Friday, April 8, 2016
what would happen if you "washed" his feet?
Right now, I'm listening to my sweetie's heavy breaths while enjoying a fragrant candle burn on the table nearest me. Here I sit in a quiet, comfortable, dark room illuminated only by candlelight and my laptop. I am choosing to stay upstairs tonight in order to be near my unconscious hubby-man. For in the back of my mind, I am staying up here to pray over him for his welfare. However, in the forefront, I am dialoging internally with the Savior about something I stumbled upon earlier this week: a book written as a circa 1950's guide on how to be the perfect wife. The thing is, it is clear that the book/topic was purposed to be given away at bridal showers and bachelorette parties as a gag gift - poking fun at the idea of modern women pampering their husbands in a June Cleaver'esque type of way. I gather, it was written in the tone of today's feminist-driven audience who would find humor in the extreme concept of "helping" any man. But, what I found most interesting in it was the author's ability to mock and scoff at the idea of making any effort toward cooking a nice meal for your husband after he worked a long day, or keeping one's house clean and orderly so your man's time is used efficiently, or treating your hubby as the king of his castle, or taking extra time to improve one's appearance for simply the benefit of pleasing your sweetie.
The reviews written about this book were contributed by women whose opinions suggested that the topic was retro-thinking, hysterically funny, and somewhat insulting - not to be taken too seriously for today's society - for today's modern woman. I mean, can't our husbands make their own meals? And heck, most of us work full-time and have our own busy careers... so the only pampering going on should be for ourselves, right?! Also, why should we get "gussied" up when all we are doing together at night is relaxing at home watching West Wing re-runs? And, after all, if he really loves me - wouldn't he just accept my "a-la-granola" ways as I lounge about in my favorite pajama-jams?
Sure. Good points. But what knaws at me this early morning is a new thought that the Lord has put in my head. That thought is this: "Victoria, what would happen if you 'washed' his feet?" Meaning, what if I physically sat below my husband and cared for him, cherished him, treated him as master of our home? What if I admired, adored, appreciated, cared for, clung to, defended, doted on, embraced, encouraged, entertained, fancied, guarded, honored, nurtured, prized, revered, safeguarded, supported, and treasured his personhood and position like a historian would oversee the treatment of a fine, rare relic? What if I valued him more than the most expensive of items? What if my job, my purpose, my life focused first and foremost on his happiness... His comfort. His well-being. His health. His growth. What would that mean to him? How would my choice to sacrifice everything for him make him feel? What tone would that decision - that commitment - produce in our marriage, and how sacred a place would our home become?
Now, it must be noted that I am already a believer in the concept of wifely submission Furthermore, it should be noted that I do not live in an abusive or unusual marriage that would warrant separation, outside counseling, or protection in order to insure my own safety or the safety of children. No, my husband is the most giving and patient person I know. He frequently insists on cooking for me. He goes out of his way to make sure my every need is attended to and showers me with nice things simply because he loves to see me smile and please me. He is a good man who gives generously, loves endlessly, and cares deeply about my feelings. He listens. He snuggles. He protects. He remains faithful. So, let's be clear that I am speculating this moment about my life - my situation in particular - when I talk about my marriage. Sure, we have both come from abuse in our childhood years. We have both lost parents at an early age. We have both been flat broke and jobless. That said, today I am looking at my marriage as a picture of the average middle-aged American couple who has spent the last decade or two together. We live in a modest home, in a modest neighborhood, drive a modest car, and have, well... a modest life. To date, we have both navigated through success and regrets in our careers, experienced personal health trials, witnessed great family drama, and survived whatever else life has thrown at us. We are two people who love the Lord and each other. We are committed to one another... we enjoy being together... and we have every intention of living out our lives giggling at the same things we consider silly.
I also must point out that I am no Holly Hobby or Little House on the Prairie type of wife/woman. I enjoy classic but edgy fashion, good food, fun music, simplicity and order, peace, humor... and, like any true girly-girl, the color pink. I strive for fairness. I appreciate chivalry. I encourage respect. And, above all, I love, love, love the Lord and wish to honor Him in all I say and do! With that in mind, this week in particular my Lord has challenged me to think beyond what my marriage has been. He is asking me to further defend what some might consider to be moving backwards as I share the core sacrifice of a wife's role in marriage.
When I saw the gag book, God touched a nerve in me and has now pressed me to evaluate my homemaking, my words, my attitude, my efforts, my heart(!) towards serving my husband fully. He has asked me to continue taking very seriously the importance and impact of my role as helper, lover, friend, and wife. For my dear husband is indeed the master of our home. He is the king of our castle. He is in charge and I default to his leadership. (Although sometimes not so willingly or with the right attitude. Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me, Chuck.) That said, I do choose to trust and support his wisdom and respect his position in this agreed union. I choose to be the woman behind the man. I choose to be the neck that influences the direction of the head. But I know I am not the head. I will never be the head. And, contrary to my sometimes selfish displays of immaturity, I really do not want to be the head. For there is a freedom in being the bride. There is a peaceful relief when we accept Godly submission in marriage.
Sure, I know that my husband is an average good-hearted guy. But at the same time, I also know he makes frequent mistakes, doesn't always listen to good counsel, and rushes into things like a bull in a china shop. (Then again... so do I.) But I am still called by Christ to respect him. To submit to him in everything. He is the most important person on my list (after Christ). He wins me - over anyone and anything else in this life. He is MY husband!
But right now... the Holy Spirit is challenging me with this question, "Victoria, does Chuck know this? Have you remembered to outwardly treasure him? Do you treat him as well as you speak and write about him? Do you place him first as I have taught you in Ephesians 5:22-24... or, has all this become a gag amidst the "real" truths in My holy scripture?... What would happen if you 'washed' Chuck's feet?"
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. (Ephesians 5:22-24)
I share this thought today with y'all, knowing full well that I too need to stay humble when it comes to marriage. Wifely submission is a touchy subject and clearly mocked/scoffed at by many women today - even Christians women. But instead of rolling our eyes, pointing our fingers, and laughing off the idea of wholeheartedly serving a husband, I challenge every married DW to focus on what God's word actually instructs to you pertaining to this matter. Sure, we all know what the Bible tells our husbands to do! But what would getting down on our knees today and "washing" his feet prove and produce in our lives? Think about it. Pray about it. Because, we both know, God's Way is the right way to live.
Oh, how great a love is displayed when our decision to sacrifice selflessly allows us the privilege to resemble the Master to those we love most. How wonderful a testimony is the peaceful freedom of the bride who chooses to be loyal, faithful, respectful, and loving to the one (the One) she has committed her whole life to. Let our husbands win our whole hearts with our commitment to make them first - before anyone or anything else on earth! Let us be the women behind the men... the disciples behind the doctrine... the servant behind the Master... the sheep behind the Shepherd! Wives, submit. Make him first. Make him everything! And, make HIM (Jesus) sooo proud because you have embraced the honorable, blessed role that God has intended for your life!
Just a thought from the Anderson camp. Just a glimpse of this one Devoted Woman's wifely considerations as I pray and deliberate over God's law and how I might best serve the King of kings and my husband this day.
Lord, use me for your good. Use me to lift up and help Chuck first. Use me to be the help-meet/mate you intended. I submit and will "wash" his feet. Let me love like you love, Jesus!
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