Our focus for this week is focusing on God's promise in Romans 8:28 to work ALL things for good for those that love Him!  There is a very important disclaimer here.... this promise specifically applies to "those that love God," this is not promised to those who do not walk with the Lord.  Those who choose the world and run from God, forgo all of God's beautiful and hope filled promises.  

The other important little tid bit to point out here is what loving God looks like.  Jesus states in John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Loving God goes way deeper than just a verbal expression of loving Him, loving Him means, though you are not perfect at it, not will you ever be, your heart is focused on living for Christ and upholding His commandments.  

CHOOSE GOD! LOVE GOD! FOLLOW GOD!

Okay... so back to the marital focus regarding this scripture.  Our goal was to look at all of the seemingly bad and difficult seasons we have had in our marriages and begin identifying all of the ways God used that situation for good, as He promises.  

We can get our minds and hearts so fixed on the negative and struggle that we fail to see what God was using that situation for to our benefit.  He promises to do just that..... if we love. Him.

In yesterday's post I shared just ONE of the ways that God used our recent painful season for good, as our son expressed he believes God allowed him to live through that painful season with his parents to see the devastating effects substance abuse has and to deter him even more from wanting to use drugs or alcohol.  

That is a MAGNIFICENT praise for Garrick and I.  We are not so naive to believe our son could never fall prey to such things, but we are so grateful that out of a horrible season in his life, God used it to teach him something extremely beneficial and life changing!

As I pondered all of our difficult seasons and all of the "good" God made out of them, I compiled a list of the "good."  God has not wasted one painful experience He has given us.  Here is a short list of the beauty we have seen come from ashes.....

1. Teaching our children how strong they are and that even the seemingly hopeless.... can be restored with God.

2. Building our faith in God's restoring and sovereign power!
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Author Unknown

3. Teaching us to find contentment even when life is uncomfortable and scary.

4. Learning the God will always provide, even when your hands are empty!

5. Giving us a whole new level of empathy and compassion for others that may travel the same road. 

6. Taking judgement out of our hearts, understanding that not one person in this world is beyond a great fall. And when you walk away from God.... that fall is sure to come!

7. Teaching an entirely new level of forgiveness and what this does in growing our hearts to be more like Christ. 

8. Teaching us the strength God can equip us with.  That we are "warriors" and more than conquerors!

9. Learning to lean on and trust in God, not man, not even our spouse.  God is our everything... when everything falls. 

10.  Learning that God's timing is perfect!  Not always in our eyes, but He has the perfect timing laid out for the perfect purpose.  

What are ways God has used your painful seasons for good????  You would not have the strength you have today.... without the seasons that required you to build it!  

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick


 
 
Meaningful, Messy Marriage
❤Moments ❤

(Learning to Let God Lead….. One Day at a Time)
-A Woman Redeemed
I will be the first to admit that it can be very easy for me to slip into a "negative" funk.  Unfortunately, this has always been a bit of my personality.  When something stressful or difficult happens, it is very hard for me to find the silver lining while I am walking through it.  I tend to be a reactor.  I react then I calm down and ponder, allow God to speak and work and then I am able to take it down an notch or 80!! LOL  This kind of runs in my family.  I really don't like this trait, but I have found it to be one of the most difficult to break.  It is a deep rooted stronghold, very much imbedded into my personality.  This is by no means an excuse to keep allowing it to govern me, but it is most difficult to break!

This little struggle of mine has become significantly better since becoming a believer.  Others may not agree, but believe me, I know it has!! LOL  And truly, the biggest issue with the overreacting is it takes God completely out of the equation and puts the circumstances and my catastrophic thinking on His throne.  If I truly believe, which I most certainly do, that God is in control and has purpose for every single thing He does in my life, there is no reason to overreact!!  This is a hard one for me to grasp!  

What I would like to share and focus on today is God's promise in the book of Romans, that I can see playing out right before my very eyes and I will explain to you how!  The other day my husband shared with me that he had a pretty significant talk with are 14 year old son.  I will not share the details of the conversation, but what I will share is my son asked Garrick if he though that maybe God allowed my husband to go through the struggle with addiction just to teach him, never to use drugs or alcohol?  My son told my husband that he has no desire to do such things as he experienced the devastating effects that they had on him and our family.  

That.... was a huge praise to Garrick and I.  Now, I am not at all saying that my son could not fall prey to these destructive substances in the future, but I am extremely grateful that my son learned something valuable and good from a devastatingly horrible situation in our home.  This is a prime example of God's promise to His faithful believers in the book of Romans....

"And we know that in all things God works for good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28


Today, I am encouraging couples to look over the history of struggles and difficult seasons God has allowed in your marriage and how now, that you are over are approaching being over the hump, how He has faithfully used this for good in some way, shape or form! 

1.  What are some difficult seasons we have walked through that we saw no light or silver lining through at the time?




2. How did these seasons change us for the good?





3. How did these seasons change others for the good?





4. How has God used these seasons for good in miraculous ways we never thought possible?





Through every struggle, God's promise remains for His believing children.  I pray through this devotion you are able to see and discover how very faithful God is!!!  

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick

 
 
Many moons ago, Garrick and I read a book called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.  The focal point of the book is getting couples to understand the basic need for both the husband and the wife.  Women need to feel loved to thrive in a marriage and men need to feel respected. 

These specific needs are not the problem, the problem is the crazy cycle couples get into with these two vital needs.  If a wife does not feel loved by her husband, she will very often not treat him in a respectful manner.  On the flip side men who do not feel respected by their wives will very rarely put a whole lot of effort in showing them the love that they need.  

What happens is, the wife refuses to show respect to a man that does not seem to really love her and a man refuses to put forth effort in showing love to a woman who disrespects him daily.  Emerson goes on to say that one person has to be the hero in the relationship and put a stop to the crazy cycle.  Either the husband needs to begin extended love to his wife he does not feel she deserves or the wife need to begin respecting her husband even though she does not feel he has earned it.  

This is just ONE of the many stumbling blocks in marriage. One of the other things Emerson digs into is communication.   I know, I know, we hear so much about communication in marriage and how vital it is for a healthy successful marriage. 

And while yes, it is important to talk and share your thoughts, feelings and dreams, effective communication can often be extremely difficult to achieve in marriage.  You may have no problem expressing your feelings and thoughts but the problem may be how either you express them or how your spouse perceives them.  

Emerson calls this the blue and pink communication.  A woman hears things through a pink hearing aid, while a man hears things through a blue one.  He gives the example that this is why a woman can call her girlfriends and share her feelings and feel completely understood and a man can do the same with his guy pals.  

Over the past few years and many hurdles we have had to jump over to get to the point of restoration, our communication skills were greatly affected.  We have never noticed the pink and blue hearing aids at work as much as we do now!  

Things my husband will say to me, will come out of his blue mouth in one way, but hit my pink ears in a totally different context.  We thought we would have a little fun with this and share with you so common blue/ pink communication glitches that take place between husbands and wives!

I pray you get a little chuckle out of them if nothing else!

*Wife (pink) asks; How do I look?
*Husband (blue) responds; You look fine, as he barely looks up from the TV.
*Wife (pink) hears; I look boring and unappealing  and like I put no effort into my appearance.  He doesn't care about me and would rather look at the woman on the TV screen!

*Wife (pink) says; I bought some new underwear today!
*Husband (blue) hears: WOO HOO let's go baby!!!! My wife can't wait to get in the sack with me!
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Photo Credit: nywici.org

*Husband (blue) says: If you get around to it could you wash my jeans today?
*Wife (pink) hears: What? He doesn't think I get laundry done in a timely fashion?  What does he think I do all day?  Those jeans have only been in the hamper for 2 days!

*Husband (blue) says; Could you make cookies today and use my mom's recipe?
*Wife (pink) hears What?  He doesn't like my cookies?  He would rather have his mommy's???

*Wife (pink) says; I am exhausted, I need a break!
*Husband (blue) says: From what? Don't I help you enough? What else can I do? She doesn't recognize anything I do.  Why do I bother, it doesn't help anyway. 
*Wife (pink) responds: She is angry and hurt that he would not recognize why she is so exhausted. If he really loved and cared about her, he would see her needs. 

*Husband (blue) says; Can I give you a back rub tonight to help you relax?
*Wife (pink) hears: Do you want me to rub your back in hopes that it will lead to something MORE!!! She may even turn down the back rub!

*Husband (blue) says; Wait up for me, I'll be coming to bed in a little bit! WINK WINK!
*Wife (pink) says: You know what I'll be doing by the time you get in there.... I'm exhausted!
*Husband(blue) thinks; She doesn't love me.  She doesn't care about me.  She loves sleep more than me!

So... as you can see... the difference in the way we express and receive communication as men and women can cause A LOT of unnecessary problems in a relationship!  Every single one of those statements was taken out of context, even though that was the loud and clear message that individual received!

The only remedy to this is to A. understand that you often are hearing what the other person is not saying or intending and B. be consciencely aware of how you speak and express yourself to your spouse!

This is a continuous problem we have to be aware of around here and I pray this sheds some comedy and light on possible communication miffs in your own marriage!!
Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick 







 
 
Meaningful, Messy Marriage
❤Moments ❤

(Learning to Let God Lead….. One Day at a Time)
-A Woman Redeemed
Tuesday is Valentine's Day.... the day of "Love!"  Even though we should be making a conscience effort to express our love daily, let us all face it, Valentine's Day makes us a little more intentional about doing so!  

Even though February 14th has been the assigned date for this heart filled holiday..... the "real" Valentine's Day in my mind, took place on Good Friday, when Jesus died a horrendous death. He willingly sacrificed His life to save ours.  He did this with a pure heart, without hesitation, without the expectation of appreciation (actually receiving quite the opposite by most), without reward and without any  selfish gain.  He simply loved in an unconditional, pure manner, esteeming others greater than Himself. 

Though we can strive and aspire to be like Jesus and that is the main focus of our Christian walk, we will never be able to inhabit all of His pure and sinless qualities.  Jesus was and still is the only perfect and sinless man that ever lived.  Even though we will never achieve this level of selfless love, we can aim our arrows to hit that bulls eye.  

As we have talked about many times in these devotions, it becomes to incredibly easy to focus on the negatives in marriage, forsaking the little blessings that we have been given each day.  

This week, we are going to take a trip down memory lane!  I have found that when I am feeling selfish in my marriage, or when I just need a boost of loving energy, it helps me greatly to pull out old photos and letters of Garrick and I.  It removes me from the present, where I may be feeling selfish and lacking that loving feeling and brings me back to a place and time where I felt those feelings at a very strong level!!  It takes me back to the reasons I feel in love with Garrick in the first place.  

So for your Valentine's Dad devotion.... go through some old photos, when you were first dating or your wedding day photos.  Remember the feelings you felt and relish in those.  They are still in there, perhaps buried under children, loads of dirty laundry and stacks of bills, but I assure you, they are there.  

Then, read this scripture and give an example of each time your spouse expressed this kind of love to you.  If you cannot remember any times, perhaps this is an issue that needs to be prayed about.  If your spouse is struggling to remember the last time you expressed this kind of love toward them..... discuss why and pray about God's intervention.  

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, is is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

1.  When has your spouse shown you patience?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:









2. When has your spouse shown you kindness?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:







3. When has your spouse shown humbleness, refrained from being proud and boasting of themselves, even if they has reason to?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:








4.  When has your spouse shown you forgiveness without bringing up past wrongs, showing great grace and mercy?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:









5.  When has your spouse shown you great honor, by placing your needs above their own without expectation?



❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:








6. Share a time that you felt protected by your spouse?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:








7.  Share a time when you and your spouse pushed through and persevered through a dark or difficult season, even if you wanted to give up?  Share the hope that you had?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:







8.  Can you trust your spouse?  This may be a difficult question for some couples.  But discuss it, if the answer is no, this is definitely an area that needs prayer and God's touch.  If we are to trust our spouse with our lives.... we must be able to trust them in the every day little things.  A marriage without trust... is headed down a very dangerous path. Try not to dwell on the negative but take this need to God and commit to making the answer to this question an eternal... YES!  


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:






This devotion can breathe fresh life into your marriage!!!  I pray you have a beautiful, blessed and God filled Valentine's Day!!!

Peace and Blessing

 
 
Meaningful, Messy Marriage
❤Moments ❤

(Learning to Let God Lead….. One Day at a Time)
-A Woman Redeemed
YEAH!!!  It is our final week on our journey to forgiveness segment!!  And if you have made it this far my friends.... it is a step WELL deserved!!!!  

Forgiveness is a journey I will go to my grave stating that.  Though little transgressions can often be quickly forgiving and moved past, larger, life altering ones, often require a journey of dedication and God leading strength.  

Garrick and I have been on a journey.  Throughout this journey, just as the stages of grief, it is common to move back and forth through the different stages several times.  I often have to be reminded that I am a NEW creation in Christ and have to ability to forgive, even when my flesh does not agree (step 1).  I often have to continually be aware of when I begin to idolize my husband's love and place it above God's desiring for him to meet all of my needs (step 2).  I have had to ask God to humble my heart on more than one occasion, reminding myself, that though my husband's sin has had tremendous negative effects, in God's eyes, sin is sin and my sin is just as devastating to God (step 3). I daily, have to train my mind to focus on what which is lovely in our marriage, that which is honorable and worthy, not the negatives and painful memories of the past (step 4). It is still a struggle for me to give and receive the physical and emotional affection God longs for us to express in our marriage.  It has gotten much, much better, but when I fail to keep on track with steps 1-4, this step becomes increasingly difficult (step 5). 

We are now on our LAST step... and what may you ask is it?????  CELEBRATING!!!  YES.... YOU MUST CELEBRATE the progress you make in healing your marriage!  We don't bat an eye at celebrating other things; children's achievements, birthdays, promotions, awards or any type, but our marriage my friends.... trumps ALL OF THESE!  

A strong marriage is the glue that holds all of those other things in place!  You need to celebrate each step you make!  Celebrate as you an your husband find enjoyable to you;

  • In at home date night!
  • A night out, dinner and movie or just dinner!
  • A night out with friends to toast your achieved step!!
  • A romantic evening of affection expressing (I will let you fill in those blanks!!! LOL)
  • Exchanging little gifts!
  • Writing each other a heartfelt note!
  • Doing something together you have always wanted to do and haven't!!  


The options are endless!  God has lead Garrick and I to do the last item on this list!!  We are both pretty frugal people.  We try to spend our money wisely for the most part and both of us struggle greatly with making BIG purchases, especially for ourselves.  This is how we know this celebration suggestion is ALL God!  

We try to celebrate our successful journey by doing little things such as; date nights at home, going out to dinner, surprising each other with little things (Garrick has gotten very good at this). Last week we celebrated Garrick's first Sunday back in the pulpit preaching by going out for lunch as a family!  But Garrick and I could not be more excited about the celebration we are going to enjoy in April!

God told us about a month ago that we are to take a trip together!  Somewhere that requires a plane ride, without children.  A place we can relax, enjoy one another and also provides some romantic elements.  God assured us.... we earned it!  

So on April 7th we are flying away to Puerto Vallarta!!!!  We are staying five nights in an all inclusive resort, with an ocean view room!  We are going to enjoy long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, massages, beautiful scenery and most of all.... one another, without interruption!  We are going to celebrate God's restoring power and pray that God lays individuals in our path that allow us to share out testimony!  

We are so excited... we are like two little kids waiting for Christmas!!!! LOL  And though money is required.... we could not care less about the cost!  There is not one part of us that does not feel God is leading us on this trip, which makes it even more exciting!  

So please, please, please... CELEBRATE!!!  Your marriage is worth every moment of celebration!  It makes God smile to see His children nurturing their marriage and it is a beautiful testimony to the world.... that marriage is worth the fight and the prize!!!

Thank you for joining us on this journey!!!  We continue to pray for marriages!  May God continue to restore and rescue even the seemingly hopeless marriages!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick