This is a guest post by Hunter Beless.
My three-year-old shot me a defiant look and said, “Please don’t speak to me like that,” in response to the gentlest correction I have ever uttered. This incited in me a desire to say the same, “No YOU don’t speak to ME that way! Do you know who’s in charge here?” I see so much of myself in my toddler. Nobody, even under the most gentle correction, likes being told what to do. Like mother, like daughter, I guess. And the same can be said of me, as a daughter of the matriarch of our faith. Despite the fact that her world was in perfect harmony and she had everything she needed (including the perfect bod), even Eve did not want to hear the guidance of the One in charge. She defiantly acted against God’s instruction and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree (Gen. 3). As her daughters, we wrestle, daily, with the desire for autonomy and control, both of which are my greatest, personal struggles. All things considered, don’t tell me what to do.
Ironically, God placed this control freak in the most unpredictable life scenario. Any semblance of control has disintegrated through my fingers, right before my eyes. No, I’m not just talking about motherhood, though that scenario would absolutely fit the bill. The good Lord knew he needed to take it a step further for this pseudo-submissive daughter, so he gifted me a military man to fall in love with and vow to follow until my dying day. In short, double submission is now required. My husband is fiercely submitted to Jesus (all the praise hands), but he came as a package deal: follow me as I follow Jesus… and the US Army. This means packing up when we’re told, moving where we’re told, and spending time apart, you guessed it, whenever we’re told. It is here in this uncomfortable plight—planning, dreaming, and not really knowing—that I am forced to press into the beautiful reality that our Father is in control of all things and he is for us (Ps. 56:9) and ultimately for our good (Rom. 8:28).
We claim to believe it, but what really stirs in our hearts when we don’t get the job we applied for? How about when our kids disobey, or don’t do things the way we hope? What runs through our minds when dinner burns, or—even more practically—when our little one wakes early and interrupts our morning “quiet time?” How do we respond when nap-times fail and we’re facing an evening with fussy babies? Who is even in charge here?
Much like predicting a baby’s afternoon nap, life in the military is only partially predictable. We expect we’ll move next fall, much like we expect the baby will sleep sometime around one in the afternoon (if we’re lucky!). In our first few years as a military couple, the unpredictability of it all left me flustered. What was I supposed to do trailing my husband as a military spouse? What was I even there for when he was training or deployed? How could I plan on a daily basis if I didn’t even know when he would be home for dinner? Likewise, my first year of motherhood was characterized by missed naps followed by frustration. Just when I seemed to figure out one phase, we were unexpectedly moving on to another. Do we really believe that the Lord uses all of our circumstances to cultivate something good within us and in the lives of those around us?
Even when well-meaning plans fail, we can surrender our will, our desires, and our dreams to embrace whatever it is he’s doing in and for us. This kind of submission will move our hearts from drudgery to delight. What if we accepted the beauty that God, in his sovereignty, wants to cultivate something different than we expected in the hours of that missed nap? We might have a fussy toddler on one hip and a screaming baby on the other, but circumstances like these press us into the joy of sanctification that the Lord graciously ordained in order that we might look more like his Son. He isn’t asking us to go anywhere that he himself hasn’t been. Isn’t this what Jesus did for us over 2,000 years ago as he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). By his example, Jesus enables us to surrender everything about our lives for the sake of those around us (1 John 3:16).
This kind of sacrificial surrender involves prioritizing God’s agenda above our own, which often includes prioritizing the needs of those he has put in our homes above our own. As mothers, we know this isn’t always glamorous. But our Father orchestrated each of our lives—both the hard and the effortless— to remind us that every single thing on this earth is under his ultimate control (Ps. 103:19). And because of who he is—holy, good, merciful, just, loving, kind, omniscient, faithful, and wise, to name a few—we would do well to lose our lives for Christ’s sake, so that we might really find life (Matt. 10:39). Much like my husband signed his life on a dotted line when he entered the military, not knowing the details that lay ahead, but confident that he was submitting for the greater good, so we surrender to the Lord by dying to self a thousand times each day. What do we have to lose? For to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).
Hunter is a journey-woman for Christ. She believes God has called her to seek after those who are lost and guide them back to their Heavenly Father. Hunter passionately exercises this God-given design through her roles as a wife, mama, and writer. Though they stumble often, she and her husband, Brooks, strive to display God's covenant-keeping love through their marriage and oneness. They have two babies, Hadley (3) and Davy (1) and love journeying through life together for the glory of God. Find her at www.hunterbeless.com, listen to her on the Journeywomen podcast, or follow along @journeywomenpodcast on Instagram or Facebook.