Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Story- "Sacred Marriage Study"

Okay folks, don't faint with shock, but I'm actually going to do a thinking  post!  At least I'm praying my thoughts come coherently.  I'm starting a study on the book titled, "Sacred Marriage".  My dear childhood friend Jenn (and current bestie, yes Jenn, I just reverted to junior high and called you that;)) is hosting this study and I'm so excited to dig in.  A couple of years ago I attended a conference that Gary Thomas, the author of the book, spoke at.  I remember being particularly drawn to this book and his message about it, but never did buy the book, sort of put it on the mental back shelf as a "when I have time to go to the bathroom, let alone read a book" book.  I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for it to arrive in the mail so I can crack it open.  Going in to this study, I'm ready to go deeper.  Here's the description of the book: 
"Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person. It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply. Scores of books have been written that offer guidance for building the marriage of your dreams. But what if God's primary intent for your marriage isn't to make you happy. . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God" 
For those who may not know, Travis and I have a long history.  We've known each other for over half our lives actually.  We met in Junior High, 7th and 8th grade (I'm a year and a half older than him, yes a craddle robber).  Having met so young and having been so young in our walks to boot, we were not short of struggles in our dating relationship, many to do with the temptation of physical intimacy.  But looking back, even though our struggles in our physical relationship seemed to be the all-encompassing struggle, I can now see that there were many other things going on that have shaped what our marriage is today.  My dad was dying of brain cancer shortly after we met.  Travis and his family became an escape for me as a self centered teenager, it was the way I found normal in a very overwhelming family crisis.  My dependence on Travis became immense, I was very needy and I counted on Travis, not the Lord, to meet all of my needs.  It set the stage for a very claustrophobic Travis who started to pull away as my grip tightened.  We had a brief separation during our dating years when my neediness got to a boiling point which forced me to the well I had been neglecting, my relationship with God.  I finally found what I really needed all along and Travis and I experienced great freedom from it, which brought us back together.  Through all of our struggles and triumphs, we are continually humbled to see God at work in our individual hearts and in our marriage.  My hope for this study is that God would get to the deep places in my heart that need refining, that He would continue to bless and grow our marriage as we are open and moldable before Him.  I am so thankful for the blessing of Travis, this man that God has entrusted to me to love and honor and care for!  I am thankful for his friendship and commitment and openness, for his willingness to share his heart without holding back, to confess his temptations, sins, hopes, and convictions and to listen when I need to share my own heart.  I am thankful for the ways he serves and provides for our family, the ways he lays down his own life and interests for us on a daily basis, the way he partners with me in the care and raising of our four children, often up in the night with them even more than I am.  He is a treasure to me, a treasure I never want to take for granted.  And I am convinced, now more than ever, that our story is not a story about us, but rather a story about God and what He can do.  It is a story of His glory despite ourselves, a story that I pray will point all who know us to the One who is the source of all life and hope and true joy, the author and perfecter of our faiths.  I'll be back with more thoughts from the study as we go along, but if you are so inclined, please pray that this study would be used by God in my life and the lives of all who are participating.  And join in if you'd like!

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