Thursday, November 12, 2009


The title of my blog is To Love, Honor, and Obey.  Obviously you know that already.  My point is that I chose it for a reason.  It is what I vowed on my wedding day, and very purposely vowed at that.  The pastor performing the ceremony (my pastor from growing up, but who had since moved away and most pre-ceremony planning was done via email) was very against using the phrase.  Or if I was going to say obey then we should both say obey.  I would have loved to have an in depth conversation about it with him, pouring over scripture together, and who knows maybe even coming to his same conclusion- but he didn't bring the objection up till about 5 min before I walked down the isle (and based the objection on a more cultural view point rather than the Bible), so alas there wasn't much conversation to be had. :)  Which was fine.  Ultimately when it come to wedding vows I think a person needs to pick them for themselves- afterall it is what YOU are vowing to do and be for as long as you both shall live. It is pretty weighty stuff.  So to included or not to include a phrase because it is popular or not popular is silly.  But so is to include something just because it is traditional.  Like the word Obey.  Really what is meant is "submit" not obey.  Most modern couples who use the word obey in their vows are referencing the verses that tell "wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord".  These verses don't say "obey your husbands" and I  think if that was what was meant then that is what would  be used because in most passages addressing this issue children are told to obey their parents as is fitting in the Lord.  The command to obey seems to me to be something different than submit.  Now, at this point I am not sure what the nuances are, but I think it is likely significant that children are told in multiple places to obey but  never to submit and wives are told to submit but never told to obey.  I'm still trying to work all this out in my mind.

Does that mean I wish I hadn't used the work obey? Not at all.  I used the word obey purposefully.  I used it even being given an updated list of various vow suggestions (in pre-marital counseling- with a different pastor than who performed the ceremony) that used submit instead.  It is what I meant to say, meant to vow, and attempt to live. Most of the time I think I do pretty well at it for that matter.  But my disclaimer comes in here- not everyone needs to vow to obey. And not everyone needs to take my perspective on what it means to submit.  When I started this blog it was with the intention of writing mostly on the husband wife relationship, which I haven't really done much.  That is largely due to realizing that what my husband and I have works very very well for us.  It fits who we are: our personalities, our strengths, our weaknesses.  And it is something that we work well together at, as equals, figuring out how to keep things running smoothly and in a way that causes us both to thrive.  And for the first few years of marriage I rather naively thought that that was how all Christian couples functioned.  That telling the wife to submit as unto the Lord and the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church was all the real direction needed.  That nobody who loved Christ would abuse the relationship.  There wouldn't be some sort of power struggle because the relationship would never be about power, but about sacrificial love and respect and honor.   I have come to learn though that that isn't that case with everyone.  One of the benefits of the internet I think is getting to meet people you wouldn't come in contact with otherwise, people who have very different life experiences than yours.  And in doing so I have realized that in the practical day to day living my marriage probably looks a lot more Egalitarian than it does Complementarian.  Which is fine by me.  But not everyone who I would say "yes, submit  to your husband as unto the Lord" will have the same experience.  I don't know yet what to do with that.

So this is my disclaimer: I vowed to Love, Honor, and Obey.  I still mean it.  And for me, it is a beautiful thing.  Please however, don't take my life or writings, musings, etc and make some sort of doctrine out of it for yourself.  This is something, like parenting, that is so important to figure out where you are at and how it should play out in your home.  A biblical truth upheld doesn't have to look the same in every believers life.  In fact I don't really think that it should.  I stand by submission, just perhaps not in the same way I did when this blog started.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Biblical Parenting

Because it isn't really fair to spend a whole post critiquing a philosophy without putting forth my own for critique, I bring you this post.  But as a brief disclaimer I don't have this all worked out in detail and am still very much in process.  This is most definitely not meant to tell anyone else how to raise their children.  That is between you and God.  

Which brings me to the topic: Biblical Parenting.  May I just say that I don't think there is any such thing. Or at least not how the phrase is typically used.  If by Biblical parenting we mean living our lives in the way God directs us, honoring Him, showing His love to those in our charge, to those we meet along the way, giving the glory for our  lives to Christ,  living out his redeeming work on the cross, and being able to give an answer for the hope that is in us-  then yes, sign me up for Biblical Parenting.  However, if by Biblical parenting we mean a certain way to relate to our children, a certain way to punish them, a certain way to address disobedience and sin, then no thank you.

So what then do I want my parenting to look like? What do I want it to accomplish?  When they are thirty and have families of their own, what will I consider success to look like?

I want my parenting to look, sound, smell, and taste like Christ.  To quote a friend, I want the "sweet aroma of Christ" to permeate every aspect of my home and interaction with my family.  This is no small goal.  I think the first way that this begins is to consider myself a servant of my family.  Not in a "I wait on you hand and foot" sort of servant.  Or even "I never tell you what to do" sort of servant.  But rather, my life for yours sort of servant.  Christ poured His life out for us, and that is what I desire to do for my family- children included.  I am still working out the practical details of this though.  I think it would be easy for me to allow this mindset to let me justify too low of expectations in behavior, to shrug away disobedience.  But that certainly isn't what Christ does for us- He tells us to be perfect as His Father is perfect.  He tells us that those who love Him obey his commands.  But here is the kicker- He then gives us the power to do it.  He doesn't expect us to do it on our own.  It is the spirit of God dwelling within us that He gave us that enables us to become more and more like Him.   Likewise, if I want to give my children high goals to reach and expect obedience from them even when it is difficult, it is me that needs to make that possible.  

So how do I do that? First way I think is very easy- tell them what I expect of them.  If we are about to get out of the car in the parking lot and I want them to wait by their door for me to come to them, I need to tell them.  If I want them to stay out of the bag of candy I left open on the table they need to know that.  These are things that seem obvious to adults (of course I don't want you to have 3 snickers bars for breakfast!) but to children they aren't.  The second way is to make obedience possible by considering their capabilities.  This means that if you have tired and hungry children who want a cookie from the dessert table at church and you don't want them to touch every cookie on the plate that having them go sit down while you get the cookies is a good idea.  Would it be good for them to be able to look at the cookies without touching? Sure.  But it might be asking too much of them.  These are things we need to know.  And to know that we need to know our children.  Really know them.  Their personality quirks, their likes, their weaknesses, what their little looks mean.  God knows each and every hair on our head,  He understands us better than we do ourselves.  And although we might be able to know our children that intimately, we can *really* know them I think.  But a big part of that is getting to know them how they truly are, how God made them, rather than figuring out who we want them to be and then trying to teach them to become that person.   It isn't that we don't need to teach them things, but I want to focus more on teaching them skills, not personality.  

The big thing for me is that my life should be something that they would desire.  If my life is repugnant to them why would they want to obey my rules? Why would they want to learn my skills? And most importantly, why would they want to obey my God?  There is a wonderful piece written here about this very things.  My favorite part:

Your children, O Christian parent, want a Peace and have ample time to perceive it in you. If you have it, Peace not merely placidity, do you know why and can you communicate that why? If they want to be like you (does anyone want to be like you?), they will want to know and they will follow.

(As an aside: they don't want denominational/orthodox peace first and foremost so don't base the home order on catechizing. They need to see you satisfied by the Love of God, obedient by grace not Law, loving your neighbor as yourself, living by reason not passion).

That for me sums up what my parenting should look like.  It should look like Christ.  I have some of the details worked out, but still working on the rest.  I know that I am in a family to serve, not be served.  That if I want obedient children I need to give them the tools to do that.  I know that if my life isn't worth emulating I have missed the mark not only as a parent but a Christ follower as well.  Another post to follow on what I consider success to be and what I consider to be the important things to teach and such.  Until then, off to seek the sweet aroma of Christ.  

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

I know where they are. They are at my house.  When the wild rumpus is over I will post again.