Friday, April 23, 2010

Needs to be Said

A man is never so arrogant and small as when he acts the dictator and presumes upon his wife's spiritual duty to be his helpmeet.
~Michael Pearl

For some strange reason, that I have not yet figured out, there is this philosophy or belief that threads itself through Christian and non-Christian families alike, but it's the Christian families who believe it that perplex me the most. The belief is this, that men have some God-given divine right to “rule” over their wives. It has so permeated our Christian culture that those who don't concede to such nonsense are labeled rebellious and disobedient. God is grieved. Still we maintain our “rightness” and ignore what he says.

See, contrary to popular belief, God never gave a man authority over his wife. I know what you're thinking, “But isn't the wife repeatedly told to submit.” (Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18) Yes, but that's just it...the wife is told to submit, but the husband is never told to cause her to obey. So when a husband comes down on his wife with pressure that she is “wrong”, “rebellious”, “disobedient” or and other accusation concerning her submission to him or lack thereof, he is in sin, plain and simple. When men do this, they take upon themselves the role of the Holy Spirit, assuming that the pressure they put upon the women they claim to love is somehow for her good. But as I alluded to in my last post, condemnation kills. Where love and praise bring life to the lifeless, condemnation kills the once willing vessel. See, wives were created to nurture, love and serve, it's in us, we want to do it. But when we are belittled and ruled like mere dogs to have orders barked at us, we shrivel and eventually die. Some women can look past this, to their blessed Savior and submit to unworthy tyrants and great is their reward, but some of us, not so much.

What these men don't realize is that God has asked of their wives more than they will ever be worthy of. No man, save Jesus, deserves another's submission. If men could grab hold of this truth and be truly thankful for the woman God has given them, marriages would be transformed. Respect, obedience, and honor are not something you can demand, you earn them.

I want to submit to my husband, I recognize his natural need to be honored and reverenced. I long to do this for him. But when this same man, whom I love, steps on me, I say, “Ouch.” In Ephesians 5:28-29, God tells men to love their wives as their own bodies, cherishing them. Women need to be cherished. We wither without it.

God has put on my heart lately this great void among believers. See, women have been bombarded with the truth and reality of their role and duty before God to serve, honor and submit to their husbands. Husbands, however, who should be benevolent leaders, cleansing and sanctifying their wives are standing on the sidelines barking and railing at their wives to follow. Did you catch that “standing on the sidelines” part? That means they're not really leading at all. Just pseudo leaders wanting/demanding undeserved honor and obedience. God needs men. Real men he can use to further his kingdom. But God can't use these men. Their prayers are hindered (1 Peter 3:7)...their pride has caused God to turn his face (1 Peter 5:5). God is grieved. Men have been led astray, following Satan's design for leadership and ignoring God's living, breathing example in Jesus. (Ephesians 5:25) It needed to be said.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Death and Life

“He's a boy, it's normal. Get over it.” said I to myself a few months back when I was bothered by the fact that Quinn, my 11 year old, wouldn't be affectionate with me. Eli, no problem, goo and kisses abound with that kid. Gabe, he's always down for some good night cuddlin'. And I shouldn't have to tell you that Cherish and the little boys are all over me for hugs and kisses. Not Quinn....he acted like it pained his left toe just to give me a hug. So I tortured him with it when he was being rude to his siblings. (Moohahaha) Still, I'm bugged. Add to this that he absolutely adores and honors his dad yet gives me the “Oh, it's just you.” treatment....I'm starting to get a bit crushed. So I prayed, cried, prayed, cried out, and prayed to God for an answer.

The answer came in phases.... Phase 1..... I told Quinn how I he was making me feel and he promptly kissed and hugged me every night before bed. Wow, well if I'd known it were gonna be that easy....sheez, silly complicated woman.

Phase 2....I began praising him more and more. You see, Quinn's like his dad, got his head in the clouds a good bit of the time, which can be a bit frustrating to a grounded girl like me. But I've learned to appreciate this unique quality having been married to Mr. Clouds for well over a decade now. :) A practical example, I can tell Quinn two things to do, and he'll do ½ of one of them. Like, “Hey Quinn, go change out the laundry and then take out the trash.” He'll promptly say, “Yes, ma'am.” Go do what he's told. BUT, I'll find him sitting on his duff with the trash un-emptied and no new load of laundry going. What the? This is when I would previously get red. I chew him up about attentiveness, thoroughness and blah blah blah. What's that? Condemnation? Criticism? Right. Who likes that? Anyone? Anyone? Right. That's right, we all hate it, cuz as soon as someone tells us how worthless we are or what a bad job we're doing at _____ we just want to jump right up and do better, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. So I quit that nasty habit and searched for reasons to praise and there were soooo many! Ahhhh!!! I was literally breathing new life into this kid. Praise Jesus!!

Phase 3....We have been focusing on gentlemanly conduct around here. We're teaching the boys to protect and cherish the females in their life. The result is phenomenal! They are jumping to open and hold doors for me. Quinn wouldn't even let me carry a little bag of cans the other day when we were collecting some from the side of the road. I feel like a queen and they feel like “the man” as I shower them with praises and kisses. Now I randomly get a squeeze and a kiss from Quinn complete with a satisfied love grunt. How glorious is that?!?!?!?!?

As the icing on the cake, several days ago was my birthday (March 22 to be exact, it's okay, you can mark your calendar for next year). The kids made me feel immensely special as they often do, but particularly touching to me were these notes written by one 11 year old whose left toe no longer hurts.
“Many kids have moms, many kids have good moms, BUT WE HAVE THE BEST MOM!!!”

“I am glad to have a who makes my meals one that never yells at me and now she's 33. Happy Birthday I <3>and my favorite...

“When you were born, your parents never knew you would be the best mom ever!!!! Happy Birthday! From Quinn”

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Prov 18:21)