Tevie and I enjoyed the most awesome weekend in Franklin, TN at the Weekend to Remember conference last weekend. Can't you always tell when you're doing God's work? Isn't that when satan hits you the hardest? We had quite a trip down there...
Nashville/Franklin is roughly a two hour trip from our house. Since we were meeting our friends for dinner at 5:30, we decided to head out a little before 3pm, leaving time to drop our bags in the room before meeting up with the group. For the first time in my pregnancy, I had the most awful heartburn. I climbed into the truck in a terribly grumpy mood. By 3:30 I had already reached my daily allowance of Tums and was looking for some other source of relief. An hour into the trip we stop for gas, and thinking we're at the other state line exit, I tell Tev to turn left. We end up a gas station that not only costs more per gallon, but it isn't a truck stop so the pump shuts off at $75. Not a good thing when you drive a mega-tank like ours. :) I run into to go the bathroom and grab a little thing of milk (brings mucho relief for me, weird I think) and find my husband has thrown my wallet in the floor in search of my Kroger card, which you can use at Shell gas stations and get the $.10/gallon discount. Apparently he couldn't get it to work so he'd chucked them both into the floor. :)
Hungry and ready to be in Nashville we hit the road again... and sit in traffic on I-65 for.ev.er. Apparently every family in a 600-mile radius was headed south for spring break. After almost 90 minutes in traffic we miss our dinner reservations and end up eating Chik-fil-a. Not a terribly bad thing because we love it and don't have it in our happening metropolis of 1800 people. Finally, we arrive at the hotel. I check us in using my Marriott Rewards number... apparently, that doesn't mean a hill of beans to the girl behind the counter. All of the king beds are gone... "how about a room with two doubles?", she asks. I thought my poor husband would flip his lid. Long before I started looking like this (here's your week 24 belly update):
My sweet hubby and I take up every inch of our glorious king-sized bed and never.ever touch each other. I know he's there on the other side of the mound of pillows and dogs, and that's enough for me. :) But, hey, it's a marriage conference, so we can tough it out.
We board the elevator to our room and that's where our story gets comical. For my birthday, my mommy bought me a beautiful Louis bag similar to this one
Now, while you always hope that you've hit the jackpot and scored a REAL Louis in a consignment shop, you have to assume that it's a fake and that's why you got such a great deal on it. It didn't matter to me, I was happy to be carrying my Louis (well, watching my hubby carry it) onto the elevator. Mind you, my birthday was Thursday, this is Friday. This is the FIRST time I have ever used this suitcase.
Just like in all of your favorite romantic comedies, the elevator doors close and at that moment one of the handles falls completely off the bag. Tevie sighs very loudly and I try to brush it off. I'm sure I can fix it, right? He put the shoulder strap on his shoulder and... yep, that's right, it breaks too. So, our assumptions are correct- not real, because surely a real Louis could hold a weekend's worth of clothes and keep his handles on! It's hysterically funny now- not.at.all funny after the afternoon we've had! Tevie practically kicks my bag down the hallway to our room and we both fall onto our tiny little bed breathing a sigh of relief that we've made it! :)
And that was the last moment we let satan any where near us during the weekend. Whether you are newly married, remarried or have been married for 50 years, this conference will definitely change the way you look at each other and how you look at your marriage relationship.
It is no secret that I am painfully bossy. It sounds like a cop-out, but I just can't help it! Blame it on me being a first born child, spoiled, whatever. It is what it is. My bossy, control- freak attitude has caused more than one problem in our nearly 5-year marriage. Because when TWO firstborns get married, someone who has always done the bossin' is going to have to step out of the way and let someone else take the lead! Ugh. And it was NOT going to be me.
Through the coursework for the conference and months and months of scripture study and prayer, God has revealed a lot to me about my attitude. My sweet husband is a gift and God wants me to respect and submit to this man He has given me to share my life with. I have prayed and prayed and prayed that God would make my husband the spiritual leader of our household. And do you know what I was doing the WHOLE time? Running the show! How on earth can I expect him to do it when my control freak mentality takes over and I think I can do it better?
If I learned nothing else from the weekend, this one thing has stuck with me and been on my mind every single day since we got home. The Greek word for submission in Ephesians 5:22 is actually a military term. This particular form of the word was used when describing a situation with two officers of equal rank. In order to fulfill the mission at hand and for the betterment of the army as a whole, one officer submits to the other to see the entire army achieve victory. Not at all what our connotation of submission is, is it? When I take that view of submission, the idea that we are equal partners working toward a common goal and it is my duty to sometimes defer to Tevie to see that our family is successful, it's a WHOLE lot easier for me to do it!
And in case, there are any old schoolers out there who don't think we're of equal rank to our husbands- crack open your bible, my sweet friend. God created Eve to be Adam's helper (Gen 2:18). Not secretary, ironer, chef, dry-cleaner-picker-upper but his helper. This same word- in the Hebrew text- is used multiple times to describe the Lord and his relationship to us.
Ladies, what a huge role we play in lives of our husbands and families! As you begin to look at your husband as a gift from God, it is so much easier to show him the respect a godly husband deserves.Deuteronomy 33:29- "He is your shield and helper..."Psalm 118:7- "The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies."
I am painfully, borderline obsessively clean person. Our kitchen counters are often sanitized, the toilets scrubbed weekly, tubs bleached every Saturday, I wash my toothbrush in scalding hot water before using it and wash my hands until they chap. However, I am not very neat always. When I finished getting ready in the morning my bathroom often looks like a war zone with make-brushes and flat irons and shoes every where. I kick my shoes off by the door when I come in, I leave my bobby pins in piles everywhere, and I mean to go back and put the half and half away after my coffee, but sometimes I just forget! These things drive my husband CRAZY! He is a man, and therefore, germs mean nothing to him. He would probably cut raw chicken on the cutting board and then use that knife to make a peanut butter sandwich... I'm exaggerating... I hope. When I started looking at cleaning up after myself as a way of showing my husband respect and letting him know how much I love him, it became so much easier to do.
This week I have tried to be really intentional about picking up after myself. And do you know what? Yesterday, without ANY prodding from me, my husband came home on his lunch hour and vacuumed AND did the dishes! Now, I can't promise this great success for all of you, but we're sure celebrating in the Gooden house! He didn't do it because he had to, he did it as a way of showing his love for me.
I am continually amazed at how God's word and His principles begin to seep deep into your heart when you spend time in the Word every day. You learn lots of helpful tips at a marriage conference but the one thing they try to hit home is that you must spend time in the Word and in prayer together. I love that this is a practice we've started and one our sweet baby boy will see lived out each day. Before facebook, before Sportscenter, before the weather outlook for the day, we make a point to spend even a few minutes in God's word. And, from my experience, it's what makes all the difference. Without God's word, we don't know His desire for our life, we don't know the fruits of the spirit, and without the fruits of the spirit, there is no desire to place others, particularly the one "other" you know more intimately than anyone else, before self.
But, oh kids, do we have a long way to go! Thankfully the Lord is never finished with us. Tomorrow morning I'll awake with a clean slate and the chance to do it better than I did today. Praise the Lord for grace! :)