As a former Warrant Officer and helicopter pilot in the Army,
I had plenty of training and exposure to leadership; however, spiritual leadership was never on my radar. When my pastor gave a sermon on the topic, I really had no idea of that being a necessary role within the family.
So my interest was piqued. Thinking that my husband and I have never discussed it before, we began having conversations that would, unfortunately, lead to arguments.
My husband is a believer and he has had much more study in the Bible throughout his life than I have. It didn’t make sense as to why it would be such a conflict in our lives for him to become the spiritual guide for our growing family.
Asking For His Help
So I, being Miss Bossypants, pressed in on and attempted to persuade him to get interested for our family’s sake. When I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere, I began reaching out to God for help.
Of course, God said to leave the matter to Him, so I waited and avoided the matter entirely. Do you know how hard it is for a Type A person to wait?!?
Weeks went by and nothing happened- no revelation or visitation from God was given to my husband… not even to me! One particular evening, it was as if a chasm broke; I didn’t initially intend to talk about it, but I could feel my mouth just pouring out that which I wasn’t supposed to discourse.
The argument went bad, very quickly. I said some things that surprised him, causing both of us to go to bed in angry silence. Knowing that I shouldn’t go to bed fuming, as Scripture likes to remind me, I gritted my teeth and thought, No! I’m not going to try to reconcile this when it’s his responsibility to lead this family!
I was fed up, but knew in my heart that I would have to apologize to him the next morning… but just not yet. I, on one hand, felt the dire need to establish a pious head in the family, and on the other, became confused as to why I was pressing in on him.
In fact, we married almost nine years ago and this position has never been in our family. So what was my problem?
If my husband didn’t fully submit to God and study the Word, our marriage might be doomed. Has anyone else ever felt this way before? An imbalance in any marriage, over any reason and at anytime, can be truly upsetting and overwhelming.
So yes, I became worried… and confused. Scripture conveys that wives should submit to their husbands. The understanding from those much wiser on the subject added that in order for the wife to submit, the husband would need to have submitted to God as well.
Basically, the patriarch should follow after God’s heart and will, leading the family on the path of righteousness. So the next morning I asked God, “Why is there contention between us? Why can’t he just have a deeper relationship with You?”
In answer, God reminded me of what my husband said the night before: “You are the one reading all the time. I come home exhausted and I am barely able to spend enough time with my family as it is.”
At the outset, I didn’t except this as a good reason to not spend time in God’s Word; it has so much truth in it that could help strengthen our marriage, parenting skills, and connection with Him. Why wouldn’t I want my spouse to enjoy the spiritual benefits that I have experienced from my reading of late?
Realizing The Truth
And then God opened my eyes. I was the one reading the Bible throughout the day and listening to Christian podcasts such as Enjoying Everyday Life.
I was also the one studying to become a Christian blogger, participating in a group Bible study every week, and seeking a good Christian daycare for our son to not only develop cognitive and social skills, but also to instill a relationship with Jesus.
The Holy Spirit had been trying to place this revelation on me for some time, but submission (as expressed in the Bible) prevented me from seeing His truth: anyone in the family can be the spiritual leader. If someone in the family is deeply rooted in Christ, more so than others, who fulfills this work better?
Receiving His Wisdom
My next question was, “Doesn’t this undermine my husband’s authority within the family?” A leader, in my own opinion, is on a higher playing field than the others and withholds information on a need-to-know basis.
If there is one thing I have learned about marriage, it’s that withholding anything can be catastrophic to the health of the relationship. God, however, led me to read about leadership in His Word:
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:26-28)
One of the most significant and powerful lessons Jesus taught was washing His disciples’ feet. The King of Kings placed Himself in a lowly position to clean one of the dirtiest parts of His people.
As a former leader in the Army, to wash someone’s feet (in a military sense) was to subject oneself to ridicule, vulnerability, and loss of respect. I would equate it to saluting someone of lower rank; it just didn’t happen.
Serving Through Spiritual Leadership
But in God’s army, He expects it. Leadership to Him means serving others and serving Him with humility and grace, mercy and love, kindness and charity.
So my position is not one of worldly leadership, but of spiritual leadership in Christ. What does this mean?
Constantly, I need to turn to God for guidance, submitting myself to His will and setting the example for my loved ones. I consistently need to direct my family to righteousness through the diligent study of His Word.
I carefully need to value and respect my husband’s input in matters and meet my son’s needs as his spiritual advocate. So I ask you, “Is God calling you to serve Him and others in your home?”
“Is there is a job opening as a devout director in your family?” Don’t ever hesitate to take God’s promotion; it will bring you closer to those you love and it will help lead you to the path He has set out for you and your family.
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