Wives, be subject to your husbands [out of respect for their position as protector, and their accountability to God], as is proper and fitting in the Lord. (Col. 3:18, AMP)
Here I am on my bed suffering from heart palpitations on Christmas Day 2018. This is the third attack I have had in the space of 2 years. I was determined not to give the enemy the victory by heading to the A&E. I knew there was nothing physically wrong with me as in the past two episodes all tests had come up negative. By now it was late evening, and after battling in the spirit for more than 3 hours, with no abating of the palpitations, I felt the Lord saying I needed to stop fighting and be quiet as there were things He wanted to show me. I shared in Parts 1 – 3 how the Lord showed me that lack of submission to my husband was at the root of the manifestation of the heart palpitations. I had come to learn that each time they came on He was getting me to focus my attention on heart issues that He needed me to deal with.
In that quiet time with the Lord, He brought my thoughts to the second attack that had happened in the worship service one Sunday. This was more than one year after the first attack on New Year’s Day 2017. The praise and worship had been powerfully anointed and the Holy Spirit gave me a prophetic word to share with the church. Up to this point, I felt quite energetic and had been dancing up a storm as we confessed God’s awesome greatness. As soon as praise and worship finished and I sat down, out of the blue, these palpitations start. Of course, my initial reaction was, “Really!! Right here in church!!” Well, I was not about to raise an alarm and disrupt the whole worship service so when I realized that the palpitations had no intention of decreasing but were actually getting worse I discretely left my seat at the front of the church and went to the back to tell my close friend what was happening. We quickly opened up the church clinic and called on one of our ‘resident’ physicians to come and attend to me. Of course, we immediately went into spiritual warfare mode, recognizing this as an attack of the enemy. As we prayed, the palpitations actually got stronger and more painful and it was agreed that we should be wise and take me to the A&E at Andrews Memorial Hospital. I told those who accompanied me that all the tests they were going to run would come back negative and so said so done. Eventually, the palpitations eased and I was sent home to rest. Something, I must admit, I had not been doing in the days and possibly weeks leading up to the attack. I rationalized that this could have been the contributing factor, as well as an attack of the enemy coming out of the powerful praise and worship and the declarations we had made in church earlier that morning.
Despite my initial rationalizations, I was troubled. My own troubled thoughts were a reflection of the thoughts expressed by my closest friend who, like me, found it disconcerting that the enemy could come right in church and attack me like this. I knew I had to face the fact that there was still an opening in my own life that was allowing him to do so. I knew from the scriptures that the enemy has no ability to attack a believer except the Lord allow it or there be some legal authority granted to the enemy by the believer because of sin. Again, I asked Father God to reveal to me the sin issue I needed to address. I knew there were still issues that I was struggling with in my marital relationship but did not believe that they were sufficiently serious to have opened me to this level of exposure to enemy attack. However, the Lord was about to torpedo that deceptive place of complacency I had conformed to rather than seeing it for what it really was! The enemy’s subtle attack to bring division and separation and to thereby destroy God’s will for the family and His prophetic promise that ours was to be a model marriage.
Leading up to Christmas 2017, my husband expressed concern in front of our children, on more than one occasion that he hoped there would not be a repeat of what had happened the year before in terms of my heart palpitations. As he started to mention it for the third time, I lashed out at him to stop confessing this because he was opening the door to fear and I didn’t want to hear him bring up the matter again. We went through Christmas 2017 and New Year’s Day 2018 without any health issues. However, the Lord revealed to me that a spirit of resentment had entered in and had been at work in the relationship from the time I lashed out at my husband. He showed me various situations that had occurred between us since that incident that I had treated as annoyances but which the Lord said had gone much deeper in my spirit. By not forgiving my husband for the anger, hurt, disappointments and emotional distress caused by his actions and words I had allowed spirits of unforgiveness and resentment to gain a foothold. I had failed to keep short accounts with the Lord (Mt. 12:36). I have always been a very independent person and these spirits had pushed a further wedge between me and my husband that made me even more distant and self-dependent, leading me to make my own decisions without discussing them with him. I had established a wall of isolation and separation between us. There was no animosity on the surface. I was polite and respectful but the Lord said I was not yielded.
The area of particular concern to the Lord was my decisions regarding ministry. I was merrily pursuing ministry activities, agreeing to speaking engagements and getting involved in healing and deliverance ministry without getting my husband’s spiritual covering as I entered into these activities. God has declared that we are ‘one flesh’ and I was acting as a lone ranger. He rebuked me strongly and told me I was out of order. The prophetic call on my life and His need to bring me into a higher level in Him meant I needed to come into holiness – ‘nothing lacking, nothing missing’. The time had come for me to recognize my sin and take responsibility for dealing with it. The Lord went on to say that if I kept stepping out alone in ministry He would not honour my ministry even though it was in keeping with His purpose for My life. He was more interested in my ways than my works. In fact, if my ways are not pleasing to Him my works are not pleasing either. Holiness is the ultimate thing He is after in me. He sees me and my husband as one – inseparable – and when I go out on my lone ranger escapades He will not honour them because He cannot sanction something that does not line up with His Word. The word ‘submit yourselves unto your husbands as unto the Lord’ means if I cannot submit to my own husband then I am not truly submitted to Father God. It is God who has stated this requirement in His Word. It was never ordained by God that I, as a wife, operate outside of my husband’s covering. It is not about seeking my husband’s permission for everything I do but he is the spiritual covering that God has placed over my life and I had accepted and agreed to God’s governance structure as I confessed my marriage vows before God and many witnesses. When I cause my husband to be ignorant of the ministerial decisions I am making I rob him of his God-given authority and purpose of being Priest and Prophet over my life. This was Eve’s cardinal sin. She stepped out of the ‘one flesh’ ordinance God had established, acted on her own, and plunged mankind under Satan’s dominion. That’s how serious this matter of submission is. When I am without my spiritual covering I expose myself to enemy attack and that is a very dangerous place to be. God reiterated that His ordained authority in the marital relationship must be obeyed!! It is a critical part of the spiritual power that is missing in the Body of Christ and Father God wants everything to be done decently and order (1 Cor. 14:40). At that moment, I came to the realization that this matter of wives submitting to husbands is a multi-layered issue and Father God was dealing with my many layers one by one.
I went through the 9 Rs to Freedom – recognition, responsibility, repentance, receiving forgiveness, renouncing, replacing, rebuking, rejoicing and refocusing – to deal with the spirits of unforgiveness and resentment and to close those doors of access to the enemy. I also determined that I was going to start practising to share with my husband and bring a new level of intimacy to our relationship. For me, I know this would be a struggle, but I felt an assurance that since Father God had a vested interest in my success He would give me the spiritual strength to overcome (Psa. 23:3).
The fact that I was once again lying on the bed this late evening on Christmas Day 2018 with heart palpitations made it more than obvious that Father God’s processing of me was not yet complete. If I had any doubts that Father God’s heart regarding submission was just a figment of my own imagination, He was about to give me a reality check that I could not dispute.
Join me next time for the concluding episode in our ‘Submission’ series.