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When Failure is Not an Option!
Do any of these describe your experience with marriage?
- Overwhelmed by perpetual unresolved conflict;
- Drifting away from your partner;
- Experiencing the pain of betrayal;
- Confused by the complexity of marriage;
- Afraid to walk down the aisle.
Marriage from Roots to Fruits brings much needed hope to couples who are at a point of despair and intense emotional pain. It is filled with practical tools and real life examples to encourage couples along the path of healing and living victoriously. You will learn details of God’s design for a healthy relationship while experiencing how deeply God knows, understands, and cares about the struggle that can come with marriage.
Marriage: Mission Critical
Marriage is God joining together a man and a woman, loyal to each other for life, who each contribute distinct but equally important abilities towards the completion of a fruitful mission greater than can be accomplished apart.
Unfortunately, a marriage license does not mean we are ready or competent enough to marry. If we continue to think and feel like a single person, we will remain single on the inside even though, outwardly, we are married. How many people have plunged ahead into marriage without a clue? What would happen if no one was required to pass a test for a driver’s license before getting behind the wheel?
Whether you are single, engaged, single-again, or married, this book is for your personal growth. This book is especially for you, if you:
- Are struggling with how to make your relationship work;
- Like to understand how things work—how each part functions in relation to the whole;
- Want to learn the details of God’s design for relationships;
- Like to reflect in order to gain understanding;
- Want a full-brain (left and right) learning experience;
- Appreciate visual diagrams to gain understanding;
- Want to apply the appropriate principles and ideas to bring about positive change;
- Want to make the most of your time in counseling.
God created you with a blueprint which establishes not only your identity (His end-in-mind for you as a work of art) but also your growth journey (the step-by-step plans). However, your experiences with the darkness of this world, sin, and the enemy deface the blueprint and leave you disoriented. A marriage at its best provides an encouraging companion who helps you discover your true identity. But without God, marriage becomes a place of fear and self-doubt.
In Marriage from Roots to Fruits, you will learn:
- How to experience spiritual growth and truly know God;
- How to live in your true identity and ensure individual growth;
- How to enjoy marriage growth and true love for your partner.
This book contains unique counseling insights with strong biblical applications. Pastors and counselors can use it to help couples prepare for marriage as well as heal existing marriages. It is also applicable for married couples who feel okay about the relationship they have, but want to have a stronger and deeper relationship with God and each other.
This book is designed with 52 short lessons which include:
- Concept diagrams: learn the principles visually;
- For Reflection ideas: think deeper about each lesson;
- Experiential exercises: know the truths in your heart;
- Next Steps actions: apply what you learn in your marriage.
Christian Concepts is please to announce that Matt Pavlik’s first book, Marriage From Roots To Fruits, will be published April 2015.
Position yourself for Change
While there are no specific steps to take to change, there are specific steps to position yourself for optimal change.
1 – Know the Truth
There is a difference between knowing facts and experiencing the facts in a loving relationship with Christ. Knowing the facts does not change you. It is only head knowledge. But it is an important step. Before we open ourselves up to something, we need to know what we are opening ourselves up to.
2 – Remove Distractions
We live in a fallen world, so there are distractions that can block our ability to see and hear from Christ. So the next step in the process is to intentionally remove as many of these distractions as possible. Think in terms of all of your senses. Remove clutter that is visually displeasing. Remove noise. Remove smells. Remove temptations.
3 – Enter Rest
With negatives removed, add positives. Go to a scenic, peaceful place. Or, if this is not practicle, imagine a peaceful place where you feel safe. You might light a scented candle. You could put on some soothing music. Consider anything that helps you relax.
4 – Give Permission
You may now be ready physically, but not spiritually. Say a simple prayer to give Jesus permission to be present and share with you what He knows is needed. Search your heart – be prepared to share what you find there.
5 – Bring up your Feelings
Whatever you find in your heart, bring it to God through your feelings. Even if you have negative feelings about God – He wants to hear those too. Come as you are. If you do experience persistant anger or other negative feelings about God, make a note of these for a later time. Consider counseling to sort through these feelings.
6 – Wait and Listen
At this point, you have done all you can do, except to wait with anticipation. Believe God wants to speak to you. Again, if you do not believe this, make a note of it so you can dig deeper into why. It might help to remember step one. Think of some scriptures that affirms God accepts you and wants to speak to you. Come to God in faith believing these are true. Allow God to speak to you. What you start thinking about is likely not a coincidence. Trust God is directing your thoughts. Allow your mind and heart to be a blank canvas and give Jesus permission to write and draw on your heart.
- What negative feelings or memories came up when you thought about God?
- How did God speak to you? Consider keep a prayer journal where you write out what God is saying to you.
3 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
“1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.”
How to Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness is hard work. It is especially hard to forgive when you are still living with the effects of an offense. Yet, there can be an even worse place to be. When you are the offender, you have to live with something irreversible you did to someone else. What if you feel blocked from experiencing true forgiveness for what you have done? These four steps will help you forgive yourself.
1 – Identify What was Lost
It is important to look at what has happened. This is the same as the first step in forgiving others. Identify how reality is different – what could have been? Identify what is lost as a result of your actions. Accept responsibility for what you did. Initially this may be hard to do and you may actually feel worse. But it is a necessary step because there is no going back to the past to undo something, there is only moving forward.
2 – Express Remorse and Repent
It is appropriate to feel sorrow or remorse for a short period of time. This is an essential part of handling a loss. Even if the primary loss was someone else’s, you have lost something too. Until you can forgive yourself, you will lack some degree of security. Spend some time being aware of your feelings. Express feeling sorry for what you have done. This could be journaling, talking, or perhaps even yelling or some other method to expend your energy (all of this done without hurting anyone). Accept what was lost as lost. Spent an appropriate amount of time grieving. This might be anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months.
3 – Trust in God’s Goodness
Surrender your fate into God’s hands. Ask God to forgive you. Trust in God’s grace and mercy for both the offended and for you. Trust that God is able to make up for your mistake in a way that only God knows is best. Pray for the person you offended. Pray that God will bring them to a better place than before you hurt them. Even if this is not God’s will, this is a good heart attitude. The offended will not be able to return to their pre-offense state, but God will make it right. God may bless the offended person sooner, or the offended person may continue to suffer for some time. Either way pray that the offended can sense God’s presence and find peace and acceptance of their new reality. If God does not appear to make up for your mistake, trust that God is in control and knows something you do not.
4 – Lighten Your Load
Be willing to be a part of God making it right. Make restitution if possible (but only if the offended wants this). Having done what you can do to make restitution, leave the rest to God. Drop the weight. Cut the strings. Leave the luggage. Stop punishing yourself. Walk away from it. Allow yourself to pursue enjoying your life again. Get on with your life. Rejoice that you are forgiven. Having learned from your mistake, be a blessing to others. Be ready to forgive others in the same way you have received God’s forgiveness. If you continue to struggle to forgive yourself, realize you have not fully received God’s forgiveness. Return to the gospel message and receive complete forgiveness. Start life anew with a blank canvas.
- Do you struggle to forgive yourself in any way?
- What is standing in the way of you completely receiving God’s forgiveness?
- Are you still too hard on yourself? What would you say to a friend who is struggling with self-forgiveness?
“But you are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness.”
“If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
From the Song “What Sin?”
The heaviest thing you’ll carry
Is a load of guilt and shame.
You were never meant to bear them
So let them go in Jesus name.
Our God is slow to anger
Quick to forgive our sin
So let Him put them under the blood
Don’t bring them up again.
Cause He’ll just say,
What sin, what sin?