Woman praying at the edge of her bed

Enduring Through the Pain

When we set out to interview Kathy Gallagher about how to be a godly wife, we never intended to touch on topics such as suffering, Bible study, and prayer. But as it turns out, those three topics have become very important to her as she has learned to be a godly wife through the seasons of suffering in her life. Listen as she and Nate sit down and discuss these topics, and more.

Nate: Kathy, thanks for coming in today. I want to start off by trying to give wives a sense of what it means to be a godly wife in general. When you look at what the Word of God says about the role of a wife, what do you see?

Kathy: Well, to be honest with you, not very much. There is not a lot in the Bible that is specific to wives. I did a search and there are 11 mentions in the New Testament about wives. Those verses are mostly all about respect and submission and so, a lot of problems have come out of those two topics. People just narrow in on those two things, but I don't think that's exactly the way it should be taken. You could also add in Proverbs 31 as a model for a godly wife, which is a wonderful model. I think all of us sincere-hearted women see that as a template that is very hard to attain to.
So those verses are very important, and the whole theme of submission and obedience is very important, but you can't just limit the model of being a godly wife to a few Scriptures. If you really pay attention, there is so much in the New Testament about suffering. There is so much in the New Testament about how to live your life in a persecuted culture. Those things really stand out to me. Even though being a godly wife is not a main topic in the New Testament, it is a big deal, but I think that we as women need to look at the whole of the teachings of the New Testament to see what God expects of us. What is He looking for in us as we face crisis in our marriage, or anywhere else?

Nate: So you're saying that if a wife just goes to the Bible to find out what God says about being a good wife, then she is going to miss a ton that the Bible simply says about becoming conformed to the image of Jesus.

Kathy: Yes. And He's working His image into us through every circumstance. But sexual sin is a game changer and there's no easy way to work your way through that. And again, you won't find a real specific pathway in the Bible of how to overcome other than through repentance and forgiveness. The whole New Testament is written to believers to show them how to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Nate: That's good. It's not just a list of helpful tips for us to go looking for an answer for every problem we have.

Kathy: That's a good way to put it. I think a lot of us women go hunting and pecking. So, when trying to teach the Bible to young women, they have to basically be deprogrammed. I think that needs to happen for a lot of people. We have to be deprogrammed because we have been taught to hunt and peck for verses and encouraging statements. That is not the way the Bible was written and that is not what its intended purpose is. I don't mean to turn this into a podcast on the Bible, but to me this is like the crux of why so many women have more struggles going through the process of becoming a godly wife than they need to. They don’t understand the Word of God properly.

Nate: Yeah. In the Instagram age, you can only fit so much on one little picture, so we feel the need to find, like, nuggets – little bite sized pieces of Scripture. But that really tears apart the preciousness of the Word of God just to provide some sort of immediate emotional response.

Kathy: Definitely. We really want that emotional response and something to pull ourselves up by the boot strings with one verse.  But I just so strongly disagree with that. I've never gone to the Bible looking for one specific verse, but I think that's what a lot of women do. They aren’t understanding the whole counsel of the Word of God, that the preciousness of His Word is revealing who God is. You just don't get that in one sitting. It takes a lifetime. I've been walking with the Lord 42 years, and I feel like I'm not even barely scratching the surface. The longer and deeper I go, the more I look at the Word of God through the lens of just wanting to know Him.
That’s what's becoming more real to me is that He wants to reveal Himself to me through His Word. That is where my hope is going to come from. It won’t come from a put-together marriage. That would be awesome; that’s what we hope for. The whole point of Pure Life Ministries in a certain way is to see people's lives rescued and redeemed and brought back to the Lord. But the bigger issue to me always has been that Jesus is your answer. He doesn’t just have some answers, He is the answer! It’s Him. Himself. Here's an example of that. We ask the Lord, “Please give us strength.” Well, what we're looking for is to have a little bit of strength, but Jesus wants to BE your strength. He wants to BE your hope. He wants to BE your redemption and all of that.

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Nate: Well, this is really good. I actually didn’t foresee you talking about Bible study. But since we’re taking a little bit of a rabbit trail, why don’t you talk about prayer as well.

Kathy: Prayer is so important. I can't say it long enough or loud enough how important it is to pray. And I don't mean throwing up ten second prayers of “Jesus, please help me Lord, I need help today.” I'm talking about getting in your prayer closet and pulling Heaven down to Earth. You just have to do that out of desperation. One thing you can do is to go through Psalm 119 and pray with your heart, not just your mouth, and learn how to touch Heaven. A godly woman is someone who will just, by faith, get into her prayer closet and intercede, not just for herself and her children, but for her husband. A husband in sexual sin is in the battle of his life and he needs that support.
We miss this stuff because we get so mad at our husbands for wrecking everything. But that’s selflessness when you put your own needs aside. Through prayer, you gain a spirit of understanding and wisdom. That comes from spending time in the presence of the Lord. For me, I took the Scriptures and I started praying against the enemy. That’s when things opened up to me, because I knew that the Spirit of God was with me helping me to pray that way. I can't do that on my own. It's not natural to pray against the enemy in the Spirit of God, but when I did so much opened up to me about what's really going on and what we're really up against.
And again, I feel like an infant in it, but I want to grow in it more. I think that a godly wife that is helpful to her husband is a praying wife. And I don't mean prayers like, “Jesus save me from this mess.” Pray for the Lord to save your husband, rescue him, bring him out of the darkness and bring him into the light. Pray for the Lord to break the power of darkness over his mind and over his heart. Just push back against the enemy on his behalf.

Nate: There's a picture emerging as you're talking, because I think you've got two perspectives from the world on what it means to be a good woman. You have the feminist ideal: self-sufficient, strong and able. Then you've got your ultra conservative picture of what it means to be a wife. But that tends to be all outward. You stay at home, you raise the kids, you keep a good home. Not that those things aren't in the Word of God, but they still are all outward. What you're talking about is growing in godliness, which is all interior.

Kathy: It's very interior and it's very selfless. You lose your life. If you're on the outside looking in, that sounds dreadful, but there is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God. That is a very true line from a hymn. And I don't disparage a woman who stays at home to raise the children and keep a godly home. That is a very noble thing. I love those women who love their children enough to keep them separated and to model to their family what being a godly woman looks like. But the best model I have ever seen are those mothers who are in their prayer closet interceding. That is how you model Christianity.

Nate: This is definitely touching on something that I wanted to bring out with you in this interview, the idea of what it means to be a godly wife. I guess we could also think in terms of being a godly mother. What should a woman be aiming for in that?

Kathy: What I talked a lot about in my book and in messages I've given touches on what the Lord is doing in the midst of the sexual sin. I realize that that's not the point of this particular segment that we're doing, but it's a big deal and I think that's why most women are listening. And what He is doing is He's exposing in us what's in us. And hopefully we're finding out more of who He is and what He is like. I have always believed from a very early age that although sexual sin is not the will of God, He uses the affects of it in a very big way in our lives, but women can have sinful attitudes that will really mess things up.

Proverbs 14 says that a wise woman will build her house, but a foolish one will tear it down with her own hands. I have had my fill of women who are rebellious, demanding, and selfish, who love themselves more than they love anybody else. They feel they have the right to certain attitudes and to protect themselves and to defend themselves. Just this whole “me-first” mentality. I've said to women before, if your husband would be happier in any other home than his own, not because of sexual sin, but because of the constant needling, nagging, demanding, discontentedness that he is experienced in his own home, then you are tearing your house down.
I know that a lot of the people that will listen to this don't fit into that category, but through years of counseling women I’ve seen that that type of foolishness has always been a big issue. But we don't see our actions that way. We women feel very justified in our expectations. And, up to a point, a wife should have expectations. But we have to be so careful. As women, we have to be very careful about what is in us. I know a lot of the women that I have dealt with want the Lord and see His hand in this. They also see what's in themselves. It's a joy to work with them even though their hearts are broken. It's a joy to work with them because you know that there's hope for them. Maybe not always for their marriage, but they have a sure hope in their walk with Jesus.
So, I really do appreciate a woman who's willing to box her way out of this ring in the right way. There are no disclaimers in the Bible for ungodly behavior when we're suffering. The only thing I can find about our attitude is that we are to endure patiently and wait – something we do not want to do. We don't want to wait, and we certainly don't want to be patient. We want answers now.
I know all this can feel hollow, empty and discouraging to hear in the midst of trial When your heart is broken, you want something right now. But I feel like what is important for us as godly woman is to learn how to submit to the suffering. I get so tired of saying this stuff, but I feel like some people just don't understand this concept. I’m not saying submit to abuse. I'm not saying submit to violence or anything like that. But the struggle and the suffering, submit to that. If we don't learn how to come down under it, we’re hardening our hearts. Again, like I said earlier in this interview, if you look at the Word of God, suffering is woven throughout the Old and New Testaments. It describes to us how to deal with it. It’s in the Scripture because this life is full of suffering.

Kathy Gallagher is the Co-Founder and Senior Administrator of Pure Life Ministries. She has been ministering to Christian women for over 20 years and has a deep desire to see them living a fulfilled life in Christ.

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