It was before sunrise one January morning when I saw her at her worst. She was wearing her normal ratty brown tweed coat, the one with the velvet collar and cuffs that had been worn threadbare. Her gloves were mismatched, her hair a rat’s nest of tangles and bed fuzz and she was frantic.
While all the passengers waited inside, both chomping to go and dreading their destination, Candy was pacing. Where did she want to go? She couldn’t decide. Walking from one bus to the other, she was loudly arguing with herself. She wanted to go to the library and she wanted to go to her Grandmother’s. Which side was going to win? Until that was obvious, she didn’t know which bus to get on.
The drivers were obviously torn between leaving her there, in that frigid below zero morning and making all their other passengers late. “Come on Candy – hurry up, you HAVE to decide where you’re going.” After much encouragement from both the drivers and passengers (some “encouragement” neither helpful nor kind) they drove away leaving Candy totally incapacitated to move, because she couldn’t decide where she was going. This wasn’t the first time we saw Candy like this and it wasn’t the last, it was just the worst.
Candy, is for me, a visual example of wives who are refusing to be in submission to their husbands. Now slow down – let me finish. Scripture is very clear that when we marry, we become as one flesh. You can argue that until you’re blue in the face, but I don’t believe there is ANYONE who has endured a divorce that would disagree with me. (No matter how bad the situation, the break-up still has a cut that goes deep and produces wounding invisible to the naked eye)
If we do indeed become as one flesh, to ignore the command to be in submission to our husbands simply causes us to become a double-minded body. This makes no sense to me. Life moves too fast, too intensely and has too many important things to do to waste time standing at the bus stop crying because you are fighting your own self over where to go.
This is likely the ONE area I have struggled with more than any other. The Lord has taken Jeff and I on quite the adventure when it comes to the “s” word. Before we were married, I was TOTALLY against it. Didn’t believe it was right, didn’t think it was good. Then, shortly after we got married, the Lord began tapping me on the shoulder….”Dawn, I want you to submit to Jeff. In all things.”
I was L.I.V.I.D. I was a smart woman who had done many things before I met Jeff and why I should submit to a MAN was beyond my ken. I knew his failings and I didn’t have any intention of submitting myself to them. The Lord had a different plan.
Since those early days, Father has grown my understanding of what submission is and what it isn’t.
What submission ISN’T:
It isn’t slavery. It isn’t silent. It isn’t bitter. It isn’t conniving. It isn’t contentious. It isn’t weak. It isn’t defeat. It isn’t deaf, dumb and blind. It isn’t stupidity. It isn’t a gun.
What submission IS:
It is servanthood – but my Lord washed the feet of men who walked among camel poop – who am I to demand less?
It is speaking the Truth in love, even if that means confronting his sin. (Let me rephrase that, ESPECIALLY if it means confronting his sin. If I love my man, the greatest thing I should desire is his right relationship with Father. To NOT confront his sin is NOT loving.)
It is love – giving oneself in true submission, I suspect, is the greatest physical act we can perform….greater even than marital intimacy.
It is strength, for only when I am at my strongest am I able to submit with love and joy.
It is a position of victory – for two, standing back to back to advance the Kingdom, are a darkness fighting machine.
It is understanding that I am Jeff’s co-heir of grace and that I have gifts, skills and wisdom that he needs me to share. To withhold that in the name of submission is folly and selfishness on my part. Worst of all it’s an open attempt to make my husband fall on his face, rather than helping him to excel.
It is wisdom – it’s having an understanding that one Body can only have one Head – and the Lord Jesus Christ is Head over our family and His example is one of submitting to God the Father. An example which I will choose to mimic with honor.
It is a GIFT that I choose to give to Jeff. It is a GIFT that he receives with humility, because he knows he can not force me to submit to him.
Now, since it is my blog, I’m not going to discuss Jeff’s responsibility to submit to Father, I’m not going to discuss his responsibility to walk in humility and servanthood and I’m not even going to discuss the need for us to submit to one another. Why? First of all, I because I said so. 😉 Secondly, that is something that is between Jeff and God, not me. (See above re: speaking Truth in love, however) Thirdly, THAT is a discussion for another time.
Submission is dancing together through this life, through the laughter, the joy, the water and the scorching fire, arms wrapped around one another. It means that sometimes he is the one who holds me up and sometimes I hold him up. It is the clinging together of two sinners, who desire to have their marriage reflect their Prophet, Priest and King. It is seeking to have the heart of Christ, who when faced with the greatest sacrifice of all time, bowed His heart to submit to His Head.
(I won’t lie, my dears, this is the one part of what I have to share this week that I dread the discussion on the most. As I said, this is wisdom gleaned from real life – hard earned and joyfully held. My desire is not to be contentious or argumentative in any way. My desire is to share with you the GREAT freedom I have found in walking in Biblical submission – not man’s idea of submission – but in mimicry of how our precious Lord walked in submission to His Head…with joy, with contentment and with delight. Because that is the purpose of this post, I will close comments if things become heated. Don’t I sound like the mom of seven kiddlettes who have all been stuck inside due to ice and now freezing rain?!) 😉 🙂