My son, that little boy who spent a good part of his childhood collecting plastic model airplanes and watching Maverick and Goose fulfill their “need for speed” in the film Top Gun, achieved his dream. He earned the gold wings of a Naval Aviator. Knowing all that it took for him to get there, I couldn’t have been more proud, yet I wasn’t there to see it.
He wasn’t alone in this. His wings were pinned on to his uniform by his beautiful wife, Brooke, who has taken over the care, feeding and nurturing of Andrew, a position I happily relinquished to her at their wedding more than a year ago. As a mom, it was hard not being there to witness my son achieve such a milestone. In fact, it was more than hard, but I took great comfort in knowing that he has a Christ-loving wife at his side.
It was Brooke who made sure to keep me included. We live in amazing times thanks to technology. With the help of the internet, cameras on our phones, Instagram and Facebook, I got to see it in almost real-time, as Brooke gathered photos and sent them to me across the ocean.
The reason I couldn’t be there to witness this momentous occasion in person is that Brooke and I both take our God-given roles as wives very seriously. As the date of Andrew’s winging ceremony moved further out with every thunderstorm and weather delay, I tried to make airline and hotel reservations, only to reschedule. When the date was finalized and clearly would not be delayed again, I just about cried to realize that I had committed to traveling with my husband on a business trip to Hawaii that same weekend. Did you catch that? A business trip to Hawaii.
I had a choice to make. Send my husband off to Hawaii by himself and travel instead to Florida for the winging ceremony, or stand by my husband. Ah, Hawaii, you say. What suffering! It’s true. There was no bad choice for me: Travel to Florida and share a once in a lifetime event with my son, or a week on the beaches of Maui.
For many, the answer is obvious. “Of course, you will go to…” and their answer depended on their perspective. Being with my son was the obvious choice to many, but to my circle of sisters in Christ, and to Andrew and Brooke, my place is with my husband.
At Andrew and Brooke’s wedding, guests were treated to a rustic wooden sign with white-painted lettering that read from the book of Ruth 1:16: “Where you go, I’ll go. Where you stay, I’ll stay.” I’d like to think that my choice to stay with my husband rather than my son set a good wifely example for Brooke, but the truth is, she doesn’t need my example. She already lives out the words of the Bible. You can read more about her journey as a new wife and a Navy wife in her own words at replantingourroots.wordpress.com.
It is clear to me, to Andrew and Brooke and to the ladies of my Bible study group, that my place is with my husband. Andrew has been blessed with a beautiful Christian wife to stand by him, so my task now is to let her have her rightful place by him by not being that interfering mother-in-law. It’s been easy for me, but there are times when I would rather be that mom that shows up at the ceremony expecting to take the stage and participate in pinning the wings onto my son. Just imagine our four hands, mine and Brooke’s, sharing in this limelight. Seems a bit crowded in my mind’s eye, but that’s just me.
Another reason for me not to be there is that Andrew doesn’t need me there. He has Brooke. It’s up to me to stay out of the way of their relationship and allow her to be the wife that God wants her to be, something a young wife can’t do when his mother won’t relinquish her position next to her son.
We are told in Ephesians 5:31, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
This verse is not only in Ephesians. Ephesians is quoting from an earlier Old Testament verse in Genesis, where God created marriage. Seems to me that a verse that is given in the Old Testament and repeated in the New Testament is meant to be taken pretty seriously.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 NKJV)
The reason we look to the Bible for instruction on how to act in marriage is because God created marriage. The government didn’t create marriage, though the government does try to own, define and control it.Think of all the licenses the government issues. Driver’s licenses, hunting and fishing licenses, automobile registrations, and many more are all time-limited and revocable. Only a marriage license is issued once and remains in place unless and until the husband and wife file in a court of law for dissolution of the marriage. Clearly, marriage is larger than what ought to be included in the limited power of the government, but by giving a tax deduction to a married couple, the government purchased the right to control it. Though they might control the definition of marriage, the government isn’t so helpful in defining how to be a good husband or wife.
I can ask my friends what they would do if faced with a choice of standing by their husbands or going to witness an important event for their child, and for many, a once in a lifetime event such as earning the wings of a Naval Aviator is an easy choice, but for those of my friends who are followers of Christ the answer is also easy.
Jesus tells us that following Him is easy and the burden is light.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV)
That’s because when we make decisions according to His instruction, the choices are easy and the burden light because we know in our hearts that we are doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is not always easy, but it does help you sleep at night.