One of the challenges faced by married women, when called by God to ministry, is the acceptance, cooperation and support of their husbands. Many married women have rejected the call of God, or struggled to fulfil it, because of the confusion, problems and challenges they face with their husbands, within their marriages.
These are not unbelieving husbands; these are believing, God-fearing and faithful men, who love the Lord. However, I have come to realise that it takes a very brave man to accept and support the call of God on his wife’s life; a man who possesses the inner strength and fortitude to surmount the cultural obstacles and stereotypical challenges he would face in accepting and supporting such a call.
Indeed, there are people who think a woman cannot or should not start her own ministry or make a personal commitment to serving God, if she is married. There are also those who cannot even begin to imagine God commissioning a woman to start something, anything, (on her own) if she is married. There are yet others who believe that God must first consult with the husband and seek his consent, before speaking to his wife.
Well, it appears the Sovereign God had not read the memo when He sent an angel to young Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph. In those days a betrothal was more than a modern engagement; it meant the bride price had been paid and a binding contract made between the two families. The couple were considered married, even though the actual marriage ceremony had not been performed.
Undoubtedly, the greatest assignment God could ever give a human being is to carry and birth the Messiah. It is astonishing, therefore, that God chose Mary, a young betrothed teenage woman, and approached and discussed the details of this ultimate divine assignment with her, without first speaking to or seeking the approval of Joseph, the man to whom she was betrothed! (Luke 1:26-33)
“Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?””
What I find more amazing is that Mary’s immediate concern was not what Joseph would think, but rather, how she could possibly fulfil the divine assignment without the involvement of a man! When the angel had assured her of the presence, power and provision of the Holy Spirit to enable her to fulfil the divine assignment, Mary’s immediate response was to surrender to the Lord…
“Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
When I responded to the call of the Lord on my life, I had already been married for several years. However, like Mary, after the Lord had assured me of His continued presence, provision and protection, I said “Yes,” way before I told my husband and young children. Actually, it did not even occur to me that I needed my husband’s approval or permission before surrendering to the Lord. Jesus was (and still is) first in my life and I would do anything for Him. Thankfully, my husband is one of those very brave men described earlier, and he embraced God’s plans and purposes for my life.
Unfortunately for Mary, however, though Joseph was a righteous man, he could not handle the fact that she had accepted the call and was with “Child of the Holy Spirit.” Joseph could not handle the thought that what Mary carried did not come from his own loins. His manhood was greatly challenged and undermined. After all, as her betrothed and head, he should have had an input or been given some form of control over the whole situation? Joseph could not handle the nagging from family members or the admonishment of friends, or the ridiculing and taunting of the neighbours. Joseph could not handle the whispering behind his back and the shame that caused him!
This is often the biggest challenge faced by men whose wives respond to the call to serve the Lord. I have listened to countless stories from women who genuinely love the Lord and have heard His call and are willing to serve Him, but are hindered because their husbands are not in agreement. You only have to scratch the surface of the problem to find the same cultural and stereotypical arguments rearing their heads.
How do we resolve this, and what could be the solution? I have found that there are two things a wife could do:
1. Surrender to the Lord
The first thing to do is to say “yes” to the Lord and surrender your life and will to Him. Ask Him to prepare you, as He shows you what He wants to do with you. If you’ve already said “Yes,” ask Him to prepare you.
Either way, cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit by spending more time in prayer and in the word. Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare you, to teach you, to lead and guide you. Write down all that He tells or shows you.
Unless the Lord specifically tells you otherwise, or gives you specific instructions about what to do, just wait on the Lord. This will show your submission to your husband.
Ultimately, you will learn humility and obedience through this experience and time of waiting.
2. Pray for Your Husband
The second thing to do is to pray for your husband. Pray earnestly that God would cause your husband to dream, like Joseph
“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.””
It is only by revelation that a husband would recognise that what his wife carries is of God. Therefore pray earnestly that God, by divine means, would reveal His plans and purposes for your life to your husband. If, indeed, he is a righteous man, your husband will acknowledge God and embrace those plans and purposes, and together you will serve God through the ministry.
As soon as Joseph dreamt, he took ownership of what Mary carried. And from that day, God did not speak to Mary about the Child again, but conveyed all instructions through Joseph. (Matthew 2:13-14, 19, 22).
God often talks to my husband, Pastor Cobby, about the things that would impact me and the ministry before speaking to me about it. In this way, my husband is able to encourage, advised and support me. I have shared this ‘secret’ with many women, and it has worked for them, as they’ve surrendered to the Lord and prayed for their husbands.
God’s call is not to divide your marriage. Deborah was still described as the wife of Lapidoth, even though God raised her up as a judge and warrior in Israel (Judges 4:4). If God has called you, it is His responsibility to bring understanding to your husband, AND HE WILL, as you pray.
By Apostle Jennifer Abigail Lawson-Wallace
A woman in tune, listening and obeying