Monday, October 22, 2012

FOM 2012

This past weekend we traveled to Ridgecrest Conference center in Black Mountain to attend our fourth Festival of Marriage (a great big thanks here to both of my parents for keeping the kids for us all weekend and also to Rob and Tammy who coordinate this event for our group every year).

This weekend is always a highlight of our year and allows us some time away to remember who we are as a couple, to learn some new insight into developing a better marriage and to spend some time with some wonderful couples from our church.

This year we had a group of 17 couples to attend and although I have thought each of the past marriage retreats were good, this one blew them away. I think I speak for everyone in our group in saying that we walked away better prepared to be a good partner, more willing to sacrifice to serve our spouse in love, and renewed to do marriage well.

I took over 18 pages of notes during the time we spent in our classes, and don’t plan to tell you about all of it, but I would like to do several posts on the things that really hit home with us. Here is the first of these posts:
In years past, we have come home with a burden to work harder at our marriage, to work harder to be better parents, to work harder to leave a legacy. This year we realized that although those things are good, they are not what we really needed to focus on. You see, it kept coming back to one theme for us this year- holiness.

God did not create marriage to make us happy; He created marriage to make us Holy.

Turns out, marriage is a reflection of our relationship with God and SHOULD be full of grace, forgiveness, mercy, sacrifice and selflessness. Because we are sinful people, this cannot happen apart from relying on Christ and the Holy Spirit. God can use marriage to transform us into His image if we will allow Him to.
We are put together with our spouse for a purpose, and our specific spouse was selected by God to help us in our journey toward holiness. They used the illustration a lot of a mirror and that your spouse is really a mirror for you to look in and to see who you are. There are times that your spouse is really going to irritate you and frustrate you. When that happens, this is revealing some area of yourself or your life that God is bringing to your attention. It is a sin that I can take to Him to put to death and to become more like Christ.

Marriage is bigger than just being about the two of us.

We are called to redemptive love (being willing to pay a price that someone else cannot or will not pay), to doing the next right thing, to encouraging each other to become our future ‘glory-selves’, and to entering into the process of their sanctification development. We are to be a self giving, sacrificial servant, which is the complete opposite of what our culture today tells us.

You see, we can choose to do life our way, to do marriage our way, or we can choose to do it God’s way. I can give my spouse myself, or I can give him Jesus. To be honest, in the past, there are many, many times that I’ve given him my ugly, selfish self.
Marriage is a game of sacrifice and it is discipleship in its truest form. Discipleship must have depth and we are called to DIE to self. Use the mirror that your spouse is to you to show you what areas you have sin in. Marriage should be a constant detox and purging of sin.

When we sacrifice for our spouse, we are offering a sacrifice to God. When we choose to love our spouse, we are loving God.
I plan to post again so that I can share more with you. I hope that some of these words speak to someone out there and can encourage you where you are at today.

Love y’all!
Here are a few pics from the weekend!

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