Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In the Beginning

I was rummaging through my craft box and came across an old treasure. I found the first testimony I ever presented. This was from the first time I had been asked to speak in front of a crowd about my personal walk with Christ - it was a ladies' conference. Even though I had been saved in my late teen years, there was so much I didn't learn until I became a member of my local church at 30 years old (BTW, it is important to every Christian's spiritual growth to find a local church that actually feeds them!).

Reading the old speech through was kind of neat, nostalgic and eye-opening to where I was in my walk with Christ back then (8 years ago) compared to now. I am very grateful that I can see growth in my understanding of His will in my life, as well as in my husband's life. So I thought I would reprint it here. Hopefully, everyone will enjoy it:

Hi. My name is Kim. My testimony today is to share with you some of the recent changes that have occurred in my life.

Let me start with some background. At 27 years old, I had achieved the position of head nurse of a nursing department of 20 staff. At 30 years old, after my daughter was born, I became Executive Director in charge of an 86 bed retirement facility with 50 staff members, 6 directors and managed a million and half dollar annual budget. I did this for four years - and LOVED IT! I was the BOSS, the HEAD HONCHO, and the QUEEN OF THE CASTLE!

I loved the problem solving, the labour negotiations, the delegating of authority, the whole ORGANIZATION of everything! The POWER.

I was good at it, too. And I was paid very well for my performance. SO well, infact, that I couldn't imagine going into anything else.

I got very comfortable, even sedentary. I was a Christian, all right...on the weekend. Because this lifestyle was so comfortable, I wasn't looking for changes.

The problem that kept coming up was whenever I looked into God's word and how it applied to my life, the more uncomfortable it became to try and apply it to my life. There wasn't a connection with the way I was living and the scripture I was reading. So...I stopped looking, or became annoyed with God for His unreasonable expectations of a woman in TODAY's world. I would read 1 Peter 3:1a 'Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands'...and skip ahead to Peter 3:6a 'Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord...'

Has God met my husband?

Doesn't the Lord realize that obedience is for those who need to be lead? That's not me!

As far as I was concerned, we had the perfect set up for our marriage, why would God want us to change it? I was a nurse...I was serving Him by being in charge of the care to all those vulnerable seniors, right? I was supporting my family and doing well enough that my husband could stay home and raise our daughter. Obviously it was His will because He had provided me with the job in the first place, right? Those were some of my arguments - I had many.

I tried staying away from His word, but in His gracious and loving way, He always pulled me back. And I started reading passages like:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Ephesians 5:22

This was a verse that was talking about God's way of family structure, and one of the first things that I noticed was He was talking to me. It doesn't talk to the husband here and say 'husbands, force your wives to be servants' - and that is how I had been viewing it. I began to see the difficulty in calling myself a Christian woman, if I couldn't submit or obey as the Lord wanted me to do. It wasn't about me being subjugated by someone else, it was about my willingness to obey the Lord and His authority structure.

Over several months I continued to study Ephesians 5 and read verse 23:

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

I had no problem accepting Christ as the head of the church, but letting the man be in charge of the family? The old feminist training that I had as a kid kicked in - not just influence from family, but from school, too - young women should be equal. But now I began to see that this worldly training was directly in the way of my spiritual growth. I had been trained to feel it would be too degrading to simply let my husband be the head of the family. Would I be a lesser person if I obeyed this? Or more to the point, could I live with the decisions my husband would be in charge of making? Could I humble myself to give away the control?

Reading verses 24 & 25:

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
This is where I began to see that husbands were built for responsibilities. God didn't want women to have to bear the stresses of being the leader - of taking a man's role in the family or the workplace. So...why was it considered equality to take over the man's God-given role and still try and fit my role, too? It was a real conspiracy - men and women weren't equal with liberation, women were a little on the stupid side. Maybe I could do the job well, maybe I could even do it better than a man, but why try to keep doing it when it was making me miserable?

God continued to open my eyes as I read verses 26 - 29:

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
This part really struck me. No only was I not fulfilling my role as wife and mother, but I was contributing to my husband not fulfilling his role. I wasn't letting him.

I still argued with God. 'My husband won't take charge' or 'my husband doesn't want to be in charge like this'. God's answer was always "LET ME SHOW YOU".

My denial over the need for change went on for a little over a year, and I became more miserable everyday that I went off to work, or every time my cell phone would ring during off hours. Fortunately, God was working on my husband at the same time so we could be miserable together.

We made excuses together, too

-we needed the money I was making
-I was good at my job
-I wasn't capable of obeying

Again, He said, "LET ME SHOW YOU"

Step by step, and day by day He made it harder for me to stay in my lifestyle. He gave me a hunger to grow spiritually and set up a certain circumstances where I could no longer deny that He wanted me to become a real Christian woman - not a worldly Christian woman. I had been keeping one foot in the world and giving Him what was leftover. It was so hard to be the boss all day and then come home and let my husband be the head of the family.

One day a situation arose that was the final blow to my career. It was a situation that was mandated from head office that I completely disagreed with - but couldn't change it or fix it. How appropriate that He took the power away from me in the very place I was trying to hold onto it. That was a Friday - I emailed my resignation on the Monday.

As of June 30, 2004, I was unemployed for the first time since I was thirteen.

In the past year, God has shown His faithfulness to me and my family over and over again. My husband's employment brings in less than half the income my job produced - but we haven't been in need of anything. I have been the cook in the family and no one has died.

I have come to revel in my role as wife and moter. The skills that I have for organizing have just been modified for the the household instead of a business. I have been able to show my daughter that obedience to the Lord is more important than following what the world says is right, acceptable or even necessary. I am proud to be what I used to look down upon - a housewife.

Psalm 119:65-72 has come to teach me that there is peace in wisdom (looking at life through God's eyes) and in trusting Him.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Now, I am not perfect in my spiritual growth. Not by and means. I still have alot of difficulty in NOT directing my husband. I think I will always struggle with obeying.

I will end with this thought - I am often reminded of when I have had to train many of the large dogs I have had in my life. Sometimes it is necessary to pin the animal to the floor to teach the need to obey...God sits on me regularly.

1 comment:

Mrs. Parunak said...

This was a very inspiring testimony. I loved the part where you said that God was speaking to YOU about submission, not to your husband about MAKING you submit. What a great point!