Just a quick post today on something that keeps stirring around in my mind and heart…
Proverbs 31:23 reads, “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” (KJV)
That verse is one I’ve read many times, and it has always been used by teachers of mine to tell me that my husband is known by what I say about him. That is SO true! I have the responsibility to be discreet (Titus 2:4-5), which means to be wise in what I share with others–to have discretion about what I choose to say or to keep “private”. I also have the responsibility to honor my husband. Specifically, I apply that to what I say about my husband to others. It seems pretty obvious that I shouldn’t disrespect my husband to his face…but what do I say when I’m not around him? It is also disrespectful to gab with my girlfriends about what I don’t like about him or what he did that made me mad/sad/etc. So, sure, he will be known in the gates based on what I say about him!
But the spirit led me to look at this verse differently…
In my heart, I ask this question, “WHAT IF her husband is known in the gates because she only goes into the gates in which he is known?”
Let me explain my question with the general story of something I recently experienced…
I was in a gathering of ladies and we had a discussion on a certain topic in the Bible. Not long after that conversation took place, I was told we couldn’t discuss what we had discussed, and, shortly thereafter, we had to cancel our gathering altogether. (I’m sorry…I know that is extremely vague, but I don’t hear God telling me to be more specific…yet.)
I am naturally willing to submit to authority figures in my life, so it was easy for me to just say “okay” and move on. It was MUCH harder to witness the fallout that took place after those decisions were made by those in authority over our gathering.
In handling all of that, it all fell on ME. I was the one getting the phone calls. I was the one being “checked out”. I was the one who answered for it. I’m totally okay with that! I was the one leading the gathering, so naturally, I would be the one who answered for it. I’m not writing about whether I agreed or disagreed with what I was answering for. I’m only writing about what I learned about myself through that situation.
First, I’ve always told people that I make a great #2. I’m not a natural leader! I wasn’t created that way by God. So, leading that gathering was a step of faith for me! I didn’t want to do it–but was being led by the Holy Spirit to do it–so I did. And it was a HUGE success, for the short time that I was allowed to lead. So, I learned that the cliche is true–that “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”! I was certainly not equipped to lead, but as soon as I stepped out to do it, He led me to be and do what I needed to do for that group. And it was a tremendous blessing to me to see the lives of those in the group change before my very eyes, and to know that all I was doing was being a vessel for the Lord to work through me. I do make a good vessel…a good #2. 🙂
It was in thinking about it all AFTER the fact (which is common for me) that really got me digging deeper into the Word about things and really seeking the Lord and what HE had to say on it all. And in my seeking, I found Proverbs 31:23.
You see, in dealing with the situation I mentioned above, it all fell on MY shoulders. I was the one being corrected and receiving the slap on the wrist. I’m not saying that it should have been someone else, but it was definitely unfamiliar territory for me. I am a natural rule-follower, so yeah, some of that is because I don’t step out of line where I know lines exist.
It hurt to face that situation. It was truly PAINFUL. Painful to hear what others had to say both about our gathering and also directly to me about it. It hurt to have no one stand up for me, personally, or to stand up for what the members of the group wanted out of the group. (After all, I was the “leader”, but I was being led by the Holy Spirit to provide what THEY wanted in our group–not after my own agenda.) It angered me to be singled out for doing something that I know others are doing even today, and even more angry about where it came from. And, worst of all, it made me question and doubt a foundation in my life. (I know–still vague–and I pray that I’ll be able to share it with you one day.) And today, I STILL question and doubt.
But the other thing that made dealing with all of this so hard was that I’d never HAD to deal with it. Since I got married, my husband and I have had the ability to lead and influence and teach in other settings. We have done and said a lot of good things in those settings, and we both received accolades, where appropriate. But if we did or said something that others didn’t like, HE took it. HE dealt with it.
And he shielded me from it.
Having all this on my OWN shoulders showed me just what a powerful place it is to be under the umbrella of protection by my husband. You see, I knew about all those times that we were corrected, but he received the lashing. He willingly took it so that I wouldn’t have to.
Well, for this particular gathering, he wasn’t involved. I had his blessing to lead it, of course, but he wasn’t leading the group or even leading me as I lead the group. So when it all came crashing down, he couldn’t shield me from it. He couldn’t handle it for me. In fact, in this particular instance, no one that I was dealing with even KNEW him! And THAT is why I find myself meditating on Proverbs 31:23.
You see…because no one knew him, and because he wasn’t leading me in that venture, I was not in submission to HIM on the matters–as has been the case in every other venture in our lives. I felt more out of place in those moments than I’ve ever felt in all of my life. I felt like I was in some strange land, trying to speak a language no one understood, and I was being put “on trial” (so to speak) with no one to speak for me. And, oh, how I wanted him to come to my rescue! He was MORE than willing–in fact, he wanted to fight it for me–but he wasn’t “known in [those] gates”…so he could not.
What do YOU think about this? What gates should I enter? Only those in which my husband is known? I’d love to hear what you have to say!
NOTE: This is probably going to be part 1 of a few posts on this. My thoughts are not complete because I’m just digging into this a bit more at this time.