I'm Dreaming of a....Godly Leader

I was young and single. The conversations I had with my young, single friends often revolved around the topic of what kind of guy we wanted to marry.  Inevitably, at the top of the list of qualities we were looking for was the most important quality:

He had to be a godly leader!

We were looking for our godly leader to come sweep us off our feet and lead us through life. We wouldn't settle for anything less. And of course, we were ready to be led.

Or so we thought.

Oh, we meant well. It all sounded good. But the truth of the matter is that none of us really had a clue what biblical leadership really meant and none of us really wanted to be led. We thought we did, but if we had taken a closer look at the scriptures we would have seen the sobering reality that lies within every female heart : Our desire is to rule over men.

“...you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” Gen. 3:16 NLT

“...your desire shall be against your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Gen. 3:16 ESV

One by one my friends and I got married. We went off into the sunset with our men. It didn't take long for us to see that we hadn't  married the leaders we had dreamed of. They weren't doing it right. They weren't doing it right at all. So, we decided it was our job to instruct them and we began to point out the ways in which they needed to grow in their leadership abilities. And if they tried to make any major decisions, we questioned them because they really didn't measure up to what we had decided was a "godly leader".

I remember clearly the day that my husband and I sat in our pastor's office. We had been married for less than a year and my husband was failing miserably as a leader...at least in my estimation he was. Discouraged and defeated, my husband willingly agreed to go with me to talk with our pastor about the problem.

After we (I!) stated our case, my pastor paused for a few seconds, looked at both of us, then directed his full attention to me and said very kindly yet sternly, "Gina, do you realize that there is more than one style of leadership? Brian has a particular personality and will lead you in his own way. He is growing in his leadership abilities and you need to allow him to do that."

I was completely humbled and ashamed at how I had been treating my precious husband. I had been so busy holding him to an ideal of what I thought leadership should look like, that I had missed all that my husband was already doing and what a kind, gentle, grace filled leader he had already been growing in to!

We have been married for 26 years now and I have seen this scenario with young dating and married couples more times than I can count. I often feel sorry for the men I have seen who are carrying the burden that their girlfriends or wives unknowingly heap on their shoulders in the way I did my own husband all those years ago.  I often remind my son that if he dates a girl who is constantly reminding him to "be a leader" and then proceeds to tell him how it should be done, she is never pleased by his efforts,  or doesn't give him room to be learning, then he needs to be aware that there is a good chance that he is dating a "nag in training"!

Ask yourself some questions:

  • Did your husband grow up in an atmosphere where he was taught what his God ordained role is?
  • Has your husband had any good examples or mentors in his life who have lived out an authentic (not perfect) leadership model?
  • Is he growing in his understanding of what godly leadership is?
  • Does your church teach about a husband's leadership role?
  • Are you a wife who truly wants to be led? 
  • Do you allow him to lead or do you challenge him for the leadership of the home and tell him what a bad job he is doing?
  • Are you able to see his efforts at leading?  

Look for his efforts to: 

Lead in love - Does he show love? How does he show his love to you? Does he make effort to spend time with you?  Is he striving to be a loving husband/leader? 

Lead by initiating - Is he making even the smallest efforts to initiate leadership? Does he try to lead, but it is not what you think it should "look like"?  Try to see his efforts, even if it not your ideal. Don't nag. Don't expect perfection.

Lead spiritually - Is he in the Word regularly? Do you see him making effort to pray, be a part of a church community, or encourage those around him?

Lead in conflict resolution -  Does he make effort to work through problems and deal with conflicts.  Do you see his efforts, even if they aren't what you would like them to be? Can you appreciate the efforts he does make?

Lead in being an authentic (not perfect) example - Is he working at being a good example and trying to walk in faith?  (Authentic! not perfect!) Is he striving to be  godly  in his speech, patience, purity, faith,  pursuit of God, personal discipline, and commitment to moral principles? 

Lead in humility - When he fails to be the example, does he humbly acknowledgement his failure? Does he acknowledge his weaknesses? Is he desiring to grow and victory in his battle? Is he a man who strives to practice what he preaches?

Lead in serving - Does he serve you, your family, and others in any way? Does he help around the house, help your neighbor, in your church or community? Does he come home from a long day at work and help you with the kids, clean up dinner, or take the time to hear about your day?

Lead in decision making - Does he include you in the decision making? Does he take time to wisely make decisions? Does he try to make good decisions?  Does he consider the best interest of you and your family? Does he try to find middle ground? Ultimately, are you willing to go with his decision, even if you don't agree with it?

What about YOU? Do you see that he is open and learning to be a leader? Do you see his efforts?  Do you really believe God has called him to be the leader of your home?  Do you want God to speak through your husband and use him as a godly man to lead your family?

Ask God to speak to your heart and help you to be your husbands biggest encourager and cheerleader in his calling. Only then will he be able to continue to grow in this calling, and learn his calling fully. 
    6 Things to Remember: 
  1. The man you marry will never be a perfect leader and you need to give him room for that. 
  2. The man you marry will be in a process of growth and learning until he dies (like you are!).
  3. The man you marry has a unique, God given personality and temperament, and you need to give him room to be who God made him to be and allow leadership to show itself in the way he is meant to lead.  
  4. You need to be sure that you understand what true biblical leadership is, and work hard to not impose your interpretation of what we think it should look like.  
  5. The best thing you can do for the man you marry is pray for him, asking God to help him to  grow in his understanding of what biblical leadership is and how he is to live that out.  
  6. Pray that God would help you see any little effort that your husband makes to be a leader, and then be sure to tell him how much you appreciate it! 
As I wrote this post, my grown son and his girlfriend walked through the living room. Bible in hand, my son was getting ready to spend time leading her in some Bible reading. He is learning to be a leader. He is not perfect and never will be, but he knows his calling and is making efforts. He has already begun his journey of learning his calling to lead.  He has joined my husband in one of the hardest callings on this earth.  My goal is to encourage him in his efforts as much as I can. He's had a great example in his father. 

I am so thankful for the lesson God taught me over 25 years ago. I pray that God will enable my son to learn well his calling in the same way he continues to enable my husband. 

Have You Seen God?

Dear tired mom who barely made it to church this morning,

Today I served in the class where your toddler spends an hour and a half every Sunday morning.  I love those toddlers.  Toddler's tell you everything they are thinking. Toddler's are brutally and hilariously honest. They cry really hard, laugh really hard, play really hard, and love with all their hearts!  I learn a lot from those little people.

Here's what I learned today:
(I capitalize what toddler's say because when they answer a question, they always answer very loudly with their arms flinging over their heads!)

1. They are learning to pray.
    Teacher: Who wants to thank God for our snack?  
    Toddlers: I DO! I DO!

2. They are learning to read their Bible.
    TeacherWhat day is almost here?
    Toddlers: CHRISTMAS!
    TeacherWhat is Christmas about?
    3 year Ember: GOD!
    TeacherHave you seen God?
    4 year Caleb: YES!
    Teacher: You have seen God?
    4 year old Caleb: YES! IN MY BIBLE!
    3 year old Ember:  I HAVE A BIBLE, MY DADDY HAS A BIBLE, AND MY
    3 year old Colby: I HAVE A BIBLE TOO!

3. They love their families.
    Teacher: It's time to pick up the toys. Your mommy and daddy are coming soon.
(Toddlers sing a song about cleaning up, then they race to the door,  lean over the gate, and peer down the hall to get a glimpse of their family. )

4. They are learning to say, "I'm sorry." They are learning to forgive.
    TeacherDid you just grab that out of his hand?
    4 year old boy: Yea...
    Teacher: What do you say?
    4 year old boy: I'm sorry. (he hands the toy back.)
    (The boys continue playing happily.)

5. You spend time with them.
    Me: I've missed you!  I haven't seen you in 100 years!
    Me: Did you get your Christmas tree yet?
    3 year old Ember: WILL YOU READ TO ME?
    Me: Sure. What do you want me to read.
    3 year old Ember: THE CAT IN THE HAT!
    Me: Do you read that one at home?
    3 year old Ember: YEP!

Precious, tired mom, you are sacrificing so much! You are sacrificing time, sleep, and even some of your own interests to invest in these children. As you serve, teach, train, and set an example for these precious little people, you are building a solid foundation for their lives.  When you choose to be faithful to your calling as a wife and mom, they are learning  how to choose to be faithful to their callings.

Every time you:
  • say no to social media, 
  • turn off your computer, 
  • choose to watch "The Little Mermaid" for the 800th time, 
  • take the time to read them a book, 
  • or, choose to take facebook and twitter off your iPhone, so you won't be distracted from those real life people in front of you.  
Every time they see you sacrificing what you might like to do to pour out for them,  you are choosing to be faithful to your calling. You are choosing them.

You are making it easier for them to see God.   

Don't think for a minute that you are wasting your time or missing out.  The fruit is already there in your toddler. Yes. It's already there. And if you persevere, the fruit will be there as they grow up.  Don't lose heart. Don't grow weary.  I promise that the time you miss on social media, facebook, Twitter, your computer, or even an interest or gifting you have...what you may miss during this short season of being a mom is nothing compared to what you may miss if you choose to push them aside for the temporary satisfaction of all those things that are clamoring for your attention.

I need to say that again:
"...what you may miss during this short season of being a mom is nothing compared to what you will miss if you choose to push them aside for the temporary satisfaction of all those things that are clamoring for your attention."
I promise.

A Note From Gina

I have sensed God directing me away from social media and the "build a following" way of thinking. I believe this will help me to be more immersed in real life. "Real Life Titus Two" is no longer on facebook or Twitter. I would be honored if you continue to make your way back here as you have time.

(I will continue to be on Pinterest)

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it!"