The Most Astonishing Words a Wife Could Hear

June 9, 2010 | 20 comments

In the quiet of a snowy night wrapped in winter white, he opened the back door and stamped his feet on the rug. He dropped his duffle bag on the tile of the laundry room where we wash away the dirt and grime of our lives. He called me from the kitchen, for he wanted to come clean, too.

My heart thumped wildly, and I dropped the dishrag. I went weak-kneed to the laundry room. He’d been away at a weekend retreat with Christian men — “Daddy Bible camp,” as we called it.

I expected some news, yes. But these words? I could not have known…

“Jennifer,” he said, and I held my breath. “You’re not first in my life anymore.”

Tears raced hot down these cheeks, at the astonishing and shocking and life-changing news.

These words were bigger than the “I do,” or the
“We’re going to have a baby!” or the surprising
“Yes, let’s move back to the farm!”

This news — that I was no longer first in his life — could mean only one thing. My place in my husband’s life had been usurped by the rightful owner: Jesus Christ.

PHOTO: Our marriage portrait, next to the figurines that graced the wedding cake of Scott’s grandparents.


As I do every Wednesday, I write today as part of Ann Voskamp’s Walk With Him Wednesday series. Weekly, she asks her community of writers to consider spiritual practices that draw us nearer to the heart of Jesus. This month — the month of anniversaries — she asked us to consider the Spiritual Practice of Holy Matrimony.

When Ann assigned the topic, I immediately recalled that day years ago when I willingly fell to second-place.

I almost didn’t write of it today, because my heart breaks for those yoked to an unbelieving spouse. It aches for spouses who hear astonishing words that hurt, instead of heal.

But this morning, I felt the Spirit’s nudge to share. For I am not boasting in the man or the marriage; I’m boasting in the truth of what Christ can do in a man and a marriage.

This is what can happen when spouses fall in love not only with each other, but with the One who is Love Himself.

Christ is not an experience. He is not a mountaintop high at a retreat who transforms, then abandons. Christ is not a feeling. He is the Sustainer.

He is the Reason, and the Hope, and the Peace.

God’s all-surpassing power not only revives but sustains over years. (I’m still the runner-up years later.)

And the right order alters the landscape of a home and a family. Ordered peace tumbles soundlessly over those who inherit what we plant here.

I’d never want anything other than second-place. Never.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”2 Corinthians 4:7


Daily, we pass into the laundry room — where first-place rights were reassigned. Above the doorframe of the laundry room: more astonishing words to daily remind us who and what we really are: fragile jars of clay filled with the Love of our first-place Father.

Lord, Let us keep you in first place. Heaven knows You’ve earned it! Amen.

holy experience

by | June 9, 2010 | 20 comments


  1. mom2six

    "God's all-surpassing power not only revives but sustains over years." Jennifer – how these words speak to me this morning and I want to shout – Yes, Yes! He revives and sustains day-after-day, year-after-year.

  2. Arianne

    Thank you for sharing and reminding me of words of 'hope' for those "yoked to an unbelieving spouse". For nothing is impossible with God!! NOTHING!! For God IS who He says He is! He is the I AM. He can do what He says He can do! I'm believing God!

    Thanks Jennifer!

  3. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    Thankful that your husband loves the Lord like that! I have always felt so blessed that my husband is a pastor who truly loves God with all his heart.

    This is a great reminder for me to pray for those who have spouses that aren't CHristians or who aren't at that place of surrender yet.

    thanks, Jennifer,


  4. Renee

    God is good! Great post!

  5. Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama

    What an awesome moment! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  6. Red Letter Believers

    As men, we think our wives want security or trust. We think they want strength or someone who will keep the house up. We think they wnat possessions or a retirement.

    You remind men like me of what's most important.

  7. lynnrush

    Amazing. Got the goosebumps!
    Thank you.

  8. Jessica

    Tears. I love this. So good.

  9. LisaShaw

    Absolutely beautiful sharing of the covenant of marriage when it's in covenant FIRST with the LORD! I know as I'm truly honored to have that as well. Didn't start that way at first 20 yrs ago…BUT GOD…

    Blessings and love!

  10. Laura

    This was just lovely! Cherished words to hear from one's husband, that's for sure.

    "And the right order alters the landscape of a home and a family. Ordered peace tumbles soundlessly over those who inherit what we plant here." Hmm…I love those thoughts, so beautifully expressed.

  11. Charity Singleton

    I wait for a man like that, a man who loves Jesus more than me, but who loves me second. You are blessed, and you give me hope.

  12. RCUBEs

    I'm so grateful that my DH and I came to know the Lord. Even among Christians, divorce still happens. It's sad.

    "Christ is not a feeling. He is the Sustainer…" ~ well said! I'm glad you did share this. So beautiful!

  13. Karen

    Beautiful sharing, Jennifer…

  14. Julie

    I love this.

    How wonderful it is to when a husband seeks God first.

    Thank you so much for sharing! (and you!)


  15. Sara

    Rejoicing in being second. Never quite thought of it in this way. You shined a bright light on my day, my thoughts, my me. I love to read your words as He applies them to my heart.


  16. Jennifer

    Those words gave me goosebumps. Thanking God for saving your husband. Your story is hope to the many who still wait.

  17. A Simple Country Girl

    Wow, that is one amazing laundry room…


  18. Missie

    beautiful entry….thank you for the reminder that no matter what or who, God needs to be first in our lives

  19. Graceful

    I was an unbelieving spouse for the first 10 or so years of our marriage. My husband, knowing my disbelief, married me anyway, and always told me I would believe in God someday. I wanted to believe, but didn't, and didn't know how to.

    He was right. Belief came bit by bit, but came it did. And I'm so grateful he (and He!) took the risk.

  20. Jennifer

    Jennifer, this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing such a special moment like this.


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