caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

it’s really not a four-letter-word

so…for all the parents out there, i assume you have noticed what i have noticed once i was blessed with the title of mama….once you have kids…your perspective changes A LOT on a lot of different things. A LOT. (understatement of the century, eh?)

for instance…tv shows that you used to think were “pretty much ok” are all of a sudden ridiculous and you cannot even believe they put this junk on tv nowadays. “you know, when i was a kid, there wasn’t that kind of trash on television…” (thought a rant fit well there 🙂

clothing that didn’t used to bother you that much…now causes you to shriek, your jaw drop, and makes you want to sign your baby girl up for an all girl’s school NOW on some remote island somewhere. i mean it…like the kind of island where you have to take a ferry to get there. that’s right, only girls on the ferry to the island, only girls on the ferry from the island. and the ferry driver is a sweet older woman who loves Jesus and hates boys as well. all this when she is only 22 months old, too! goodness gracious.

not sure why that is really, that we change so drastically. i guess it is blessing. actually, i am sure it is. our level of morals need to change. they need to get quite a bit tighter and stricter because, we are, after all, raising this next generation. and we have, after all, seen how quickly the world’s slide toward the complete lack of morals has happened. it’s a very fast slide. and a very slippery one. and i don’t know about you, but i don’t want my kids on that slide. nope. no thanks. ya know kids, let’s just go to the park, instead, ok? and we’ll even get ice cream after.

well, the same is true about our speech. i mean, once i grew up a bit, got past high school and stopped cussing every once and a while, because it was “cool”. seriously, that was dumb. anyway…even when my personal relationship with God wasn’t at its closest, per say, i still wasn’t dropping the f-bomb ever or taking the Lord’s name in vain. so actual “cursing” hasn’t been a big struggle for me really. but, once you have kids, it is funny, that certain things that aren’t “really” four-letter-words…sort of become like four-letter-words, at least, once you have little people in your house.

our sweet benjamin is our very own resident “bad word police” monitor. if you say something that is “bad”, he will call you on it, every.single.time. which, is funny, because not only is the kiddo a people pleaser, so you would think he wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings…but even more hilarious about his “police” role in the house is that the kid is sooooo easily distracted. i mean it. he is his mother’s child. wait…what were we talking about, again?? 🙂

we will tell our two boys to clean up the toys in the living room before they’re allowed to have dessert and while our sweet, methodical (yes, like his daddy:) eldest child, jacob, is obediently cleaning up… in a very orderly fashion, i might add…benjamin is rolling around on the ground stuffing toys down his pajamas and singing a silly song to his baby sister, who is, by the way, is loving every single minute of it.

me: “benjamin – buddy, what are you supposed to be doing???”
benjamin: “ummm…helping jacob clean up toys?!?”
me: “that’s right dude, better hurry, now!”
benjamin: joyfully responds, “ok mama!”
(short pause)
abigail: “ben-na-men, silly, sing!”
benjamin: plops back on the ground and joyfully begins verse two
jacob: has cleaned up the entire living room and is looking at benjamin like “gee, a little help would have been nice, little brother!”
daddy: looks at me and then at jacob and then back at me with the look on his face like “ya, i know exactly how the kid feels!” 🙂

the point of that story is that benjamin gets pretty easily distracted most of the time. but no matter what he is doing, where he is in the house, or who you are talking to….if you say a “bad word”…the kid will call you on it. right away.

i will be having a conversation with ryan and say something like (this is a purely hypothetical scenario, of course) “i can’t believe that the cowboys were knocked out of the stupid playoffs by like the sixth game of the season…..” and i won’t even finish the sentence before we hear a little voice from somewhere in the house saying “don’t say stupid, mama!”

“oh ya, that’s right, buddy! sorry!”

ya see, in our house…stupid is a four-letter word.

or…i will be saying something (again purely hypothetical) “ok, so i was watching the cake boss again, and oh my gosh, you would not believe the amazing, beautiful cake….” and there he is again, that little voice coming from somewhere afar…”mama, don’t say oh my gosh!”

“oh, that’s right, sorry buddy, thank you!”

ya see, in our house…oh my gosh is a four-letter-word. (for the record, we prefer oh my goodness)

i’m not sure who ever sat down and coined the phrase “four-letter-word” as referencing the fact that something is a curse word, but it is true. if you actually stop and think about the worst ones, most of them do actually have four letters. odd, isn’t it? but, just so you know, in our house, in case you haven’t noticed, you have to be careful of some six-letter-words and even, the occasional three-word, eight-letter-phrases. it can get very tricky.

in my reading, studying, and listening to some great teaching lately, i have come across another word that, unfortunately, a lot of women in our society have deemed as a “four-letter-word” as well. you ready for it???


(silence.) (insert cricket chirps here.) (yet, ironically i have caught the attention of all the men reading! hmmm, interesting.) 🙂

well, i sat here for a decent amount of time and i didn’t hear benjamin pipe in, so it must be an ok word to say! 🙂

hey girls….are you still here?? still wanna keep reading? (men: “yes!” women: “not so much”) 🙂 but, i do hope so. this is big stuff, friend. this topic has helped my heart tremendously and i know it could help your heart in more ways than you could possibly imagine.

for me, it all started when i read titus 2:3-5, like i brought up in a recent post titled “i’ve got no pearls and i’ve got no lace apron”. i have loved getting to learn more about the wife that God wants me to be. well, to be honest, i enjoyed it just fine until i got to the part about being “subject to my husband”. ya, that part didn’t sound like very much fun to me. and generally, i’m all about fun.

so, i will admit that this subject has “felt” like a four-letter-word to me for a very long time. this is not something that comes naturally to me at all. seriously, not at all. and for the record, i am not one of those people who is simply saying that they have a hard time with this to make their message more effective to you. i flat out have a very hard time with this. don’t believe me?? feel free to ask my dear, sweet ryan. in fact, you should have asked him just recently. why recently, you ask? well, i’ll get to that in a minute…

first…did you know that God commands us to submit to our husbands? He doesn’t suggest it or whisper it cautiously and if we don’t hear it, then it’s ok with Him. nope. it is a command. don’t believe me? or maybe you don’t want to believe me? i get that. i didn’t want to believe it much either, when i heard this years ago…or again months ago…or yet again this morning on a wonderful cd i received from a friend over Biblical teaching from Titus 2 from Christown ministries.

but, friend…here is the cold, hard truth. divorce is out there. and even scarier than that…divorce is around HERE!! look at you and your closest “couple friend” that you and your spouse enjoy hanging out with. picture y’all out enjoying yourselves on a double date. well, statistics say that one of you eventually will be divorced. there’s a 50/50 shot. (and if you admire them for their strong marriage, then that leaves you. scary.) “oh, no, not us…but we are Christians. we go to church. oh…well, that is a good point…so, ok then…let’s look at those statistics, shall we?? oh wait… they…are…the…very…same. that’s right. no different from the world. sad, isn’t it? i don’t know about you…but i want to be different from the world. (romans 12:2) i want to protect my marriage. ryan and i both come from divorced families. ryan doesn’t know his biological father, had his first step-dad for less than a year but, thank the Lord, now has an amazing step-father. my folks divorced when i was five. i have not one solid memory of them together. well, aside from the day they told us that dad was moving out. i remember that day vividly. and yes, i am very blessed to have two step-parents who love my brother and i as if we were their own. but, friend…this is still not God’s design. the Bible says it pretty clearly in the book of malachi that God hates divorce. now, let me be clear…He does not hate those people who are divorced. He loves all His kids. you, me, your neighbor, your step-dad, and your ex-husband….we are all His. but, maybe you are divorced right now. or maybe you are remarried. maybe you are happily married. maybe you are have been married for thirty years, but have been “roommates” for most of that time. i don’t know. but, what i do know is that no one says “i do” and then assumes it will end up as “i won’t”. i will venture to say that if you have been divorced, i am pretty sure you don’t want to be divorced again, right?? ryan and i have always said that the legacy of divorce in our family ends right here. with us.  i love (and have copied) what my pastor says… “cindy knows she’s stuck with me, cause i’ve told her if she ever leaves me, i’m just gonna follow her!” amen pastor bill, amen!” but, oh my goodness (not oh my gosh 🙂 we cannot do this alone!! we have to rely on God and His Word to get us through. do i think that by doing this one thing, by submitting to your husband, that it will save your marraige? i don’t know. but, i can say it will help. and, let’s get real here, friend, i do know that this is a HEART issue. and i also know God honors you and i every single time we try to yield our own desires to allow Him to transform our sinful heart to be more like His perfect heart. so, i don’t know about you…but anything God commands me to do, i’m thinking i should be doing!!! and if it helps my marriage out too, more praise to Him! so, let’s look at this thing, shall we??

eph 5:21-25 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

some of you are soooo happy because you read that first verse and took a big sigh of relief. “oh good, it says, submit to one another!! see? my husband’s gotta submit to me too! so there! ha. :)” (did i just read your thoughts? nope, just typed out my own, that’s all) oh sweet friend, that would be nice wouldn’t it? well, actually no, it wouldn’t. i mentioned in another post that i’ve heard it said “that a house with two heads is just ugly, it’s a monster…an ugly “two-headed” monster.” not sure about you, but i know i don’t want to raise my kids around that! you thought they’d have nightmares about seeing the commercials for the latest harry potter movie, nope. this would be worse for them, trust me, way worse! that first verse is referring to all of us as a church body. we are all supposed to be willing to serve each other, submit to each other. it is about having a humble heart. i actually LOVE that God addresses us wives next. right after that. almost as if He KNEW we’d read that first verse wrong. He knows us so well, doesn’t He? this is pretty clear that there is an order to this. the church is not to be the head of Christ is it? no – that is not His design. just like we are not to be the head of our husbands. not His design. and please take note, it does say, in everything. again…i think God just wanted to make sure we knew He meant it. in finances. in decision making. in everything.

“but i refuse to be a doormat!”

good. because nowhere in God’s Word does it say “and the two shall become one and then the woman shall become the place the man shall wipeth his sandals.”

c’mon girls. let’s all (myself included) check our hearts about this. let’s stop and think about our God. why in the world would He make me the way i am…outgoing, funny, vivacious, witty, intelligent, strong-willed, opinionated, creative, selfish, friendly, lazy, devoted, romantic…..if His plan was to just have me drop all that and become a wife-robot the day i changed my name to holzberger?? (it was sanders, by the that is true love for you!!) please hear me when is say this, friend… i do not at all believe that God wants you or i to cease being ourselves. i think maybe, just maybe, He wants us to cease being all about ourselves!!

“but i don’t feel like it!” well, i get that too! trust me, i do. ryan is a good man, but he isn’t perfect, of course. he hurts my feelings. he says things he shouldn’t. and he for sure isn’t the guy who compliments me all the time and comes home with roses, singing ballads. which, honestly, is fine, he ain’t that great at singing. 🙂 but, really, i do understand that feeling. i understand it because i have felt it. the difference is, that i am choosing not to be led by it anymore. truly…i don’t always (ok, often) feel like submitting. but, recently i heard joyce meyer say something that really hit me. she said, “the sooner you do the things that you know are right, even when you don’t “feel” like it, the sooner you will truly grow spiritually.” so true, friend, so true. therefore, i’m thinkin’ i need to put my big girl panties on and just deal with the fact that sometimes i don’t feel like submitting to my husband. how ’bout you? you with me?

titus 2:5 “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

these verses are where it all started for me. well, maybe i should say where it all ended for me. 🙂 all my old life ended, i guess. once i read this…once i saw so very clearly what God has TOLD each of us women to be….i couldn’t pretend anymore that i didn’t know. i couldn’t play dumb anymore. (darnit) 🙂 (insert benjamin: “mama, don’t say darnit!”) i couldn’t just go through life anymore doing what i “feel” like doing. i couldn’t just always have fun….stuffing toys down my pajamas and singing along to entertain people. i needed to clean up my toys in the living room. i needed to step up.

but, i gotta admit. i don’t like the phrase “be subject to their husbands”. it makes me think of cinderella and that time period. of nobles having “subjects” and once again my knee-jerk reaction (i always say they don’t call it a knee-JERK reaction for nothing!!) is to say, “nope, not me, i am nobody’s subject!” then i heard on these cds this verse… 1 cor 11:3 “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” and then the teacher said “if Jesus, being completely equal to God, can be humble enough to subject Himself to God, why in the world can’t i be humble enough to subject myself to my husband?” ouch. and then she reminded me of philippians 2:5-7 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” double ouch.

why is it that i grasp for equality with ryan? i feel so much the NEED to be heard. to be right. to be better. to be smarter. to be more spiritual. and friend….i may actually be one or two of those things, i don’t know. but, it doesn’t matter. because God doesn’t say “wives, submit to your husbands only if he is right and a Christian and smarter than you. if he’s not, don’t worry about it.” i have to trust that God will lead me through ryan. i have to trust that God will lead ryan. and boy oh boy can i pray for ryan and follow God!!

1 peter 3:1-2 “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”

this verse is amazing. it is powerful, actually. what power there is in this verse for us, girls!! God is telling us here that we are to be submissive to our husbands, even if they are not believers. i would imagine that would not be easy. i am blessed that my husband is a Christian, but i will be honest and say that there have been many times in the last 9 1/2 years  that we have been married, that his behavior, his speech, his choices and the way he has treated me, hasn’t displayed that relationship. do i get to choose to not submit then? no, i do not. now…did i submit then? most likely, no i did not. but, thank God, i have grown a lot in these last 9 1/2 years. and thank God, so has ryan. we are both grateful for all God has done. but, i can honestly say that there have been many times where i have “told” ryan how i thought things should be handled. how he needed to change. how i had things figured out. did that work? absolutely not. was this last week? possibly. but, i can honestly say that the few times i really have tried to do things God’s way and simply LIVE the way God wants me to live, that my actions have spoken much louder than my words. this verse confirms that. may we win them over with our joyful and humble behavior. that is power, friend. that is power.

colossians 3:18-19 “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”

i mentioned above that this subject of being a “subject” to ryan isn’t easy for me. i mentioned that if you don’t believe me, you should really just ask ryan about it. especially recently. well, not too many weeks ago, ryan and i had the opportunity to have…shall we say…a “discussion” about a few “issues” that had been going on in the team holzberger household lately. now, i honestly have been trying to focus more on being the kind of wife (and mom and woman and friend and homemaker) that God wants me to be. i really have. i have been trying to be kind, polite, patient, loving, gracious, not quick tempered…etc. i really have. by the way….all of these character traits aren’t exactly easy for me either. but i have been praying for God to help me. and i believe He has. anyway…ryan and i were “discussing” things and he was voicing his “opinion” about a few issues. and i honestly was trying to make sure he knew i heard him. i was validating his statements. i was trying to affirm his words. i was working REAL hard not to “buck the system” or “rebuttal”…which is, unfortunately, what i am known for doing when we argue. so…later…when we were still “talking this out” and ryan said something that really hurt my feelings i asked him “why did you feel the need to talk to me like that? what have i done to you that is so bad?” he said “i am so tired of the fact that you always rebuttal everything i say” i asked him how i had done that. and he proceeded to try and think. we took a few minutes to go back over the conversation. and honestly, i don’t think he could remember anything specific. that is because i hadn’t done it. for once. (literally) and it was shocking. but, here’s the thing..he has gotten SO used to me coming back at him, that his heart is just accustomed to his wife bucking the system. sad, huh? well, for me it is. sad, but true.

this verse in colossians talks to husbands about not being harsh with their wives. i believe this is partly what it is talking about. we, as women have such a crucial role in our husband’s lives. don’t you see how for years now i have rebuttaled what ryan has said. i have often felt like i had “good reason” to make myself heard. (don’t we always have a “good reason” though?) he has become so used to his wife going against him that his heart has become harsh toward me about it. sad, huh? well, to me, it is not only sad, but tragic. but it is me, the offender, that i am referring to, after all. what do you think would happen if i started answering ryan like this…

“i trust you babe, i know you will make a great decision!”

“whatever you want to do is fine, i’m good either way!”

“sure thing, baby, i appreciate all you do for our family!”

“ok, and what can i do to help make your world easier?”

these could be life giving words, friend. these words, when said over and over to your man could rejuvenate his harsh heart that has been beaten down for years. now, i love ryan. i really do. that man has held  my heart since the day we met when i was 18 years old. my heart was sold on him on day one and i haven’t looked back since. but, sometimes, the man flat drives me bonkers. i mean it. we are so opposite in some ways, that oil and water doesn’t really quite cover it. and it doesn’t help that i am selfish, prideful, independent, stubborn, and altogether a big, fat baby who likes to get her own way. therefore, i haven’t, in the past, been willing to lay down my own desires in order to put his first. isn’t that awful? (the answer is yes.)

fortunately, it is not too late. it really isn’t. for me and ryan, or for you and your man. thanks to the fact that God loves us and gives us His grace fresh and new each day, (psalm 30:5) we can start each new day with a heart to serve. with the heart to be subject to the husband God has given us. with the heart to submit.



(insert long quiet pause)

see? benjamin still isn’t chiming in, girls…it isn’t a four-letter-word. i think we are good to go! 🙂 let’s do this thing.

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One thought on “it’s really not a four-letter-word

  1. Excellent post. I love how there are so many scriptures about submitting to our husbands. We really have no excuse.

    This was such a difficult concept for me in the past, but I've found that the more I submit, the easier it gets because it really does change the climate of our marriage.

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