re·form: (r-fôrm) v. re·formed, re·form·ing, re·forms v. tr. 1. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. 2. To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.
ma·ma or mam·ma also mom·ma: n. (also m-mä) Informal. Mother.


Submission Part 3: Dispelling the Myths

So you've read about how I ended up becoming a submissive wife and how it was (and sometimes still is) a struggle for me to obey Scripture on this issue. I think part of that is because pretty much my entire life I've been fed the worldly ideas surrounding submission.

These ideas about submission weren't fed to me by family necessarily, but rather through television, school, friends, colleagues, etc... They were, for the most part wrong.

Before I go into the myths, let me be perfectly clear; I DO NOT, in any way, shape or form, endorse spousal abuse, lesser rights for women or anything like that. Men and women are simply different and have different roles within the family and within society. That does not give either gender the right to treat the other gender poorly. Both genders of of equal value.

So... What were/are some of the worldly myths out there surrounding biblical submission.

Myth 1: Submission = abuse. I completely understand that in the past (and still sometimes today) the idea of biblical submission was WRONGLY used to support wife abuse. I am fully aware where the “rule of thumb” came from and what it means. (For those of you who don't know, the “rule of thumb” said that you could beat your wife with anything as long as it was no bigger than your thumb.) However, I believe those who use the idea of biblical submission to support spousal abuse are incorrect in their understanding of interpretation of Scripture. Furthermore, I say that they are failing to live up to the standards God has called them to as husbands.

Scripture does NOT at all endorse spousal abuse. The husband is to love the wife as Christ loved the church. According to my understanding of Scripture, I'd say that means that the husband must be willing to lay down his life for his wife. He must be a servant leader, not a leader who forces his hand at every possible instance.

I don't want to get too sidetracked by the husband's role though. I am not a husband and I think it's important for us, as wives, to focus on our own roles and shortcomings rather than those of our husband.

Myth 2: Submission devalues women. Again, in light of Scripture's view of the wife (Proverbs 31, the husband's role, etc...) I don't see how someone could really argue that biblical submission devalues women.

Submission certainly does not devalue women any more than topless bars, pornographic magazines, trashy, immodest clothing, or the “sexual revolution”. You know... the things that women are now ”empowered” to do.

Myth 3: Submissive wives cease being their own person. I fell for this one hook, line and sinker. However, being a former liberal sort-of feminist who was going to conquer the world, I can say that if I've given up any part of my individuality, it's because I chose to, not because my husband forced me to.

I still make decisions (Ed certainly doesn't want to decide the menu for the week). I still offer my input, sometimes graciously, sometimes not so graciously. I still have my own friends and my own hobbies.

Look at the Proverbs 31 woman. She certainly was her own woman, dabbling in real estate and such.

Myth 4: Submissive wives stay at home, barefooted and pregnant for their entire lives. Now, I do stay at home and I am often barefooted and I am sometimes pregnant, but that's my choice. Shoes make my feet hot. :)

Submission does not require that a woman not work outside of the home. Submission simply says to seek your husband's blessing before deciding to work outside the home. Some submissive wives work outside of the home and never have children. Can you believe that!!!?

Those are just a few of the myths our culture feeds us. My point is that a secular culture cannot honestly comment on a biblical mandate without showing it's bias against Scripture. When determining how to set up a home/household it's best to seek Scripture, even if what Scripture says contradicts every single thing that our society says.

Scripture is to be our guide for the family, not Dr. Phil, not Oprah, not some feminist college professor.


Submission Part 2: How I Became A Submissive Wife

I've shared some of my background on here before, but I'll give a brief run-down now.

My family life growing up was rough, to say the least. My parents were not good role models for me and my family of origin, although I love them, has never been something I wanted *MY* family to resemble. I knew that at a very young age. I remember as young as seven thinking to myself, "I don't want to be like my parents." That may sound harsh, but really, you had to be there.

Because of that, I set out to be successful. I did well in school. I knew school was my escape from home then and that it would be the only way I'd be able to escape when I got older. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to go to college. I knew I'd have a wonderful career and make lots of money. I knew those things would keep *MY* family from going down the path my family of origin travelled and I thought it would fix my family of origin.

Yeah, I was a dreamer.

As the oldest of three children, I had to take care of my younger brothers and help around the house. I did try to escape those duties and was sometimes successful, but sometimes I had no choice but to obey.

By the time I was 16 and was a senior in high school, I had no one to help me apply for college or to encourage me to continue my education. I had no one to show me the way. I HAD to do it all alone.

When I was 18 and in my sophomore year of college, my mom left. My dad fell into a deep depression and was unable to work. Half the time I did not even know where he was. Here I was, trying to make something of myself, working to pay for school, having to track down my dad for money for the rent so we had a place to live AND having to try to keep my brothers in school. I gotta say, that was not a fun time and I tried to find every possible way to escape.

I transferred to another college for my junior and senior years of college. There again, I had no assistance with that process. I also only had grants and a student loan to pay my way; along with whatever measley money I could earn working part-time at Sears. I had no idea what would happen to my brothers. I cared, but as an 18 (almost 19) year old, what could I do?

I completed my college degree in mass communications when I was 20 years old. During my time in college, I had dated a very abusive boyfriend and had also found the strength to break things off with him (in spite of his repeated attempts to kill me and my family). I managed to graduate with only $4500 in student loand and I had landed a job as a graphic designer. I was on my way to the top.

I share those things because they all contributed to me becoming a VERY VERY VERY independent, strong-willed person. By the time I finished college I was at the point where I'd take orders from NO ONE ever again; especially if those orders got in the way of my success. I had come to believe that there was not a person who would help me do anything and if I wanted something done, by golly, I had better do it myself. If anyone else tried, they'd mess it up.

Fast forward a few years to maybe 1997 or 1998. I was working at a magazing publishing company as the promotions coordinator. I was 22 and was on my way to making art director of one of the publications. I had a good job with GREAT potential.

Around that same time the Southern Baptist Convention made the news by speaking out on the role of women in the home. They said that they believed women should submit to their husbands.

Now, I was a Christian, but I had been out of church for a while. I couldn't deal with the guilt/conviction over my own sin so I ran. There was a man whose office was accross from mine and one day he brought up the topic of submission. I looked him dead and the face and said, "There is NO WAY I would EVER attend a Southern Baptist Church because they are a bunch of wack-os."

Honestly. That's what I said. He asked why and I told him that no man was ever going to tell me what to do in my own home.

God has a GREAT sense of humor though. Let me just tell you! By fall of 1999 I wasn't just a Southern Baptist, I was ENROLLED IN A SOUTHERN BAPTIST SEMINARY!!!! HA HA!

See shortly after that conversation on submission, the guy who I had been dating (and bossing around) and I broke up. I've mentioned that I met Ed in a bar. I don't know if I mentioned that shortly after I broke up with *that* guy, I was dancing at said bar (you can go to a bar JUST to dance and not drink) and Ed was there with a friend. This friend was a nice guy who danced with me and challenged me on a few things.

We were chatting and this guy asked if I attended church. I threw out my old line about not having found one yet. Then this guy asked me how long I had been in the area. I told him about 2 years. He looked me dead in the eye and said, "That's no excuse." In a bar ya'll!!!

I was in church the next Sunday and rededicated my life then. I found a church home and started studying like crazy (all the while developing a strong friendship with Ed). As I studied I changed. I became more aware of what was important and what wasn't. I sought out different types of people to be around. I wanted to be a godly woman.

When Ed and I FINALLY started dating, I began praying EARNESTLY for God to give me wisdom about our relationship. I learned about submission and what it is and isn't. I learned about men and their roles in the home. I yearned for a strong spiritual leader as my husband.

The tricky part was/is that I was/am a very strong person. I remember praying so hard that God would show me if Ed would be able to be a spiritual leader over me. See, I was smitten, but I didn't want to marry some pushover and Ed was so nice (and ya know nice guys can't be strong).

Around that time Ed began to share his thoughts on wanting to be a strong spiritual leader if he was to ever get married again. He began to show me his strong side. I began to allow him to feel like a leader instead of having to lead the way.

Then I went away to seminary and learned even more. Throughout our dating relationship, God showed me how to step aside and let Ed lead.

That's not to say that we didn't/don't have our rough spots on this issue. In fact, on our way to our LAST pre-marital counseling session we got into a fight over the directions to the church that were going into the wedding invitation. We almost called off the wedding over that. He wasn't gonna give and neither was I.

When we got to the counseling session and shared about the fight with our pastor, our pastor (whose name is Pastor Love, by the way) just looked at us and laughed. He told us it was good we were going into marriage *knowing* that we are both strong-willed and are both leaders.

We still have our bumps, but I can say without a doubt that the times when I do put aside my need to be right or to be served or to lead or whatever, are by far the sweetest times in our marriage.

So that's the long version of how I went from hardcore, independent, strong-willed woman to a most-of-the-time submissive wife. Hopefully by the time I'm 90 I will master this submission thing.

Why Blog About Submission?

This will be the first of a three or four part series on Biblical submission. I thought that before I even began really getting into the discussion, I'd share WHY I want to blog on the topic.

First, the topic is current for me. Our Sunday School class is doing a study on marriage and submission is one of the things we have discussed.

Second, there are a great deal of misconceptions about what submission is and what it isn't. Along those lines, there are right ways and wrong ways to be a submissive wife.

Third, I've been on both sides of the issue. It's not an easy task to WILLINGLY submit your will to someone else; especially when you are as independent and as strong-willed as I am. I think those of us who are submissive can stand to be reminded that what we are doing is the right thing and that those who are struggling with this issue can benefit from hearing our experiences and from learning what Scripture has to say on the issue of submission.

So, with that I bring you everyone's favorite topic: submission. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and ideas.

Heaven: Why Christians Can Rejoice Even Knowing Loved Ones Won't Be There.

Challies recently included a quote from John Piper's book, God is the Gospel, that said:

The critical question for our generation--and for every generation--is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever say, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?

Good question, I thought. I recently was involved in a discussion about Christians rejoicing about the prospect of Heaven. Non-Christians said that we were cruel and heartless for wanting to go to Heaven when, according to our belief system, we knew that others would be doomed to an eternity of Hell.

First, it struck me as interesting that those who do not even believe in Heaven or Hell would be so concerned as to my thoughts about the afterlife. I mean, if what I believe is a fairy tale, then why should they be concerned. That's beside the point though.

Getting to the heart of the issue; I think the quote at the beginning of this post by Piper sums it up quite nicely. Christ is what makes Heaven -- not physical or emotional pleasure.

Follow along for a minute...

Here on Earth we have our sinful hearts still to deal with. We can be a Christian and know and love Christ and want to serve Him and want Him to be our all in all, but ultimately, as long as we have our sinful hearts, that is an impossibility.

Our sinful hearts make us not put Him first. Our sinful hearts prohibit Him from being our *true* everything. By that I mean that Christ cannot be enough while we have our sinful hearts. Our flesh battles too much and rather than letting Christ ultimately comfort us, we deal with grief, pain anxiety, etc... Christ is not the center of our world. He is not what makes our world go 'round -- in a manner of speaking.

While on Earth, we are being sanctified and our hearts are drawing nearer to Him, but the flesh is still a formidable foe.

However, when we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! We will gain glorified bodies. The sanctification process will be complete. God will finally be more than enough to comfort us. We will finally be able to sit at His feet with our alabaster boxes and worship with all of our hearts and not be divided in spirit and flesh. Any sorrow or pain that we may have had will be instantaneously washed away by the mere presence of the Lord.

Sure, we can experience Christ's presence to some extent now, but not like it will be in Heaven.

The thought of going to Heaven without my friends and family grieves me like nothing else. However, as strange as it sounds to me, I will be unable to grieve for them when Christ's presence. He will be all I need. His presence will erase all of my sorrows -- even those associated with those I dearly love here on Earth.

See, Heaven is not about me getting to have a pain-free life (though that certainly is an added benefit); it is about being in the presence of the Lord without interruption from my sinful flesh.

I believe Heaven is a literal place and that it will look as John described in the Revelation. What will make it glorious though will be the eternal presence of the Lord.

Similarly, I believe Hell is a literal place and that it is as described in Scripture -- a place of fire and sorrow and pain and gnashing of teeth. However, the absence of the Lord will far outweigh any pain one might feel while in Hell.

With that I say pray for those who are not Christians. Grieve for them while here, but anticipate Heaven. Anticipate basking in the glory of the Lord - finally and forever. Looking forward to those things does not make you hateful or selfish -- it's part of the hope that comes with being a follower of Christ.

Back in the Saddle?

I think so. Finally.

Things are going well here. I am still off the blood pressure medication and I am finally gaining weight as a result. YIPPEE!!! Who ever thought I'd be happy to gain weight? HA! The baby is doing well, as far as I can tell. She or he likes to kick and flip flop around a lot. She or he also likes to tap-dance on my bladder.

The fatigue from being pregnant usually has me falling asleep with Eddie and then waking up sometime int he middle of the night to brush my teeth and go to bed. That's a big part of why I haven't been blogging. That, and I haven't eben so sure as to what I want to do with this blog anyway.

I think I've got it figured out now though. I don't want this to become a pregnancy blog where you just listen to me whining about spending my days in the bathroom. :) I have several posts that I want to share. I need to type them out and edit them and all that, but they are sitting there in my noggin'. And, not one of them really has much at all to do with pregnancy.

I'd like to share some thoughts about Heaven and why I think it's possible for Christians to look forward to being there even though we know some of our friends and loved ones may not be there with us.

I'd also like to share some thoughts on submission. This is one of my favorite topics because of where I used to stand on the issue and where I now stand. I think submission gets a bad wrap, so I'd like to share my experiences (including my reformation on the idea), as well as what submission is and what it isn't. I think the world's view of what submission is has crept into the church and distorted what is supposed to be a GOOD thing.

I may do a post or two on gossip. I'm not sure yet. I know this is something that has affected all of us in one way or another.

Those are just a few things I'd like to share. I've been learning so much lately. It's been a good time of sweet fellowship with the Lord -- a time for which I am most appreciative.

So, my friends... I think I'm back for a while. I look forward to seeing ya 'round the blogosphere.


More Good News!

This past weekend there was a snafu with my blood pressure prescription and I could not get it filled.

I missed two doses before the doc could see me to write out a new prescription.

THAT, my friends, was a God thing. See, I've been feeling completely horrible every single evening and fairly crappy during the day as well since I've been on the meds. However, the particular medication that I was on was also good for preventing pre-term labor, so...

Anyway... I missed two doses and I promise I had not felt so good in such a long time. You know how when you feel badly for so long you forget what it feels like to feel good? That's where I was.

When I called the doc to tell them I could not get my prescription refilled the nurse asked if I had had any problems with the meds. I told her I'd been feeling horrible. The doc said he'd see me that day.

So off I went. I was nervous that my blood pressure would be up since I had missed a few doses of my meds, but I prayed like crazy that my BP would be down -- even lower than my last reading. I called my good friend back home in NC -- the butterfly lady -- and asked her to pray as well.

I even bought chocolate for the nurses who work in the lab and who take my blood pressure. I figured a bribe to get them to write down a lower number wouldn't be such a bad thing.

The nurse took my BP and wrote it down without telling me what it was. She said it was not bad and that she'd take it after she weighed me and after I'd had a few minutes to sit and relax. So, that's what we did.

The first reading was 122/82. Folks, that's TEN points lower than it was previously. That's without the meds. The second reading was 120/80. At that point, I was about ready to do cartwheels in the office. :)

Anyway... The doc saw me and told me we had two options, I could stop taking it altogether and they could monitor my BP to see how I was doing or he could reduce my dosage to 1 pill per day instead of two. He also asked why I have high blood pressure. I told him I had no clue.

There is no family history, even among my sausage-gravy-and-biscuit-eatin' kinfolk. I eat fairly well, not perfectly, but decent. I chase a toddler around all day. I told him that until I got pregnant, I'd never had a problem with my BP at all.

So after hearing that and hearing that I had felt horrible and been vomitting nearly every night, we decided to try me without the medication. WOOHOOOO!!!!! I could have kissed the doc at that point. Seriously.

The butterfly lady said a few things during our phone conversation that made me go "hmmm."

The first thing she said was that perhaps this little BP thing was one of those faith tests.

Perhaps God was asking me if I really trust him -- kinda like how he asked Peter if he loved him. If I really trusted him, then I wouldn't have been so freaked out, now would I? If I really trusted him, I would have shouted his praises in the doctor's face when he told me I needed to be on meds. (NO, I'm NOT saying that I would have said NO to the meds.) Just that I would have praised God anyway. Perhaps if I really trusted Him, then my anxiety after the first reading wouldn't have shot my BP even further on up. Good food for thought.

The second thing she said was that perhaps my anxieties from all the pre-term labor with Eddie fed into my BP being high. That, combined with seeing a military doc for the first time ever and having the med tech there about fall over when she saw that my BP was very slightly elevated could have certainly started a crazy thought train that made me incredibly ansious and thus raised my BP.

There again though, was I really trusting.

So, my highest reading was 160/90. My most recent reading was 120/80. The meds only typically drop BP by 10 points. Reaching the second trimester probably helped my BP come down a bit just because of the bodily changes -- I'll be generous and give it a 10 point drop as well. That leaves an additional 20 point drop that can only be attributed to the Master Physician. Most pregnant women see increases in their BP as the pregnancy progresses. I'm praying that in this respect I am atypical.

I am trusting that when I go back next week my BP will be completely normal and I will be allowed to stay of the medication. I like feeling human again. And perhaps now I'll be able to gain a pound or two.