“Since we are moving closer to his job, my husband wants to switch to a church in the town where he teaches. The problem is, I have found “home” here. I have grown in my faith so much in the last year, and have made friends. My kids have made friends. I’m having a hard time . . .”
My new friend expressed wrestling with her painful decision. I could relate, as she faces moving away from one home and church family and into another, because of her husband’s job and wishes.
“He’s not forcing it, of course, he understands the struggle, but I know it would be the best thing.”
I tell her, “I’ve always been a staunch advocate for attending a church close to home – in order to be able to invite people to go with you, and so your children have friends in church and school.”
And I’m thinking to myself, “Girlfriend, I can so relate! The plight . . . and the joy – of the wife . . . ” (More on the joy later.)
If I would tell the truth about my zig-zag life, all of the moving and leaving and restarting I’ve been through, all the upheaval in our lives, all of the loss of home and place, has been due to my husband’s desires and decisions.
I jest, telling people that since we married, he knocked me on the head and has been dragging me by the hair ever since.
I tell him that too. He laughs.
Because he acknowledges the hint of truth in it.
Though dynamics differ in people’s personalities, interactions, and life experiences, there is a reality experienced by most Christian wives, of moving and/or giving things up based on our husband’s desires and decisions.
I can almost see the world wince reading this.
Our culture has been fighting for women’s rights — for years. There have been significant positive changes in the way women are esteemed and freed from antique and unjust constraints. But there has also been an enormous loss of cohesiveness in our society with the ideas of equality going far beyond what God intended.
God, the Master Designer, arranged things in order. In order for us to function in a thriving world.
And we fell.
The root of the fall is a proud, self-sufficient assumption of divine prerogatives—a rejection of God’s design for life. ~John Piper, Satan’s Design in Reversing Male Leadership
And we are always trying hard to get it right. We NEED to get it right. We Christians must get it right!
But too often, we try to do it our own way, which ends up being counterproductive. Most often in hindsight.
Femininity has, in many ways, lost her subtle beauty.
Instead of being content in our role, and joyfully investing our gifts and resources right where God has planted us, women are often full of ambition and competition. We spend our efforts on manipulative strategies to advance an agenda that, if we were to see the end result, ultimately undermines our influence for love, joy, peace, nurture, and restraint. Those effective character qualities (spiritual fruits) that undergird a thriving society.
In saying that, I am not saying bold women are less beautiful or less feminine. On the contrary, the diversity of women is meant to display a greater array of God’s glory.
How God loves women!
He loves all of us equally, but throughout history, often males have dominated rather than served. Since men are given authority by God, their words and actions have gravity in the female soul, their failure to love women with Christ’s love has left women feeling inferior and empty. Their inherent value diminished by the ones given to protect and provide.
This elicited a female response, and in a day where women had greater freedom and power of persuasion — in our democratic, modern world — the tide began to turn with the rise of female pushback against male dominance. I understood this much better after watching the movie, Mona Lisa Smile.
Along with attainment of certain liberties came an imposition; women seeking not only equality but role reversal, desiring to the take the lead — a mandate given by God to men.
The pursuit of usurping the man’s role is a result of the curse, pronounced at the fall, as spoken by God. [Genesis 3:16]
For anyone interested in reading more on God’s intended design for a husband’s servant leadership, read Lionhearted and Lamblike.
In her book, What God Really Thinks About Women, (linked above) Sharon Jaynes writes,
Eve was the “*crowning touch of God’s creative masterpiece and the inspiration of man’s first poetry.” She was not an afterthought, but God’s grand finale. Woman was created to complete the picture of God’s image bearer. Man could not do it alone. Woman could not do it alone. Both were necessary—working, serving, and living in tandem to complete the picture God intended all along. God concluded the first week of the worlds’ existence and the curtain fell with the words: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” With the debut of woman, what was “good” now became “very good.” …
She expands in her book on the word “helper” as God gave Adam “a helper” suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18) The Hebrew word used for “helper” is ezer. The word is derived from azar, used of the Holy Spirit, meaning, “one who comes alongside to aid or assist.” Upon this understanding, Sharon Jaynes expands beautifully. She goes on to say,
“Like a violin without a bow, or a lock without a key, man was incomplete without women. Together, they are whole.”
And for the unmarried woman,
“Woman was created to be a helper and rescuer no matter what her marital status in life.”
Do you know what I have found – in these thirty-four years – to be the MOST rewarding part of being a wife? (Besides the obvious answer of having the blessing of children and grandchildren) Helping him on our home reno projects. Helping him hash out his dreams and goals, and become who God made him to be. And can I tell you? He has helped me way more than I have helped him. He’s my helper too; my protector, provider, and encourager.
Oh, it hasn’t always been that way. We’ve had to fight for our own hearts to be yielded to God, after trying really hard to help one another … Ahem.
It has been really hard for me to uproot so many times. Especially painful – our last move. But the HOPE I have in the God I love keeps me moving beyond what I can see to the possibility of what He has planned for me — for us — in this crazy journey, full of much joy.
[[Quote within the quote: *Caroline Curtis James, When Life and Beliefs Collide]]