A few years ago my husband came to me with a job offer in another city. It was his dream job, the one he planned to keep until retirement. It would take us to a city we had lived in once before, but it wasn’t home.
We lived in our hometown, just a few minutes away from both mothers, grandmothers, aunts and uncles. We had an incredible support system of friends and family. But, he had this job offer he couldn’t turn down. We had to move.
It would be an understatement to say I was less than thrilled. I did not want to move. I did not want to leave my friends and family. I wanted my kids to go to the same school I went to. I wanted to stay in our church. I wanted to stay in our small group. I wanted to be near my family.
Then, there is that little s-word. Submission. This is one of those times that obeying God’s Word was hard. I wanted to kick and scream and stay. Instead, in submission, I packed up boxes and we moved.
I imagine Mary may have had some of those same feelings I had when Joseph told her it was time to pack up the donkey and head to Bethlehem for the census. She knew they had to go; there was no way around it. Mary, meek and mild, 9 months pregnant, followed Joseph all the way to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7). She loaded the donkey again when he said it was time to go to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). And again for the journey to Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-23)
There is no record of her protests. No “I told you so” when the inn was full. Perhaps she asked, “Are you sure, Joseph?” before following him wherever God led him. Based on Mary’s character as described in scripture, I don’t imagine she protested one time. .
Mary is best known for her role as mother of Jesus. But she was also the wife of Joseph. In both of these roles, Mary demonstrates quiet submission.
I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said. Luke 1:38
God chose Mary because of her character (Luke 1:30). She was not the type to argue with Him or with her husband. That is the kind of woman I want to be. Mary was the New Testament Proverbs 31 woman. She listened to Joseph, gave him the space he needed to make decisions. She trusted that he listened to God through it all.
Mary is an example to follow as 21st century Proverbs 31 women. We need to give our men space to hear from God. Let them lead us. And then follow.
Let’s play the what if game with Mary and Joseph.
What if Mary had approached Joseph with the news that she was carrying the Son of God full of attitude and entitlement? “Joseph, you will marry me. I don’t care what everybody is saying behind your back.” That could have closed Joseph’s heart completely. He may have turned a deaf ear to the whispers of the angel in his dream. “Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).
What if, when Joseph brought the donkey around to the front of their small house, Mary planted her wide hips in a chair and propped up her large kankles on a stool? What if she said, “I’m NOT going. I am about to have a baby, the Son of God! I want to have my mama with me! You cannot expect me to travel that far in this condition!” Then the prophecy would not be fulfilled.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Micah 5:2
What if Mary refused to move to Egypt when Joseph said it was time to go? What if she complained, whined, cried, and manipulated until Joseph gave in and stayed? Jesus could have fallen victim to King Herod’s murderous search for the baby King (Matthew 2:16).
These are all silly “what ifs.” The power of God is greater than any belligerent woman. But, play the what if game in your own life. What if God is talking to your husband, giving him direction, whispering to him in a dream? And there you are, stomping your feet saying, “No! I won’t go!” “Are you crazy?” “We can’t afford that!”
What if you are discouraging your husband from the will of God? What if you are, single-highhandedly, altering the path God has for you and your family?
There is a time for discussion. There is a place for working out plans together. But, there is also a place for quiet submission. There is a time to sit back and let your husband lead.
My story ends well. After grieving and crying for a few months, missing friends and family, I decided to wipe away the tears and make a home where we were. God has restored. He has renewed. He has given back more than I could have hoped. I have an incredible church family. My girls love their new school. My husband is so much happier in his job. We have had some growth opportunities in our family that we would not have had otherwise.
When our sweet little “surprise” was born last year, we had the space in our budget for me to stay home again. It was a blessing to hear one of my daughters say, “Mama, I know why we had to move now. It was so Barrett could be born.” This is the same daughter that hid in her closet sobbing when we told her we were moving. How that warmed my heart and encouraged me to let my husband lead as he follows God’s plan for our family!