Be warned friend. The world has shown us a counterfeit love and sadly many have accepted. Maybe not intentionally but over time with the wearing down, we’ve been deceived and it pushes hard to be our standard.
Whatever your experience with love has been, up until this point, whatever your marriage may look like today… would you just set that all to the side for now? Take a deep breath and just sit a moment and be reminded of true love. I would love if you would be willing to walk with me through scripture and be open to something fresh and true?
Still here? I am taking that as a YES! Now, smile big… I promise this is going to be good.
I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe God wanted to do something new in your heart and in your marriage.
First things first. Let’s start off with the right framework before we move forward… We no longer need to view marriage as just a civil contract brought forth by a woman and a man, but a sacred covenant designed by God for God. Understanding that the design of holy matrimony is patterned to reflect the covenant between Christ and His church to the world should completely shape the way we view our own marriage.
With this understanding we are able to build on a solid foundation of truth.
GOOD GRACIOUS! What an opportunity we have! Now, if this seems more overwhelming than opportunity, take heart, and let me remind you of this amazing truth…
Now, let’s not waste any time! You have a couple of options for reading along in this plan… Choose from the two different downloads below, boomark this post to visit daily for your scripture reading (just scroll down to “read now” and click on each day for that passage) or sign up to receive each days scripture promptings straight to your inbox. I mean ~ hello! I’m cutting out all the excuses here friend ~ can you tell I really want yout to read along with me!?! I do! I really, really do.
Okay… bookmark, sign up, print out and stash in your Bibles ~ whatever you do ~ get the plan, grab your Bibles and let’s begin.
Woohooo! I am so excited!
We almost missed this moment. A pretty serious hike led us to one of the most beautiful hidden beaches in Maui. A local fave. We had to go. But the trail was so dangerous and SO uncertain. I knew it would be worth it if we just pressed on. The path to truth & beauty require much but are always worth the struggle. And speaking of struggle…
This guy! Can make me crazy but truly I’d follow him anywhere. Seventeen years married and it’s just been during the last five that we have learned to fight fair. I don’t know about you but stormy seasons and second chances have given us a new perspective on a lot of things including arguments… we just don’t have time for it anymore.
You know, I can actually remember the first time my thoughts began to shift and my response was very different than all the times before. God was wanting to do something new and we were finally giving Him space and permission. Arguments are now rare but when they do rear up, we try our best to be quick to fight fair and remember who we are really fighting. We’ve learned the hard way that our personal struggles are directly connected to a greater cosmic battle between heaven and hell. No? Yes. It’s true.
So remember the next time you don’t see eye to eye, fight fair by remembering who it really is that you are up against. Lock arms. Speak truth with grace and honor. And then, you will walk away stronger. I know there are times the struggle seems very real. But God promises that this path to covenant keeping isn’t so hard when you let the Spirit lead. ♡
I asked him if I could talk about our story. I didn’t have to ask, but I always do. Always a “sure!” but this time his answer was different. Barely looking up, he questioned why and told me it was an old story.
The spiritual discipline of being in God’s Word has helped my thoughts instantly find their way to scripture. This time wasn’t any different and immediately I was recalling Joshua, the crossing of the Jordan and the stones laid in remembrance.
In the Old Testament, you will find a miraculous story of God’s people being brought through the Jordan River on dry ground into the Promised Land. To mark this moment, God instructed Joshua to have the people gather stones from the riverbed and place them as a sign for what God had done for His people that day.
Prior to this, we see the crossing through the Red Sea and God’s people quickly forgetting the faithfulness of the Lord and focusing on the reality of their current struggles.
As much as I can think they were ridiculous to even forget such an event, how easily I am reminded of this sort of spiritual amnesia in our lives today.
That afternoon, I laid across his chest and reminded him how thankful I was for our story. I reminded him of the bondage we once found ourselves in, our wandering, and the trek across dry ground to the promises of God. He smiled and knew it was worth celebrating!
His favorite dinner… brownies and ice cream. It was a good, good day. Worth remembering.
God instructed His people to remember. Maybe because they so easily had forgotten. The word “remember” can be found around 150 times throughout the Old and New Testament. I believe God knew we would need reminding.
When much time had passed and the story lost its splendor, they would need to remember God’s hand at work in their lives. And so He told them to gather stones and lay them in remembrance. When their children would ask, they were to tell the story of God’s faithfulness.
So, how do we avoid this trap of spiritual amnesia? With no literal walls of water to recall, or actual stones taken from a dry riverbed, how do we avoid spiritual amnesia? We remember. We lay stones of remembrance?
1. We read scripture.
We anchor every day in God’s promises by being in His word and learning of His faithfulness throughout time. Read the stories, hide them in your heart. When you are faced with opposition, let His truths bring wisdom, encouragement, and discernment to help you move forward and not get lost in the wandering.
2. We write it down.
We are human and live in a busy world. The moment we get through one thing, we are on to the next. Take time to journal. Slow down long enough to write it down. Record the moment, your fears, your heart, and God’s part in it all. Where did you struggle? Where did you see Him at work? What are you giving to Him?
When the time has long passed, you can revisit your words and they will be like water to dry bones.
3. We share our story.
Every year at bedtime, the kids find their way to our bed. By this time there has been a good bit of remembering and celebrating. Their little minds are spinning and working to put together questions to help them understand. I tell them the stories… Andy laying quietly off to the side, listening. I tell them the stories. Details. The good, the bad, the crazy, the scary, and even the funny parts. My heart swells to see them soak it all up. I trust the Lord is laying stones of remembrance. I trust seeds are being planted in their tender hearts of God’s promises.
4. We are grateful.
After the great Exodus, we see how the Israelites begin to complain about their current situation. Some even thought it would be best to go back to the bondage from which they were delivered. I believe when we lose focus, we assume an ungrateful heart and that will lead to grumbling, bitterness, and complaining. Being thankful and having a grateful heart helps us to remember what God has done in our lives.
5. We celebrate the victories.
Here in the South, we are all about celebrating, gathering around food, feasting with friends and turning moments into traditions. Traditions allow us to not only look forward to a special time but they remind us of moments worth celebrating. Gather your people and lay stones of remembrance by celebrating the victories. Share about God’s goodness and bring glory to His Name!
I remember Andy’s one-year anniversary… I called all our family and friends who had been such a source of strength during that season and ask them to join me for a surprise celebration. I knew they experienced the victory as well and so we gathered to celebrate our first “Praise-The-Lord-Party” together. Every year we gather, feast and celebrate.
God removed addiction from my dad’s life over twenty years ago, praise GOD! On his first year of sobriety, I gave him a pocket knife engraved with the date. Every year since I have continued this gift. It is a reminder of a powerful and refining season in his life and my families. A time when God removed and cut away worldly things that were hindering him from being the man of God he was purposed to be. Traditions. And a lot of knives… (all the praise hands)
The enemy wants us to forget. We must remember.
We read the Bible and learn about God’s promises and His faithfulness to His people. We write our own stories down to pass on and share with others. We give thanks and leave little to no room for grumbling. We celebrate the victories and remember the moments. With each act, we lay stones of remembrance. God’s faithfulness is etched throughout our lives and the legacy we leave points to His mighty hand.
When the enemy tries to whisper that these moments, your stories are old, commonplace… you REMEMBER!
I’ve got a terrible memory. I struggle with details. My past thoughts seem more like a movie trailer… highlights in random order. This drives me crazy sometimes, especially when I am really wanting to remember and anchor a season. But, there are moments that we say we never want to forget. If you are like me, you’ve found yourself not only taking a visual image of a moment but a mental picture as well. We want to remember don’t we? Especially the good.
I can’t believe it has been five years. That night my world changed and I knew I would never be the same. I could never forget. I knew the magnitude of the moment. I wanted to be certain to remember every detail and so I wrote it down. Late into the night, at our table, I poured out my heart on pages and began to lay stones of remembrance.
You know the Israelites forgot. How could one forget that the Lord split the seas? It just doesn’t even seem possible, but there it is, recorded in His story. God’s people freed and removed from centuries of bondage and placed on a path to the Promised Land by way of DRY land. What a magnificent deliverance! What a moment! Yet, quickly we see their response of praise and rejoicing shift to grumbling and complaint. Hard to imagine. So easily they forgot. Our faith must be stronger than the things we see and do not see.
Failing to believe in God’s faithfulness kept the Israelites lost in the wilderness. When we finally decide to put faith in the promises of God, we begin to see the clear path He sets before us. No more wilderness wandering.
Forty years and now the Promised Land before them, they were crossing the Jordan.
God had given them the great Exodus through the sea and once again would bring promised Hope through water on dry ground. Another miracle. So God instructed His people to gather stones from the riverbed and set them as a sign to remember.
As Andy and I walked away from one another late that evening I felt it was our trek through the waters. In that moment, when things seemed impossible, He made a way. God parted the seas, stop the flowing waters and showed us the path across the dry riverbed. Leaving a life of wandering and stepping into a promised land, a promised future.
We were tired and weary. It had been a season of confusion, darkness and deep valleys. Addiction had a hold and our marriage was nearly over. But that night He made a way. Memories from a moment I never thought I would see… just like the stones in the riverbed. Stones impossible to see without faith.
[bctt tweet=”And so we gather stones and lay them as a reminder.” username=”natalieelrod”]
Our photograph, he kissed the babies goodbye with faith to return changed. A stone.
That night, I walked away, hardest thing ever. Collapsing at His feet, I grasped a stone as He picked me up and placed it deep in my heart. Never to forget. This was the moment I laid it all down.
Sharing this story, another stone from that riverbed. A part of our past made possible through God.
Our marriage, a stone to daily remind us to have faith and stand firm.
This story, your story, our stories, they are stones to remind us of God’s faithfulness to His people.
The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:19-24
Our stories are important, by sharing them we lay stones of remembrance. Never to forget. Do not allow what God has done and is doing for you and your family become commonplace. Lay stones of remembrance and when your children ask, “What is so special about today?”. You sit them down and you tell them about the time you walked across dry ground.
So… you might have heard me once or twice talk about how I have always loved the Lord but there was a time where I was not living for the Lord… Ok. Just prefacing the story to cover my little self… This was during that time. And this isn’t a real spiritual post. Just FYIn’ ya. But, it’s one I have got to tell.
Ok. Back to the story.
So, as I was about to say… Waaaaay back when Andy rendezvoused me off to the mountains for a premarital getaway where we ran into literally half my family on the streets of downtown and I was certain they knew our motel room had smoky mirrors on the ceiling and the hot tub was inches from the bed just by the look on my face. Yeah. I was devastated. More like mortified. Ruined. Shamed. But, let’s just move on. I’ve been forgiven.
Well, on this little trip he took me out for a fancy little dinner and after he had goosed me up (I know, this story is just no good) with their best “house wine” he offered me a juicy looking shrimp. He knew I LOVED grilled shrimp. However. It wasn’t shrimp! Of course, between the glasses of wine, the half-lit restaurant and my pre-Lasik vision I couldn’t see 12 inches past my nose. Bless me. Just remember, this was way before my little self-was convicted of consuming alcohol and screaming Jesus…. I know. That’s another post. Till then, back to the shrimp… It was seriously the grossest, biggest, juiciest piece of fat off his steak. And it looked like the most delicious, most plump, mouth-watering grilled shrimp I had ever seen. And as he forked it over to my side of the table, I just gobbled it up with the sweetest grin. Fancy scene. That is until it hit the back of my throat and I felt the grease glob slide all the way down to my belly where it just sat there and gurgled for the next 5 hours. It was horrible. I was so sick. Like, immediately. I’m telling you, It’s been over 16 years and I still have nightmares.
So. Why am I telling you this? Good question. For about six months now I’ve been HOOKED on this delicious cheese. I mean. To die for! Well, all this cheese eatin’ has rubbed off on Andy and he’s now crazy about it as well. What can I say… I’m an influencer. He’s always walking by the fridge and grabbing the dish and slicing him a few pieces. Well. I had bought some fancy butter for Christmas. Oh yeah. You see where this is going… Well, someone placed it in a glass container just like the one we keep the fancy cheese in… Yeah.
Well, I can’t even tell you how hilarious it was when he sliced him a good ole’ juicy piece of fancy cheese and plopped it in his mouth only to realize it was butter. I mean butter is good… But really, go chew on some butter and call me. Nobody just eats butter. It’s gross.
Immediately, I was taken away to the “fatback and fancy evening” and the thought was just too much for me. I’m still laughing… I’m not a “revenge is sweet” kinda person, but can I just say this got a hold of me! I mean. I’m writing a post about it and clearly sharing with you way too much about my saucy days. It was a memorable moment… Ok. Maybe I never forgave him. Maybe I’m getting a tiny bit of satisfaction… You know, It’s these moments in the marriage that keep it so good and so real. Amiright? ❤️
It’s good to remember.
The Back-Up Plan? We ain’t got one. We in it to win it. ❤️ That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.