Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Marriage Counseling

Well, not exactly. But if you would've asked Steve last week where he was headed last weekend, that's what he would have said. "I can't go turkey hunting this weekend..I'm going to some marriage counseling thing." If you know my husband at all, this will not surprise you.

Now, let me tell you where we really went. I heard about Weekend to Remember from by Bible Study teacher. She and her husband went several years ago and talked about what a great experience it was. It occurs twice a year in our state, once in the fall and once in the spring. After checking into it and securing the help of the grandparents, I told Steve that for my birthday (in March), I wanted to go to the Spring conference in April. Since we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year (in June), I couldn't think of a better year to go. On my birthday, he gave me a card and on the inside he wrote something about booking "that Marriage Conference thing."

Neither of us really knew what to expect. I had not talked to anyone who had been besides my friend. And I didn't pick her brain about it. She said it was great, and I believed her. She did not lie. It. Was. Great. On so many different levels. Here are some highlights:

1. We spent an entire weekend together, just the two of us...no agenda (except the scheduled conference sessions) no children, no computer, no leisure reading, no work ...from Friday at 4:00 until we got home Sunday at 3:30, it was just us.

2. We ate six consecutive meals together...again, just the two of us. SIX MEALS! Honestly, how often does that happen?

3. The speakers were incredible...dynamic, HILARIOUS, transparent, encouraging, and challenging. They reminded us of so many of God's truths about marriage...it was like a refresher course. Or in their words, a "tune-up" for your marriage.

4. The session topics were real. Stuff you deal with daily in marriage. Everything from "Why Marriages Fail" to "We Fight Too" (resolving conflict), to "Marriage After Dark" (take a guess:), to "How Marriages Thrive." There was also a session for women only, dealing specifically with being a wife and mother. And likewise for the husbands.

5. Saturday night was date night. We went to the movies AND out to dinner (and didn't have to pay for a sitter:)

6. We stayed in a hotel for two nights...no cooking, no cleaning, no cleaning, no cleaning...

7. We spent quality time together. Not that our time at home with our precious children is not quality time. It absolutely is. But with no other distractions, we just enjoyed each other's company. Even in the car, even if we weren't talking every minute, it was just nice to be together.

8. I realized that when I am mad and frustrated with Steve, gritting my teeth and digging my fingernails into his arm is not the solution. And yes, I have done this more times than I care to admit. How mature and appropriate of me. And it did not take me going to a marriage conference to figure out that this is wrong. But I hope to control my anger from now on like a good little girl :)

9. We were reminded that God made us so, so very different. Difference is good. It is not my job to change Steve. It is my job to be an enthusiastic encourager to him, to offer genuine forgiveness with humility, and to love him with an extravagant love. An exclusive, expressed, extraordinary love that is a choice, and not always a feeling. There were also a couple of little "surprises" planned by Family Life that truly made the weekend.

10. I laughed a lot. Pretty much all weekend. Between Steve and guest speaker Greg Speck I laughed until I cried.

And, Steve loved it too. I don't even think he regretted not getting to chase after some old turkey in the woods anyway. Or at least that's what he said:)

Friday, April 9, 2010

And so it was Easter

Remember this? Well, Anna Clare informed me the day before Easter that she thought she just might go down front at church the next morning and tell our pastor she wanted to be baptized. I thought to myself that Easter would be a perfect day for her to profess her faith, but I dared not say much:) She had told us this a few times before but always decided that it just wasn't the right time. God knew when the right time was, however, and His timing is always just right.

I knew her wheels were turning when, between Sunday School and church, she said, "I don't want to sit in the balcony, but if we do sit in the balcony, how will I get down front?" I love that child.

She chose the 2nd row, front and center. So there we sat. When she didn't leave the service for children's church, I thought "this may just be the day." And, sure enough, as soon as the invitational hymn began, she was off. She slipped quietly past us and walked right up to the pastor all by herself. We could not have been more proud.

I thought it was pretty funny that, as intimidating as going in front of an entire congregation can be, she chose Easter Sunday...one of the most crowded Sundays of the year. I suspect God giggled a bit at that as well. We are absolutely thrilled and cannot wait for her upcoming baptism.

After church, we had lunch at my parents' house and the girls hunted eggs. Then we came home and all took naps, except for Anna Clare, who watched episodes from Season One of The Brady Bunch (she is such my child...that was my absolute favorite show growing up). We ended the afternoon with a family walk through the neighborhood, enjoying the fantastic weather.

Best. Easter. Ever.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mighty to Save


He can move the mountains

My God is mighty to save He is mighty to save


Author of Salvation

He rose and conquered the grave

Jesus conquered the grave

Mighty to Save (Hillsong) has been on my mind all week. I love it. While it may not be a traditional Easter song, I think it is a perfect worship song entering into this beautiful Easter weekend. We sang it at CBS Wednesday morning, and there was no doubt that Jesus was present in a mighty way.

Enjoy. And Happy Easter! He absolutely conquered the grave. Nothing is too hard for Him!