No Regrets: Living a Regret Free Marriage

No Regrets: Living a Regret Free Marriage

Divorce statistics are not surprise, we live in a selfish, impatient world that says 'I want what I want, when I want it.' We rationalize the consequences of our selfishness, deciding that children are resilient, we deserve to be happy and everyone is doing it. We make decisions made under the guise of no regrets, leave no path untravelled, no stone unturned, or doing things my way, as Frank Sinatra put it.

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The Art of Gentle Persuasion

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole world? I mean, that thing you do just for you - because it just seems to make everything else in life "right"? Now imagine if that one thing were taken away from you suddenly. Possibly permanently.

What sort of mood might that put you in?

gentle

That one thing for me is running. Like Eric Liddel once said, "when I run I feel His pleasure." Maybe it's because I'm naturally very hyperactive and running just seems to calm my mind and spirit. Or maybe I was just born to run. But it's something I really enjoy, and something I like doing on my own or with a friend, out on a deserted country road or in the middle of a busy metropolis. I enjoy long runs especially. I'm one of those guys who thinks it's hardly worth lacing up unless it's going to be for at least 5 miles. Half marathons are just bliss to me, and I've even got a handful of marathons under my belt.

Get the picture?

But a couple of months ago, things changed. I developed some nagging injuries and had to stop running. At first I thought I could scale back, but that didn't work out so well. So, I've stopped. Entirely.

I haven't stopped exercising altogether. I've been to the gym a handful of times. Stationary rowing, cycling, stair climbing, and elliptical machines at least allow me some way to get in a calorie burn. But it's not running. I've also been cycling. And some of the guys I ride with are pretty intense cyclists, so I certainly get in a good calorie burn. But it's not running.

I'm usually one of those "silver lining" people. I can always find the good in just about anything, and I'm rarely down for long. But over the past several weeks my mood has been, well, deteriorating. You might even say I've bordered on depression.

A couple of days ago, I went home for lunch. What I really wanted to do was go for a run. But since that's not possible right now, I went home. And I just sat there. Didn't want to eat, didn't want to do anything.

Gentle Pursuit

My wife, Tiffany, had been at work that morning as well (we work in the same office, same department), and she was planning to go to the gym at lunch time. So I didn't expect to see her home, which was just fine with me. I wasn't much good to anyone anyway.

But then she came home, and obviously hadn't been to the gym. She went to the kitchen saying how she decided get some things started for dinner and might go to the gym later. Then she said she was going to make herself something to eat, did I want something too? Sure, why not. Then she asked if I'd like to go to the gym with her. Well, guess I could. At least I'd get some sort of exercise.

In essence, my wife changed her plans and went out of her way to include me in what she was doing when in fact she really didn't have to. Her God-given intuition told her I was on the brink of a deep sadness. And through her thoughtful, intentional actions, my mood was changed entirely!

Sure, it was more of the stationary bike and the elliptical that day, which would not be my preference. But it was with my wife, who took the time and effort to demonstrate love and consideration for me, solely for my benefit, just when I needed it. She gave up a little of her self, and adjusted her schedule - all for my benefit. It wasn't some flamboyant gesture, just gentle persuasion  - right when I needed it most. And that made all the difference.

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. ~Proverbs 31:10 LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT ART OF MARRIAGE! Join us September 5-6 at Faith Fellowship in Kinston! 

AOM

Want to unplug on FamilyLife's Fifth Annual Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2015? Book with our group and sail away with us! 

christian cruise

Enjoy Al Mohler, Crawford & Karen Loritts, Dennis Rainey, Chris August, Andrew Peterson, Shaunti Feldhahn, Ron Deal, David Nasar, Jimmy McNeal, Kerri Pomarolli and Ron McGehee...and Intentionally Yours' Scott & Sherry Jennings at I Still Do, a one day marriage event that will strengthen your marriage and rekindle the romance!

ISD-I-Still-Do-Fall-2014

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Tired? I'm Plumb Wore Out!

I don’t think a hot stone massage or a Calgon bubble bath could begin to ease this exhaustion.  A deep, intense, two-day sleep, or a rest in a hammock on a secluded island with a half a jar of peanut butter, a couple of coconuts and a chocolate bar nearby… hmmm maybe. tired

I’m tee-totally physically and mentally drained. It’s one of those days where I find myself surrounded by the not so elegant scents and sights of two forever growing, endless piles of laundry. One is dirty and the other is just plain funky. Dirty means we can possibly wear it one more time. Funky means you better grab a gas mask and run just as fast as you can while loading it into the washer.

And then there’s the kids, teenage tantrums, the tirades, an endless list of chores, emails, voice mails, activities, sports banquets, church activities, work, end of the grade exams, supper duty, dirty toilets, dishes, and unmopped floors. Have I caused anybody to grab for the chocolate or have a nervous sugar meltdown? Honeychild, does anybody feel this drama momma's pain? Of course you do. We’ve all been there, tired, overcommitted, stressed, crazy schedules, drained, pulled in a million directions…

Tired? It’s Not Just Physical

I’m not gonna lie. I know all too well what it’s like to feel the sting of total emotional and spiritual exhaustion as well. Some of you can relate. You find yourself begging and pleading with a child that has gone prodigal, you weep because you can’t seem to make ends meet with a strained, failing budget, or maybe you are like so many reading this and you find yourself in the battle of your life as you stand for your marriage. He or she walked out on you. Your mind is being taunted with questions, the what if’s , the why’s, the fear, doubt and worry. Your heart tells you no one understands and the enemy tries to convince you that God doesn’t hear your prayers, that you are unseen and insignificant.

Tired? God Is Calling You To Rest

Can I just get real with you? God is VERY interested in the topic of rest. To Him, rest is not just wasted time, time when we could be doing something useful and productive. Rest, in our Father’s eyes has value, worth and purpose. We see in the Word of God that even Jesus rested. He often withdrew from people, ministry, His daily routine in order to spend time alone with God.

... the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. ~Luke 5:15-16

You see, Jesus understood that the need was endless. You may be sensing that same very thing as well. My children need me, my students need me, my ailing parents need me, my friends need me, my husband needs me, work is calling my name… all the while our God is calling us to seek Him first, get our priorities back in line, and find sweet rest.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~Matthew 11:28

Finding R.E.S.T.

RENEW: Renew your mind, read the Word of God and let your spirit be rejuvenated. I often love to camp out in the book of Psalms. It is there that many times, I find refuge and new strength to face my day-to-day battles.

ESCAPE: Escape from your normal routine and daily pressures from others and get into the presence of God through prayer and meditation. Find a quiet place and take time to cry out to God. Our God sees our brokenness and our tears. He wants us to empty our exhaustion before Him.

SURROUND: Surround yourself with godly people who will encourage you. Sometimes the burdens are just too heavy to bear alone. God wants us to love and empower one another.

TAKE TIME: Take time for yourself! Exercise, take a walk, put your toes in the sand, find a new hobby, go shopping, do something for yourself, grab that chocolate, peanut butter and a couple of coconuts, before you go nuts!!

Are you stressed out, burned out and about to pull your hair out? There is only One who can give true rest–the refreshing, rejuvenating, restoring, refilling, life-giving rest that we all long for, and His name is Jesus.

 

IT'S ART OF MARRIAGE TIME!! We're looking forward to traveling to Poquoson, Virginia June 6-7, will you join us to work on the masterpiece of your marriage? 

AOM

Want to unplug on FamilyLife's Fifth Annual Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2015? Book with our group and sail away with us! 

christian cruise

Enjoy Al Mohler, Crawford & Karen Loritts, Dennis Rainey, Chris August, Andrew Peterson, Shaunti Feldhahn, Ron Deal, David Nasar, Jimmy McNeal, Kerri Pomarolli and Ron McGehee...and Intentionally Yours' Scott & Sherry Jennings at I Still Do, a one day marriage event that will strengthen your marriage and rekindle the romance!

ISD-I-Still-Do-Fall-2014

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Marriage: God Still Resurrects the Dead

I could hear the music playing on the overhead speakers. I began to fidget with my wedding ring, sliding it back and forth upon my index finger while anxiously waiting for the attorney to enter the room. The songs were quickly muffled by raging thoughts of daunting questions… the what ifs, the whys, and of course, the feelings of conviction from my swift decision to file for separation. Could a temporary separation save our marriage? Would going through with this threat make my husband change, and deep down did I truthfully even want my marriage to be saved? After all, I was already finding myself emotionally attracted to another man.

What had led me to this pivotal point of thinking that this meeting with the lawyer was my only recourse? I mean, I knew better. I had been raised in church all my life, I had heard how God hates divorce. Would this mean that now He would hate me?

marriage2

The Death of Our Marriage

Our marriage relationship was crumbling. Our priorities had gotten so out of line with kids, careers, church, activities, community service, and committees that it felt like my husband and I were merely living together as passing roommates.

My selfish desires and coveting, that greener grass syndrome,  had only left me longing for what other couples had. I had found myself becoming intrigued with another man and I no longer had the will or the want to make my marriage work. Communication within our marriage had stifled and our conversations had led to bitter words, harsh, abrupt shouting matches, and had often been followed by the sounds of screeching car tires.

Our marriage was dead. As a matter of fact, it was “Lazarus been in the grave three days stankin’ dead!” I was flirting with sin and my husband was feeling defeated and frustrated from not being able to control our circumstances. In the eyes of the world, it appeared that our marriage was over.

You might reading this right now and you can relate. You, too, have found yourself in the middle of this crazy cycle and you wonder if things can or will ever get better.  BUT let me assure you when GOD steps on the scene EVERYTHING changes.

The thief has come to steal, kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. ~John 10:10

C.P.R. For A Dying Marriage

C- Communicate, Confess & Commit: Not only had areas of trust been broken within our marriage, but we found ourselves dealing with an array of feelings. There was unresolved hurt, bitterness, anger, my desire to be loved, his desire to be respected... In order for the healing to take place in our marriage, I first needed to confess my sin, including my emotional involvement with another man. I cried out for forgiveness not only to my husband, but to God.

There could be no more lies, there would be no room for hidden text, emails, or secrets. My husband and I held each other as we wept. For the first time we listened to one another like never before,and we cried even more. The tears were followed by forgiveness that was sought and generously granted on both sides.

From that day forward we committed to each other to NEVER again allow the divorce word to enter our vocabulary. Most importantly, we recommitted our marriage to God by determining in our hearts to make our marriage the priority it was meant to be and keeping Christ in the center of our relationship. Those healing tears have been followed by years of new life and laughter.

P- Pray Like Never Before: I remember sitting on the end my bed one night with my head buried in between my trembling hands. I began to shout out to God my deepest, most secretive, inner thoughts. Oh God, I feel so ashamed. How could I have allowed myself to be attracted to another man. Father, forgive me. Lord, repair my broken marriage and heal the wounds that I have caused our two children. God minister to our family, take away the hurts, calm the fears, and ease the pain that no one but You, Lord, can fathom that we are feeling….

Can I tell you that there is POWER when you call on the name of Jesus?! Through prayer, couples draw closer to God, angry hearts are softened, wisdom is granted, trust is rebuilt.

R- Reach Out: Why is it that we as Christians tend to isolate ourselves when we are going through a struggle or under a spiritual attack? Isolation is a deadly tool in the hand of the enemy. For so long we were guilty of being plastic Christians. We never once reached out for counseling in our past. Maybe it was the fear of sharing our intimate details with a complete stranger.

There were times I felt dysfunctional, like we were the only couple with issues. I allowed Satan to attack my mind with doubts and feelings of worthlessness.

Listen to me and receive this in the name of Jesus: It’s okay for Christians to reach out for help. My husband and I sought the help of godly counselors who in turn placed in our hands godly resources, and held us biblically accountable for decisions within our marriage. AND as if that was not enough, God said I am not only going to bring that marriage back to life, but I am going to use your story to give hope to others that need a touch of that same resurrection power in their marriages!

My friend, He raised up Lazarus from the grave, His resurrection is the reason we celebrate EASTER. If He can conquer death surely my GOD  has the power to breathe NEW  life into your marriage or whatever circumstance in your life the enemy has set ought to destroy.

 

IT'S ART OF MARRIAGE TIME!! We've got two events in May, will you join us in Kinston or Pikeville, North Carolina to work on the masterpiece of your marriage? 

AOM

FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember gave us God's blueprint for marriage and continues to strengthen and transform it, it can change yours, too!

weekend to remember

Want to unplug on FamilyLife's Fifth Annual Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2015? Book with our group and sail away with us! 

christian cruise

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

The Unfairness of Grace Part 3: Expose' of the Gracious Heart

How much more of this grace stuff is there? You can't possibly understand what I have gone through. The pain, disappointment and betrayal I have experienced. I mean, when is enough, ENOUGH?

grace 3

I'll show grace after...when...or not until...

Well, maybe after you have paid your penance, that I have determined will suffice. Perhaps, after you have put in your time. Wear that sack cloth just a little while longer.

All of this adult 'time out' seems an appropriate price to pay, doesn't it?

Until we are asked to pay it. The thing is, with Christ, we aren't ever asked to pay it.

How grace responds

We experience true freedom when we realize that as we have received, we can give. God is the one who doles out justice. He promises we will reap what we sow. It is a law of the universe. We don't have to go looking to make others pay for their mistakes. They will have their own consequences to deal with, naturally.

When the prodigal son returned home and his father threw him a party, his brother was a bit perturbed. He didn't understand how his brother could 'get away' with how he had treated his father and their family. What he was not aware of were 1. the consequences the prodigal had already faced while in the 'far country;' and 2. his father would have thrown him a party if he had run away too.

Grace is available for everyone, not just the good brothers and not just the prodigals...because we are all shameful prodigals and we have all been self-righteous 'good brothers'.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. ~Romans 3:22-24 

The prodigal son, essentially, wanted his father to die. Isn't that usually when you receive an inheritance, after someone has died? He asked for it while his father was still alive.

Heart Check

The older brother wanted his prodigal brother to pay. He was jealous. The grace their father showed exposed his own heart. He was focused more on what his brother had done wrong, than the fact that he had finally done something right and returned.

A son tells his father he wants him dead and the father throws him a party? That is how we often want to view this story. That's not really what happened.

A son told his father he wanted him dead. A son ran away with out another word to his family. A son rebelled and went wild. A father didn't know if his son was dead or alive. A son lost everything. A son was humiliated. A son was broken. A son came home.

A son came home...and a father rejoiced.

The gracious heart is filled with compassion and wisdom. The resentful heart is immature. The resentful heart doesn't realize its standing before the Father.

The gracious heart operates with understanding.

Do a heart check. Have you forgotten where you stand with the Father? He wants to throw you a party too.

 

Whether your marriage needs a tune up or an overhaul, REGISTER today!!

WEekend to Remember

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

The Unfairness of Grace Part 2: Extravagant Injustice

Grace is unfair

So you tell me; Your spouse has left, running around with someone new, living the high life. Suddenly, extreme grace doesn't look so attractive anymore. Maybe it's not revenge, exactly...but hey, some form of payment would be nice. Ok, let's call it a "consequence." Surely, God won't let them get away with hurting YOU like this. Will He?

grace injustice

I've been in those moments, of being more concerned with having my hurt validated than trusting and watching the amazing power of grace. How can you forgive something like that? How can you forgive it again? How many times are you going to go through this?

Injustice: Grace blesses your enemies

The truth is, I can't forgive anything. God can. He did. He is the one who sacrificed, not me. That is grace. I don't have to wish ill upon my spouse or anyone else. In fact, the Bible clearly instructs us to BLESS our enemies and not to curse them. If consequences were so important, why would God ask us to bless our enemies? Bless the source of our pain and heart ache? Bless those that curse us?

We have this twisted idea of grace and consequence. We want grace but we want others to experience consequences. Not just any consequences, but the consequences we think they should have to endure. We want to see people miserable for a set amount of time so that they learn their lesson.

There is something wrong with this way of thinking. It exalts ourselves above God. Suddenly, we know what is best for another. We know exactly what they need and how they learn. Somehow, we begin to believe that we know this person better than the creator of the universe. Better than the creator of their soul does.

We become not only the prosecutor but the judge and jury. The same thing happened to a woman who was caught in adultery. The law declared the consequence for her sin was death. The jury declared her guilty and was ready to exact the consequence upon her. We know that Jesus stepped in and saved her life.

Grace in the Love Triangle: A Bold Risk

What we rarely hear about is the other man involved in this scandalous 'love triangle'. John 3:8 states she was caught in adultery. Well, that had to have been embarrassing. If she was caught, the man must have been there too, right?

Their love triangle of shame is transformed into a real LOVE triangle of grace when Jesus enters the scene. The man involved is not seen, sought after, or even mentioned. What grace Christ exhibits for him. Do you think He didn't know who he was, his name, his habits, his identity down to his core?

God not only saved this woman, he saved an anonymous man. He saved a coward, who was allowing his lover to take the blame, unto death, for him. Christ stepped in, became the consequence, as the lover of his soul and paid the literal price of death, for a shameless man. Christ is the lover that takes our blame.

Christ did not expose, nor did he tell the jurors (scribes and pharisees) to find the man and bring him to justice. There was no justice. Again, the point? Grace is unjust. It is given when undeserved. It is the act of shamefully allowing another to pay the consequence of our dark deeds.

But he got away with it! What if he doesn't learn his lesson? What if he does it again? Gasp!?! It's a bold risk. What if...Christ had not paid the price? Are we then, putting ourselves in the position of being teachers and guardians of the law?

Perhaps, Christ is calling us to be guardians of grace?

The scribes and pharisees 'got it'. The adulterous woman 'got it'. Grace makes me hope the secret male lover 'got it'.

Christ thinks you, and he, and she, and they and us...are worth the risk.

Did you miss The Unfairness of Grace Part 1: Indiscriminate Access?

 

Whether your marriage needs a tune up or an overhaul, REGISTER today!!

WEekend to Remember

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

The Unfairness of Grace Part 1: Indiscriminate Access

Grace is unfair.

That is pretty much the point. One man, yet a deity, sacrificed his own life so that you could have yours. Not only for you, but for every other human being who has and ever will be on this planet.

That is extreme grace.

We love to look at that grace and sometimes our eyes water, maybe a tear falls for the unworthiness we feel to have been awarded such a prize. To be chosen. To be viewed as so valuable, someone would willingly die for us.

grace Then we run into a rude checker at the store, a guy cuts us off on the freeway, or the field trip coordinator at your child's school forgets to give you some very pertinent information and suddenly we are so irritated, so annoyed, we think and rethink of the offending incident over and over. We replay all the ways to respond or wish we could have responded to 'put them in their place'.

That's ridiculous. I never lose my patience like that. People make mistakes. Until it's something bigger than a simple mistake. Until it affects our personal lives. Until it affects us. Until it IS us.

Grace is often easy to receive and a challenge to give. We want it so badly for ourselves. We strive for it. We know we need it. Sometimes we even demand it.

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! ~Romans 5:15 

Grace never works alone.

It is so closely tied to forgiveness and love. God gives the gift of grace to us and its power is so strong, it enables us to forgive and love others freely. It empowers us to have compassionate hearts that view others through the eyes of God's love. Instead of the eyes of our own condemning heart.

Do we offer grace to the grocery store checker but not the adulterer?

Grace for the guy on the freeway but not the porn addict?

Grace for the field trip coordinator, but not the one who stole our spouse?

Christ wasn't just thinking of and dying just for you, while he was on that cross. He was thinking of and dying for your offenders as well.

Grace is grace...and it's all grace.

Don't stop here...take the next step. The Unfairness of Grace Part 2: Extravagant Injustice 

Whether your marriage needs a tune up or an overhaul, REGISTER today!!

WEekend to Remember

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!