September 2014-Mountain Haven Newsletter
“Developing a Marriage Worldview”
“Since God has so generously let us in on what He is doing, we are not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s word to suit ourselves. Rather we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.” II Corinthians 4:1-2 (Message Bible)
I have been reading an incredible book called “The End of Reason” by Ravi Zacharias. In his book he raises some important considerations that each of us must consider. He states that these considerations help shape our worldview. These ideas that help shape our worldview are understanding origin, meaning, morality and hope. I will not be discussing the finer points of origin or trying to convince you of proper morality as it pertains to life as an American or life as a Christ follower but I do want to talk about these four points as they help define our worldview as it pertains to marriage and family. As you will see the verse above challenges us to live our lives authentically and truthfully. The truth of it is- most of us haven’t stopped long enough to consider our worldview when it comes to marriage. Let’s do that now.
In exploring the word origin when it comes to our worldview on marriage, we must simply ask ourselves; “what is the starting point of marriage?” This perhaps is the crux of every question as it relates to marriage. Whether you are contemplating marriage, already married, or single it is imperative to understand that marriage began with God’s covenant to His people. His unbreakable, unrelenting, pursuing chase for His bride and His show of sacrifice of His son Jesus to exhibit the permanency of His covenant. The origin of marriage is Christ’s relationship with His church. His pursuing, forgiving, loving, chasing, understanding, and compassionate pursuit of His bride. This is our model and the origin of all marriage relationships. It is critical to remind ourselves when we are in pain, bitterness or crisis that the origin of marriage begins with a foundational link to our Savior. He is enough even when our spouse is not. He fills in the empty spaces with His love, His peace and His strength when we feel our spouse falling short. We must continually revisit the starting point of marriage to help us walk through the difficult or trying seasons.
So what then is the meaning of marriage? The apple online dictionary describes one definition as “intended to communicate something that is not directly expressed.”Have you thought about what your marriage is communicating to your kids? Your friends? The world at large? I used to think that if we got along in public that was the sign to the world of a great and healthy marriage. After our first marriage ended in divorce because we were a mess at home but looked good to the public. I realized that the things I really wanted to communicate to the world were the invisible and often unspoken truths about marriage. Marriage is beautiful but also messy. We are different and have to work hard on communication. We want to sacrifice for the other but within our core we still struggle with selfishness. We like certain attributes about our spouse but sometimes those same attributes drive us crazy. The list can go on and on. Ultimately the meaning of marriage must be more than happiness, having a sexual connection or raising children; those are amazing byproducts, but meaning is something much deeper that comes out of our union- and is reflected to the the world around us. It is a message we send without speaking. We send it through modeling sacrifice, listening, and care of our spouse even when they may not deserve it. Again, we don’t send this message to gain approval of others or to send a message that we are the perfect couple to the world, we live out the message because we truly believe in the meaning of marriage because we deeply comprehend Christ’s undying love for us.
Let’s consider the morality of marriage. Morality is the principles concerning right or wrong or even good and bad behavior. We often think about morality as it concerns how we live in society or function in the church. Is it moral to kill during war? Is it moral to leave the store with change if the clerk gave a ten dollar bill instead of a one? If you heard a couple having a domestic dispute, do you report it? Is it moral to drink if you are a Christian? These are examples of moral questions we may, or may not, ask ourselves about life in our world. I believe there are more nuanced moral questions threatening the core of many marriages today. Some of the moral questions in marriage are; how do we deal with pornography? What is the proper response to it? How do we spend our money? Is it for our material gain, security and comfort or do we truly give to those in need? Are we sneaking money or spending it selfishly and foolishly? Are we stewarding money wisely or using it only to pursue our own pleasures? Are we going behind our spouses back to have emotional connections with the opposite sex? Are we with-holding sexual intimacy as a way to punish our spouse or hurt them for hurting us? Are we gossiping or talking negative about our spouse and calling it venting or guy talk? These, and others, are the moral issues we face within the marriage relationship.
It seems like it is easier to overlook these moral dilemmas in marriage then to really be honest with ourselves and our spouse about them. There is a comfort in the marriage relationship that lulls us into behaving in comfortable and almost embarrassing ways towards our spouse. We find ourselves compromising in behavior or thoughts without giving any thought to the effect on our beloved.. It is a question of morality asking ourselves what is right or wrong in our marriage and it is essential to developing a healthy, honest marriage relationship.
Lastly let’s explore hope. In our book The Hope Filled Marriage we discuss hope and clarify that it is not a feeling. It is an active anticipation. It becomes increasingly difficult to anticipate a certain outcome or change if you are living with the same hope-sapping circumstances day after day. The idea that we should live in the “now”and root ourselves in the present is elusive to most Western Christians. We save for tomorrow, worry about our children, remember the pain of the past, hold grudges against those that are our enemies, and build our material fortresses to secure ourselves from future catastrophe. To actively participate in today is foreign. In order to cultivate the presence of hope we are required to live in this moment and nothing else. We are commanded to not take any thought of tomorrow, to trust that God feeds the sparrows. How do we do that when we have a bill due? We need groceries? We have a medical procedure coming up that is causing us fear? We see our kids falling and failing in school or in life? Our spouse is actively hurting us? We have been traumatized by loss? I think this is an intentional decision to trust that all things truly do, and will, work together for the good of those that love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). When it comes to this scripture I find it difficult to trust when I am a doer. I wonder if sometimes God is saying rest rather than strive? Or give rather than keep? Or love rather than remain angry? He is in charge, truly in charge. When we pause we can see that we ourselves are the robbers of hope because we actively worry, actively stay angry, or actively remain in conflict with our spouse. The idea of accessing hope requires silence in the presence of a busy, loud, demanding action oriented world. Try to build that into your life and wait for those moments of Hope-the presence of God Himself to fill you.
Let’s remember that our worldview on marriage must be intentional and thought out and thinking about the origin, meaning, morality and hope that shapes our worldview of marriage is a great starting point. Take some time today to reflect on these four words and how they shape your marriage worldview. Perhaps thinking more deeply about this will bring about some changes that could redeem or even heal certain parts of your marriage
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $4750.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $2200.00 Remaining Need: $2550.00 We are still in need of an outdoor wood boiler that will cost around $5,000.00. We desparately need this to effectively heat the house this winter. Please prayerfully consider donating towards this cause.
Number of couples & individuals we ministered to last month: We ministered to over 50 people in the last month and met three new couples and four new individuals for ministry.
Current ministry/ ranch projects: We are still working on our driveway to make it better. It is quite a trek to make it up that ½ mile long driveway and anyone that has tried it knows what an adventure it is.
Something Interesting or unexpected that happened last month: We lost our Boston Terrier Gertrude who ministered to the hearts and souls of many people who spent time out here at Mountain Haven. She was a gift of joy. We will miss her deeply.
Top Praise of the Month: We are getting new referrals for family and marriage counseling every week, people are seeking help and wanting to see healing and hope in their lives.
Top Prayer Requests: 1.)We are excited to start two groups for women and it will be a time of healing and restoration. We need prayers for all the women registered. 2.)We will be sharing soon in our church about marriage, pray our message of hope comes through. 3.) Please pray for answers for both excavator & the ATV. Both are not working properly & may cost a considerable amount to get fixed. We use them both to plow the driveway and need some answers quickly.
Looking Ahead: It is now the fall and we are gearing up for more clients and more intensives up at Mountain Haven.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out our page on the website showing the NEW GROUPs we are offering this fall, please check it out. If you or anyone you know is struggling in a relationship or has a history of sexual abuse, some of the groups may be helpful for you. Check them out and sign up as soon as possible- groups start this week! Registration is limited.
Mountain Haven’s Worldview
We exist to reach as many couples, families and individuals with hope but also with a message of Christ’s love. We believe that through honest sharing and tangible tools couples can rebuild and heal their marriages. Individuals can learn tools for better communication, and families can find new ways to understand each other and meet each others needs again.
Pray about how to support this effort. Give at the MOUNTAIN HAVEN 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.