The Canned Goods of Disobedience

On our way to church to help out with relief efforts for flood victims, I asked my husband, Edric, if we could buy canned goods to donate. He was okay with the idea, but he suggested that we get them at the grocery near our place, which we knew for sure would be open. However, I insisted that we go to the grocery near our church so we wouldn’t have a hard time hauling the boxes. He told me, “I don’t think it will be open.” I was like, “Of course it will be. Why would they close that grocery on a day when they know people need to buy groceries?”

Our kids were listening to our dialogue in the back seat. And I didn’t realize they were paying very close attention to the way I responded to Edric. I wasn’t impolite at all, but I really wanted him to consider my suggestion. I thought it was way more practical and sensible. Again he said, “I think it will be closed.” In response, I said, “Well if its closed, maybe our plan B can be to donate money instead?”

Edric was willing to go with that. And I was still so sure that plan A would still work. When we got there, my second son, Edan, announced, “It’s closed!”

Oops…

Sheepishly, I turned towards Edric and apologized. He went to withdraw money at the ATM and I got grilled by my two older sons.

“You should have obeyed, mom!” “See, you should have listened to daddy, he’s the boss.” “Next time, just obey.”

Was this even an issue of obedience? I thought to myself. We were discussing options and I merely insisted on my idea. Okay, it looked like I wasn’t obedient, like I was insubordinate. Lesson learned. Boy, was this humbling. Edric didn’t have to say anything. He had his little “officers” standing beside him giving me that see-what-happens-look.

“You’re right, boys. I should have obeyed.”

God has his ways of teaching me to trust in my husband. The funny thing is I don’t really struggle with the big submission issues. It’s the small day to day things that I can be contradictory about.

I remember an instance when I was going to Divisoria and Edric saw me about to leave the door wearing slippers. Our dialogue went something like this.

Edric: “I don’t think you should wear slippers. It might rain and it gets really dirty there.”

Me: “Hon, I’m going to be trying lots of shoes on and it will be inconvenient for me to wear something else. Besides it’s not going to rain today.”

Edric: “I still think you should change to something else.”

Well, I didn’t want to listen so I wore slippers anyway. That day, God sent a rain cloud to Divisoria and I had the cruddiest, black mud stuck in between my toes and on my feet. I had to douse my feet with alcohol and rub them down with Kleenex. I came home and told Edric about God’s submission lesson to me, and I apologized for being insubordinate. We had a good laugh. But it was a loud and clear message.

Submission and obedience are meant for my blessing and my good. As women, we often hate the word submission because we think of it as something negative. We have this image of a man trampling over a woman’s rights and dignity. And the reality is we have encountered men or know men who do not know how to treat women with respect and real love. But God didn’t intend for women to end up with men like this! (It’s a wonder why so many choose them!)

He created men to be spiritual leaders and he called them to love, protect, and provide for their families. Yet so many men fall short of this standard because they don’t know God and what his Word has to say about their role, or they do know but they are selfish (like we are, too!). Our reflex response as women is to look out for ourselves or take charge when we feel like our sense of security is threatened. When we feel like the men are not stepping up, or they can’t be trusted, we go into self-preservation mode. We reverse the roles and “wear the pants” if necessary just to make sure that our men make the right decisions or that we don’t end up at the losing end of a relationship or situation.

I know this because I was like this at the beginning of my marriage. Every time I distrusted Edric’s decision making capacity, I contradicted, challenged, and manipulated him to do things my way. Well, Edric has a pretty strong personality so we would butt heads instead. And this led to a lot of conflict. What changed?

God changed me and God changed Edric. I surrendered my marriage to the Lord and my rights (of course, I’m still a work in progress!). The verse on submission says this, “Wives, submit to your husbands AS UNTO THE LORD.” (Ephesians 5:22) Ultimately, I wasn’t disobeying my husband when I was unsubmissive, I was disobeying God. And if I was submissive, I was submitting as unto the Lord – for the Lord, because of the Lord, trusting in the Lord to look out for me.

Submission is a heart issue. God knows our hearts. I can be submissive on the outside but negative and begrudging on the inside. That doesn’t count. At the end of the day, the desire to submit reveals whether I trust God completely or not. If I focus on my husband, I may not always feel like submitting to him. I can be tempted to think, he is not doing his God-given role so why should I fulfill my God-given role? I will submit when he is deserving of my submission! But if look to God and do it for Him, then it liberates me. My heart is at peace because I am right with God. God will deal with my husband.

The solution has been to do my part and then pray for Edric. By God’s grace, Edric is a wise man and he loves God. But still, there are instances when we don’t agree on issues. So this is when I pray, “Lord, please speak to Edric. If he is wrong, then please change his heart, but if I am wrong then please change my heart.”

Years ago, I heard an amazing story about a woman who endured an abusive marriage. Her husband was a womanizer, he treated her like crap, he did drugs, but she still served him and treated him with respect. Years later, she found out that she never had a marriage contract to prove that she was actually married. Her “husband” had deceived her all these years. When my mom counseled her, she asked this woman if she regretted the years that she spent serving this man. She replied something like this, “I have no regrets because I never did it for him. I did it for the Lord.”

I was floored when I heard this! But she is not the only one that has this kind of story to tell. I have met amazing women who have followed God’s principles in faith and they have experienced his blessings. There is great power in the life of a woman who walks with God. 1 Peter 3:1-2 tells us that men who don’t believe in God can be won over by the behavior of their submissive wives, when they see their purity and reverence. It’s not the world’s way of solving marital issues, but God doesn’t do things conventionally. He asks us to trust and obey first, even if we don’t always understand. And then he does the miraculous!

Going back to my first story…

While our family helped the wonderful volunteers pack relief goods, the one thing they ran out of at the time we were there was canned goods! Sigh. If I had just listened we could have had more canned goods for the bags! Unfortunately, I lost that opportunity to exemplify to my kids that obedience leads to blessing!

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God’s way is for me to obey my husband and enjoy the blessings of following his design for marriage! May I do better next time. 😉

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Comments

  1. I can’t be there because Ortigas Ext. is with a lot of water… By God’s grace, I’m with you in prayer and in high hopes. God is LOVE and His mercy has been with all of us even when there’s no rain. Praise God for all the good things that come out of this season. You and family enjoy serving there 🙂 Share more smiles!! God bless!

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Hi Lorraine. We were only there for about two hours. Didn’t stay the whole day. But it was a good for the kids to experience serving others. They really enjoyed it. I saw their personalities come out. Elijah was telling people what to do. Edan was quietly working. Titus was arranging the crackers in a design pattern on the box while he separated them…

      • Elijah is really a growing little man — leader in the making (at this early time) 😀 Titus and Edan… I only got to greet them a couple of times! Haha. Excited to see them as students when they get into the primary level 😀 Keep it up, Joy! So blessed by how real God’s grace is in your life as a mother and wife. Again, thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Joy, I love your blog and read it regularly. I first stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for tips on how to discipline kids. But all your homeschooling tips and anecdotes about your family have really been helpful to me, even if I don’t homeschool. This is the first time I am leaving a comment and I hope you don’t take it the wrong way. I love my husband but I would rather have a little mud on my toes… than not be able to wear slippers when I want to.

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Ha ha ha. Your comment is totally fine! Actually Edric hardly ever tells me what to wear. But this particular instance was one of them. God must have given him foresight that it would rain. I love wearing comfortable shoes like you 🙂 slippers or sandals are my preferences 🙂

  3. Well-written, and joyous in the discoveries of self and spirit! Your blog is such a pleasure to read! Thanks!

  4. HI! I’m a new reader of your blog. I love your blog so much! Even though I’m not homeschooling my toddler, I learn so many things. I especially learn so much about your posts on marriage. This post I felt is especially made for me LOL. Thank you for inspiring me to be a good wife.

  5. Hi Joy,

    This entry of yours really had an impact on me. For just like you I am a work in progress in obedience and submission. You really inspire me to be a better person. Thank you!

  6. Love your post! This is a great reminder for me and other wives out there. Submitting to my husband is tough, given the feminist views being thrown at me left and right. But now I understand that submitting to one’s husband is part of God’s design for marriage, hence it’s easier to accept my role and fulfill it. I’m still a work in progress but you’re right, we should allow God to change us first. We won’t be able to do this on our own, we need His grace 🙂

  7. While reading your blog i found myself crying. Nowadays I have been struggling to cope from my husband’s infidelity. I caught him flirting with a girl through his cellphone. I told God “I am in so much pain but I surrender myself to You”. I know right there and then that He gave me a love for my husband that I never had before. When I confronted him I told him that I am deeply hurt but I would still do everything to save our marriage. And I did. I forgave him… still served him… loved him… respected him as best as I could. I thought he had already repented. But after 10 months I caught him again with another girl. We talked and cried a lot. He said he wouldn’t do it again. I forgave him again. I still served him, loved him & respected him again. But it was so hard… so painful. I continuously ask myself if I’m doing the right thing… if I should fight back and make him realize that he didn’t deserve the treatment I was giving him – that I deserve better. But God’s path was never easy. And your blog reminded me of my surrender to God. That even though I might not understand His way, I should trust Him that everything would fall in to place someday.

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Dear Jee, I don’t know if you go to church but I think it would greatly help you both to attend a couples retreat. I’ve seen many marriages turned around when couples attend retreats and discover the fundamentals of marriage. You might want to pray about doing something like this. Or, let me know if you are interested in getting counselling from someone who went through the same thing and she has a great marriage now, by God’s grace. 🙂

      • That would be great! I would love to. It might help me a lot to talk to someone who had gone through what I’m going through. Attending a couples retreat would be nice as well. If anything comes up please please please let me know.

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The Canned Goods of Disobedience