'Controlling things is a strength and carried to an extreme becomes a weakness' - Karen Ehman
Happy Valentines Day!
Praying you are blessed with Love and more Love on this special day!
I am having a wonderful time participating in an on-line bible study with Proverbs 31 Ministries. We are reading together a book by Karen Ehman, Let it Go. (Something we all struggle with, day in and day out!). It is especially fitting this week as we study a chapter titled "Managing Your Man". Ya know with Valentines Day and Love and relationships - perfect timing right!? Pffffftttttt - not for everyone! Tough chapter for couples that are both followers of Christ, but even more difficult for couples where ONE is a follower of Christ and one is a only believer, choosing not to be a follower; but that is story for another blog!
I thought this chapter would be a no brainer for me - I am married to a believer, but not a follower....I attend church alone, life groups alone..he knows very few of my church friends nor does he know my association with my P31 girls, or other areas (he does think my pastor is cool! so that's a positive!).....scary thing is, if I died today I would really need my friends to dive in to make sure all the right "stuff" was done for my funeral (CELEBRATION!) and all the right people were there! Lord knows I don't want any sad organ music and quiet in the church at my funeral! (but that's another topic!). I love the man dearly, been married 20 years - but it can be pretty darned rocky at times - couples like us just don't see things in the same light. Don't feel bad for these odd-ball couples like us (and there are many!) God has a purpose and it will become known - meanwhile, just when you pray at night - pray for those that aren't equally yoked and of the same spirit...God transforms and if you will just Let it Go - He's got it!
Let's talk about the behavior of the Christ Follower (ME!)- they are always right! Right? I read Karen's words about throwing "flesh balls" (definition: words verbally hurled at each other) and how we "wallow in the flesh, stooping down and scooping up a big ole helping of it to hurl our spouses way" - OUCH! I truly felt like I was hit by HUGE 90 lb. steel ball. Gotta admit, I've thrown many of my own flesh balls and truth is, even in the midst of my christian walk right now, I am still guilty (yep, I continue to throw 'em). Then our author brings our attention back to God, to the Word. "walk by the spirit" and not "gratifying the desires of the flesh" (Gal 5:15). (Jesus Slap!) Karen, did you have to go there? UGH....... BUT.....
I know that I AM ALWAYS RIGHT, MY WAY IS THE BEST WAY, I KNOW BEST! Isn't that the case with most of us women? (Puuullllease). As much as we like to think so, NOT. In our study, Karen says "As a woman you'll desire to be the boss (well I am, right?), but your husband has already been assigned that job description" Biblically - OUCH, really? "He is the leader, by virtue of his office. Whether he's doing his job or not is up for debate. One can hold an office or title and refuse to fulfill the duties of that office".- WELL, then. Isn't that special - so, where does that leave me? Personally for me, I immediately feel like I have to just accept every decision, every act, everything - the Bible says wives are to submit to your husbands - so he's the boss, we submit. So, what, we're supposed to just give in to our husbands without a fight when we disagree? We just let him make decisions that WE think don't make any sense? "BUT God, He's NOT a follower and I am! How can this possibly be the case? Bottom line, I am right more than he is, hands down" - every try to justify or argue with God....there is no winning with that!
Hang with me! It's getting good - pretty soon we'll have it all figured out - (or we won't!)!
SO when we get into these 'flesh ball' battles, are they a result of an attempt to manipulate our husband in a situation or because we are attempting to influence a decision their making? Is there a difference? Ladies, think about that for a few minutes. I've concocted many a manipulating scheme or two to 'influence' my husband! (So, which is it?) But yeah I know - none of you have EVER done that! There's so much from this chapter to share - so stay with me! 'Dr. Juli Slattery author of 'Finding the Hero in Your husband' wrote, 'Wives are called to use their influence to help their husbands - not to manipulate'.....'Influence is overt and clear; however, manipulation can be subtle and deceptive' - WOW! and double whammy! Karen says, 'When we twist what could be God glorifying influence and morph it into manipulation, we cross the line and the results are not good' - Well yep, experienced this first hand a time or two, caused some knock down drag outs - nevermind throwing flesh balls - might as well have been boulders! What does God say?
The Bible Says:
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is right and fitting and your proper duty in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter or resentful toward them. (Col 3:18-19)
In Ephesians 5, Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the Word.
...... if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. (1 Cor 7)
Easy? nope-If marriage were easy, there would be no divorce - no divorce lawyers - no custody battles over children - no child psychiatrist visits for a child traumatized by parents that are using them as a tool - life would be peaceful, homes peaceful and people would be married for years and years like our grandparents and great grandparents - when divorce was NOT an option very often, if at all. It is even harder when one spouse is a follower and another not.
Here's what I learned from this chapter:
<3 First and foremost, God's timing is impeccable - always perfect! Trust in it. (I get it's not easy!)
<3 My husband is the leader of my house; whether he fulfills his duties or not is between him and God
<3 Hurling 'Flesh balls'. There is nothing to gain, it brings no glory to God and only gives us instant gratification that turns into long term pain.
<3 Manipulation is not of God. It must play no role in my marriage or my life. Provide loving influence that only brings glory to God.
<3 Extreme control becomes total weakness.
<3 It's all good, if it's all God!
<3 LET IT GO and LET GOD!
Today ladies, think about ways that you can build up your husband! All of these flesh ball fights and manipulation schemes bring lasting hurt to our husbands. How can we make today different?
<3 LET GO and LET GOD
<3 Focus on his positive traits. The good things!
<3 Stop attempting to control every situation and decision. Let him wear the pants in the family like he is meant to. Provide positive and loving influence only.
<3 Pray over him and his life - let God do His job while we love our husbands and do the job God has laid out for us to do. TRUST GOD!
<3 Spend every day finding positive ways you can build your husband up! As humans, living in the flesh, none of us are perfect - we all need motivation, positive feedback, and all the things that build up our self-esteem and our confidence, that make feel good. Remember, as the leader of our homes, our husbands have a really BIG tough job. As Godly wives, do everything you can to make his job easier, to build his self-esteem and confidence, to let him know he is loved.
Father God I pray today for every marriage. For the spouses that are not Christ followers; that their hearts be softened and that they begin to understand that believing in you is one thing, but following you and living out their lives as you instruct is what it's all about. I pray that as wives we trust in You. That we let it all go and surrender to you , that we can move forward without having to control every situation and that in doing so we will eliminate the fights that take place within our marriage as a result of this need to control. I pray we will all spend more time in Your Word, absorbing what we need to build up our spouses and grow closer to them instead of participating in and allowing gaps to grow bigger and bigger. Allow us to remember the love we had for our spouses when we first met - allow us to remember the reasons we married them - allow us to feel those strong connections to them again now, through you. Most of all may we relinquish them and our marriages to you right now and TRUST you in all things. We love you Father. We worship and praise you. It's in your Holy and most precious name we pray. Amen
GOOD STUFF! Check it out!
Memory Verse: http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810446/
Chapter 3: http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810451/
Chapter 3: http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810455/
Chapter 4: http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810461/
Chapter 4: http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810466/