Would You Like a Side of Waffles With That Spaghetti?

I was asked to speak on the topic of love at a women’s ministry group for our church yesterday morning. The last time I stood up in front of an audience was almost six years ago—and that doesn’t really count because it was a classroom full of 8th graders. Needless to say, I was more than a little nervous. I did all the prep work—wrote out what I wanted to say, found the appropriate scriptures to back up my subject matter and threw in a few quotes from Christians in the heart of ministry. And yet, when I practiced the talk ahead of time, I stumbled along like a shy adolescent. It didn’t do much to calm my nerves.

I thought it would be best to start with something humorous—you know, get the group on my side. And since it was a post-Valentine’s Day brunch, I was able to tie the topic of love in with this Hallmark card holiday (because we all know it was devised by some greeting card company to sell product). Before I could possibly share the most humorous experience I’ve had on Valentine’s Day, I needed to get my husband’s permission. I won’t go into the story (it’s too long, and I think Chris has reached his grace-limit) but it made all the difference in the world. Get a group of people laughing, and you’ve got their attention.

The gist of the talk was this: The popularity of Valentine’s Day in this country is in direct correlation with our (mostly women) need to feel loved—to have declarations of undying love poured over us. With that in mind, I believe the disappointment level on February 15th is astronomical. For women who are unattached, Valentine’s Day is just a rude reminder of that fact; for women who are attached, it’s rife with unmet expectations (just so you know, this is where my funny story came in—props and all).

Inside every woman, God has instilled a need to be loved. Inside every man, God has instilled a need for respect. Put two people together who don’t think the same way (check out Men Are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti), with differing needs and a self-centered nature, and you’ve got a volcanic situation. But that’s where God comes in. How better to learn to be more Christ-like than living day in and day out with another self-centered individual? Growth doesn’t come with comfort.

I did not know the word submission even existed in my first marriage. It’s taken the last eight years for me to admit that my sin in that relationship was that I didn’t submit—I didn’t give my ex-husband the respect he desperately needed. He didn’t ask for it, but I doubt he even knew how—or could indentify what it was that pulled him out of that marriage. I consider myself an intelligent person, and as such, I don’t plan to make that mistake again.

I know a lot of Christian women who view submission with distaste. Even so, I was amazed that the discussion after my talk yesterday picked up once I asked, “What does submission look like to you?” I think it’s very difficult in today’s culture for some women to submit to their husbands—especially if they believe that life would basically fall apart if the man of the house was given that control. I know that’s where I was in my first marriage. But looking back, it’s condescending—and unbiblical.

Ephesians 5:22-24 states, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (italics mine)

This morning, our pastor’s message was on the parable of the man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27). He asked the church as a whole on what were we building our foundations? If we believe that the Bible is the unerring Word of God, then how can we pick and choose which passages to follow and which to ignore? If we believe that our situation is special, that our husband’s don’t deserve our submission, then we marginalize God—and we elevate ourselves above Him.

Our God is a big God. He is a God who sees all, knows all, and has a plan and purpose in every circumstance we’re going through. If we believe that our husband’s will fail unless we step in and take control, then eventually they will. Or, maybe, like my ex-husband, they’ll just get to the point that they’re done.

Trust God with not only the little things, but also the big things—those areas in your life where He can show up in a mighty way—then get out of His way and let Him work in your circumstance.

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