Wife After the Pink Slipposted on November 11th, 2011 / by Connie Brown / 9 Comments
It was exactly two years from the time my husband had resigned as senior pastor in Tulsa (July 19, 2002) and had been hired (July 19, 2004) as a pastor at the church we were attending. The transition season had been God’s timing all along, yet it was incredibly painful. The Lord had so much to teach us, so many things to work out of us and in us.
The Lord had transitioned us. Yet, at the beginning of that season I had no idea how long it would last. But I did know I was in a battle I had never fought before. The enemy wanted to emasculate my husband, disillusion my sons, and he was hoping I would participate in his evil scheme. How I responded in this season of joblessness would make all the difference.
Your Position of Power
As wives, we have no idea how much power we wield. It is meant to be a holy position of influence that brings out the best in our husbands, that believes in the promises and purposes the Lord has spoken over our husbands’ lives. But, sadly, it can also be used to discourage, demean, and render our husbands fruitless.
I could not let that happen. God in His grace gave me wisdom and determination as I faced each new day. Some days had new challenges, some days the challenges were the same–but more fierce. Every now and then I would have a really wonderful day and feel God’s continuing to restore us and give us hope. So I “set my face like a flint” (Isaiah 51:7), cried, wept, wailed in prayer and never, ever let go of the promise over Larry’s life! Candidly, some days I held on better than other days, but every day God was holding me, teaching me, loving me, and helping me.
The season of joblessness is a transition, not an end. Something has ended—your husband has lost his job, and it is okay—good, even—to grieve. Yet God in His majesty has more planned for you and your husband. There is still a good future ahead for those who put their trust in Him (Jeremiah 29:11; 31:17).
As believers we are on a journey of life, not death (I John 8:51). The journey through joblessness will feel like the shadow of death is looming, but you are not to fear that shadow. God promises to be with you in this valley. He is protecting you, providing for you, guiding you, and comforting you as you travel through it. This valley, child of God, is not your permanent residence. You are on a journey through the valley. As conflicting as it may feel, while you travel through the valley of transition, goodness and mercy are following you (Psalm 23). These are God promises. Hold on to them.
As you move through this season of struggle, decide how you will respond to the obstacles in the valley. Your response and choices will determine what kind of residue, if any, you carry with you. Determine now not to carry garbage out of the valley. Determine to find yourself glowing with a greater depth of relationship with your husband and your Creator when you emerge on the other side.
Your husband is not an obstacle in this valley, but you will be tempted to treat him as if he is. There are some practical things you can do to promote peace, love, and relationship during your transition season. Seek to support, not change, your husband.
He Has Lost More than His Job
The Lord made men to be providers and protectors. In our culture, a man’s source of income is a means to this end. His job not only provides for his family, but it is also a source of supply for his personal sense of accomplishment, purpose, and friendships. When your husband finds himself jobless, he has lost what makes him feel valuable and connected. He has lost the ability to provide, he has lost friends, and he has lost what makes him feel like a man. It is important for us as women to realize what our husbands have lost. Why? Because he still has you. How you respond to his loss is vital! You can break him, or you can stand beside him and fight for his dignity and destiny.
One night, I remember watching him pour over the bills, saying no to the nonessentials. He was so hurt that his family did not have the life we were accustomed to, and he apologized for not providing as he had in the past. It broke my heart to see him agonize. As he spoke, the Holy Spirit whispered something in my spirit to say to Larry. I meant every word, but I had no idea how much of an impact it would have.
I said, “Larry, my security is not in what you can provide for me materialistically, but in who you are in the Lord. I am secure as long as you are seeking the face of God, and I know you are.”
Then I said, “Honey, our provision is God’s responsibility, and I know God has good plans for you.”
I let him know that I was not scared, and that we were in this battle together. He knew from that point on that we were a team. These statements freed Larry from any shame or guilt the enemy so desperately wanted him to live under. It freed him to pursue God’s purposes and plans in our transition time. It freed him to take on God assignments, not just any assignment or job but the ones that were from above, and for a while it was men’s clothing.
For Larry these statements were the most meaningful above everything else I did or said. He has recounted that moment to many men who have lost their jobs, and the reaction is always the same: tears. Why? It is a huge weight to carry perceived or real disappointment, failure. It is an even bigger relief to have your wife say, “Don’t carry that. I believe in you. I love you, not my house, car, or bank account, but you.”
Women desire security. God made us that way. We love to have our homes furnished and decorated, putting our personal touches on our families’ most important environments. We want to know that our children will be provided for and well taken care of with security and stability. As pastors, we had served in many churches and moved many times. God, and who my husband was in the Lord—knowing that Larry heard Him—had become my stability.
There is a beautiful picture of security and stability being rooted in the presence of God in I Kings 7:21. Solomon had commissioned the work to begin on the Temple that King David had only dreamed of seeing. Many beautiful pieces were cast as part of the décor, including two bronze pillars that were to be placed at the entrance of the Temple. Hiram, the craftsman, named the pillars Security (Jachin) and Stability (Boaz). When the Temple was complete (chapter 8 ) with the Ark of the Covenant in place in the Holy of Holies, the glory of God filled the Temple. His presence was so strong that the priests could not stand (vs. 11).
The people and the priests passed by the pillars daily as a reminder that in the presence of the Lord there is security and stability, regardless of present circumstances. As temples ourselves of the living God, with His presence continually in us, we have both security and stability. He is your refuge; dwell with Him in the secret place. He is your shield, fear no evil, He will lift you up and establish you. He is your salvation; trust in Him (Psalm 91).
You Have an Enemy, and It’s Not Your Husband
Can the enemy really get into your head like that? If I had ever doubted before that the battlefield was my mind, and the enemy wanted it for his territory (2 Corinthians 10:3–6), I no longer had any doubt.
Life was tough. My sons were sad. Larry was sullen (not a word ever associated with my man if you know him). We were all weary of living like that—apartment life, no backyard, no extra spending money, no eating out, no vacations, very little relational support.
Then it started, early one morning: Your husband is not a good provider. It was the Accuser in my head (as if I really needed more battles!). It was so unexpected. I was not even fully awake; he was messing with my sleep (big mistake). It went on for months—same statement, same time every morning. The enemy was after my thought life and wanted me to turn on Larry, make Larry the bad guy.
We do have an enemy, ladies, but it is not our husbands. Satan wants us to turn on our men as if they are our enemies. How better to destroy a marriage than to kick ‘em while they’re down? We have a choice: either believe the enemy’s lies or fight the enemy. Your husband can be all that God designed him to be. This transition season may be God’s timing to work in him and develop him.
So pray and speak blessings over your husband, because there is great power in your words (Proverbs 15:4; 18:21). Speak the truth about him. When the enemy attacks your thought life and accuses your husband, fight back by recounting the good things about him, his purposes, his God promises, and the good plans the Lord has for him.
Take a stand! Tell the enemy he is not welcome in your head. Ask the Lord to show you wonderful things about your man that you have not discovered yet or may need to discover again. Your husband is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). He is mighty like the mighty men of David (1 Chronicles, 2 Samuel)! You go, girl! Drive a stake in the ground. It stops here! The enemy will not mess with our guys, especially not through us!
He Is Still the Head of Your Home
The one with the most points or money wins, right? That may be the world’s order of things, but it is not God’s order. Supplication, in fact, is asking for God’s order of things in your life, your husband’s life, your children’s lives, your work.
There is an order God has appointed for our homes. The husband is the head of the home. This does not change just because he no longer has work. We are to continue to mutually submit (“defer” is the best Greek translation) to one another. We need to respect the position God has placed our husbands in within our home, regardless of income. Even if you bring in a great income, he is still the head of your home. After all, being “head” is not just about money.
God told Adam to subdue the earth, bring out the best in the earth. Our husbands are called to bring out the best in their families, to watch over and protect their families. Can you imagine what would happen to our number system if each numeral did not have a consistent position? The numeral 1 is not better, more significant, or more important than the numerals 2, 3, or 4. However, they all must be in their assigned positions for the numbering system to work: 1, 2, 3, 4. If they decided to not live according to the numbering system, imagine how confusing it would be and how it would mess us up: 2, 1, 4, 3.
We all live in systems, whether they are at work, church, or school. We respect the order of things in these systems, which is how they function best. Your home will function at its most blessed state when your husband’s position as head of your home is honored and respected.
Get a Grip and Help Him Keep His
When you hear the phrase get a grip, you know that for a woman that means, “Get hold of your emotions.” You will be on a roller coaster ride of emotions that can be physically nauseating through this bumpy season of transition. But your nausea does not have to land on those riding with you, especially your husband.
Larry was emotionally drained, and my emotions were overflowing. I soon realized that my “honest sharing” was only adding to the drain of the season for Larry. How was I supposed to communicate? Should I not be able to tell Larry how I feel? I struggled to find a good balance of when to share and how much to share. I found that emoting alone to the Father or to very close, trusted friends was my best outlet. Larry did not need to hear all my feelings; in fact, it was best that he not.
I chose to confide in the ladies’ life group I was leading. They prayed for me, believed with me, and helped me keep my emotional balance. I found that it gave Larry more life to find me “purged”, having released my emotions to the Lord and to my friends. I asked the Lord to line up my emotions up via His Word and the Holy Spirit. Having a grip on my emotions allowed me to make wise decisions about what to share and when. Larry needed and wanted to hear my heart, but he did not need to bear the weight of them. His load was already heavy enough.
Men have a different grip, and it usually involves a weapon. God made them fighters. In 2 Samuel 23:10, the Bible says this about one of the “mighty men of David,” Eleazar: “He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day” (ESV). Eleazar fought so long and hard that his hand was so weary it stuck to his weapon.
Your husband is fighting too. You may not understand how he fights or what weapons he uses to fight, but he is fighting. His hand will grow weary. The battle of joblessness is a fierce battle! You cannot fight for him, but when his hand loosens on his sword from weariness, put your hands over his and help him keep his grip. How? Remind him who he is—God’s version, not disappointment’s version. Take him to your bed, and treat him like a warrior home on furlough. Yep! You got it. Serve him in ways that you know will bless him. There’s no room for pride or “rights.” Establish an atmosphere of peace in your home, and never play the blame game. Remember that he is a mighty man, and God will bring a great victory in His time.
My Prayer for You
As you journey through this season of transition, I pray that . . .
- you will feel the tangible power and presence of God.
- you will have the grace to approach your husband in a loving and honoring manner.
- you will have the supernatural ability to respect him, regardless of his income or marketplace standing.
- you will develop a deeper and more unconditional love for each other.
- God will return to your children what was lacking in provision ten fold in character and calling.
- you will not loose sight of what is important and what is merely temporary.
May God bless you as you journey. May the promise of what is to come flood your heart and mind as Christ Jesus Himself has made you His.