If I had the time to post more frequently, you know I would. Between my 8-5 gig and freelance work, there’s seldom time left to share things “just because”. I wanted to write this post, however, so all of the married guys and gals out there would feel confident in attending Weekend to Remember when able.
For those who don’t know, Weekend to Remember is a three day event put together by the wonderful folks at FamilyLife, founded by a fellow Dallas Seminary graduate, Dennis Rainey, and his wife, Barbara, in 1976. Needless to say, I did not go to school during the same time as Mr. Rainey, though I can’t help but celebrate how God uses people who sat in the same classrooms and studied under many of the same professors–it’s simply a treat.
We originally purchased tickets to attend one of the conferences in Texas and were looking forward to it for several weeks. Then one day I received an email about the event followed by a note that allowed me to attend for free. This, my friends, is one of the perks of working in media and ministry. Being a producer for a broadcast ministry does allow, on occasion, the opportunity to take part in events without paying. Let me say that since I am in ministry, any amount of money we can save is always a great thing. I wasn’t sure if I would get a refund, but the women I spoke with were so sweet and did not even hesitate to honor the email and provided a full refund immediately. What a huge blessing! This one simple action and their attitudes spoke volumes about the organization. First impressions matter and this one received high marks in my book! I would not give a second thought in paying to attend these events in the future–a little cost up front for a priceless experience = obvious decision. No, I’m not receiving payment to write this–they don’t know me from the next person. It’s simply a matter of sharing with everyone what a genuinely Christian ministry should look like. Major breath of fresh air!
On Friday evening we arrived at the hotel. This was another blessing because we live within five miles of where this particular event was held; which made it incredibly easy and again–free! God obviously wanted us there and we had no excuse other than to go and see what the hype was about. Those who stayed in the hotel, however, woke up to beautiful and serene surroundings. FamilyLife selects well-known and highly regarded locations so husbands and wives can truly “escape from reality” for a few days and simply focus on the Lord and their marriage. The conference room the event took place in was massive and filled to the brims with ears ready to hear what great lessons these couples would share. And while there are a number of couples who speak at these events around the country, the Rainey’s only do one per year, and this just so happened to be the one.
Every couple was given a very nice hard back notebook with glossy paper and full-color outlines featuring all the sections/topics addressed. Inside the notebook was a manual filled with application projects for every person and couple to work through during designated times. The topics addressed over the weekend covered the gamut. From “Why Marriages Fail”, “We Fight Too” and “What Every Marriage Needs”, (where Dennis presented the Gospel), the conference didn’t miss a beat. There were tears flowing, roars of laughter and hundreds of marriages renewed, refreshed and in many cases, completely revived and brought back from the edge of the end–all in front of my very own eyes! I went in hoping to learn some great information and gain practical tools, and I came out wishing we could go back every month. It doesn’t matter what stage or shape your marriage is in–God has and continues to use FamilyLife and Weekend to Remember to truly enhance and cultivate the way men and women operate inside/outside the home. There are not enough people speaking Truth into what marriage is these days. Those of us who still believe in the uniqueness of one man and one woman in the context of forever, should take joy in learning from each other and finding encouragement that we’re all human and face similar issues.
I have to close with sharing the other two highlights of the weekend. There was another couple who took turns leading the sessions, named the Muelhoff’s. Let me tell you–these two were phenomenal and Tim Muelhoff was sooooo funny! He did make a point to tell everyone his wife does not always think he’s so funny (that’s normal, Tim). No sugar-coating, pious attitudes, or fictionalized accounts of what marriage looks like and what it’s like for all of us was involved. It was real, authentic and completely focused on recognizing who we are and how we work together–even when it seems your spouse came from another planet. This is NORMAL!
And, last but most definitely not least. The final highlight came in the form of a book available for purchase (there were hundreds, I might add) and written by none other than one of my former writing professors, Sandra Glahn. The book: Sexual Intimacy in Marriage . I couldn’t help but laugh a little as my mind went back to her candid talks in class and excellence in the classroom. Of all the talks she gave, none of them centered around this particular book:-). My former professor is a very well-known author and wonderful woman. Even though I know and love her, the conference was the first time I noticed this particular book. Now I’m going to see about getting a signed copy–assuming she’ll forgive me for the ridiculous amount of “be verbs” I’ve manged to use in this post.
I love how God places people along our paths who continue to journey with us even when you least expect it. More than all of this, I love how God lavishly pours out His love and forgiveness to us even when we don’t deserve it. We should have no problem loving and forgiving our spouse since we’ve been forgiven and loved beyond compare. Even though he often drives me crazy, I love my husband and do consider him a gift from God and only hope I can continue growing into the woman God intended when He gave me life.