Friday, February 12, 2010

Prepare for the Challenge

I have to say, that I stand in amazement at the response to yesterdays Proverbs 31 devotion titled Love, Respect and Admiration. Wow! I have been so touched by each and every comment, and I have over 200 new Facebook friends. How fun! Plus, The Man Whisperer has been flying off the shelves!

What became crystal clear to me yesterday, through the hundreds of blog comments, Facebook messages, and emails that I received, is that we all struggle with marriage. Regardless of age, or how many years one has been married, our relationships with our husbands are a priority in our lives, and when things are not going smoothly, or hurts have run deep, it becomes hard to maintain that joy that we have in Christ.

So many times, women keep their marriage problems hidden inside their hearts, fearing what other people will think if they found out. But what a tragedy that is, when so many women are hurting, and desperately needing a shoulder to lean on and someone to pray for them.

That is why I am so excited that hundreds of you have committed to walking through this 14 day Encouragement Challenge with me, because, lets face it, marriage is hard work!

I want you each to think about when you first met your husband. Try to recall the feelings that you held in your heart, and the tingles that spread through your body whenever he called you, kissed you, or did something super sweet. Then reflect on your wedding day, and consider all of the thoughts that were running through your mind on that very special day.

I bet you would agree that, as you stood in your beautiful wedding gown, staring into the eyes of your soon-to-be-husband, saying vows meant to last a lifetime, that you were not thinking about things such as: boxer underwear on the floor in the bathroom every day, razor stubble, nights out with the guys, secrets, dirty dishes, dirty floors, diapers, snotty noses, long hours at the office, arguments and disagreements, and restless nights of trying to keep pillows strategically placed in the center of the bed so that your man cannot get anywhere near you - am I right?!

A couple years ago I was sitting in a hair salon getting my hair cut, and a young girl in the chair beside me, who looked to be in her early twenties, spent thirty minutes excitedly talking about her wedding.

Oh yes, she had everything picked out. She explained to her hairdresser, in great detail I might add, what her wedding dress looked like, the color and style of the bridesmaids dresses, what the groomsmen were wearing, the flowers, the cake, the music, etc.

None of this seemed out of the ordinary for a bride-to-be, filled with excitement and anticipation about the most special day of her life. Until I heard her exclaim as she was leaving the salon, that as soon as she could find a man to marry her, everything would be perfect.

You see, she had spent months, maybe years, planning for the wedding, but had given little, if any, thought to the reality of actually being married.

She was oblivious to the fact that marriage is a life time commitment, not one fairy tale day, and unfortunately, I believe that many brides set out in their new marriages with the same misconception.

As a glowing bride, we are in love, we have overlooked our fiances faults, we envision a life of bliss and mutual happiness, and look forward to our spouse meeting all of our needs while we pour our love upon him every day....only soon to discover that marriage is nothing like we expected. Not to say that there are not wonderful, happy and fulfilling days in marriage, but when we expect all of our needs to be met by our husbands, and fail to acknowedge that problems will arise, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Trust me friend, I speak from experience.

God is the only one who can fill that spot in our hearts that feels empty, needy and alone, especially when we are not getting the affection or love from our husbands that we so desire. God is the only One who can help us find peace, in the middle of a storm. God is the only Way to to persevere, when we feel like quitting. In fact, His instruction and guidelines for marriage, are so priceless, that without them, we would be surely lost from day one.

Sisters, whether your marriage is going along great, feeling a little stale, or you are on the brink of divorce, my prayer is that God will work miracles in the hearts of each one of you, and in my own heart as I seek Gods wisdom in the challenges to set forth for you in the coming weeks. I will also try to provide several different marriage books and websites that would be great resources for you to check out.

I am not a marriage expert, I am not a marriage counselor, I am not Christian advisor, I am not a perfect wife, I do not have a perfect husband, or a perfect marriage - but I do love the Lord, and my husband, and I believe with all my heart that God desires to see each one of us enjoy the joy and love that marriage is intended to bring, and that no matter what the problems are, our God is bigger and ALL things are possible with Him.

This journey must begin with the understanding that God has to come first in our lives, and that when we turn things over to Him and do things His way, our marriages are in much better hands.

The first daily challenge will be posted on Monday, February 15, along with the winners of the two CD's from Rick Johnson.

Over the weekend, I encourage you to pray about what God will speak to your spirit in the coming weeks, and to prepare your heart to hear His voice, and see Him at work in you, your husband, and your marriage. Pray for humility if God steps on your toes, courage to walk in love, and grace for when you try and stumble.

We are all in the same boat friends, I am actually getting a little nervous about this challenge myself!

Have a wonderful weekend, and a Happy Valentines Day.....and "see" you on Monday!

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JazzyTurtle said...

Thank you Tracie. I'll see you on Monday!!

Peace, Love, God Bless,

Danette said...

Thank you, Tracie. I am looking forward to starting this on Monday. Happy Valentines Day to you and your husband.

Rachel B said...

Made me think this morning. Ready to begin the challenge. "See" you Monday. :)

Kela said...

We start fresh daily (as does God's mercy).

I'm looking forward to Monday too!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're starting Monday since I am having company this weekend. :)
You mentioned thinking back to the eary times of dating and wedding day, etc. I think that is where my problem lies...I was a teenager when we dated so factor in immaturity, jealousy, etc. Then we married when I was 8 months pregnant so, uh, there really isn't alot to think back to. =P Then as a newly married teenager I basically devoted myself to my children and sadly my husband was an after thought. Thank God, our marriage survived! =D So, now after 27 years of marriage I am trying to make those memories that we should have had a long time ago. Only by God's grace do I have a great (but always room for improvement) marriage. I thrive on serving my husband and making up for those lost years!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the challenge. I'm in!

Stacey Lynn said...

I'm getting all tingly just waiting for the challenge. I downloaded "Man Whisperer" immediately after reading your blog.
We have been married for almost 10 years and he is not a Christian and some days I just don't have the energy to pray for him any more because it seems almost hopeless that it will ever happen.

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting. I'm in!

Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Looking forward to it. I've been doing "Marriage Mondays" since the beginning of the year, and I'll look forward to sending my readers over to be encouraged and join in your challenge.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tracie! It was a relief to read your blog for the first time yesterday! I am looking forward to starting with you on Monday! ;-)
Cassie Minihan

Diana Kelley said...

I Thank god for proverbs 31 God
for up lifting us women everyday
god biess you.

Eva from NS said...

Thank you Tracie for your honesty and for the challenges/suggestions that you are preparing for all of us. Thank you that you are not a marriage 'expert' except by your own experience. Looking forward to Monday.
Coming up to 31 years married.

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

I had to laugh about the "trying to keep the pillows in the middle of the bed"! I think you are right and it happens to us all.

I'm looking forward to going through your study and learning more and more.

Lee Ann

Michelle said...

I am looking forward to the challenge and to seeing what God has in mind!

Joyful said...

Tracie, although I may appear to be a day late right now, the timing is actually perfect.

Thanking the Lord for drawing me here today. As you shared in your other post, today you are my "car wash".