It finally happened

I always knew this day would come. In fact, I even prayed for it, but I never thought I would respond to its arrival like this…

It was no secret when Ray and I first got together that I was the one who was holier than thou, them, and their mommas. When I requested that the Lord send me a husband who was even more deeply entrenched in spiritual matters than I was, I knew that it would be a hard task even for Jesus. I’m being a bit facetious here, let the reader understand, but in hindsight I must admit that this was essentially my reality for some time.

Marrying Ray caused a fairly extensive paradigm shift for me. He challenged every notion of what I thought I wanted in a husband. Through my relationship with him and some wise advice from some trusted mentors, I discovered that  “marriage material” for a Christian is, in the most basic sense, a man who has a genuine heart for God and is willing to learn and grow even if that means his wife has to become the primary teacher. No matter where a guy falls on the spectrum of expressions of spirituality, those components are necessary. Each of these qualities and more could be found in Ray, so I gave up “the list” and chose to focus on sharpening my husband as he sharpened me.

It’s time to get out the grinding stone

From day one, even though Ray knew I had a deeper understanding of the Bible, he took the spiritual leadership role upon himself by implementing a daily Bible study every weekday. Thankfully he understood that he could still confidently claim that role in our family regardless of who was teaching who. I don’t think he felt daunted or threatened by me as much as he was challenged.

Eight and a half books of the Bible later, I’ve noticed a gradual shift in his excitement and hunger for the Word, as well as the strength of his contributions to discussion. Full disclosure, I used to get upset with him in the beginning because he never had much to contribute and when he did contribute it was what I considered weak sauce. (Put your pitchforks down, people. I’ve changed my ways.) The past couple months he’s actually been challenging my ideas (he’s usually right), digging into cross references and commentary, and demonstrating tremendous growth. At first I was really impressed and pleased by this change.

At first.

Then last month our church did a sermon series on prayer and extended a 21 day fast to the congregation. Ray decided to join in and not only fasted, but went to the 5am men’s prayer meeting, spent time every day in the other room doing personal devotions, and even received his prayer language (something he’s been wanting for a while) while he was in Tanzania. This man has really been pressing in and God has really been doing some new things in his heart.

Meanwhile… a storm’s a’brewing over yonder

I used to be an avid faster, but it’s not something I do too much these days because of a combination of migraines and an extended bout of apathy, so I opted out. Meanwhile, my husband was becoming this super Christian, and I found myself entering this dark place. When he said he wanted to spend an hour in devotions, I tried to discourage him from being away so long. We had movies that needed to be watched after all. When he shared some significant insight he’d gotten from his time with God, I either placidly nodded my head and forced a smile or yawned and rolled over.

After having prayed for so long that he would experience such growth, why did I have such a bad attitude when it finally happened?

Mike Bickle said once at a Onething conference, that when people try to discourage you from going hard after God, it’s usually because you remind them of how much they’re not. At the time those words were spoken, I ferociously nodded my head and circled that quote in my journal because I had plenty people in my life telling me that I was doing too much for God or “too heavenly minded”. Today I have to admit that I am on the other end of the spectrum. I’m the one who feels my desire to experience the fullness of God is waning and every inch of progress my husband makes causes me to feel it even more.

Bad girl, bad girl, what you gonna do?

I’ve bemoaned a certain loss of identity numerous times on this blog, so this isn’t a new concept as far as marriage is concerned. It’s just that this time I’m coming face to face with the reality that I’ve been reveling in a presumed identity as “the more spiritual one” in our relationship, so now that I feel like my husband is a challenge to that identity, I find myself clawing at him every time he threatens to take it away.

Enough with the identity changes already!

Of course this is just a perceived threat because he has not even the slightest intention of “de-throning” me or what have you, but it’s my pride that has caused me to put myself on a pedestal in the first place, and naturally it’s my pride that doesn’t want anyone to take me off.

I need Jesus.

Though I didn’t participate in the fast, I feel like that season was a good time for me because I’ve recently taken some time to do some soul searching and to lay my pride and insecurities (technically the same thing) on the altar of God’s mercy. Once you scrape off the layers of pride, self-righteousness, and jealousy, a tender heart that desires intimacy with the Father is revealed.

That’s all I want.

Admittedly, hearing the chorus members of the Lion King sing “they [the Pharisees] live in you” isn’t a pleasant tune to wake up to some days, it’s still quite a shock to realize that I can demonstrate more of their character traits than Christ’s, but then I just plug my ears and loudly sing the song my mom taught me as a kid:

“He’s still working on me

To make me what I ought to be

It took Him just a week to make

The moon and the stars

The sun and the earth

And Jupiter and Mars

How loving and patient He must be,

‘Cuz He’s still working on me.”

 

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11 Replies to “It finally happened”

  1. Leah

    Wow, I’m sure that this was very hard to admit. Thank you so much for being so transparent with your thoughts! I was meeting with my mentor today and talking about some challenges and she told me that admitting/realizing your problem or sin pattern is always half the battle, which is so true. As soon as we realize what we’re doing, we can work on changing it.

    Reply
    • Wasike

      You’re so right, Leah. I also believe there is so much power in confession. Overcoming hurdles doesn’t seem as difficult once you get past that point. Thanks for sharing that and for leaving a comment!

      Reply
  2. Yulunda G.

    First, that look is priceless!

    When I married my husband, and prior, I knew that I had been eating meat and he, well, you know. But, he had a sincere heart after God and he was determined to grow in His grace and wisdom.

    I to this day show characteristics of the Pharisees, but it is then that I know I must draw closer to God and not judge myself so harshly.

    This post and its honesty is exactly what God wants from us as it is the real side of being a Christian and with Him. Everything you’ve listed, I have felt and for that, I say, “Thank you!”

    I love how your husband is being guided, 5 a.m. prayer is TOTAL commitment and a total move of God is near.

    Have a blessed week butterfly!

    Yulunda

    Reply
  3. Sambrosia Wasike

    Haha! I actually had just been woken up before we took that picture, so it wasn’t hard for me to muster that one up. 😛

    It’s so cool to hear how closely you can identify with this story. I’ve had other women say the same. It’s funny to see the way marriage is a crucible of humility for us all, but especially for women. “To whom much is given, much is required,” and Lord knows He’s given us a lot!

    Thanks for your sweet comment, Yulunda. It’s been fun getting to know you a little through the Peony Project. Much love!

    Reply
    • Audrey Johnson

      Thank you for sharing such amazing insight in your blog and your replies. I am so proud of you and grateful for the work God has done in and through you. After twenty-four years of marriage, your words (or God’s, “to whom much is given” in this reply) awakened me. Over the years, one of the reasons I have experienced struggles in my marriage is because I have not understood the value or the weighty-ness of the wife calling. Much is required because much has been given to me. And while I initially did not see marriage as a calling, I certainly realize it now. This is where the most prolific development in my character has taken place. Thank you Newlywed for the reminder.

      Reply
      • Sambrosia Wasike

        This is such a sweet comment. Thank you so much, Audrey.

        Just yesterday in church the pastor said the same thing you did about marriage being a calling and a ministry. Like you said, when we grasp that, we really handle our marriages more seriously and seek to honor God in our dealings with our husbands (and children) more than we would if we were just in the relationship to be happy. As you and I both know, happiness doesn’t last forever!

        I really hope that when we get back to the States we can connect and share more about marriage and life. Tell everyone I said hello! Love you.

        Reply
  4. Rachel Stokes

    This was lovely to read. Thank you for being so honest and sharing. Finding strength in God is not always easy, but identifying what we feel we need to work on is a beautiful step forward! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Alexandra

    It’s always rough to open yourself up to the realization that you’re wrong, or to admit it to the world! I stand in awe of someone who can be so real with everyone around her that they don’t even see the mistakes she’s made – but the progress she’s making. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

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