This past Sunday, in our moms' Sunday school class, we talked about the topic of having a purpose and vision for our marriage. To start out our discussion, we had a little activity. Each pair of moms was given a paper bag with marshmallows and toothpicks. Half of the moms were told to recreate a well-known building or structure. The other half was given the same directions but were told to build the Empire State Building. Each pair was given five minutes to complete their given task.
With the first group, each pair had to decide on what they were going to make. Some moms decided together what they were going to make before building. Others let one mom take the lead while the other followed as they caught on to the direction. Still another group started out with one and then found their finished product morphing into something else.
The moms with the Empire State Building assignment were able to start right away with their building, but it was interesting to see the different approaches. Some chose to "divide and conquer", with one mom building the top half and the other mom building the bottom. Others worked together to complete the job. What I loved is that even with the same vision, they all came out different.
The purpose of this activity was to highlight the need for us as married couples to have a purpose in our lives, a vision that guides us and moves us forward. In both cases, a vision was needed so that they could start building. Some were given a vision, some were asked to come up with one. But once that decision was made, it then helped guide the building.
What has this got to do with the future? The fact is one day, our kids are going to grow up. We have a limited time with our children. God willing, our work as parents will be a temporary job as one day, they will strike out on their own. What will we do then? Are we too busy looking in that we fail to look out? Or do we simply coexist in our own little worlds as roommates instead of as a couple?
In my last post, I shared about how unforgiveness on my part kept us in two separate worlds. Even though we had committed to parenting together, it still wasn't enough for us. We needed something even bigger, a grand adventure, to work towards.
The turning point came last year, when we began to once again explore what God would have us do when our parenting days are over. Over the past few months, we began to explore a new idea that combined some of our passions and interests: spiritual formation retreats for couples. Together with our desire to start a retreat house/bed and breakfast ministry, we began taking the things we had a heart for and began putting things together.
We are still in the process of waiting on the Lord to see how this all fleshes out. Because we are still in the thick of the parenting years, it will still be some time before it all unfolds. However, at the same time, it is out there on the horizon and that future beckons us further so that all that we do now is moving towards that end goal. Through this process of dreaming and partnership together, the Lord is giving us hope for the future.
In some places, we are going to have to "divide and conquer" as we work out of our giftedness. He has a knack for coordinating details and administration. I don't, but I do enjoy cooking and have a heart for women. But we hope that we will be able to complement each other, even if we don't know exactly what we're doing at times. The fact is, we're together and with our eyes focused outwards, we become partners, teammates and best friends laboring side by side. We are on a grand adventure and we need one another to pull it off.
Our first job is raising children, but there is so much more. What might God want you to do with your husband? He has called us to steward creation and further His kingdom here on earth. Each of us will do it differently, even though we have been given the same assignment. Like the three different skyscrapers, we will have the same basic structure, but with touches of our own.
Moms, let's give our husbands the gift of a shared future. Dream with him. Let him know you are looking forward to growing old with him. If you don't have any direction, be open to what God is doing in your husband. As you gain a sense of what God may be doing through him, you can jump in and start working with him. Even if you start out with one thing and see it morph and change into something much different, it's okay. Just keep looking forward together. As much as our children are blessings, let's keep growing with our husbands into the future. It will be worth the effort.
Starting tomorrow: Gift of the heart for our children