Mountain Haven Newsletter- April 2016
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $7,100.00 + project total needs (Marble Retreat, Garage, Finish prayer chapel, Re-do cabin floor and wall repair $9,200.00) : $16,300.00, Monthly Revenue Received: $3,337.00.00, Carry over from March= $4,333 .00, Remaining need $8,630.00
Current Ministry/ Ranch Projects 1.) We are gearing up for a very busy summer with a lot of visitors, and are excited to utilize Mountain haven to its fullest capacity. We will be finishing the prayer chapel for someone to stay in, as well as finishing the cabin with new flooring. If you are interested in helping with a project for a short term mission trip, please contact us. 2.) A friend will be coming out in May to help build a small garage. 3.) Keep an eye out for our women’s and men’s adventure weekends coming up later this summer.
Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month: 1.) We had a transformative experience at Marble Retreat (a pastoral/ministry retreat center). We went for an 8-day intensive counseling retreat and it was a time of healing, processing and re-visioning. We feel excited about what was planted in our hearts during this time. 2.) Kevin broke his hand and had surgery last week. It was a bummer, but we anticipate a full recovery. He is antsy and not at all happy about not being able to do as much. Thanks to helpers who we have been able to hire to help finish work he can’t do!
Top Prayer Requests:
Pray for blended families as they often face unique challenges. 2.) Pray for those suffering with shame over past choices and past failures. Pray they would walk in freedom and wholeness.
How to Catch a Fox
Have you ever read Song of Solomon? What a beautiful, poetic piece of writing. There is a wonderful verse tucked away in Song of Solomon 2:15 that is packed full of wisdom. “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards.” The red fox is known to be stealthy; although it is technically a member of the dog family, it has many characteristics of a cat. Foxes can stalk their prey and synchronize their movements with those of its prey. The fox never takes its eyes off the prey and can remain motionless, even mid-stride, when the prey looks up (twpd.texas.gov). These clever guys know what they are doing, and they can take the whole thing down if the Vineyard isn’t well protected.
So it is in marriage. Little things can threaten to destroy us, like the little foxes. There are so many little things we hear about every day in our ministry. Couples that stop touching, couples that stop talking, couples that stop praying, couples that stop laughing, couples that stop dreaming, couples that stop hoping. You get the point. Little things- stealthy things that,like the fox, mimic closeness and intimacy, but are destroying marriage from the roots up.
Let’s explore the little things for a moment. False intimacy that parades as closeness because you are each sitting next to each other playing computer games or checking facebook, but you are not connecting. Touching that becomes tiresome because you are bone tired, or because you never got that little spat resolved. First it starts with exhaustion- it makes sense- you have little kids it’s hard to find time to connect sexually. Then it becomes harder to create physical intimacy because there is no communication except for about the details. Dreams and adventures give way to details and responsibilities.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand all too well the exhausting aspects of a life that begs responsibility from us. It is difficult to conjure up the energy, or the gusto, to engage in Kevin’s newest interests, but I MUST be willing to engage; because when I haven’t chosen to do so I am mimicking “caring” behavior but I am not truly participating in or “entering” into his world to cultivate his heart.
Little things like forgetting to make time for prayer become easier to do. Stolen glances at another person last longer than you intended. These little things become bigger things and become more habitual until they almost seem like the norm. Our mind normalizes what at one point seemed absurd to us. It’s hard to describe how a Vineyard can turn into a wasteland because it never happens overnight. Drought, fungus, and animals are very real threats to the life of a Vineyard. Like a fox, they are stealthy destroyers and they must be managed properly. As it is in marriage, those little things that destroy the foundation of a marriage from the inside out must be managed as well.
What can we do? Paying attention, being mindful, building hedges, studying the Vineyard of your marriage, and making changes when necessary can all contribute to a healthier, more productive crop. This translates into sacrificial behavior like making date nights, remembering special occasions, listening when you have so many other things to do, asking questions,remembering, paying attention to your tone, apologizing, forgiving (again and again), praying for your spouse, going to counseling or a group, touching and engaging in intamacy, managing your money, listening better, taking responsibility for, and being honest about, your addictions, being careful with people of the other sex, complimenting your spouse, seeking help for your own depression, allowing your spouse to fail and loving them anyway–you get the point. It requires work and effort, that will eventually lead to habitual and routine maintenance.
If we want to yield intimacy, transparency, wholeheartedness, honesty, and unity in our marriages, we have to be willing to pay attention to the little things and not take them for granted. We should be willing to take times to self-reflect and communicate weekly with our spouse about the temperature of our marriage. We have to be willing to stick to daily disciplines and weekly commitments to walk the perimeter of our marriage Vineyard to look for the little enemies that come in unannounced and innocuously. Take a moment and sit down with your spouse and ask them if there are little things- little attitudes, habits, beliefs or choices that may be spoiling the vine of your marriage. Be willing to talk honestly; and from there build a plan of action to make the changes necessary to produce an abundant crop in your marriage. I think you will find that a healthy “vineyard” will yield a delicious crop; from which many will benefit.