Sisters, I don’t want to start Construction School without making one thing very loud and clear about our motivation here.
No matter how hard we work, we will never be “good enough” as wives.
I’m not sure how you’re reacting to that statement. But I can imagine a range of responses like:
- I’m going to prove you wrong. I will be good enough. Watch me work. (pride, self-righteousness)
- I already knew this was pointless. Our marriage will never change. (hopelessness)
- I’m a failure before I start. This is so typical. (guilt, condemnation)
- Yes! This is so true. (gospel)
Only when we turn to Christ is their any hope for our marriages whatsoever.
If our motivation for building our marriages is anything other than our Savior’s love for us, than we have failed before we began. Your motivation might look great from the outside: “I want the world to see what a God-honoring marriage looks like.” Or it could be less noble: “I just want him to pick up his socks and put them in the hamper,” or “I want to feel loved.”
But the only person in the world who will fulfill all our desires is not our husband; it’s Jesus Christ. <— Click to Tweet
The God who became man, lived a perfect life because you (and I!) could not, walked willing to a death that you deserved, and rose again so that you will never walk alone is the only one who can fulfill all our desires. He is the only one who loves us perfectly. And the good news is that you don’t have to do anything to make Him love you other than believe in His sacrifice for your sake and glory in His love.
We shouldn’t be motivated to build our marriages by pride, guilt, condemnation, a desire to do right, or perfectionism. Those motivations will all land us in the same place: trusting in ourselves or despairing.
The only motivation that can truly spur us to love our husbands is the love of Christ.
When we truly know how much God loves us despite every wrong thing we’ve ever done, when we understand that because of the work of Jesus Christ at the cross God sees us as if we have never done anything wrong, and when we feel that the Holy Spirit will always walk with us, encouraging and empowering us with the love of God, then that understanding of His love overflows into how we love others. Because He loves us, our hearts toward our husbands can be changed. And when our inevitable moment of failure comes, we can run to the cross and then to our husbands with an apology.
So, sisters, let’s check our hearts before we begin this series. Let’s preach each other the gospel in the comments. And let us not be proud of our own accomplishments or defeated by our own failures. The team writing these posts is putting in hours of research, prayer, work, and mostly failure, but know that each of us are falling on our face each day in joy for the love of our heavenly Father who sent His Son to die a death we deserved because He loves us so much.
She sits down at my table to a plate of just barely warm eggs. She’s tired and she has a long stressful day ahead of her. It’s only 8 am.
“Let’s preach the gospel to each other.” She whispers with wild eyes. “I’ll go first: He is in control.”
Over the course of just 2 minutes we rehearse at least the following truths of the gospel:
- He loves us more than we can imagine.
- He is working everything for our good, even if it hurts.
- His name is Justice. Even when we feel like we have not justice.
- He will never leave or forsake us.
- Our job isn’t to be perfect, but to repent, forgive, and love because we are loved.
And hours later I watch my kids climb trees and pick clover and completely ignore the park structures just 10 feet from us, I wonder about this exchange. I wonder that we, like my children, ignore the specifically constructed playground of the gospel, in preference for pushing each other up the rough ladder of perfectionism. We whisper “Higher, higher. Just pick yourself up again.” Instead of “Run to Jesus. He loves you. It’s he who works in you.”
What if we stopped giving that piece of advice? What if we stopped telling our stories under the guise to encourage? What if we stopped pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps to try again and just cry ugly tears and ask a friend to simply preach the gospel to us?
What if we spent our waking hours preaching the gospel to each other? To our husbands, to our children, to our friends, to the lady with mascara streaks standing in the ice cream aisle, and even to ourselves.
So tell me, friends, how can we preach the gospel this week? Or how have you preached the gospel in the past? I’m hungry to know how the gospel works out.
”The gospel frees us from the relentless pressure of having to prove ourselves, for we are already proven and secure.” Tim Keller
Life as a perfectionist isn’t easy. Even if I plan each day to the very minute, a hundred messes will break out.
The girls will roll around the floor screaming and fighting over baby dino.
Sedryn will puke because I gave him milk that was spoiled without realizing it (when he’s mostly the only one who drinks milk in the house it’s easy to overlook that sort of thing….).
Mount laundry will continue to be clean… and unfolded.
It will rain when it was supposed to be sunny.
I will burn dinner.
My photography clients will cancel (or I may not have a single one this year).
My dreams will be side railed.
I have two choices in these moments.
1. Pull myself up, put on a big smile, do the extra work, and show you how worthy I am.
2. Fall on my knees, announce my failure or my mess before my family(that includes you) and God, ask Him for help (or ask the local body of Christ when needed), and then crawl back up clinging to His grace because He is more worthy than anything else.
I will choose the latter. I will choose to reveal my messes if it proves Him greater. And just saying that makes me sort of cringe. You know how when you type something out like that, the Enemy chooses to create more mess in your life. Yeah, I know that’s coming. And I know this too: His grace is sufficient.
I’m writing this today for that friend who sent me texts while likely sitting in her car on lunch break because she was crying so hard she couldn’t call. That friend whom I wish wasn’t so far geographically or I’d be in the car with a hyper overtired children on my way to clean her home(which clearly isn’t in my gifted-ness), make her supper, and finally hug her tight when she got home.
We’re never going to be perfect. We’re never going to be proven. We’re never going to have anything to glory in except this one thing: Jesus Christ. And He is enough and perfect and impossible to lose.
So, friend (friends- all of you sweet messy people really), don’t be afraid to be seen in the thick of your un-glorious mess. The mess you created or the one surrounding you. I’m not impressed when you’re busy proving yourself. I might be jealous (but that’s my own sin issue, eh?), but I’m not impressed. But when you share with me and others the mess you’re living, then I am impressed. I’m impressed with your strength and the grace He has given you to keep going. I’m impressed with the desire to come alongside you and partner with you however I can, knowing that soon you will walk through my mess with me.
That’s the purpose of the Body of Christ: to disciple each other in the gospel of grace. That means there will be seasons where I will preach the gospel to you, and there will be seasons where I will beg you to preach the gospel to me. And we will both feed from that gospel like starving women; for it is only in that gospel that we will ever be “proven and secure.”