Driving around Seattle we began to talk.
A deeper sort of conversation. The kind where you have to be more honest and bring up things that have been bothering you.
“I am sorry Jake”…”I know I do not always verbally affirm what you are doing, show my appreciation, or submit to your leadership without complaining.”
This isn’t what I pictured.
When I was a little girl I dreamt of what it would be like to have a family of my own one day.
I assumed as many do that it would come with all the fixings.
A dog. The pitter patter of little feet on a wood floor. Husband gets up in the morning and is the provider. Me the stay at home mom who makes the house look as if it pops straight out of Pinterest.
Of course as I grew older I had more of a reality check on how things really worked, and then when I decided to marry a missionary I think I lost hold of reality all together. Submission has lead me to…
Honeymoon for 5 days.
Day 6 fly to New York for interview to be full time missionaries with Word of Life.
Day 7 fly back to Florida and work 9 weeks of summer camp.
From there hit the road for deputation. Live out of your car and raise support to get to the mission field of Taiwan.
You could imagine that a lifestyle like this does not look like the typical marriage one has pictured. It comes with its struggles, but it also comes with its many abundant blessings that I would not want to trade for anything.
This month however is our first time where our deputation has allowed us to be in the same place for a month.
A church in Seattle has a annex that they are allowing us to stay at while we support raise.
The first day we arrived I was so abundantly happy to do tasks that many dread such as grocery shopping and be able to clean an actual house rather than just my car.
To have a place to come home to at night with actual privacy is something wonderful.
But all of this to say is that this life of marriage is something that makes me think outside of my box on a daily basis.
I feel like it not only shows me so much about the wonderful man I vowed to live with forever, but it teaches me so much about myself.
“Your desire will be for your husband and he shall rule over you” Genesis 3:15
Oh that CURSE!
To be honest I really thought submission would be an easy concept to handle. I simply assumed that Jake would make every decision, the right decision. In other words make decisions the way I want it to be.
Back to the conversation in the car. I often give Jacob free reign to make decisions while secretly only being happy when the decisions I want to be made happen. It is pseudo-submission. Like asking to be discipled and then wanting affirmation instead of following someones advice even when it is different then what you would do. Pseudo-Discipleship.
It got to the point where I realized as I verbally processed that I am madly in love with Jake, and that I want to follow him anywhere. I want to be the wife that is his helper (completer) Genesis 2:18. I want Jake to complete every task that God has laid before him. But this leaves me with a problem.
“Babe, I know that it was God’s will for us to be together. And I love the ministries that we have been called to that we get to partake in together. But sometimes I don’t understand why God has given me different desires from you, and yet I am called by design to submit to your leadership. This is hard for me because often we desire different things.”
Desire does not always follow my design.
I was super confused by this idea but Jake explained it to me in a different light…
We had watched a “This is Life.” episode by Lisa Ling that afternoon about a gay rodeo. Our constant obsession with documentaries sometimes brings us into strange and unfamiliar territory. During the show a cowboy shared his story from the perspective of a sob story, married with two kids, the cowboy had been “oppressing” his urges and eventually was caught having an affair with another man. Desire and design. The documentary began to paint this story in a sympathetic light of acceptance and the man being able to be who he truly was.
Yet it was clear that many aspects of this were unsettling for moral reasons completely unrelated to sexuality. This man had sacrificed the stability and love of his family to have an affair. It was a classic case of people attributing all the deep and powerful aspects of life to desire and design rather then realizing if we did everything we desired, we would be a train wreck. Society justifies it by arguing that desire should be our driving force, and when design goes against desire, they try to change the interpretation of design.
Everyone has desires. Everyone has a different design. The christian life is often opposed to some of the strongest desires. Our design is in the image of God, yet our desire is often times not to do what that image would want to do. Being a missionary in many senses goes against desire…
“Emily, you could’ve been born in a jungle, never seeing the freedom we taste today. Or lived in that dark and man-oriented time of the Puritans, longing for more of a place in society then they ever gave. The freedom of destiny is both a truth and an illusion. We do have freedom because of the blessing of God, but it is astounding that we weren’t born into one of the billions of situations that do not have any freedom at all. Reality is so much harsher then what we often dream of, and unfortunately what looks like a painful curse, is often a blessing. A blessing we can travel, serve the Lord without persecution, and live well.”
We don’t want to sleep on couches. We don’t want to sacrifice our first year of marriage on the altar of support raising. We don’t desire to have no income and a faith based life style. We know what God designed us for. We know what we should be doing, we know that serving Him is our call and it is a hard calling!
Jake would love to live a somewhat simple existence programming computers and working in tech fields. He would love to live in thirty different countries. He would love to live near a million different friends. He would love to do so many things but the calling of ministry trumps these desires. It would be easy to say, “I desire this, thus it is my design.” Still satisfaction is so much deeper then the immediate gratification we seek in society. When we see Taiwanese people trust Christ, there is an unfathomable joy that you cannot get elsewhere.
So these days I am realizing that I won’t always desire this lifestyle. It is hard, it is not really financially rewarding, it lacks much of the security that most lifestyles have. Yet deeper down we know we are doing something that is right. We are stepping out in faith and living up to our design by God. And that is true submission.