Wednesday, February 15, 2012


In a Bible study today, we discussed the verses in Ephesians 5 regarding submitting to our husbands.  Specifically, verse 23 talks about husbands being the head of their wives just as Christ is the head of the church.

There were several comments along the lines of "separate but equal", "he makes the final decision, but it's so hard when I don't agree", "friends think I'm crazy to back down", "it's hard to be submissive, since I like to do things my way",  "ugh...", etc.

As I listened to this commentary, a few points that have made a significant influence in my life immediately came to mind.  So, I'll share them here.

1.  If my husband is over me and Christ is over him, I should be praying for him to act that way.  It's not my job to be his mom (he has a FANTASTIC one already), and, as someone pointed out today, it's not my job to be the Holy Spirit.  He has that already, too.  What I can do, should I feel that I could do his job better, is to pray about it.  I can pray for my own attitude to be submissive*.  I can also pray for him to be receptive to the Holy Spirit.  And for wisdom for both of us in general.  

2.  Speaking of not being the Holy Spirit.  It is NOT my job to convict my husband.  However, sometimes, as the person living with him and therefore closest to him, I sometimes see things he may not notice (ditto in reverse, by the way).  If it's small, then I usually tell him sooner rather than later.   If it's a major thing, I wait.  And I pray.  And I wait some more.  Especially when the thing I want to tell him involves a character issue or major item, I try to be sure that we're both in good moods, haven't argued in 48 hours-ish (criticism, no matter how constructive, generally stings at first, so it's good to be feeling loved by the one who is temporarily stinging you), and that we're in a spot where we can talk it out.  Then, if the item has been rubbing against my mind for at least a week (usually ten days or more), and if I feel a peace about discussing it also, I will bring it up.  These criteria - waiting 10 days, and still feeling the strong need to discuss it, but having a peace about bringing it up in the first place - are usually good indicators for me.

3.   Along those same lines, a friend once told me, "Matt doesn't answer to you at the end of the day.  He answers to God."  I need to be loving and supportive.  I will answer to God for how I treated my husband, and my call is to be his helper and to be submissive.  As mentioned in #2, sometimes God will use a spouse as a mirror for attitudes and actions, but it's not our primary job description.  God can do the convicting, purifying, and sanctifying all by Himself without my help.  Both he and Matt would appreciate it if I let God do his job.

4.  Finally, a major point is that when I submit to Matt, I must also give him authority to make decisions.  It is not submission if I tell him "you have authority to make the decision on this issue...but if you choose the solution I dislike, I will not support's your decision.  I submit to you."  Submission minus authority is a hostage situation.  It is NOT submission.

In conclusion, I should be praying for Matt.  After all, he's the one responsible for the spiritual direction of our home.  I need to be supportive, and loving, and helpful.  I can share opinions, but when things are major, I should check in on my motives and with God, before I come charging in all up in his spiritual grill.  And I should give him the authority and encouragement to actually do his job.  It's not an easy job, and frankly, I'm glad it falls to him and not to me.


*Speaking of submission on my part - can't remember if I've already stated this in a previous post or not, but I've been having serious authority issues lately.  I think it partially stems from having been in authority over hundreds of kids for the past 5 years or so, and then switching to full-time motherhood with no authority outside of my domestic domain.  Now, when anyone in authority says anything, I want to debate.  Not even so much because I disagree with whatever is said, but simply to have the chance to give an opinion.  Or to fight.  Or to throw a temper tantrum.  Whatever.  It's downright scary how rebellious I've been lately.  Been praying about that one, too.  Stay tuned.  It's gotten better, but I'm definitely still a work in progress.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Focus (or lack thereof)

My husband's grandmother passed away unexpectedly Saturday evening.  She and her husband have been amazing testimonies of life, godliness, aging well, and sharing faith with family...among other things. 

Saturday was difficult.  Sunday was slightly exhausting.  Today has been worse than either.  The initial shock has worn off.  The feelings I've got churning around inside on behalf of this wonderful woman's children and grandchildren are deep, and rough, and sad, and heavy.  We rejoice that she is with her Savior, husband, family members, and friends, but we have to keep going on here until our turn comes.  And it stinks. 

She lived with my sister-in-law and family, and they were with her as she passed away quickly and peacefully.  My sweet nephew is learning about death and mortality and asking precious (and difficult) questions.  When the answers are gently explained, he responds even more precious-ly (and difficult-ly) as he processes the new reality.
Emily and her cousins with Vee - 12/2011

I spoke with both sister-in-laws Saturday, but I have had a dull ache in my chest for my poor mother-in-law since then.  Today was the first day I got to speak with her.  Only a few moments.  But now the ache is worse.  And I'm frustrated, because there's not really anything to say initially to make the hurt lessen. We have joy, we have hope, we have peace (ultimately), but there is still a grieving process.  "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Mt. 5:4).  There is a time for all of these things, and the Lord understands this.  I try to spend time reading my Bible, but I stare off into space.  I think God understands that, too.  I've talked to Him and listened to Him, but right now, I want to be silent before Him and ponder.

Then, to top it off, my Jehovah's Witness visitors returned today and we continued discussing their first principle (the one I still haven't agreed to after 5 times now, so we haven't moved forward).  I kind of wanted to physically fight them today as they told me that Jesus isn't God and that we cease to exist when we die.  How untrue!  That is the exact reason I have hope.  Because those two things are.  Most.  Definitely. True.  I believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and that Jesus Christ is God's One and Only Son.  He is the exact representation of God's being, through whom nothing was made that has been made, and he sustains all things by the power of his word.  I also believe that he is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven interceding for us, and that he is the purification for our sins.  (1 Cor. 5:6-8, Heb. 1:3, Jn.1:3, Heb. 7:25) 

And so, today is a bit blah.  I'm heavy with sadness, and I won't see family to hug them until later this week.  But even hugs can only do so much.
Emily with her Vee - 12/2011


Update: Hugs help quite a bit, though.  My sweet hubby and baby and I all cuddled, and I'm feeling better for the moment.  I'm going to try to get some things done before the next wave hits.  Because, as we know, sorrow doesn't come all at once.  It ebbs and flows for quite a while.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Empathy and passion.  For better or worse, these are two of my strongest traits.

When an event occurs in someone's life, it's as if their heart molds with mine.  I literally feel for that person.  Miscarriages (sadly) and new babies (especially) tend to get me all fired up and prayerful as of late. 

If a rotten thing happens to someone I love, or even barely know, I can become nearly sick over it.  In fact, the Olympics wear me out.  I'm so full of joy and pride on behalf of whomever wins, but at the same time, I just feel awful for the 2nd through last place finishers.

Tonight, I just kept saying over and over, "poor Patriots.  That's so frustrating.  They must feel awful." etc.  I was cheering for (and ecstatic for) the Giants!  So why the concern with the Patriots?  Empathy.

When Christopher Hitchens (a grumpy, witty, atheist guy with a great British accent and a huge ego) found out he was terminally ill, I got a stomach ache.  Just thinking about the suddenly-sped-up-closer-to-now encounter with God made me shudder for him.  The day he died, the same sick feeling settled in my stomach.

So, having said that, it's been a passionate, empathetic weekend, and I'm exhausted.  I don't feel like going into details now, but I definitely FEEL.  

This is a picture from when I was 4.5 mos. pregnant.  I sat in the bathroom and laughed and cried for no reason that either of us could discern for 25 minutes.  While empathy is different than hormonal mood swings, the end result frequently looks the same, and this picture is kind of how I feel right now, but a tad less smiley.  And not in maternity pajamas.