Saturday, June 11, 2011

Suffering, Pt. 1

Here is the first post in... a few anyway, that I wrote on suffering. The Legend of Thousand Hills Farm

As I have been contemplating suffering and trials, I have also been thinking about how they pertain to us as wives. I believe that we have the influence within our home to make or break our family when it comes to times of suffering.

Wives and Mamas are often referred to as the thermostats within the home. And how we act or react to situations often dictates how our children will react as well as our husbands. If Mama (or Wife, if there are no children in the home), handles trials with trust and faith in God, her children are going to be much less likely to fret and worry, and she is going to be building her husband up during these times instead of beating him down.

Whatever trial we happen to be walking through ~ deployment of a military spouse, the illness of a child, or perhaps the death of a child, unemployment or under-employment ~ we have a choice to make. Are we going to look at our circumstances and become a miserable, naggy wife, difficult to live with and always finding fault; or are we going to look above our circumstances to our Father God, who is our provider, protector and shield. Are we going to find joy in our circumstances, reasons to praise God within those circumstances, and be a boon and source of hope for our family, our husband in particular?

Because it's something that we are dealing with right now, I want to address the unemployment issue. Sometimes it's not total unemployment, but there is only part-time or seasonal work to be had. My Beloved has been out of work ~ a good, steady job ~ for about 2 1/2 years now. During that time, we have been blessed with 2 pregnancies (I am currently due with baby #11 in October). My last pregnancy was with a baby who has a very rare and extremely severe heart defect. We had a house payment to make, bills to pay, and last spring, while our youngest was recovering from open heart surgery, our house burned and we lost almost all our possessions. And, my husband had no job.

Men are created by God to work. It is within their DNA to be a provider. Being out of work is very difficult for them. It hits their ego hard (and I'm talking ego in a good sense/not in thinking too highly of themselves).  My Beloved is a man with a good reputation within the community. He has a great work ethic, and always gives his job everything. He is one of those people who can learn to do just about anything, and do it well. He has a pretty good looking resume as well. And yet, like so many others, he cannot get hired. It seems he is either too qualified or not qualified enough. No one is willing to accept that he just wants a job to provide for his family or they are not willing to put in the minimal time it would take to train him to do the job.

When a man is used to going out every day and working to provide for his family, to go out time and again and be turned down for defeats him. So, what do we do as wives? It is easy for us to be consumed by the bills laying unpaid...or at least overdue. To be worried about where the house payment is coming from, or how we will afford groceries. In that worry, it's easy to nag. To tear him down. Make him feel like he's not trying hard enough, or that he never does anything right.

Sometimes, we have the best of intentions, but our words become a stick to beat our husband with. We can easily cause him to become dejected and depressed.

What a sad place for a woman of God to be. And, if you honestly look at yourself and find yourself there, I hope that you will repent. Ask God for forgiveness and ask your husband to forgive you as well. That kind of behavior reveals a deep-seated idol of control in our heart. We want to control the situation, we don't trust that our husband is doing his best, and worst of all, we are not trusting God to be sovereign and provide.

I am thankful that my husband will tell me when I get this way. I don't like to hear it! But, it also breaks my heart when I know that I am falling so short of my desire to be a godly woman and wife.

Our job is to be our husband's cheerleader. To be the one person who he can always count on to truthfully build him up. To make him feel like a man. A *safe haven*.

Proverbs 31 says: "The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life...Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." v. 11-12, 25-26

Are you doing good to your husband? I am not talking about making sure his laundry is clean and dinner's on the table. I'm talking about your attitude and your mouth. Are you tearing him down ~ either to his face or behind his back ~ or are you building him up ~ both to his face and behind his back. You are one with this man that God has joined you to. He needs your honor and respect just as much as you need his love. And you know what? Scripture says that it is to be unconditional...just like his love for you is to be unconditional. Are you honoring him, or are you despising him? My heart breaks for men who do not have respect from their wives. And it's very difficult to think well of a woman, no matter how good a person she may be, if she is disrespectful of her husband.

Ultimately it is a lack of trust in God. Do we truly believe that God will provide? If not, then I guess I can see how you would nag your husband and fuss at him about getting a good job. But, something that I have come to realize...rather quickly into this journey of unemployment, is that it is much like trying to conceive a baby. You can do all you can do, but if God doesn't make it's not going to. A man can apply, he can put his best foot forward, he can interview well, he can have all the right qualifications, but he cannot make someone hire him. Only God can open that door in His timing. We need to trust God. We need to believe Him when He says that He will provide. Will it look just like we think it should? Likely not. But, we have seen Him miraculously provide for us over and over these past 2 years. Even when our husband is working, it is still God who provides. So, trust God, and be your husband's best cheerleader. It will be an incredible blessing to him, during a very difficult time, and it will only improve your marriage and family life.