Wednesday, August 28, 2013

10 Years and Counting...

[Repost from my husband's work blog: Click here for more]
Last Friday Courtney and I enjoyed our 10th wedding anniversary... To celebrate I threw a secret (to Courtney) party and vow “renewal” (If you had the chance to attend and wanted to see the photo-area pics click here)!!  To my excitement, she said ‘yes’… Again!!

Leading up to the anniversary I spent a lot of time in reflection to what I wanted to do for a gift… Though we have never been big on presents for each other on specials occasions, a 10th wedding anniversary calls for a little something-something!!  Though 10 years is not as numerous as many couples we know, Courtney and I have always had a desire that our marriage (and now-a-days family) would be an encouragement to others.  I do not share that as a, “we’ve never fought and married life has been perfect” or even trying to put our lives on “pedestals” to others, however, God has called us (believers) to be an example of loving community and a reflection of Christ himself.  In the book of Ephesians 5 (a letter written by Paul to a community of believers in Ephesus) he dedicates several powerful and difficult sentences to couples and how we should act in marriage if we are followers of Christ. 

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

If it ends there, it seems both unfair to the ladies and extremely difficult.  Over the years, especially in pre-marital mentoring I’ve done, I’ve heard so much rejection and misunderstanding to this passage.  We (not just women but as a culture) get so hung up on this word “submission.”  In the land of the free “why do we have to submit to anyone” or “so I’m supposed to mindlessly obey to my own detriment”!?  If that was the only verses in the passage you have a leg to stand on and let me apologize to anyone that has used the above verses to argue or dominant a household… That is wrong (as we put it into context with the next nine verses: 3 verses to women & 9 verses to men)!

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Did you catch it!?  After reading this passage I always ask the question: “How hard would it be to submit to someone who cares for you more than themselves and would literally die for you?”  What do you think?  That’s true freedom… to put our love, trust and submission in someone that loves us more than their own life and daily puts their needs behind ours!!  P.S. that’s the gospel… to put our faith in one who can actually do the work for the payment we owe and out of thanksgiving follow!!  However, please do not get confused… Our spouses can never pay the ultimate sacrifice necessary for our sin.  Only God can do that and He has through His Son: Jesus! Our spouses make terrible gods and even worse saviors!! 

Christian couples are given a heavy standard to live by: Wives submit to your husbands & Husbands love your wives like Christ loves the Church!  So… How are we doing!?  Fellas, how are you doing this week at putting your wife and family’s needs before your own?  How are we doing loving them the way they need love and not the way we think they want?  Ladies, how are you doing following his lead?  Are you praying that he could lead with conviction, spirit filled and love?

Though I do not want to point you to our marriage as THE example, I would love for you to be encouraged that it is possible to have a marriage that strives to bring God honor.  It is possible… to not just exist but be happy, to not just get through the years but love the memories, to not just stay together but to honor each other!! 

The Secret: Marriage is a Covenant not a Contract!!  We are called to love and honor each other daily not because “they did their part” but because we made a promise to them AND GOD however many years ago!! 

May you take a few minutes today and pray for direction… May God speak clearly to your heart and show you areas you must fix and ask for forgiveness in… May we support each other in the pursuit of Biblical Marriage… May we hold all Covenants on a stand for the world to see what real love can look like… May we seek Christ’s forgiveness and respond accordingly… May we find rest and freedom in submission to the one true God!! 

Father…transform hearts and bless marriages this week by the work of your Holy Spirit!!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Jeff's Top 10 Moments of 2012

REPOST: Top 10 Moments of 2012 (and honorable mentions)

If the 'Titles' are different color click on them and read more about that event from Court's Blog (or other helpful places)!!

Honorable Mentions:
*) The Blue Whale of Catoosa

*) Being alive for 12:12p, on Dec. 12th '12

*) Washington DC (bonus to go with my nephew and his freshmen class)

*) Chick-Fil-A from Chelsea

*) Dr. Pepper Museum 

The Top Ten Moments of 2012:
10) Performing my first wedding of a former student

9) Getting Maced (Yeah, it was a DDW List!!)

8) Competing in Finishing a Triathlon

7) Live at Monday Night Football

6) Decorating for Christmas at MY home

5) Starting a Garden from the ground up

4) Taking Jackson to his first Dallas Cowboy game

3) Starting 'Seven'

2) Meeting Jacob (our 'My Life Speaks' sponsored child in Haiti)

1) Completing a 40 Day Fast

CRUISE! Christmas with Nonna and Papaw

My parents told us in July that we were going to be getting a CRUISE for Christmas for everyone, all together! We were excited then, but the excitement the day of was insurmountable! Cousins!!!!

 The boarding process was quite lengthy and I am thankful that they were patient and fairly contained being together during that whole ordeal.

 I couldn't get this picture to flip for some reason, but I love it because I love my Daddy so much!

 Hours later we were finally close...
They took our picture all together and it was the only one we got the rest of the trip! And I didn't want to pay $30 for it so I just cheated and took an Iphone picture of it :) turned out just as nice!

 We got our cards and could see the boat!
 And finally made it ON board.
 We found our room. It was TINY, but we LOVED it (seriously).

We were waiting to push away from the dock and begin the trip...and what better to start off the trip than with...

 Unlimited, always available ICE CREAM

 The kids couldn't wait to get into their swimsuits! Even though it was FREEZING

 Didn't stop them!
 Charleigh started to not feel well and was thankful for a little bed all to herself.
 Each night we were greeted with a towel animal/figure.
Charleigh was sick for most of the trip, but was a super trooper. The big kids LOVED being in Camp Carnival which was nice because it was so cold and rainy we couldn't swim or be outside much. They were highly entertained by all the activities and festivities there.

 This was formal night! Everyone looked so nice!

 Nonna and Papaw
 Aunt Lacy and Uncle Clay

 Family Pics!

 It was a nice dinner and one of the first ones Charleigh survived through! :) Poor baby didn't do well on the ship. It was highly volatile waters and the boat was rocking like crazy! However, as soon as we got Charleigh feeling better, Jeff got really sick. ;( He was NOT feeling well when it came time to deboard the ship in Cozumel! But Daddy was a trooper and for about 2 hours we got off the boat.

 We took at $28 taxi round trip about 8 miles, in Mexico, without seatbelts and the driver was going about 90 miles an hour. It might have been one of the more stupid decisions we've made as parents. But oh well. We had fun and the kids were thinking it was awesome.
 We arrived at the beach and the salt in the water was not kind to Charleigh so she stayed in the sand with Daddy. Jackson swam around for a little while, but again, wasn't fond of the saltiness.

 Creighton and I played and played for as long as we could.

 Our time on land was short lived, but worth it. Hello and goodbye Cozumel.
Back on board and more eating...we ate all the time and lots of it! 

 The cruise was over and we were in the debarkation process. It, thankfully, wasn't as long as the boarding!
We ended the year of 2012 with a long travel day home, but it was infinitely better than the trip down. We made it safely home and were loving the time we had as a family. Thank you Nonna and Papaw for a great fun vacation. I am not sure cruises are the perfect combination for the Berg clan, but we were so thankful to have experienced it! :) It's been a blessed year and yet we are so excited for 2013!