These are my notes from a talk Betty Geftakys gave to the wives at a Workers Seminar in Colorado sometime around 1984. Her message demonstrates elements of the mind control that Assembly couples were under: A wife is to be a servant to her husband, obedient, willing to be inconvenienced, accountable to him. In a word, wives were to be dead to their own feelings, plans and wishes. In the casket. Betty says that failure to have this attitude is filthiness. After leaving the Assembly, husbands may have a hard time giving up these ideas. The wives may reject them more easily, but still feel guilty for no longer living this way, (i.e. no longer willing to die).
This message was not just for the Worker's wives, however. They were to take it home and teach it to the women in their local Assemblies. I am guilty of doing this, and I apologize from the bottom of my heart for imposing such God-dishonoring rubbish on the wives in Fullerton. The problem is, it is worse than rubbish, because it caused great harm to many marriages, and to the souls of many women. May God in his mercy heal us.
James 1:21-25, Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
It's all there. There's nothing missing to bring forth the harvest. But we don't believe it. We have to get real about filthiness. If a man had a worldly business and wanted to learn to be honest and devoted to the Lord, he would have to pray in specifics--"In this transaction let me not be successful in any covetousness. Let me not steal a penny." Then either he will begin to change, or else quit praying. So we, as wives, we need to pray, "Lord, show me my filthiness. May I see myself by my works and my behavior. See that I have a persuaded mind and a well-intentioned heart."
Worker wives fail in their attitudes, in their lack of care for others, in avoiding inconvenience and sacrifice, in looking at people and seeing the dirt, not the souls.
1) There must be open communication between husband and wife regarding personal problems, and regarding the husband's wishes.
2) There must be a willing spirit--"All he says I will do."
3) You have to know the Lord will do it, and wait for the reward. Some people are so insecure they have to have the reward right now.
4) The greatness of the wife is serving.
5) Bless by praying.
6) You must have an appreciation of the Work.
7) The wife must be accountable to her husband. People don't really care to be accountable. Make yourself accountable--this is how you stay in the light. I Jn 1:8, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us."
8) The Lord's priorities must always come first.
9) Enter in by co-laboring, undertaking another's burdens.
There are barriers to each one of these that are going to keep it from flowing.
When the Lord gives you something to do, it is almost always inconvenient when it comes time to do it. Why? Because it interferes with your plans. We aren't just sitting around staring, we are all doing something. What you want is going to be the first thing done, it's going to be the priority. So if you have a priority, and your husband comes along and wants to change it, are we going to be highly irritated over it? If I were in my casket, I wouldn't be, because I would be dead to my feelings, my plans, my wishes. It wouldn't bother me for my husband to change my priorities.
There is no way to come to the end of "me" except my identification with Christ's death, because self is very tenacious and strong, and only death will deal with it. II Cor 5:14, "The love of Christ controls me." Does it, in every choice? We want to be those who "henceforth live not unto themselves." The "I" will either be the queen, or the terrible failure. Then you can't be entreated. You need to crawl into the casket, and be at rest--be entreated. Things don't have to be the way you were conditioned.
There isn't open communication in marriages because wives have been more verbal, have put their husbands in their place so many times, that there isn't openness any more for him to say, "I would like this." You got in there to shut up your husband right at the first, for good reason--because you didn't want what he wanted. Most of our husbands are cowed. So if the Lord begins to work, these are the things that will come up.
And you will do the same thing in the Work. God says something, and you don't literally believe it. You "translate" it. Remember, there will be a reward, if even our very hairs are numbered. Don't you want your reward to be on the basis of how well you served?
So how are you going to get open communication if you already blew it? Or is it important to you? What is open communication? It is each knowing his and her place, and functioning together beautifully. If you don't do it here in your marriage, you won't be able to in the work, because you haven't found the place God has for you.
Being a helpmeet means doing all the crumby things your husband doesn't want to do. God will exalt you in due time. You can't be a door-mat, a servant, longer than God wants you to be. You trust God. I Pet 3, Sarah wasn't afraid at all. She had fears, but as soon as they came, she said, "I'm hanging onto God." No husband is going to carry your anxieties. If you hang onto them, you give place to the enemy.
Bless your husband. I Pet 3:9, "Not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing." When he says something you consider painful, do you make sure his pains are as bad? When he insults him, do you insult him worse? Or do you bless? When something hurts you, the problem is not your husband. You need to see that there is a sore that needs to be healed.
Most husbands are not really appreciated, or don't know that they are. If he were asked how does he know you appreciate him, what could he say, based on the past month? Just know, though, that when you first begin to say those appreciative things, they will sound like lies.
You have to be able for the Lord's priority. You can control your time however you want. You can let your child take all your time, if you want, or you can condense it down. And are you willing to keep house and get things done without playing around, which is indulging yourself? Who is going to fix your schedule? You are going to teach yourself and limit yourself, because you have a greater priority.
Life is hard, because we are no longer in the garden, because we happen to be human. It isn't God's fault, or your husband's fault, or the Work's fault. If you get your mind right, you can really enjoy being a wife, and a mother, and a Worker. Get your schedules in hand, don't indulge yourself, get rid of self-pity, get in the casket, and be free for the Lord to move right where you are. There are burdens to lift, but not alone. Hell might be a place where there is nobody but you.
To recap the main ideas here: 1) Be really available for what God wants, and 2) be a worker who keeps close accounts, who co-labors with others, who keeps the Lord's priorities.
Fenelon says about women that a woman's influence does not terminate with raising children and sending them out on their pilgrimage of action and duty. Men need the benign influence of a woman's presence and character--good, nice, soft, gently. An influence that is needed in their trials and labors, someone with sympathy, forbearance, warm affection, strength, the wisdom of a well-cultivated intellect, and a religion of faith and holy love. Does your husband think you are sympathetic, forbearing, warmly affectionate?
There is no end to the possibility of what God can do. In that kind of position--behind, upholding--the reward doesn't show. But if the work is not coming forward where you are, ask yourself, "Where am I clogging things?" We need to pray big prayers for our husbands, and for each other.
Comments from readers
November, 2006, Dave Sable on the Assembly bulletin board: "What I saw was classic Betty. I have been at couple's meetings where she argued that if we are indeed dead in Christ, then we are in our casket. If we are dead, someone should be able to come along and twitch us on the nose and we wouldn't react because we are dead. Thus, we should lay down our rights and take our place in our casket when we encounter annoying roommates or unreasonable demands of leaders.
The Bible does indeed teach that we are dead with Christ so at the time, Betty's inference sounded logical. But, where do you think she went wrong? Is she confounding a positional truth with a practical one?"