Thursday, November 6, 2014

Poem: Back to Back

Image by Christina Morley

Lord, gentle my anger; gentle my strife
Cause me to be the kind of wife
That knows how to bring peace in our home
To show my husband he’s not alone
May we be friends in the battle, friends in the Lord
Our faith as our shield, the Word as our sword
Standing back to back we know we can conquer
The worst that Satan may have to offer

by Christina Morley

My Christian Marriage Series:

Who's in Control? - Part 1

Who's in Control? - Part 2

Who's in Control? - Part 3

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Who's in Control - Part 3 of 3

Image by Christina Morley
In the past, people have used the Bible to condone slavery. Others have used it to subjugate women. Are women really not equal and is slavery really acceptable? Most people today would agree that slavery is not God’s perfect will for anyone. However, when it comes to women and their role in the home or the Church, there’s a huge divide among Christians.

Doesn’t the Bible state that women are to be subject and all the rest? Well, when it comes to hard-to-understand scriptures, it’s important to try to interpret them along with fundamental truths which are easier to understand. One such truth states that there is no longer slave or free, male or female, because we are all under Christ (Gal. 3:28). This scripture was written in order to unify believers. Where there is unity, God commands a blessing. We are not to lord it over each other anymore. We are all heirs of the same promise, and if Christ set us free, then we are free indeed.

We women should honor our husbands. That means that when we feel the need to disagree, we should do so respectfully. This is how we should behave toward all authority figures. They, in turn, should be mature enough to honor us even when there are disagreements or when we make suggestions.

Women might be very different from men, but we are not unlike God. God has all the male and female attributes found in mankind. When He created Adam and Eve, He created them in His image. The concept of both male and female begins with God. As we allow God to take His rightful place of authority in our lives, we can be confident in His perfect leadership. The Lord is without sin and so His leadership will never harm us.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to demonstrate healthy authority to our children. We are the first authority figures that they will have contact with. We are also their first glimpse of what God is like. Our children are growing up to be the next generation of leaders. Are we teaching them to be respectful and to be respected? Whatever values we instill in them during their developmental years will become their values in adulthood. Hopefully, they will live in such a way as to make their world a better place.

Related posts:

The "Christian" Submission Trap

Should Wives Always Submit?

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Who's in Control - Part 2 of 3

Image by Christina Morley
I refused to be controlled, but my desire for self-preservation was so strong that at times my husband felt that I was behaving in a controlling manner. He certainly had a tough time with me. When I wouldn’t back down, he’d often argue harder and raise his voice. On at least two occasions, he dominated the argument to the point where I needed to leave the house to get my space. It was only when we allowed God into our communication that He was able to resolve even the worst deadlocks that we were facing.

We were no experts at conflict resolution. I felt caught in the middle of a tug-of-war. Or maybe it was more like a three-way tug-of-war with my husband, God, and me. Fortunately, God won the war, but He had to first teach us how submission works in a marriage. It’s not as simple as some would have us believe. I had come from a highly conservative Christian background where godly women were meant to “know their place.”

I tried the submission route only out of desperation. Did it fix our problems? No, it fell short of expectations and it sometimes flew right back in my face.

I don’t think compromising convictions ever works. The Bible says that whatever is not of faith is sin. I desperately wanted to be controlled by the Spirit, but at times my husband wanted control. He couldn’t always tell when my feelings were just my feelings and when they were really prompted by the Holy Spirit. The fact that his reactions tended to be based on cognitive processes whereas mine were based more on feelings meant that we often struggled in our communication.

I can clearly remember one incident where our idea of submission showed its flaws. At the time, we were staying at my in-laws’ luxury country inn. My husband and I were sitting outside one of their suites while the children were down at their grandma’s house. It had been a lovely day, and the kids had been running around barefoot.

Later that afternoon, as the air began to cool, my husband became concerned that the children could catch a cold. He thought that I was being negligent and told me that I must go down immediately to put socks and shoes on them. I didn’t feel that going right then was a good idea because my mother-in-law had said that she was resting and I didn’t want to disturb her. Also, the kids were indoors so I didn’t think the cold air would bother them for another half-hour or so.

Well, my husband became annoyed. He wanted me to respond to the situation as he thought I should. To keep the peace, I went down, despite my reservations. I tried to be as quiet as possible, but my in-laws’ house was small and their room was right next to the living room where the kids were watching TV. I didn’t stay long, but long enough to have disturbed her rest. I had become trapped between my husband’s expectations and my own conscience. Clearly, submitting in every situation did not always have a favorable outcome.

Related Post: Who's in Control - Part 1

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Who's in Control - Part 1 of 3

Image by Christina Morley
At the age of eighteen, I left home to become a missionary. With my new-found independence, I took the time to do some soul searching regarding my relationship with God. I wanted to know Him better. My conversion experience was real and I never questioned that, but there was still something missing. I realized that I knew a lot about God, but I didn’t know Him all that intimately. Up until then, I had lived my Christian life according to my own understanding.

I distinctly remember a conversation that I had with God one evening. I sensed that God was asking me, “How is the Holy Spirit important to Christianity?” It’s then that I began my journey of learning about a part of the Trinity to which I had never properly been introduced. In the churches that I had attended, I had heard lots about Father God and His Son Jesus, but there was little taught about the Holy Spirit.

Through books, testimonies, and searching the Scriptures, I began learning and experiencing more of the Spirit. I became more attuned to His leading. For me, it became a surrendered life. I no longer wanted to be the one in control, because God knew how to do things better.

Then I got married. My husband and I didn’t live the Christian life as well as we thought we did. We thought we were more Christ-like than we really were. Marriage brought out all our imperfections. When we couldn’t agree on something, the issue of submission would sometimes follow. Neither of us knew exactly how submission was meant to function in the marriage. I, especially, had doubts.

My ability to stand up for myself was also my weakness. I didn’t know how to let God fight on my behalf. My strength was merely adding fuel to the fire. You see, growing up as a military kid, I had acquired some survival skills. During the eighteen years I lived with my parents, we moved eight times. I had experienced very few constants. Change was a part of life. No one stood up for me either, not even at home, so I had to learn to stand up for myself. I became a confident individualist, a nonconformist, one who stuck by her convictions.

Now, I had no fear in submitting to the Lord, but I did have a few misgivings about submitting to my husband in every situation. How could I let him take the place of God? Was it biblical that I should be controlled by him? Was it my duty just to submit? Well, through it all, the Lord was teaching us both a hard lesson. At the end of the day, the Lord wanted to be the One in control of both of us.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Poem: With Our God

With our God are all provisions
And the courage to make decisions;
To fulfill our purposes in life
And understanding to handle strife.

May we never cling to a victim’s view,
But being over-comers just as You.
Seeing the flower and not the thorn.
Having Christ’s glory us adorn.

We lay our inadequacies at Your feet.
Putting on Your armor we can defeat
Ghosts of the past, demons of the future
With love and compassion our world to nurture.

by Christina Morley
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