Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Marriage Renovations: Blueprints HER Way

Photo credit: mikeg1968 Etsy Shop
In this series, Josiah and I are talking about the "renovations" God has recently made in our marriage, and how to negotiate your own marital renovation project.

When you're building from scratch, you start with the foundation and build up. In a Christian marriage, the foundation is Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone. He is the rock you build on.

Josiah and I had this part already, praise God. (If you don't, but you'd like to know how, get with us!)

Nevertheless, even when you've built on a strong foundation, and you sincerely love your home, there are times when you need to do renovations.

Today, I'm talking about what the Blueprints Phase of the project was like for me. You can catch up on what's already been written here:

Marriage Renovations: Intro
Marriage Renovations: Demo Day HER Way
Marriage Renovations: Demo Day HIS Way

This is a hardhat area, folks. Strongholds are falling.

PHASE 2: Blueprints - Alissa Style

 My dad is a construction project manager. Since I was a little girl, I have loved helping him at his office. I would go in and help him “organize” his desk (which probably looked far more like me putting things where he couldn't find them). I played secretary and toyed with the typewriter (yes, I'm old).

When I went to his office, I was always marveled by the drafting table. On it, laid stacks and stacks of drawings that looked like a combination of hieroglyphics and an etch-a-sketch gone wild: blueprints.

The men who sat at those tables poured over layers and layers of the technical drawings. None of them knew the plans as well as the architect, but they could read them. I, on the other hand, could not make heads or tails of them.

Marriage/life renovations are like that.

When you're working on a home renovation project, before you demo stuff, you draw up plans for what needs to be done. You take measurements and consult experts. It takes time and precision.

In life, the blueprints have been drawn for us. God knew each of your days before he put the earth on its axis. He's not surprised by anything that's going on, and as we've already discussed, there is purpose in your suffering.

The Architect of our days knows the plan without even looking at a drawing. We start out, as baby Christians, and like me as a little girl staring at the drafting table, we can be completely oblivious. However, when we learn to trust the Architect, to read His instructions, and to consult Him in all things, we get better at discerning the plan.

With practice and training, you get better at reading the blueprints.

In our most recent marriage renovation project, at first, it was difficult to see through the pain. I was so hurt and demoralized that, for a bit, I lost sight of the Architect. I prayed continuously, though, and He is faithful.

After reading the first chapter of For Women Only, the book for women about men (which he had picked up mistakenly in the dark), Josiah was able to voice the fact that my complaints – about his lack of leadership and his failure to protect me emotionally – made him feel inadequate.

My first reaction? On the outside, I shut down. And I'm overwhelmingly grateful for that because the inside looked something like this:

What?! God, How could he say that?! How could he say that me voicing VERY valid complaints made him feel inadequate? I mean, I guess can understand how he would, but is it MY fault that he feels inadequate, or is it HIS because he hasn't been doing what he's supposed to do? Am I NEVER supposed to voice any complaint?!

Not pretty. And as I voiced those feelings in my head, I could feel the Holy Spirit tugging on me.

It felt sort of like my mind was being ripped in two because those feelings are very acceptable by the world's standards, they are NOT Biblical, and the Holy Spirit will always pray for you in alignment with God because He IS part of God (Romans 8 :27).

I was talking to God and saying one thing, but the Spirit was saying another, and I could feel the dissonance.

So, I decided to consult the Architect about His plans.

I prayed continuously. I started keeping a prayer journal. I dug into God's Word.

The more I dug, the more I realized that my viewpoint was not, in any way, substantiated by Scripture. Yes, we're supposed to correct one another with love, but generally, we're supposed to SEE the good the BE the good.

That's my new motto: see it and be it.

SEE the good:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
Philippians 4:6-8

I don't know if you noticed, but that doesn't say anything about me looking for what needs to be fixed about Josiah. It tells me that INSTEAD of worrying about those things, I'm supposed to go to God WITH GRATITUDE and talk to Him. I'm also supposed to try to concentrate on what is GOOD about Josiah, not those few things at which he may not excel.

Jesus told us to love one another as ourselves, and to treat one another as we would like to be treated.

Do I want Josiah to pick out the things I do wrong in an effort to help me “improve.” OR, do I want him to see the best in me, and appreciate the best in me, despite the areas I may need improvement in?

That's a rhetorical question: I want to be loved for who I am. Duh. So does he.

Now, BE the good:

...wives,submit yourselves to your own husbands so that,
even if some disobey the Christian message,
they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live
when they observe your pure, reverent lives....
For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God
also beautified themselves in this way,
submitting to their own husbands,
just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.
You have become her children when you do what is good
and are not frightened by anything alarming.”
1 Peter 3:1-2, 5-6

Whaaaaat? I'm not supposed to lovingly point out to Josiah where he's going wrong? I'm supposed to win him over without a word when he sees the purity and reverence in my OWN life and in my OWN Christian walk? I'm supposed to beautify myself in the eyes of God by submitting to my husband?

What the what?

I'm actually feigning shock here because I already knew all that. I knew It in my head, but God took this verse and made it a piece of my heart.


Here's the deal, ladies. Our husbands don't need our loving complaints, a.k.a. nagging. (Yup. I went there).

They need our support because our support makes them feel respected, and when our men know we respect them they can move mountains or build skyscrapers.

At this point, you may be thinking the same thing I was: That's all well and good, but there's NO WAY I can walk that out! How do I even BEGIN to do that?!

With Jesus, sweet sister...only with Jesus, but we'll talk about that more on REBUILDING DAY....

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