No no no. It was all wrong. My shoulders slump as tears rush to my eyes. I didn’t want a fight this morning, didn’t want to drive to work angry.
It was my fault, really. I had told him a month before about a bible study I had signed us up for, and then failed to mention it until Thursday morning, the morning of the first meeting.
“We aren’t going. I’ve been sick all week,” he said brusquely. It was early February and he was completely overwhelmed at work, we were both suffering cabin fever, and he was not ready to commit to this group.
“How do you expect us to ever grow in our faith?” I shot back, slewing off a number of reasons the study would be perfect for us.
“Why does it have to be ‘we?’ Why can’t you just do a Bible Study by yourself?”
“Why won’t you lead me?” These words cut deep, and I knew we were done talking then.
We didn’t go, and I was heartbroken and embarrassed. I shook my fist at God, asking why He would let this happen when I felt so sure He wanted my next Bible study to be with my husband. It’s God’s will for a wife to be led by her husband. Submitting to Jimmy is dancing to God’s rhythm.
Then the still, small voice rushed in like an earthquake, rocking my own little world:
You are not letting him lead you.
Whoomp! The truth hit like a ton of bricks, but my burden felt lighter.
It was so true, yet perplexing;
So obvious, yet hidden;
So uncomfortable, yet relieving.
I imagine the consequent exchange went something like this:
“But if I don’t lead us, no one will and we will fall from the faith!”
“Do you really think I will let that happen, beloved?”
“Well…but what do I do?!”
“That’s doing nothing!”
“Daughter, trust Me. Be still.”
Oh Lord, does He know my heart.
But I did just that. Ceasefire. No searching out groups, researching books, or asking around. No subtle glances in his general direction when a group is mentioned at church. No loaded comments about his spiritual disciplines.
Rather, fervent prayer. For him. For myself. For our marriage.
Here’s the thing God was opening my blind eyes to: it is impossible to lead someone to lead you. It gets as messy as that sentence.
Fast forward two weeks. We are at church on a Sunday morning listening to the announcements.Please pick up your kids right after the service, need VBS volunteers, registration is open for a Discipleship Class taught by Pastor Luke.
Jimmy – “So what do you think about that discipleship class?”
Me – (speechless) “Uhh, it seems pretty cool. What do you think?”
Jimmy – “I only want to do it if Pastor Luke is teaching it.”
Me – “So do you want me to sign us up then?”
Jimmy – “Sure.”
Apparently we are the most nonchalant couple ever. But friends, you know inwardly this was totally me:
The day of the first study came and I was braced for impact, expecting the worst. But the blow never came. We made it to the church (on time!) and learned about the class. We did the exercises. The assignment for the week was to read the Gospel of Matthew. Which chapter? All of them. We listened as the pastor encouraged us to “count the cost.”
We drove away. We went again next week (not on time) with completed homework and hungry hearts. We returned every week for 10 weeks, even as life pressed in from all sides.
We grew. More quickly than I have grown in my life. It was the adolescence of spiritual maturity, growing so quickly the clothes we wore last week now seemed comically small.
Read. Study. Memorize. Grapple. Dig. Listen. Learn. Wrestle. Understand. Follow.
The shades on our eyes lifted, and the truth rushed in through our open windows.
Jesus came to bring His Kingdom to this earth. We are given the opportunity to participate in His kingdom by becoming His disciples. Discipleship means choosing Jesus over everything else. It means getting to know Him through His word and following His commandments (and realizing you’d be a fool not to!). It means taking up your cross daily to follow Him.
This is all right there in the Scriptures, on the pages clear as day. I have read the New Testament multiple times and the gospels dozens of times. So why the massive revelation? Why now?
When we chose to step out of the darkness of sin and follow Jesus’ command through marriage, He unveiled our eyes to His truth.
While we continued to refuse Jesus access to our entire hearts, withholding the part of our life that we didn’t want to change, He could only give us access to the partial truth. When we fully surrendered to Him, He gave us all the kingdom has to offer. We saw the treasure.
This gift was fully realized on a chilly night in April, sitting around a bonfire at the church fire pit with our brothers and sisters who had completed the class with us. We sang hymns and recited verses from memory.
Then, one by one, we crossed over.
We stood before the Trinity and declared our discipleship. We put everything else in our lives: possessions, relationships, activities, second to the One who is second to none. We stepped over the cross into our new lives, a life as a disciple of Jesus.
Was I a disciple before this day? Yes. Did I still desperately need this declaration? Yes.
Daily. Not once in a lifetime. Not once a year. Not even every Sunday. Daily.
I followed Jimmy to this class. I let Him lead me there. I even let him go first to recite his memory verses (he crushed it, of course).
And in return, I received the sweetest gift of all: the opportunity to witness my husband declare before God and man his undying love for the Lord.
Friends, it was just as sweet as our wedding vows. Had I chosen my way and cornered Jimmy into doing this class, I probably would have ended up doing it by myself, and I would have received less than the full portion God had for me.
What a day. What a gift. What a Savior.
Thank you for tuning in to my story! We all have these stories within us: stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness in spite of our stubbornness. Who needs to hear yours today?
You are irreplaceable in Jesus’ eyes. Shine on.