Sunday, March 31, 2013

Crumpled Grave Clothes Litter My Heart

Resurrection Sunday. It is early. I am still. Lord, what do I say? We celebrate Easter with bunnies, baskets, hidden eggs, and squeals of delight, while an empty tomb beckons. One day a dead body. The next, only burial clothes. One day a fortified cell. Defeat. The next, a symbol of hope. One day the finality of man’s worst punishment. The next, the finality of God’s eternal deliverance.

What is here for me at the mouth of the empty tomb? The resurrected life. Alive in Christ, having died in Him. God shows me: Selfishness cannot live in the face of sacrifice. The dying to self of the crucified life is absolutely necessary for the glory of a resurrected life.

What may appear to be a checklist of good works (see “Crucified Like Him”) is but the natural result of a crucified self. But there is nothing natural about it. Not when God sums up the condition of man’s heart as “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Job 17:9). We can honestly say we were born that way. For that, Jesus died. Brutally. Innocently. Without sin. For what we deserve. To pay the eternal penalty we owe for our sin. The penalty owed by every one of us. No exceptions.

Jesus’ shed blood is the only verdict that will stand in the heavenly court of law when we stand before a holy God. To put our faith in Jesus as the only source of our salvation, to be saved by grace through faith and nothing else, is to die to self and be raised in new life in Christ. Just like He was. Resurrected from death to eternal life. Yes, eternal life in heaven when we are saved. Guaranteed. Because of one man’s sacrifice. The Son of God.

How do we not see? How do we not fall on our faces in joy and sorrow? How do we not rejoice? How do we not receive the free gift He offers? How do we not respond with the one simple requirement: faith. In Him, and Him alone. How do we not love Him because of His great love for us?

The empty tomb awaits. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Where once our tomb was a place of hopelessness, uncertainty, death, and bondage, in Christ, it is now empty of those things and filled with the Spirit of the living God.

Do you see it? When we place our faith in the resurrected Christ, all things are made new. Where there was once sin and destruction, there is now an empty tomb. A place of hope. We are raised to new life in Christ.

Where alcoholism once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. Where sexual immorality once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. Only grave clothes. Our old self is no longer there. Where anger and strife once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. Where ambition once sealed us in our tomb, it is now empty. Jealousy, envy, and discontentment? Only grave clothes. Eating disorder? Only grave clothes. Hurt, brokenness, unforgiveness, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, broken marriage, broken home, drugs, stealing, murder, homosexuality, hatred, judgment, gossip, unkindness, selfishness, self-seeking, pornography, impure thoughts, vulgar language, coarse jesting? Yes, grave clothes!

In the emptiness of the tomb we find the sobering uselessness of all our pursuits for a substitute. The uselessness of the counterfeits Satan offers to distract us from true salvation. True deliverance. True joy. True security. We find that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). And as He continues in that verse, “No man comes to the Father but through me.”

Will you come to Jesus? To find forgiveness, peace and hope. To find the crumpled up burial clothes of a life once eternally condemned. To find an empty tomb because you’ve been raised up in Christ to a new life where all things are made new.

Are there sins you need to confess? Bondage from which you need to be set free? When you go to the empty tomb, do you find yourself wearing your burial clothes again? Jesus died for it all. He secured victory, once and for all. The sins we’ve committed, are committing, and will commit. It is all on Him. It is only on us to come. And to return.

Romans 8:1 assures us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” We must take responsibility, but condemnation is not ours. Not in Christ.

Stand at the mouth of Jesus’ empty tomb and rejoice. Death is defeated. Eternal life a guarantee for those who put their trust in Jesus.

Lord, may we find grave clothes crumpled in the tombs of our hearts every day as we become more wholly Yours.

Happy Easter!

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Friday, March 29, 2013

Crucified Like Him

Good Friday. I try to imagine Jesus. What He bore. The pain. The humiliation. The suffering. Are those words even adequate? Is it even possible to grasp the magnitude of what He willingly, in love for us and obedience to His Father, submitted to in order to pay the penalty for our sin? So that we may be saved. So that we might live a crucified life.

Comprehension eludes me. The smallest glimmer of understanding crushes me. At this very time, several thousand years ago, He willingly submitted to the worst man could inflict in order to make God’s best available to you and me through His death, burial, and resurrection.

He didn’t want the flogging. The spit in His face. The hateful taunting and humiliation. The nails driven cruelly in His hands and feet. The suffocation. The loneliness. The rejection of His own Father. He knew what was coming. Cried to His Father, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). He longed to be spared the cup of crucifixion to the point of sweating blood. “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:43-44).

But His death was necessary.

Our death is necessary, too.

Death to self.

The crucified life.

Not my will, but His.


“Though He (Jesus) was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).

We, too, learn obedience by the things we suffer. Paul said it like this: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

What can I say today, Good Friday, that would hold any significance in light of Jesus’ sacrifice? Nothing. My words are totally inadequate. But His aren’t. The word – the lamp unto our feet and light unto our path – illuminates the way to the crucified life.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4).
Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:2).
…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).
…by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:12).
...lay down our lives for the brethren (I John 3:16).
...wives, submit to our husbands as is fitting in the Lord (Colossians 3:18).
…husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25).
…children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 3:20).
…Fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks (Ephesians 5:3-4).
…put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice (Ephesians 4:31).
…owe no one anything except to love one another (Romans 13:8).
…do good and share (Hebrews 13:16).
…give as you purpose in your heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
…judge not, condemn not (Luke 6:37).
…be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32). (Even when you’re not asked.)
…be subject to rulers and authorities, obey, and be ready for every good work (Titus 3:1)
…speak evil of no one, be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men (Titus 3:2).
…continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15).
…rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Mission impossible? Yes! For me. In my own effort or power. But with God, nothing will be impossible (Luke 1:37). We can do everything through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13), because His grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Why the crucified life?
We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:7-5:5, emphasis mine).
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:1-4).

Lord, help us live a crucified life today and this Easter season as we become more wholly Yours.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Idols and Contaminants (At the Mercy of the Mirror Part 3)

Lies exposed, the Lord continued to peel me like an onion, revealing deeper needs for His grace in my life and battle with bulimia. I don’t remember what was going on at the time of my third defining moment. I don’t know if I heard someone speak or read a book or if God spoke directly to my heart again. But somehow, God showed me that the very core of my disorder was idolatry.

I had “…exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25). My body, how I felt about myself in it, and how I desired others to admire and accept me because of it, had become my god.

I didn’t have a skin problem. I had a sin problem. I could not worship both my body and Jesus, and I knew He was my only hope to ever be fully healed and totally free.

So when a tailspin threatened, I began to declare OUT LOUD: “My body is not my god, You are, Lord, and I will praise and worship You.” I spoke this truth for all to hear. Sometimes minute by minute, other times day by day. Then weeks would pass without incident. Months. And now years.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), so when we speak God’s truth out loud, we are building our faith – “the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT).

Even Jesus didn’t just think about how the devil was defeated; He spoke defeat directly to him: “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matthew 4:10).

No idols.

And no contaminants.

As the Lord deepened my understanding of His word, He convicted me of a greater responsibility to purify my thoughts and actions, as 2 Corinthians 7:1 sets forth: “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (NIV). 

This was my fourth defining moment. As I share in my book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His:

Previously, I thought only the Lord alone could purify me, but this verse makes it clear that I have a part in purifying myself through the choices I make. The word contaminate stood out and really convicted me. To contaminate is to defile, pollute, or stain something. We are not to allow anything into our thoughts, bodies, or spirits that would defile, pollute, stain, or make them filthy before the Lord. That is our part in cleansing or purifying ourselves.

When there is anything I know to be a trigger, I cannot allow it to contaminate my body and spirit. If straying from habits that keep me close to the Lord, stress, other sin in my life, certain foods, certain circumstances, or certain activities cause me to stumble back into this battle, it is my responsibility to purify myself of those things. As the Holy Spirit reveals and convicts us of the things that contaminate us, we become holy as God is holy when we purify ourselves of those things – when we deliberately choose to no longer allow them in our lives – out of reverence for God. The word reverence in this verse refers to the fear of God. The original Greek meaning of this use of fear is terror or dread. God is a holy God. He cannot tolerate sin. We will be motivated to perfect holiness in our lives when we are terrified of God’s holy wrath. If we don’t fear Him, what motive do we have?

It’s like the Israelites when they crossed the Jordan to take possession of the Promised Land: Their victory depended on their obedience and purity, a lesson they learned the hard way after their first victory Jericho. They were to destroy everyone and everything, except for the gold, silver, bronze, and iron, which were to be consecrated to the Lord. Specifically, Joshua warned the Israelites against taking the accursed things, or the things devoted to destruction.

When they attacked their second target, Ai, a smaller city spies determined would only require two to three thousand warriors to overtake, thirty-six men were struck down as the people of Ai chased the mighty Israelites away.

“The hearts of the people melted and became like water” (Joshua 7:5), and Joshua fell on his face before the Lord, baffled and broken. Turns out, Achan was hiding stolen goods from Jericho, and the Lord declared to Joshua: “You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you” (Joshua 7:13).

The same is true for us. With accursed things in our lives, we have no hope for victory. They were unable to take possession of any more land until they got rid of the banned items. In order to take possession of God’s promises to us, we must purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit.

No idols.

No contaminants.

Lord, help us to love You and You alone with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul, putting no idols before You and purifying ourselves as we become more wholly Yours.

Part 1

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Disabled by Deceit (At the Mercy of the Mirror Part 2)

More than a decade passed between finding myself wrapped in the shower liner, facing the likely end of my battle with bulimia, and my next defining moment. During that time, I was forced to confront other sins that had spiraled out of control. I spent time in therapy and twelve-step programs in an attempt to set myself free. Things got better some of the time, but true freedom, healing, love, and worth eluded me.

As the Lord turned my heart to Jesus as my only source and healer, I learned what it meant to have a personal relationship with a tangibly real Savior who loved me unconditionally, to love Him back through reading and obeying scripture. Yet, the way I saw myself based on how I felt about my body ruled my relationship with James and affected how I treated my children. I was confronted daily with the detrimental effects of my continuing struggle.

One day, out on a compulsive six-mile run to burn off steam and calories, the Lord spoke to my heart: “When you die, do you think your children are going to stand at your funeral and say how thankful they are that their mother was a size four all their lives?” My heart  broke for them, because that’s what ruled me: staying little. It took priority. And it was destroying the very people I loved the most.

For a second time, I was forced to confront what lay at the end of my path: death. No longer physical death, but spiritual death. Relational death. Death to what my husband and children deserved from me. Needed from me. And the harmful consequences to them if they didn’t get it.

The Lord opened my eyes of understanding to see I was ready to be free, whatever it took. My answer to the Lord that day was this: “Lord, if I have to be a size twelve in order to be truly free, in order to have joy, then let it be.” Not that there’s anything wrong with a size twelve, but for someone who is terrified that life will literally fall apart with the addition of a single pound, to add even one size was unthinkable.

In that place of total surrender and readiness, the Lord began to expose the root of my stronghold: lies.

 “And you shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

I don’t remember anything remarkable about this particular day or what was happening in my life, but I was standing in front of the mirror, sinking emotionally and spiritually because I saw myself as fat, and the Lord spoke to my heart once again: “Shauna, it’s impossible to be a size four and be fat.”

It was a simple truth with tremendous power to transform my thinking. God’s truth – His word – sanctifies us (John 17:17), purifying us and renewing our souls. I am not declaring God’s words to me that day as scripture. I am simply saying God revealed truth to me that day, and that truth changed things deep inside me as only God’s truth can do.

On the flip side, in order to divert us from the power of the gospel, “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16), Satan lures us onto his path of death and destruction with falsities. He “was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).

The devil’s MO has not changed from the beginning of time, when Eve declared: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:13).

If he can deceive us, he can disable us.

I believed the lie the devil whispered to me constantly, telling me how fat and unlovable I was. But as Jesus promised in John 16:13, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, “will guide you into all truth.” The truth God exposed set me free from my self-destructive thinking and enabled me to retrain my thoughts according to His truth.

It took some time, but when I felt myself leaning toward the lies again, when my reflection in the mirror threatened to send me into a tailspin, I would repeat the truth: It is impossible to be a size four and be fat. I would declare Psalm 139:14: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”

Beth Moore, in her Bible study, Breaking Free, talks about rewriting what’s on the wall of our minds. In identifying the lies we’ve been told throughout the years, we can then replace them with God’s truth, which is the only truth. As we believe God’s word, as we live by it, He sets us free.

Alternatively, deceived hearts turn us aside from God (Isaiah 44:20) to “serve other gods and worship them (Deuteronomy 11:16). The result of exchanging the truth of God for a lie is idolatry, the root exposed in my third defining moment.

Will you join me again Thursday?

Lord, sanctify us with Your truth today, setting our feet firmly on the path that leads to life as we become more wholly Yours.

Part 1
Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Part Two Coming Soon!

Due to technical difficulties with a small but apparently critical piece of computer equipment, I am unable to post part two of "At the Mercy of the Mirror" until the new one arrives. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, may the Lord almighty bless and keep you and make His face to shine upon you as you become more wholly His!

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, March 14, 2013

At the Mercy of the Mirror

“You really need to write about this, Shauna,” a dear friend and fellow blogging mother gently insisted as we chatted amidst the chaos of a dozen daughters learning to make strawberry jam. The topic of our conversation? How God delivered me from my battle with bulimia. It was the answer to my prayer for direction about what to blog next. “People really need to hear your story,” she stressed.

So here it is, the story of how the Lord faithfully freed me from the deepest, most desperate stronghold of idolatry in my life. It has been a long road, traveled over twenty-five years. In many ways, His work in me was gradual, like growth. Most days, I could see no measurable change. Other times, it seemed as if I grew a foot in a day. Those marked defining moments when God confronted me with truth that required doing something radically different, and all of a sudden, I was taller. Freer.

Our experiences and habitual sins may be unique, but God’s truth, His answer for hurting humans, is universal. In that respect, what I have to share isn’t only for those who struggle with an eating disorder or addiction or know someone who does. It’s for us all.

In case you aren’t familiar with this part of my story, I’ll start with a little history.

Food became a comfort early in life. It was always there for me to fill a void. It’s how my “foster” grandparents, whose home became a childhood haven, expressed love and made everything better. It is what my mother micro-controlled in her life and ours. I can’t remember a time when I did not love food!

Consequently, in my pre-teen years, I was pudgy and awkward and saw myself as inadequate. My nickname in seventh grade was “happy, happy, hippo.” I desperately wanted to be one of the “in crowd,” but never was. Decisions I made as a freshman in high school piled shame onto my feelings of worthlessness. By the time I was a sophomore and had persuaded my parents to let me switch from private Christian school to public, I was convinced that the key to popularity, which I equated with love and acceptance, was being thin and beautiful.

Continuing in foolish behaviors, my skin increasingly felt like a prison. I ate to make myself feel better, but the minute a binge ended, the self-hatred and shame returned even stronger. That’s when my disorder manifested. I HAD to get rid of everything I consumed. I compulsively exercised. I binged and purged and lost weight. I made the drill team at my new school, and people noticed me, most especially the guys. Food was my drug. I had to have it, but when intense panic would grip me at the thought of gaining an ounce, I had to get rid of it any way I could. To gain weight was to lose my lovability.

My size and the perceived love and acceptance of others became my god. They defined me and my place in the world.

When I moved to Houston with my parents after graduating from high school, I thought it was my saving grace. A fresh start. I could be a new person. But everywhere I went, everything I did, there I was. When I left home to attend a university in Texas, my addiction followed me. I saw myself as worthless. The more my life spiraled out of control, the more dire my addiction and desperation became.

The End of Sin Is Death

“For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

By my third year in college, the compulsivity of my binging and purging reached the point that I no longer could wait for certain opportune times to hide my problem. My roommates were suspicious. Rather than stop or risk confrontation, I switched from vomiting to laxatives. Handfuls at a time. Home alone one morning before class, I fainted while in the shower because I had taken so many laxatives the night before. When I awoke, I was tangled in the plastic liner with the water pouring down on me. I was terrified. I came face-to-face with what lay at the end of my path: death.

I knew in that first defining moment that I could not continue without irreversible consequences. It scared me enough to stop physically, but the mental, spiritual, and emotional bondage remained. I still micromanaged everything I ate, exercised compulsively, and defined myself and my world according to how I felt in my body at any given time. My well-being and relationships were still at the mercy of the mirror.

But God is faithful. He continued to pursue me. He made me whole, as Jesus did for many (and still does), saying, “Your faith has made you well.” Whole. In the Greek, it is “to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save a suffering one; to preserve one who is in danger of destruction” (Strong’s G4982,

That’s what He did for me. It wasn’t enough that He would save me from physical destruction; He preserved me in order to save me from spiritual and emotional destruction, too.

Join me for more of His rescue Thursday?

Lord, thank You for the many ways you preserve us to save us from destruction as we become more wholly Yours.

Part 3

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Remember

Today, on the ninth anniversary of my mother’s death, I remember:

Times we laughed so hard we cried.

Scriptures to admonish and encourage.

Letters full of love.

Articles clipped and left for me to find.

Hours studying God’s word.

Moments of compassion poured out on hurting patients.

Mothers changed by the love and care you gave their children.

Miles jogged together.

Hours spent chatting.

Prayers shared.

Hugs squeezed.

Experiences shared.

Answers given.

Grins a mile wide.

Google eyes at grandchildren.

Stories read aloud to the same.

Salvations celebrated.

Birthdays and holidays together.

Gifts with eternal meaning.

Phone calls as you went about your day.

God’s special messages you couldn’t wait to share.

Favorite books worn at the edges, filled with underlining and notes.

Books as gifts whenever one touched you deeply.

Mostly, I remember today what life was like when she was here. Life with a mom. And I long to see her face. Hear her voice.

Take a moment to call your mom. Tell her you love about her. Cherish her. Thank God for her.

Thank you, Lord, that my time missing my mom here on earth is nothing in light of eternity together. Your ways are higher. You are good, even in loss. I will love You and praise You in all things as I become more wholly Yours today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Never Too Late

When James and I travel just the two of us, we usually spend part of several days doing what we enjoy most – he plays golf, and I do whatever I want without anyone calling my name or needing me for anything. I may sleep late, stay in my PJs half the day, run, or spend hours reading the Bible and writing. In cherishing our time together, I have come to relish this window of just me time, too. Recently, while in Scottsdale, Arizona, James hinted I should ride with him for a round of golf. Not play golf, but drive the cart, watch, cheer, and chase balls. Naturally, thinking only of my own pleasure, I declined.

I missed it.

I missed a chance to come alongside my husband – at his invitation!!! – to be there as he enjoys something he loves with the woman he loves. In that moment, I was the woman who wrote the heartbreaking letter after recognizing how detrimental her neglectful habits were to her failing marriage (see “Too Little, Too Late”).

Don’t miss this miss, Mrs. and Ms.!!! Our husbands need and want us to be watching, admiring, cheering, adoring, and spending time with them doing what they love. It’s not just a want; it’s a NEED. And it’s our privileged position to do this for them. Our husbands have given that special spot to us and no one else. What are we doing with the honor?

Thank God for do-overs! When planning a getaway to celebrate our sixteenth anniversary, I studied the resort’s spa menu, imagining an afternoon in pure pampering heaven while leaving another open to do nothing all by myself while James golfed. Then I remembered the letter. Words of wisdom spoken from a woman who knew the pain of self-absorption.

I called James.

“Hi, honey. What if I skipped the spa and joined you for golf one day?” I asked.

“That would be great!” came the genuinely delighted reply.

So I sacrificed the spa and rode with him one afternoon. We laughed. We mourned bad shots and celebrated good ones. We prayed for a hurting family. We remembered how far the Lord has brought us. We talked of our love for each other and our family and our gratitude for our kids. We admired the scenery. I zipped my lips when his balls ricocheted off trees. I smiled sheepishly when he looked to me to know where his ball landed. (Darn it if that tiny little white thing just disappears on the horizon!)

It was time well spent. And to the best of my ability, I spent that time focused on him and his enjoyment.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” We see those culturally controversial words in Ephesians 5:22 and picture a cave man wielding his club over his wife’s head to exact obedience. The world laughs at “weak” women who yield to their husbands, yet I submit to you that the women who do are the strongest of all.

While yielding in obedience to our husbands is required, as is pleasing to the Lord, the meaning of submit also involves voluntarily giving in to what is most important to them, whether it’s with finances, parenting, business, pleasure, etc. Not as a door mat or with gritted teeth, but as a plush rug that brings restoration and delight to the one God has tasked with our provision and protection.

We do this in the simple things, like driving the golf cart when we’d rather enjoy a pedicure. Or preparing a home-cooked meal when we’d rather serve leftovers. Or staying up late to watch an alien movie they’re dying to see. Not that we have to do these things every time, but in our hearts, are we willing to show them love the way they most need to receive it?

By no means are husbands off the hook! Look what Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, and 33 say to them:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself…For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church…Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 

Perhaps your husband isn’t abiding by these scriptures. Pray, and lean on the Lord. It’s not our job to make sure they are, and it’s not our place to withhold what God requires of us until they do their part. The Lord holds them to a high standard. To love us as Christ loved the church is to be willing to suffer and die for us. He will hold them accountable, which means we don’t have to, leaving us free to simply love, serve, and yes, submit. To please God by loving our husbands His way.

Starting today, what can you enjoy that your husband enjoys, not because you love it, but because you love him? Make what’s important to him important to you, not because it is, but because he is.

Lord, yield our hearts in love for You as we yield our wills in love for our husbands. Show us what it means to submit as we become more wholly Yours today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His