Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Husbands and Church Devotion

Husbands and Church

Have you ever had the Holy Spirit step on your toes? I have and I’ve found that sometimes it really hurts! Some topics are just not pleasant. But my goal is to try to be as real with you as possible and to address some of the more difficult issues of being a Godly wife and mother.

The issue I’m going to address today is about husbands and church. Before getting married I had a real fantasy going. I believed my husband and I would load up the kids and go to church together. I believed we would drop the kids off at their Sunday school classes and then we would go off to our Couple’s Sunday school class. My reality was that my husband was a firefighter with a crazy schedule. When we were first married, he didn’t like church much anyway.

During this time the enemy used a powerful weapon on me. The weapon was FEAR. I had read all the statistics of how “if the father doesn’t go to Sunday school the chances of your children wanting to attend church when they grow older went drastically down.” I was so fearful of this that I tried everything to get my husband to go to church and to Sunday school (when he wasn’t working). You name it and I tried it. Shame, guilt and manipulation were my “tools” to get my husband to do what I wanted him to do. Needless to say, we were both miserable.

If he wouldn’t go to church or Sunday school, then surely the next best thing would be a couple’s Bible study, right? Wrong! He would attend for a short amount of time to please me, and then would start using excuses and eventually I could tell he really didn’t want to go. I would end up with feelings of bitterness, anger and resentment towards him.

After years and years of this miserable cycle, the Lord had had enough of me! He confronted me with my fears, unforgiveness and my lack of trust in Him. He told me that I was no longer supposed to worry about Steve. I should go to church for my children and for my own benefit. God would take care of Steve. He showed me that if Steve didn’t want to be there, it really didn’t “count” in His eyes when he did choose to attend.

“But what about the children?” I asked. “What about all those statistics that say my children will most likely fall away if their father isn’t’ attending Sunday school or church?” The Lord told me that I didn’t trust Him with my children and that He was bigger than any statistic.

I had one more problem, though. “But it isn’t fair! He gets to sleep in while I get all of these children ready for church by myself. This is hard work, Lord, not to mention when we finally get to church and then I have to get everyone to where they are supposed to go. Many times I am exhausted and distracted by the time I sit down to worship.”

The Lord said, “Yes, it is unfair and yes it is hard work. That is your sacrifice to me. Stop complaining and grumbling about it and realize that this IS your act of worship.”

From that day on, I trusted God enough to take my kids faithfully to church by myself. I left Steve alone about going. After many years, God has changed his heart in regards to church. If he is not working, he regularly attends. He comes on his own accord, not because he is afraid of displeasing me. Since I left Steve to the Lord, he has changed in ways I could have never imagined. He is growing in the Lord by leaps and bounds! Only God can do that! Steve is still the type of person that is not interested in group Bible studies, but is now reading the Bible all the way through on his own and is loving it.

I may be harried and distracted as I walk into church and I try to worship while having to discipline a child or two, but the Lord knows that the true sacrifice for me is just getting there!

I know several moms that don’t go to church regularly, if at all, because they are waiting for their man to be the spiritual leader and get their family there. Don’t wait! Your children need to see that church is important. They need to go to a place where the lessons reinforce what you have been teaching them at home. If you are one of these ladies, may I encourage you to go to God with your reasons and excuses. Be honest with Him and let Him speak to you. He will give the strength to do what you need to do. I guarantee one thing, if your children do not see one committed parent who wants to go to church, why would they ever be motivated to go when they are grown up and on their own?

Be encouraged, God wants your husband to “not forsake meeting with other Believers”, but He wants to do it His way, which is always the right way. He is wooing your husband to Himself and your husband’s spiritual walk IS a priority to Him. Remember, God will not woo your husband the same way He wooed you. Everyone learns differently. You take care of your spirituality and let God take care of his. The benefit of this is LASTING peace, joy and a renewed sense of love and grace towards your husband. The conflict leaves in the home, then God can begin HIS work. Trust Him in this!

From One Mom to Another,
Stacie

8 comments:

Cat said...

There are times when you blow me away with your intense relationship with God. Thank you for sharing this. I will make a copy to give to someone I know.

Amy said...

What a great post!!! We are without a church right now and it is horrible. None of can agree what church we want to go to and it is so hard being the "new" people that most Sundays we end up not going anywhere. We have found a couple that we like but they are about 40 minutes away and we are concerned that we wouldn't be involved enough. We really need to let go of all these problems and just find somewhere and let God work out the rest. What denominatin is your church?

Rachel said...

Stacie, I love your devotion! Even those of us whose husbands go to church (run a church!) can have to high expectations! (guilty!)

Steve sets such a great example to his children in SO MANY ways and they are picking up on it! Even my own children think he's so cool being a firefighter for someone else's sake.

Statistics can be manipulated anyway you want. Ignore them, they do not take into account individual experiences.

My mother brought us to church faithfully. She had the greatest spiritual influence on us. My dad NEVER went to church but it didn't affect me negatively. We didn't even talk about God together (I didn't like his answers). But- my dad still taught me so much and influenced me in so many great ways and God has used that in my life.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I go to a Conservative Baptist church, but I really hate the denominational thing. I just like to consider myself a Christian.

I go to this church because it believes in baptism, communion, the Trinity. I agree with most doctrinal issues.

I don't count on my church to fill me up, though. I believe in personal Bible study and prayer.

I guess I go to church because it is important to be encouraged and edified by other believers. Testimonies touch me and I am moved to serve the Lord and go deeper with with.

You will never find the perfect church because churches are filled with imperfect people. But it is important to find a good fit for your family.

I will pray that you will find the right church for your family. I wouldn't give the kiddos too much say in this. It really needs to be a decision between you and your husband. I would also encourage you to differ to your husband on this issue as well. He may not pick your favorite church, but if he is willing to go, follow his lead! It's important to back his choice up to the children.

If this doesn't make sense, you can email me privately.

CB said...

I can relate with Amy about how hard it can be to find a church "home." We move around so much that it's always been difficult for us. One of the reasons is because we never stay anywhere very long & we get sort of disheartened about making close friends wherever we go, getting involved with people & then having to leave. It "sounds" like a big excuse, but it can be really difficult & painful. We were beginning to get involved here & then found out we will be leaving soon & now we have automatically converted into a "shut down" mode, separating ourselves. Thank you for this post, Stacie, You have encouraged me to NOT FEAR, but just go to church & be an example to my children, no matter WHAT my circumstances are!

Thank you for your encouragement!!

OurLilFullFam said...

What a wonderful post and so very true! I have had several close friends whose husbands don't go to church, but they go and take the kids. But one of them always talked about it in front of her kids. I was constantly seeing her at homeschool stuff and another lady finally said, God isn't gonna give you a medal for taking those kids to church, while bashing your husband at the same time. Ouch! I never heard her say anything bad again about him not going. We should remember to pray for those women without attending husbands, and also for our husbands leadership.

The lack of manly christian example has left a generation of men who don't know how to lead. We as women think we know how it should work. But we(me) end up acting more like Harriet Olsen than Carolyn Ingalls. Who wants to lead with a wife like that?

Great post Stacie, and I am glad to see your prayers answered. Sometimes waiting on the Lord is so hard, but it is always so worth it!

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

One other thing I learned about this that I forgot to mention...

If the kids ask why Dad doesn't go to church with them, it is NOT your job to tell them! I always said "That is something you need to ask your dad."

I used to really struggle with not knowing what to say, but this took the pressure off of me of having to have all the answers and from making my husband look not as spiritual to our children.

Thanks for all the input guys, it's great to see such a response. I just pray it might encourage someone who struggle like I did in this season of life. I really felt the Holy Spirit penning this one all the way!

Lori Alexander said...

I always tell the girls I am mentoring that it is their job to make their husbands happy and not holy!

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