Believe it or not, I have struggled with cooking breakfast for years!! My journey to becoming Joyfully Submitted had its share of bumps and bruises, and breakfast was one of them!! I knew how to cook, but I did not find joy in it, and as a result, lacked creativity, as well as the desire to find new things, recipes, techniques and flavors. As long as we ate and it was good, I was great! Delicious was not necessarily a goal of mine, or so I thought. But I found myself becoming disappointed or having my ‘feelings hurt’ when I got less than the highest praise for meals that I had put together without much thought. I put my heart into holiday meals, and meals that would be served to guests…(shaking my head in embarrassment). But my cooking lacked more than mouth-watering flavor! It lacked joy…it lacked heart! Nowhere was this more evident than in the morning…with breakfast. I am truly saddened as I look back and view in retrospect not just the food served, but the heart with which it was served. I was not horrible, I just was not there…my heart was somewhere else for years!!! And if anyone cared to look, it was evident…in my cooking. Oh I could do your basics…eggs and bacon, cereal and toast, oatmeal from scratch (took some practice), and the meals were good. But the really good stuff (in my opinion…in my families opinion) like pancakes and french toast…I always fell short of, well, delicious! They took too much time! They involved too many ingredients!! Who had time??? Time was not the issue, nor was the number of ingredients in the recipes. Who knew that a lack of submission to Christ and his plan for my life…for your life…for our lives…would reveal itself in our approach to meal time…to cooking? The sharing of meals has always been an integral part in the lives of believers since before the church was born. We see our Lord serve the disciples and spend his last night on Earth eating with those closest to him.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 25:26-28
We see that as the church was growing, food and the joyful sharing of meals was an integral part of that growth….
“A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”Acts 2:43-47
But I had missed this, of course, because for years my silent, secret focus was on myself. I grieved for a long time and silently refused to let go of the life I planned for myself. I thought that if I looked like the submitted wife on the outside God would let me off of punishment and reward me with my dream life!!! My selfishness caused me to totally miss the glaringly obvious reality that I was living my dream life!! And this one came complete with surround sound and high-definition!!! But all was not lost….and breakfast has been rescued! On my journey I have discovered that as my heart was made new, so were my perspectives and the things I found joy in. And cooking everything, even breakfast from scratch, has become a source of great joy! The recipe below is so much more than JUST Vanilla French Toast! It is a symbol of another area in my heart that has been made new as evidence of my submitted heart. It’s not the vanilla that makes this french toast impossible to resist. It’s the depth of love and care and concern and joy that went into preparing it. It’s not looking at the recipe and thinking there are too many ingredients, but now investigating to find new ones that can be added… I pray that you enjoy making this for your family. Relax. Breath in deeply the aroma of the Vanilla and cinnamon blend. Slow down and taste all of the flavors mixing together in your mouth. Then teach your kids to do the same. You see, it was not just my heart that was filled with joy as I prepared this. It was witnessing that joy transfer to my children and my husband when they ate it…my change of heart positively impacted them! And with HUGE smiles they asked for more!
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
This recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com has not only vindicated me in the kitchen, but has served of more evidence of a Joyfully Submitted heart! No longer are my husband and oldest son the only ones who can successfully prepare breakfast foods such as pancakes and french toast from scratch, and have us wanting for more. This recipe, posted in the pic below, is amazing!!! The kids actually had thirds!! Well, the boys did :D. Just between you and me, I made a few modifications the last 2 times I made these. I added another 1/2 tsp of cinnamon as well as 1 tsp nutmeg (which the original recipe did not include). The results were amazing!! The recipe yields 12-18 slices of french toast! Enjoy preparing it!!! Enjoy serving it!!! Enjoy eating it!!!
I was groomed to expect, pursue, and occupy a senior leadership role in the church since I was 16 years old. I ‘preached’ my first message from the Lord (one of anguish, disappointment and impending judgement) the morning after wholly committing my heart, mind and soul to the Lord. My pastor, and elderly man, saw nothing wrong with the Lord speaking through a 16 year-old young girl. He communicated with me that the Lord will always use willing, available vessels to do His work. So I spent years making myself willing and available. I soon began to believe that Deborah, one of Israels Judges, was not the exception but the rule. As I got older most of the women I knew in the church served faithfully there, but spent little time serving at home. I never saw or attended a class or workshop on Biblical submission, though I heard it talked about or referred to from the pulpit occasionally. In truth, I rarely saw it lived out, and as I grew up, I had no working model to look to. It seemed that women believed they were honoring God and obeying His word by serving in the church, and going through the motions of service at home. Men were not truly respected, and I have learned that we can ‘submit and serve’ on the surface, but still communicate the lack of submission in our hearts. The women I had been raised to look to as examples were strong, like me…good orators, like me…not afraid to speak in front of people, like me…bold for Christ, like me…and they all had a title; minister, evangelist, and as I got older, pastor…unlike me. So the eventual progression for me was an obvious one, right?
When I got married, though I loved my husband, I was not submitted to him at heart. The vows had been genuine, but not entered into with a clear Biblically based understanding. I was a definite product of the feminist culture of the generation that preceded me. I was a woman. I was not only capable, but more capable than most men. I would easily accept the help of men, as long as it was understood that I did not need it. I was headstrong, manipulative, angry at times, petulant, could be over bearing, and fully admired and accepted in church circles as ‘anointed’…without a heart of submission. I was advised by a couple of older women (literally 2) whom I respected, that I needed to go home and submit to my husband (this was said when I attended church without him because he did not agree with me on the church we should attend). Funny, I submitted to their instructions but not his.
Years later, when Ukali began to pastor a small, local church. I served alongside him as I had tried to do for years in life, business and ministry. I wrestled for a while with the ‘normal progression’ of my life. Surely when God took over and began to dismantle my dreams he did not intend to take all of them? So where I was no longer pursuing a career in the judicial system, I was pursuing leadership in the church.
I was ordained as a pastor in 2005…and as confident as I was that this was a part of my destiny (prior to the actual ordination), after it was official I was even more confident that something was wrong….Where I had been instructed for the duration of my life to use my gifts and talents to lead in the church and in the community and in the government and secular market place, I had never been instructed or trained in how to use those same gifts and talents to serve in my home…. I plan to share more later, but for now I will let these questions and answers complete this post.
The following questions were posed by my friend, and I will share them and the answers with you as part of this post :-D.
Is It Possible to be Godly Without Being Content? Thoughts inspired by looking back on a Sunday afternoon
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that…. But you,… flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” Timothy 6:6-11
We Want More
I never thought of myself as a greedy, selfish or materialistic person. But recently I realized that while I may not have been all of those things, I was not a content one either.
Dictionary.com defines content as;
“satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.”
Not only did that definiton fail to describe me, I couldn’t think of anyone I knew that it did describe. I mean really, who doesn’t want more? Who is really satisfied with what they have? Who do you know that looks at their life and can honestly say that they don’t want anything else…absolutely nothing? We live in a country where wanting more is the norm. And debt is how we achieve it. Take a look at some recent statistics that were posted on Creditcards.com.
- Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $15,799*
- 609.8 million credit cards held by U.S. consumers. (Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
- Average number of credit cards held by cardholders: 3.5, as of yearend 2008 (Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
- Average APR on new credit card offer: 14.89 percent (Source: CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report, July 20, 2011.)
- Average APR on credit card with a balance on it: 13.10 percent, as of May 2011 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, released July 2011)
- Total U.S. revolving debt (98 percent of which is made up of credit card debt): $793.1 billion, as of May 2011 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, released July 2011)
- Total U.S. consumer debt: $2.43 trillion, as of May 2011 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, released July 2011)
- U.S. credit card 30-day delinquency rate: 3.3 percent. (Source: Moody’s, May 2011)
With the mortgage and debt crisis that hit our nations economy in recent years, and has so greatly impacted the American people I truly believe that the bell that calls us all to contentment is ringing loud and clear. There is nothing like losing ‘everything’ to cause you to be thankful for anything.
The year we almost lost everything…
In 2002, my family found themselves on the wrong side of a foreclosure. Barely 30 years old, four children, a mortgage, 2 vehicles, and a rental property to boot, it appeared we were finally living the American Dream. But there were things going on that we couldn’t see; we were unaware of predatory lending practices and in 2002 there were no laws against them. We had been allowed to gain a mortgage that had an adjustable rate attached to it and from one month to the next we saw the interest jump 10% and our payment followed. At that point we couldn’t figure out why this was happening to us. We weren’t just products of the American culture, we were victims of a lot of the false teachings in the American church. We had done everything right, hadn’t we? We were faithful in fellowship with other believers and in our giving. So according to the church world, God promised to take give us everything we wanted…the cars, the dream house, the ‘life’ that others envied…right?
But it wasn’t right. We, like so many others had believed the lie of the world. We were christians…my husband was a senior pastor at the time…and we taught the congregation the importance of being/becoming debt-free, but we were not living it. Oh, we had cut up our credit cards and paid them off, but credit card debt is not the only debt. And for quite a few of us (not all) we have accepted the world’s definition of what’s acceptable over the Word’s definition. And we pursue stuff and don’t even realize it…I know I didn’t.
“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another.” Romans 13:8
When our home was foreclosed on, and the car that was not paid off was repossessed, we were devastated! But why? Why did the loss of these material things matter so much. Why did we experience grief, and tears and what was perceived as public humiliation over the loss of stuff? Why were we ostracised by certain people as if foreclosure and loss were contagious? Because in America it’s more than just stuff. Those things have come to be symbols of blessings, and symbols of God’s favor on our lives. But really? Things obtained largely through debt are a symbol, or the symbol of God’s favor or His approval on our lives? So then, the loss of these things meant what? That God was no longer with us…that we had somehow fallen out of His good graces. This is so well believed in our communities that we have spawned an entire generation that will steal and murder just to get someone elses stuff. We just want more…
Now am I saying that every person that buys a new house or a new car is greedy? Absolutely not. But I am saying that if you remove the false indoctrination that we have been exposed to in this culture, most of us would agree that our needs are more than met. So when does contentment enter in? Contentment enters in when we realize that while this stuff amounts to everything in the world’s economy, it amounts to nothing in God’s economy. It’s just stuff. It carries no eternal value. but our souls do, and we have been taught to sell our souls to this world in exchange for the stuff the world offers. We are trying to gain it all. This is particularly evident with feminist personalities. Women are encouraged to resist marriage and children for the pursuit of a career (Genesis 1:28), the dream car, the travel, the stuff (“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3). We have been taught to place greater value on things than on people. We are taught that the life of the unborn is worthless when that life puts the attainment of our worldly pursuits at risk. Who needs a baby when you have a job? Our desire for more, in essence, is our refusal to be content. We have yard sales, and give aways, and we give so much away to charities and drives…we waste so much of what we pay for…but then we go buy more stuff.
Even after we lost our home and our car, I still didn’t get it. (I also didn’t get that those things were not ours…they were owned by the bank!! Which was evidenced by their willingness to claim their property when we could no longer pay the ‘rental’ fee)…My motives were so wrong. Rather than simply appreciating the fact that my family had a roof over our heads and food and heat and water and clothing and shoes …. I was still focused on more… I wanted the bigger house and another car…these were not needs. God had met my needs. But my pursuit of more was me telling God that his provision was sadly not enough. And my pressuring my husband to work harder…to be away from us more and for longer periods of time…and then being angry because he wasn’t around more…simply communicated to him that his provision was not enough, and that I valued the things he provided more than I valued him!! I wanted what the world offered, and I wanted God to provide miraculously while I ‘encouraged’ my husband to work for more of it, and even got into more debt to gain it. So many of my faulty views and misunderstandings of God and His will for His children break my heart when I think about them, not just for me, but because I know that there are still so many people who are still victims of a faulty ideology…so many women who are still slaves to a mindset that promised an illusive freedom…and stole their souls in return.
Today we live in the first home we ever owned. All but one of our four children were born while we lived here, and there are a million and one memories…and endless repairs. It is not the house of my dreams…I don’t have my dream kitchen with the island in the middle…there are six of us and ONE bathroom… and it’s home. We have one car, one house, fewer bills, less debt…and so much more time together. My husband asked me last year if I wanted him to put in more hours at work so that we could afford to move to a bigger house and nicer neighborhood. I didn’t even have to think about my answer! ABSOLUTELY NOT!! I quickly told him that having time with him as well as him being able to spend time with the kids was so much more valuable to me than any big house or another car. Not that I don’t want those things, but I don’t value them more than I value time with him. Where are your priorities? Would you be willing to consider a simpler life if it meant having more time with the ones you love? If money troubles are a key factor in most divorces, isn’t that a sign that our priorities are out of order?
Tomorrow we’ll be back to focusing on Submission…I just wanted to share what was on my heart today….
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. “1 TImothy 2:1-2
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:21-24
As I prepare my heart to wind down the week of sharing my story with all of you, I wanted to shift focus a little early… These verses struck me this morning (like all of God’s word does :D) and I thought to myself (again) how much of God’s word we seem to compartmentalize, or ignore if we do not agree with it. There’s so much of it that we do read and that we choose to apply to every relationship we are engaged in except for our marital one. With this in mind, take some time to sit quietly and look over the image below…ask yourself the questions that follow…and be very honest with your answers. I believe they will help you to see what’s really in your heart.
1. When you pray, do you pray for your husband? Do you ask God to help him…do you intercede on his behalf, and give thanks for him. and for your marriage, not because you always want to but because God’s Word tells you to?
2. Do you view your husband as someone with God-given authority over you, as Ephesians 5 tells us, and do you pray for him as one who is in authority so that you can live a peaceful and quiet life marked by godliness and dignity? Or do you find yoursel withholding your prayers because you view yourself as one who has authority over him?
3.Think about the relationships you have with people who you work, exercise and attend church with. Are you more respectful towards the men in these circles than you are towards your own husband? Why do you think that is?
4. Now, think of other men that you interact with on a regular/semi-regular basis. When you think of them in comparison to your husband, are your thoughts towards them more favorable? Does your husband pale in comparison to these other men? Do they appear to be more….than he is? Keeping in mind that you don’t live with them, what is it that you think they’ve done that deserves your admiration and appreciation more than your husband does?
5. Are there things that your husband has done, or hasn’t done, that you have not yet forgiven him for? How do you think that unforgiveness impacts the way you respond to him or what you think about him, or what you think about him in your heart?
6. Have the tenderness and the displays of affection towards your husband diminished in their passion, intensity and frequency over the years? Why do you think that is?
7. Do you have emotional needs that you expect your husband to meet that he has not met?
8. Did you have an idea or a dream of what your marriage would be like and are disappointed at what it actually is?
9. Do you struggle submitting to your husband?
10. Do you struggle submitting to God?
Whew! Those questions have the potential to be life-changing if you let them. Take some time to look up the verses in the picture above, and when you pray, begin to read those verses as part of the time you spend with the Lord. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Did you hear that??? God can change you into a new person by CHANGING THE WAY YOU THINK!!!! Now, I know that some don’t think they have any problems and all of the issues in their marriage are their spouses fault, but God knows the truth. Then there are others of us who know that we are negatively impacting our marriages and desire to submit to God and allow Him to give us direction. He will do just that!! When he changes the way you think, you will be able to learn his will for you, and you will have no questions about what’s good, and pleasing and perfect 😀
Alright! I’m going to say goodnight and actually get some sleep. When I get up, I am going to spend some time with the Lord in prayer, and looking up those verses in his Word. I truly hope you join me! Let’s submit our hearts together, and finally experience a marriage BETTER than the ones we dreamed of!
Early in our marriage I had an eye-opening, heart changing experience that I want to share with you. We had guests over for dinner, and although I can’t remember the details of our conversation, there is one part of it that I will never forget. That would be when the young man in response to something said, replied, “That’s OK, because we all know who wears the pants in this family.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ And my heart dropped, because I knew immediately that he was not talking about my husband! I desperately searched to discover what had I done…what was I doing… that would cause other men to look at my husband as less than a man of honor? Now, I understand that we live in a day and time where to hear that said is a compliment to some women… but I wasn’t one of them. Those words sliced right through me!!!! They cut through my strong personality, quick-witted, take charge exterior…and they broke my heart! What was so bad about those words? Why would they cause me so much distress? Very simply, I was devastated to hear those words, not just because of wat they said about me, but because of what they depicted about him…my love…my sweetie…
As terrible as it was to hear that, it was one of the best things that could have happened (Isn’t God amazing?!?!?! He knows EVERYTHING!) Those words, spoken very casually as if that was normal and acceptable, were the beginning of an end for me. Let me explain…
While most women don’t view being perceived as a non-submissive wife to be a bad ting, I believe that would change drastically if we looked at the word very intently…which I did…and I DID NOT like what I saw at all. Let’s take a journey through a brief word study, shall we? The words below are all words that can be accurately used to describe a wife or a woman who submits to Gods authority (for the single woman), and the authority of her husband.
The definition of Submission;
to submit – the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person
• archaic humility;
submission to authority
yielding (relinquish, bequeath, give up te struggle)
Bequeath (pass down or on to, entrust to)
docility (Latin dociles, from docere meaning to ‘teach’, apt or willing to learn)
Now, these are not words that we are particularly fond of. Their imagery is one of weakness, and who wants to be viewed as weak? But as much as we may not like these words, I have a feeling we will be dismayed at the next list. While the words above are all used to define or explain submission, the next group of words is used to define a lack of submission. We will focus on just a couple of words from above (the ones in bold) looking at antonyms 😀
to submit; yielding (relinquish, bequeath, give up te struggle), Bequeath (pass down or on to, entrust to),
docility (Latin dociles, from docere meaning to ‘teach’, apt or willing to learn)
The following words can accurately be used to describe a woman/a wife who refuses/resists submitting to God and her husband;
out of control
Whoa!!! That’s a lot of strong, descriptive words!!! Now lets pick a couple from both lists and compare.
A woman who submits to her husband’s authority as instructed to by God’s Word (1 Peter 3:1-2) is viewed as meek (quiet and gentle), compliant, docile (apt or willing to learn), and subservient. On the contrary, a woman who refuses to, or is resistant to the very idea of submitting, she is unfavorably viewed as recalcitrant, uncooperative, intractable, obstreperous, truculent, insubordinate, defiant, rebellious, willful, wayward, headstrong, self-willed, contrary, perverse, difficult. Now, you tell me what Christ loving woman wants to be seen as any of the above words?
So, when my heart should have been set on honoring God, and my husband and demonstrating a willingness to submit to both, my heart had actually been trained to pose as a good wife but silently resist and defy authority. While my husband thought he was marrying a gentle, quiet young woman, and a wife who was willing to learn, he had actually married a woman who was unruly, unmanageable, disorderly, undisciplined, uncontrollable, rowdy, disruptive, mutinous, riotous, out of control, turbulent….and she didn’t even know it! But other people could see it, which was why that heart slicing observational comment was made about me wearing the pants in the family…
Praise god my story doesn’t end there!!!! And neither does yours!!! While there is no honor for an unruly woman, God’s word says there is praise and honor for the virtuous one! Do not fear…The God we serve is faithful!
“And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them.I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:18-20
Did you get that? When we choose to truly turn our hearts back to God He will;
1. give us singleness of heart
2. put a new spirit within us
3. take away our stony, stubborn heart
4. give us a tender, responsive heart
Why will He do this!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
SO THAT WE CAN SUBMIT TO (OBEY) HIS DECREES AND REGULATIONS
Ladies, I have seen God first hand do exactly what he said he would do in me…and if you are feeling trapped in this horrible cycle than I want to encourage you that he can do the same thing for you. Don’t forget, I am sharing my story this week, but your turn is coming. I want to hear from you. Has your heart been changed? Let us know and take advantage of an opportunity to encourage others with your story! Join us tomorrow for the next video blog! Have a good night and I’ll see you tomorrow