As Susan opened her door for me to come in, she sighed and said, “Aren’t we just so crazy?” She laughed and we hugged. I went in to her den and found the two white poster boards in which she had penned the words to Hebrews 11:6 so beautifully in royal blue. Large. Legible. One for each team. The children will easily see and memorize. “Oh, Susan, this is perfect! Thank you!” I exclaimed. As I picked them up she and I began to laugh about how utterly overflowing our plates were. Wasn’t summer a time for relaxing, we both wondered. She, being tugged to Oklahoma to be with her working husband on weekends; her many grandchildren, whom she cherishes beyond words, off and on with her nearly all summer with their activities; and now, she is taking on presenting the Gospel in Summer Good News Clubs at an apartment complex and the YMCA one hour each per week for six weeks. And don’t forget VBS. And “cousins’ camp.” And…….on and on. I looked at her as she began to apologize for not being at the first Good News Club because her husband needed her with him this week.
“Wait,” I said, looking into her lovely burdened eyes. “Your husband is far more important than this Good News Club! Our marriages are what God instituted first. The church came next. We have plenty of leaders. You go with no guilt. He wants you. Needs you. Go be with him.” She looked at me and smiled. “You’re right, Dianne. So right. What I do for and with my husband is speaking volumes to my grand children. They are watching and if they see that busy church work is more important to me than their granddaddy, then I’ve really made marriage look less important and greatly dishonoring to God.” We looked at one another somberly. I understood her struggle to please her husband and yet to do busy gospel work. My husband and I had just purchased a beach home, something we each desired to do some day in the future. Now the future was present. And we were planning to spend some weekends there fixing it up as well as relaxing together. Yet, I was the one who brought Child Evangelism Fellowship to the attention of our Missions Pastor a few months ago. My fault! I was in all the way this summer. No wonder my neck was stiff and my head throbbed. But, I also knew the huge importance of my being with my husband. He is my covenant partner for life. My man. I’m his only one. There are others to fill the shoes of sharing the gospel for awhile. But to show the world that doing church work at the expense of being with my husband these few weekends in the summer is truly slamming the whole idea of what Christians preach about marriage being so paramount in God’s eyes. Well, it IS paramount. It is the picture of a relationship between a man and a woman, fully committed to one another as God is committed to His people. His people to love and obey Him.
Susan and I also knew that on the other side of the coin, our men had given each of us a lot of room to go and do all year; mentoring school age children, greeting folks on Sunday mornings, teaching Vacation Bible School, presenting the Gospel once a week in the local elementary school. We were not shunning church work totally. We were struggling to live in balance. My husband has his competitive pool league. I have my young mom’s group. We have separate interests. We also serve together when our friends or family have needs. We come together when needed. Our men need us now. So we go. No guilt. We pray for others in the church community to come along side us and fill in when needed. We come together and help one another out and to lift up those whose husbands have called us wives to be with them. It is a huge witness to the world who sees marriage as less than important in the culture, both in the evangelical community as well as the world in general. We cannot let that happen. Oh, Father, help all of us to see how much you desire us to hold tight to our covenant marriage and treat one another with Godly respect and to be that picture of His love for us. “Marriage should be honored by all.” Hebrews 13:4