Why does my husband keep looking for houses in the desert?

Two weekends ago at church Doug preached such a profound message. This post started out as “last weekend at church…” and I was going to publish it last week but a funny thing happened. As soon as I started writing about what this post was about I could not stop doing what I was telling myself not to do in this post. Are you still with me? It will make more sense if you keep reading but essentially, I had to get square with the Lord and Jesse otherwise I would have been sending this out as a fraud. So we are all good now, lets move on.

The message TWO weekends ago, struck me to my heart. I’ll give you an overview but I would encourage you to click here to listen to it. (If that link works I am going to be so super proud of myself. If it takes you to something unsavory or questionable forgive me please.) We are learning about our faith by studying Elijah’s faith. Our passage for the weekend was 1 Kings 19:1-9. In this passage Ahab has come back to Jezebel and tells here about what happened on Mount Carmel. Basically he tells her the God just had a major dunk fest on the prophets of Baal and made a huge mockery of them, and killed them all. However Ahab only sees it as Elijah’s handy work so…..check it out:

1 Kings 19: 1-9

1Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.

2Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”

3And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”

5He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.”

6Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again.

7The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.”

8So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

9Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”


Point one was that people have the power to hurt your heart. Doug pointed out that Elijah was a great man of faith but his faith was shaken by the fact that Jezebel threatened him. He also pointed out that Elijah’s fear erased from his mind the victory Elijah just had at Mount Carmel. Doug also warned us to be careful of people like Jezebel who use emotion and drama to throw us off base.

Point two was that Elijah’s runaway feelings were a terrible guide for him because they led him to run to the wilderness. Things then go from bad to worse and he is ready for the Lord to kill him. But the Lord does not kill him. No, he shows up and cares for him proving that God will always meet us in our messes that we create—ALWAYS.

Point three was that healing is a journey. God is going to work this out with Elijah and it is going to take some time. Like 40 days and 40 nights of travel through desert. Doug taught us that when we run to the wilderness it will end up leading us to the presence of God every time. That is the whole point of a wilderness.

This is a very quick summation just so we are all on the same page. The part that really got me was point two. That is probably because Doug “hit pause” as he says, crouched down and said, “Ladies, your words are very powerful, you have the ability to send a man with very strong faith running for the wilderness.” Thanks Pastor, got it. I honestly praise God that we have a pastor that will be so dang offensive. I mean I might be alone in this but I want to know these things. As soon as he pointed that out it literally jumped off the page. Jezebel threatens, Elijah runs. Here’s why this was so profound. I HAVE LIVED THIS OUT. Sarah threatens, Jesse runs to the wilderness.

People, I’m gonna be real with you. Somewhere along the way I learned to eviscerate and emasculate men so they bow down and do what I want. I blame 90’s chick rock. Gwen Steffani, Meredith Brooks and the like. I also blame Eve for getting cursed in the garden. I blame Adam for not slapping that fruit out of Eve’s hand. But when I am done blaming what do I do then?

Here is the problem with using my powerful words to get Jesse to do what I want, it leaves me with a husband who would rather run for the wilderness than live with me. Jesse’s favorite proverb is 25:24— It's better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. If he ever gets a tattoo it will probably be this. This is the problem with going to bible school together, you just hurl proverbs at each other. Anyway, the point is: As satisfying as it is to yell and scream, threaten and demean, critique and criticize, I am actually driving him further away. As a woman, what I really want is a husband who is leading, gives a crap about the kids, loves me, pursues me, and is engaged in our life. If I believe the example of this story with Elijah and Jezebel (and I do), then my habit of eviscerate him is actually doing the opposite. So if you catch your husband looking at Relator.com and his search is labeled, “Get thee to thy wilderness,” you might have a problem with your words too.

My awareness of how my words effect Jesse happened while we were at bible school. I was lovingly encouraging Jesse to do his homework and SWP and be happy about it. I was alerting him to the fact that I was doing so much more than him and yet I had all A’s and he did not. I pointed out that he had always had a hard time with school and now was the time to finally overcome that by pulling up his big boy pants and getting to work. I used scripture to prove my point. And do you know what he had the audacity to do? He yelled back at me, “You are the worst encourager I have ever met!” To which I replied, “Oh my gosh honey, you are so right, I am so sorry, you are the greatest husband and provider and I am so lucky to have you, you are my hero.” Do you believe that? Good, because I am not going to disclose what I said because this is my blog and I will do what I want.

I was stung though. I was the worst encourager he had ever met???? Did he know how many people I taught to ride a horse? Did he know how much encouragement that took? I was so confused. Fortunately for me I was in a prime spot for God to teach me. I want to tell you what I learned.

God taught me men do not need woman to tell them how many mistakes they are making. They already know and they are desperate to make sure we don’t find out! They want to be the knight in shining armor that shows up to rescue us. When we critique them its as if we shot their horse right between the eyes and lit them on fire in their armor. God taught me that when he says that he has begun a good work and He is good and faithful to complete it, it means He will and does not actually need me to “Holy Spirit” anyone into submission. I am to be his helpmate. The perfect compliment to his life. Not the thing that makes him run to the wilderness, or roof top or what have you.

So let me ask you this. Do you have the thought: “Sarah, if I don’t tell him what to or how to do it he will literally fail all the time. He will lose his job, he will not help me at all, and we will sink.” That’s crazy! I have never had those thoughts!! Except for every minute of the day. Ok, I’m going to push pause like Doug does and crouch down and say, “Ladies listen to me….THAT IS YOUR PRIDE!” Your husband is a grown ass man. It is time we started treating them like grown ass men. Not only that but God says your husband is your leader. Don’t like that? Take it up with God, He will convince you that He knows what He is doing. God’s job is to grow us into a better representation of Him, so of course He will put us in situations that feel as though they are impossible. Thats how we learn to rely on Him.

Let me be honest with you. As soon as I started writing this post, guess what? All I seemed to be able to do was tell Jesse all the ways he was messing up. It would come out of my mouth and I would be like, “Girl, what the freak are you saying?” He got further and further away. The more sharp my tongue the further he would move away to save himself. I kept coming back to post this and was like, “I can’t send this out, I am a fraud.” Until finally, on Sunday morning I was able to humble myself, gather all the people who live here, and say, “Hey everybody, I have been speaking really disrespectfully to Jesse in front of all of you, and I should not do that. Jesse I am sorry, can you forgive me.” Can I tell you how hard it is to do that in front of a 14 year old young lady, and a 21 year old young lady? I’m totally not being a drama queen but I think chewing off my own arm would have been less painful. It’s all about my pride. I think I have it all worked out, I know I am right, and I know Jesse is not doing things right. Just typing that out shows me how prideful I am. You cannot hold on to that kind of pride and expect your husband to not move up to the attic. He will start searching—”Get thee to thy wilderness!”

So here is my challenge to myself and to you. Try being the one person who tells your husband that he is the best. Say it even if your heart does not believe, your heart will catch up. I remember when I saw the show Fixer Upper for the first time and was so struck by how positively Jo speaks to Chip. I remember the first time I said something like, “You can do it babe, you are so great!” when I really wanted to say, “You are so dumb, why are you doing it that way?” and I got to watch Jesse stand a little taller. Doug is so right. Ladies our words have the power to build up our guys or totally take them down. What do you want to do with your words? I promise you God will not be pleased with you when you get to heaven and say, “Lord you gave me a dumb husband, but don’t worry I overcame that and told him all the ways he was dumb and was not doing things right.” He will be pleased if you respect that fact that He gave you this man on purpose to make YOU more Christ-like. Saying no to your pride and speaking words of life to your husband will create a space for him to grow into the husband you want him to be. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot like I did. Ok, I’ll get down off my soap box now.