It has been an awesome night. I haven't been able to fall asleep, but I read the Bible and did devotional with the kiddos and with the hubby. Feeding on God's Word to our heart's content.
I am learning to chill out, although occasionally the neurotic side of me surfaces. I find myself more at peace the more I stop struggling for control; specially since I have no control anyways. Learning to surrender is difficult; I always thought it meant weakness. I had a hard time with songs that expressed surrendering to God because I thought it meant I was giving up, I lost the fight, and was finally dragging to do whatever it is God wants me to do.
The more I read God's Word, and our Sunday School lesson, the more I realize that there are a lot of things I considered weakness or was ashamed of that really ... aren't. Like the fact that I am sensitive and take things personally - where the world would say to just "shrug it off and deal with it like a man", I'm learning I don't have to accept it. Or the gentleness in wanting to just stay home and cuddle with my children. It's interesting how I've spent the past 6 years seeking jobs and professional advancement because I was misled into believing that I would be worthless if I just "stayed at home to be a mom", and because I didn't finish a college degree I was misled into believing that I had to compensate for that by getting very challenging, very active jobs... to somehow earn my value. And now I realize that my children could never afford to pay me what they value me; to them I'm priceless. Being a stay-at-home mom is the job I want with every fiber of my being and I'm in no place, shape, or form to transition to that place on my own.
It's hard to not call the shots on my own. I have to wait and depend on Paul, and on God, to settle Paul in a job before I can transition away from mine, and we might have to wait a year or two, or maybe even more, before we are in that place financially. But yet this is God's design for marriage; if I could do everything on my own, truly be a one woman show, I would have no relationship with Paul or with my Savior. I'm not saying He places us in situations of need so He could have the advantage over us and we'd finally need Him. I'm saying that the fact that I am dependent on God and on my husband is by no means weakness on my part.
Because that is what I learned: that a husband ties you down. That I'm somehow ruining my life by not calling my own shots; that Paul should either get with the program or move on. This is the mindset that I am unlearning, because my husband IS trustworthy - I can depend on him, and wait on him as we both wait on God to work in the both of us what He wants to accomplish during this trial.
Timing is everything. Growth is everything. At least Paul and I are growing more together instead of apart. I've seen a lot of couples grow apart; I've seen plenty of women drive their husbands away in their quest to "do it all" because submission and surrender is so taboo in this post-feminist culture.
When I know that Paul loves me and the kids, and loves God, and will always seek our GOOD, I can trust Him enough to surrender. It's not scary or weak, or intimidating. There is no concern that he will fail me or hurt me; and even when his strength fails, I know we are both relying on God - who never fails.
I learned that the surrender that God wants is not this picture of defeat, weakness, and shame - where we are dragged away to his service only mildly voluntarily, only because we lost. The image of the surrender that God wants is like... a man or woman enlisting in the US Military; it's a declaration that says, "I will offer my strengths and my talents in dedication to serve You." We wouldn't consider a soldier weak, or defeated.
My concept of surrender is declaring to God that I will give Him the best of my efforts, and with all of my heart pursue what He has for me, my family, and His kingdom here on earth. I will stop trying to always do what I want and I will seek what He wants instead and give it my all, trusting Him and obeying Him. It means I can't be weak, or defeated, because in that position there isn't much I can offer Him - rather I have to be strong, at my best, and constantly refining myself towards Holiness. It means I'm on His team, and it's a good thing too, because I can't do any of this on my own strength.
And it's the same thing when I submit to Paul in our marriage; it doesn't mean he bosses me around, it means I'm willing to be his partner and follow the play he feels would better help us win the game. It means in being my best, my strongest, I am doing so in cooperation with (not dominance of) him, and vice-versa.
I am learning that both of us need to offer our voices in prayer, in praise, and in teaching the ways of God to our children. I've always known that I can't teach Anakin to be a man, and Paul can't teach Brielle to be woman, and so we both need each other to raise our kids. While I give kuddos to all the single moms out there who raise good boys, I point out that those moms were not raising their children fatherless because God is their heavenly Father and their helpmate. Just because we find ways to survive in crisis doesn't mean that it is healthy or normal to live a life out of balance. And that doesn't mean that moms who have only boys are useless in their upbringing, because how else do boys learn to value and respect women if it's not through the influence of their mother? It's not one or the other, it's both, in teamwork, that equips our sons and daughters to be men and women of God.
And so now what I have to focus on this week is: what are my strengths? If I rely only on my job, I feel useless most of the time. I suppose I have strengths - and I'm not waiting to discover what those are through employment. What does a strong me look like? And I want to know what it looks like in being feminine. For the past few years I felt more like a pack mule or an ox than a woman; bearing kids, nursing them, working my rear end off, going to sleep, and starting again. I am not just some industrious machine that's only valuable based on the results I can produce. I am a woman (drawn from a man), and female (in God's image). There are qualities about me as female that reflect the qualities of God; it's my job to find them, harness them, and use them with my family, my church, and all around my sphere of influence.
I feel lost, but not hopeless, and yet I feel I'm going in the right direction - though I don't know what I'm looking for.
♪♫ From my heart to the heavens
Jesus be the center
It's all about You - yes, it's all about You ♪♫