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Š Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


The words I'm about to write strike fear in the heart of many women. Some of us have been abused by these words. Words that send shivers down the spine of a woman who has looked them in the eye and seen the potential for sin in them. Some of us have been squelched by these words. Words that forced us to let go of our dreams and stuff down our intelligence in the name of "true love." Some of us have rejected the entire Bible because of these words. Words that seem to make women inferior to men in some way. At the very least we've tried to overlook them or wish they weren't there. But they are. The precious Baptist minister who would marry us that day, my husband's uncle, looked at me with compassion in his eyes and said, "Brooke, I have to ask you this question. Because my nephew has chosen you to spend his life with you I have to assume that you're a good woman, but I don't know you well enough to know the answer to this question. Traditional wedding vows include a word that today's woman doesn't like very much. I think it should be kept in the vows, but not everyone agrees with me these days. Brooke, do you want to promise to love and...." OBEY? "Likewise wives, be subject to your own husbands..." (1 Peter 3:1) • •

Obey Submit

Defer

Give in

Yield

Today's woman doesn't like to hear that she is to submit to anything, much less man...who has probably hurt her in the past...and will probably hurt her in the future. So how does today's woman interpret what seems to be yesterday's formula for marriage? I think we start by asking the Lord to get our hearts tuned into Him. A heart that says, "Lord, I don't always understand, but I want to obey You...so teach me," is a heart God loves to bless with understanding. Then we establish that God's Word is true and reliable. Every word. Not just the ones we like. Finally, we reconcile ourselves with the fact that we're all sinners. Men have abused these words and used them for their own glory rather than for God's glory. In the process, women have been hurt and forced to

© Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


suffer in a place I don't believe God ever intended. But not all men will use these words for their own good. And just because man has, in the past, used them for evil instead of good, doesn't mean we can throw them out completely. After we have those things settled, and only then, we can begin the journey into these verses from 1 Peter 3:1-6: "Likewise wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden treasure of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Araham, calling him Lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." It's the next leg of our journey to the true meaning of Beautiful, Biblical Womanhood. Join me as we explore a small piece of God's heart for submission.

Brooke

Š Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


Chapter One

How Do You Make God Look?

Chapter Two

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

Chapter Three

God’s Bigger Truth

Chapter Four

Do you WANT to be Healed?

© Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


How Do You Make God Look? He had NEVER raised his voice to me before... Almost four years of dating before we said "I do," and in all that time I had really only seen him angry one time...at his mother. But now he was angry with me, and I didn't know what to do about it. After trying to reason with him for what seemed like hours I felt the gentle "shove" of the Holy Spirit telling me to leave him alone, no easy feat as we lived in a tiny, two-bedroom house. I laid there on our marriage bed, sulking and fighting the urge I felt to clobber him with something. But instead of turning to physical violence I chose something different. I prayed. "Lord, you made this man. He's one of yours Lord...your sheep. And You say in Your Word that Your sheep can hear Your voice. So please speak to him now Lord. Speak to his heart and show him what he's doing. Convict his heart and move him to ask me for forgiveness."** Much to my surprise, within just a few moments of my prayer, my brand new husband walked in the room, knelt down beside our bed, and asked me to forgive him. I was stunned. And an important lesson seared its way into my heart. God is able. "Likewise wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." 1 Peter 3:1-2 Traditionally, this passage has been interpreted as direction for women whose husbands are not saved through a relationship with Christ. Certainly, we can apply these words to that situation, but I also feel that they speak to those of us whose husbands are Christians and are in various stages of their walk with the Lord. Perhaps your husband is saved, but not walking closely with the Lord...these words can speak to you. Perhaps your husband is walking closely with the Lord, but is struggling in his relationship right now or in a season of stress...these words are for you too. Remember I have this scripture framed and sitting in my bathroom downstairs. For a long time, I kept it on my nightstand, so that it was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night. And my husband is a Believer.

Š Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


Even among believers, married brothers and sisters in Christ, the dance of the day and the storm of the night can bring words that hurt. And in the stress of the moment we become someone other than the beloved. We lash out, wound with words...choose cursing instead of blessings from our lips. In the hurtful moments I read those words and I remember that my response matters. I'm the created being, not the Creator One Who makes the rules. And the gentle voice reminds me of that night when God spoke and my husband listened. And I know Who God is. The high calling of drawing out my husband's heart. God uses me (and you) to show them their sin. Like a mirror that exposes the thoughts and intentions of the heart is a Godly woman. Beautiful, biblical womanhood. Ambassadors for Christ to our husbands. Our actions carry great weight in the Kingdom. Pause for a moment right now and ask the Lord to search your heart. If you as wife have the God-given ability to ambassador Christ to your husband, then how does Christ look to him right now? What does your response to your husband's sin say about Christ? Do you make Christ look beautiful? Gentle? Kind? Loving? Forgiving? Or do you more often make Christ look condemning? Hostile? Bitter? Harsh? Unforgiving? If what you see residing in your heart reveals the ugly, ask God to change you and make your heart spill out beauty instead. Only Grace.

Š Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


A Gentle and Quiet Spirit I’ve always been puzzled about how a woman like me, sinful, naturally outspoken, sometimes loud and almost always opinionated, could possibly fulfill God’s command to function out of a gentle and quiet spirit? What is that anyways? “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3 You can see them everywhere – women who have lost this calling…lost the ability to love through a gentle and quiet spirit. But they look a little different now than they did back in Peter’s time. In our culture, the “external adorning” may look more like higher education, personal experience, the pursuit of happiness, cosmetic surgery or the latest fountain of youth product on the market, than just simple things like braided hair and jewelry. But they’re all things we mistakenly think will give us value…status…make us feel ok about ourselves. Like we belong. Like we’re good enough. And while these verses are not necessarily a total prohibition against taking care of ourselves, being educated or looking nice, God cares much more about what’s happening inside of us than He does out. Ambassadoring Christ Yesterday we began to explore what it means to be an ambassador for Christ to our husbands. Paul David Tripp, in his book Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands; People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, defines the job of an ambassador as: “…represent[ing] someone or something. Everything he [the ambassador] does and says must intentionally represent a leader who is not physically present. His calling is not limited to forty hours a week, to certain state events, or to times of international crisis. He is always the king’s representative. He stands in the place of the king (or the government of his country) wherever he is, whatever he is doing. His relationships are not primarily driven by his own happiness…” (chapter 6, page 104). Are we busy ambassadoring Christ to our husbands? Or are we busy with what currently adorns our heart? © Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


I think sometimes we’re guilty of wanting our own way so much that we find ourselves turning to things other than the Lord for comfort, provision and protection. When things aren’t going well in the relationships that matter most to us, we look outside of our primary callings for fulfillment. That higher education, personal experience, pursuit of happiness, and cosmetic surgery may seem to hold the key to our happiness, but when we choose to run to them to figure out who we are rather than running to Jesus, something is wrong. God doesn’t ask us to be ambassadors for Him only when things are going well. He doesn’t ask us to be ambassadors for Him when we feel that we’re getting what we deserve. He asks us to be ambassadors for Him every waking second of each and every day. Good or bad. Wanting a marriage that is loving and mutually beneficial is not wrong. But when we’re not getting what we think we deserve from our marriage, many of us, myself included, start treating our husbands like we think they deserve. We’re rude, short, sarcastic, unkind, unwilling and lack faith in their ability to do anything right. We act ick, because our hearts are full of ick. And we stop ambassadoring the true Christ, swapping His true image for one that is false. What damage we do. Change I’m convicted even as I write this. God says that it is what we have in our hearts that can make the difference in our husband’s lives. A gentle and quiet spirit that pleases God and attracts our husbands to true beauty…to Christ Himself. Not something we can snap our fingers and produce, but much like other rare and precious jewels, it is cultivated - grown over time. Beautiful, biblical womanhood. Are you willing to let go of false adornings of the heart in order to pursue the high and honored calling of an ambassador? What is God calling you to let go of, or re-prioritize so that He can cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit in you? Is your marriage worth it?

© Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


God’s Bigger Truth We were arguing again. My sweet husband and I had our fair share of arguments in our first year of marriage. Mainly because I disrupted his desire to have everything go his way all the time, and because I didn't know if I could trust him. All of my life I've been protected. From my father, to my older brother, to my male cousins and friends...I've walked under a hedge of protection from the men in my life. (I'm the baby of the family). And I expected that same protection from my husband. In fact, one of the things I loved most about my husband was his tendency to be over-protective of me. I'm clumsy. When we have to step up on a curb from the road, or go up stairs to get somewhere, my sweetness will lift up my hand as I step up, as if physically raising my hand will remind my feet to follow. One night, as we were taking a walk together, hand-in-hand, I twisted my ankle by stepping in a whole in the road (why weren't we on the sidewalk anyways??) We were only a few blocks from his house. But he insisted upon carrying me over to the neighbor's yard (our Sunday School Teacher) and jogging home to get his truck to come and carry me home. He and his older brother came whirrling around the corner in that big red truck as if they were my long lost heros. I was totally and completely smitten. The one thing I never thought he would have to protect me from was himself... Turns out he's human. Over time, marriage began to show our true colors - both of us. And I found myself fighting to protect myself from the man I loved - he from me. Love at its ugliest. I lost the ability to trust him*...he knew it. And the crazy cycle** began. After one such episode, retreated to my bedroom, I pulled out my Bible and begged God to give me light in the darkness. We were still newlyweds! It wasn't supposed to be this hard! I landed on the verses we've been studying from 1 Peter 3: 1-6. And the last two sentences grabbed my heart. "For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." Sarah? (voice inflection up and the end) Sarah. (voice inflection down at the end) These verses indicated that Sarah's hope, for security, for purpose, for fulfillment, for provision, for prosperity, wealth and protection, was NOT in her husband, but in the Lord. Interesting. Š Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


I decided to do some studying on Sarah, wife of Abraham. Sarah - A "Holy Woman" "Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram (Abraham) went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai (Sarah) his wife, 'I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me..." Genesis 12:10-13 Did you know that on two...count them...TWO separate occasions in Genesis (Gen 12 and Gen 20), Abraham asked Sarah to deny that she was his wife, simply to save his own hide? One time, (Genesis 12:10-20) this led to her becoming a part of the Pharoah's house, putting her in danger of having to submit herself to him physically as would one of his wives! Talk about betrayal! I'm not sure I would have ever been able to trust Abraham again. And I certainly wouldn't have submitted to this particular demand. But Sarah did. Sometimes our husbands make decisions that don't seem to be in the best interest of our relationship...our family. Abraham, on two recorded occasions, placed his own welfare above that of his wife. Exposing her to danger. And yet God still chose to birth a nation through Abraham saying, "you shall be the father of a multitude of nations" (Genesis 17:4). God still accomplished His plans for Abraham and Sarah...in spite of Abraham's selfishness and sin. As this newfound truth washed over me, peace entered in. And through the ups and downs of our marriage since then (eight years ago) that truth...that peace...has remained. God's bigger Truth. My husband (and yours) is responsible to God for me, not the other way around, and God will hold Him accountable for his actions and choices toward me. •

Release your husband to the Lord. It's His job to groom, mold and shape him...not yours.

God created your man...and if he is a Believer the Bible says that he can hear God's voice. Instead of nagging, complaining and demanding change* trust God to accomplish His work in your man. • •

Pray! When you feel tempted to nagg or complain or fight with your husband, willfully choose to go to the Lord with your requests instead. Trust the Lord.

Obeying your husband is really more about obeying God. © Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


If the Word says it, it must be true. When children obey their parents they obey God's command to obey their parents. Disobeying them is disobeying God. Even when it's hard***, wives can choose to obey. At its most basic, their choice is a choice to obey the Lord.

Even if your husband makes decision that are harmful, or at the very least not wise, for you and your family, you can choose to trust God. • •

God still accomplished His plans for Abraham and Sarah...in spite of Abraham's selfishness and sin. Even though you might not be called to parent a great nation... God can do the same for you.

Has your husband ever chosen his own welfare over yours...your children? Have you forgiven him? In the midst of these circumstances God CAN and WANTS to give you freedom. Freedom comes through forgiveness. * The "protection" from my husband I talk about needing in this article was not physical protection. Please see the *** note below for a word about physical violence in marriage. ** The term "Crazy Cycle" is taken from Emerson Eggerich's book Love and Respect. *** There are parts of this study that may not pertain to every circumstance in marriage. If you are a wife who has been physically abused by your husband, you need to remove yourself from the abusive situation with your husband's repentance and reconciliation as your goal and seek the help of trusted advisors and/or Biblical counselors before attempting to do any of this on your own. Please seek a place of refuge first with God as your "ever present help in times of trouble."

© Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


Do You WANT to Be Healed? He looked all around to see the circumstances of the other people around him. An invalid for more years than many even lived in those days, he knew sorrow. He knew desperation. He knew hunger, thirst, embarassment, he knew the longings for more. Too slow and weak to move into the water before the others. Always missing the blessing by a few seconds. And still he waited. Thirty-eight years of hoping for a miracle that had never come...until now. Do you WANT to be healed? What a strange question for Jesus to ask a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. "What do you mean, 'do I want to be healed?' Of COURSE I want to be healed!" Had I been struggling the way that man struggled...that's what I would've said. Why would Jesus ask this seemingly redundant, maybe even silly question when the answer was so obvious? Maybe because it wasn't so obvious? I'm a counselor. In over ten years of working with women in unplanned pregnancy, I've learned one thing: Not everyone wants to be healed. Many of the women I've seen have been in deeper states of crisis than I could ever conceive of in my life. Rape, incest, severe physical abuse, murders, drugs, so many failed marriages and relationships that they're left wondering the point of it all. Crippled by a worldview that perpetuates devastation and pain. All of them want relief. Most of them don't want to do the work of change. The equation for change Consider this equation: A + B = C A simple mathematic equation, right? Most of us remember the principle that states that when A is added to B (whatever they consistently represent) the product will always be C. But what if we changed one of the letters in this equation? Pick one...it doesn't matter. If you change one of the letters, and only one, the result is something other than C. For our friend the invalid, the new product was a life radically altered. He would now be able to take care of himself, provide for himself, walk. The invalid had one simple choice to make: Did he want to be healed? Seems like a simple answer, but thirty-eight years is a long time. • •

Thirty-eight years of neediness Thirty-eight years of begging

Thirty-eight years of hopelessness

Thirty-eight years of praying for a miracle

© Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


Might he have gotten comfortable in this place? We don't know. But we do know that the change Jesus required of him, that would radically alter the outcome of his life, was faith. "Jesus said to him, 'Get up, take your bed, and walk.' And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked." John 5:8 I think Jesus is saying the same thing to us today. Are you experiencing marriage difficulties? Do you have trouble submitting to a man who doesn't follow the Lord...or even one who does? Maybe you've experienced years of:    

neediness begging hopelessness praying for a miracle

And maybe you've grown comfortable in the way things are, knowing they're not the way they should be. Then use the equation for change. For your marriage, my marriage, changing one piece of this simple equation has the potential to produce a totally new product. It might not be a radically new product. 1 + 1 = 2? Right? 1 + 2 = 3...right? Not a massive difference. In terms of relationship, maybe not even noticeable...to anyone except the person who has changed. Today, I'm calling you out in faith. To have faith. Through our journey into the heart of submission, we've learned that we can trust God completely...even when our husbands choose poorly...because obedience is really more about our relationship with God than anyone else. We've learned that there is freedom in submission, because our husbands are directly responsible for us before a holy God...not the other way around. And we've learned that our role is one of an ambassador. The way we make Christ look to our husbands, through our words and actions (or lack thereof) can make all the difference in the men they become. So have faith. Today, build an alter to the Lord and declare yourself obedient...to Him and His ways. Tell Him that you trust Him, love Him, and that because of His great love for you...great sacrifice for you, you're willing to love and sacrifice back. You declare those things, and mean them with all your heart, and I promise, God will take care of the rest. He will give you everything you need to fulfill your end of the deal. All you need is faith. Do you WANT to be healed?

© Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change


Dear Friends, Thank you so much for taking the time to begin this journey into the true meaning of beautiful, Biblical Womanhood by looking at a difficult subject, submission in marriage. If the Lord has used this devotional series to touch your heart in some way, please let me know. You can reach me by email, (bcmcglothlin@gmail.com), twitter (@BrookeLMcG) or by visiting me at my personal blog, A Life in Need of Change. Beautiful, Biblical Womanhood is an ongoing series on my blog. I hope to see you there! Brooke McGlothlin www.brookemcglothlin.com Brooke

Š Brooke L. McGlothlin

A Life in Need of Change

Beautiful, Biblical Womanhood; Freedom in Submission  

Some of us have been abused by these words. Words that send shivers down the spine of a woman who has looked them in the eye and seen the p...

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