October 2014-Mountain Haven Newsletter
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $4480.00, and Monthly Revenue Received: $.4784.00. We still need $5700.00 toward an outdoor boiler.
Number of couples & individuals we ministered to last month: We ministered to over 40 people in the last month and saw one couple engaged and one couple put their divorce on hold while receiving ministry.
Current ministry/ ranch projects: We are completing the final bedroom/bathroom for couples and families this month. There is tiling left to do, a bathroom shower to tile and finish and bedroom furniture to buy and set up. It will be another beautiful haven ready for the next visitors we have coming.
Something Interesting or unexpected that happened last month: Kevin went on a personal hunt with his partner in Rocky Mountain Outfitters for a first season rifle elk hunt and shot a 5×5 bull. I know there are some hunting enthusiasts that read this newsletter and some not so hunting enthusiasts that read this, either way we feel blessed to stock out freezer with meat all year long. Come enjoy an elk dinner with us!
Top Praise of the Month: The codependent no more women’s group is going strong with 11 members. These groups are empowering and strengthening many hurting women.
Top Prayer Requests: 1.)Continue to pray for the group, we need marriages healed and answers for many hurting people. 2.)We will be talking in our church in two weeks about marriage, we ask for wisdom and a message of hope.
“Wanna know a secret?”
Do you remember when you were in middle school and one of your special friends would tell you a secret so deep and so profound and then say “Now don’t tell anyone?” Maybe this is more common to women than men but you get the idea. I have been thinking lately- marriage is like a half told secret. When we get married we promise to give ourselves completely to another person. Unfortunately it seems, for most of us, we are only living in half of the knowledge, half of the anticipation, and half of the excitement that we could. This begs the question -why? What are these filters that interfere with hearing the entire sacred, delightful secret? I know the reasons are multilayered but three that seem to be the most prevalent are 1.) Past experiences and beliefs that filter the telling, and the hearing 2.) Secret addictions, sins, and thoughts that get in the way of total honesty and 3.) Unforgiveness. The way that these act as filters is that they allow a part of the secret to be shared, but the deeper parts of the secret can’t be wholly shared, totally understood or deeply internalized.
The filters of our experiences and beliefs are very powerful in shaping our perceptions of, and openness towards, our spouse. Some examples of these are sexual abuse or trauma, being raised in an overly religious home, experiencing your parents divorce, being physically abused, having an absent or neglectful parent, being abandoned or rejected as a child, or any combination of all these. When we experience a trauma against our body and mind there are memories that imprint in our psyche. There are defenses we build up and ways of responding to others, or believing about ourselves, that deeply impact our marriages. As much as we have learned to communicate, or overcome, or forget our past there are core beliefs that inform us how to respond in situations with our spouse that bring up similar feelings. Even if the behavior is not the same. Until we get to the core of the original hurt there will be a blocked filter in how we hear, or share, the deeper secrets of marriage.
The experience of overly religious or spiritually controlling parents can leave us questioning our own spiritual vitality and increase our doubts in our decision-making process. Or there can be residual frustration and anger towards God for being overbearing because of our experience of God through our parents. So if our spouse tries to be Godly or lead us in a way that reminds us of God that way, we react in the same way we did as a child. Or we project religion and legalism on our spouse because we never examined our own personal walk with Jesus, we owned our parents beliefs. Again, the deeper secrets of God’s mysterious plan for marriage, and specifically for your marriage can’t be heard, or communicated without the proper perception of God being in place.
Experiencing parental divorce, neglect, or abandonment are traumatizing experiences for a child. Often during a divorce, we can either tell ourselves “thank God” they finally divorced or we will be devastated by the divorce. There is a broad range of responses to a parents divorce, but often at the root of this experience is the loss of belief in love. This can create an inner vow where we say we will “never” divorce and do that to our kids, or where we subliminally never fully believe in love because of our experience. Again the shared secret of the beauty and pain of marriage is lost on us because we live superficially. Neglect and abandonment send us messages about our worth. If we do not receive a message about our intrinsic value as a child it often translates into difficulty accepting love or believing the value that our spouse sees in us. The combination of effects plays out differently with every person and every couple dyad. The bottom line is that our past experiences, hurts and traumas have a profound effect on our ability to share fully our true self with our spouse. Further, the impact on our ability to love and accept the authentic humanity of our partner is hindered because we are seeing them through a filter.
Secret addictions, sins, and thoughts are rampant in marriages today. We are seeing this phenomena even more so in Christian marriages because there is pressure to perform, pressure to be perfect, or pressure to live a certain way. We have been given all we need for life and righteousness through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, but to many of us are living as if we need to add more to what he did through our performance. We obsess about how we look, how our homes look, what kind of cars we drive, where we vacation, our jobs, our financial portfolio, how our kids behave and perform, how submissive our wives look, how successful we seem to the world. All of this pressure is a set up for failure. Often times the failures come out as secret sins like pornography addiction, affairs over the internet, via texting or on facebook, smoking, doing drugs or over-drinking and over spending through gambling or shopping. There are a whole host of ways we can deceive ourselves into thinking thoughts, doing activities or engaging in behaviors that we feel we deserve because life is just to demanding – and being perfect for God just to much pressure. The amount of time we spend trying to cover up our inadequacies, insecurities, and doubts is staggering. If we could only have a marriage where we could tell the whole secret to our spouse- the secret about our brokenness, our cravings, and thoughts that stem from our humanity- we could spend more time loving and praying over one another then working on keeping the secrets from each other.
Unforgiveness may be the single most devastating barrier to living in authentic truthfulness in marriage than any other obstacle we have seen. Unforgiveness has many other names like bitterness, anger, rage, resentment,acrimony, hostility and strife. It also has a variety of expressions. They range on a continuum from eye rolling, talking negatively about (or to) your spouse, bringing up the past continuously in arguments without any intention to move beyond the past, feeling a perpetual animosity or even disgust regarding your spouse, dreaming or fantasizing about a life without your spouse, and even going so far as to wish death upon your spouse. Unforgiveness builds up like carbon dioxide builds up in the air. It is slow and it sucks the oxygen out of the environment. Unforgiveness sucks the love out of the relationship. Even if suppressed or denied, unforgiveness still acts as a poison slowly causing the love to fade and the good times to be forgotten.
Unforgiveness must be broken down intentionally and with great care. There are offenses, that for one reason or another, may stick with one person over another person. If the memory is still there and the pain feels a bit raw and can be recalled easily, chances are there may be more forgiving and confessing that needs to happen. The idea of telling it all regarding forgiveness feels foreign to most people because it seems kinder to forgive and forget-immediately. Don’t talk about the tough times and certainly don’t remind people of their failings- after all thats not the christian thing to do. It is time we examine our hearts deeply in regards to forgiveness. (This article is about your spouse and you, but if you are not married or don’t have unforgiveness towards your spouse examine your heart deeply for any other unforgiveness towards any other person in your life). It helps to confess the memories one by one to your spouse and then for them to confess their offense to you and lastly for the two of you to pray together over one another. There is power in confession just like there is power in opening a window to let the carbon dioxide pour out- it is important o pay attention to how high you put the window. Recognize how unforgiveness is stopping you from sharing your whole heart and the whole beautifully messy secret of marriage with your spouse.
Being attentive to these three hinderances can bring a freedom to your marriage that you may have never experienced before. Just like telling the secret, or waiting for the secret to be told, is so powerful and liberating; in some way, so is living life authentically -without filters- powerful and liberating and most of all uniting. Examine closely where you may have only told part of the secret to your spouse, where you are holding back and where you can repent, forgive, and come clean. There is something liberating about truth.
Mountain Haven’s Secret
We have lived a life of lies, a life of being inauthentic and performing for other people. Mountain Haven was started because we saw the need for people to have a place to unload, live in grace, and find Hope through acceptance, grace and most of all practical and life changing tools. We believe in change, we believe in fighting apathy and we want you to join us as we continue to do so.
Pray about how to support this effort. Give on the Donate Page 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.