Today is an unseasonably warm day. It is April and it is 82 degrees here in Painted Post, NY. Sun. A warm breeze. This could be a perfect day plucked right from mid-summer. Tomorrow looks more April-like. High of 60 with showers.
As I watch my children play in our yard, pulling out every toy from the garage as if they’ve found new treasure, I can’t help but think about the summer days of my childhood. One memory in particular has come back in my adult years and helped me take a fresh look at an old truth.
My Aunt Jane is like a second Mom to me. I spent lots of summer days with her and my two cousins, Amy and Amanda. Aunt Jane had summers off like us and spent them teaching us to love the outdoors as much as she does. She was also the one who taught me how to float in water. I used to scream bloody-murder when my Mom bathed me as a child, so imagine the task of getting me to lay my head back and relax my body enough to allow it to float. Impossible.
Aunt Jane didn’t give up on me though. She would hold her hands on the swell of my back. She would have me close my eyes and she would talk softly, telling me to imagine that I was a Care Bear on a cloud, floating across the sky. When I would start to panic or tense up, she’d reassure me. Sometimes she’d give me that stern look over the top of her glasses. Aunt Jane wouldn’t let me give up.
I began to relax. I didn’t so much trust that my body would float as much as I trusted that Aunt Jane would not let me go under.
God reminded me of this story as a young wife struggling with the truth that I am to submit to my husband.
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. – Ephesians 5:24
Am I the only one that has questioned God about this one? Why? When? How? Everything? What did you mean exactly Lord? But…but….but….
God didn’t give up on me though. He used the memory of my Aunt Jane and learning to float to teach me what He meant by submit.
See, when we hear submit, we think of dominance. My dogs submit to me because I am their master. We get the picture of being under the thumb of a domineering husband.
Now, I picture myself afloat on the wavy waters of life. Dave’s hands are under me. Can I trust that he won’t let me sink? If not, then I panic. I tense. I can’t float. But, if I relax. If I let go. If I submit to the water that touches my face, to the hands that hold my back, I float. I am free, gliding over the sways of the days. Just a Care Bear on a cloud.
OH! Here comes a big wave! Dave, being the human he is, loses his step and drops his hands. He makes a mistake. He loses his balance. He let’s go of me.
What then, Lord? If I submit to Dave, won’t I eventually just end up sinking?
He answered, “Danielle, my hands are always underneath Dave’s. Submit to him because you submit to me. I won’t let you sink.”
You see. Submission isn’t about dominance. It is about trust.
I still struggle with submitting to my husband. I stop trusting. I grasp for control. God reminds me of what it feels like to float, the ease and freedom. He reassures me. Sometimes He gives me a stern look. Just like Aunt Jane, God won’t let me give up.
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