Sailing Through the Storms

Sailing Through the Storms Sermon 2012-8-26

You are probably in one or more of the following people groups:

  1. Those who have been through a stormy time in their lives.
  2. Those who are currently going through a stormy time in their lives.
  3. Those who will be going through a stormy time in their lives.
  4. Those who know someone who is going through a stormy time in their lives.

The storms of life can be like real weather storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. They can hit hard and unexpected. They can do major damage, little damage, and sometimes no damage at all. Storms can leave you feeling battered or they can make you realize and appreciate what you have. They can also leave you with memories, good and bad.

I know people that are facing storms in their lives today. Relationships are crumbling. There is increased hostility between family members. Bills are piling up causing stress and anger levels to intensify. Family life, which should be a place of safety and encouragement, becomes a place of anger and distrust.

Where is Jesus in the life of your marriage and family? Have you allowed the storms of life to push God further and further away?

In Mark 4:35-41 we can find some lessons to help us face the storms of life. In the video message below, I share what we can learn from this experience in the life of Jesus and his disciples?

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Click above to view video.

Let’s talk about it: What help have you found to get through the storms in your life?
Leave comments below.

How Do You Apologize?

We are now in the church season of Lent, a forty day period before Easter set aside as a time of soul-searching and repentance. The forty days reflect Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for his own time of spiritual reflection. In the early church, Lent was a special time when new converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism on Easter.

Our pastor taught us about the four spiritual acts of Lent in one of his sermons:

  1. Giving to the poor
  2. Prayer
  3. Fasting/Abstaining
  4. Repentance

It’s that last one that has me thinking today. Repentance is often defined as “to feel sorrow for sin” and rightly refers to our sin against God. But, we also sin against each other in our marriage and family relationships. We offend and hurt the ones we love. And we are offended and hurt by the ones we love.

In every marriage and family there comes a time when we must repent. We must feel sorrow for our actions or words. That is often followed by an apology. How you apologize and what you say in the apology is important.

When an apology is needed, Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas in The Five Languages of Apology encourage us to include the following:

  1. Express regret – “I am sorry.” It helps to be specific about the offense. Avoid saying “but…” That tends to void the apology.
  2. Accept responsibility – “I was wrong.” (Enough said!)
  3. Make restitution – “What can I do to make it right?” This compensation may be monetary, material, or emotional or verbal support.
  4. Genuinely repent – “I’ll try not to do that again.” True repentance means change. In a marriage or family relationship, an intention to not repeat the offensive behavior needs to be verbalized in order to build trust.
  5. Request forgiveness – “Will you please forgive me?” This sends a strong signal that you know you’ve done something that requires forgiving, not just excusing. It also lets the other person know that you want to see the relationship restored.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” – Psalm 51:1-2

Do you need to apologize today?

(Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

Simple Advice for Spousal Caregivers

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Many family members fail to realize how mentally and physically exhausting caregiving can be, especially if one member of the family is doing most of the caregiving. It may not look that difficult on the outside.

However, if the “well spouse” is not careful, he/she can begin to feel “burned out.” This can be dangerous to both the well and ill/disabled spouse.

Feeling stressed over long periods of time WILL affect your health, motivation, attitude and mood, as well as your ability to cope with your daily responsibilities. But, it can be avoided and is not permanent.

The Caregiver Action Network (formerly the National Family Caregivers Association) offers the following suggestions for those caring for a spouse with a chronic illness or disability:

  • Accept offers of help: Do not carry your burden alone. Build a support system from friends, neighbors, family and church groups.
  • Give yourself a break: Make a schedule that provides you with some off time to focus on your own needs.
  • Watch your own health: Don’t put off doctor appointments. Be sure to eat right and get your exercise — even a few minutes a day can make a difference.
  • Review your loved one’s health care coverage: Some health plans for people on Medicare and Medicaid provide support to family caregivers, such as respite care and transportation help.
  • Seek expert advice: Care managers offered by some health plans can help you shoulder your caregiving responsibilities by guiding you to resources and services. Joining a support group in your community may also be a major benefit.

Are you the primary caregiver for your spouse? What are you doing to stay healthy and positive?

Are the spouse with a chronic condition or disability? What are you doing to encourage your spouse to stay healthy?

Stronger Together – Married with a Chronic Illness

The stress of a chronic illness can be challenging to a marriage, even when two people have been deeply in love for decades. Just knowing that they will live their entire lives (except for a healing miracle) having to cope with the ravages of a disease – such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, lupus, heart disease, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and a host of others – is an enormous burden to carry. They constantly deal with questions like these:

How do I juggle my needs with the needs of my chronically ill spouse?
• How can I fight feelings of inadequacy and guilt?
• Am I a burden to my spouse?
• How do I keep it together for my spouse who has a chronic illness?
• What do I do when I find myself thinking, “This is more than I bargained for?”

 

Cindy & Willie Batson

We are well acquainted with these thoughts and feelings. Twenty-one years ago Cindy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an auto-immune disease that has progressively disabled her to the point of spending most of her waking hours in a wheelchair. We wrestle with the challenges this chronic illness presents daily in our marriage.

(Read what I wrote about this experience here.)

Most marriage ministries are not focused on the unique needs of couples with chronic illnesses. God has called us to reach out to those facing these stressors in their relationships. There are limited resources and expertise to guide them on those occasions when they hit major relational road blocks.

This urgent need was apparent at a large men’s conference where I spoke on how to make your marriage work when your spouse has a chronic illness – physical, mental, or emotional. A small room with 35 chairs was assigned. I wondered if anyone would come. Ten minutes before the seminar, I walked into a room overflowing with guys in every chair, sitting on the floor, and standing against the walls. There were more than 60 men there! A room filled with husbands whose wives are living with life-changing and lifethreatening illnesses. They longed to know how to navigate this journey with courage, understanding, and compassion. Afterwards, they stood in line to tell their stories and ask the raw, candid questions that could only be asked in that room. Cindy was moved deeply by the comments and tears of men who communicated their gratitude to her for suggesting this seminar topic.

These are couples that are in need of help and not everyone can do this type of ministry. Not everyone can speak into their hearts and marriages the way we can. God has given us a distinctive gift and opportunity and that is why we are initiating this new ministry focus in 2012. With God’s help, we will achieve the following:

  • Provide weekend marriage enrichment events specifically for couples with a chronic illness. Because a couple’s finances are impaired by extraordinary medical and living costs, we will need to underwrite a large portion of the expenses for these events.
  • Reproduce ourselves by equipping couples globally with the tools to help others living with chronic health issues in their churches and communities.
  • Expand our online seminar offerings to include specific issues related to marriage and sickness.
  • Partner with organizations such as the National MS Society, Joni and Friends, and Rest Ministries to provide marriage relationship education and training to couples within their associations.

Your financial and prayer support now will help us reach this special group of couples before they become part of that heartbreaking and horrific 75% divorce statistic. Cindy and I are passionate about doing our part, with God’s help, so couples on this challenging journey can be more effective servants of God, minister to others, and proclaim the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Thank you for prayerfully considering a generous donation to this new outreach at Family Builders Ministries. As we celebrate more than 25 years of ministry, Cindy and I will continue to invest our energies in serving all couples, but with a special emphasis on those with chronic health issues.

 

Protecting Your Marriage in Stormy Weather (BGMFPOD-004)

Protecting Your Marriage in Stormy Weather
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You don’t have to be married long before stormy weather attempts to capsize your marriage boat. God is gracious and does not often allow couples to experience the same kind of suffering as Job did in the Bible. However, he does allow measured doses of trouble at sovereignly ordained intervals. The storms are different for each couple, but no less demanding. What can a couple do to protect their marriage in the middle of a storm?

Note:  You may listen to this episode now or download it free to your computer or other device. To save it to your device, right click on “Download” and choose the appropriate “Save As” option. You can also download the file from the iTunes Store for free.

 

 

Married with Children (BGMFPOD-003)

Married with Children
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Being married with children requires greater determination than many of us expected.  It changes your life in many ways – both in being a blessing and a challenge.

The need to maintain a satisfying relationship with your spouse while raising children is enormous. Marriages advance through an assortment of developmental stages.  Each stage is characterized by certain tasks that need to be performed in order to maintain health and focus.  Keeping your marriage alive during the years of raising children will require no less than your full commitment to performing these tasks.

Note:  You may listen to this episode now or download it free to your computer or other device. To save it to your device, right click on “Download” and choose the appropriate “Save As” option. You can also download the file from the iTunes Store for free.

Tools for Great Relationships (BGMFPOD-002)

Tools for Great Relationships
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Every couple enters marriage with their own bag of tools, but is often frustrated by their attempts at fixing things. They either have the wrong tools or do not use the tools properly. Having the right tools in your relational tool bag and using them properly can help you build and sustain a great relationship. In this edition, Willie Batson looks at what he considers to be a few basic tools you should have in your relationship tool bag.

Note:  You may listen to this episode now or download it free to your computer or other device. To save it to your device, right click on “Download” and choose the appropriate “Save As” option. You can also download the file from the iTunes Store for free.