Monday, June 27, 2016

The Number One Thing That Has Helped My Marriage

Twenty-nine years ago today. We were just babies. Seriously, Larry was a teen. 

This is not a cliche.

Not a pat answer.

Not just something I feel I have to say just because I'm a Christian.

Or a minister, or a pastor's wife myself.

It's my life experience.

And it's reality.

So take it for what it's worth from a person who is celebrating 29 years of marriage, today.

This is the number one thing that has helped me more than anything in my marriage.

It's prayer.

Specifically, joining with someone else in fervent - warfare prayer.

It's important to pray with your spouse but I also believe it's important for a woman to have a Godly female friend who understands what is at stake, to stand in the gap with you and intercede. 

Matthew 18:19 says:  

"Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

There is power in agreement.

The enemy wants so badly to destroy our marriages. I've learned -- if you're going to stay together for a lifetime and particularly if you're going to leave a legacy, it's going to require some warfare. Because we're two human beings...two sinners saved by grace, walking this out every single day. There are days, staying together is war.  And I've never heard of anyone winning a war alone.

Sometimes you have to call in the reinforcements.

This is my friend Joanne.


Joanne MacDurmon Greer.

We've been friends for 31 years -- longer than I've been married.
She is my best friend from bible college, and my maid of honor.



The victories that have been won in my marriage couldn't have been realized without her.

She is my comrade, my fellow soldier in doing warfare over my life and family -- and hers too. We stand in prayer for each other, every day...for everything concerning marriage, motherhood, ministry and more.

Joanne, giving a toast at our wedding
So many times Joanne has reminded me, "Deanna, we don't even have to ask God's will in this matter because we KNOW how He feels about marriage and what He wants to do!"

Joanne has reminded me so many times that we can pray fervently knowing the will of God because it's clear He wants to bless our marriages. We don't have to wonder what God wants. We can pray confidently and boldly and know we are in His will.

Joanne and me, a few decade into friendship
There have been times Larry and I come to an impasse in our marriage. Sometimes it's Larry who needs to change on an issue. Sometimes it's me who needs to change. More times than not it's both of us who need to change. Whatever the case - what we are facing at the time seems insurmountable. When those times come, Joanne typically says, "Alright Deanna, this is one for God'."

When Joanne says it's one for God, she's saying that it's not going to be by our might or our power -- but only by the grace and power of God that things are going to change. And she always follows that up by saying, "And fortunately we serve a God of miracles!" So many things that were "one for God" have been accomplished in grand fashion by God, in my marriage. And when that happens, it's the best thing ever. Joanne and I just exclaim, "Look at God!!!" over and over again and thank Him for His goodness. God has done so many miracles in my marriage and there have been countless causes for celebration. And there will be many more! Because I'm in this for life. 
You can find a gal pal or a group of them who will sit around and commiserate about marriage. You can talk about how tough things are, bash men  OR you can find you somebody who knows how to go to war. The latter is much preferable. The first option brings no relief except the momentary instant gratification of spilling out to your girlfriend(s) about whatever is bothering you. The latter option actually has the power to bring change.

What do you want? A few seconds of relief? Or change? Take your pick.

Bashing and complaining brings no change. Intercession causes things to shift.

I know what I want.

Thanks Joanne, for trading high heels for combat boots on many days and fighting for Larry and me, that we can leave a God-honoring legacy.

Now all you ladies who are reading this...go find somebody who will go to war with you, on behalf of your marriage. It will help you and it is worth it.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

9 Ways You're Blessed and Probably Have No Idea

 
A cup of coffee I had on a date with Larry that was one of the greatest blessings I've ever had, as dates & coffee go. Although it's not what this post is about, coffee IS one of the countless blessings in life I am thankful for. :)


I saw this passage yesterday in the Message Bible, and it put a zinger in my heart.
Matthew 5:1-12

"When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. " Matthew 5:1-12

I don't even know where to begin with the depth of what this passage spoke to me.  These twelve verses are percolating within me, giving me so much to consider and a plethora of encouragement.  Maybe they will speak to you too. 

Read them over and over again.

Even in the midst of the unexpected --challenges and disappointments  -- we are blessed people.

Help me God, to look for the blessing in everything. 

You are blessing me, through every circumstance I face.