August 2014-Mountain Haven Newsletter
“Love is in the Air”
“Take each other for better or worse but never for granted”.. anonymous
We have just returned from the wedding of a lifetime. Our son Brandon married a wonderfully graceful woman just a few short days ago, that’s why this newsletter is so late. The flowers were gorgeous, the table decorations whimsical and delightful, the venue alluring and inviting, the desserts divine, the ceremony touching and funny, and the bride beautiful beyond words. All this to say, it was an event where love abounded. It got me thinking about the feelings that weddings evoke. Feelings of hope, longing, desire, pursuit, happiness, and delight. But if you have been married any amount of time those feelings tend to diminish and can be replaced with other feelings of worry, tension, bitterness, frustration, anger and even hopelessness. Even as I write this, I growl in anger at this truism. Why? I pound my fists and ask God why can’t all those original feelings stay as strong and as real as that first day. I know the answer to this question is layered and nuanced-jobs, work, kids, money issues, health problems, hurt and betrayal and personality characteristics that won’t change add to this dilemma. But that’s the thing, we are promised this; love never changes. If God is love- then love is constant; and yet my circumstances are ever changing, so my feelings tend to never be constant. This big revelation hit me-it’s OK! If God is love then when the crap hits the fan and my feelings don’t align with those romantic, hopeful, new wedding feelings it doesn’t matter how I feel. I can rest knowing God is my constant and therefore my love is intact even if my feelings don’t know it right then. It’s freedom for me to know that when I lean into Jesus and his uninhibited, pursuing, sacrificial love of me that I, as his image bearer, also have that same love within me. Do I always demonstrate it perfectly? No. Do I always feel it? No. But it is during those times that I push closer to Jesus through personal prayer, mediation, hiking or running, reading the bible or a challenging book, fasting or just waiting and listening for Him to talk to me- it’s those times He reminds me of His endless love for me and that strengthens me to forgive, to pursue reconciliation with my spouse, and to find hope. The wedding feelings of love are the icing on the cake. The mature, fire-tested, painful and sometimes bittersweet feelings of love that come later are the inside of the cake. They can be surprising – like wondering if it’s chocolate, vanilla or lemon on the inside- and the crumbs are so messy, but you can’t have one without the other. The icing makes the cake look pretty on the outside, and often times covers up a part of the cake that may have crumbled off during baking, but the insides are essential to the experience. I have heard people say they like icing best and I can understand why-sweet, smooth, deliciousness. I have heard other people say cake crumbs are the worst to clean up. Both metaphors hold true of marriage. I have decided that I need to taste the frosting every once in while- our son’s wedding was an opportunity to do that. Hanging out with new lovers is another way. Watching old videos or looking at old pictures and talking about some good memories of the past is another way to do it. Having a date with your spouse at an old haunt can be a beautiful experience also. Making a love list of all the qualities or attributes you love about your spouse would help their heart feel alive again. It does our heart good to taste frosting every now and again. But I think we better not be so quick to clean up all the crumbs that seem so messy. The crumbs are part of the whole cake. I have had to remind myself over and over that God’s perfect love resides in me, I am capable of loving fully even when I feel like I can’t do it anymore. The same old habit comes out, the same old hurt resurfaces, the same old let down occurs and I am tempted to react in anger. God gets it, and He is not distant from me, keeping his fingers crossed, hoping I don’t fail again. He is filling me, equipping me and preparing me to be the best spouse I can be, the most attentive lover, an insightful friend and the best companion equipped to bring out the optimum in my spouse. But just like the wedding ceremony itself-the set up, decorations and preparation for the ceremony take time, so it takes deliberate and intentional time to set up a foundation for a loving marriage. Our love is just as powerful and just as potent as that young love experienced by newlyweds. It is because we are filled with the love of Jesus! It is an indescribable benefit of being in relationship with Him. He fills us, He replaces our old nature, He compels us, and He grows us in way that allows love to be broadcast to our spouse and ultimately to the world. This love is deep and rich and healing because it is a love that is tested through fire, trials and pain. Yet, it is a love that transforms us if we let it and if we trust God within us. He is the author and perfecter of our faith, He will come through for us. Our marriage will remain strong, and headed toward growth and healing if we trust Him; not ourselves, to be the source of love. Ask yourself today the areas that you are struggling to “feel” love toward your spouse. Remember that Jesus is love, His spirit resides in you and in those moments when the feeling of love is elusive- He is not. Make a list of the things that you need God to love about your spouse and then release the outcome to Him. He will show up when your love is replaced by LOVE.
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $4,700.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $2,100.00 Remaining Need: $2,600.00. Included in the need is a $380.00 Solenoid for the loader that we need to finish the driveway restoration.
Something Interesting or Unique that happened last month: 1.) Our son got married to the love of his life and we shared in the blissful day. 2.) We took a family of four up to the high country on horseback for rest and refueling and it was an unbelievable time of fellowship.
Top Praise of the Month: We saw the fruits of our legacy come forth in the union of our son to an amazing, virtuous woman and we praised God for bringing us back together over 16 years ago in remarriage.
Top Prayer Requests: 1.)We are still in need of more monthly support. If only 20 people could give $50.00 a month we could support Mountain Haven and start to be more consistent on the income we give ourselves from service to Mountain Haven. Please pray about partnering with us. 2.)We are starting our new groups this fall and pray for every person who will attend. 3.) We still need a wood boiler to heat the ministry home this winter.
Looking Ahead: 1.) Two groups for sexual abuse recovery and codependent no more start again in September, call of text for details, 2.) We will be starting groups again in the fall, we are gearing up for that.
Mountain Haven wants to help you learn more about this unrelenting LOVE that is found in Jesus
We are donation based for this very reason. We don’t have to turn others away. Your gifts allow us to reach people who are in real pain. They face the pain of adultery, pornography addictions, divorcing parents, sexual abuse and other painful circumstances. We need more monthly supporters to help us continue our outreach to individuals and families. Will you consider partnering with our donation based efforts and become our monthly partner? Your gift is tax deductible and every dollar goes a long way.
Pray about how to support this effort. Give at www.mountainhavenmarriageministry.com or mail a tax-deductible donation to 1160 Diamond Back Trail Canon City, CO 81212. We can provide you with monthly envelopes for giving upon your request. Stay in touch with praise or prayer requests as well. Thank you and we love you.