I have noticed over the years that it takes some time, usually a week or two, to acclimatize when returning from a mission trip or vacation. I looked up the word, acclimatize, and found this definition; to adapt or become accustomed to a new climate or environment.
Monique and I have recently returned from our 25th anniversary celebration in the Caribbean. We went on our first cruise together with Mercy Me at Sea, a cruise organized by Inspiration Cruises. The program included concerts by the band, worship and incredible teaching in the truths of God's love and grace by Rusty Kennedy and our friends at Trueface. The cruise and inspirational times soaking in the truths of God's grace were incredibly stress free, relaxing and refreshing for our souls and our marriage. Needless to say, we are now acclimatizing from 80 degree weather to 40 degree weather in the northwest.
,However, that is not the acclimatizing that I want to talk about in the next couple of blogposts. The definition of the word acclimatize includes adapting to a new environment. I want to talk about a new environment to live relationally in with others that will rock your world and revolutionize your marriage. It is the environment of grace.
Quite simply, an environment of grace is a relational space where the worst about you can be known and you would be loved, and loved all the more in the telling of it. Sound supernatural? It is and it is real. Most often when I share with with someone I hear something like; "I've never experienced anything like that with people. Where do you find such a place?"
When I introduce people to the Room of Grace, many times it seems to good to be true. Questions, doubts, disbelief seem to be part of the acclimatizing to this new room. This acclimatizing process is okay, our God is patient with us. He so loves us and desires us to experience His radical unconditional life altering love, that He waits patiently for us to acclimatize.
Finding and living in the Room of Grace starts with me, Christ in Me. Monique and I were blessed to meet Tim Timmons on our cruise. He led us in worship many mornings with story and song. Tim song, Christ in Me is a jumping off point for this series of blog posts. Click here to meet Tim and listen to his song, stirred from something his little daughter shared with him.
Appreciation....a word I couldn't get out of my mind this past Saturday. While relaxing with Vic, spending time with our nephew Eric and his delightful wife Daniella in Miami, my heart was flush with gratitude.
Eric and Daniella invited us into their lives to do pre-marriage counseling a couple years ago...the perks of technology with Skype/Facetime, making it possible to connect Burlington, Wa to Miami, Florida on Sunday evenings! We have enjoyed spending time with them, in person, this past weekend, watching how they appreciate one another. It has been encouraging to hear them express affirmations, listen and even navigate through a difficult conversation.
Demonstrating genuine appreciation for one another in marriage in simple, consistent measures....small or large, breathes life into a relationship. As we approach 25 years of married life, I reflect on seasons I have done this well, and others I've failed miserably, focusing more on self.
This train of thought takes me back to one of my favorite words...intentional. By appreciating (a verb), our spouses intently, we have significant opportunity to love well, influence, heal and build trust with the most important relationship on earth. Mutual appreciation can lead to deeper friendship and intimacy. What a gift it is to give and receive this act of kindness in marriage.
Heading into 2017, one of my goals is to shower words of admiration, respect and love towards Vic...even on our worst days. If you reading this and feel you have fallen short...you are not alone, likely most of us have. Ask forgiveness and in His grace run forward! I'm reminded by scripture and a recent post from a friend, " God's mercy is fresh and new every single morning. May it be a day of wonder, joy, contentment and grace." Start anew!
Reshaping your marriage...
As we begin a new year, many people are heading to health clubs to begin the hard work of reshaping their bodies in hopes of shedding holiday pounds.
Our marriage relationships also need ongoing reshaping to remain healthy. It is easy to become a relational "couch potato".
In order to reshape our physical bodies, and exercise correctly, we might need a personal trainer or fitness instructor to help and encourage us. The same is true for relationship reshaping. We can't do it alone.
For marriages to thrive, grace must be the foundation of the relationship. Reshaping begins to happen when couples commit to get off the "couch", seek help, learn and apply the principles of God's grace. Here an example of just such a couple...
"Before marriage mentoring, there was chaos. We would argue about little things we now know are silly, like my side of the closet being unorganized and full of clutter. Or, how my wife would leave her clothes piled up in a corner. There were days of storming out of the house in anger, declaring divorce was coming soon.
Since being mentored, we have discovered a hidden secret called grace. One word, grace, a concept that has been around for centuries, but we never applied it to our marriage. So now, having a grace-filled marriage, my wife no longer gripes about my side of the closet. We have learned to negotiate. I pick up her clothes without complaining about it."
Stay tuned, more grace truths and stories to come.
Vic and Monique
We are all about helping your marriage thrive.