January 16, 2013
Dear Sister, If you have followed God for more than a moment, you know that His Spirit will show you things you couldn’t possibly know. Last night, I “just knew” that my daughter would want her pillow pet as she huddled on the floor of my bathroom, stricken with flu. The purple-zebra-pillow-thing is not one of her favorite stuffed animals, so I nearly didn’t bring it to her. She hadn’t asked me for it. But I felt a small, quiet nudge, a “knowing” that I should bring it. God knew it would be exactly the right size for propping her head just the right way so she could sleep. She told me so this morning when she thanked me for bringing it from her room last night. This morning, someone on my team came to mind over and over again. I had thought of her multiple times this weekend, too. Prayed for her often, but she wasn’t someone I was super close to and I’ve never actually been in the same physical space with her. I reached out to her on Facebook, and as it turns out, she was struggling. I had no idea, but God did, and He facilitated what He wanted. Our prayer warrior division of 75+ calloused-kneed intercessors is now sending out the artillery with their prayers. I’ll confess, I’m not always listening. Are you? I am thankful, however for these two small experiences where I “got it right.” What is amazing to me about The Respect Dare, is that the biggest benefit of “doing” the book is a deeper relationship with Him. A dear friend of mine (one who has sat through my classes and run several small group studies on the book) shared with me recently that she struggled for many years in her marriage because she believed that the verses on “submission,” and “respect,” and having a “gentle and quiet spirit” meant she was to have no voice. She had read many women Christian authors (and men) that told her that to speak the truth in love or confront her husband about sin flew in the face of the other Scriptures about being a Biblical wife. She clung to God, however, and over time, felt led by God to follow the steps outlined in Matthew 18. She gently and kindly confronted her husband about his unloving and harsh treatment of her and her children. He apologized and promised to change. Unfortunately, he did not change. And a several discussions later, she told him he needed to go to counseling with her. She took the next step in Matthew 18, having a witness present while she discussed his sin of harshness towards her and the children. Bear in mind, she had a long standing track record as a respectful, submissive wife. She was taking steps she was certain were ordained by the Creator. She did not roll her eyes or make sarcastic comments to him. She did not interrupt him when he was speaking. She did not argue with him or disagree frequently. She encouraged him, praised him, and refrained from criticizing him. She had the joy, peace, and comfort of the Lord in the midst of difficulties. And she voiced her opinions when God encouraged her to do so. She viewed her husband as precious to God, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. When her husband apologized again, but still continued in his behavior, she did what she felt led to do. She escalated to the third step of Matthew 18. She went with him to an elder of the church and their pastor. In the middle of the discussion, she felt called to leave the conversation. She rose and said, “I sense I am not supposed to be here – I’m leaving this to you all.” She left. She had already calmly voiced her concerns, and her love for her husband. A few hours later, her husband returned home. In tears, he wept and begged her for forgiveness for being so emotionally destructive to her all those years. He confessed an addiction she had no proof of, but had sensed for years. He told her that her patience, strength, and grace in the midst of what he had dished on their family spoke volumes to him. He wanted what she had. He confessed that he had never really given his heart to Christ. In the midst of tears, she prayed with her husband and led him to Christ that night. I know this family. They are different now. She’s different from those early days of difficulty. He is radically different. Don’t you want that, too? To be so filled with the Spirit that you can love in supernatural ways? Don’t you want to be a woman of such strength and dignity that God calls you to such a high privilege like the one she had? In Genesis 21, God told Abraham to listen to his wife, Sarah. We can be women of incredible influence in our homes, our schools and our communities, but it all begins with handing our lives over to Christ, by obeying His Word. Will you join me in obeying Ephesians 5:33 “and the wife must respect her husband” and start the journey? I so hope you do! Please enter the Women of Faith giveaway – I hear they are setting records with participants, but there are 5 books to give away, so enter! And join us on Facebook and my blog, http://www.ninaroesner.com. We would love to walk with you as we journey together. You are not alone. Love to you, ~Nina Nina Roesner is the executive director of Greater Impact Ministries, Inc., a Christian training organization. Nina has more than 20 years in the communications and training industry and has coached executives, managers, individuals, wives, church staffs, and pastors around the country. As a professional speaker for women’s groups and a facilitator for the Daughters of Sarah study course she developed, she has seen hundreds of marriages positively impacted by the understanding and application of the biblical concept of respect. Nina is the author of The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband and writes consistently on her blog at http://www.NinaRoesner.com. She has been married to her husband, Jim, since 1991, and together they are privileged to be raising and homeschooling three children.