Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lucky Woman

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27

What a beautiful passage to describe the ideal relationship between a husband and his wife. Christ is our example in all things: submission, humility, self-sacrifice, wisdom, knowledge, and in this case, being great husband material. I have the good fortune to be married to a man who emulates many of the same qualities as Christ demonstrates to his bride, the church.

Two years ago I attended a women’s conference and had the opportunity to interview Carolyn Custis James, a well-known author, for my book manuscript over lunch. As we talked, she encouraged me to think ahead to when I actually published the book. “Get ready,” she told me. “When you publish, you will be speaking quite a bit. Use the time now to prepare.”

Get ready!! What did that mean? I came back to the hotel room I was sharing with my best friend, Beth, and related to her what Carolyn said.

“So I need to get ready,” I told Beth.

“What will you do?” Beth asked me.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I wish I could go to seminary, but I can’t do that and work full time. Besides, I do already have an effective ministry as a teacher. What if God wants me to stay put?”

Beth looked at me thoughtfully. “In a perfect world, if money was no object, and you could do whatever your heart desired, what would you do?”

I sighed. “I would resign from my teaching job and go to seminary.”

Beth looked me straight in the eye. “Then do it.”

When I got home next day, I wasn’t sure what to think of this insane idea. I approached my husband, who was sprawled on our bed, working on his laptop. I told him what Carolyn said and what Beth and I had talked about. “What do you want to do?” he asked.

“My fondest dream? I would love to go to seminary and get the tools I need to be an excellent writer and teacher of God’s Word.”

“Then do it.”

We prayed for a week about the matter. Steve was more convinced than I was that God was leading us to make this drastic move. I wanted it too badly to trust my own judgment. After a week of seeking God in the matter, I handed in my resignation to AACS. After twenty years, I was no longer a teacher. I was once again a full time student, unemployed, and no longer a financially contributing member of our household.

In these two years, my husband has not doubted one time that I was exactly where the Lord wanted me (unlike his wobbly wife). We had to work hard to adjust our spending in accordance with our new budget. He never complained one time. When I cried over Greek, he said all the right things to keep me moving forward. He has cooked dinner, run errands, and proofread papers. No one could be a bigger support than my man Steve.

And why? So someday he could rake in the bucks when I hit it big time with a best-seller? Don’t hold your breath. Christian publishing isn’t exactly known for its financial rewards. What motivated him to give up so much? Steve loves Jesus Christ. Steve loves me. And Steve gets sincere delight in seeing me grow in my knowledge and ability to serve the God we both love more effectively.

Reading over how Christ loved the church in Ephesians 5, I am struck by Christ’s actions that proved that love. He gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her and present her to Himself as holy and blameless. His love for the church was all about making her the best she could be, at great cost to Himself.

Kind of like my husband, Steve. I am a lucky woman.

1 comment:

dave said...

for the record, this is one of my favoritest stories ever. i'm so glad that steve gave you the okay, because i love your insight in our classes!