As I open my laptop and sink back with a sigh of ease into the couch, kids are joyously practicing music for Sunday, and my wife is chopping some tasty ingredients for her pasta sauce. Lily is running around with one to five babies in her arms saying “baby… baby” like an alarm clock that just won’t shut off at 5am. She does have such a beautiful sweet little voice though, even if it never stops talking.
Just an hour or so ago we sampled my wife’s latest baking masterpiece, Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake. Yesterday, she and Charity spent half the afternoon preparing some goodies for us all to try. She wasn’t much of a baker when we married, but I must say, she is spectacular now. Maybe you’ve seen her post about Marshmallow Fondant, which has had nearly 35,000 hits to date. She’s so cool.
I often take great joy from the functionality of our home. I am pleased by how our “army of clean” mobilizes and reconstructs the designed order faster than a Fantasia wizard. I need only give the order and POOF cleanliness happens. And they love it. They love it, and I love it! They love to help. It is our culture now. We now have a culture of helping each other be happy and successful, and making each other more productive in our calling.
Often we get asked how we do “it”. “It” being whatever it is that we do. What do we do that merits such a question? And if you knew how we do what we do would you care anyhow since you don’t want to do what we do? Perhaps the how is only fully experienced in the doing of some things. Truthfully though, this home is an organism that is functional, successful, and thriving for a reason.
It’s nice now to be reaping the fruits of a field planted over a decade ago. We have sowed into the good ground bountifully and reaped tenfold what we poured in. Reading a book or hearing a quote, even sitting through an inspirational conference won’t change your life. You will change your life. Coaching is great, but words don’t raise children or function in marriage, people do. We do choose, for the most part, what direction we will guide each of those relationships and institutions in our lives, and we will one day receive of the direction that we have chosen. If you’re headed the wrong direction in your life, or seeing the fruits of bad decisions starting to come out, make haste to change before you run out of time to see good produce.
When we were younger (like none of your business how young younger) we decided that we were going to make decisions in our home based on what the Bible teaches. It really took place out of necessity more than some miraculous saint-like disposition. We were so young and so green that we just didn’t feel qualified to run our lives without help. We needed knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of outcome that wasn’t simply “natural” or commonly taught for that matter. My wife and I are both planners. We think things through and do them methodically. Planning life, which cannot be “redone”, was a terrifying adventure that we needed advice on. Out of a necessity to succeed in life and parenting we took the counsel of God as our constitution and have made our choices based on that.
The Bible, with its romantic Shakespearean vocabulary and tone can seem a little archaic most times today. Especially in our generation where our one year olds are showing us how to do things on our IPhones, Google has replaced our memory and education, and our cars are telling us when to turn right. We are very far removed from the world in which the Bible was penned. Our culture today is very different from the culture of the first century, let alone 1600 – 400 BC where most of the pages of the Bible come from. Clothing has changed. Time use has changed. Employment has changed. Technology has changed. Travel has changed. Education has changed. Equality has changed. Politics have changed. Affections have changed. So much has changed. Yet, for all that has changed in the world, the Bible has still remained just as relevant and accurate as always. It just takes a little more effort to unearth the diamonds after these years. Don’t believe those who would take your mind and money by swaying you to their voice instead of God’s. His ways are right. Those four words, His ways are right have been the base of all that we do, and may we gently and humbly say, all that we succeed in doing by “how we do what we do” is to God’s credit and the miraculous accuracy of His ways found in His words. His ways are right, every time.
I am the head of our home. I am handed that position. (Yikes) God given, and God designed, because that is what the Bible teaches. I am both responsible to have the final say, and to give account for our home one day to God.
Now before any mother, wife, mother-in-law, aunt, sister, cousin, friend of the family, neighbour, or innocent blog onlooker string me to be tarred and feathered, please hear me out.
I don’t like being in charge. I don’t like the stress, and I don’t like the responsibility. I don’t want to be the boss. I want to be the guy who blames the boss. I am the king of the castle, but I didn’t vote me here nor do I want to sit in any throne. When we sit down to dinner, my wife and I both sit at the head of our table, because I would rather sit beside her than seem to be in charge.
You see, when the leadership race was introduced early in our relationship, there were only 3 voters, and my wife and God voted for me. Year after year, as the occasional election is called, my wife votes me, and threatens the life of anyone who votes against me! I am only as close to my potential as a man as I am because my wife has decided that I can be that close. She has helped me to be me. And just like Adam was not complete or satisfied in this world without his wife, nor can I be. Without her, I would be just a boring balding guy with tendonitis in my thumbs from the decades of videogame addiction and no real purpose to do anything different. But with her encouraging me to thrive as a man, I can do things that only she would have dreamed of. I am writing this post, and have been posting more of late, because she has encouraged me to. She has been, as she often does, leading me to lead by suggesting following my leadership.
It felt odd at first, me being the head of the home. I… and you both know that my wife is smarter, wiser, more qualified, and makes better decisions than I do. She is better with money than me. (Okay, that may be the most understating understatement ever understated) She thinks things through better than me. She is more patient than I am. She keeps her temper better than me… No I take that back. No… I take back taking it back because I fear the repercussions. She is also much better looking than I am. (Timing is everything) Yet she decides, with all of these traits to her name, to let me lead the way the Bible teaches me that I should.
Don’t get me wrong, if I were a jerk about it, and abused my place, I would definitely hear about it. From the time we first understood our roles in the home, I have always told her that I need her companionship in leading. I lead leaders. I am accountable to lead well because they know better than I how to lead.
Keona is a leader. She’s still in need of a lot of maturing, but she understands her role. Everyone copies the basics of her culture. When all the rewards are tallied and the credit is given, I believe that Keona will have had as much of the reward for our successful home as Jaclyn or I may. She is the assistant parent, the motivation from within the crowd, the conscience of the next generation. She knows that if she were to decide to lead them into something destructive, she could. But I have told her, just the same as Jaclyn, or even my three clones, that if they believe that I am doing something wrong, I need to know so I don’t make a mess. We are accountable as followers to help our leaders to lead us.
(Lily had to be forcibly removed from the park)
I am not a fan of homes or anything else being a dictatorship. I believe that we should run our home the way God shows us and tells us to. We won’t turn this into a Bible study, but simply put, a husband has responsibility to lead the home sacrificially, humbly, and in unselfishness, not with a baton. We as husbands need to take up our responsibility at home like Christ took up the cross, and follow Him in how we carry our home. Often, if we didn’t have such capable and determined ladies to lead the home, our homes would be a total disaster, because most men don’t give a rip if it falls apart. It’s time that men started being men who are worth following rather than quoting something legalistically to get their way or ranting in a tantrum like a bratty 3 year old. You wonder where your children learn to treat you like that? Seeing now how my daughters, nearing a difficult age, treat me so much like my wife treats me, I am so so so thankful for a wife that has taught them by example to follow in love. I believe she will reap the fruits of her decision to follow in her daughters as they come to their teenage years. Lead in love, by loving, and love will be the result.
Why is important. Since when does God tell us directly to do something and say “don’t talk back about it… and bake me some brownies.” God, just the opposite, wants us to bring everything we ever have a concern with to Him in prayer and request, so that we can understand why. Most people get bitter with God or never understand why because they don’t ask Him why. In most cases, He will help us to see “why”. (Also, in most cases, we don’t want to know why because we or our dumb decisions are why) I am in a stage of seeing “why” all around me in so many parts of life, including our home. Most people don’t communicate the “why” because they either don’t know, or don’t want you to know. Besides, how can any child ever learn how to make decisions if we never explain our decisions? Communicating the “why” is one of the most important details in communicating to those you lead.
As I write this, my cake baking, dinner making, photo taking, stay at home “domestic engineer”, homeschooling, mother of eight wife is telling me not to make my post too long. Ha. Too late honey, but thanks for the reminder.
I wonder how many men never reach their potential as a husband or father because they were never given a chance to grow into their role and thrive. The truth is, most of us are not qualified or good at it, especially at first. But you can never know how great a marriage and home you can have unless you are willing to trust the hope, and the words that recommended the hope.
I am the head of our home. I don’t own it; it is ours. I don’t even really do all that much compared to others here. But I will take the advice of the leader who follows me and grow into the man that God intends me to be.
“But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:11-12)