A couple weeks ago, in my work here at FamilyLife, I was feeling lazy and listless, uncreative and unmotivated. Looking for some inspiration, I began reading through a pile of comments from couples who attended a recent Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway in Indianapolis.
It took me all of two minutes to shake away my doldrums. To remember how God is working.
One of the first comments I read began with these words: “My 2015 Valentine’s gift was my wife letting me know she was leaving me.” That got my attention.
“After six children and 11 grandchildren, she was emotionally dead as I had neglected her and not been there for her for 20 years,” he wrote.
Sitting in his office in “total shock and disbelief,” his phone rang. His pastor was in Haiti on a mission trip, but felt that the Holy Spirit prompted him to call. “After relating what was going on in my life, he urged me to confess my sin to both my God and my wife, and then told me that he, the team, and Haitian church would be praying around the clock for our marriage.
“I’ll never know why God chose to give me a second chance, but over the next 72 hours there was a complete and miraculous healing in our lives. God melted both of our hearts and provided complete restoration to the point it was evident to those in our church (who knew nothing that had happened), and more importantly our children, that something in our lives was different.”
Now this couple had attended a Weekend to Remember, and he felt it was “the best investment we could have ever made in our marriage. The weekend truly has given us the tools which, if used, will help our marriage thrive and become all God wants it to be.”
For the next 30 minutes I read story after story about people whose lives were changed because they encountered God at this event in Indianapolis. Some samples:
We’ve had ups and downs, lately more downs. This weekend was just what we needed to reconnect and rediscover each other. It’s the honeymoon we hadn’t had yet. We feel that the material will make a great transformation in our home, to better it, and bring glory to its rightful Owner, the Creator, our Lord God almighty.
Approximately 15 years ago, our marriage was broken by my husband’s admission that he had been living a double life for 35 years. He had committed adultery with various women during that time period. Our pastor and assistant pastor were instrumental in counseling. We joined a FamilyLife couples group. We attended our first Weekend to Remember 13 years ago. Very effective in strengthening and saving our marriage.
We’ve been married for five years. I am still in love with my husband, but sometimes love isn’t enough. We have been slammed with challenges throughout our married life. Sometimes you feel like giving up. This conference reminded me what marriage is about: It’s work! But with God involved, it will work out. Keep doing what you all are doing! It’s giving us the tools to do it God’s way.
I felt very reluctant about coming to this conference. It was a desperate, last-ditch effort to salvage our marriage. We are both terrible communicators and have always struggled with conflict resolution. I have renewed hope for our marriage.
I don’t want to give up. I want to make it work. I choose us. I want to love God and my husband the way God intended. I want my kids to see a godly marriage modeled. I thank God for this conference and that we came to it. It scares me to think what might have happened to our marriage if we hadn’t come to this conference.
If you look at our culture, it’s easy to become discouraged as we see people not just turning away from God, but actively mocking those who are committed to following Christ. But letters like these remind me of Matthew 9, where Jesus saw the crowds and had compassion for them, “because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'”
Today the world is still full of people without hope. They may not always show it or admit it, but you see it in their relationships. They don’t know how to form the marriages and families they desire.
I think God is using these issues to help people understand their desperate need for Him. The harvest is still as plentiful today as it was in the time of Christ.