Thursday, August 17, 2006

Headship, Partnership and Bringing Out the Best

What is headship and submission? What is partnership in marriage, and what is Biblical?

Ha! If anyone thinks I can answer all those questions then I'm very sorry to disappoint. This will just be some refections, mainly inspired by how much I admire Byron.

I sat with Deb Hirsch recently (amazing Aussie who blessed our staff conference with her wisdom and wit and hard hitting/gently delivered truth.) We were talking about marriage and maleness, femaleness, headship, submission and all that.

It sounds to me as if her experience has been very similar to mine in that she is married to a very secure male who has never felt the need to impose leadership over her. But both Deb and I recognized that there is something there to that headship thing that we both feel is right and neither of us feel repulsed by it or rebellious toward it.

The secret seems to be in the partnership. "There can never be healthy headship until there has been healthy partnership," she said. Unless a man and woman come together as equals before God, unless they both recognize the other's worth and know deeply that they need the other, the headship thing will never work. Imposed headship can't, by definition, ever really be healthy.

It strikes me that it's just like elders and leaders. When there is spiritual authority along with functional servant leadership, you have an elder. It's almost innate. Positional leadership almost never cuts the mustard when things get down to the real stuff.

I could go on. My mind is really working through this stuff as I do the chores of packing up our house. But what it's all leading me to think about it how really wonderful Byron is.

There were a collection of reasons that led us to leave Africa in 1999. Seems you have to have quite a significant grouping of things coming together before you uproot your family and throw them all into the unknown. But one of the MAJOR PLAYERS on that list of reasons was this:

Byron wanted to go somewhere where I would blossom. He wanted to see me grow in my giftings. He wanted to see me walk into the calling God had for me that was not being realized in the wilderness of those quiet Loita Hills.

You can't possibly know how at home Byron is in Africa unless you have seen him there. You can't possibly fathom what it meant for him to walk away.

But I know.

In these last six years in Europe I have found out a lot about myself. I have become something much closer to the one God was dreaming of when he was weaving me together. Africa taught me many things and there is a strength she revealed in me that I would never have known I had. But Europe brought out a whole new set of facets. I wasn't even aware of them, really. Not in the way Byron was. He was dreaming God's dreams for me while I was not.

And yes, Europe has been good for Byron as well. But as he works so hard preparing to head back to Africa, I swear I can see the color returning to his cheeks.

Today I've been hanging the laundry on the line in the Portuguese summer sun. And all the while I've been marveling. That boy! That boy that God gave me, he's been nudging me toward my true self. He's been setting me free, calling me out, cheering me on. And think of it! He left a job and a place he loved in order to help pry open more of the heart of me.

I don't know if I've seen much of that modeled anywhere.

I think this is headship at its very best.


Amy Swacina said...

Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful example of what a marriage centered on Christ looks like.

Heather said...

That is so cool Lisa!

Hugs to you both.

Baba said...

I really admire your marriage... actually I have to confess that after meeting you guys, for the first time I thought it could be cool to be married :-)
I've seen from a far that Love Byron has for you...and I haven't seen a man denying himself so much in behalf of his wife as Byron...
I love you both...and I really admire you...
Jesus is really the centre of your lives, both individually and as a couple... and that must be the "secret"

Much Love


lisa said...

i told byron i posted about him and he said "Oh no. What did you say about me?" i told him i made him sound pretty much like jesus :-) he groaned.

jenelle said...

yes, I agree with Baba...I have never seen a marriage quite like yours. And I've never seen a boy so thrilled to let his girl shine, like Byron does with you. I'll never forget the first time he talked about leaving Africa for the sake of your gifts having room to breathe. He cried. It moved me and made me start dreaming new dreams about how husbands and wives could love each other.

I really enjoyed being a part of that conversation with you and Deb that day. I can't wait till she writes that book. And for you to write your's!

lisa said...

It seems to me that it's a seasonal thing. It's as if there are seasons for gowth that we need to sense or be aware of. I was happy to go with Byron to Africa and happy to remain there many years and in that I was following his lead, though we made those decisions together. And though there were many things that came together to take us out of Africa, this thing of it being a season of growth for me was a very big part. It's like so many things, we have to be sensitive to what it going on and respond. Life doesn't fall into place early on and then we just stay in that place. We've got to let the Lord walk us through the seasons as they arrive.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure this is the same byron that I know? What about the grumpy dad guy that I've seen around your house recently!

Baba said...

I wouldn't expect less from Byron :-)
Tell him he should read your blog :-)

Baba said...

hey, I didn't read the last post, I was replying to your post Lisa, about Byron groaning :-)

devoted said...

You've brought tears to my eyes and a glow to my heart. Go Byron. Go God! Perfect he's not (Byron that is) but an inspiration for sure.

Thanks for keeping on writing in the midst of the packing. May your traveling go smoothly. Elizabeth