Photo by Ben White
My husband and I are both retirees! We retired from corporate America to work fulltime in ministry and to travel the country. But, as we all know plans should be written in pencil with a good eraser attached! We experienced a couple years following our plan, but you guessed it, we had to use the eraser and rewrite our plans. Our plans still include ministry, but it now includes being available as support for our children and grandchildren, plus we are currently raising one of our grandchildren.
With our new plan in motion, and no regrets! We quickly learned our new lifestyle came with many unplanned distractions. Friends, distractions are quite distracting and sometimes they can make you lose your peace! One particular week, I had every day scheduled for a productive week, but as life would have it, I experienced distraction after distraction. Ministry and family problems seemed to be overtaking our lives! With the many distractions, we found ourselves spending less time with Father God in the Word and Prayer and we were becoming irritable with each other. My husband and I quickly revised our plans by adding “monthly weekend getaways.” We enjoy and love our family and the work Father God called us to do, but we learned we also needed time to rest in Father and each other. Our monthly getaways were to be times to reflect on the goodness of Father and to seek His direction, guidance and strategies for the weeks ahead.
During one of our weekend getaways, we discussed how the constant distractions left us drained and irritable with each other. So to keep our marriage and mental state healthy we developed a marriage survival plan that is currently implemented and works for our lifestyle:
Our Marriage Survival Plan
1. We can’t change people, so don’t let their problems become ours. Don’t try to control anything or anyone – give everything to Father God.
2. It’s ok to say “no,” and do not feel guilty about it.
3. Make a daily “To Do List” with no more than 6 items to complete for the day. Two of the “To Do” items must include time spent with Father God; and at least one hour spent with each other listening and encouraging each other with words of life.
4. Allow no one in the circle of our marriage and don’t allow any one or anything to steal our peace.
5. A must have – at least one weekly lunch date
6. Monthly weekend getaways are a must! This will be our time to reconnect with each other and especially with Father God.
7. Finally, never go to bed angry and discuss every thing with each other – no secrets.
Reconnecting With Father God
Too many distractions can block us from hearing Father God’s voice. When that happens, it times to come aside and reconnect.
The moment we get in the car for our monthly getaway, we mentally tune out the weeks distractions. Leaving distractions behind we focus on what adventures God has in store for us as we look forward to reconnecting with Him.
One way we reconnect with Father God is by avoiding the turnpike, opting for the traditional back roads. Observing the beauty of God’s handiwork as we travel the back roads is breathtaking. As I take in all this beauty, my heart is drawn closer to Father sensing His love and realizing how much He loves us by creating such a beautiful landscape for our pleasure.
While on the road or before we leave our driveway, we pray inviting Father into our weekend and ask Him to order our steps and to help us to let our light shine wherever He sends us. We play praise and worship music in the car, allowing the melody and the words to soak into our minds and spirits.
During our weekend getaways, we allow Father to:
1. Renew and restore our minds in Him and to prepare our minds for the upcoming weeks.
2. Teach us how to operate the ministry administratively so that it is well pleasing to Him, such as what to teach and what programs to keep or discontinue.
3. Seek Father’s wisdom for our personal lives individually and as a couple.
4. Most importantly, we seek Father God! We want and desire His presence, His wisdom and guidance as we ask for keen discernment and a clean heart to clearly hear from Him for the days ahead of us.
Our weekend getaways are wonderful! I absolutely love them! We try to avoid large cities with a lot of busy activities, instead we search out areas with small communities that feature small family owned business, which offers a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. This also allows us to clear our thoughts as we are reconnecting with Father God. As we explore the town Father God has placed us, He inevitably sends us to individuals needing words of encouragement. This always amazes me!
Our return home – we are always renewed and rejuvenated spiritually, ready to complete what Father has instructed us to do. Our decision to make time for these monthly getaways have been rewarding and we look forward to future travel adventures with Father God.
I encourage anyone in ministry to take time out and rest in Father, the rewards are tremendous.
Couples I also encourage to make time to get away to reconnect with Father.
Life can hit us hard at anytime making us lose site of what’s important. So, don’t wait until tragedy happens to appreciate the small and simple things in life. Don’t take for granted what Father God has blessed you with. Enjoy your family, be there for them, but make time for yourself! Father God tells us in His Word to “enjoy the fruits of your labor” (Ecclesiastes 5:19).