Friday, January 31, 2014
Some feed back from a few of you has set me thinking in these hours on vacation, and what I've been thinking is this: why is it so hard for us women to look at the husband and wife's commands separately? It seems you can't have a discussion on submission w/o the women immediately piping up "Yeah, but the men..." I've decided it's because to a woman marriage is all about relationship. Men read their command and say, "Ok. This is what I promised to do." Women read theirs and say, "Woah! What about his side? What if he doesn't do what he should? What if I do my part and he runs all over me? That's not fair! You can't have a relationship like that!!" It's a little like a business. We would agree that a good business means they make good money. We would also agree that if it becomes all about making the money, you soon ruin a good business! A marriage IS about a relationship. But when my focus is on "But the men! Relationship, relationship..." instead of focusing on my command, I think it becomes detrimental!
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I don't know about y'all, but I feel like I've gone rather on and on and around and around with this subject now! I wonder if I'm even making any sense?? So, let me just say it clearly here: I don't believe Submission and Silence are synonymous. My point is: Submission Is An Attitude. It is not disrespectful to express concerns, opinions, feelings, etc and have a conversation about it, not at all! Just remember that you're not his mother and do it w/ the attitude that ultimately you expect him to take responsibility for your family, therefore he has the ultimate veto power too. There's not many husbands that are gonna disregard that attitude! That's the beauty of God's plan: it works. Now, on to some practicality. I can ramble on and on about theory for 31 days til I'm blue in the face, but if I can't put shoe leather to it, I should have shut up long ago! What are some important areas/ways to show respect? I'd love if you'd share some w/ me :) (comment, FB, email...) Now, shoe leather coming right up!
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
It was a crazy week- 2 funerals at church, 2 different meals to help with food, and company coming for the weekend. I'd been wanting for weeks to go shopping for some things besides groceries, but it never seemed to work out. I finally asked straight up ( that's another post) and Chris said pick me up at noon and I'll take the afternoon off! (Wow. Love this man.) We're almost back home after a lovely time and it hits me: I didn't get the stuff to make my salad for supper before visitation the next day!! I was just sick! Now, my husband loves to think outside of the box. He said, "Call the lady in charge and see if they're having salad at the funeral. Maybe you could trade with the person making it for the funeral and I could bring your stuff home from work." (Seriously, could you even follow that?) I said no way am I calling the lady in charge! That's ridiculous! They probably aren't even having salad at the funeral and besides, it's too complicated to even explain! No. They have enough hassle planning all these meals without that yet! As I said the words, I knew I was wrong. I knew I should just pick up the phone and call, but Oh! How I didn't want to! #1. I absolutely hate making phone calls and #2. I felt too stupid to explain my dumb mistake! I tried to explain why I didn't want to all the while knowing I should just do it. Chris said fine, drag your kids to town in the cold in the morning! Finally I gritted my teeth and dialed the number. No one answered! So, we went to bed with me planning to go to town in the morning. After Chris leaves for work I get a text, "Um, I guess your keys are here at the shop..." O.my.word. So now in order to do it my way I'll have to borrow a vehicle!! So...I pick up the phone again, and the lady in charge answers, and I swallow my pride and explain my predicament. And she said? You'll never guess. "You know what, we had nearly a whole bowl of salad left over from another meal that needs to be used, just forget about your salad!" And just like that it was taken care of! A very humble me tells the story to my husband, and an even humbler me says, "I'm sorry. I wouldn't have had to act like you were crazy. I could have nicely explained why I didn't want to call and not been disrespectful!" Thankfully, I have a very forgiving husband!
Monday, January 27, 2014
It goes without saying, of course, that doing things right the first time is the best way. None of us like people who treat "I'm Sorry" like an over used excuse to mess up! But that's not really what I meant when I said "Perfection is not the Requirement". One of you asked "Is there hope? Do we ever get it?" And I smiled because I so know that feeling! Here's my point- if my main focus is to get to the place where I never do anything disrespectful, I'm in for a lot of frustration and discouragement! I really think submission is more of an attitude, a position of the heart, if you will. Let's face it: we're human! Even after 8 yrs on this journey, I'm still going to have "Salad Stories"! But, if my heart has learned to quickly turn to the position of submission, the story is going to end differently than it would otherwise. Which means I HAVE learned and I'm not a failure! Wait, didn't I tell you the Salad Story? Well, it happened right in the middle of all this going on and on about submission.........
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Chris thanked me more than once that year, even bestowing upon me the title of: "Mrs Respect and Submission" :) Still, I felt like a failure because I struggled and struggled! Here's what I've finally realized...remember how one of Chris' biggest issues was my lack of concern about submission? I was saying "I know this stuff." "I didn't mean it that way at all!" "Submission isn't as big a problem as you're making it!" I was refusing to accept the fact that Submission is a command and I wasn't obeying it! When I acknowledged that, yes, submission is a command and I want to obey God - When I began to Long to be that wife that "Got It" and began paying attention to whether or not I was living it out- *I basically took care of that issue!!* Chris didn't expect me to never remind him about the important phone call or question his fathering decisions or talk too long when he was ready to go. He didn't expect me to be perfect. What he did want, was for me to notice and be concerned and change when I messed up!
A job offer in OH seemed like the open door we were looking for when financial pressures and lack of work were sending us to our knees wondering, what next? Moving on faith with no house at the other end didn't seem like such an open door though, not to me anyway! It wasn't what the man in charge would have chosen either, but it seemed like the only way. That was one of the hardest years of my life and I was thankful for every lesson God had taught me on submission in preparation! I wanted so much to be like Sarah -there's no record, anyway, that she struggled w/ Abraham's decision to go out not knowing whither he went- but I found myself failing over and over. One of the things Genevieve said in her book was that God is sovereign. He can speak to my husband any way, any time, anywhere He wants to. It doesn't have to measure up to my desires! I must keep in mind it's the Lord who is really leading through my husband. I began to realize something in that year of longing to do it right and so often failing.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Sometimes, along this "journey", I've gotten quite side tracked and that yearning to "be that wife who Gets It" has fallen by the way side. Every so often, it seems, something has come along to re-light the flame! Like 2009-2010 when job/church/relationship stress drove me back to the Love and Respect book. I so wanted to learn to be the wife who supported her husband first, instead of what others thought and said! I sat down and wrote out a list of all the things in 6 catagories that I respected about my man. And I quietly worked at showing that respect. It was so rewarding to have him say one day, "I know you're doing something!" And then there was 2011 when we moved to Ohio. Right in the middle of renewed struggles on the subject, the book "Daughters of Sarah" by Genevieve M. White was practically dropped in my lap. Such a small, plain little book, but Oh! So full of tidbits that I needed! She drove home again the fact that submission was all about obeying Him. It couldn't have come at a better time...
The "Batter Analogy" is so true. When everything's said and done, I don't want to have any part of the responsibility of being in charge! Be held accountable for how the decisions for our family pan out? Uh, no thanks! Be the person who everyone looks to to pick up the pieces when a wrong decision was made? No way! The fact is, if I don't want the responsibility, it will absolutely not work for me to try to assume the authority. If I want my husband to be responsible for our family, than I have Got to hand over the authority too. It doesn't work for two people to hang on to the bat! But, but, but...what if he doesn't get us to church on time? What if he always wants to leave right afterward? What if he never offers to volunteer help? What if his demands on our children seem unreasonable.... If I don't do something, who will?! What am I for anyway, to be a silent, sweetly smiling shadow? If so, forget it! I can't tell you how many times I've thrown in the towel and said, "All I do is mess up! Why try??!"
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
"So, if I am "stuck" w/ the responsibility of batting for my team, is it totally unreasonable for me to kindly ask that nobody touch the bat while I swing? And, if I strike out, so be it. Throw spitballs. Repeat mean little rhymes you've heard before. Give me all the guff you wish. (I doubt it will help the situation) But, if you are hanging onto the bat when I strike out, I don't want to hear a peep! Yes, yes, I know. The wives are there to give "advice" "intuition" and help him swing the bat in a better manner, so he won't strike out. But I ask once more, which is easier, telling someone how to hit the ball? Or picking up the bat and hitting? The wife has nothing to lose! If the ball smacks him in his face, he is still the one w/ the mangled face, not her. I have yet to see a wife take the blame for the mess when a husband, on her advice, made a decision and paid for it dearly. (There may be one out there, but I haven't met her.) He was still the one swinging the bat, therefore the one making the out."
So often I've found myself chafing at the "unfairness" of it all. In answer to that my wise husband once said: "Which is easier-to be obedient to an authority, or to be the authority responsible for the obedience of those under him? I personally prefer being responsible for good ole me! That's easy. (Compared to trying to manage my feelings, my wife's feelings, and the feelings of 5 other little persons who run around under my roof. Then, at the same time, laying down feeling and making decisions based on what is right and wrong w/o letting my emotions or feelings play into those decisions!) My point is, I DIDN'T ask for this job. And I would GLADLY resign! Watch how many men actually do resign and let their wives run the show and you will understand that I am, indeed, speaking the truth. The problem for me is that my resignation would not be accepted by the one who gave the responsibility to me. Abdicating is not an option, so what am I to do? I am "stuck" w/ the responsibility of batting for my team..."
Monday, January 20, 2014
It's not for nothing that Chris teases his book on marriage will be titled, "My Wife Wants Me To Lead But I Can't Run Fast Enough To Get In Front Of Her"! :) And, lo and behold, quiet, timid people struggle w/ this too! I learned early on that repeated reminders- "Did you call so and so?" "Have you still not called so and so?" (no matter how subtle) "Oh yeah, you were supposed to call so and so!" did not make for peace and harmony! Nor did 100 questions- "What time shall we leave?" "How long do you think it will take to get there?" "Don't you think we should get going?" Being timid and quiet only meant that I was more manipulative in my means of controling. There are a lot more ways to control than just brashly "wearing the pants"! Volunteering my husband's services because I thought he should help, not requiring my children to play quietly even though I knew Daddy wanted it that way, correcting him in public when a correction was really not vital... So many "subtle" little ways to wiggle in some control!
Sunday, January 19, 2014
It's another Sunday morning... I'm in the middle of the get-ready-get-out-the-door-scramble and time is disappearing faster than dressed people are appearing, and Chris says, "Lay their clothes out and I'll get children dressed." Wonderful. I continue flying around, combing hair, clearing up breakfast, feeding baby...and the clock ticks mercilessly onward while the tension in me rises. "Doesn't he see the time? Why doesn't he get them dressed?" I scurry faster. Finally the tension reaches breaking point and I either, A) Grab the clothes and dress the girls myself with my mouth set in a firm line or, B) Say in exasperated tone, "Do you know what time it is?!" Either way, it's bound to start the day on a deteriorating path and I've done it again! When will I learn to keep my mouth shut? Did you know that if you want the men to lead, you have to LET them? Novel idea, hu? Did you know trying to control everything is NOT letting them? Well, but see, I want us to get to church on time so what choice do I have?
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Let's suppose it's after church...As was often the case, Chris was ready to go before I would have been. He informed me, "Let's go," and then went to round up children. I proceeded to finish the conversation I was in the middle of-after all, I wouldn't want to be rude! By the time I reached the vehicle, I knew way too much time had elapsed and the man was not happy with me. You see, he had explained that when I didn't come right away it felt disrespectful, like I cared more about whoever/whatever held me up than I did about him. This frustrated me! It wasn't like I had set out to be disrespectful-I was only finishing up my conversation. Besides, (as if this settled the matter), "I didn't mean it that way at all!" I may as well have said, "How stupid that that felt disrespectful! I didn't even mean it that way." Thus I disrespected even his feelings of disrespect! In so many situations all I could focus on was "The reason I did what I did!" instead of my first thought being, "How did that make him feel?"
Friday, January 17, 2014
I used to keep a journal of sorts, more of a ranting space than anything else, but call it what you want. I cringe reading back through some of those long ago pages! Eggerich's book talks about the "crazy cycle" and that's sure what those pages sound like! I complained about Chris' long hours and longed for him to be home. I whined about him playing games on the computer and not doing more around the house. I fussed because his work hours meant we couldn't always be at church activities and "what would people think?!" Is it any wonder nothing changed on his side and he continued to feel disrespected? Obeying God's commands for marriage requires selflessness, and to be honest, I think the men do a much better job at it than we women! What else makes a man go to work day after day with rare to zero thanks from his wife for it? Yes, I said I wanted to be submissive, but most of the time I really didn't get it. I had my excuses, one especially that came up often. An excuse that, itself, was disrespectful.....
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Chris said, "For example: you *expect* my help. You can't accept that I feel the children and house are primarily your responsibility even when I'm home. Not that I don't want to help, or won't help if asked, but it's obvious you *expect* me to help - if you ask and I don't help, you get bent!" You guessed it. I immediately got bent! "How can you think it's ok to sit around the house and not have any help expected out of you?! Sure if you're busy...blah blah blah...but they're your children too..." and so forth. And Chris said? "Just forget it." That didn't make me happy! And then, God did the most wonderful thing. Suddenly the light bulb went off! I was believing the myth that if Chris would lead, I would submit. Yet as soon as he showed me where I could do better, I basically said, "Are you crazy? That's no way to lead!" But the command was not, "Except if he asks things you think are ridiculous." No, God just commanded me to submit! So I swallowed my protests and said, "Ok, I will do that. I'll try!"
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I just want you all to know that I blew a prime opportunity to respect my man last night, and I do mean blew it. To pieces. SIGH Could somebody tell me again why I'm writing this? Oh yeah, cause I'm supposed to. Goody. So, anyway, back to my story... If only you could read books or listen to sermons and then magically turn it all into practical shoe leather! In an effort to be practical, I began writing down instances when God reminded me to be respectful and also the times when I realized I had failed. I already knew some of the things Chris felt were disrespectful: Nagging about things I wanted him to do, Correcting him in public, Disagreeing in front of our children, to name a few. He also said that one of his biggest deals was my lack of concern about submitting. And what did that mean? He explained that I *said* I wanted to submit, but as soon as it was something I didn't want to do or didn't think I should have to do, I just didn't do it! I asked for a specific example...look out when you ask that!
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I realize that not all husbands/authorities are going to be Christians. I've heard the arguments: "What if they're abusive?" "What if they ask you to do things that are wrong?" I don't think there's a "blanket" answer that covers it all, every situation is different. However, I believe that unless your authority is asking you to sin, the command to submit remains. I know it would not be easy! I know someone personally who chose to do this with her unfaithful husband. It is no longer about her trying to "change" her husband but about her obeying God. It has given her the opportunity to step back and allow God to work! That doesn't mean her husband has become a Christian, he hasn't. But it has done something for their relationship that I don't think could have happened otherwise. God set it up so that true submission triggers love and care from a man. His ways work whether we understand or not! Obedience to Him is the most important. Unless someone has questions or thoughts to share I'll leave it at that...
Monday, January 13, 2014
I used to rebel at the whole unfairness of the submission issue. (Ok. I still do too often!) "Just because I'm a woman I have to do whatever you say just because you're a man?! That's just wrong! So it's just all about the man? Humph." What I realized after reading the book Love and Respect was that no, it's not all about the man. It's not all about the woman either. Nor is it half about the man and half about the woman. *It's only about Obeying God!!* This gave the issue a whole different perspective for me! Did I say I was a Christian? Yes. Did I love my Lord? Of course! And what did Jesus say? "If ye love me, keep My commandments." Is submission a command? Well, yes. So it was all about obeying Him! Talk about liberation!! It really had nothing to do with the men -what they did, or didn't do. How they led or didn't lead. If they loved or not- it was really an issue between me and God! But there still remained the small matter of, How do you do it? What does it actually look like on a day to day basis?
Sunday, January 12, 2014
If I were to choose the single most important truth I learned from that book, it would be this: Respect is a command, not something that's earned. We truly have bought into the myth that if men do their job as leaders, women will want to follow! Let me get this straight from the beginning: Men have their own command to love their wives and lead their families. I know that. I know God's plan is for both men and women to obey the commands He gave them. But, guess what? Not everybody's going to obey! And, guess what else? That's beside the point! God never said anywhere, "Husbands love your wives...except when they're moody and grouchy and unloveable." Nor did He say, "Wives submit to your husbands...except if he makes bad decisions and doesn't take leadership like he should." He only said: Do It. We accept the husband's command almost w/ a grin, "Of course even when she's grouchy, that's when she needs it most!" But be honest, what about the wife's command? "Of course, that's when he needs it most!" Really?
Saturday, January 11, 2014
I'm not sure how long after this it was that my sister mentioned a book she was reading. Maybe a few months? At any rate, she mentioned it and my interest was piqued! I took some of my precious quilting money and ordered the book. When it arrived, I spent hours poring over it's pages reading, underlining, re-reading. Page after page was an eye opening revelation! It all made so much sense and sounded so much like what Chris had been saying for years! I wanted him to read it and give his input so bad, I got blank tapes and recorded the whole book for him to listen to! (I know, crazy) :) I don't think his excitement matched mine, but he did agree the book was right on track. The book was Love And Respect (Ahh! There's my more catchy and intruiging word...) by Emerson Eggerichs. I wish every woman everywhere would read it and take it's message to heart! Or maybe it was just me. Maybe the message came at just the right time, when the flame had been lit and the desire was there to grasp truth. I'm not sure...
Thursday, January 9, 2014
A while back I came across the notebook I used when I sat down w/ pen in hand and looked up words and definitions that long ago day. January 4, 2006 the page reads, above scrawling words, definitions and thoughts. I wouldn't really say that I learned so very much that day, but a flame was lit. Slowly and steadily a burning desire began to grow in my heart, a yearning desire to Really Get it! I longed to be the wife who's husband could proudly say, "This is my wife, she Gets It!" I now admitted in my head that Chris had a valid point to his arguments, but how to put that knowledge into every day shoe leather felt impossible! How do you begin to do something you hardly even understand? How do you change a mindset you didn't even realize you had? I felt completely at loss but the flame had been lit! So began a Journey. A Journey I've loved and hated by turns! A Journey of one step forward, two steps back...a Journey of despair and hope...a Journey of failure and rewards. A Journey I'm still on 8 years later!
And so it went between us- Mother's Day would arrive, and Chris would fuss, "Oh, sure! Let's have the men cook for the women! But have you ever heard of having the women go to work one day for the men??" And I would roll my eyes and say, "Oh, come on! Don't be ridiculous!" Or Chris would say, "Listen to a wedding sermon. They preach at the men to 'Be the leader they should be and women will WANT to follow.' What kind of ridiculous myth is that? Women are left thinking they only need to follow if men are doing it right!" And I would shake my head and try to say it wasn't as bad as he made it. Deep down I think I was afraid to admit he had a point. After all, if I agreed w/ him I might have some changes to make, and who likes to change? Why couldn't he just forget it and be like everyone else? One day he told me, "Look, why don't you look up the verses in Eph 5 and do a word study. See if you honestly think your view of submission is correct." I decided to take up the challenge and see what I would find...
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
I was raised in a small, Mennonite church in the hills of AR. It was a sheltered life, in many ways, far from the world's views of feminism and women's rights! I was taught from little up that men should "wear the pants" and women must possess a "meek and quiet spirit". The closest I knew to controversy on the subject was some discussion over what exactly it means for women to "keep silence" in the church. I was a quiet, timid individual by nature and I didn't enjoy making decisions or being in charge. Thus the whole Submission issue was never really much of an issue with me! The men were supposed to be the leaders and I didn't like to be in charge anyway, so big deal! Or so I thought, anyway. Until I married a man who began challenging me on the issue. A man who insisted, timid or not, I didn't get it! According to him, Mennonites were far from sheltered from the controversy. He sited Wedding and Mother's Day sermons where men were thoroughly trounced and women praised and flattered! This was news to me!
Monday, January 6, 2014
I don't know if you're like me or not, but what happened next is very typical Me! After all the stress and hours spent and then laying the whole thing aside for a month, as the end of October came and I pulled the project back out to finish, all the excitement had vanished. All those words I had labored over? Rubbish. I just couldn't re-visit the passion I'd felt earlier! Maybe, I decided, the whole deal was just for me -to show me some things in my own life. Maybe I'd heard wrong in the first place! Or maybe I was too proud, had thought I was big stuff, and needed a "fall". Whatever the case, I gave it up. There followed days of empty, wordlessness and thus I found myself on that quiet drive the day before New Years asking the question and receiving the answer. So, what was this mysterious subject? I'd like to give it a fancy name, something catchy and intruiging. I'd like to make it sound exciting and fun. But, to be honest, it's not a popular subject- especially not with women. It's called Submission.#e
How Cruise Lines Fill All Those Unsold Cabins?
(HINT: You will want to book a cruise after you read this...)
How Cruise Lines Fill All Those Unsold Cabins?
(HINT: You will want to book a cruise after you read this...)
Sunday, January 5, 2014
I have long chafed at this little, pretend blog! I only have internet access from my phone, so blogging means writing concise posts that are so many characters in length and the ability to post 1 picture w/ a post. It's harder than you might think to condense your thoughts into a tiny post that actually says something! I determined that for this writing project I would do it different. I would type up my posts on the laptop ahead of time, and at the beginning of October go to the library and set them up to post automatically through out the month. I planned a guest blogger for one post and, best of all, I decided to have a giveaway! A giveaway always attracts people and makes things more interesting and fun! Yes, I had big ideas and I set to work to accomplish them. I spent hours getting my thoughts lined up and turning them into typed words. I wrote and re-wrote and stressed! I just didn't have the time it took for this project! October came, and I wasn't ready, so I pushed the deadline off to November.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
I spent October 2012 doing something I'd never attempted before - writing for 31 days on one subject. It was a challenging, humbling, stretching month! I enjoyed the focus it required to string jumbled thoughts into an orderly sequence and the euphoria of accomplishing a goal. I subconsciously planned to do it again in 2013 and as the months passed by, I began to hear the same topic being brought to the front of my mind. I wasn't necessarily thrilled w/ what I heard. In fact, I pushed the idea away repeatedly! The subject was one close to my heart, yes. But not something I wanted to expound on! It was too controversial and touchy. Too over used and worn out. I would shrug off the idea but the next thing I knew, I would be thinking about it again! Well, I finally gave in to the voice, and as October 2013 approached, I began to make big plans! After all, this was an area the Lord and I had worked long and hard on in my life and if I was going to do this, I was going to do it Good! And so my plans grew.....
Thursday, January 2, 2014
It was a rare, silent, 'all alone w/ my thoughts' drive. I was pondering my emptiness and lack of words, contemplating this little blog and what my point is here anyway? "I accepted that writing is a gift I am supposed to use, God. What do you want me to write?" And quickly and promptly came the answer, "I already told you and you didn't do it." It wasn't an accusing, angry voice, just gentle and matter of fact, and my eyes widened and all I could say was, "Oh!" Because I knew exactly what he meant. It's a New Year, a new, blank slate. I feel like my soul has been in the flat lands lately. Just a plain, dry, mechanical existence. Not down low-for sure not up high- just mediocre and flat, like Pepsi who's ice melted long ago! If I chose a word for 2014 I think it would simply be MORE - I want to be More, do More, try More, accomplish More...in so many areas of my life: Mom, Wife, Friend, King's Daughter! So, maybe a good start to this year would be to write what He told me to write many, many months ago...