Being Boldly Submissive in a Culture Scared to Submit

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Submissive is dirty word in a culture that is scared to submit. We clamor and chest thump about individuality, celebrate rebels and smart alecs, but we’re really scared of giving up the illusion of control, foregoing what we think we need.

Women cringe as soon as pastors dust off this rusty gem from the sermon library. Submissive is the modern church’s dirty word. Just the idea of ‘obey’ in the marriage ceremony gets under our tissue paper skin like a splinter.

Submission sounds scary. It sounds like giving in, but being BOLDLY Submissive takes strength. Click To Tweet

But nothing has made a bigger difference in my marriage than learning to be boldly submissive, and I’ve never been treated more lovingly since I stopped demanding my way and just loved him first.

If you had asked me about submission a decade ago, I would have spit nails. Seriously, me, a submissive wife? HA. Over my dead . . .

.  .  .  marriage,

which is exactly where we were headed because two people demanding their way are shouting way too loud to listen.

But I was gonna fight for my rights; my right, apparently, to be miserable.

Once I thought being submissive meant being weak, mistreated, overlooked. I couldn’t see the power in submission, the subtle strength that doesn’t need attention.

Through God’s grace, I finally understood bold submission when I realized who was the most submissive figure in the Bible.

Submissive is a dirty word in a culture scared to submit. We chest thump about individuality and our rights, but we'd rather let fear control us than love.

Christ.

Jesus had the power of the universe at his fingertips, the fringe of his garments healed; he could have commanded angels to pull him off the cross.

Submission changed when I realized the most submissive person in the Bible went to the cross. Click To Tweet

If anyone EVER deserved to arrogantly insist on His way, it was Jesus Christ, but He chose bold submission to God’s plan, to be utterly persecuted, violently punished for sins He had not committed, dying completely separated from God out of His love for us.

No matter how many times I use that word, my love for my family will never measure up to that standard, but it isn’t weakness that makes me try, it takes strength and courage to obey.

However, I learned that submitting to my husband wasn’t really the standard, I am submitting to God. He asks we put others before ourselves, serve secretly, give in the shadows.

I’m submitting, not just to my husband, but God’s placement of me into this family to be a living, breathing example of humility and love.

When I feel myself start to puff up with not-s0-righteous indignation about some slight, God reminds me of this …

John 13:34 ESV  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

He loved me to the point of death.

I can overlook a lot of slights: a mess in the kitchen, coming home late, not listening when I speak, bringing home the not organic butter.

Being Boldly Submissive looks like:

  • Being loving over being right.
  • Choosing not to nag.
  • Being humble when I’ve made a mistake.
  • Loving without expectation of return.
  • Obeying God.
  • Forgiving without an apology.
  • Being gently firm in my expectations as a parent.
  • Looking for ways to serve others.
  • Dying to myself everyday as often as possible.

I’m learning still. I’m continuing to store God’s word in my heart so I can obey His plan for my next step as a wife, mother, and disciple.

The original disciples submitted to God’s will for their lives and died to share Christ with the world. I could only be so bold.

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Abiding Love

Can I just have a minute to speak into your soul today? I want to talk to you about the kind of love I hope you had today, the kind of love I hope you have everyday, abiding love.

Abiding love is safe, enduring, permanent, sacrificial love.

Our worship pastor this morning read from John 15, verses about abiding love, the love of the Father that Christ demonstrated for us through his life of purity and sacrifice.

and I just wanted to sit down in the middle of those verses and ABIDE.

Like curve into an cozy chair by the fire, swathed in a rich blanket –

ABIDE – continue, remain, survive, last, persist, stay

I wanted to hang out in those verses, because I never knew how to love purely, without all the human confusion we put into it, until I knew how deeply I am loved by Him.

I was wiping away tears by the time he finished sharing today. God’s love has a way of touching my heart that makes me want to drop everything and just stay in His presence.

John 15:9 ESV  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Christ invited me – you – to abide in His love, the kind of love God has for Christ. I can only look at my daughter and imagine God’s pure love for Christ. I wanted to rest there and be held by His truth.

I wanted to sit down in those verses wrapped in a cozy blanket and rest in His abiding love. Click To Tweet

Can I just have a minute to speak into your soul today? I want to talk to you about the kind of love I hope you had today, the kind of love I hope you have everyday, abiding love.

John 15:16a ESV  You did not choose me, but I chose you . . .

Powerful stuff – Being chosen. We tend to think in this Christian walk that we made some big decision to choose God, but we really just surrendered to His already having chosen us.

He chose us before the formation of the world. While I was a dirty mess of a sinner, I was already CHOSEN, set apart for His purpose.

How differently I have lived since understanding this truth. There is a confidence to knowing I am His beloved daughter.

And I really like that.

But when I heard this verse, I wanted to lean over to my husband and whisper “I chose you.”

John 15:9 ESV  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

I my still human way, I’m trying to learn how God has loved me and love him with that kind of love, love that gives up me to serve him.

I chose him the day he proposed in the middle of “an arrest”. I chose him the day we said I do. I choose him the days he is grumpy and selfish. I still choose him when his dreams and mine don’t match.

But I wonder if he really understands how much I choose to remain in his arms, seek his presence, ache for him. Does he understand he can rest in my love?

The confidence I have in Christ is the confidence I want to share with those I love. I want my husband to know my love is abiding love.

He can rest there. It is permanent because it’s God’s love for him through me when I remember to get out of the way.

I try to love my friends with abiding love. They know that I am the soft, squishy place to rest from a prickly world. A place that forgives when feelings are tender and communication gets lost.

I pray that you have Christ’s abiding love, a real love on this day we often celebrate the wrong things, that His love abides in you. I pray you abiding love through friends and family too.

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Internet Friends Day

Today is Internet Friends Day.

Yeah, I didn’t know that was a thing either. So what?

The internet has created my tribe of people.

I was about to ignore it when I thought about how God uses the internet to build my tribe of people. Some amazing Godly people came into my life ONLY through the internet. Several churches and ministries are speaking into my life only through the internet.

Some connections are very new, but Godly people, writing and talking and sharing Jesus, and we’re learning each other from completely different ends of the world.

This transient Army life contradictorily brings people into our lives and takes them away. But through the internet, friendships can become as close as sisters because we can stay connected when phone calls are less conversation and more punctuated by emergency parenting.

“No, you can’t ride the cat!”

“Don’t put that in your nose!”

“Poop is not an artistic medium, people!!” (this friend knows who she is)

Some lovely supportive friends are in my life everyday because of the internet. We share what we’re reading, a movie we just loved, what we’re praying over.

The Internet is a window around the globe, creating sisters from strangers. #InternetFriendsDay Click To Tweet

Did you know #InternetFriendsDay is a thing? Yeah, me neither, but the internet has created my tribe of people, holding my hand as I walk through life.

The truth is I am an intense introvert, but I love people. I love teaching and guiding and the loving of people. I just get drained by too much noise and chaos and the wearing of pants and make-up.

While recovering from hip surgery, I felt utterly useless in the kingdom of God. Seriously, all I could do was sit on the couch, uncomfortably.

God, if you can use me in this broken place, please show me how.

Ding. You have a message.

Facebook at midnight. Can I talk to you?

Over the next months, I was the midnight friend and Christian support to several women through Facebook. God said, write, so I did. And apparently a few people read this and even like it sometimes.

Through the internet, I may never hear your voice or even know your real name, but I can tell you how Jesus takes my roughest moments and shows up BIG in my life.

Sharing stories of parenting my tiny tornado while learning to live obedient to Christ might encourage you or help you feel a little less alone on those days you’re crying in the closet hugging a bag of expired Christmas chocolate.

So Internet Friends Day means I’m celebrating you. All those whose lives I get to visit through the internet. All those who visit mine. All those holding my hand as I learn to follow God in all things.

Proverbs 17:17 ESV A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

And this crazy internet lets us do both.

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My Best New Years Resolution

How do you decide what New Years Resolution to make? Do you give it tons of thought? choose a bad habit you’ve been meaning to quit? or decide to try something new? This year, I was kind of at a loss.

Maybe, I’m taking life more seriously as I get older, but I’m tired of shallow resolutions that don’t become life changes.

Every year, I make the same New Years Resolution – to lose weight. I’m not a whole lot skinnier this year, but at least I’m not going the wrong direction, I suppose.

I don't want to make just any resolution this year. I want to make my best New Years Resolution. Click To Tweet

And I’m healthier for the choices I’ve made. I eat more vegetables and try to be more active. It’s biblical to live healthier.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

But I wonder if God is pleased with the time and focus I’ve put into my outward appearance for the past 20 years, time that could have been spent growing in true beauty instead, building my faith.

Rather than consider what New Years Resolution I want to make this year, I asked God what He wanted me to change.

The prayer was barely out of my mouth before I had an answer.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV  “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

My family has been watching Little House on the Prairie on the INSP Network. Watching the blind characters deal with race and appearance has made me wonder how I would look if no one could see.

If we couldn’t see:

  • how clean the house is
  • how my hair looks
  • what size I am
  • how nicely I’ve decorated
  • my make-up
  • wrinkles
  • how cute my daughter is

Would you see Christ in me if you couldn’t see me? Would I be beautiful if no one could see me? What is the first thing people would see if they couldn’t see me?

I make the same resolution every year. But I don't want to make just any resolution this year. I want to make my BEST New Years Resolution

My best New Years Resolution would be to live and sound more like Christ.

My BEST New Years Resolution is to live more like Christ in every way. Click To Tweet

And God put on my heart that I need to change my heart to soften my tone of voice. I sound stressed and harsh and irritated way too often.

Matthew 12:34b  ESV  “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

I know I’ve come a long way in this area, (we have a lot less yelling in my house) but in some ways the change to my attitude and behavior makes the shrill frustration or exhausted irritation more obvious in contrast.

I hear it in my stepson’s voice with his brother and sister. I hear it in my daughter’s voice when she answers back or yells at the cat.

It makes me so sad that I’ve used this aggravated tone so often, the children mimic it.

So even though I plan to keep my children, pets, and husband 😉 , I’m going to let God soften my heart, exploring His word for healing of the hurts in my past, giving him control over my agenda for each day and as a wife, mother, friend, mentor.

God took a stuttering murderer and made him the leader of a nation, a mighty man of God. If God can change and use Moses, He can change and use me to reach my family for Him, by becoming the soft voice of His gentle love calling to them through me.

If I let God direct my steps, this new year will be what He makes it.

Fewer Toys make Happier Kids

With ads, and discounts galore, I find it hard not to get caught up in shopping this time of year, but . . .

is the key to happier kids actually fewer toys?

As Christmas shopping winds up, I’m doing my best to recognize the benefits of fewer toys for my children, but part of me just wants to spoil them rotten.
I want my kids to remember magical holidays filled with gifts and surprises, so it’s hard to balance my desire to watch her and her brothers’ faces light up with joy on Christmas morning with the knowledge that fewer toys is better for them for so many reasons.
But what I’ve found is that the more she has, the less she really plays with them.
As we’ve pared down in preparation for the Christmas onslaught, I’ve watched her truly playing with a few toys, creating worlds inside her head. I’ve seen creativity blossom even more than usual. Having fewer toys has led to her being happier, more able to focus on playing instead of jumping from toy to toy.With ads, and discounts galore, I find it hard not to get caught up in shopping this time of year, but . . . is the key to happier kids actually fewer toys?
Children get so few hours to play once you consider school and activities, family time, baths, dinner, and homework. I need to help her make the most out of play time.
One study I read said that children shouldn’t be formally educated until 7 or 8. They should be given lots of time to play. It is one of the reasons I chose to homeschool. She gets hours to play a day.
Yet, giving her fewer toys is hard. I want her to have a chance to experience everything to decide her own interests, but she needs time to get deep into play with her toys.
Fewer toys allow:
  • her to truly interact and enjoy each toy and instead of toss them in the bottom of a toy box.
  • room for more creativity. She may have to pretend her doll is also a cowboy, but she will be more mentally flexible, open to outside of the box thinking.
  • realistic expectations which makes grateful for her toys.
  • more time for family, friends, books, and playing outside.
  • faster clean up which makes for happier everyone.

In my head, a living room filled with presents makes Christmas magical for my kids, but in my heart, I know I remember baking and singing carols, I remember the traditions and laughter, stories and the feeling of family. I know I don’t remember very many things I got.

This year, there will still be lots of boxes under the tree, but clothes and socks and books and a few treasured toys, but the most important things will happen around it: movie nights and hot cocoa, cookie platters and rocky road fudge, carols and mischievous grandparents.

As Christians especially, don’t we want the focus of this time of year to be joy rather than on things? On Jesus as the only gift we really need?

I think they’ll be happier kids with fewer toys and more of His and my presence.