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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

There is a Holy Spirit, and it's not me


Mark and I have been married over 20 years. As we’ve ‘grown together in the grace of life’ we have both learned much about each other and much about how God wants us to treat one another.

Mark was raised in a Christian home, but really started serving the Lord around the time we got married. I had been raised Catholic, but didn’t come to know the Lord until I was in high school. It was then that I started living for the Lord, and so when Mark and I got married, I was the “stronger one spiritually.” I use that phrase loosely because even though I had a few more years of Biblical teaching under my belt, I was anything but spiritually strong. However, I sure thought I was!

We both wanted to live for the Lord and serve Him with our whole hearts. But, I continued to see things in my husband that needed “fixing.” I made it my job in life to “fix” him because as anyone could tell, I was more spiritually mature than he. (ha!)

I thought he should pray more, so I would drop little hints about it and put him on the spot when I saw fit. I thought he should read his Bible more, so I made sure it was strategically placed for him to find it and every chance I had I would let him know that it was something he should be doing more of.

I was stealth I tell you! I made sure that he knew there was more he should be doing for the Lord. After all- if I didn’t, who would? And let me tell you, it’s not easy being stealth when you have a giant plank sticking out of your eye getting in the way all the time! I had to work hard at it.

Then there were my moments of condescension. I could so easy manipulate a conversation to let him know that he needed to be a better Christian. Mind you…this was all while I was being a good and submissive wife. I truly felt that I was doing all the right things and that the Lord was leading me in my controlling ways.

I’m not sure how long it was before my husband starting saying, “Hark, what is that I hear? Is that the Holy Spirit speaking?”

Of course at first, I knew this was just rebellion. Surely God was about to “get him.” How dare he blame me when he is the one with the obvious issues!

Until, I finally heard the still small voice of the actual Holy Spirit speaking to my heart and telling me how wrong I was. This was not an overnight lesson for me. I have learned this, repented and turned around time after time and done the same thing over again.

Eventually I realized the destruction I was bringing in our relationship and the lack of trust that I had in the Lord.

I saw that when I would shut my mouth about a situation and pray and then truly give it to God, He would intervene and do a mighty work in my husband and in me.

The key, I have learned, is stepping out of the way.

Let God be God, let the Holy Spirit do the correcting, training and teaching in both of our lives.

I had a need to control. That need was based on the fact that I did not trust that the Lord answered my prayers. I did not trust that the Holy Spirit would actually speak to my husband about leading our family. That’s really hard to admit, but it’s true. I felt that I could do a better job leading my husband than the Holy Spirit could.

John 16:13-14
3 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

1 Peter 1:2
2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit

Did you catch that? “The sanctifying work of the Spirit.”

The Spirit does the work. The Spirit is the one who sanctifies, not us.

1 Peter 3:1
3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives

I find it funny that is actually says, “without words.” How well does He know us?!

It is our behavior that will speak louder to our husbands. The Lord showed me that I could trust Him, and more importantly that I had so much more work to do on myself! If I would obey the Lord and do MY job in this marriage, He would take care of the rest.

I got a mental picture of the Lord standing before my husband and me standing in the middle of them getting in the way. When I finally stepped back, I saw the Lord do amazing things in my heart and in my husband’s heart.

Our faith became real to both of us.

Prov 14:1
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

A familiar verse, once again is so true.

Let the Lord, His Holy Spirit, do a mighty work in you by handing over the burden of your husband’s walk with Christ to Him. It’s not yours to carry.

Pray for your husband. But first pray for yourself, that you would honor the Lord in your marriage and be the Godly wife He has called you to be. Let your actions speak louder than your words.
It’s a prayer I pray often and I still remind myself of this truth:
There is a Holy Spirit, and it’s not me.

That’s our nugget for this week.

I’m praying for our marriages, feel free to email me with prayer requests.

Stop by and sign-up for the February Giveaway of Praise and Coffee!


A Stone Gatherer said...

Ohhh!!! At first I thought you wrote a post about me!! This has been so true of me! Conviction! I am coming around though, and am praying for my husband! He is a wonderful man, and shame on me for getting in the way! The Lord is working in his life, and I do believe that it's because I am learning to get out of the way! Thanks for the awesome reminder!!!

Denise said...

Amen, move me out of the way Lord.

Nise' said...

This was so me as well! Unfortunately many of us will see ourselves so clearly in this post! It was when I started to pray Lord, change me that I was able to get out of the way!!

Linda said...

A very timely message for me this morning. Thank you.

Praise and Coffee said...

That prayer makes all the difference!

concerned parent said...

There are so many times that I thought I could actually bite my own tongue off trying to not speak in the midst of trials and everyday life. I can still hear you teaching me this valuable lesson years ago, and I am grateful! Not that I always practice this but when I have stopped and listened to the Lord he is the one to change my husband and lead him into the direction he has planned not just the path of quick fix that I felt would be better for us.

Anonymous said...

This was convicting. As you said, it's a lesson I have learned but need a refresher course in every now and then.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a word - this is something I really needed to hear today. I've been guilty of the exact same thing. Thanks for writing this.

Jjlrdomom said...

I LOVE this!! Another great lesson to be learned. And yes, it's tough to step out of it, but OH how God blesses BOTH of you when you do!! Miracles happen when you get out of God's way!!! Thanks Sue, for this awesome blog!!!

Renna said...

My husband and I have been married for 18 years. I remember quite well when the Holy Spirit began to deal with me about letting him deal with my husband. It was not a control I was keen on relinquishing!

I'd love to say I stepped completely back and let the Holy Spirit have his job back, but I'm afraid I still step in and try and do it myself on occasion. Praie God for His mercy and grace when we do err, though, huh?

MaryLu said...

Oh, I love that word picture, us standing in between our husband and God. We can really get in the way sometimes can't we.
Thank you for the reminder today.

Teresa said...

I am new to your blog and must thank you for such wonderful, Bible based truths and reminders that you share. May you continue to be blessed as you bless others.

Sandy said...

Wow - you're writing my story, Sue. I have changed so much since those times (thank God!). I call it "hyperspiritualism" - and women can be so hyperspiritual. I highly recommend Paul's book, No More Christian Nice Guy - and the book we wrote together, Married but Not Engaged.
Great great post, Sue! Wow!
Hey, I have a GIVEAWAY too!

April said...

Praise the Lord I found you. I needed this message.

Mocha with Linda said...

Yep, this is indeed an issue and I've realized so many times that it's much more effective to "let go and let God." Why I can't seem to remember and continually practice it is a major plank in my eye!!

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

This was a GREAT post.....I loved hearing your story and found myself in it too!

Kimberly said...

I laughed out loud when I read the title to today's post! Oh, my! The Lord has certainly had to deal with me on this one! Honestly, He still does. But I truly am finding that stepping back and praying is the way to go.
I love the image you gave of the wife standing in between the Lord and her husband. I do not want to be in the way of the work He wants to do in my husband! Thanks for giving me a fresh way to pray about these issues!
Love and Blessings,

Susan said...

Great post as always, Sue.

Sunshine said...

WONDERFUL post...SO needed to be reminded of this! Sunshine

Gretchen said...

What a wonderful reminder this post was for me, Sue. Let go and let God. Alas, I'm usually in His way. ;)

Paula said...

I guess everyone is guilty of it as I read the other comments. I did EXACTLY what you've done. When I pushed for my husband to join a ministry it didn't work (duh), when he went on his own and followed where God lead him (food ministry) he found his nitch. I love the image of the plank sticking out of your eye. I'm there too! Even just last night I said "Well, I think God wants you to do so and so", now how would I know what God wants for him.
Thanks for this post!!

Anonymous said...

Sue, thanks again for your words of wisdom.I struggled with that for a loooong time. Still catch myself now:) I am not his mother, keeper or Holy Spirit. I am a wife, but a woman of God first:) God is in control, not me, I'm FREE!!!!Love these Tuesdays!!

Mary Lou said...

Thank you for the reminder. We all need this reminder. God does so much better a job than we can ever dream of doing. He is so gracious to come behind us and sweep up our messes with our spouses. It is wonderful to see the changes when we step out of the way and let God deal with them...Bless you and your marriage.....dlowran1(at)comcast(dot)net

Susan Skitt said...

It's amazing how many areas trusting God affects our lives and ultimately the lives of our loved ones...

Pamela (His maidservant) said...

Wonderful post! I'm afraid I learned the hard way in my first marriage what happens when you continue to be "in the way". God has forgiven and He blessed me beyond what I had thought I needed in the first place. I have the most wonderful, godly husband now and He is blessing this second marriage. I can't say it enough-"GET OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THE HOLY SPIRIT HANDEL IT"! There is so much joy in doing so.
In His Graces~Pamela

Anonymous said...

Oh Sue,
I would say you'd been reading my mail if I hadn't seen so many other comments from other women in the same situation.
God has been able to lead me in the most difficult directions in life, but this one, being hubby's Holy Spirit, is by far the most difficult. A couple of weeks ago I determined in my heart that it was time to win this battle. I truly had not realized that my biggest problem was that I was not trusting God with my husband's spiritual life. This is what I really needed to hear. Thank you for such wisdom and yes, please dear, add me to the prayer list this week.

a woman who is said...

A big resounding ouch over here. Thank you for all the advice on how to step back and let go and let God. I think the picture of us standing between God and our husbands is a powerful one that will help me.

Praise and Coffee said...

Oh my, I love all your responses and your honesty!!
We all need to know that we're not in this alone.

Thanks for being transparent and encouraging me and everyone else!!

Anonymous said...

Talk about being convicted...Thank you for the eye opener this morning, I know I was led to read this, this morning..

Missy said...

wow! i need to print out your post and tape to my forehead! no joke. thank you for your wisdom and encouragement.


Anonymous said...

"The key, I have learned, is stepping out of the way..."

I CAN NOT tell you how much that I needed to read this this morning!

Thank you,

Praise and Coffee said...

That is funy!

Sara said...

God seriously brought your blog into my daily reading at just the right time... everytime I face an issue lately, you seem to address it here!

I need to trust that God will enter my husband's life when he is ready... not when I want him to be.

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Stepping out of the way is the HARDEST part. I struggle with giving the Lord a helping hand, when He certainly doesn't need it from me. I just mess things up!

Becky said...

Omigsh....have you been in my house? You have been spying havent you??? This was sooooo what I needed to hear today! Thank you! Thank YOU!

PJ said...

Isn't that a marvelous revelation? "I'm not in control" and "I'm not responsible for the choices of others." Wow! I've so been there -- and still wander over from time to time. Thanks for a Good Word.

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