Friday, February 26, 2010

Tha Last Word, Money, Faith & Sex!

The last in the series (3 of 3) from our notes of the Valentine's Weekend with Dr. James & Stacia Pierce. So grateful for the time they spent with us especially when personally sharing about blended families from their own experience. They listened to our personal questions and gave us sound biblical answers, some of them confirming what we knew already or it was a new and creative approach to handling an old issue. We praise God for the wisdom they add to the Body of Christ and are truly blessed to have them in our circle of influence & mentorship.

9. Women want to be loved, protected, covered, feel secure, and be provided for. Men want respect, to feel important, encouragement, the last word, and sex…and a LOT of it. In reference to having the “last word”, women should learn this strategy: Just because the man has the last word in a discussion does not mean he was just means he was last. If you don’t respond, he then has to walk away replaying what he said and how he said it as the last thing he heard.

10. Satan will fight marriages for prosperity, he knows that 75% of major fights and causes of discord in marriage is over money. Your marriage should be geared to financially meet all of your needs, your wants and have some left over to sow into your legacy and to others. Live life in a blessed state. Tithe to put yourself in a position to be blessed. The devourer is rebuked and blessings are poured as a part of that promised. Plan financially together and be willing to make sacrifices if necessary.

11. Don’t be afraid of being in Faith Fight. Both spouses need to be proactive versus passive in the marriage. You and your spouse determine what your faith project(s) will be and lock down on it until it manifests. Have the Discipline to stick to the budget or save/spend according to plan. Confess and post what you are believing for until you see it happen. Follow the habits of the truly wealthy, prosperous or those of faithful character. Successful people always leave clues. Prosperity in any area is not an event, but a lifelong pursuit of overflow and the abundant life.

12. Sexual intimacy is important and isn’t discussed in honesty or transparency enough. Most married couples do not have sex often enough. Your body is no longer your own it belongs to your spouse. You are joined to meet the sexual and intimate needs of your husband/wife. If you submit, God will honor your obedience and give you the grace you need to please them. If your hearts true desire is to surrender completely to your spouse, God will give you stamina, creativity, favor whatever you need if you delight in God’s way concerning marriage. This act was design strictly for the marriage bed for a purpose. Its is a type and shadow of intimacy between Christ and the church. You exhibit the love of Christ at its highest when you lay down your life and your body for your spouse.

And this concludes our marriage retreat LoveWorks review...Tune in next week when I share 10 ways this Mom of many can still be prim and polished even on a budget.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Marriage retreat con't...Image Matters and more

Thanks for the feedback so far...there are two more installations.. Here is 2 of 3! Dr. James and Stacia Pierce shared lifechanging information with us at the Marriage Works retreat and we are in turn sharing it with you. They too are a stepfamily and as such, we could learn MUCH from themas to what works and what does not work in a Christian Stepfamily situation. They taught about protecting the marriage with its image, the vision, and the relationships you nurture or weed away. Enjoy and pass it along.

5. Wives you are primarily responsible for the family’s image. IMAGE MATTERS ! Appropriate image brings favor and blessings. Be mindful of how your children and spouse go out of the house. Be mindful of YOUR public appearance. Your husband should never ever look over at you and hesitate to claim you. The family reputation rests partially in how you handle and display them. Know and implement simple manners and study to be a lady and not just a woman. Are you a blessing and a crown to your husband or an embarrassment and a tattered baseball cap? Are you loud, obnoxious, immature, profane, silly, lazy, unkempt, and disorganized and a total liability rather an asset? What are you bringing to the table that a babysitter, secretary, cook or prostitute couldn’t do? Yeah, I said it-We have to be deeper than that! When people think of your family what image pops into their heads? Do you even have a “brand”, something that you are known for…or stand for?

6. Your house should be your dream center. Declutter it and make it a place where dreams can be birthed. Get a library of books and tapes that can teach and train you and your children to think on a higher level. Develop vision boards for your dreams and teach your children to do the same. Motivating things should adorn the walls and the vision of you and your spouse for your family should be accessible and reachable.

7. Get away with your spouse as often as possible. Spending intimate, peaceful time alone is essential to nurturing oneness. Getaways can be as expensive as a vacation or as inexpensive as a day at the museum. Date nights are important as well. Try to do that weekly in some form. Connect for a least 10-15 minutes a day to download your day and share priorities.

8. Disconnect from previous spouses or previous girlfriends/boyfriends family. Develop new traditions together with your new spouse. These people are no longer a part of your new life. You are no longer obligated to them or their traditions. Be cordial, polite and a witness- but not obligated. Allow and encourage the children to participate in their family outings, but your presence is not required and you should be clear that your new spouse and his/her family is your new priority. You are now obligated and in covenant with a new family and new in-laws. Get to know and love them. Unnecessary stress and drama can occur when you try to maintain and juggle relationships no longer on your destiny path. Also, be wary of social media reconnections with past boy/girl friends. It’s not worth the toehold and the door that the enemy can pry open in your marriage. Develop new friends together. Also, find drama free peaceful couples to glean from and spend time with.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Making Marriage work Marriage retreat

1 of 3 in a series...

We attended a Marriage retreat Valentine’s Day weekend that was just incredible. The classes were eye opening and confirmation of things we knew and weren’t doing or clarity on things we needed to know & put into practice. Dr. James & Stacia Pierce were TRANSPARENT like you wouldn’t believe sharing everything from the bedroom to the boardroom. I have an entire booklet full of notes, literally. But I will just share some of the highlights here. This is the 1st in a 3 part series.

1. Don’t come to a conference or another learning opportunity thinking it’s for your spouse or ‘someone else”. It’s for you. EVERYBODY has things they need to work on and change. There will be things that you glean that you need to implement immediately, don’t wait on your spouse. You change and believe God for the things that need to change and grow in them.

2. You need to work with what you have. Dating is a strategy not reality. You may have gotten duped, but who you are married to, like it or not is a product of your intelligent choice. Work with and be faithful to what God has given you in this season. You need to know what you have and work with it.

3. Your mate is your purpose partner. They are your best resource for potential success. They should be your biggest supporter, fan and ally and vise versa. Share everything from your biggest dreams to your smallest goals with your spouse. They should know what you are working on and what you need and are believing for to make it happen.

4. Let your 1st response be your 2nd thought. We often say “On second thought…” Meaning we need to think more before we speak. Be mindful not to blurt out what comes to mind. Think of the implications of what you say and how you say it. Dwell with your spouse according to the knowledge of who they are and what they need. Open honest communication on an ongoing basis is paramount.

More from the retreat to follow..

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lessons on Stepparenting from my "Step-Pastor"

This May I will have the awesome opportunity to go “home” to my former church, direct my old choir and fellowship with some of the saints who had much to do with my spiritual walk today. I am positive that I would not have had the foundation I have today, had it not been for them and I am eternally grateful. I am SO excited about the possibilities and the mandate of evangelism and creativity that we have been given by the current pastor. Although I no longer worship with them…they will always be home. That’s just the way it is. Home is always Home. The current Pastor in an email exchange referred to himself jokingly as my “step-pastor”. It was hilarious, but in a sense accurate. He wasn’t my Pastor, but for a season he is playing a pastoral role in my life. I refer to him as pastor. I defer to him and his decisions because of his position.

All of a sudden, I had a glimpse of step-parenting from another perspective, the child’s. I understand the importance of the level of respect that is given because of a person position not their personality. I also understand the thin line between honoring your step parent at the expense of your current one. Although I am not in leadership at my current church and I have no responsibility in ministry there, because he is my pastor, I give him respect. However, my current pastor, his way of doing things or his perspective has no bearing or authority at my “step-pastor’s” church.

In a stepfamily you have be mindful that there are many sets of rules at play. They way “they” did things… The way “we” did things… The way mom did this, the way dad handled that.. All of those processes may have been “ok” for the previous family or former relationships, but in a Stepfamily all new rules apply. Because of the new covenant between the spouses, the rules, the guidelines, the opinions, the methods, the ideology of previous spouses or family members are null and void. When I am at my home church my “step pastor” is in charge. I have been taught to respect authority and understand fully the backlash if you do not. When I am operating at my current church home, my pastor is in charge and the things that I did at my home church are no longer applicable.

This is a difficult lesson to re-teach children and it puts step-parents in an awkward role. You wouldn’t believe the horrible, mean and demeaning things that are said or written about stepparents, myself included. Usually its because the child wants to operate in the current home, they way they did in the former home. Parents have to be adamant about the new processes of their current family. Teach the children to respect their outside parents, but remind them that those people and their way of thinking, living, acting, responding or being has no place of authority in your home. Pray for wisdom for the "sticky" parts...and God will hear and answer prayer.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What is The State of YOUR Union?

A few nights ago the President gave his State of the Union speech. As most presidents have before him, the speech is a collective annual report of not only the successes of his time in office thus far but it also set the tone and direction for the rest of the year. It usually covers the economic status of the nation, along with the cultural temperament and mood of the constituents and the foreign affairs of our nation.

Before ending the speech, the President gives direction as to where the nation is heading and encourages (or admonishes) with a planned strategy for accomplishing the agenda he has set for the year. The goal is after hearing the report, the nation should have a better idea as to the “state” or condition of the union.

In Marriage, you have to take time at least annually to assess where you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. You need to retreat to discuss your economic condition, the temperament of the home and what things you are doing outside of the home (“foreign affairs”). You need to know the “State of YOUR union”.

What types of things are you doing to make sure that your union isn’t suffering or being neglected? Could you really sit down right now and give an honest assessment as to where you two are and where you are going? Are you clear as to what the goals are for you as a couple this year (not your family goals, your kids goals, your churches goals, your jobs goals…). Your state of the union directives’ for the year has to be couple (UNION) focused only. The other goals are important, but they are secondary and in some cases tertiary to what you two need to work on as a union. Your union goals may look like:

1. We work on our communication skills by not interrupting each other; spend time daily talking to each other at least 30 minutes (collectively), and not shutting down when the conversation gets difficult.
2. We will plan a quarterly getaway (overnight optional) and one full vacation for us. While away we will not discuss, kids, money, church or family…just us, the Lord and his vision for our marriage.
3. We will not take on any outside commitments (outside of work & home) at church, in the community or with extended family without full understanding of what is required and clearance from the other spouse.

Being a product of corporate America, I handle things corporately. If my hubby isn’t watchful I will have an agenda, powerpoint presentation and handouts when we sit down to talk. But I have learned now to relax and just lay across the bed and go over our goals and issues I may have with understanding where we are. During Valentine’s Day weekend we are scheduled to go on a retreat. A few days to just see where my husband’s head is about us and what’s on his heart about what we as a couple are assigned to do is priceless and worth way more than roses and chocolate. What’s the state of YOUR union? Instead of a dinner this Valentine’s Day...set up a meeting and get your nation under the groove .