Monday, March 1, 2010

A Breakthrough... Marriage Seminar

On Saturday, 2/27/10, Tony and I attended a Focus on the Family
simulcast marriage event held at our church, Victory Christian
Fellowship in Audubon, Pa.

WOW! The speakers were spirit led and absolutely brilliant!
God's VOICE was clearly welcomed and heard.
Speakers included: Francis Chan, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott,
Gary Chapman, Gary Thomas, Dr. Juli Slattery, Kirk and Chelsea
Cameron, Stephen Kendrick and
worship music by John Waller.

Lessons learned, God wants to reveal His character
through marriage...
What I want to share with you is... First, no one's marriage is
perfect or "so good" that it couldn't use a little TLC from time
to time. For those of you who know Tony and I personally,
our marriage is an ongoing work in progress, particularly
in matters of "re-marriage" and "step parenting."

We both gained so many new perspectives on what it really
means to LOVE another and it really begins with ourselves
getting to know Jesus. Here's my public confession:
For the longest time, I was trying to "change" my husband,
in my first marriage as well, little did I know at the time,
it was also me who needed this "change". Bringing
this dreadful emotion into a new marriage with Tony
was the hardest most difficult attitude to change in myself.
the (stubbornness and anger, which led me to bitterness)
and he'll testify to that when we first were married.

By the grace of God, since then, having to re-build ourselves,
our ways and our attitudes... it has been an uphill battle at times
as my husband, Tony, also had to learn to let go of expectations
and become a Servant-Leader in our marriage so I could
more naturally submit through obedience in honoring God
first, then my husband - and we still have work to do, our flesh
is so selfish!

There are SO MANY mixed ideas today of what our roles in marriage
are supposed to look like, sound like and act like... so many books,
advice from humans etc. Truth is, its never about the "other" person
in our lives, its all about willful obedience serving Jesus Christ
personally as well as, with our spouses and its difficult, even
in Christian marriages.

Today, we are cooperating and working as One flesh
as God designed us to through more grace giving
and forgiving attitudes. Only then, can we begin to serve
one another and fulfill each other's needs the way
God intended.

Another amazing point that was mentioned throughout this
seminar was the importance of focusing on ETERNAL things
and not the "things" or matters of this world so much.
Some argue that we will also be "married" in heaven.
Though, as these speakers testified through biblical truths, we will not be!
News-flash for some, even me! Though, this makes perfect
sense to me now - but we can chat about this subject another time.
Though, I will say, we will all worship our Lord forever
and ever as one body and spirit serving God...

Every breath that is in us, is because of an eternal God
holding us physically together for His purposes.
We will ALL one day stand before
this magnificent God and will present our whole selves, our
spouses and our children to Him. Are we ready for this
heavenly meeting?

Another topic included the importance of Forgiveness.
This word is personally so difficult for me and I needed to
hear this message desperately! It was no coincidence that
I participated in this seminar with my husband because
I needed to FORGIVE not only myself and my husband,
but others in my past that I've been holding onto for so long.
It was literally holding me back from receiving the gifts
and blessings the Lord wants for my life and so that day,
I gave it up to God and I'm so glad to say,
I've been more joyful since!

I learned to understand that making a godly response
over "my justice" and showing mercy and grace toward the one
I love is crucial in marriage!

Also, learning about forgiveness is not about forgetting the
sins made against me, rather, letting God be God, the almighty
Judge and trusting in His timing.

Learning to apologize... this was a difficult practice for my
husband, though I love him so much for learning how to do
this well with God's help, step by step, day by day.
Here were some key ingredients to a true apology:
Showing regret - emotional element (eliminate the "But")
Accepting responsibility
Offering restitution
Requesting forgiveness
not returning "evil for evil" this was a biggie for me!

Another major theme of this seminar was:
Did you know? There are hundreds of verses
in the bible about the call to persevere!

So, if there is anything to be gained from this reading today...
I pray that (we) wives would learn to release their husbands
wrongs - not focus on the negatives so often, hindering
them to grow to be the men they are supposed to become.
Wives, we really have Power,
God Authority power (not to become feminist / bashers)
but to obey the Lord through loving service to our husbands,
this includes, sexual love to him alone and respect for him.
Build him up and see God work a miracle in
your husbands lives to build you up as you bless him, and
God will bless your life to become the
woman and wife you are called to be under God.

Let us all learn to RELEASE our offenders to God. Otherwise,
bitterness will drain you from everything you were called to
be and do in this life if you focus so much of your attention on
the wrongs of others... (If you're like me, this is most difficult
challenge, but so necessary to take part in the Kingdom
of God. I was there and I'm still healing
from this terrible emotion) Let GO of It... Love them, with all that
is in you, because God did this for you and your sins.

One last thing... Whatever you're going through in your
marriages, God knows it and needs your active
participation doing your part to help mend it.
No matter what, don't give up,
He is for us, God is FOR MARRIAGE :)

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