"A man's heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Wife, Happy Life...may not be exactly what you are thinking!

"She brings him good and not harm ALL the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12

Here is a little background on my life:
I grew up in an alcoholic family, my mom divorced when I was 7 and remarried when I was about 9. Many of you know what that is like and although many of the memories I have of that time in my life are not pleasant (Don't get me wrong...I have many wonderful memories as well), I believe God had a plan and He has used those years for the good of my life now.
When I was about 12, our family experienced one of those "revival" type turn arounds! We all started going to church, my mom pulled us from public school and we as a family started seeking God.

One thing I am so thankful for was that God led my mom to speak to me about abstinence and saving myself for marriage. Resources back then were not like they are nowadays and being a baby christian, she did her best in training us to stay pure.

As a teen, I developed the "Fake it till ya make it" mentality, and it has served me well. I took what my mom had taught me to heart and by the grace of God, my wedding night I was able to give my husband a very special gift. However, I must admit that it was purely the "act of intimacy" that I had saved. My heart was not pure. I was very vain, and I cared very much what people thought of me in my teen years. Flirting and a few kisses with boyfriends were not uncommon. I dressed to impress and used my emotions to manipulate those around me. I never had issues with dressing seductively, but I dressed to gain attention...sometimes even wearing bowling shoes to do so ;) Oh man, the things I thought were "cool" back then...ugh, how embarrassing to look back!
Being married at 18, I carried many of those things with me into my marriage. For a time I even looked down on my husband, thinking I was so obedient to God and saved everything for him only to be returned with having to live with "his" baggage. Many years I have struggled with wanting to control my husband and to make sure all those around me loved and adored me...not giving much thought as to how God would have me act. Using that manipulation and emotional control I had become so good at.
Well, I quickly learned that it was not working...bummer! And had to resort to plan B, which was "Fake it till ya make it." I knew what scripture said about how we are to come under our husbands, how we are to bring them honor and respect him and even lead others to do the same toward him.
So, I began a very long journey with the Father.
My first step was to bite my tongue...sometimes literally. I began to only give my opinion when asked, and even when asked, I had to take every thought captive before I spoke. Making sure that there was no condescending tone nor judgmental feelings in the words that came out of my mouth. Eventually I began to see what a good man I had married. He is so wise and even though many of our views are so vastly different, God had given him the ability to make good choices and to lead our family. I was just smothering him not allowing him to bloom because I thought I could do it better. I was learning true submission and that is not the "lay down and die" version, it is the joyfully sacrificing and surrendering to the man God had prepared to be my head.
Next, I smiled...all the time. I practiced everywhere I went, in every situation. I have been asked so many times, "Why are you smiling?" or "What's so funny?" If only I would have answered each time with, "Because God told me to!" What a testimony that would be. When he came home from work, no matter the day I was having, you better believe he would see me smiling when he walked in that door...even if the words, "IF YOU KIDS DON'T KNOCK IT OFF, I'M GONNA...!"...the minute that front door opened, I was smiling! Hey, I did warn you that I was faking it, right? Well, I began to see his demeanor change. He liked being home. He was able to leave the worries from the day at work and come home to a smiling wife, excited children, a good meal and a warm bed. This soon became my heart...I was starting to feel it, and even though sometimes I would love to let him in on how horrible my day was, God always gave me the strength to get through the next one without burdening my husband with the one I had just had.
I found myself gradually not faking it, I was making it! God was rewarding my efforts! It wasn't just my family that was experiencing the great joy from my not so happily given obedience, but I was experiencing that joy!!
Finally, with all the changes happening in my heart, it couldn't help but overflow in every area of my life. I was seeing everything in a new light. How we dress, what we teach our children, what we eat...I mean everything. I must explain that I have inherited the "extreme gene" from my mama! I wanted to share all these wonderful ideas with my husband only to be shot down with his practical thoughts or his "ohs" an "uh hums" I wanted him to be excited too!!
Then God revealed to me something very profound. Just as he had given my husband the needed gifts and abilities to put food on our table, a roof over our head and to be the head of our home, he had given me very unique gifts and abilities to manage the happenings in our home. I began to implement the things God put on my heart, even though I was a little sad that I was the only one excited. I learned something new in this too...actually, I learned a few new things. That unity is not the discussing every single topic that arises within a family or marriage, that can often even cause disunity. It is both parties acting in obedience to the Lord and using the gifts He has given them to create a unified relationship. When we are both reaching for the same common end result, no matter how we go about it individually, we are creating unity. I learned that my husband's silence is his approval. He has no problem with speaking out when he does not agree with something I am doing, and that provides the perfect opportunity for me to practice that "true submission" I have learned. I'm still working on adding the word "graceful" to true submission ;) I also learned that God has blessed me 6 children that will get excited with me...sometimes! Which leads me to my scripture verse again;

"She brings him good, not harm, ALL the days of her life."

About 9 years into our marriage I noticed the word "ALL" in that verse and just recently, my mom gave me a CD with that being the first thing out of the speaker's mouth.

I hate to admit that I did not bring Phil good all the days of my life, but as hard as it has been learning to do good, it has given me great wisdom to be passed on down to my daughters. Not just my daughters, but my sons as well. Oh that my sons would seek this kind of woman and strive to become men worthy of this kind of woman would bring such joy to my heart.
My daughter, Gabrielle (age 10), has chosen to save her first kiss for her wedding day. What a reward to me from my Father! Thank God, he has given me wisdom to train her that it is not just the kiss she is to save, it is a pure heart behind the kiss that God sees. She is called to do her husband good ALL the days of her life...even at 10 years old. Also, the knowledge that even when we fail, He is merciful and gracious, and "all things He works together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!"

Every day I feel so blessed that God gave me such a wonderful man to serve. God has changed my heart from one that resented and disrespected my husband to one that joyfully respects his and seeks just to see him smile! For those of you who don't know him, his smiles are rare, but when they occur...they are GLORIOUS!!

Blessings to all of you and we are all in it together!


Shannon said...

Beautifully written! Thanks for sharing this.... for those of us who probably need to read it everyday! LOL!

Suanna said...

WOW!! Well put. Thank you for being so open.

Too Many Kids In The Bathtub said...

You are so sweet! Truly this is your area of ministry! You are such a shining example for what a happy wife looks like! What a wonderful example to your children!

PS. I have that extreme gene too! :) That is why I enjoyed your mom so much! I remember when we were in the Bookstore and we both glanced at a book about the Amish. We simultaneouslu said how much we love reading about the Amish! She is so sweet! You too!

Tiara said...

mmm..... Just beautiful!