I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that the Christian life is best lived when we are wholly obedient to God....
Yes, even when you don’t think it’ll work. Even when other people (even your mother!) tell you it’s not a good idea. Even when your husband isn’t leading spiritually. We just need to obey.
Full obedience to God seems daunting and impossible. I’ve never surrendered every aspect of my life to God. Sure, I’ll go to church. Sure, I’ll pray when I feel like it. Sure, I’ll try to watch my mouth. Sure, I’ll forgive most of the people who have hurt me.
There were just some things I did not want to submit to God. I didn’t want to forgive my step father who was verbally abusive to my mother, my sisters, and me. After all, he never even said sorry! I did not want to read my Bible every day, I barely had enough time in my day already. I did not want to put myself out there and speak up in front of people. Let someone else do that, I’m not a good speaker.
Fast forward to June 2018: my husband and I were doing our best to be examples of Christ to each other and our son and we were failing miserably. We were fighting over everything all the time. He dreaded coming home because he expected a fight. I dreaded waking up because “mommimg” all day and arguing all evening had become too much. We were having trouble financially because of a lack of discipline. We were not going to church every week. Our Bibles were dusty. We had become like unbelievers. Both of us knew what God wanted from us, we just refused to obey.
No longer knowing how to get through to my husband, I fell on my knees and told God, “Please, God change him. I cannot do this anymore. I have tried everything to communicate with him and he is having none of it. Please God just change him. Change me if that is what needs to happen. Please fix this.” I cannot explain the peace I felt after that prayer. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew that God would restore us. His promise of completing the work He began in us came to my mind over and over again.
From that point, God began changing me. I started submitting areas of my life to Him.
The first big conviction was to submit to God with our finances. I knew we needed to be giving money to our church but God was specifically telling us to give a literal tithe. The word tithe means “one-tenth.” We decided that the next time we were paid, the first thing we would do is give God 10% of our income. Putting that kind of trust in the Lord seems crazy, especially since I’m a stay at home mom and my husband is a lower enlisted soldier. When I told my mom our plans to give 10% of our income she said, “I wouldn’t do it based on your gross.” We disagreed. We knew that God wanted us to tithe this way and we were not going to continue robbing Him.
The night before our first true tithe, Steven came home with two huge bags of food. I looked at him in utter confusion because he does not do grocery shopping of any kind. He explained that one of his sergeants was moving and had to give away the rest of their food before it went bad. I almost cried! This was God showing me that He is faithful and I can trust Him to provide.
The next big act of obedience was a tough one. I needed to submit to my husband. What did that look like? For me, it meant to be quiet when all I wanted to do was explain myself. Before, when Steven would get mad at me, I felt the need to get him to understand my point. It never went well. He would just get angrier. Thanks to the advice of another Christian woman who had dealt with this same issue, I decided that even when I really didn’t do anything wrong, I would apologize to my husband and allow him to be angry. I had to let go of my pride and realize it was not my place to change my husband, but God’s. I asked God to help me show Steven the love of Christ through my acts of submission.
The first time I tried this, something miraculous happened.
Steven accepted my apology, although still visibly angry. Then, about 30 minutes later, he asked me to workout with him. I could not believe it. He really forgave me and he really moved on.
Since then, I’ve continued this way. I don’t sweat the small stuff or feel the need to bring up every time he upsets me. If it really doesn’t matter, I let it go. God first changed me, then began changing Steven. The things I had complained about before are being figured out. He is kinder, spends more time in the Word, talks to me more, and has even given up his lunch hour to workout so that he can come home and spend time with us.
Although things were so much better, I knew I still had not fully submitted. Now, I needed to make sure I actually did the “little” things God had been asking of me. I started a chronological reading plan for the Bible and set aside a time to study the Word daily. I finally went to a Protestant Women of the Chapel meeting. I make sure I read Bible stories to my son and make it a point to pray out loud around him.
I still have so much growing to do. These steps toward complete obedience to Christ have completely changed my life in such a short span of time. I have taken measures to ensure that I am held accountable when I feel like getting a bit lax. I have full confidence that God is going to finish the work He began in me. I pray that my testimony of obedience will be encouraging to you and help bring you to a place of obedience too.