“And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Mark 9:35

Dear God, can you clarify? By all, do you mean my husband too?

Sometimes God says things I don’t want to hear. And, even though I say I believe, I want to dismiss that one thing. I want to pretend that the way I am doing things is right and that God is wrong. I take a hold of the little volume button and turn the volume down so I can do what I want, when I want. I stick my fingers in my ears and say, “La, la, la, la, la, la, la. I can’t hear you.”

He is still there though. Just because I am ignoring him doesn’t mean he isn’t there.

And, let’s all be honest, God is not going to all of a sudden “come around” to my way of thinking. The next time I pick up my Bible, it is going to say the same thing. Again, I can pretend it doesn’t, I can try to live my life ignoring the parts that aren’t convenient for me, but, well…..

“They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.” Titus 1:16

By my actions, do others recognize that I serve Jesus?

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15

Am I willing to listen to him and obey or will I deny him by picking and choosing the parts of his word that are convenient? Do I know God? Do I love God? Will I trust that his ways are better than mine, that his ways are better than the world’s?

And so, in the very beginning God says the following.

“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

It is admirable, noble, praise-worthy, and awesome to serve the homeless, the sick, the elderly, those struggling with addiction, depression, even our children. People receive accolades to the tenth degree for their service to others. Businesses give extra paid time off now to do community service.   We serve at church. We serve in our communities. We serve our girlfriends. We serve and serve and serve.

But somewhere along the line and, for some reason, it is not acceptable to serve my husband. He is the exception to God’s call of “being a servant to all.” Serving my husband would be wrong. It would be giving him the opportunity to “take advantage” of me. It would be squashing “my” needs. It would be putting him before me. It would be giving up my needs and my time for the sake of another, and whose husband deserves that?

I know I am being a little patronizing here, but I am mad at myself for not realizing the hypocrisy in this. I have spent a lot of time believing that it was beneath me to serve my family and my husband in particular. Not only did I believe this, but looking back, I am 100 percent certain that this belief caused much of our marital strife. Because, instead of serving my husband, I chose to serve me, to struggle and fight to make sure I was taken care of, that my goals would be met, that I would get what I wanted, that I would be successful.

That is really sad. How did I believe that lie for so long? Does my husband deserve less than everyone else?

No, he certainly doesn’t deserve less. It’s just that to me, my husband is this independent man who can do anything. And, so I let him be independent and I vow not to serve him because he is capable. His shelter, food, and clothing needs are taken care of, so is it really even noble to serve him? And what kind of service, what kind of help does he really need from me?

Maybe, he just needs an underlying deep devotion to his good.

One of the first jobs I got out of college was working at Columbia Regional Hospital with the elderly. There was one really, really cranky old guy who got admitted a lot. He was lonely, cranky, and bitter. I suspect he had some of this in him all along, but you know what really exacerbated it?

He lost his wife.

He lost his cheerleader.

He lost his helper.

I saw this over and over again with my male patients.   My female patients? They missed their husbands. They certainly grieved the loss, but they moved on and functioned just fine. All their little girl friends brought flowers and casseroles and then they started doing everything together.

But husbands, they were devastated. They were lost.

Men can be awkward, unaware of their emotions, hard to communicate with, and driven to the point that we think we don’t matter sometimes. But all of that aside, they need their wives and the unique role that only a wife can fill. What an honor that I am the one created to fill that need for my husband.

Is it easy to serve my husband? Not always. Have I ever thought of it as an honor before? Not really.

I certainly am not good at it. But…..oddly enough, it is also very freeing.   Like so many, I try to be all things to all people, all the time. It can be exhausting. It is exhausting. But I am not supposed to be all things to all people. I am first called to serve God and then my family, specifically my husband.

We are one.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Matthew 19:5

In today’s world, it is very easy to remain independent and forget that we are one, but marriage is not an opportunity for me to serve myself. It is the ultimate opportunity to learn what true love and sacrifice means. If I do not have a servant’s heart in my own home, will I really have it elsewhere?

Thank you Jesus, for being the perfect example of love, service and sacrifice. May I be reminded daily of what an honor and privilege it is to serve those I love. And, please fill me with your Holy Spirit because you know I am a train wreck without you. Amen

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