for our relationship. When I started everyday with the mindset that this relationship and this home are not about “me” and what “I” want and what makes “me” happy, the whole world started revolving in a different way. For those that believe I suffer, I am in no way deprived but full of joy.

I urge and encourage you to take some time to read Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. It will reveal or remind you of some of God’s lost truths about the women of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31.

So, when I told Nate about what the “preacher” said…his reply? “Why didn’t you tell him you got it from the Bible?” Man! Why didn’t I think of that!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Obedience to who? Or is it "whom"?

Obedience weighs heavily on my mind as my eldest child of two goes roaring about in toddlerhood. I have decided to share some of these heavy thoughts with you. They may be sporadic and non-cohesive; bear with me.

Isn’t it funny how God can humble you so quickly by showing you your own self-righteousness? We, my husband and I, can walk about smug about how we got it all together. We’re doing a pretty good job. And then God takes some really godly folks and smacks us right in the face. That is totally what has happened to us. By the world’s standards, we seemed to be going in the right direction with disciplinary issues. We were providing consistency, stability, and routine. That’s what is important, right? After all, we have a pretty mild specimen on our hands that we are working on with this child called Lily. And then we attend a little place on Watauga Street every Sunday. The place where two year olds know the definition of sanctification and infants have been trained at six weeks old to sit up tall and listen to the pastor present his message. I watch as a mother merely holds out one finger on each hand and her two year old and three year old are there in a moment as if they sensed the movement of her hands in the air calling them. And then I see a mirror and catch my own reflection. I have a squirming eleven month old begging to be let down in my arms so he can find something to eat and my other arm is running before my legs to catch my two year old before she decides to hang out spread eagle at the pulpit. Meanwhile, I’ve dropped the diaper bag and my darling husband has forgotten our bibles…again. And did I mention, the father and mother of the sitting up, trained infant and sanctified two year old have an average of four other children?

So, I realize how together we don’t have it. Luckily, these folks have apparently, (or so they say), all been here before. I watch the teenagers as they gleam with respect for elders and each other. I see the priorities in their lives are much different than what’s out there in the world. And I see, God is the major difference. They are not just saying they are Christians; they are living it. And this gets me to obedience.

I want my children to obey. I want my children to stand out because they are godly. But lately I have been questioning my motives. In my spirit, I want my children to obey and respect those in authority over them because it is a sin against God not to obey and respect. But in my wicked heart, I want my children to obey so others can see how set apart they are. I desperately need God to change my heart. And I know He will. Because I know what sets those families apart is that God has the reigns in each and every aspect of their lives. And they’ve been here before…