I was working at a preschool on Friday. It was lunch time, and I decided to take a few moments to check messages and emails.
My eyes scanned the usual variety, and then they fell upon a text message from my husband. As I’ve come to appreciate over this almost-16-years-of-marriage-thing, we’ve grown to know each other well. We recognize our differences, know where and when they attract or repel, we respect how we process (me inwardly, he outwardly), and we hold time with each other intently and fiercely.
And in this moment of screen-to-screen interface, I recall my last message of raw honesty, using words that have a meaning know only between us. And I see his response. He acknowledges my statement, in essence, my wiring, and in complete love he writes this:
Thank you for letting me lead.
And my breathe catches in the back of my throat, and my emotions start there accent from the pit of my stomach and quickly rise to the top of my head, threatening to release through my tear ducts, and anything that I had planned to do next was not important. And I sat stunned at my response. Why in the world did that hit my soul?
And as quickly as my mind could formulate those words, it was as though a visual curtain to my past was flung open, and I saw, and I remembered.
There was a time when I wanted to lead, in everything. At the beginning of our marriage, I struggled, on many levels. Aaron and I dated long distance for 4 years while I was away at college. I had this wild expectation that when we were married, I could have all the time in the world with him. And after we married, he accepted a job that included travel, lots of it. And my family was still close, but I was too prideful to admit my pain. So I was alone, and I became bitter.
And then we moved from Cleveland to Columbus, and he still traveled, and now no family. So we got a dog. And I accepted a second job. And I learned to build my independence taller and taller, brick by brick. Then my husband accepted a retail job. This moved him closer to home, but busy on the weekends. And I kept building.
Time passed, we built our first home, and soon after we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the family. And with this beautiful bundle, my wall began to crack. That happens when one experiences sleep deprivation. Then I went back to teaching, then I started my masters program, then we find out baby #2 was on the way. No longer was my independent wall my own, bricks were falling daily.
And in my mess, I came to the end of myself, and when I reached the end of myself, I looked up. And my Jesus, the One I had placed in the tallest part of my tower, was now standing next to me… with a huge smile on His face. And He looked so happy to see me.
And I started to journey with Him. We started walking together, I began learning from His example, listening and reading, sometimes tripping and bleeding, but getting up and walking again. I started asking more questions, seeking, and thirsting like never before.
We were led to move to another house as baby #3 was on the way, and in so many ways, a new chapter was beginning. I began a quest to not only be a Godly Mom, but to first learn how to live as a Godly wife. I read, and I read, and I read. And I have to admit, some books may have gotten hurt during this project. It was foreign stuff, it was tough, it meant change… on MY behalf. And in the middle of it all, I had a choice to make. Trust and choose God’s way, or choose the way I had known through this me-centered world.
As with so many choices in life, I can decide, but often times it’s a process, a process of imperfect progress. And indeed, over time, I’ve come to realize and appreciate God’s model for marriage. I have come to practice submission (pausing for the Spirit’s interceding) over and over again, that it is (most days) a natural occurrence, now a habit if you will. I had to let Him “burn” the ugly part of my heart so that His internal light could shine through.
And I’m tellin ya, it’s SO MUCH BETTER HIS WAY. Peace reigns, love rules, tenacity endures to see open communication through, I show respect and encouragement, he displays love and encouragement. And I read that this is right.
Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
And now I know why I experienced a tsunami of emotions… I’m just so grateful for how my Jesus loves me and guides me. He did not leave me in my mess, indeed God sent me a Messiah, a Savior, a Rescuer. And the best part is, He sent Him for you too! This is anything but an exclusive club, it is all inclusive.
What’s holding you back today?