31 August 2009


One of my earliest lessons in this walk I'm on with the Lord came from a bible study based on Martha Peace's book, The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective. This lady wearing the pearls is Martha. She is painfully, unapologetically Biblical. She cuts no slack, has no words of comfort for the times when it chafes to do God's will. Too bad! Tough cookies (with hot tea on the side)! Do it!

I first took this Bible study 8 years ago when I stayed home with my first newborn. It was offered at my local church, and it was a way to meet other stay-at-home moms. Yikes! I was adjusting to parenthood, but I was coming to the realization that I had previously spent a LOT of time with my husband. In Boundaries lingo, I was "enmeshed." I didn't know where he ended and I began. I didn't know how to do ev.er.y.thing on my own.

We had trained together in the Air Force. First we went to basic training together (marching, running, chow hall); then trudged to Russian language school 5 days a week together (finishing up the day with homework together); then went to intel school (working split shifts together); then we moved to Maryland and hiked through the NSA parking lot together, separating at the third or fourth security checkpoint to go to our respective missions (only to rendezvous for lunch three hours later).

Then, like a heavily-laden traveler tripping at the end of a moving sidewalk, I began to stay at home with our daughter and he continued to trek to and from work each day. I had to learn to transfer the jobs we had shared for so long (Saturday mega-clean-up and such) to my own shoulders. I had to learn to find my own conversational outlets during the day, instead of waiting for him to come in the front door, national security heavy on his shoulders, to be pounced on with my pent-up monologue.

I didn't realize till I had been talking with the other women that most wives feel some degree of grumpiness at their husbands, and most want more time with him. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of a long struggle for me to get my needs met from God and not my husband. I am wa-aay too needy for any person to meet my needs. Can I get an amen?

The epiphany I had during her study was:

"God wants me to be HOLY more than he wants me to be HAPPY."

Wow. You have to understand that I had only become a Christian 5 years before, and the only real stress-and-strife that I'd had in that time frame was Basic Training (and please, let's be honest, basic in the U. S. chAIR Force is like patriotic sleep-away camp.) So when I had to learn the first steps of allowing (is that the right word?) God to sustain me, it was really difficult.

Fast forward to Year 2 In The Valley. I am separated from my husband, living with my three kids, at my parents' house. I suggested Martha's book "the Excellent Wife" to a friend who was trying to decide what Bible study to host. We began the study. As the course of the study went on, a funny thing began to happen... just like in my first go-round, the wives in the study became fixated on Martha's pearls. We read about what we should do to be 'excellent wives,' absorbed the 'too-bad, so-sad' voice they were given in, and just assumed that Martha was a perfect, clean house, kids toeing the line, martini-for tired-hubby-at-five-on-the-dot kind of wife. Here's her new picture:

She's so much more approachable! I'm sure she is just as truthfully, unapologetically, Biblically sound as before. But man! we sure cultivated an air of inferiority for ourselves when we combined our faults with her teachings and those darn pearls. I like to hear about someone's struggles and how God overcomes them. Then I can relate!


Regina said...

So I guess Catholicism isn't Christian is what you're saying. I think that'd be pretty ground-breaking news for a religion that most other Christian religions are based on and broke away from.