One of my favorite things about doing ministry is the stellar people that I meet. This gal is one of them. I love the title of her blog: Peaceful Wife. The concept of peace is one that eludes many of us, but finding our identity in Christ impacts that dramatically. J There’s volumes of info on her blog. J Dare you to subscribe! Here’s a little info about her… Peacefulwife (April Cassidy) is now a very happily married mother of two and part time pharmacist. She and her husband, Greg, will be celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary on May 28, 2013! April always thought she was the BEST Christian wife ever. She spent up to 4 hours in prayer many days, read her Bible daily, wanted to be close to God, loved going to church, thrived in ministering to others, wanted to give to the poor and needy, was friendly, outgoing and enjoyed counseling her patients in the pharmacy and encouraging them.
In December of 2008, God suddenly opened April’s eyes to her serious lack of respect for her husband and to her controlling behavior. She had been completely blind to both all those first 14.5 years of her marriage. God radically transformed April over those past few years – renovating her heart, mind and soul. He brought her into increasing conformity with the mind and heart of Christ – and began teaching her to walk in obedience to His Word. Then God began to change her husband. Greg stepped up and slowly became a strong, godly leader in their home – the man April always knew he could and should be. It was not her negativity that God would use to inspire him, it was when she stopped the criticizing, blaming, lecturing, bossing and complaining and began to demonstrate real faith, admiration, trust, respect and cooperation with Greg’s leadership that God began to heal Greg and their wounded marriage.
Two years ago, Greg asked April to share what God had shown her with other wives. She is still a work in progress. But now, instead of being overwhelmed, full of anxiety, fear and loneliness most days – she walks in God’s peace and joy in her marriage. Now, Christ is truly Lord of her life – not herself. That is TOTALLY a God thing, not an April thing. She must still keep her eyes on Christ – only He can give her the power she needs to live in obedience and holiness. She knows she can do nothing good on her own. His grace and power go beyond all that we could hope, ask for or imagine!
I have discovered something truly mind-blowing.
My level of respect for my husband has everything to do with my level of respect for Christ and nothing really to do with what my husband is or is not doing.
Isn’t that just crazy!?!?
It is so easy to think, “If only I had a more godly, loving, selfless, Christlike husband, I would be a more godly wife!”
The truth is that whether I am a godly wife or not has nothing to do with my husband. It is about my intimacy with Christ and it is about what is controlling my life – my sinful nature or the Holy Spirit.
WHEN MY SINFUL NATURE IS IN CONTROL MY MARRIAGE IS MARKED BY (most of these are from Galatians 5:19-21):
- idolatry (putting other things/people/myself/my feelings above Christ in my heart)
- pride – thinking I know best and I am always right
- hatred towards my husband
- unforgiveness and bitterness towards my husband
- jealousy of my husband spending time at work or with friends or on hobbies or ministry
- fits of rage towards my husband
- selfish ambition – my desire to be in control of the marriage and make all the decisions
- gossip about my husband
- sexual immorality – imagining being with another man who would be so much “better” for me
- arguing/dissensions/contentiousness with my husband
- lack of gratitude
WHEN GOD’S SPIRIT IS IN CONTROL, I WILL HAVE ALL OF THESE THINGS IN INCREASING MEASURE EVERY DAY (Galatians 5:22-23)
- love (the I Corinthians 13:4-8 kind) regardless of my feelings or my husband’s actions
- joy in Christ no matter what my circumstances
- real, supernatural, unshakable peace that goes on and on
- patience with others, with God, with circumstances
- kindness even when others treat me badly
- goodness even when others give me evil. I will have the power to overcome evil with good and pray for those who mistreat me.
- faithfulness to God and to my husband
- gentleness towards my husband and others even when I don’t get my way, even when they are harsh with me
- self-control with my thoughts, my words, my tone of voice, my facial expressions
When things don’t go my way, or I feel unloved – what comes out of my mouth comes from deep inside my heart. My husband can’t make me respect or not respect him. I am respectful or disrespectful when what was already in my heart comes gushing out. And, it turns out, I would treat any husband the same way I treat my husband right now! That is what is inside of me – that is what I have to give.
THE WAY I RESPECT OR DON’T RESPECT MY HUSBAND IS A HUGE INDICATOR OF MY LEVEL OF RESPECT FOR GOD.
Now I know that when I was so disrespectful towards my husband (even though it was unintentional), I was treating God the exact same way. When I was trying to control my husband, I was also trying to control God.
Our relationship with Jesus parallels our relationship with our husbands.
- If a wife respects Jesus and honors His Lordship and leadership in her life – she will also seek to respect her husband and honor his God-given leadership in her life.
- If a wife disrespects and tries to control God – she will also disrespect and try to control her husband.
SOME WAYS THAT I DISRESPECTED GOD AND MY HUSBAND:
- questioned his authority
- questioned his decisions
- tried to rush ahead or hurry his timing
- got tired of waiting on him and decided to take things into my own hands
- decided I knew better than he did and I should be in charge myself
- ignored his words and wisdom
- criticized him – to his face and to others
- put other things/people above him in my heart
- undermined his authority to his children
- had an ungrateful heart
- complained and argued a lot
- worried and freaked out a lot, didn’t trust that he could handle things without my intervention
- only trusted myself, didn’t trust him
My disrespect had nothing to do with what my husband was or was not doing – and it had everything to do with the level of my intimacy with Christ, my reverence for Him and my obedience to Him.
HOW DO I GIVE UP MY SINFUL NATURE AND LET GOD CONTROL ME?
The way to have God’s Spirit in control of my life is to be willing to let God show me all of the things in my soul that offend Him. I am willing to lay very still on the spiritual operating table while God searches my heart with the blazing light of His Word and removes everything that has gangrene in it that would destroy me. This part is PAINFUL! But so worth it!
Then I am willing to agree with God that whatever He wants to remove from my heart needs to go. I let Him be in charge of my life, not me! I am willing to die to my old sinful self. Dying to self HURTS. But it is very necessary to live for Christ! I lay down my wisdom, my plans, my dreams, my desires, my goals, my vision, my sinfulness, my weakness, all that I have and all that I am and then I pick up Jesus’ wisdom, His plans, His dreams, His life, His righteousness, His holiness and His goals. My life begins to be all about Jesus. I begin to seek Him and want to know Him more and more. And I begin to trust Him and seek His greatest glory in my life – no matter what the cost is to myself.
When He empowers me to obey Him and to be full of His Spirit – I begin to have the peace and joy and abundant life Jesus promises to those who love and follow Him. Once I tasted the high of being close to Him and full of His Spirit- I realized that He alone can satisfy my soul. And I just want more and more of Him. Now I know that with Him – I can do anything! And without Him, I can do nothing.
IT ALL STARTS HERE
Because I love Jesus with all my heart and I know how much He has done for me – I desire to do what He wants me to do much more than what I want to do. “Not my will, but Yours be done, Lord!” I completely submit myself to Jesus as my Lord. I honor Him. I praise Him in my heart all day. I want to do whatever He wants me to do – and it is pure joy to obey Him.
From this place of total oneness with Christ, I begin to learn to honor my husband’s God-given leadership in our marriage and to respect him in spite of his imperfections. I don’t respect my husband because he deserves it – but because God asks me to and I long to please my Lord.
This is the path to the greatest intimacy with God and the greatest intimacy in my marriage.
Dare you to take inventory of where you really are in this department today.
Glad you are here!