There are many biblical charges that I enjoy that are related to me being a woman, well because I think that I am good at those things. Being hospitable, sharing my faith, having the opportunity to be a mom...

When a sister in the church, about to be married for the second time, shared this sermon (Part One & Part Two) by John Macarthur about wives, it spread like wildfire - well, sort of. It got shared to a handful of us and then, it's growing discussion was stunted because of how convicting it is. If you are able to listen to the entire two part series without your heart quickening or some mumbling under your breath then you are in a far better place than I was when I heard it. John had me talking to him, myself and to other wives. 

Though, that is the real issue, right? Do we believe the words that the scriptures say about being wives? Do we believe that God will allow us to live up under the patterns and charges that we don't really like?

We got together for a "listening party" (see!) to discuss what everyone had already listened to. The links for the sermons were sent out via email a few weeks ago, each woman was encouraged to listen to both parts on her own and then bring a dish to pass for dinner, dessert and drinks. 

Even though we'd already listened to and attempted to digest it on our own, we paused at different spots throughout the first section and shared our thoughts, concerns and need for support in the context of the sermon. There were questions, challenges to ourselves and to one another and it was good. We all admitted to having a long way to go, but I certainly have plenty of struggles to have made this a listening party for one.

Some of my biggest roadblocks in being the kind of wife that God calls me to be is that I focus too much on what my husband is and is not doing. This is my second marriage and though not rosy or perfect by any means, I am sure that I am to be learning a lot from God about keeping my heart and head turned to Him (God), not him (my husband). I mean, my husband is just another sinner, just like me and I get lost and depressed and just plain disappointed when I focus too much of my time and energy on him - even when he's giving his best, it's not what I should be wholly reliant upon. 

Another roadblock is that I feel cursed by Eve in how "driven" I feel to lead, change the world and make a difference. One sister shared that this is how she feels too but she is concerned about her motivation for doing so many of the things that she likes to do. It goes back to our desire to be in control and the fear and lack of trust that comes from that. Since I don't feel valued like I'd like in the closest relationship that I should have on earth (darn romantic comedies) I find myself constantly battling this desire within to do it ALL and do it well and so that you, and you and you and you all the way over there can see little ole me having her act together. Really, when broken down, I feel the need to be in control because I care too much about what "you" think of me and not enough of what He thinks of me.

And this last roadblock; I tend to expect that people will hurt me, because we all will hurt others and be hurt by those that are close to us, but I have realized within myself that I think this is what I deserve. That the hurt is intentional because I must be punished, that I have sinned so much and made too many mistakes to be viewed as anything less than needing to be hurt and put in my "place" (still fleshing that out). That I have done too many things that are unforgivable or am just what some have to settle with and therefore, the pain that comes couldn't be accidental but necessary and the only way for me to be learn and grow...through suffering. It is very, VERY difficult for me to hear good things about myself (even from God Himself) and believe kind things or receive gifts from other people and just accept and enjoy it. 

I am getting help on this last challenge, shifting my thinking back to what God says about being a daughter of His, His perfect love for me and fighting to keep my focus outward and on others so that I don't implode from all of the things I don't understand and are simply too much for me. I have wonderful friends; a tight circle of two or three in the city and six around the country, that I can text, call, email and visit in order to help me see what God wants me to see.

The goal at this point is for me to be still. 

"He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." -Psalm 46:10 

My mom has told me to be still. My boss has told me to go back to yoga and practice "being still in thought", my friends have prayed with me in the quiet hours of the morning, God has called me to plan a time away with just Him in order to practice sitting and being still and quiet and listening to and hearing Him. Having recently finished the "Marriage Sabbatical" (click over to the BOOKWORM page for this post), I see this opportunity as necessary for all women to practice putting Him first so that we can do the hard work of being a godly wife and doing so with a heart of joy and disposition of peace. 

God's pattern for wives is not for the faint of heart. Battling our insecurities, what society and the media tells us about our physical selves and how much significance is placed on it, as well as our own pasts and convoluted ideas about how we think things ought to be (come on ladies, let go) it can be incredibly challenging to live as we are called to by God. However, if you are married and know that God is your everything, then you have been called.

Surround yourself with two or three other women to help you on this road. Before leaving the listening party on Friday night, each woman picked the name of someone that they would actively challenge and encourage in the area(s) that had been shared with the group. We are to reach out and encourage the one you picked and be open with the one that picked you. God will bless our efforts and prayerfully, God will allow us to "...submit (y)ourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." - 1 Peter 3: 1 & 2

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