Tire, Alone, Scared, and Misguided

Many a wife has thought as you do, that her husband has never been the spiritual leader in the home, but just for a moment, rethink.

Many a husband is a poor spiritual leader, but every husband is ordained by God to be the leader in matters of the Spirit. If he leads poorly, still he is the leader, by God’s decree. That is why God wants Christian women to be married to Christian men—so that the men can lead the women in the right direction. Perhaps, just now, you are barely seeing this truth. It is stunning in its ramifications, but it is truth: Every husband is the leader.

We have a little saying around here that goes like this, “If you are not submitting all the time, then you are not submitting at all. You are trying to lead and trying to disguise the fact.” The truth is that it is not possible for me, in your words, “to keep my place as wife” at any time if I do not keep it all the time. It’s like honesty: You’re either honest or you’re not honest. There is no such thing as “somewhat honest”.

The opposite of submission is rebellion. Every time I experiment with not submitting, I slide deeper into rebellion and it becomes easier not to submit the next time.

The only way out for me is to repent. It is the same for all people, no matter what the sin. Not submitting is sin. If the marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church, then the rebellious wife is a picture of the Church thumbing the nose at Jesus. That revolting picture wakes us up. The wife who takes off in some other direction than following her husband, is trying to be the leader, when God has already made the husband her leader. Of course, misery would come easily if there were two leaders in the house. Is that it?

The answer to your questions, though, is that it is better to keep the child with both parents at the same time, if it is at all possible. If the wife and the child are in no danger of permanent harm, arrest, etc., then this is the way to go.

Yes, the unsaved husband may make many, many wrong leadership decisions.

That is why it is so important that the mom not make wrong decisions, too.

Otherwise, while the dad might be setting an example of TV watching, the mom might be setting an example of rebellion.

Who can say which is worse? Which would be easier for the child to unlearn? Which displeases God more? Who dares say?

Tired, Alone, and Scared Half to Death

I wish I could know if your questions were for “maybe someday” or if you are actually experiencing real danger. There is such a huge difference.

If you think your husband might soon kill you or your child, you must get yourselves out of danger and seek guidance from strong Christians in your area.

Let me explain. The reason you stay married to your husband is that you have promised, before God, that you would do so. It is a covenant between you, your husband, your neighbors, and God. You promise your husband, “I will always be here, except for death.” You promise your neighbors, “I accept oneness with this man, so no one else can have him, anymore.” You promise God, “I will be a picture of your Church and her relationship to Your Son.” We do not break such solemn promises.

God gives us another covenant responsibility, though, when He gives us a child. You and your husband both have a huge responsibility to make sure the life of your son is good for those around you. It is wrong to bring to birth and then fail to train a child to be an asset to his neighbors. First, though, you have a responsibility simply to make sure he lives.

If your husband is threatening or trying to kill either you or your child, he is trying to end one of these covenants that you must keep. Therefore, you must do whatever it takes to keep yourself and your child alive. Flee. Hide. Get help, even police help, if needed.

Escaping death does not mean escaping the marriage, though. Once you are certain you are safe, then you must return to your husband, in safety. If this means counseling for either of you, or arrest for your husband, so be it. If he is jailed, you must witness to him, etc., as a loving wife would. You are not divorcing, just trying to keep the marriage covenant, just trying to keep the covenant with your son, by trying to stay alive.

I wonder, though, if your questions are hypothetical, that is, if you were supposing and just wondering. How easy to imagine that “the worst” might come, just because some hard things have come! It is especially easy to imagine worst cases when we are very tired and run down. Is this it?

One day, when looking up Noah Webster’s definition of suffering, I discovered a treasured revelation: He says, “ . . . We suffer with anxiety. We suffer by evils past and by anticipating others to come . . . ” Anxiety, past evils, and anticipated evils are all suffering we take upon ourselves. This suffering does not befall us; we take it up. It is not happening now, we borrow it from another time zone. The human creature amazes me.

You have been through a lot to have this child, but so has your husband. Certainly, it has not been all roses for him to have his wife out of commission for a year and a new baby in the house, to boot. Maybe his irritation and frustration have escalated just when your patience and strength have taken a nosedive. Maybe his decisions are blurry, too. Maybe the best thing for now is to wait. Wait. Have courage and wait. Cheer up and wait.

Tired and All, All Alone

How quickly solitude can flip, can convert to loneliness!

No one else you know has just delivered a baby, at your age, right? Where can you find support?

No one else you know lives with quite such a quarrelsome husband, right? To whom would you dare confess?

You are not all alone, though, if you have Jesus. This may sound trite, but really, the truth is timeless and we’ve run out of different ways to say it. He is always there for you. His care for you continues even when you are too tired to care for yourself. His love for you increases even when you’ve lost the strength to love.

Jesus knew sleep deprivation, too. He knows how you feel, even better than I do. He stayed up, sometimes all night, on several occasions. They used to call it keeping watch. He kept the night watches, praying all night, seeking and finding the will of His Father.

I sympathize with His sleeping during a storm on a small boat. We sleep when we can, those of us who have interrupted nights, don’t we?

Jesus also endured temptation to give up. Sometimes He voiced the temptations He faced. Once He even said, “Oh, how long shall I be with you?” How uncannily familiar that rings! Almost, you have proposed the same question: How long must I endure an obstinate partner? Is this really God’s will? How long is long enough or too long?

Yes, Jesus was tempted to give up. He knows the way out of all the temptations, too. In the words of a famous song, “You never gave up./You never gave in./You never said, ‘No, can’t take any more of this.’” That was Jesus.

Do not forget to turn to Him every day. You can ask Him for strength and He will give it to you. This is the truth. His strength is the only thing that can sustain us through a tough time. Eventually, after I recover from my attitude, those times become my favorites, because of the glory of observing His hand working in my life! It is so wonderful to be able actually to SEE Him at work, changing me to be the way I wish I were.

Jesus can make so much progress in my life, where I seem to improve so slowly, if any, on my own.

I pray for you, dear Sister, and possibly many of the readers do, too. By God’s grace, I will not let you down. Christian sisters are supposed to uphold each other. What a joyful gift from God! What a privilege to share your burden with you! Bask in His love. Lie back and rest in His care. Cast it all upon Him.

Tired. Dog Tired.

This week’s posts answer several questions from a dear woman in a wrenching situation. I answered her immediately and privately, awhile back. Recently postpartum with her first child, she wonders about the effects of her wounded and out-lashing husband. She wonders if it would be better for the baby to live without a dad. Here is the greater part of my answers:

Yes! That “row-to-hoe” can stretch on forever, trying to outlive children, can’t it? I know because I had six of them and they sometimes seemed to have a head start on me.

Just when we imagine all’s well, something surfaces, and usually at the worst time, right? Accustoming myself to motherhood and all its foibles and failures cost me several years of my life. By the time the third child arrived, I thought I’d mastered some techniques of child raising. Boy, was I wrong!

I finally got it, though. Now I know the only, only, only way to give a child a happy life is to have parents who seek God daily, even hourly. I can do my half of that.

Difficult childbirth has knocked at my door, too, leaving me weak and weary. Oh, I know the long days and short nights. I know the constant care-giving while needing care, yourself. I know the disorientation, forgetfulness, depression, and touchiness that come with the elation and wonder at experiencing this tiny new being. How could I have sunk into such sadness when life had dealt such joy as a miracle baby?

Easy.

My health deteriorated when I gave birth. I was not in tip-top shape, in fact, I remembered only vaguely what tip-top felt like. What a zombie I was! Hormones jumped up and down a scale from below zero to over the moon. I battled for sanity, once nearly broke down. I lacked iron. A gaping wound in my internals healed slowly. I slept only occasionally, fitfully.

And they asked me to make decisions. I would have laughed, except my laugh was broken. Laughter would have required action, and I mostly operated on reaction. I was so tired, every decision culminated in taking a nap, which never materialized because hormones would not let me sleep.

The better course would have been to have waited until I was the real me. The difficulty of waiting disappears when you lose track of time, though. We need waiting. For nine months, we wait for the most important event in ages, and never, ever do we think more waiting would greatly help. But we need waiting.

If we cannot find a good rhythm, some rest, and sanity, if our smile turns upside-down more often than not, is it the time to make a life-long decision? No. If I cannot decide if I want to eat or not, is it time to decide if I want to keep my husband or not? No. Wait.

Gramma’s Wisdom – Small Things

A bee--just a little bit busy right now.Scripture says knowing God’s will is a blessing. Sometimes doing it is hard.

At every step, the enemy of our souls is waiting for an opportunity to take out anyone he can and always watching for a chance to steal, kill, and destroy. We can be his victims. Or we can fight that good fight of faith. The choice is ours and this is the meaning of the verse: Choose ye this day whom ye will serve… We serve the Lord when we:

  • make progress, move forward,
  • see our invisible enemy and beat him to the blessing,
  • receive the goodness God had planned for us,
  • take our place at the front, in any role from king to pawn.

So many think we must be doing something big for God, but He created a world full of small things that also serve Him.

The humble bee, for instance, has recently encountered much more respect for its astonishing service to us all. Calmly buzzing from flower to flower for centuries, it feeds us. It goes where no man can go. We have learned: its demise is our demise.

The humble housewife, lately, has not enjoyed such an uplifting experience. Calmly buzzing from laundry to kitchen for centuries, she has kept us and her demise is our demise.

The humble mother has not enjoyed such uplifting, either. Calmly buzzing from diapers to diploma, she keeps us until we are adults. Her demise is the demise of our children.

No, the woman, as she is, has not enjoyed uplifting. Only when she pretends at being a man does even she, herself, acknowledge her value as a creature.

What if the woman were to beat off the one who would chase her into this disorder? What if she were to reach for the blessings of being herself? What if she were to take the lead as a woman, instead of grasping at being the man. She would serve the Lord.

It sure gives “charge” a new meaning.

When life is right-side up, the world works better, and our world is not working so well. We can learn this. We need to learn this. We can charge into this survival battle with confidence. Someone has to, if only for the children.

So, who has the equipment? Who has the temperament? Who has the muscles, strengths, right desires? Is it not woman, in numbers too big to ignore?

We buzz. We go where no man can go.

Gramma’s Wisdom – Go Faster!

Is that all the faster yo can go?Life can fill so quickly with predicaments that weaken our intentions. A simple variation can derail me.

One day last spring was all about laundry until I woke up. Really late. The recent time change had messed up my life. I aimed at sleep, but missed the mark. When I asked a pharmacist about melatonin, he told me the brain already makes that. When I said, “I know it, but my brain is confused,” he nearly fell down laughing.

The melatonin hurt my stomach. The gift of sleep presented itself to me, those days, in three-hour shifts, with three hours between each shift.

Eventually everything catches up with everyone. The impossibility of waking at 7:30 to do all the laundry and arrive in town before 10:00 ruled my every action. Some of the laundry washed while some dried, when I left without my usual shower. Half-way to town, I remembered what I forgot: breakfast. Lunching, finally, at 2:00, left me weak.

Anyway, during that day, I experienced a refreshing visit with an old friend. She showed me her reproduction quilt. Some of the pieces are about a half-inch square. Of course, she hand-pieced it, over 2000 pieces. She lives alone in what she calls “this broken down house” and delights, as I do, in fabrics. She showed me how she quilts and how she locks her stitches. We discussed my curtains. I save this visit with her as a treat for when I need a return to reality.

Then it was on to the printer, on to the bank, on to the library, zooming as best I could without breaking any laws. Zooming to grab a short lunch, zooming to transfer laundry loads, zooming to fold and hang clothing, zooming to check chickens, zooming to make the bed (anytime before 4:30 p.m. counts), zooming to answer the phone, zooming to—does it matter?

Does it matter as much as a friend and her quilt?

My husband was out of white socks and hoped to play racquetball the next day. I paid close attention to folding his socks, stayed up late to get it done. I believe in making laundry happen for my people. It is my profession: I am an expert, and I believe a person can teach himself to enjoy any activity. I enjoy doing laundry. It calms me. I derive satisfaction from gazing at a long row of expertly-ironed, long-sleeved shirts and watching my husband leave in the morning, wearing a crisp, good-smelling shirt. It is a competition, although most women do not realize it, and secretly, I win.

Next morning, when I again awoke late, I remembered what I had forgotten: to place the folded socks where my husband could find them. They were still atop the file cabinet, where I had sleepily left them, and he was gone.

Okay, so you win, after all.

Gramma’s Wisdom – Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning toolsThey tell me old timers used to practice Spring-cleaning every year. My mother did. For a long while, I felt guilty when I failed even to nod in that direction. Now I realize why they did it and why they had the energy.

And what a blessing it was, in disguise.

They had to. Winter warmth cost them more than just the husband’s fuel bill. The fuel deposits carried an extra annual cost for the wife: Spring-cleaning. Smoke from wood or coal settled ash onto every surface, even walls, curtains, and ceiling. Humid breezes from spring’s open windows melded with this deposit, forming mold. It was clean or die, and they knew it. Hence the motivation to have some energy.

I recently heard from some beautiful elderly women who remember their grandmothers’ Spring-cleaning. Drafting every member of the family and any neighbors who wanted to trade services, they ordered every piece of furniture outdoors. I know why. Every piece needed cleaning, fore and aft, inside and out, yes.

However, the carpet, itself, also had to make that trip outdoors for a good scrubbing and sunning, and to grant that sub-floor its own turn with the soap and scrub brush.

Everything, everything, in the house was clean as new, only one week later.

Usually they worked together, neighbors helping each other by turns, just as the men often did the harvest. Spring-cleaning and the harvest were equally essential to life, and they knew it. God had told them in Leviticus 14, and, of course, lately we’ve learned He was right, that a moldy house is bad, but back then they didn’t have any better sense than to believe God.

Well, of course, that was the right thing to do, but to believe Him so much that they would act on it by actually removing mold or even the potential for mold, was their only recourse, lacking today’s science.

Well, of course, today’s science isn’t so advanced if they actually already knew these things back in our great-great-great-grandmothers’ days, but it just proves that those verses actually were right.

I mean, to invest an entire week of hard work into believing that a few Bible verses might be right, was the best they could do. They had no way of knowing the dangers of mold or the importance of washing things

Oh.

I think I’ll go dust for a while. ‘Bye, now.

_________________

Katharine is a retired home educating mom who writes about all things “woman”, from a Godly viewpoint, here on this site, and at The Conquering Mom.  Her writing appeared in several magazines for 15 years, and she is currently working on several books. She loves to write, speak, teach, cook, garden, spoil her hennies, and watch old movies with popcorn.