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Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV)

Submission is a tricky subject.  Not many of us like to talk about it.  When we are pressed, few of us are big fans.  We don’t like to acquiesce.

However, submission does not mean that we as wives hand over all responsibility, all of our thoughts and all of our insights over to our husbands.

In fact, we can be quite guilty of manipulation if we are not careful in this.

For instance, if a family has a large financial decision to make, both husband and wife can (and probably should) weigh in.  Both should be praying, talking it out, and bringing wisdom into the decision.

Sometimes, we as wives don’t want to have to take any responsibility. What if we do give our input and the situation turns out badly?  So we can be tempted to sit back and say, “I’ll just let you make that decision, honey,” knowing that means we can kind of put all the blame on him if things go south.

That is manipulation, not submission.

We are called to help our husbands (see Genesis 2), as well as submit to them.  That means we must bring all of our experience, knowledge, and insight into family decisions.  If we withhold help to keep ourselves safe, we are in the wrong.

This can play out in many areas.  House buying, finding a church home, making a major move, husband taking a job, decisions with the children, just to name a few.

Yes, our husband has the final word on these things (if we come to an impasse and we graciously support his decision, that is submission), but he needs our help and prayer and insight as well (that is being a helper suitable).

Husbands are responsible to lead their families.  They are accountable to God for their decisions.

But wives are also accountable for how they help their husbands.

So as women, we do not have a lesser role to play.

We must roll up our sleeves, get on our knees, be immersed in the Word, and help our husbands with all our might and with all our hearts.  This takes skill, wisdom and strength.  The kind of strength described in Proverbs, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”

This is no wishy-washy, “whatever you say, honey,” kind of womanhood.  This is gritty.  It is hard. But let’s remember Jesus’ promise to His people, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…” (John 14:26)

Let’s remember we also have a mighty Helper, who asks that we call on Him for help and grace- and also much forgiveness when we find ourselves not helping or manipulating!  So let’s ask our husbands how we can help them, and let’s ask our Helper to help us as we help our husbands.  (Now that’s a lot of helping going on!)

The epitaph over Israel’s grave was, “They Soon Forgot.”  C.J. Mahaney

Things have been going smoothly, and I slip into a sort of auto-pilot.  I think about praying, but instead quickly starting do-ing instead.  It seems as if I am able to get things done, things are skimming along without too much difficulty.  Why immerse myself in the truth of the gospel, anyway?  Sin just does not seem that strong right now.

But in the morning, out of habit, I picked up the Bible in spite of my spiritual lethargy.  A friend and I email each other every morning, letting each other know we have read the Word and spent time with the Savior.  I didn’t want to send her an “I skipped this morning” email, so I opened to the book of Judges and started reading.

Israel is already in trouble.  They just made it to the Promised Land.  God has promised to deliver their enemies into their hands.

Only they don’t fully trust His promise, don’t feel it is really necessary to completely obey Him, and they fail to drive all the enemy out of the land.  They were satisfied with a partial victory.

And their hearts were turned to false gods.

The author of Judges puts it this way, “[Israel] played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them.” (Judges 2:17)

The sad words continue, “And the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals….” (Judges 3:7)

Israel forgot.  They made it into the Promised Land, and they forgot the Lord.

And so I found myself starting a similar, dangerous pattern.  The idolatry of self-sufficiency had begun to creep into my heart.  I was not desperate enough.  I did not see my need as strong enough.  I imagined I was ok, that crying out to the Lord for help was not really necessary everyday.

I forgot.

This is why the gospel must be the center of every day.  As CJ Mahaney says in the sermon quoted above,  “No! days! off!”

The gospel tells me of my need.  It tells me I was helpless, lost in my sin, and God sent me a Helper, a Savior, a Rescuer.

The gospel tells me the only thing keeping me today is the unseen hand of God, going before me, and that He will be holding me secure until I see Him in glory.

The gospel reminds me I am a mess, undone, powerless against sin, apart from His grace.

When I am remembering and believing the gospel, my pretending self-sufficiency is done away with.

When I am remembering the gospel, I live in thankfulness and joy, for I know what I used to be and Who He is and what He has done for me.

But my strength does not depend primarily on my remembering, but much more so from Someone remembering me.

How thankful I am that God does not forget!  He tells Israel over and over that He will remember His covenant promises to them.

He sent Israel Judges to deliver them, and He sent us a Deliverer to rescue us from our sin, to cover over our forgetfulness.

This is how I don’t lose heart.  When the Spirit convicts me deeply of my sin, shows me how much like Israel I still am, I am tempted to live in my shame.

But He draws me in.

He reminds me that even though I forget, He always remembers His promises.

And not only that, but Jesus is our high priest who daily lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). He is always remembering us before the throne of God.

So I put my hope, not in my own ability to get it together and start remembering, but I put my hope in His remembering me.

Oh, keep my heart, Lord Jesus!  Instead of coasting along in the myth of self-sufficiency, may my heart sing,

I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

Favorite words from around and about.

I love the snappy writing style of the Femina girls.  Check out a recent favorite.

My husband surprised me and is sending me here in June!!!

After almost  a year thinking about it, I started this a few weeks ago.  I was very scared to start, and often feel like I.just.can’t.do.it, but with a lot (a lot!) of help and encouragement from my running husband, I am making s-l-o-w, but sure progress.

I’m always wondering how other wives work out what it means to be a home maker, so I loved reading this account about one woman’s work from across the globe.

Getting all the kids ready and out the door- without being crabby and cranky- can be such a hard thing for me at times!  You, too?  Here are some good words to help with that.

Looking for ways to show kindness to your kids?  Here’s some inspiration.

And because we all need as much encouragement as we can get in this mothering thing, a few more words about that.

From the time the first pregnancy test showed positive, great joy entered my new mother heart.  And then! Great fear came closely after, nipping at my joy like an untrained puppy, threatening to eat away at the joy until there was no more.

But right behind the fear, and far more powerful, comes the Spirit, quietly but firmly speaking Truth to my anxious heart.

Will this baby be healthy?  I’m searching the face of one giving the ultrasound, trying to read her expression.  Spina Bifida?  Cleft lip?  Heart problem?

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14

What if something happens to this little one whom I have not yet met but whom I love so much?  I have seen my friends go through the agony of losing a baby.  I don’t know if I can take that kind of pain.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book? Psalm 56:8

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

The battle does not end when my baby is born.

I watch a news story about a boy who drowned, and now pool dates become a battle ground in my heart.  The temptation to control my children’s every move is strong.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6

I hear about a little boy earnestly fighting leukemia, and feel my heart seize up when our own boy says he is tired or gets a bruise.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:16

Going to bed one night, listening to the wind blow, and photos of tornadoes flash through my mind.  What if this is more than a windy spring night… do we need to get the kids to a safe place?  Sleep alludes me.

And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:14

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2

My friend’s child rebels, throwing their family into deep pain and heartache.  What can I do to keep this happening to my family?  What books can I read, what pitfalls can I avoid, to make sure my children love Jesus and never turn away?

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 1 Tim. 1:7

My son outgrows his new jeans, before the clothing budget is replenished.  And it looks like most of them need braces.  And new shoes.  And summer clothes.

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:28-30

How sufficient is His Word!  If only I would believe.  Oh yes, Lord.  You are familiar with small faith.

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:24

That father?  That is me.  Help my unbelief, too, Lord!  Calm my anxious thoughts.  Reassure me of your promises.

O my God, in you I trust. Psalm 25:2

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