By Barbara Rainey
First posted on EverThineHome.com
All the kids have gone home, the cake is eaten, and King Farm is now empty … except for the two of us who stayed to finish the cleanup and to rest.
But what a weekend it was when all our family gathered together to celebrate the 50 years that Dennis and I have been married. I will share more of the stories and photos from our weekend, but there isn’t time before this post must go live. So my plan is to tell more in my next “Friends & Family” letter, but here are a few photos from our phones from our time together plus a few stories that some of you emailed to us in August.
You may be wondering why we talked so much about our 50th anniversary in the month before the actual celebration on September 2. More than anything, Dennis and I want to let people know that God’s blueprints for marriage really work ... when two people work to put aside their pride and selfishness and experience true oneness in marriage, they can make it. We want to encourage you to trust God and love each other unconditionally in your marriage.
In response to our 50th anniversary blog posts in August we heard from some readers who sent encouraging emails about their own marriages. One couple was Brad and Tami Miller, who wrote to thank us for the influence we had on their marriage:
Tami and I both grew up in broken and dysfunctional homes. Like so many others who fall in love, we thought our genuine love for each other would carry us through and be enough for us. It took about five years of being married to realize that we had no idea what genuine love in marriage looked like — it had never been modeled in our homes. Furthermore, there were many other things we never learned growing up in our broken home, things like: What did it look like for two parents to be united in parenting, what did it look like to work through marriage conflict together, and what does it look like to honor God (the creator of marriage) with our marriage?
Brad and Tami say their marriage slipped into some dark years “when our dysfunction outweighed our ability to just ‘be in love.’” They reached a crossroads and “fortunately for us, we chose wisely at the crossroads.” They read “lots of marriage books” and attended marriage conferences, including FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember weekend getaway.
Fast forward, we have been married for 37 years now ... We have led marriage ministries, helped thousands of couples through our counseling center and marriage coaching, and started an organization called Tandem Marriage, and written a few books on marriage.
Another great email we received was from John and Myrt Rule, who said they will be celebrating their 50th anniversary on September 22. John said, “We have attended Weekend to Remember eight times as we gave it as a wedding gift to each of our children when they were engaged and attended with them.” John also wrote:
Thanks for all you do to help families. We have needed help over the years and God has abundantly provided through some tough difficult years at the start and then the challenge or raising them for HIM.
When we asked for permission to use their story, John wrote back and added more:
God has done amazing work in our lives over the years including when I almost walked away from the marriage, (mainly my fault) in the early years but through God's incredible grace He has kept us together, making mistakes together and learning together to trust Him.”
At the end of their email was a wonderful photo of John and Myrt with their seven children and 27 children; notice that the kids have numbers on their t-shirts that indicate their birth order! I look at this photo and praise God for this wonderful family that might not even exist today if it wasn’t for His incredible grace. And we loved their idea of numbering grandkids so much we took a numbered photo of our 27 too. Watch for it on September 28.
We truly serve an amazing God who wants to work in your life to make you and your spouse and your kids more like Him.
Want your own copy of the Rainey's new book, Our Story? Get your copy here!
My Heart, Ever His: Prayers for Women (NEW from Barbara Rainey)
As we search for meaning in our world of shallow online relationships and glamorized selfies, many are returning to traditional and liturgical churches. The repeated words, benedictions, and historic hymns connect us to saints who have gone before, giving us a sense of belonging, richness, and transcendence. Written prayers, once cast off as archaic, are now welcomed as guides to tune our hearts to the heart of God.
In My Heart, Ever His Barbara Rainey shares 40 prayers for women. Readers can read and meditate on one prayer throughout the week or read a prayer a day for 40 days as a way to express the longing of our hearts to our Father who loves us even as he sees who we truly are. Like the psalms of David, these prayers are honest, sometimes raw. Barbara uses these transparent expressions of common female experiences to encourage us to surrender to Christ and help us see God as he is, not as we assume him to be. My Heart, Ever His provides a stepping-stone to help you become more transparent with God and discover his welcoming embrace.