Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dissapointment brings hope

What establishes a commitment from someone? It use to be a handshake or a person's word that could be taken seriously but those days are gone. This week I have been reminded of that fact.

Please allow me to vent my frustrations for a moment...
Our BLG put together a marriage retreat weekend complete with meals, penthouse accommodations and counselors flown in from Michigan as an effort to strengthen both new and more worn marriages based on biblical principles. We have been passionate about it for about 6 months now. Originally it was scheduled for late July but due to not enough availability from our community we change the dates to this weekend. Then we went to work on recruiting people for the marriage retreat.

One thing that should be known about me at this point is that I am a strong believer in pre-marital/marital counseling. Prior to getting married it was the foundation that my relationship with Nathan was built on. There was nothing left undiscussed before we said, "I do" and I truly believe that made all the difference when the hard times came. Then years into our marriage we hit a bump we didn't know how to get over by ourselves and instantly we called our pre-marital counselors. They helped us apply the biblical principles we knew deep down inside all the while allowing us to express our hurt in ways that were effective and not adding to the problem. So I have a reason to believe that it works. I also have a strong desire to see marriages not just survive but thrive. I don't think that is possible without a lot of work and conscious effort. This retreat, for me, was an opportunity to invite people to a better marriage and better relationships in general. That is a gift with untold blessing and I was anxious to have as many people as possible be a part of that.

So I was gung-ho about spreading the word amongst my friends, co-leaders, pastoral staff etc. The responses were so thrilling. Even the couples who couldn't attend expressed their wholehearted desire for something like this and I was encouraged. After weeks of praying for people to respond, 5 couples (from my end of things) stepped up and took on the challenge of strengthening their marriage. Some for the first time ever. God blew me away on this one, completely exceeded my expectations. So my prayers continued.....may our hearts become soil that the words we hear this weekend would bear fruit in our lives and marriages. Amen. It was all so exciting.

Then over the course of the last two weeks, that question I opened this post with came to mind as not one or two but three of the couples dropped out ... some at the last minute. Disappointment has set in and I am left to wonder... if we had required them to pay upfront, would there have been more commitment from their end of things? If so, why? Our BLG has committed time, resources, prayer and money toward this retreat in hopes of reaching as many couples as possible. Is it too much to ask for people to keep their word when they say they are going to be involved without twisting their arm or wallet first?

Then I am left with the hope that only Christ can provide: I guess the couples that are still coming are exactly the people God intended to speak to in the first place. I may have gotten carried away with high expectations but I don't see that as a bad thing when it comes to my desire of redeeming the covenant of marriage in this world. I will continue to hope that couples will make the effort, do the work, and walk the high road in their marriages as a symbol of God's original design- no matter what.

So now my friends I ask for your prayers. There will be 7 couples attending the marriage retreat this weekend (from Friday at 6pm EST to Sunday 12pm EST). Please pray that wounds will be healed, hearts will be changed and that Christ will gain victory in areas that Satan has been attacking in the lives and marriages of each of these couples. God will reign this weekend and I am so excited to see what all He has in store for each of us.

8 comments:

Cherie <> said...

I pray the retreat goes well. My circumstances were outside of my control, otherwise my commitment would have been kept, I promise you that. I was really looking forward to this weekend, but God has ordained my steps and apparently the retreat was not in His plan for Brian and I. Please pray for us, as Brian lost his job on Tuesday for reasons outside of his control. I believe God has the big picture and a bigger plan for this, if not to just teach us to FULLY rely on Him! The retreat and those attending will be in our prayers!

Bethany Gaddis said...

This isnt a personal shot at those that were unable to attend. I am simply hashing out my thoughts and feelings to ultimately figure out that God is still in control! You two will be in our prayers as well.

Skyler Goodman said...

I just came across your blog...I loved your post. Just wanted to say hello.w

Cherie <> said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to come across that way. That's what I don't like about the web, you can't tell someone's "tone of voice." I guess I've just had a stressful week and all my frustrations came out in my comment. Sorry again! :(

Anonymous said...

Bethany, I just heard big congratulations were in order for you and Nathan! Actually, Trish told me the news when she was here last weekend, since we have been gone the last 2 weeks eating our way from one side of Italy to the other. We will look forward to seeing you Sat night. Hope

Dawn Marie said...

I went through similar doing my first women's study (Beth Moore, Loving Well) at our church. Only two women showed up! But you know what? God knew exactly who was going to show up, and He sent exactly the ones that needed to hear the message, and those that needed to strengthen and build relationships with others! The entire study has been such a blessing to me... Since it's started, more women have asked about it, so I'm considering doing another in October.
So take heart! God knows who needs to be there, even when we had hoped for something different!

One Busy Mom said...

I just wanted to add my encouragment to your weary state right now. Ministry is failure on top of failure, but never quit. Keep pressing on.

--brandichambless@msn.com

MOM said...

I was thinking that a marriage is our most important (after God) relationship and often doesn't get the focus and attention it needs. I would feel so treasured and valued if my spouse was willing to spend the emotional energy, time investment and money investment in focusing on our marriage. What a gift. The message that we are worth it is precious. I am proud of you two for making your marriage a priority and the blessing it can be.

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