Submission vs. Obedience by Martha Bush

SUM Nation, 

Several weeks ago I read such a great response in the Facebook Group by Martha Bush, specific to Submission and obedience. I asked her to share her perspective with all of us today since we are camped in the books of Peter. This post is authentic and powerful. Thank you Martha. Hugs, Lynn

*****

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSubmission vs. Obedience

Polly’s Story

Travel back to the 1900’s with me to the home of Smith Wigglesworth and his wife, Polly.

Prior to his salvation and fame as a minister, Smith harshly persecuted Polly for her faith, and demanded that she not go to church.  She didn’t obey his command, instead would make his dinner and head for church every Sunday.

One night, Polly came home from church later than usual. Smith scolded, “I am the master of this house, and I’m not going to have you coming home at such a late hour!” 

Polly quietly replied, “I know you are my husband, but Christ is my Master.”

This made Smith so mad that he locked her out of the house.

My Story

Now, I invite you into my home where I faced the “likes” of Smith Wigglesworth.

My husband had always supported my faith until God gave me a new direction - - resign my job as a school teacher.  

After several months of praying, studying God’s Word and counseling with my pastor, I went to my husband to discuss the new direction with him. 

He immediately responded with a firm, “NO!”  

Usually not one to rock the boat, I rocked it this time, and began my journey.  

For the next several years, I faced intense opposition from my husband.

Submission vs. Obedience

1 Peter 3:1:  Wives, be submissive to your husbands.

The question is, “How does submission play into stories like Polly’s, mine, and yours when faced with persecution of our faith, or verbal and emotional abuse within the home?”

I’d like to share a few points I learned on my journey trying to figure this out.

  1. Stronghold: People Pleaser

 

I had been a people pleaser since childhood, and I brought this stronghold into my marriage.  A “go with the flow” personality, I had no identity of my own.

 

My husband is the opposite - a good moral man, but very opinionated who likes to be in control, which explains why he responded with a firm “NO” when I discussed my new direction with him.

 

Normally, I would have done anything to keep peace, but this time was different. I knew I had heard from the Lord and must obey.

Galatians 1:10: Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (NIV)

Acts: 5:29: We must obey God rather than men. (HCSB)

  1. People Pleaser to Special Possession

Once the people pleaser stronghold was broken, my self-esteem had to have a makeover. It was time to shed the puppet on a string/doormat mentality.  

Also, got myself a new name tag - - You are a chosen people, His royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.  (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)

  1. A man’s enemies will be members of his own household. (Matthew 10:36 NIV)

My home became a battleground establishing who comes first – God or family. My husband said, “Things were great as long as you just went to church, but you had to get fanatical; I want my wife back.”

  1. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood.  (Ephesians 6:12-13)

Though my husband’s opposition was hurtful, I finally realized it wasn’t him coming against me; it was the devil himself trying to wear me down with harsh words through my husband.  

  1. Arrogant, Sarcastic, Brass Attitude

I came out of the people pleasing pit swinging. I had no problem pointing my finger in my husband’s face and saying: “Let me tell you something, Buddy. You no longer intimidate me; my feelings and opinions count in this marriage.  Stuff it!”

Oh yeah, it felt goooood to be FREE!

But---my mind flashed back to my daddy. It was as though I could hear his gentle, but firm southern voice talking to me.

“Girl, I didn’t raise you to act like this. I’m fixin’ to give you an attitude adjustment. Get your Bible and turn to Galatians 5:13 and read it.”

Dear brothers and sisters,

you have been given freedom:

not freedom to do wrong, but

freedom to love and serve each other.

(TLB)

Conclude

On the next post, I will tell how God adjusted my attitude as it relates to submission vs. obedience. 

A longgggg journey, but time well spent in examining my marriage, seeing where I had missed it from the start. It wasn’t easy, but necessary.

Have you examined your marriage? 

  • Are there strongholds that cause friction?
  • Have you lost your identity?
  • Is your husband exercising a demanding authoritative role as the head of the household?
  • Does he value your feelings and opinions?
  • Does he ask you to sin?
  • Is his sin affecting you and the kids?

Please share what you have discovered in the comments.

Blessings to you.

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

Footer w drop shadow


Advent - Sharing the Longing

ID-100448355
Image courtesy of 9comeback at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One Bible story that I keep coming back to each Advent season is the one that features Zechariah and Elizabeth. I hadn’t spent a lot of time reflecting upon it until a few years ago when I began to observe Advent.

Most of you will know their story is briefly told in Luke 1 before Mary’s story. I’d encourage you to read it again (v5-25) and as we’ve done in the past read it meditatively. Perhaps listen to it and put yourself into the story. Imagine you are Zechariah or Elizabeth or one of the crowd and see what the Spirit reveals to you.

Longing

This couple was probably in their late 50’s or early 60’s. He was a respected Jewish priest and would have been highly thought of within society. However, even though holding an elevated position in society they were probably looked down upon.

Why? Scripture tells us the reason: 

“But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.” (v7)

Because child bearing and, particularly a son, were so significant in those times, Elizabeth was most likely not recognised and she would have carried great shame.

Besides the shame there would have been a deep deep longing. For a child. The preceding verse describes both as being blameless before the Lord. But still no child. Imagine their heartache, the number of answered prayers that had come from both of their mouths over perhaps forty-plus years.

We too experience a similar longing. For our spouses who don’t know the Lord yet. And the different life we might lead as a Christian couple. No more shying away, no more hiding in the background, no more missed opportunities, and no more sitting alone in church.

Astonishment and Doubt

Zechariah has an experience of a lifetime. He is fortunate to be the name drawn to have the honour of burning incense in to the temple of the Lord. This would have been a great day for him. 

And then he meets an angel. Not any angel. Gabriel, “who stands in the presence of God.” That angel. Many would have fainted I suspect … his presence would have been terrifying, bewildering and just weird.

The news Zechariah receives is astonishing. After all these years of waiting and longing, answered prayer, his dearest Elizabeth would bear … a son. And not just any son; but one that “will be great in the sight of the Lord.”

Hallelujah.

Zechariah is so astonished that he questions Gabriel. I think we all would under similar circumstances. And interestingly, Mary a few verses later, asks almost the identical question when Gabriel shares with her. (“Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” v34)

Doubt is part of the human condition. It is nothing to be ashamed of nor does it turn God away from us. He understands. Expressing our doubts to Him is okay. He wants us to share our doubts with Him. We only have to read the Psalms to see how David doubted.

Intercession by others

“And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.” (v10)

It’s easy to miss this verse. While Zechariah is in the temple, a multitude is praying. For him. Probably for Elizabeth. For their situation.

No doubt our couple had shared with many their sadness, their longing and yearning for a child. God doesn’t call us to journey alone. In seasons of doubt being able to share our situations can be beneficial not just to ourselves but those we share it with. When was the last time we shared our sadness about our situation with another? For most of the last twenty years, I wouldn’t say much at all unless directly asked. Recently, I mentioned it to someone in one of my prayer groups. And his first response was “that must be tough.” To which I nodded and said, “yep, it is.”

“Naming the ache of our yearnings is indeed faithful. It opens wide the gift of receiving and embracing the prayers of others.” (Enuma Okoro)

We’re blessed having this community where we can share our yearning and be praying for each other. Lynn, our ever faithful leader, a few weeks ago encouraged us to leave our spouses name in the comments so she could pray for each of us as couples. And I understand there is some wonderful sharing in the Facebook group.

If you are feeling particular sadness due to a longing in your heart or loneliness as Christmas approaches please share with us in the comments below so we can love over you with our prayers.

I had thought I’d write more on the next part of the story but I realise I’ve gone long enough so I'll leave it to next time.

Grace and peace, dear friends.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

Footer w drop shadow


I Can't Write Anything Like THIS Miracle

SUM Family: Today I was going to start writing about 1 Peter 3 but I’m overwhelmed by the miracle stories that were posted in the comments on Friday. I want to share one of them. I know many of you don’t have time to go back into the comments but this story is a living example of 1 Peter 3 and the love of Christ in the life of a SUMite. I can’t write anything that can compare to this.

Behold, the love and faithfulness of one woman and a good Father.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com 

Roxanne S.

Hi Sumite Family,

Remembering back to some beautiful miracles...

My step daughter was going through a dark time, and moved back in with her mom. Through her dark time for several years of her life, she stole from me, broke my things, told lies about me to my husband and in-laws. Broke my heart to say the least. This caused strife between my husband and his family to me. I was so down and feeling lost, I almost left my husband.

I had started to see God telling me, hearing God tell me everywhere and in everything in my life, from music, to Bible reading, to sermons, to friend’s wisdom, and so much more, telling me to go DEEPER with Him. Pray, fast, trust Him, AND to STAY, STAY, STAY, not leave my husband. So, I stayed.

Then I heard God tell me again in multiple ways, pray for your step-daughter. I did not want to pray for someone who caused me so much pain!! But, I did. I wanted God to bring about a miracle.

Within a year, late one night, my step- daughter's mom called us, and said my step- daughter ran away from home. So, I began to pray for my step-daughter and her safety, and to bring her home. My husband had been watching me do a lot of this, and I had no idea.

Then, that morning, she showed up at our house. All she wanted to do was talk to me, and cried about the choices she had made. God opened the door that night for her to need me, and for the next year she lived with us, and needed me. A lot of healing happened that year.

AND my husband gave his life to Christ during a Christian music festival, which by the way, he only went to, because he saw what I was doing in my prayer time, and what was happening to his daughter individually and as a mother/ daughter relationship. He apologized for not backing me up all those years too.

God is still doing major work in our family. There are so many miracles that I could tell you about. They all have been answered through being on my knees praying, fasting, speaking his word, reading his word, and a lot of "tough love" and trusting God in the end for whatever His plan would be.

I am still praying for my husband to have a personal relationship with God. God is good though, and he is always working on our behalf.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

Footer w drop shadow


Need A Miracle? Testimony IS A Miracle

SUM Nation, OF THE MOST AMAZING BELIEVERS ON EARTH, you are the richest of believers!

Books of Peter Nov 2017I want you to know that I was overwhelmed by the reply to Monday’s post. Names came in through the comments, email, and Facebook. I wrote every name down by hand. And as I wrote your names, I blessed you. And in a moment as I leaned over the spiral binder to write another, the LORD urged me to understand something of profound love. As I wrote your name, those of your spouse and children, it was as though I could see the hand of God, quill on parchment, as He wrote your names down as well. They are inscribed in a sacred book of remembrance. He sees your faith. He sees your heart and your hope. Your prayers of intercession are reaching His ears. HE WROTE YOUR NAME!

(Sometimes I wish I could make a movie out of what I see when the Lord is talking to me in my prayer time. It’s way cool.)

Anyhoo, I was deeply moved in my heart and emotions for the love of God to take time to write down my little name, your names and those whom we love, He loves. It was beautiful.

Let’s move on to our study in the books of Peter.

A few weeks back the discussion in the SUM FB group regarding this passage centered upon submission, respect, boundaries etc. Regrettably, this is a passage that creates confusion, is often misquoted, quoted out of context and is used broadly and as an overreach from what, I believe, God intended. Understanding this passage requires Holy Spirit revelation so ask for the spirit of wisdom and revelation to help with interpretation and application (Eph 1:17).

Obviously, I believe the truth of 1 Peter 3:1, as our book, Winning Him Without Words, is based upon this passage. But where I think the overreach occurs is in determining the conditions of submission. Not the part about winning them without words.

I prayed and asked the LORD, what is your intent and purpose for this passage in 1 Peter 3:1? I immediately heard, “Lynn, read the entire book, the entire chapter.”

I did. In fact, I read the enter two books of Peter again, twice. Probably will read them through a few more times in the next few weeks.

1 Peter, chapter one, is a beautiful greeting to the “believers” in Asia. Peter wrote this letter to them, “The Elect.” (I love that identity.) But he also wrote it to all of us, the believers (This is our identity also).

We need to state the obvious. Believers are mandated with a different set of beliefs and instructions as pertaining to life and Godliness than those who are yet to believe. Peter is writing to a “church,” a group of believers who, until recently were Pegan, without God, without instruction, without the Holy Spirit. Peter is writing to these believers who received the truth, the Holy Spirit and salvation through the Blood of Jesus, the death and resurrection.

What I love about the first chapter of Peter it is a letter of encouragement as well as a reminder.

We need reminding.

I cannot explain why this is true, but we forget so quickly the goodness, the blessing, the victory we have experienced with God. I often think the devil interferes with our recollection to throw us into doubt and unbelief. That is why I love my Daily Bible. I see the goodness, the faithfulness of God in those pages. Years and years of God’s hand, love and provision in my life. I need those reminders to walk in my conscious when I’m waiting for the salvation of my husband. How about you?

Currently I’m contending for something so BIG that only a miracle will predicate the fulfilment of my hope and dream. It’s so LARGE of a prayer request that it even shakes my belief at times. I’ve been contending and praying, fasting and praying and seeking God in an effort that is different than all the prior seasons of prayer.

And as the time passes, I tend to want to surrender hope. Give up and give in. The devil likes to do this to my dreams God gave me in October. He shuts me down in November and I have likely surrendered too much to the devil’s schemes. NOT THIS TIME! I will be honest, I’ve battled fear. I even found myself praying out of fear and doubt. I confessed my fear and asked God’s forgiveness and have asked the Lord to help me be in peace and rest as I continue to believe for this dream.

A week ago, the fear subsided. In this process, I’ve needed miracle after miracle. AND I’ve received several. Outlandish and unexpected miracles. But I’m contending for more, as they are required to move forward.

Why am I sharing this in the study of Peter? Because we need reminding. I need reminding of God’s faithfulness.

Right now, I’ll bet that you are contending for some huge breakthroughs as well. Currently in my prayer sessions so many are battling depression, anxiety and fear. Many have giant needs, a new job. A home to live in. You are praying for a breakthrough for your kids who are in trouble, serious, life-altering stuff. You are praying for a breakthrough in your faith, your heart and physical body. Trust me, I know. I’m right there with you.

So, we need reminding that there are miracles in our past. There will be miracles in our future. And I feel the urging of the LORD that today, we are to share our remembrances with one another. In the comments, leave a few sentences or a complete story about a miracle in your life.

At Christmas time, I can’t think of a better way to offer worship to our LORD, through the sharing of our testimony of His faithfulness. Your story may be the very story that helps another SUMite to claim their miracle. Testimony is power in the Kingdom. Testimony can transfer to other believers and bring about healing, miracles and more.

Honor God in this. Pop into the comments. Write from your heart. What has God done that was a miracle in your life. Nothing is too small. If it was a miracle to you… It was GOD!

Love you. See you there. More to come on Peter. Woo Hoo!!!! Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

Footer w drop shadow


Martha's Vineyard

Hello everyone

It's Ann here, and I want to share something that's been sitting in my journal for some time. I loved it. I hope you do too.

It was August last year, I was sat in bed armed with a mug of cocoa, pen, and journal. Absent-mindedly, I leafed through the Bible and came across the verse, "Call to me, and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" (Jer 33:3 ESV). I scribbled it down and said, "God, tell me something great that I don't already know!" SUM rocking chairs with SUM logo

That night turned out to be a little bit strange and wonderful. I could feel the Holy Spirit as I slept. I kept drifting towards wakefulness and each time it seemed He was speaking about the SUM community. There were words that I couldn't catch. Finally, as morning came a phrase landed in my head: Martha's Vineyard.

Now, I knew nothing about Martha's Vineyard. Being British and now living in New Zealand, Martha's Vineyard had never come across my path. "What is it?" I thought. Wikipedia was needed, and what did I find out?  That it is a place of mixed marriages!

Here's the story: Martha's Vineyard (a beautiful island community off the US east coast) had an especially large deaf community. They lived with an inherited deafness from generations past. The majority of these deaf were married to hearing people, hence the term 'mixed marriages'. Because of these marriages, deafness dissipated - both in the way they lived, and among future generations who now hear.

There, the deaf looked different to elsewhere. They were not treated as outcasts. Instead, they were perfectly integrated. Because of the closeness of the deaf-hearing families, sign language was spoken widely across the community, even by the hearing.

Even today, the community's citizens work hard to protect their lifestyle while extending welcome to outsiders. It is a balance that is hard to achieve. This balance makes it a warm, attractive place.  It's such a nice place that others want to live there too.

This is our SUM colony, and I think that's what this word meant -- Martha's Vineyard. I feel God wants us to celebrate our strengths and know how unique and lovely our community is. To us, those who hear less easily are not left out. We love them so much and we 'get' their perspective even though it's not ours. We use their language when speaking about faith. That skill alone is huge for the Kingdom.

Most importantly, though, Martha's Vineyard reminds us that our spouses are integral citizens. They're citizens of the SUM community, and precious citizens of God's household. They add flavor, they are sanctified, and they are part of this beautiful place.

As for us 'Marthas', the ones who work so hard to protect our own, it is interesting to me that the name Martha means 'bitter' in Hebrew and 'woman' in Aramaic - and, yes, our bitterness of soul runs deep. But I believe that God wants us to celebrate the beauty of what we're doing. If we lift our eyes we can see how lovely our island community has become. Isolated, yes, but surrounded by Him. We live in a spiritual place where the homes are beautiful, the residents are rich, and the ocean sparkles all around, bringing the promise of good things.

Lift up your eyes all around, and see:

They all gather together, they come to you;

Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.

Then you shall see and become radiant,

And your heart shall swell with joy;

Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,

The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.

(Isaiah 60:4-5, NKJV)

We Marthas, the SUMites, have a beautiful vineyard: It's a place where we keep tightly hold of others, where hearts turn, and where people want 'in'.

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts - especially from any who have been to Martha's Vineyard, or from those who have looked up and seen the beauty of our island community in more metaphorical terms! 

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

Footer w drop shadow