My beautiful sister Rachel had won on the radio a couple's pass to FamilyLife's "Weekend To Remember". A couple's marriage retreat conference. With Rachel expecting # 7 and the stresses of life, she and Al were looking forward with great anticipation to this weekend away here in Greensboro.
When Greg lost his job, Rachel called soon after and told us she wanted to give this "Weekend to Remember" to us. After talking about it, we gratefully accepted it. The timing was incredible! Greg lost his job on Tuesday, and the retreat was the weekend following.
On Thursday, we had a family picnic/outing to a local park (Centennial Gardens). It is a peaceful park in the middle of Greensboro, with a bog garden across the street (a more natural habitat) that includes some small waterfalls. It was a gift from the Lord. We enjoyed a relaxing family time surrounded by the beauty of His amazing creation. We were silly together and colored each other's hair pink with poke berry juice.
Friday night, we checked into the hotel (Al and Rachel had given us a hotel room for the weekend also) and began the conference.
It was an incredible, refreshing weekend. It was so good to be able to re-connect. We have a great marriage, but every marriage takes tending and nurturing. They do not survive or thrive by accident.
It was so good to just be reminded of the order God has laid out for our marriages. I am always amazed at the order of God's plans for every detail of our lives. It reminds me that the train of our lives runs best and with the most purpose on the tracks He has designed for us. Within His plan is freedom to thrive, not the bondage the enemy would have us believe. It is GOOD!!!!!
We had a great date night, and it was all so good. One neat little thing that reminded me that God delights in granting us our heart's desires was: during one session, the speaker had just gone over the promotion of the book "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas. "That's the book I've wanted for a long time". I whispered to Greg. Minutes later, the speaker asked: "Who had parents who were a great example in their marriage?" Greg elbowed me "Your parents were" he said "Raise your hand." So I did. The speaker picked up "Sacred Marriage" from the table and gave it to me!!
The premise of the book is "What if God designed marriage to make us holy rather than happy?" This is a burning message in my heart that I so long for people to know.
Disrespecting, not actively loving and rejecting our mates is all-out rejection of the good gift God has specifically given to us. When we do this, in a way we are rejecting God. He designed marriage to be an example of the relationship between Christ and the church. What a daunting task! But with a willing heart, and His grace and help, we can do it.