Sunday, February 21, 2010

Marriage Challenge Day 7: Practice

If there is anyone who despises having to practice at something, it is my thirteen year old daughter, Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn is talented at many things, but the things that she has to really work at, or new things she is trying to learn how to do, become huge sources of frustration for her. Then her outbursts of tears and frustration normally prompt yet another discussion about how 'practice makes perfect', 'you cant give up when it seems hard', and that 'Rome was not built in a day'. I call them life lessons, she calls them lectures, but lets not go there.

Anyway, Kaitlyns favorite love of life is cheerleading. That is her sport of choice (and dont even try to argue that cheerleading is not a sport, because you might get hurt.) Recently, she has taken up tumbling again, trying to master all of the normal cheerleading tumbling moves. But even though she loves to envision the days when she will go flipping through the air with the greatest of ease, her heart just does not want to have to work at it! She wants the results, but not the hard work and potential frustration that it takes to get there.

But the biggest hurdle is, that as her frustration builds, her hope dissipates; she gets discouraged and down on herself when she cant meet her goal as quickly as she wants to, and feels like she wants to quit.

We could just mark that up to her being a teenager and at an insecure stage in life... but arent we all like that in some ways? I can only speak for myself of course, but I can get easily discouraged when I keep working at something, or praying about something, or longing for something to happen - only to continue to see things staying the same.

Over this past week, our Marriage Challenge has been focused on challenging us to work at our marriages, in the hopes that through the power of God, and trust in Him, that He can guide our hearts, and our husbands hearts, into a place of renewal, rekindled love, and recommitment.

We have talked about praying for our husbands, promoting them with encouraging words, seeing them through Gods eyes, providing for their needs, protecting their reputations, and spending time with them.

These are all such important things to do, but lets face it - they are time consuming, taking great commitment, and requiring us to put all our faith in God that He will reward our efforts to be a Godly wife.

When I pray about a problem in my marriage, or a situation that is concerning me, I want God to answer it - overnight. Immediately. In my timeline. Dont you?! Who doesnt?! Patience is no longer a virture, its a rarity. Our culture today has programmed us all for immediate gratification, and that holds true in our marriages too. We want things to be perfect, and we want it now!

How easy it is to give up on our marriage, or give up hope that God change our husbands heart, mend addictions, create intimacy, restore friendship, and heal a relationship, because we get so frustrated when things are not happening as quickly as we would like.

It takes practice to keep going when the going gets tough, and it takes practice to take Gods Word to heart when He promises to hear our prayers and act on them, according to His will.

Philippians 4:9 says "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you". The better we understand God's truth and promises, the more we can apply these principles to our lives. The more we practice them and apply to our lives, the better we will become at living a life, and having a marriage, that pleases God.

Last week at tumbling practice, Kaitlyn met one of her goals. She learned she could do something, that she had not been able to do before, and she was excited about her accomplishment! It was one little baby step towards the goal that she is trying to reach, and it was as if a light bulb went off in her head, and she suddenly realized that maybe, just maybe, there is something to be said for practicing after all.

Your challenge today is to practice the challenges from the past week, and have a wonderful day in the Lord.

Marriage Challenge Day 7: PracticeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Anonymous said...

What you said about patience not being a virtue but a rarity now struck home with me. Thank you for today's post and for the marriage challenge as a whole! This is the first page I go to in the mornings. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie and Everybody,

Moranda...Thanks for your sweet comment. You were so much in my thoughts and prayers today in church. "May the Lord Bless you and keep you...May he let his light shine upon you and be gracious to you. Thank You for being with us, this has to be very hard for you.
...Keep the strength.
...Keep the Faith.
...and most of all know God loves
you. (hugs)!!

Practice...Hardwork...(Kaitlyn, NICE JOB!! Your hard work is the vehicle that can lead you down the road to success.) Ladies lets keep at it. Thanks much Tracie for keeping us going You were so much in my prayers too.

Philippians 4:9, "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you"
...So much truth behind this one here...Today I would like to come along side with Tracie and practice on encouraging us on.

Tracie loved the quotes... Here are a few more:

*You'll find the secret of success hiding behind the words "hardwork."

*Success is waiting for you, so don't be afraid to put in the effort you need in order to achieve it.

*Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied.
proverbs 13:4 NLT

*Genius begins great works;labor alone finishes them.
(Joseph Joubert)

*It's okay to fail, because failure is really guidance in disquise.

*Never let failure defeat you. Instead, let it teach you.

FAILURE IS A WORD that often gets a bum rap, as if the worst thing that can happen to a man is to fail. But failure in and of itself is not a bad thing. (How can it be bad to fail when it means you at least tried?) Failure can mean you haven't yet found the right method or formula. It may mean you need to get more training or go back to the drawing board. It may even mean you're ahead of your time. Try o see your failures as God's guidance counselors helping you figure out what to do with yourself. Never stamp "THE END" on a failure. Instead, consider it a springboard for a new beginning. God may have something better right around the corner.

*Men's best successes come after their disappointments.
(Henry Ward Beecher)

*Be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7 NIV

These quotes came out of a book: from a Mother's Heart to her Son
(50 reflections on Living Well).

Thanks Tracie for your "hardwork" this week.

We Love, because He first loved us.

Moranda Clark said...

Practice...definately helps us work towards perfection. We may not ever get perfection, but continuely striving for it is definately a good thing. If we are practicing,then we are mindful of it, which will help. I think a lot of times, we get comfortable and let the important things slip away. If we keep our marriages at the forefront of our minds by practicing, that means we will always be thinking about the state of our marriages. That in itself might be enough to keep things in a positive state. Once we stop practicing or moving forward, we will begin to move backwards.

Rhonda...Thanks again for the kind words, thoughts, prayers, and hugs. Just knowing someone out there is thinking about me helps.

bguido said...

Thank you Tracie. I am continually encouraged my your challenges and look forward to next week's messages.

Today's message was perfect, reminding me that "Rome wasn't built in a day." So I am learning that about marriage. Thankfully I am having fun learning / practicing.