Our home has slowed down with most of our students returning to school two weeks ago. Now we have seven remaining students, three of whom are interning at SOS while they wait for university to begin in August. My days are filled with homeschooling my own five, including preparing Elisa to attend The Master’s University next fall. We are filling out scholarship applications and wrapping up her senior year. Her prayer request is to maximize her remaining few months here: balancing school, ministry, siblings, and relationships. She is balancing them beautifully. I am planning to escort her to Texas in May where she will have American Enculturation with Papa and Nana via California to celebrate Emma’s graduation from TMU. She will then return to California to practice with the women’s soccer team in August.
While I dread the lonely plane ride back to Uganda in mid-May, I am looking at this closing chapter of mothering daughters in my home with thankfulness. I remember being warned in the grocery store check-out with Elisa as an infant, “Just wait till they get to be teenagers,” as though my enjoyment of my daughter was sure to come to a tragic end. By God’s grace, the only tragic part of parenting her is the impending separation. I cannot fathom having an ocean separate me from my buddy who stops me throughout each day with countless hugs and “I love you, mama”. But what do I have to complain about when I’ve been given such a priceless gift of a daughter-friend? And though the nature of our relationship will become long distant, it is far from over. I’ve learned that distance, as painful as it is, helps me to not take anyone for granted. I value my extended family more than if I could enjoy their presence any time. So I anticipate my relationship with my daughters only growing sweeter in the coming years, and I’m so blessed to even have such daughters to miss! It is a far better problem than wishing my kids were out of the house, and incalculably better than lamenting over a rebel. Yes, through the tears and broken hearts, God is so good!
Missions is hard, but heaven’s glories outweigh these light afflictions.
Is his sin only his problem?
This week at Bible study, we explored the question of submission to a husband who asks you to join him in sin. I was shocked by the suggestions of compromise for the sake of preserving the relationship. Many women felt like their only conceivable option was to support their husband’s sin, lest he “chase me away.” Is this the only option?
Others’ sin always affects us. Not only our husband’s, but our kids’, our friend’s, our co-workers’…The question becomes, How do I deal with someone else’s sin? Should I be the teacher’s pet and tell on him? Should I cover for him? Should I give him space to deal with it since it isn’t my problem? Do I ignore it completely? Should I just pray for him?
Ephesians 5:11 gives a clear directive to the dilemma of how to deal with someone else’s sin: “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” This verse gives two commands: one negative and one positive.
First, DON’T participate in the sin. What is included in participating? Well, in our justice system, anyone aware of a crime who doesn’t expose it is considered guilty as an accomplice.
This brings us to the positive command which gives us the responsibility to expose the sin. If we are not exposing it, we are automatically participating in it.
Does exposing it mean blabbing it to everyone? Certainly not. At this point, I can follow the Matthew 18 principle of restoring my brother (or husband or friend) privately. I can personally expose it to him to help him get rid of it. Now if he is unwilling to listen, I can get help from one or two people, not the whole village.
Wouldn’t this just infuriate him and turn him against me? Maybe, if he is proud and unrepentant. In this case, God may be leading me down a road of suffering for His sake. Or God may be allowing his heart to harden against me to eventually release me from the marriage. Either way, I can trust my Father to only give me good gifts.
But, God may also delight to use me as the instrument of restoration for my husband. He may be enlightened to his wrongs and repent!
I got to witness this scenario this week. A wife in our church couldn’t resolve a conflict with her husband who had declared the “conversation closed”, so she shared her concerns with me. Shannon and I met with her husband the next day, urging him to not ever let the sun go down on his anger, but offered suggestions on how to pursue reconciliation. He went straight home and humbly communicated with his wife, resolving the conflict. If his wife hadn’t exposed his sin to me, they still may not be reconciled.
Toward the end of Bible study, after discussing this same passage with them, the ladies resolved to not only refrain from participating, but also to expose sin. They agreed that they’d rather preserve their relationship with God than with their husband and then trust God for the outcome. God always blesses obedience, even if He decides that the painful path is best.
Lord, make me willing and eager to take your path—regardless of the pain. I trust that your way is best.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey
Sisters, may we trust and then obey!