“I hope you didn’t get me anything for Christmas. Because I really didn’t get you anything.” I say. “No I really didnt’ get you anything either.” He says, and I am releived that he won’t be disappointed. You see this year we have decided to do something different. No one is getting gifts. Stockings for the kids only. We have a different vision this year and it’s been amazing. By far it’s been our most Christ centered Christmas and the children have never been more joyful.
My husband for years has had the idea of giving and not receiving at Christmas but I just couldn’t let go of my ideals of many presents under the tree. I guess, in truth, I suspected the children would somehow be scarred for life or feel neglected should they not have the glorious experience of ripping open packages on Christmas morning. But this year…we had a different idea. Moved by what we have seen on the streets we encouraged our children to think about what they could give Jesus for HIS birthday..and this sparked new joy and ideas in our home.
So the children came up with a plan to raise money and through one of Trev’s connection we found a situation that we could personal be a part of. After the fundraising was done and money collected we had a generous donor from the states offer to do a matching fund and the elation of my children went through the roof. All around there was joy and the focus of this Christmas was such a blessing that I dare say that it’s the best Christmas ever!
SO what does this have to do with loving my husband? Well….let see….he, for years, has wanted to do this and I didn’t listen. How many Christmas’s did I waste spending money on toys that were cast aside on hours later? How would the last few years have spiritually matured and grown my children’s hearts to love and serve the poor, had I just listened? How much joy did our family miss because I could not let go of my ideals of what “Christmas should be”? How much worship did I prohibit on Christmas morning because I was concerned with paper and strings? The questions go on and on…
See the problem? My husband is a strong “type A” personality. He is not shy or weak but he isn’t going to fight battles he can’t win with me. So, for the last few years he has yeilded his vision of how Christmas should look to mine. Were they bad Christmas’s? no. Were they filled with happiness? yes. But were they filled with worship, joy and excitement to celebrate the life of Christ? ….maybe a little. But not like this year. Because I did not let my husband’s vision lead our family, I kept my family from experiencing something amazing.
It was 4 years into marriage before Trevis and I began to look at our roles as husband and wife from a biblical perspective. It was a difficult journey and one we are continually on. But in the early stages of that discovery, I was convicted to tell Trevis that I would never say, “no” to him out of fear. I wanted him to have the freedom to lead us as God was leading him. By God’s grace, I have been able to keep that committment. However, letting go of my idea of the “American dream” with porch swings and hardwood floors has been another matter entirely. Many many tears have been shed as I held my hands open to God saying, “My life is yours,use it.”
Trevis takes his role as “head of the house” very seriously and prayerfully but many times….the things he feels led to do seem very hard to me. Often I struggle with fears or thoughts of self doubt. Sometimes selfishly I just don’t want too.I reget to say that usually my first reaction to him when he dreams or is processing what God wants him to do, is to say “no, I cant’ do that.” He has been prayerfully patient (most of the time) as I wrestle to bring my ideas or vision under the changing grace of God. This has never never been easy….but it has always and I mean ALWAYS been rewarding. Each time, God has given me the strength and grace to proceed. To take just the next step to see what HE is doing…to see the vision He has given my husband. Even when I don’t fully see the vision, God has given me “a peace that passes all understanding” to follow and encourage.
Lately, I see many ways that my husband seeks to lead us. I’m trying pay attention to my intial reaction to his thoughts and dreams about the future. I’m trying to prayerfully consider my words before I speak because I realize that while he is strong and lives convicted to live according to God’s call. He is easily discouraged or hurt when I don’t even have the courtesy to listen with interest or when I simply “throw water on his fire”. He needs to have the freedom to dream and explore options and ideas. I WANT to be the person he does that with. Yes, he has a best friend. Yes, he has men in his life he trusts but I WANT to know what scares him, what gives him energy. what causes him to weep and smile. The only way to do that is to give him the freedom to lead.
Allowing our husbands to lead…even when it’s hard is a blessing in many many ways. 1. We experince the blessing of alignment…no that’s not a biblical term…it’s just one I use to explain that God created man to be the head of the home and the wife to be the helpmate. In that “alignment” is protection and blessing. 2. We get to experience having the confidence of our husband thus making marriage more secure and intimate. 3. Because submission and “helpmating” isn’t easy, we get the opportunity to go before God asking to be changed and matured in both faith and grace. Honestly, the list is endless..
Today, as you seek to love and serve your family for the glory of God, I encourage you to give your husband the freedom to lead. Of course, this doesn’t mean you say yes to everything..but ask yourself when he has ideas or dreams for your family that you aren’t excited about, “What are my reasons for objection? Are they fear or insecrutiy based? Are my objections coming from ideals and values that aren’t biblical?” Then take your thoughts before God. I urge you to first prayerfully consider what He may be doing in the life of your husband.
Because when we see what God is doing…suddenly…suddenly we become excited, empowered and inspired ourselves.
Merry Christmas sweet friends!!