Living in a machismo culture is a lose-lose situation for my pride.
I remember when our little family of three first moved into our humble Central American beach home. At the time, my husband Ethan was learning Spanish, so I was teaching more classes and actively involved in ministry more days a week. He ended up staying at home with our daughter more days than me, and he had to help with household chores.
“Wow, she is so lazy that her husband washes clothes while she goes out to have fun.”
“He is so amazing. There are no other men like him out there.”
And Ethan drank coffee with them and became their friends while I planned lessons, drove on gravel roads in a half-functioning microbus to teach classes to hyperactive teens, returned home late at night only to wake up multiple times to nurse our baby girl.
It was easy to feel frustrated with the situation and dream of the approval and validation of my neighbors.
After a while, Ethan became proficient enough in Spanish to take on a larger role in the program, so I started to stay home more.
I made homemade meals, cleaned the home (which takes 2-4 hours a day), washed and hung the laundry, cared for our daughter in the heat of the tropics, and continued to teach and train other volunteers.
Watching Ethan rock at teaching classes, build strong relationships, and baptize was so exciting, but a part of me was jealous.
Teaching has always been my passion, so it was sometimes hard for me to congratulate him on the success he was seeing. I didn’t always feel like celebrating with him because my role was “the lazy wife whose husband does everything.”
Whenever visitors would observe him teaching, they would compliment him on how engaging he was in the classroom and how cool his activities were. I so desperately wanted the same feedback and for them to know that I had those skills, too.
I remember one time his great uncle told us, “Ethan, I am so proud of what you do. And Amanda, it takes a very supportive woman to make a man successful.”
It was a compliment, but I did not take it that way. I wanted more credit than that. It killed me to not explain my participation in the ministry.
Isn’t this exactly what the enemy wants? And I am not just talking about division.
The enemy wants us to take credit for God’s work. To shout, “look at me and what I can do!” instead of “Wow! Look at what God can accomplish through even the most broken people and circumstances.”
It is exactly what he tempted Eve with in the Garden.
When we take credit for what God is accomplishing, we are breaking the first commandment, and we are breaking God’s heart.
So as we see fruit in ministry, let’s stop attributing it to organizations, individuals, or circumstances and start recognizing that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” -James 1:17
Whether your role is changing dirty diapers, taking out the trash, preaching to thousands, or spending hours in concentration translating Scripture, look up. Not with your nose in the air, chest puffed up with pride.
But look up expectantly for those good gifts to come raining down. Look up in praise because God is on the move and using you to accomplish His purpose.
And he does not let any good work go to waste.
What roles have been the hardest for you to have on the field?
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