Celebrate His Promises


My heart remains true and is awed by Your words. 
I celebrate because of Your promise, 
like someone who discovers great treasure. 
I despise and abhor lies, 
but I love Your law. 
Seven times every day I praise You 
because of Your right rulings. 

Psalm 119:161-164 The Voice

Homesick & Heartbroken

It was my freshman year in college. I was 500 miles from home and looking forward to a long weekend home for Easter. I was packed to go and even had riders to share the cost. I woke up Thursday morning for my last day of classes and there was snow on the ground. I received a call from my father in Wisconsin. He strongly suggested that I not come home because the weather between Kentucky and Wisconsin was pretty severe.

I was so heartbroken. I had had a long year fighting homesickness and I really wanted to go home. Dejected, I went to my first class. Being at a Christian college, the professor always opened class with prayer. That is, he always asked a student to pray. That morning, he asked me to pray.

I wondered, “How on earth could I pray?” I was so disappointed that I was not going to be able to go home. We all bowed our heads…


“Lord, thank you

for the beautiful snow…”


I’m not sure what else I said. I was shocked to hear myself say it. Certainly, I was not thankful for the snow. It was the cause of my demise.

Psalm 119 Celebrate his promises
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Thankful in the Midst of Trial

It’s hard to be thankful when you are in the midst of trials. Your mind is so centered on your trouble, you can’t really think of anything else. But maybe praise and thankfulness are what helps ease our mind. Maybe it is what helps us make it through. Could it be the way to keep from spiraling down into despair is to continually have His praises on our heart and our mind?

This celebration of His Blessings may very well have been the beginning of a wonderful Easter weekend. I was invited to go to Georgia instead. I visited with a friend AND my aunt and Uncle.

Celebrate His Promises

 Soon after the start of my chronic pain. I was introduced to the writings of Ann Voskamp. You have probably seen to droves of Thankful posts on Facebook during November. When I realized that this came from Ann, I decided to read her book, A Thousand Gifts.   I was challenged to list three blessings every day for an entire year. That was the beginning of the return of smiles in the midst of the pain.

It truly does make a difference to begin listing the things for which I am grateful.

As the women’s director, I challenged all the ladies at church to take the Joy Dare with me. Several did it along with me. One couple shared with me several times how not only did the Joy Dare make them stop and think of things they were grateful for, but also, gave them laughter. The prompts weren’t always easy to find answers to, but they would laugh trying to think of ideas. What a blessing!

Psalm 119 Celebrate His Promises

You have probably seen these Joy Dare prompts on Facebook. Go download them and begin your own journey to joy today! It will change your life as it did me and my friends. And as it did for Ann.
Notice again the last line of the scripture above. The Psalmist says he gave praise to God SEVEN TIMES A DAY.

Wow! Seven times. I know I’m behind.

Join me and Celebrate his Promises!

Tybee Island, GA

My Journey with Chronic Pain

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How to Make Your Marriage Last Forever

 

A Marriage That Lasts Forever

In honor of my own marriage that we have committed to last forever, I share some notes I have found along the way. They have worked well for these thirty years. I expect them to continue keeping us Lovestruck.

Lovestruck! Yes, that would be a good description of my husband and I. Definitely, Michael was lovestruck from the first day we met. That Sunday in August 30 years ago began as normal as any day could. My pastor’s wife, Charlotte, drug me to Georgia to retrieve her daughter who had spent the summer with her grandmother.

However, Charlotte had ulterior motives – to introduce me to some preacher. (As a side note – I did not intend to marry a preacher.) I went along just to make Charlotte hush about this “Michael” whom she thought I needed to meet.

Michael, on the other hand, had no clue at all that he was being set up. I was just a friend of Charlotte and I would be singing at church that morning. Boy, was he in for a surprise.

Twitter-painted!

Yep! Just like Bambi, he was “looking neither to the right nor the left” when “Boom!”, he came face to face with me. That’s how it started.

Many Waters

But marriage is more than that mushy feeling you get when you are dating. Marriage is a covenant “to have and to hold… from this day forth… ’til death do us part.”

You do remember those words you recited at the altar ‘x’ years ago? Right?

Those emotions and all the chemical reactions going on make for a great start but the covenant seals the deal.

“Marriage is about a covenant with the God who intertwines two souls with the thread of his presence.”

— Sharon Jaynes

The Covenant – Forever Words

Have you read those promises recently? Let’s remind ourselves of the words and promises we made. It probably went something like this…

I, (Name), take you, (Name), to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, in the presence of God I make this vow.

www.weddingwire.com
2 Imperfect People

God’s plan for marriage is that it will last forever. We can look around and easily see what happens when marriage vows are broken. It leaves not only broken hearts but pure disaster in its wake. Mark 10:9 says that marriage is forever. I believe that God created marriage to show the world an example of His love for us. So we need to enter into those vows with that purpose in mind. Divorce should never be an option. No easy outs here. It takes work and the work we must do.

The “Work” of Marriage

First, Love is not always easy. Love means giving in to the other’s will and giving up what we want to please the other… even when they aren’t returning that kind of love. What if we did that? I’ve shared before from Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

Sacred Marriage reveals how marriage trains us to love God and others well, how it exposes sin and makes us more aware of God’s presence, how good marriages foster good prayer, how married sex feeds the spiritual life, and more.

Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy More that to Make us Happy?

Oh goodness, marriage exposes sin? You better believe it does. You see, when we are dating we always have our best foot forward, right? But once the wedding bells have chimed, we slack off and those fairy tale ideas are found to not be so true. Our own desires come floating to the top and the next thing you know we are fighting, screaming, yelling because we want our own way. {sin of selfishness}

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.


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Marriage Fosters Good Prayer

Additionally, there is likely nothing better for a marriage than prayer. In the past, we often heard this adage… “A Family that PRAYS together STAYS together.” It’s still true is you implement it. Prayer brings you together. Praying together helps you hear what the other one desires, it helps us bring those desires together as we search for God’s Will and agree together to live it.

We also should be separately praying for our spouse. I have been using Sharon Jaynes’ book, Praying for Your Husband From Head to Toe since it was released in 2014. (I’ve also purchased it for nearly every bride I have known since then.) Sharon admonishes us…

As a wife, you have the power to open the floodgates of heaven through prayer on your husband’s behalf. Whether your husband hasn’t yet decided to follow Christ, has a lukewarm fledgling faith, or lives a fiery firm faith, there is no one more qualified to pray for his relationship with Christ than you.

Sharon Jaynes, Praying For your Husband From Head To Toe, page 6

The Importance of Intimacy

significance of sex

Ultimately, intimacy is highly important. It must be treasured and enjoyed always.

Songs of Solomon is an Old Testament book that we tend to gloss over. But there it is right in the middle of the Bible. So I’m thinking. God put it there for us to find instruction. It’s a love story of a King (Solomon) and his bride. It gets a little juicy but it also deals with handling health issues and those “little tiffs” we can get into.

Sharon Jaynes’ newest book, Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, & Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon offers much hope for our marriage. Sharon talks frankly to us about encouraging one another, Speaking life into each other, withholding intimacy, becoming indifferent, extending forgiveness and grace, fulfilling one another’s desires, becoming best friends, and so much more.

The Short List For a Forever Marriage

  1. A Commitment to Forever
  2. Love That Lasts Forever
  3. Prayers That Have Forever in Mind
  4. Lifelong Intimacy
  5. Working Together Forever
  6. Uplifting Words Toward and About Each Other
  7. Most Importantly, God is in the Center

This list is only the first few foundational and necessary actions we must take to have a forever marriage. As I have said before, it takes work and lots of it. it takes commitment to stay the course to forever. I pray that you are committed to the plan just as I am.

Let’s Do This!

If you desire to ignite your marriage, check out any of Sharon Jaynes’ books on marriage. I especially encourage you to pre-order your copy of Lovestruck before the Release date (Tuesday, August 6th). You will receive a free downloadable study guide and more. Just follow instructions at www.lovestruckbook.com

I’m praying you will find new ways to spice up your marriage.

It takes intentionality and ingenuity to make lifelong intimacy a reality. #lovestruckbook @sharonjaynes Click To Tweet
Mandy Farmer

How many years have you been married? Share in the comments.




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