Following His Lead in Marriage and Life

by Stephanie Winslow, Christian Examiner Contributor |

Marriage has taught me thousands of lessons. Lessons of choosing to love my spouse every day—even when the feelings have ebbed away. Lessons of give and take. Lessons of submission and forgiveness. Lessons of respect and honor.

Marriage has been great teacher.

Marriage has challenged my natural tendency to lead. It has challenged my need to be a leader in whatever group or relationship I am participating in. It has challenged my desire to always be the winner. And the belief that my thoughts contain within them the right answer.

As a wife, my inclination to lead needed to take a back seat to the role that I signed up for when I chose to enter into a marriage covenant with my husband. My role as wife, was and is of greater importance than my desire to be a leader. I had to, have to continue to remember whom God appointed as leader over our household, and that it is not me.

My understanding of this concept has changed over the years as God has drawn me closer to himself. Before I could really understand my role as wife, and the need to let my husband lead, I had to understand my role as daughter to the King of Kings and be willing to follow God's lead.

I had to silence my innate drive to take charge and let him lead. Then, I had to follow.

Following God's lead in my life enabled and equipped me for the roles and relationships he has placed me in. Following my husband's lead meant I first had to choose to follow the lead of my God. I first had to get aligned with his view of this world, his view of right and wrong, and his view of relationships—like marriage.

I admit, there are days when I feel like I don't know where He is leading. There are days when it seems like I am wandering in the desert like the Israelites. There are days when I just get fed up waiting on where to go next and I want to go my own way. But God is patient. And regardless of my choice to follow or not, He is still there waiting for me. He doesn't leave me. He is always just ahead of me pointing the way, ordering my steps.

Exodus 12:21-22 says, "The Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so that they could travel day or night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night never left its place in front of the people."

Just as the Lord was with Moses and the Israelites as a cloud and fire to lead them, he leads me. He leads us. He never left them. He will never leave us. Maybe his ways and methods of leading us today are not as drastic or visible as a pillar of fire or a pillar of cloud, but He still leads. It begs the question, would it make any difference if he were to lead us visibly in cloud and fire pillars today, or would we take for granted the fact that He is there, visible before us?

Maybe. Maybe not. But without a doubt—whether visible or invisible—He leads. But will we follow? As you go about your day today will you consider who has the lead of your life? Who are you following? Are you willing to follow Him wherever He leads?

—Stephanie Winslow, author of Ascent to Hope: The Rugged Climb from Fear to Faith, writes to arm others with support and encourage Christian families struggling with addiction to let go of fear and find peace in personal relationships with Christ. Mrs. Winslow holds a MA degree in Higher Education from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH, with a degree in Spanish. She is certified as a Faith and Health Ambassador through the Faith and Health Connection. Stephanie resides in St. Louis, MO with her husband and two daughters.