“Godly Men” who Fail at Home

I’ve hesitated for months to write on this topic. I got ticked off because I found out that A.W.Tozer, whose writing I admire, was not a very good husband. We don’t know for sure but suffice it to say his wife said she never experienced happiness until she was married to her second husband (after Tozer’s death). She was forced to live in poverty because he would give most of their income back to the church. He poured all his time and energy into “ministry” but missed the ministry he was most responsible for: loving his wife and children.

Do I sound judgmental? Maybe so. Even today many men can be involved in ministry and put on a posture that belies the truth of their failing marriages or even abuses and neglect of their wives and children.

It breaks my heart to discover one acquaintance has filed for divorce from his wife. Online he acts like life is great and he wants to pursue Christian publishing.  Writing doesn’t have the same kind of condemnation associated with it as music or up front preachers have when they fall. Heck, he hasn’t even really begun. So he can pretend blissfully to be a wonderful man and a Christian while his wife is abandoned for the sake of him pursuing the god of publishing.

My spouse is no different. Pursuing whatever ministry opportunities that will make him look good, rarely working, but when he does giving money away (but won’t tithe to the church). He’s rarely home, belittles my dreams, and make ultimatums for the children without being around to follow through on the consequences of those.

But wives are supposed to praise their husbands. We are not to be talking bad about them. So how do we get help when our “godly” appearing spouse is fooling the world and wooing them, maybe with some exceptional gifts, while at the same time violating the promises made before God to honor and love his wife?

Sometimes these men do great things for God. Will it be credited to them as righteousness? God says he won’t answer the prayers of a man who does not treat his wife well.

How are we to think? I get ticked off. It’s not that I don’t want people to be touched by ministries that do well, but where is the accountability in these men’s lives? Where are those with the courage to confront and ask the tough  questions. My husband won’t interact with people who do that so he basically runs away from any kind of accountability. I’m sure that writer acquaintance has done the same.

I loved Andy Stanley who once said that God made him head of the home. His job was to love and serve his wife and God’s job was to be the head of the church.  I just wish more men in ministry understood this and that the rest of them held them accountable. The sad thing is, the one person those “godly men” will refuse to listen to, are their wives.

Any thoughts?

Blessings,
Lilly Grace

Be Jesus to Me

Scripture tells me that God loves me. He died for me. He chose me before the beginning of time. Zephaniah 3:17 states he even delights in me.

I realized though that right now my relationship with God is a bit stale. I’ve been wounded to be sure and while those wounds were not from God they make me a bit hesitant to engage with Him. When words and actions of those who were supposed to love me have been anything but loving and kind, it’s hard to know that God is not like them.

I struggle. I know God is good. He has been very good to me. I know He loves me. He’s faithful. I struggle to grasp the depth of his delight in me. His unconditional regard and love for me even in my distance.

It’s not that I want to be distant. I don’t. Certain people who swore they loved God and said they loved me have proven to be false. It’s an unfortunate reality of life in a sinful world.  I’m amazed that God still speaks to me, uses me, works in and through me in spite of my perceived failure in drawing as close to Him as I feel I should be.

I know. I shouldn’t should myself. It’s a nasty habit.

I’m being honest. When day after day my husband abuses or ignores me, it feels like God is too. My husband is not God but in a biblical sense a husband is to be Jesus to his wife. He is to love her as Christ loved the church. That’s a tall order.

I long to be loved like that. I long to have a man love me as an extension, albeit flawed, of Jesus’ love for me. I long to be cherished as God cherishes me. I long to be sacrificed for, considered worthy of being protected and served.

Instead I get abuse and neglect. The wounds cut deep because the longing is huge.

Maybe someday God will send me a man who is worthy of that task who will be willing to bridge the hurt and help me to trust again. Maybe he won’t so I don’t make that man an idol. I long to be loved like that. I long to be led by that. I can barely fathom what it would be like to be in a relationship like that.

So maybe it’s unrealistic? I’m married to a man entrenched in his own self-importance and blames me for his own sins and failures. I become hopeless that he will ever change although  God is perfectly capable of doing it. However, if a man refuses to even admit his need for God and his need to change, God leaves him to his own devices. As a result I’m left with nothing but a shell of a marriage, in name only, and that hurts.

I wish I had an answer to my dilemma. I will continue to pray. I will be faithful to my vows and will not seek solace in another man’s arms. I will keep pursuing God with my wounded heart and pray He will continue to lovingly and gently woo me to himself in spite of the roadblocks humans have erected in my path.

God will hold those who hurt me accountable and I can take solace in that fact. The hurtful words and actions have consequences for me now but for them in eternity if they fail to bend their knee. Someday, my Prince will come and all will be made right because Jesus will be Jesus to me even if my husband refuses to.

Blessings,

Lilly Grace

Living in the Grey

One of my favorite books to read to my son when he was a baby was Dr. Seuss, “My Many Colored Days.” It’s a simple book that looks at colors and moods. Our copy didn’t survive three children; it was well loved and worn.

The pages that struck me the most where these: “Grey day, I look, but nothing moves today.” It had a grey owl. Amidst all these vibrant colors– there was a grey day.

I’ve had many “grey” days lately as I’ve struggled with depression and just the chronic nature of my life circumstances. Winter doesn’t help either does it? Without the sun shining much, many days truly are grey.

But as much as we like color, don’t we often wish that life were more black and white? We can read Scripture and find some clear indications on how we should live. .. but then there are the grey areas where Scripture is not so clear and doesn’t speak to an issue.

Should we move to this house?

Should we accept this job offer?

Do we continue that relationship with a toxic person?

Which diet or exercise plan do we embark on?

Should we go on an anti-depressant or gut it out?

Is this the best church for our family to attend?

How about this: Do I have grounds for divorce? How far do we have to submit to our husbands? How do we love someone who is abusive to us? Where is the line between healthy boundaries and sacrificial living? Do we have free-will or is everything for-ordained?

Grey. Cloudy. Oft-debated issues. Dr. Seuss took into account having “mixed up days” as well. . . but it was okay, because we all go back to being ourselves in the end.

But grey is a horse of a different color, isn’t it? There’s nothing definitive there. We might find some guidelines, but ultimately even prevailing wisdom isn’t always what God is calling us to.

Missionaries who sell all they have to move to a foreign land and live off sometimes unstable donations of their supporters. Wise? Only in God’s economy.

The wife who stays in a loveless marriage with a recalcitrant spouse who neglects her and doesn’t provide well. Wise? Maybe, in God’s economy.

The woman who serves and serves and serves and rarely ever takes. Is she being used and unable to say ‘no” or is she fulfilling God’s calling in her life?

Do you struggle with the grey areas? I do. Sometimes I want the line drawn more clearly, yet God calls us to lean into Him during the grey, and listen and heed HIS voice above even worldly wisdom. And then obey. Someday He will make it all clear.

Where is your grey area? Where do you struggle to hear God in the grey?  Just know – He IS there with you.

Blessings,

LGB