Monday, August 14, 2017

On Marriage—What Is The Importance of Getting Away Together?




           
            WELL, IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR again. The time when the engineer and I pack our bags and get out of town, head some place else besides our own backyard. Without kids. Why do we make the effort (and, truly sometimes it is a big effort given our schedules) to get away together like that?
           
            Because it’s crucial to the sustenance of our marriage. Because it’s critical to going beyond having just a good marriage to enjoying a great one.
           
            And why do we do it this time of year? Because it’s our anniversary time (yesterday was the big 34) and it’s important for us to re-affirm our commitment to one another. Before starting this yearly ritual, our married life was more difficult, more frustrating and exhausting.
           
            So, once again, I have marriage on my mind. We’ve already been gone more than a week, and we’ve spent some time with our older son and daughter-in-law in the city they’re now calling home, before vacating to another location to enjoy one another. And to take a serious look at how successful we were at this marriage thing in the last year, look forward to the next one, (we’ve learned the hard way that assuming that our goal is automatically going to be our spouse’s goal is a recipe for disaster), and discuss how we can do even better at loving and respecting one another. We know we need time away, in a location conducive to really hearing one another’s heart.


UNHURRIED, HONEST, AND DEEP TIME TOGETHER
           
            We want and crave unhurried, deep conversations. Honest ones. And this first article I’ve linked for you will discuss one of the most critical marriage activities that so often gets forgotten or ignored. In Rob Flood’s post you’ll:

1. Learn why married couples NEED to get away together. (Or is busyness ruling and dictating your married and individual lives?)

2. Lean how you can be encouraged to get away and how you can encourage your spouse in this endeavor.

3. Get great ideas for what you can talk about and what you should discuss during your getaway.




           

            Spend some time being introspective and then make sure you have some fun! Go sightseeing. Simply enjoy one another’s company. Sleep in and—yes—take advantage of uninterrupted intimacy time. Honestly, sometimes intimacy is the only thing on our agenda when we get away. If we can, we do tuck in other activities around it. But we usually forgo schedules that demand being some place at a particular time and rushing around to get there. Why would we want to do that on our getaway when that’s what dictates our life at home? We’re away to recharge and refresh and revel in one another and what God has done in our marriage all of these years, particularly the last one. It’s what has gotten us successfully to year number 34!!







JUST GETTING STARTED?

            And if you’re just at the beginning of your marriage, or, better yet, considering marriage, you’ll want to check out this next post: “8 Decisions That Will Define Your Marriage” by Mary May Larmoyeux. They are critical questions to ask and flesh out before the “I do’s” are uttered, or you may find your marriage on the rocks and both of you in marriage counseling in short order.
           
            They can set the foundation and direction for your married life and help avoid some of the problem points that can arise in any marriage. Don’t go down the aisle with stars in your eyes. Go down the aisle wisely prepared, and like-minded.





PASSING IT ON
           
            When I told my older son where we were going to celebrate our anniversary after spending time with him and our daughter-in-law, and that we wouldn’t be inviting them to join us, he laughed and said, “You wouldn’t want us there anyway!” Then it was my turn to laugh and say, “You’re right about that.”
           
            I was so happy because I knew my 27-year-old got it.
           
            And I think he got it from watching his mom and dad nurture their marriage and one another all of these years. At least I think he got it from us, because one year he even gave us an anniversary card saying all he learned about love he learned from watching us love. And he appreciated it.
           
            And that was the best anniversary present a husband and wife could ever receive from their child.

           
What are you teaching your kids about marriage that they’ll put to good use in theirs?


Until next week.

Blessings,
           
Andrea
May you prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 2).

Photos courtesy of Google Images

Monday, August 7, 2017

Are You a Lifer?



            
ARE YOU A LIFER? Or do you know what that is? The most common definition would probably be a person spending a life term in prison, for committing some heinous crime (unless, of course, you live in some country where what we would consider a minor felony gets you a life sentence). But another definition would of someone who spends their career working in a specific field, like my husband, who will probably always be an engineer. He was born to it. (I have changed careers, so I wouldn’t be considered a work lifer in one particular area.)
             
            But what would think about calling yourself a “lifer” if you’re a Christian? I think it’s a great term, and one MercyMe has used title a song and their new album and tour. It’s a great song reminding Christians that once a believer, nothing is ever going to separate you from God’s love. At the moment you’re saved by grace, it’s hardwired into you. You are a Lifer! And this song is going to make you proud of it! (Put your Funk dancing shoes on because it’s a toe-tapper!) And keep singing!!


WELCOME BACK TO MUSIC MONDAY! We’re singing and praising! (I just love Music Mondays because I HAVE to listen to worship songs to research for my post. Tough job.)

            “Lifer” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES7P8_QHXLA






BEING FOUND
           
            Don’t just love finding something valuable? Do you remember what it’s like to be found? It’s a wonderful feeling, a feeling of belonging to someone. Being special. And  you are!
           
            Right after singing and worshipping to Lifer, then you can retrace your faith to the time God found you, and sing about it. It’s MercyMe’s “You Found Me” and it’s a great reminder that when that happened you knew you would never be the same again. (Keep your happy shoes on for this one, too.)

            “You Found Me” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oViqhHTGKxU




NAGGING, NEGATIVE THOUGHTS?
           
            Are regrets sneaking up on you? Are you fearful? Are you at the end of your rope? Do you feel alone? Emptiness making you feel worthless and purposeless? Remember who you belong to. Remember who your God is and rejoice. Or maybe you need to give all of that up to the God who can take it from you and know what to do with it. The One who will replace it with love, purpose, hope, joy, peace, and a future. Life CAN be beautiful. Remember who you are and what is meant to be. Walk out of the prison cell and stop playing the victim to realize it!

            “Say Hello to Beautiful” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wtvuq79kKHg



            
              Have a great week reminding yourself of your salvation and identifying yourself as a genuine Lifer! (Can you tell I just can’t get enough of MercyMe’s latest album?)

           
Until next week.

Blessings,
           
Andrea
May you prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 2).

Photos courtesy of Google Images           

Monday, July 31, 2017

What's So Important About Having a Sacred Space, and a Personal Prayer Team?



           
            DO YOU HAVE A SACRED SPACE? That special place in your home, or back yard, even, where when you go to it you know you go to meet the Lord. Study his word. Journal some thoughts. Read some inspirational material. A place you go where you can feel God coming to meet you as you settle in for some soul digging time.



           
            And do you have your very own prayer team? No? Then read this article I have linked below by Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter), to learn how important it is to establish a group of soul-connected believers you can trust with the deepest desires, fears, and secrets of your life.




            Did you know Moses even set up a “prayer closet”? Actually a tent. Outside the camp. A place where people could go to inquire of Moses. A kind of spiritual meeting place.
           
            While you might not be able to designate an entire room to prayer, is there a special (favorite) place in your home that is quiet and allows you to focus on God? A place where you can hang your “Do Not Disturb! Prayer in Progress” shingle and not be interrupted? Is there a special time during the day when you are unlikely to be disturbed in your prayers?
           
            While you might not be able to assemble a team, could you ask two or three other people to be a part of your prayer group? To pray for one another?
           
            I’m a part of a couple of prayer ministries. One at my former church is an on-line prayer team called “Knee Mails.” If you have a specific prayer request or praise, you can email it into the coordinator, and she shoots it out to everyone on the list. Another email prayer team I’m on is through a dear friend and pastor’s wife who faithfully sends all on the list a Verse of the Day to meditate on and any prayer requests sent in to the group. This particular prayer team has members all over the world, so we’re getting requests from across the country and from different countries, individuals and ministries.
           
            While you might feel overwhelmed by being involved with so many people, or feel these types of groups are too impersonal, pray about what you need, and who the Lord might gather with you to pray and support one another.
           
            As I’ve mentioned before, prayer is one of the number one activities (probably the most important, actually) a Christian can engage in. It should precede anything and everything you do in life. A day should begin and end with prayer.
            
           One of our greatest desires should be to become a mighty prayer warrior, along the lines of spiritual giants like Daniel. It’s a tall order, but a noble one.
           
            And, come to think of it, we should also be praying that our brothers and sisters in Christ become mighty prayer warriors. We need them to be!
           
            Enjoy Anne Graham Lotz’s post. As she says, a commitment to pray just doesn’t happen. It needs preparation. I know it will give you some things to think—and pray about.


           
            I’m off to the great Northwest this week, where once again I’ll be hunting for sacred spaces. Maybe off the beaten path locations, where I can do some serious soul digging, or just inviting God to show up and surprise me. He always manages to do that in some way, and it’s always glorious!
           
            Hope you’ve been able to carve out some sacred-space time and change of scenery this summer (or winter if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere). If you have, let me know some of your favorite sacred space places.




Blessings,

Andrea
May you prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 2).


Photo by Google Images