Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marriage Challenge Day 14: Persevere

Over the past thirteen days, we have focused on a lot of different things, all sharing the same desired goal of improving and strengthening our marriages. Lets do a quick little review just for discussion sake:

- the importance of praying for our husbands, their hearts, their decisions, their work, their choices, their minds, and their faith.
- promoting our husbands self esteem by offering words of encouragement, instead of words of discouragement
- changing our perspectives, and trying to see our husbands through Gods eyes
- providing for their emotional, physical and spiritual needs
- protecting their reputations and giving them honor
- remembering to spend quality time and 'play' with our husbands
- putting what we know into practice
- pursuing a close with with Christ ourselves which benefits our marriages
- forgiveness
- seeking peace through Christ when times are tough
- being our husbands helper
- planting seeds of love, blessing, intimacy, and actions into our marriage gardens
- and focus on the transforming of our minds.

When I look at the list above in its entirety, all on one page, I have to say, it seems very overwhelming. It almost seems impossible to think that we can really implement these practices into our marriages, remember to do them daily and/or weekly, and stay motivated to keep trying even when the road seems hard, long, unchanging, and unrewarding.

So today, my friend, your challenge is to simply embrace perseverance, because there is no doubt about it, marriage is hard.

Marriage can be the biggest blessing in our lives, bring the biggest heartache we have ever known, and be the greatest adventure we have ever been on, all at the same time. It is a breeding ground of emotions from one end of the spectrum to the other, but we can take heart in knowing that God knew marriage was not easy.

He knew we would need guidance and support, encouragement and strength. Even the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:28 that "...But those who marry will face many troubles in this life..."

As a result of the importance of marriage, and the fact that He knew it would not be easy, God chose to make more than 500 Old and New Testament references to the words "marriage", "married", "husband", and "wife".

Marriage was a challenge in biblical times, as it is today, because it is a union of two different, imperfect people coming together in a world that is full of sin. It is the joining of two people who each have good and bad traits, habits, sins, and selfish desires, while trying to become one, coexist, stay in love, and deal with life.

If we only look at marriage by that description though, we will remain discouraged, instead of encouraged; frustrated, instead of hopeful; and disheartened, instead of joyful.

Marriage is one of the important parts of life where God knew we would need His strength, courage, ability to forgive, grace, mercy and hope, and one of the many reasons why He encourages us to persevere if we want to see our dreams come true, our faith come to life, and our marriages be a blessing in our lives.

To persevere means to persist in anything undertaken; to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; and to continue steadfastly. Here are a few verses that reiterate Gods take on perseverance:

Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Hebrews 11:27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.


Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Perseverance is not always fun, but in Christ, we can do it, and reap the rewards of His love, protection, and blessing as a result. Only God knows the problems or blessings in each of our marriages, and only He knows the future of each relationship. But our role is to continue to trust Him in whatever we are facing, and to persevere through His strength and not our own.

All things are possible with God. Smiles.
___________________________________________________________

Sweet friends, these past two weeks have been such a blessing for me. I have been amazed and awe struck at what God has done in all of our hearts through this challenge, especially my own.

I want to share with you that the day before my devotion Love, Respect and Admiration was published, I had no intentions or plans for a marriage challenge.

As I was writing the accompanying blog post for the devotion, God gave me this 14 day assignment, and I just threw it out there as an invitation to see if anyone was interested. I was blown away by the response.

That afternoon, my husband came home from work, and having read my blog post that day, asked me if I had everything prepared for the challenge. I hesitantly, and anxiously, admitted that I had not written a word, and actually had no idea what I was going to write about for fourteen consecutive days.

But I knew that this was a God-assignment, and I trusted Him to come through - and He did.

As I look back over the posts from the past two weeks, I am literally shocked. God provided every thought, every word, every bible verse, every idea, and every memory of experiences that I have gone through. And it wasnt until the second day of the challenge, that He prompted my heart to consider using "p" words for each challenge. I would have never come up with that on my own! God is so cool.

I only tell you all this, because I want to give God all the credit for this little marriage challenge, and take none for myself. It was all about Him, and what He wanted each of us to hear, and nothing about me. I am truly praising Him today for the opportunity to be a tiny vessel to share His Word, and my prayer is that He has spoken to your heart in a special way through the past couple weeks.

Five to six hundred women every day have been following this marriage challenge, and I stand amazed at how God has moved. I want to personally thank you for all of your precious emails, Facebook comments, and blog comments. I have been blessed and encouraged, and sometimes brought to tears, by all the things you have shared with me. Thank you!

Thank you for being a part of this exciting, yet challenging 14 day journey with me, to strengthen our faith and our marriages.

Even though the official challenge is over, I hope that you will continue to come back and visit me, as we walk together to embrace the adventure of trusting God in every big and little aspect our lives.

Marriage Challenge Day 14: PersevereSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie,
This was so Beautiful!!!
Thank You!!!

I am speechless for words. All I can say is Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for this wonderful challenge.

Just know you strengthened our marriage....and Know I'm sure through your obedience saved & strengthen so many others.

God Bless You sweet Sister.

Yesterday in our church service Father touched on this subject for a while. The sacarament of marriage this is the covenent we are in those who have taken it. We are to be devoted to it.

Tracie I truly was blessed through it. My husband said you need to continue:) this challenge.

I am going to use a few of them through out in my scrapbook. On pages of me and my husband. May speak to our future generations.

THANKS SO SO SO SO MUCH!!!
God Bless You. Tracie have a Peaceful Day.
Rhonda

Jennifer said...

I want to echo everything that Rhonda said! Thank you for giving us these words and thoughts that I can use to strengthen my marriage.

And Rhonda, your scrapbook sounds like a great idea! You have inspired me to weave parts of the 14 day challenge into a project for me and my husband.

Moranda Clark said...

Thank you for being obedient to God. Your obedience truly paid off. Lives and marriages will be changed for eternity. I enjoyed the challenge. Some of it was not easy to read, but all of it showed me insight into my own marriage. Thanks again and know that I am praying for you!

Beauty4Ashes said...

I really enjoyed this Traci 7 Thank you! Being remarried after suicide loss of my first husband , I found this truly helpful to become a even better equipped faithful& Helpmeet spouse with the man I'll grow Old with. Second chances are Beautiful =)

Linda said...

Tracie, thank you so much for this 14 day marriage challenge!! It has meant so much to me and has certainly enlightened me and encouraged me. I can see improvements in myself and my marriage daily. I so appreciate your obedience to God to help me become the godly wife He intended me to be.

May God richly bless you,
Linda

JazzyTurtle said...

Thank you Tracie so much for these 14 days. I am so happy and at peace. God is good. I started using each encouragement and have really noticed a difference in me and how my hubby is as well.

A couple years ago I had a miscarriage and was really mad at myself, my husband, and with the Lord. I couldn't see why I didn't get to keep my baby when I see people who are using drugs and abusing being pregnant keep theirs. Over the past few months I have really began to forgive and realize that God loves me no matter what. He has a plan for me and if I trust in him and reside in him he will give me the desires of my heart. I was able to watch Facing the Giants and learn so much from that movie. Just like the wife in the movie I started to say that God's love is enough. Even if I don't get pregnant again, His love and the love my husband has for me is enough.

My husband and I just celebrated our 6 year anniversary and I am pregnant. I can't even type this without tearing up. I am so thankful to God and for all that you have shared and all the other women who have commented on your blogs to share their stories. I will for sure return to you blog for encouragement.

Peace, Love, and God Bless,
Shelon

Anonymous said...

Tracie,

This challenge has been such an incredible blessing to me. It is an encouragement and challenge for me to press in to God and walk more closely with Him to transform me into the wife He wants me to be for my husband.

Thank you for your faithfulness and obedience to God in using your talents, skills and abilities and ministry to help so many and to glorify Him.

Blessings to you sweet sister.

Sandra said...

Thank you so much Tracie for these marriage challanges. I have been crying out to God, asking Him to change me. I believe He has heard my prayer by sending these challanges my way. What a blessing they were and you are for allowing Him to use you. May God continue to use you as you minister His love to others.

Colleen said...

Tracie,

Words cannot express my gratitude to you for allowing God to use you for this challenge; my gratefulness to God for his faithfulness in leading me to your blog, and opening up my heart to the possibility of the restoration of my marriage. I have read and re-read and will continue to follow the challenges set out before us to improve our marriage. I want to see how far this can take us!

I appreciate your candor in describing how you wrote these challenges. I wondered if you had thought them all out ahead of time, or it they came to you each day. Each one was so well-thought out and eloquently written. I agree with what someone wrote in a previous post that these ideas should be compiled into a short study for both husbands and wives!

God's blessings to you as you continue to inspire the hopes of hundreds of marriages. I believe that with God, all things are possible. Thank you, Tracie!

Rachel B said...

Thankful that you obediently followed the Lord's prompting to share this 14 day challenge with us. Isn't it so cool how God shows his faithfulness to us when we obey?!

I was blessed, challenged, convicted and changed in the past 14 days, and I'm sure many others were as well.

Thanks again!

4-Given said...

I have been so blessed by your postings on. This challenge!!! You are so real. Thank you for not playing down your own marriage struggles. There are so many hurting marriages today. I have been reading LOVE AND RESPECT by Eggerich. Your posts have gone hand in hand with it! I have been examining my own role as a wife, and your challenge has been another God moment of his affirming power in us wives and in my life. Thanks

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

God is so AWESOME! And he certainly used you Tracie to minister to so many of us. I believe God uses YOU because you are an open and willing vessel. He could not have poured all of those thoughts and words into you for us, if you had not been.

Thank you so much Tracie for being so real, open and willing, and ofcourse I will be back. You are one of my very favorite blogs where I always get encouraged and challenged!

If I were there in person, I would give you a big thank you hug.

Lee Ann

Mary said...

Tracie,

I just wanted to thank you for this marriage challenge.

I found it to be so insightful and really great!

Many Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the last 14 days with us, Tracie. Thank you for sharing your testimony relating to the start of this challenge. I know that I will refer back to my notes over the years to come. God is everlasting, isn't He! All that He has taught us through you will never expire. It'll always be pertinant! As I think of the years to come and how this will be a blessing to my marriage during the times when I need to persevere, God has also brought it to mind that it can be helpful to others' marriages as my children will someday pursue marriage. This devotion could be wrapped up as a gift for brides for years to come. Thank you for not only HEARING God, but for also OBEYING His promptings. Gentle nudges, aren't they :-)

God bless you, Tracie!

Stacy Long

Jen said...

Thanks, Tracie, for the focus you put on improving that special relationship God gives us with our husband. I need specific, concrete ideas, and this will help so much.

Julie@comehaveapeace said...

I will be back. It has been a joy to be with through the challenge. And I have to tell you that I love alliterate ... and my favorite letter is "P". I know that sounds funny, but I had to tell you. You proved why ... there are SO many great words, packed with meaning, that start with P.

Am sure that the 14 power packed ;) P words will continue to inspire and encourage all of those who shared in it with you. I'm glad to be one of them!

Blessings,
Julie

Anonymous said...

Tracie,
I want to say thank you, for sharing with us your 14 days marriage challenge. I came to realized a lot of things through those challenges. I'm so excited to share them to our women's net in our church.

May God Bless you & your Family!

Leah