My BIG 28
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Mat. 19:26 NIV).
For those of you who read my first post titled “Twenty Eight”, you will know the significance of this number in my life. In my post, I explained how my unusual and frequent encounters with the number 28 are a special way that God reminds me of His loving care and presence in my life. What I left out of the “28” post is my most special and favorite 28 of all; my BIG 28! Actually it is a 28 that first and foremost belongs to God and my parents; a 28 that was truly an impossibility in my mind and in the minds of countless others; a 28 that can bring me sobbing to my knees with inexpressible gratitude and unthinkable joy; a 28 that will be treasured in my heart as long as I live.
What is this BIG 28 you ask? It is the resurrection of my parent’s marriage after 28 years of divorce. It is the glorious display of Jesus’s power to call to life that which was dead. It is the unlikely rescue out of difficulty, darkness, and despair beyond what many can imagine. It is the miraculous rebuilding of a relationship and family established by God in Heaven. It is the undeniable witness that through the power of the Holy Spirit, every relationship is capable of healing, forgiveness, and restoration. It is the celebrated victory over hell and every wicked plan of the devil. It is comfort and peace to my soul. It is roots and stability. It is a legacy for generations to come. This 28 is truly beyond anything I can describe!
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord”” (NIV).
Only God could take such a foolish 28 and turn it into my cherished boast of His love, care, and kindness over my life. When I hear my parents share the story of their miracle marriage from their own lips, it settles the reality that we live in, that God “is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV). When Jesus went to the cross and was resurrected, it demonstrated to us that nothing is too hard for him. Dear friends, our God is a BIG, BIG God and He can do the impossible! THINK BIG, BELIEVE BIG, EXPECT BIG. Your miracle is happening! Yes and Amen!
Amy Mukes is the wife of Eric Mukes and together they have four amazing children whom she teaches at home. She is passionate about education and literacy and also desires to equip parents with practical tools to raise their children with the gracious love of Jesus. Amy is currently developing a City Group that will be filled with experiential, interactive learning where parenting skills and family life will increase and flourish under the Gospel of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. To find out more about City Groups, click here.
Keys to a Lasting Marriage
February 14th is right around the corner. This is the day we choose to celebrate love. Everyone want to experience romantic love, but not everyone wants to put in the effort it takes to turn one day a year into a lifetime of investment and caring for the person we chose to marry. Many young couples are willing to put energy into preparing for the Wedding Day, but put little thought and preparation into the lifetime of marriage. If I’m honest, my first years of marriage to Jude were difficult simply because we didn’t spend the time and energy necessary to prepare for our marriage. We went from being friends to being engaged and married three months later! Jude proposed to me over the phone and I was the one who called him! A lot of what we learned about marriage was from watching other couples in our lives who seemed to make marriage look so easy. Well, we have now been married 31 years and have been through every season a married couple will face and we are still together by the grace of God. Sometimes marriage seems like a piece of cake, full of amazing memories and laughter and other times we have to “fight for what’s left.”
When you have been married 31 years, other couples always ask, “What is the secret to having a lasting marriage?” Here are a few things I have learned over the years, that may be helpful as you pursue your dream of a happy marriage that lasts a lifetime:
Remember Marriage is a COVENANT NOT a CONTRACT:
Matthew 19:6 ESV “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.”
For Jesus followers, marriage is about God joining us together. We make an eternal commitment before Him to LOVE our husbands. If we look at our marriage as a conditional agreement, and our spouses fail at something, we want to break the contract. But God offers us His “overwhelming, never-failing, reckless,” covenant love to draw from. The Bible is a love story in itself, one in which we broke the contract, and culminating in a beautiful marriage celebration as we, the church, become His bride. When we receive the undeserved love and forgiveness of Jesus, He fills us with the power of HIs Holy Spirit to love our husbands without keeping score. When we make the decision to grow old together, we don’t make quitting an option, knowing that God is able to help us in every area of weakness.
Be Grateful for the Marriage God gave you!
I Peter 3:7 “Husbands, you must in turn treat your wives with tenderness, viewing them as feminine partners who deserve to be honored, for they are CO HEIRS with you of the “divine grace of life” so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Our marriages are a gift from God. We must view our marriages as an “inheritance” or “gift” to be cherished rather than something we are owed. Think about it, when we work for something we “expect” to get paid. If we won a lotto ticket or got an unexpected Inheritance we would be grateful for what we received. Remember, our husbands chose to love us and be committed to us unconditionally. Is there any greater gift one human being could give to another? I encourage you to be thankful for your spouse because he is a gift to you.
Remember we are better together. Fight FOR one another not against one another!
Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one because they help each other succeed” NLT
It’s so important to reflect on the value that our husbands bring to our marriages. Your husband may be very different from you. Jude is certainly very different from me! Sometimes it’s easier for us to value only the qualities we work to have but countless studies have shown that teams whose players have diverse gifts always have increased effectiveness. As we make a decision to stop and appreciate the gifts, talents and perspective that our husbands have, we will end finding better success together. We will often discover better ways of doing things that would have never occurred to us! Remember you started this race with the same vision. You are on the same team going in the same direction trying to accomplish the same goals.
Remember, everyone has struggles in their marriage but marriages are worth fighting for! If you are in a desperate place, if you have experienced the heart break of divorce, God sees you and loves you. Please don’t feel you have to fight or figure it out alone. Our church is full of people with beautiful stories of God redeeming the ugliest moments of strife and disagreement into redemptive and joyful and lasting love. This is our year of believing BIG and God is able to do a big miracle in your life and in your marriage. Join a City Group, attend our XO marriage conference in March, reach out to a pastor or City Group leader. We are here to help! Let’s choose to celebrate love and marriage all year long!
I believe in you!