Supporting Role

IMG_2805BWMy dad has told me in regards to conflict in relationship “Seek to understand, not to be understood.” I wouldn’t put it past him to be so wise but he could be quoting someone there. 😉

We are in an unending process of learning. Here I thought I would “know it all” after graduating high school. How blissfully ignorant I was. Being a wife specifically is a constant reminder that I still have so much to learn. There are conflicts in my and Jason’s marriage that despite all the time spent together and all that we know about each other we still revisit now and again. One in particular is the roles we play within our marriage and family. We’ve discussed and defined our expectations at length. In short Jason works while I manage our home and care for our children. Essentially our roles have remained the same but with the changes of seasons, jobs, moves, we still have to evaluate little areas here and there so we can best support each other. Each overarching role has many responsibilities and unique challenges to accompany it. There are decisions Jason must make, loads he bears, and pressures he endures that I would implode over. Having said that, he has told me countless times that “I couldn’t do what you do every day.” Even though Jason and I are aware that we could not do what the other one does, satan still manages to trip us up on this matter. It’s easy to get shortsighted and forget how important the other persons role is and what all it entails. Satans method of attack usually begins with one or both of us thinking “I do SO much.” This thought isn’t wrong in itself. The problem for me is when:

1.) That thought turns into an attitude of entitlement. “I do so much so he should do…..”
2.) I take a victim approach. “I do so much and he doesn’t appreciate it.”
3.) I start keeping score.

Those are just a few examples off the top of my head. I’ve done all these things and more. Even in my best efforts when I try to be selfless and ignore my own pettiness, occasionally I struggle with feelings of resentment and bitterness. This morning was such a time. As I drove home from taking the girls to school I could already sense some unwanted feelings. I began to sing along with the radio, hoping the lyrics would reach into the ugly places of my heart and strengthen me through the Spirit. Needless to say music was not enough. When I got home, I immediately went to my quiet place. I had my Bible, my journal, and The Power of the Praying Wife. I meditated over several Psalms and God was gracious to impart these scriptures to me this morning.

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil. Psalm 141:3-4

When my Spirit grows faint within me, it is you who knows my way. Psalm 142:3

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift my soul. Psalm 143:8

Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you. Jeremiah 7:23

There again is that word obey 😉

I would like to say that when I finished praying our morning went just swimmingly. The process of growth and change does tend to be slow. God is so good though. He did honor my prayer and “set a guard over my mouth”. Praise Jesus! If you know me, that’s nothing short of a miracle. Sometimes saying nothing is just where the Lord wants us to begin. (Key word being “begin” I do not recommend camping there long.) There is a time for godly communication and it is necessary for a healthy relationship.

Be encouraged wives! God can and will work in your marriage as you seek Him and obey Him. Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I prayed several times (once with a trusted confidant that knows just how ugly I can get!) and God began to not only soften and cleanse my heart but he was also working on Jason’s heart as well. We still have a long way to go but I praise Him for where He has brought us from.

In the book Sacred Marriage Gary Thomas writes this:
“What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin. It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness, and anti-Christian attitudes, encouraging me to be sanctified and cleansed and to grow in godliness.”
“Allow your marriage relationship to stretch your love and to enlarge your capacity for love- to teach you to be a Christian.”

My prayer is this- That my marriage would drive me daily to God for grace, demonstrate his beautiful design for family and ultimately point people to Jesus. Are you with me? 🙂

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To tear down or build up……That is the question.

Being a godly wife means a lot of things. I committed to love my husband not as the world loves but as God loves. I won’t do this perfectly but at every opportunity I should be striving for God’s standard; laying down my own rights and desires so that my husband can see an extravagant love that only comes through relationship with Christ. One of the areas I know I can love my husband better in is supporting and encouraging him in his work.

I’m not even going to pretend. Since Jason started working for the Honda dealership I have had a pretty depressive attitude the majority of the time. I know I have made his challenging job even more difficult by not being encouraging and supportive.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1

Our words and attitudes can make our husbands feel either purposeful or discouraged in their job. This potentially can bleed over into other areas of life. We have to be careful not to tear down our own home. We have to make every effort to speak life and encouragement to our men.

I have struggled with this. At points I have convinced myself that I must voice all of my thoughts to Jason. Good, bad, and paranoid. My attitude and prayers have not been,
“Lord I trust where you have my husband working. I trust that you know how this job affects our family. I trust Your sovereignty, that You can take him somewhere else, if that’s what You need to do for Your bigger story. I believe you have us here for a purpose, that you want to use Jason and our family to reach people for Your glory.”

No, my attitude has been more along the lines of,
“Lord, please give Jason another job. This job stinks! The hours are awful, we never see him. This job is so worldly. You couldn’t possibly want Jason here. How can we glorify you by him selling cars and being gone all the time?”

And you better believe what I tell the Lord I tell Jason too! So he was not feeling the support he should from his wifey.

It’s been 4 months since he started. He’s still there and it is not for lack of trying to get another job. I think I am finally accepting that God has him there for a reason. People need Jesus. People in the car business need Jesus. People buying cars need Jesus. I always knew this. I just haven’t wanted to embrace the idea that God wants Jason and our family to introduce Jesus to these people. I know, I’m a pretty challenged Christian. It’s a perfect example of wanting Jesus and wanting to share about Him but on my terms that work for me. I have been fighting the idea that God might actually keep Jason in the car business, maybe even for the rest of his working life, because he is calling us to this mission field. He has work for us to do.

One thing that I see a lot of within the dealership is broken families. There is a lot of unfaithfulness, divorce and remarriage. Family doesn’t seem to be of great value and certainly not the “for worse” parts. When we don’t have relationship with Christ we don’t value what He values. But God created us FOR relationship with him, so people continue in search of what can only be found in Him. We think marriage and kids will make us happy or fulfilled and to a certain degree they do. They can also be a great source of frustration and discouragement and without Christ most of the time people give up and start the search over. This is rampant within Jason’s work.

Read this analogy taken from the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.
“The only real claim to fame in a forest full of trees is being seven hundred years old. As far as pure aesthetics go, you couldn’t even see the very top of this particular tree in the Washington Forest. From where we stood, it was just a straight and enormously wide trunk, covered with spider webs. We were walking in a forest filled with trees, but the National Parks Service put a sign in front of this tree for one reason, and for one reason alone: It had survived for seven centuries. It had simply gone the distance, and in so doing it commanded attention.”
“In a society where relationships are discarded with a frightening regularity, Christians can command attention simply by staying married. And when asked why, we can offer the platform of God’s message of reconciliation, followed by an invitation: “Would you like to hear more about that good news of reconciliation?””

Jason and I are about to come up on our nine year wedding anniversary. It is completely 100% entirely because of Jesus Christ. Not only is it rare for people to stay married that long but I think because of our age it’s even more surprising for people to hear. To further shock them they can’t believe we have three children who are, with the exception of Caleb, well-mannered and obedient. Hey two out of three isn’t bad right? God has to keep us humble! 😉 Whatever good qualities you see, in our marriage or parenting, are a result of obeying how the Bible teaches and commands us to live out those roles. That and the magnificent undeserved grace of God. My point being; It is not us, it is all Him. And I really feel like that is part of the testimony he wants us to take to Jason’s work.

Satan will try to trap us with thinking too much about our past or possible future knowing that our effectiveness is in the present. God is sovereign and it’s time to embrace where he so clearly has us RIGHT NOW. God doesn’t need us to accomplish his purpose but he has invited us to join him and not waste a single moment. I don’t want to look back on this time as wasted. I would rather look back on this time and think “Look at what God has done.”