by Kristie Anyabwile
When we moved from Washington, DC we took a long road trip down the coast to visit family along the way and have our car shipped to the Cayman Islands. We were embarking on a new phase of life and ministry together.
After visiting family in North Carolina, we decided to stop in Savannah, Georgia (I wanted to go to Paula Dean’s Restaurant) and also in Orlando, Florida (for Disney, of course).
Weeks in advance, I started asking Thabiti about our travel plans. Should I go ahead and book hotels? Where would he like to stay and for how long? What other stops should we make along the way? His response– silence.
Then, my husband brought shock to my plan-aholic system when he said he didn’t want to plan ahead! Now, I don’t’ mean he didn’t care one way or the other, so I could just plan away and fill him in on the details (which is my preference). He said, “We’ll just find a hotel when we get to the city.”
I thought I’d lose my mind! We had two young children and I was pregnant. And he didn’t want to reserve any hotel space? No pre-planned stops at historic and scenic monuments and museums along the way? Oh, I got my pout on! All the way to Savannah I sulked and worried, but I played it off with books on tape, car travel games, and Snickers.
God’s Sovereign Goodness
We finally arrived in Savannah, and as I’d feared all the hotels were booked. The only hotel we could find was a fancy, shmancy resort overlooking the river which we could not afford. As it was all we could find, we went in and asked about the most basic room. They only had deluxe suites available! Cool-as-a-cucumber Thabiti chatted with the reservations attendant while in my heart I wanted to rule over my husband.
To myself, I said, “I knew I should’ve just booked the hotels before we left, and we wouldn’t have had this problem….” But as I was blaming and complaining, the Lord was pouring out His grace on our behalf. In the midst of my resolve to compete with my husband rather than complement him on this issue, the Lord began to gently rebuke me. We got the deluxe suite at an affordable price! It was unbelievable! Fine and good.
Next stop: Orlando. Surely there will be better availability there. The same thing happened–no hotels except for the fanciest, most beautiful resort in Orlando. And, as you might have guessed where this story is going, they gave us an upgraded suite for about half the price. There was no more complaining from me. I was having fun now and couldn’t wait to get to Miami to see how the Lord would surprise us again. And he did it again!
That trip taught me something valuable that I still too often forget. When it comes to submission and “following my man,” things may not always go the way I’d planned. And unlike my experience above, things may sometimes end way worse than had hoped. But the results are always up to the Lord.
I had placed all my hopes and trust in myself, not trusting my husband to lead me, and not trusting the Lord to lead him. I had to learn that the Lord teaches my husband some valuable lessons in his “failures” and my job in those moments is to encourage him, to help in appropriate ways, to pray for his wisdom as he learns to lead, to pick up the pieces with him, and keep pressing forward. The Lord always works things out for the good of his people. Things don’t necessarily happen in the ways I plan, but most often they’re not as dreadful as I imagine.
Learning to Rest in Christ
In 21 years of marriage, we’re still learning too! That’s the way it goes in doing life together. Paul’s final words to wives in Ephesians 5 should not be taken lightly, “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.” There are so many small and big ways that our actions, words, and thoughts demonstrate a lack of respect, and a lack of humility, and an “I need to be His Holy Spirit” mentality. It’s easy for me to think that if I know how to organize, plan, and accomplish a task that my husband has decided is in his court (pay bills, plan vacations, legal matters, etc.), then I’m helping him by just doing it myself or telling him how and when it should be done.
Resting in Christ and allowing him to do his work in our husband’s lives, especially when we can’t see that heart work being done, is hard.
I’ve found that the best way I can help my husband is to pray that he would have the mind of Christ and that he would do what would glorify God, benefit the family and help him in his role as leader. My prideful heart makes me think that I know better—not better than Thabiti—but better than God. It is God who has appointed him as leader of our home and it is the Lord who is working in my husband what is pleasing to him. I have to allow the Lord to do his work, by his Spirit, and let my husband (and sometimes our entire family) take some lumps, so that we both might learn from the Master.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Kristie is a North Carolina native and graduate of NC State University with degrees in history and African American Studies. She is a wife, mother, and homemaker who lives with her family in the Cayman Islands. Kristie and her husband Thabiti have been married over 20 years and have three children. Kristie blogs sporadically at I Am Convinced.