I am going to include some words from a sweet Mrs. Younger that I know. We had lunch a few months ago, and I was so impressed that she lovingly received the difficult words I said to her and did not get up and throw a glass of water on me. She has one of the most beautiful singing voices I have ever heard. Without even trying, when she sings, her glowing face and authentic spirit bring you in to a place of worship. For now, she sits silently next to her husband. Her words:
"When I was nineteen, God called me out of singing opera and into music ministry. I was thrilled! I started using my voice in ministry as He provided opportunities. Over the last nineteen years, His anointing on my voice has continued to increase as I have learned how to get out of the way and glorify Him.
Twelve years ago, I got married. I, like most women raised in post-feminist America, had no clue what God’s structure of authority in marriage looked like. I operated independently of my husband’s authority – especially when it came to my calling. As far as I was concerned, that was between God and me and had little to do with him.
Over the years, God showed me how to respect my husband more and more. He and I both did the hard work to develop a God-honoring marriage. It was EXCRUCIATING, but we loved God more and wanted to please Him and love each other. The things I was learning during this intense Holy-Spirit schooling translated into more wisdom and effectiveness in marriage and also ministry. Even after all this progress, my sweetie still wasn’t very supportive of the latter.
Why would a man who loves God fail to encourage his wife to honor Him with her life? I wanted him to enjoy it with me, but he wouldn’t. The best I got was “Sounds good, Babe,” when I shared a song I had just written or, “Good job,” when I sang. Many from the congregation would come to me overwhelmed by what God had done through whatever song I had sung, but there was little buy in from my own husband. Wasn’t he called to invest in me and help me reach my potential? I didn’t understand and it REALLY hurt, but I let it go for the sake of our new found peace and unity.
In November of 2012, God called me out of music ministry for a season. As I sang from the congregation for the first time in several years, He began a new thing in me. My spirit started to fly during the musical part of our worship. I found myself singing louder, more intensely. I was often on my knees or even my face in awe of God. I knew I was being prepared to lead worship. I received comment after positive comment from fellow worshipers and even our music minister.
God assured me that He was the One doing the new thing, but I could tell that my husband wasn’t pleased. I decided that he must be rebelling against God in this, so I continued to worship this way after he voiced his objections and even refused to sit with me. How could it be that God would bring growth and freedom to me and expect me to just sit on it for the sake of submitting to my husband? Eventually, I stopped going into the worship service to avoid the pain. Well, that didn’t work for long. I needed corporate worship, so I had to deal with this.
I sought out my friend, Mrs. Older, who I knew would tell me the truth. She told me that God would not bless any ministry of mine that I had not submitted to my husband. She said that God had established the structure of authority and that He wouldn’t violate His own rules. She told me that the Person I didn’t trust was Him. We agreed that I should sit quietly with my husband during worship and pray for Him to fix this.
We attend a traditional, organized church where the culture of worship is subdued. In this environment, my dynamic was distracting my husband from worshiping and connecting with God for himself. He needed me to support him! I was showing him that I didn’t trust him or care about his needs by my refusal to follow his lead.
He wasn’t rebelling against God, he was refusing to enable my rebellion. How could I expect him to invest in my calling when I wouldn’t trust him with it or even consider him in the process? It is my husband’s charge to encourage and develop my spiritual potential. When I decided that he wasn’t trustworthy to do that, I usurped his authority and took on a responsibility that wasn’t mine. In doing so, I was causing my own pain.
I have come to understand that even though God established my calling before I met my husband, He still intends to guide it through his leadership. I have learned that it is possible that God would expect me to set aside my own freedom for the sake of submitting to my husband’s authority and putting his needs first (Philippians 2:3-4, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 5:21-24). It is perfectly scriptural and reasonable for my Creator and Savior to ask me to “lay down my life” for this man who is His gift to me.
Our marriage is greater than either one of us. It is a living, breathing oneness that God created for HIS PURPOSE! Because of my self-important attitude, we were disjointed and therefore seriously handicapped. God will not use me in ministry. He will use our union.
In the meantime, I worship with freedom when I am alone with God. I dance, sing, cry, shout, and bow before Him in humility. I am trusting Him to provide opportunities and lead through my husband. I am enjoying the deeper intimacy and trust my submission is creating in our marriage. And I am resting in the protection, provision, and covering God has given me through him.
When I think about the love, creativity, and perfect wisdom with which God paired me with my husband, I am in awe. All I can be is grateful, humbled, and repentant. It is my joy to honor and trust God by honoring and trusting my husband. I am excited and hopeful when I think about the adventure we will live as we move forward together as one in Christ! "
God is not finished with her or her gifts.
And He is not finished with you or yours.
OBEY His Word.
And then watch Him work.
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