Monday, August 27, 2012


Marriage Monday
We always look forward to hearing from Scott Means from Journey to Surrender marriage blog. When our marriages are strong, our children are blessed, so we at Hope at Home want to encourage you that time spent on your marriage is part of good parenting! We hope you find this post as timely and encouraging as we have.

You will hear more from Scott on this topic at HOPE AT HOME 2012. For more information and to register, click HERE.

At some point we will all have seasons when we aren’t sure we can face the tough challenges in front of us. Such times of great stress are inevitable. I’m sure the adoptive and foster parents reading this blog are nodding their heads in agreement.
The source of my current stress is some especially tough challenges I’m facing at work. I know that difficulties with family and children have a more severe emotional impact than job issues, but the things I want to share with you are universal – they apply no matter the source of your troubles. 

What follows are three truths that have helped me recently. I pray they do the same for you.

We Become What We Behold

I don’t know who coined the phrase, “we become what we behold,” but the principle is clearly a scriptural one. 
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory…” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV) 

The truth is that whatever we keep our focus on has a significant impact on us either positively or negatively. It’s easy to get caught up in our problems. More than once in the past few weeks I’ve found myself completely absorbed by my circumstances, and I’ve discovered that the more I dwell on them, the more of my life they overtake.  

But when I am able to focus on the Lord and on His many amazing and wonderful attributes, my troubles no longer determine my demeanor. When compared to the magnificence of His hugeness, the size of my difficulties is diminished.  When I gaze upon his beauty, the ugliness of the world is dimmed.  When I abide in His presence, I feel the protection of His strength and the warmth of His passionate love for me. When I’m talking to God and listening to His voice, the lies of the enemy are silenced. 

So, as the twelfth chapter Hebrews encourages us, let us determine to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” so that our struggles don’t cause us to “grow weary and lose heart.” 

Keeping our eyes on Jesus isn’t necessarily easy, and that brings me to my next bit of truth.

Together is Always Better

On several occasions over the past few weeks, my wife has been a great source of encouragement to me. More than just a listening ear, which is helpful, she has reminded me to look to Jesus.
I am thankful to have a spouse who points me toward the goodness and greatness of the Lord. That is also the kind of spouse I endeavor to be for her. The truth is that together we can face more than either of us can separately.

I’m not talking about preaching at your wife or husband. I’m not talking about making him or her feel guilty for their struggles. I’m talking about being a constant source of little encouragements. 

  • Pray together and pray for each other out loud
  • Let your spouse know you are praying for them individually
  • Send little notes, texts or emails of encouragement with words of truth
  • Find and share scriptures that speak truth into to your spouse’s circumstances
  • Remind each other of past times when God’s goodness has saved the day
One other really important thing about helping each other in times of hardship: love each other unconditionally. It’s easy to let difficulties come between you, as we withdraw into ourselves to deal with our issues. But if you can push past your circumstances and reach for each other with love and intimacy in times of difficulty, it will strengthen your marriage like little else can.  

Celebrate the Good Stuff

On the advice of a friend and ministry mentor, my wife has recently started making little lists of things to celebrate. He wisely advised her that when faced with a difficult relationship or circumstance, to make a short list of things to celebrate about the person or situation. Keep it handy; remind yourself of them often.

The many positives in our lives can easily get swallowed up by the negatives unless we are purposeful about recalling and celebrating the many praiseworthy blessings we have. 

Applying this idea to my work stress, I can celebrate the fact that I have a steady, good-paying job when so many are facing unemployment. I can celebrate that I’ve had the rare privilege of working for the same company for 28 years. In the face of the craziness, I can celebrate the fact that management is choosing to invest in my product lines in an unprecedented manner.

This “celebration list” is actually an extrapolation of the principle of becoming what you behold. By choosing purposefully to celebrate the good, the bad is naturally diminished. Amplifying your blessings has a way of shrinking your problems. 

Since I’m a marriage blogger at heart, I want to close by encouraging you to celebrate your marriage as well. I have a short series on my blog, Journey to Surrender, entitled The Power of Positive. It includes suggestions on ways you can transform your marriage by positive Thinking, Speaking and Doing

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