I have always prided myself on being spiritually independent. I got my first taste of God's Word at age 12, and I have never looked back. I love the word of God. I love Bible studies, sermons, commentaries, digging into truths of God and discussing it, writing about it, teaching it. I have also prided myself on not needing a guy to hold my hand spiritually. I don't need my husband to be my small group leader. I don't need anyone to chew up spiritual truth for me and spit it into my mouth -- I can feast on God's Word by myself. I want to be a wife who doesn't need to be spiritually propped up by her husband. I don't want to be a spiritual burden on his shoulders when he's already lifting up so much. One of my fears is living in the spiritual shadow of my husband. I believe my love for God and my independent pursuit of God are some of the reasons David fell in love with me. But in the past few months, I've frankly hit a wall. I've been slow to read, slower to pray. I've honestly felt kind of spiritually lethargic. Like I just don't have the mental or spiritual energy I should have.
The past few months, since the birth of my daughter, I have been honestly exhausted. Having one child is a life change, but two? In BKK? Yeah -- it's twice the joy and exhaustion like I have never lived. Being a mom is joy indescribable, but it demands everything you are in the day and -- yeah I'm still getting up in the -- night. For the first time in my life, I am just too tired to read the Word like I want to. And when I have the time, I don't have the desire. Not a very pastor's-wife-like thing to admit. As weeks went by, I could read a verse here, a verse there, but it never felt like enough. Priscilla Shirer once said her quiet time with God was sitting in the bathroom in the mornings while three pairs of little hands banged on the bathroom door the entire time she was in there. That's reality, people. I kept feeling guilty for not reading more, studying more, desiring more. Days turned into weeks. I'm also the type who doesn't want to read "a little." I tend to be a perfectionist which means if I can study all-in, I won't study at all (messed up philosophy). I have a couple of close friends (without kids) who joyfully ask me what I'm reading and what God is teaching me. Sometimes I just want to respond "God is teaching me how not to scream at my three year old when he spits at me." I don't think that's what they want to hear.
Still, in my weakness, God pursues me. One evening after the kids were in bed -- like many nights before, David and I were talking about The Lord. He was sharing what he had been reading, what he was learning, and I was absorbing it all, so thirsty to hear it. I realized that in this moment, at this time in my life, I sit in my husband's shadow. It's funny how the place you thought you despised can end up being the sweetest place.
My husband, so full of mercy and patience, has taken my hand. He knows I'm exhausted. He knows what my days are like. Instead of heaping more "to-do's" on my plate, instead of making me feel guilty, or that I need to manufacture desires in my own strength, David gently leads me.
It's nothing formal or organized, he just lets his own spiritual walk with God wash over onto me. He talks about God with me. He reads verses to me. He mentions something from a sermon he listened to or a book he's reading. He has agreed to read the New Testament with me (something I would have been waaay too proud to do in the past.) I read at my own pace (which means sometimes a few verses every other day), and he discusses it with me as we can. With tears even as I write this, I can't even begin to explain what this has done for our marriage. God has used my own spiritual vulnerability to create in me a deep love for God and a love for my husband like I have never experienced. He is a picture of Christ to me. It is marriage, beautiful. I know I won't alway be at this place in my life. I look forward to one day picking up Beth Moore again, memorizing scripture, dusting off that Jeremiah commentary, but right now, this is such a defining time with my husband.
To strong wives: With all that is in me I tell you, please let your husbands lead you spiritually. I can't explain what freedom there is when you just lay down your own pride, your own image, and collapse at the feet of Jesus. Lean on your husband. It's not weakness, it's marriage. I was so afraid David would think less of me if he had to "lead" me but it's so the opposite. It took me being emotionally and physically exhausted to get to this point, but you don't have to wait that long. Pursue Christ with everything in you, but don't be so independent that you sever the beautiful work God wants to do through your marriage as One flesh. Don't shrink back, but also don't take over. Maybe your husband hasn't stepped up because you haven't stepped back.
To strong husbands: The number one way my husband leads me spiritually is through his gentleness. He speaks of The Lord so joyfully, it awakes a love for God in me. He eagerly shares verses with me and asks for my opinion. He praises me and adores me. I NEVER feel spiritually ashamed of myself around him. I NEVER feel like I'm in competition with him, like I could never measure up to him. I NEVER feel like he expects a spiritual checklist from me. Some nights we watch Netflix and don't talk about God at all and I don't go to bed feeling guilty. His leadership of me is an overflow of his love for God. He truly makes me feel like his partner, not "parent and child" or "teacher-student." Your wife wants to feel cherished, secure, adored -- all the things God already feels about her. She wants to be wooed. So woo her to the feet of Christ.
This is a pretty vulnerable post for me, but it's just where my life is right now. I'm so thankful for a Savior who pursues me. I praise God for bringing me to the place of submission to my husband's spiritual leadership. I pray for a lifetime of discovering more blessings found in this thing called marriage.