I guess I’m pretty old-fashioned. I’ve always believed that a Christian wife should voluntarily submit to her husband in all things (blatant immorality or lawbreaking aside) without nagging or a lousy attitude. Practically that’s a little more difficult. Since I started my marriage with a firm belief in submission, I think I can say that I’ve usually done what Billy has wanted me to do (at least I hope so), but with a good attitude…Well, not always.
Every now and then God shows me that submission really does work. Today was one of those times. I’ve had my tentative curriculum plan for Elizabeth’s first grade year ready since the beginning of June, but Billy said, “Wait.” I waited. At first I waited patiently. As the summer has worn on, my waiting has not been so patient. I’d ask if I should order, and he’d say, “Just wait a little longer. I want to check on this or that.” Finally I quit asking simply because I didn’t want to be a nag.
But I felt unsettled inside. I’m a planner. I don’t think I have a spontaneous bone in my body. It makes me nervous to not have a plan with times and dates, and it makes me really agitated to cut things close to a deadline (even though I’ve cut deadlines close plenty of times in recent years). I was at a point where I was on the verge of fuming because I “knew” that we should have ordered our curriculum by now. You know, the kind of fuming where you are having imaginary conversations with the person you are mad at? Yeah, I was almost there. That kind of fuming, by the way, is always destructive, because eventually the imaginary conversation becomes a real one, but it never sounds as good when you say it out loud as it sounded in your head, and you usually have things to apologize for when it’s all over with. This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but if I don’t tell this part of the story it makes me sound a whole lot more righteous than I really am.
Finally Billy gave me the go-ahead to order. This afternoon I sat down and was in the middle of ordering when he asked if I wanted to run an errand with him. At first I said no. Then I remembered something else I’ve learned, which is to try to never pass up an opportunity to spend time with my guy when he asks me to. I figure if I turn him down too many times, he’ll stop asking, and I don’t want us to get to that point. So I shut the order down to finish tonight and we took off.
When I got into the truck I saw today’s mail on the seat, which included our new homeschool group newsletter. On the back cover was listed curriculum for sale. One of the items was the most expensive book set I had planned to order for our school year, priced at 2/3 less than I had planned to pay. I called immediately, and of course it hadn’t sold yet.
It would have been easy to make a stink, thrown out all my good arguments about why I “knew” we should order right now, and gotten him to agree. Or I could have just gone ahead and placed the order and feigned innocence when it came. You know, “Well I thought you said,” or “But we couldn’t wait any longer.” (OK, so this would have gone over like a lead balloon at our house, but I can’t say I wasn’t tempted.)
If I had acted on what I “knew” based on my plans and “common sense”, I would have made us miss out on a huge money-saving blessing. Furthermore, we would miss out on meeting a new local homeschool family and possibly developing a relationship that I think could be really great for my kids (another story for another day on that). This was a sweet and gentle reminder that God has given me the husband He has, and that I need to trust him even when it doesn’t make sense to me. It reminded me to lay aside my own expectations and desire to control and believe that He has ordained Billy to lead our family even when I don’t understand, even in the smaller things. It’s not that it would have been the end of the world if I had paid full price for the books. But I would have missed a blessing, maybe more than one, and it would have put another brick in my life’s wall of self-will. It would have undermined Billy’s authority rather than building him up as the leader of our household. And as it turns out, our books will probably arrive in plenty of time for me to plan lessons and get ready for our projected start date.
So tomorrow morning I’ll be ordering our books—minus the most expensive purchase. And tomorrow maybe I’ll meet a new friend. Next time my commitment to submission is challenged, I hope I can set an example before my kids of the right way to do it. Next time I hope I can submit with rest, trust, peace, and grace, because what God has planned is way better than what I could plan on my own.