Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Weekend to Remember...

Justin and I attended FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember the first weekend of May.  We LOVED it and want EVERY couple we know to go to it!  We were so excited to share the news, that JB and I made the following announcement at our church the Sunday after we got back (Mother's Day).  Thought I'd share it with y'all too:

Sally:  This is SO appropriate to share on Mother’s Day!  Pope Paul the Sixth once said, “Every mother is like Moses.  She does not enter the Promised Land.  She prepares a world she will not see.”  Ten years ago on August 9, 2003 we had a wedding.  It was a beautiful affair!  The planning was perfect down to the very last detail.  Every element of the perfect wedding was there.  A peaceful sanctuary, beautiful music (a violinist that played Ave Maria and a very moving song from CD that was sung by a Venetian boys choir), colorful flowers, the bride dressed in white led down the aisle by her teary eyed father, the groom (in tears when his bride walks up shakily saying “You are SO beautiful.”), many family and friends as witnesses and a reception with fantastic food and entertainment.  To this day, I still have friends and family remark about what a wonderful wedding it was!  It was truly a Weekend to Remember.

JB: In anticipation of our upcoming 10 year anniversary, Sally asked if we could attend another memorable weekend, the Weekend to Remember marriage conference.  She made a compelling argument which appealed to my frugal side.  She said that the conference and my willful participation is all she wanted for her birthday and Mother’s Day.  I agreed to it and registered.  We had no idea what to expect.  We discussed the number of people that would attend, I jokingly set the over/under at 10 people.  I pictured us spending three days in a hotel suite with about six other people holding hands, talking about feelings and sharing things with a group of people that I didn’t know before the weekend.  Sally took the over and turned out to be right when we walked into a large ballroom with about 500 people in attendance.  The speakers were funny and inspiring, I never felt uncomfortable and I didn’t have to share anything with anyone but Sally.

Sally:  In the conference we learned more about what the Bible shows us in God’s design for our marriage, we realized that 10 years ago we had a wedding ceremony, but not a marriage ceremony.  We have been together for 10 years and God has not been our primary focus.  On the night of our wedding, and for many nights after, we certainly were not praying together.  This past Sunday afternoon, after several prayers together, we renewed our marriage promise.  This ceremony was very different.  I was in blue jeans…Justin was in shorts and tennis shoes.  There was no music, no flowers, no cake...No family or friends were present.  Actually, we were surrounded by complete strangers.  We turned to each other on May 5, 2013 and GOD was our witness.  We said our vows with conviction and tears and, although there were no components of a “wedding” we married each other.

JB:  They gave us this very nice certificate which Sally was thrilled was nice enough to be displayed in our home.  (Sally does a beautiful job decorating our home and she is VERY particular about what goes on the walls.)  When we got home we told our children about the promise we had made to one another and we told them that adults can get it wrong, but it is never too late to fix things.  We told them that we loved them SO much, but we have been getting things backwards.  We have been putting them first, us second and God third.  We told them that we wanted to read our vows again to them and have them sign as witnesses that we want to put God first in our home, our marriage second and them last.  They were proud to do so and what a blessing, at 5 and 6 years old, to hear your parents say, “We want God to be in control of our family.  We want Daddy to lead in a way pleasing to God and Mommy to be his helper in a way that is pleasing to God.”

Sally:  The day after the conference, I had so many thoughts and questions about the timing of this.  These conferences have been held for 30 years.  A part of me was frustrated that we didn’t go to this prior to getting married, or newly married, or one year in, or five years in.  As I fretted about this I clearly heard God tell me, “You weren’t ready.  You have to be lost before you can be found.  You have to know that men and women living together, especially with three children, is HARD before you can realize that you need to turn to me for HELP.  The timing IS just right.  I am your medicine.  Share me with others who are sick.”  Here’s an analogy:  Imagine you are attending a conference about the cure for a life threatening disease…you do not have the disease, and no one you know has the disease.  How hard would you listen?  How much would you pay attention?  You probably would think, “It won’t affect me.  I’ll keep the conference materials and these things in mind, and if by some chance I get sick with this, THEN I’ll pay attention.  Now, imagine you are in the same conference and YOU HAVE the disease.  You have ALL the “symptoms” they are talking about.  You have seen what it has done to yourself, your spouse, your children, and you want the CURE.  You would be furiously taking notes and absorbing EVERYTHING that is said and if there is medicine that will save your life, you would take it.

JB:  That is this conference.  Weddings happen, and they are beautiful, but days, weeks, months, or years later MARRIAGES get sick.  This weekend we realized that our marriage had a life threatening disease and we found the medicine!  We want to share it with you.  It doesn’t matter if you have been married 1 year, or 50, your marriage can be cured through Jesus Christ.

Sally:  Like Moses, we will not “see the Promised Land”, we will not get to meet the generations of great-great grandbabies behind us that are affected by the legacy we leave by our marriage, but we DO know that when we get to Heaven we will be asked for an account of what WE did to prepare for those future generations, and we will want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

JB:  If you want more information about the Weekend to Remember, just ask us.  We can give you a group number to sign up under that will give you a big discount.  We don’t receive any perks or kickbacks for sharing this with you, other than knowing that we did our part to help you in your marriages.


Heidi said...

LOVE this post! You guys are amazing! SO happy you enjoyed it as much as we did!

Bill Eyster said...

Hi JB and Sally,
What a great story about your experience at the Weekend to Remember! We are so glad it was a great experience and God worked powerfully through the weekend. Since you are so stoked about it, you should check out The Art of Marriage. It is a great tool you can use to bring the WTR content to your friends and family.
Bill Eyster - FamilyLife team member

Butch said...

What a great testimony to the power of God's truth to bring lasting help and hope to real, everyday marriages! You have said it so beautifully. Thank you,

Butch @ FamilyLife

Rob Smith said...

JB & Sally,

I like your phrase that "Weddings happen...and years later MARRIAGES get sick. When a husband engages in pornography he's become sick. When the wife has a spending problem she's become sick. When the husband unleashes in anger he's got a sickness. It's in those times of sickness that we need spouses to stand strong, to recall thier vows and not be despised by the other's behavior. Afterall we promised in sickness and in health. Great write up and thank you for your shout out about the Weekend to Remember.

Rob Smith - FamilyLife Missionary