Discovering the joy of submission

by Audrey Hardy
As the Lord’s return draws closer, I am confident that God has great things in store for women – thus the need to take our place and understand our role in these times.
Having travelled extensively with my husband over the past 15 years, visiting churches and staying with church leaders in their homes, I have encountered deep needs among women everywhere, and witnessed many extremes… from women running churches and competing with men for positions of authority, to women being treated as second class citizens, blindly submitting to their husbands in obedience to Ephesians 5: “Wives submit to your husbands…”
Sadly, many women today do so begrudgingly and not in freedom – often harbouring anger, bitterness and resentment in their hearts. As a pastor’s wife, I too have experienced difficult times in my marriage and in my service for the Lord, but it was the other extreme. I have known what it is to compete with my husband, and the elders of our church, trying to hold on to a position I was convinced was rightfully mine. It led me to exercise an authority in the flesh, and this resulted in problems within the church and our family – I even contemplated divorce! Yet, all along, I genuinely wanted to serve the Lord, but didn’t realise that my service to Him was not worth much with my life in that state. I praise God for my husband, Miki, who, when we needed it the most, decided to take the road of the cross and was willing to pay the price, to humble himself, and to die to self, for me – just as Jesus gave His life for the Church. It saved our marriage!
Looking back, I realise that my heart had become hard. God had to break me so I could accept Miki as he was and submit to him, instead of forever trying to change him into the person I wanted him to be! As I started to feel his heart for me, I dropped my defences and began to discover the security and rest found in true submission – not out of law or principle – but from the heart.
To take my place alongside Miki, and be a support to him, became my priority – I had nothing to lose or fear. The call of God on my life was still going to be fulfilled, but with the right heart!
Today, I can happily say that Miki and I have become best friends – something I never thought possible. I realise that his responsibility as a servant of God is far greater than mine and for nothing in the world would I want to be in his shoes… I have so much respect and admiration for him, for the way he has given his life and serves the church. I now can understand the respect Sarah had for Abraham!
My relationship with the pastors of the church has never been better. I have found my place and rejoice in serving the Lord, my family, the church, and those in need with the gifts He has given me, but in rest and not under pressure as I had done in the past.
Thank God for the revelation of the Gospel of the Cross, and the message of grace. It has changed my life as a Christian and brought peace to our home and in the church!
To my dear brothers, I can only say: if you truly want your home to glorify God and your wife to become a support to you – take up your cross! Allow the Lord to work in your heart and change you. Let your precious wife feel your heart for her; not by buying her flowers, but by being willing to die for her, to humble yourself… and watch the Lord work the greatest miracle in your marriage!   
AUDREY HARDY, is married to Michel (Miki) Hardy and together they lead Church Team Ministries International. For more information please see OF theJOY Sadly, many women today do so begrudgingly and not in freedom – often harbouring anger, bitterness and resentment in their hearts. discovering