4:13 p.m. Caly and Owen recording with Daddy/Uncle Mikey
My sister-in-law Betsy has been one of my dearest friends for going on 36 years now. She’s also one of my favorite women teachers, and it’s not only because she reminds me of my husband with her earnest style and frequent hand gestures. Betsy is one of the most encouraging women I know. She has a profound and ever growing appreciation for the grace of God and you can’t leave her presence without her looking you straight in the eye and telling you how she sees that grace at work in your life.
So it was a special treat for me to sit under Betsy’s teaching this Saturday for not one, but two sessions! She spoke to the women of Covenant Life Church about God’s perspective on our emotions. And to begin, she took us to Genesis 1 and our Creator. Please listen (here and here) and be encouraged.
A wife’s initiative should always support and strengthen her husband’s leadership; and to that end, she should take lots of initiative!
Our job is to help our husband, care for our children, and manage our home. We must not think it is “unsubmissive” to use our skills, wisdom, and insight for the good of our family. In fact, it would be wrong to neglect them. Scripture and the godly women of church history bear this out.
For example, in 1 Timothy 5:14 Paul urges the young widows to “marry, bear children, [and] manage their households” (emphasis mine). This is a strong phrase, meaning to be the ruler, despot, or master of the house. Clearly Paul expects women to bear significant responsibility for home life.
Katie Luther was a woman who took some serious initiative in her marriage. Her husband Martin famously quipped: “In domestic affairs I defer to Katie. Otherwise I am led by the Holy Ghost.”
The Proverbs 31 woman presided over the entire range of responsibilities in her home. She advised her husband, cared for her children, supervised servants, oversaw land, invested money, bought, sold, and traded goods (just to name a few duties!). No one could accuse her of lacking initiative.
And Sarah Edwards took initiative to create a world where her husband could fulfill his God-given duties without being concerned about domestic tasks. As the story goes, Dr. Edwards emerged from his studies one day and asked his wife: “Isn’t it about time for the hay to be cut?” To which Sarah replied, “It’s been in the barn for two weeks.”
Inspired by these godly ladies, what initiative can you take for the good of your family today?
(adapted from Feminine Appeal)
Q. Do you have any thoughts on how submission works on a day-to-day basis? For example, most of the women I know are more administrative than their husbands, and are more aware of the needs and deficiencies of their families and usually can make more informed decisions on a day to day basis. Even if a woman is bringing things up to her husband in a way that lets the husband make the ultimate decision, if she is the one initiating, then is she the one actually leading (but just in a way that “sounds” submissive)?
A. This is an important question because another way we can misapply submission is by assuming that it means we must wait for our husband to take all the initiative. But in order to understand what submission is (and is not), we must also understand what leadership is.
In an effort to flesh out a biblical definition of leadership, John Piper explains that “Mature masculinity does not have to initiate every action, but feels the responsibility to provide a general pattern of initiative.” He elaborates:
In a family the husband does not do all the thinking and planning. His leadership is to take responsibility in general to initiate and carry through the spiritual and moral planning for family life. I say “in general” because “in specifics” there will be many times and many areas of daily life where the wife will do all kinds of planning and initiating. But there is a general tone and pattern of initiative that should develop which is sustained by the husband.
For example, the leadership pattern would be less than Biblical if the wife in general was having to take the initiative in prayer at mealtime, and get the family out of bed for worship on Sunday morning, and gather the family for devotions, and discuss what moral standards will be required of the children, and confer about financial priorities, and talk over some neighborhood ministry possibilities, etc. A wife may initiate the discussion and planning of any one of these, but if she becomes the one who senses the general responsibility for this pattern of initiative while her husband is passive, something contrary to Biblical masculinity and femininity is in the offing.
Before we consider the “many times and many areas” where the wife will do the initiating we must first ask: Does my manner of relating to my husband encourage him to “provide the general pattern of initiative” or does my initiative taking undermine or usurp his leadership?
If you’re not sure, ask your husband. And if you’re really brave, take this question to a godly friend who will give you an honest answer.
My husband, CJ, received the following email last week, thanking him for his sermon on modesty. May we all be provoked and encouraged by this woman’s example!
Dear Sir, ?
I would like to thank you for sharing the message “The Soul of Modesty”—the Holy Spirit used it to convict me of things that needed to change. ?
If there were a way to attach a photo, I would include a picture of a pile of clothes on my bed that are leaving my house today. Low cut or short items or even things that I have ever received a second, sidelong, lustful glance while wearing are no longer an option for me—my closet is empty by about half.
I am discarding them to avoid temptation to slip back in to bad habits-especially in the light of summer’s dawn and the pressure I imagine will be there to “compete.” I am asking God for His help with this and the fruit of His Spirit in my life. ??
When I heard the message you shared I became aware that it is indeed a soul issue. And though it is no excuse, I feel that my “issue” with this subject has been ‘ignorance’ as you termed it—but not an ignorance of appropriateness but rather an ignorance of the underlying attitude attached to my behavior.
I felt it was important to “hold my own” and especially in regards to my husband to “stay on his radar.” But also, it cannot be denied that there is a spirit of arrogance and pride to my immodesty, a call for ‘undue attention to oneself’ as you said. This particular point was what struck to the heart of me and though it stung, I am grateful for your willingness to wield a lance.
As I struggled with what to do in response to the conviction I felt, I wrestled with “covering up” while my husband would still be surrounded and bombarded by images & women who have not yet heard the call to modesty (I truly love those women also and wish to reach out to them. It is my intent to start by example.) But, without any concrete answers of how to handle those feelings, I came to the conclusion that I would best respond by choosing to glorify God in this matter and do the right thing personally—leaving my fears and self image issues, as well as my husband’s heart, in His hands. I am trusting the Holy Spirit to continue to lead me through this as He has already been doing since I heard your message.
This also affects my children, and I hope to talk to my daughter about the changes I am making and what brought about that conviction. I hope that above all they will SEE a difference in me—not just my clothes but the heart underneath.
I will be praying that many more lives will be touched by this truth you’ve shared. ??
If your church does small groups you’ll probably appreciate the humor in this video. See you all Monday! Nicole for the girltalkers