*Editor's Note: This was #7 on our Top Posts of 2012.
We've all heard of four-letter words. You know, the ones we swear we never use (no pun intended) - aloud, at least; or, only when the occasion calls for it - like when we stub our toe, or when we miss a car wreck by milliseconds, or when we're surprised by our husbands who jump out of a closet at us when we think we're home alone, scaring the kitten we're carrying in our bare arms that then proceeds to claw it's way on top of our heads leaving a trail of scratches and scrapes that rivals the result of a rumble with a barbed-wire fence. Not that anything like that has ever happened to me - I've just heard of it happening to someone, somewhere. I dunno.
So, we've established that most of us are familiar with four-letter words, but I propose that there is a six-letter word that is just as controversial, just as cacophonous. That word is SUBMIT. Or, to the prudish, S*****. What's funny is that I keep running across this word over and over again. It lunges at me from behind booths at restaurants and hunts me down in the midst of a populous coffee house. It knows no appropriate time or place - it lacks tact. It even waltzes nonchalantly into my living room while I am spending much needed time with the Lord. How dare it.
Finally, I got to the point that I simply let it come in and sit down with me for a spell. I dove straight in. No fluffy answers. No "how's the weather." I prodded and poked it. I asked it questions on end, never knowing that I was setting up my own inquisition. It answered my questions with questions of its own. Questions that caused me to search deep into my heart - to look nakedly at my own motivations. We finally came to an agreement. In truth, it won. Not even a compromise. Submit - 1, me - 0. I'm actually starting to like it. It's becoming more of a friend to me. It has changed my marriage. It has changed how I interact with others. It has changed how I relate to the Lord. It has changed me.
Now, I can't stop using that six-letter word. I know, I know, just call me foul-mouthed. But I won't apologize for it anymore. Actually, I find myself using it with others. Here's an email I wrote to a friend. Don't let it scare you too much...
"I had a great time chatting with you tonight. Thanks for being so candid with me. I think you're at a beautiful place - difficult - but beautiful. There's a book called Sacred Marriage...the subtitle of that book has spoken volumes to me...Is marriage for our happiness or our holiness? I have learned that marriage is what the Lord chose for me to know Him more intimately...and as an incredibly wonderful by-product, I get to share life with my best friend...we hurt each other but we love each other...there's no other person I would rather be with...ever! I have found no greater earthly joy.
I pray that the Lord gives you a tender heart...a heart full of grace...a heart ready to trust and obey. I know that only He can do that in you. I highly recommend the book by Carolyn Mahaney called "Feminine Appeal." It has a little bit to do with being a mom but mostly to do with being a wife and simply a godly woman. Here's a passage of Scripture that the Lord has been laying on my heart heavily lately:
"1(A)In the same way, you wives, (B)be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be (C)won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3(D)Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be (E)the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5For in this way in former times the holy women also, (F)who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, (G)calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right (H)without being frightened by any fear. (1 Peter 3:1 - 6)"
I know a lot of those words are frightening and can cause our hairs to bristle a bit, but there is true freedom in them. We can't control our husbands, but we can ask for grace to love Jesus so much that we trust Him in any circumstance...even if we feel our husbands aren't fulfilling their God-ordained duty or if they aren't loving us in the way we want to be loved or if they stumble. There is just something breathtaking about a woman who is clothed in peace and gentleness....a woman who, though her future is uncertain and her present not picture-perfect, can stare fear in the face and be overcome with serenity. Lord, help me to be that woman!
I hope this makes sense. I in no way advocate a door-mat submissiveness but rather a "trust and obey" submissiveness. That we would trust that the Lord has our best in mind and submit to His will and His word. I am praying for you and I loved hearing your heart! I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do!"
Apparently, even email isn't immune to the six-letter word. No place is safe. Be assured, my friend, it is coming for you.
With much love, Your Foul-Mouthed Friend
Cross-posted from Them Chandlers.