Thankfully Amazed

I've been reading lots of posts today from other blogs where the writer lists the many things he or she is thankful for. And I know that many of you will sit around the dinner table today and tell everyone there what your thankful for as you partake in the tradition of the Thanksgiving Day meal.

I could list a bunch of things as well...the Lord has blessed me and mine in more ways than I can number. But today, to piggyback a bit on my latest Testimony Tuesday post, I'm THANKFUL and AMAZED at the way I love Michael and I thought to share this song with you so that you'd really get my heart in this.


And....Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way You Love Me All The Time
Maybe I'm Afraid Of The Way I Love You
Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way You Pulled Me Out Of Time
And Hung Me On A Line
Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way I Really Need You

Maybe I'm A Man And Maybe I'm A Lonely Man
Who's In The Middle Of Something
That He Doesn't Really Understand

Maybe I'm A Man And Maybe You're The Only Woman
Who Could Ever Help Me
Baby Won't You Help Me Understand

Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way You're With Me All The Time
Maybe I'm Afraid Of The Way I Leave You
Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way You Help Me Sing My Song
Right Me When I'm Wrong
Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way I Really Need You

Maybe I'm A Man And Maybe I'm A Lonely Man
Who's In The Middle Of Something
That He Doesn't Really Understand

Maybe I'm A Man And Maybe You're The Only Woman
Who Could Ever Help Me
Baby Won't You Help Me Understand

Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way You're With Me All The Time
Maybe I'm Afraid Of The Way I Leave You
Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way You Help Me Sing My Song
Right Me When I'm Wrong
Maybe I'm Amazed At The Way I Really Need You


Thank God for the Fleas

I once heard a story that Corrie Ten Boom told about the amount of fleas and lice being so thick - literally, swarms - in the bunkroom of the concentration camp where they were that the guards refused to come in which gave Corrie and the others some relief of being beaten and abused by them. Instead of complaining of being continuously bitten and bothered by these pests, they began to thank God for the fleas! In the midst of such deplorable conditions, the women in their bunkhouse drew close to God through His word read by Corrie and her sister Betsie which never would have happened if the guards would have been there. These ladies would have been immediately executed just for having a bible.

Last week, Michael and I conducted our first Marriage Intensive and all we can say is that it was AWESOME! The Holy Spirit showed up in a huge way each day we met with the participants and we were humbled and amazed that He used us to minister to them. One of the cool things about teaching is that in the process, one also learns. During the Intensive Michael and I learned more about each other, we experienced more healing in our marriage, and some memories came up that were still painful and needed fleshing out. It was a precious time.

It's crazy to think that we had to go through all of the pain and difficulties we did in our bad days to get to this place of being closer to the Lord and closer to one another: divorce, death, accusations, restraining orders, foreclosure, abuse, separation, police, mistrust....yet, there it is.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

And so here we are, in a place of actually thanking God for what we've been through because if not for those times - if not for those bloodsucking, disease-ridden, relentless fleas - we wouldn't be here today, ministering to you and others in your time of difficulty.

That's just SO God!

Our next Marriage Intensive will take place in January 2010 in Anaheim, CA (date TBA). We have room for six couples and would be blessed to have you with us. Until then, here is some of the feedback we received from the participants who attended last weekend. May it reassure you if you're considering coming. Remember to join us tonight at 7pm (pst) for our Couples Call 512.716.6531 access code 981128# and don't forget....

if Michael and Annalea can do it.....You Can Do It Too!

Michael & Annalea, Both of you are great. I am so glad that we got to meet you both. Thanks for teaching me a different way to love Jill; the way she deserves to be loved. You are so knowledgeable about the bible and down to earth. It is not easy to get my attention but you did - thank you! I think you did fix me. You are a blessing in what you are doing. May God continue to bless you both. Tony

Michael & Annalea, WOW! We'd read the books over a year ago and not a big difference in our marriage but in the Marriage Intensive sessions, I feel and am extremely hopeful that it finally clicked and "he got it" and is "getting it"! Thank you both for your warm gentle yet firm and real way of communicating through this Intensive. I'm so thankful for your obedience to our Lord, in your personal lives and in this ministry. Thank you for your humility and vulnerability to share with us your testimonies. May God continue to bless and grow you, your marriage, your ministry and your family and business. Love in Christ, Jill.

Dear Joel & Kathy, Thank you for encouraging Michael and Annalea to step into leading an Intensive. Having been a part of their lives and met often in prior marriage programs and retreats, I can vouch for the transformation that has occurred in their lives. I am so thankful for Michael's call to invite me to this Intensive. Unfortunately, things with my wife have deteriorated to the point that she was unwilling to attend and is seeking a separation. There is no question this is a clue to the extreme abuse I have subjected her to. I have lost her heart and am encouraged to have found a ministry that truly has the answer. My hope and belief is that living it out and following the principles taught this weekend will lead me to healing my wife's heart, becoming the man of her dreams and being the man God has called me to be. D.M.

This weekend Marriage Intensive was amazing. To hear truth spoken through God's word about His design for His children in marriage was life breathing. I feel so refreshed and empowered to march forward in obedience as a daughter of the Most High. Thank you so much Michael and Annalea - it is beyond humbling to be a part of your first Marriage Intensive. Your testimony, realness and authentic love for one another gives so much hope. I am forever grateful that God delivered you to us just in time. Love Laurie.

Michael & Annalea, Your connection and calling is clear and present. You have given hope where there was none and I would say that your 1st Intensive was a Grand Slam Out of the Park! I now have "tools" that I never even knew existed before. I fully expect to continue to struggle with some of the new paradigms taught here though the overall message is quite simple. It's walking it out consistently (in the beginning) that is where the battle front lines are. My commission to "die to self" is all up to me (with grace from the Holy Spirit) to walk out. I cannot thank you enough for breathing new life into a nearly dead 33 year long relationship. Don.


Bring The Rain

You all may know that Michael and I will be conducting our first Marriage Intensive this coming Thursday. I'll be honest...I'm a bit nervous about it. I want every detail to be perfect. Michael says, "Baby, it's not going to be perfect but it will be perfect for everyone who comes." It sounds like a bit of an oxymoron though I know he's right. God knows what every couple who will be there needs and He'll make sure they get it; it seriously has nothing to do with us. We're just the messengers...as it were. That alone blows us away and any of you reading this who knew us "back in the day" know exactly what I'm talking about.

That's just SO the Lord! as my cousin often says (Hi Roshi!).

That being said, Michael and I appreciate your prayers as we minister to these couples who will soon be with us and ask that you keep them in prayer also. And please join us in asking Jesus to Bring The Rain...


For Such A Time As This

November is always a difficult month for me. My first husband had his last family gathering on the 22nd (which happened to be Thanksgiving Day in 2001 and he was quite ill), my birthday is on the 24th and the anniversary of his death is the 28th. And even though its been almost eight years since he passed away, all of those dates kind of converge upon one another and that week can still take my breath away.

We never now why God allows trials in our lives except that His word says:

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11

Chances are that we'll never know this side of heaven why sad and tragic events take place in our lives and yet....Do you remember the movie Dances With Wolves? One of my favorite scenes is when the character Wind In His Hair is helping Dances With Wolves get ready to marry Stands With A Fist. Here's what Wind In His Hair says:

You know, the man she mourned for...he was my best friend.

He was a good man.

It has been hard for me to like you. I am not the thinker Kicking Bird is. I always feel anger first.

There were no answers to my questions. But now I think he went away
because you were coming.

That is how I see it.

If Jeffrey and I were still married, I know that we wouldn't be involved in marriage ministry the way Michael and I are; it's not what we were about. If he hadn't passed away I suspect our lives would have continued on much as they did when we were married; in love yet oblivious to so many things. This is a sad truth that I think of often.

I believe that God allowed the difficulties in my and Michael's relationship to break our hearts and draw us near to Him. I think God took Jeffrey away because He knew that Michael and I would further His Kingdom through helping other marriages. I think He took Jeffrey away because He wanted Michael and I here for such a time as this.

That is how I see it.

So, I leave you with this video of one of my favorite songs by Nichole Nordeman. It really doesn't tie in to what I wrote about though it is a recognition of how God is always with us in every situation and that our circumstances don't determine His sovereignty.


Fear Of Intimacy ~ Part 3

Part 3 of the Testimony Tuesday series we’ve been doing on the Fear of Intimacy picks up where we left off last week: there’s nothing inherently wrong with things such as tasks, hobbies, television programs, etc. The problems arise when those things take the place of and become more important than the people in our lives ~ our spouse and children ~ who need us and our hearts.

C: I really need to look at that. A lot of the times I get stuck in the mode of thinking that whatever task I’m doing is going to benefit my family. I try to press on and get it done but leave my family in the dust when I’m doing it. Even when we first heard of Joel and Kathy’s ministry ~ God Save My Marriage ~ and about mutual submission and husbands serving their wives I would go crazy cleaning the house thinking that was all that was needed. When I’m at work, I’m about my work to get it done and maybe that’s the wrong attitude but I recognize that I’m going about it to get it finished, not to be emotional about it. My family takes that as being distant, mean, violent with my actions, quick. They see me as a mad man rushing around the house trying to get everything done and they think they’re not good enough. I can see where trying to be a blessing can serve my own emotional detachment.

Michael: I can also shift and become the task master in the home and there’s a couple things that Joel suggested I do. He suggested that I allow myself to enjoy doing things with Annalea rather than apart from her. For example, if she’s in the kitchen making dinner I can start doing dishes to help her or just be with her and talk and share a glass of wine and every now and then lean over and kiss or touch her. So, instead of going some other place in the house to get a task done, you can enjoy your wife and still pick up the house. Even with the kids, just sit down and spend time with them while picking up at the same time. So rather than it being a dividing moment, it becomes one of relation.

B (another wife involved in the ministry): I tend to be the same way. I like to do things with my hands and be busy and I add to that perfectionism. A long time ago I heard something and incorporated into my heart a little phrase that I say over and over which is, “People are always more important than things." So if the choice is between someone I love and things, I try to choose people. It’s harder because I can make things perfect, but not people.

Annalea: That’s so right Barbara; people are more important than things and for me the struggle is that things don’t require any emotion of me and so that’s where I’ve had to shift. If nothing emotional is required then it’s all right if I leave it alone for a while. My yarn and needles are going to stand up and say, “Hey! I want you to finish this project now, not it two months!”

And even if you say to yourself, “Well…I’m doing this for my family. I’m working on my car for my family isn’t that important?” While it’s a perk, it’s not as important as your heart and time with them. It’s not such a bad thing that your wife needs you, you know C. And as passionate as you can be about things, you need to become that passionate about your wife.

I once saw a movie in which the husband was complaining about the worst thing in his marriage: that his wife wanted to spend time with him! His friend was telling him how stupid he was for thinking this: reminding him how great the guy’s wife was ~ she’s beautiful, funny, she smells good….and she loves you man! She LOVES you!

Now, in this changing process, it’s totally normal for a wife to feel doubts that her husband even wants to feel passionate about her especially when for most of the marriage he’s been more passionate about things than he’s been about her. I’d encourage her that when she notices it to bring it to his attention. C, you must give L a safe place to do this; it’s not as if what she’s telling you is going to bring you physical harm. Now, we know that dying to self can be painful and at our core we’re all self-centered to some degree and don’t want to do it but it’s for growth and maturity and our betterment. And how wonderful that we have spouses in our life who love us enough to steer us in the right direction. When she does it, don’t take it as criticism or that your failing at something or develop a ‘poor me’ attitude. Just receive it and put a positive spin on it, “I’m so glad you pointed that out to me, Honey. I was really stuck on this one thing with the car and I just need to walk away from it. I’m glad you pulled me away, besides, I’d much rather be spending time with you!” And then, brother, give her a big hug and a kiss so that she knows you mean it!


Michael and I sure hope you've enjoyed this series on the Fear of Intimacy. Of course, we recognize that there's a lot more to it and have just given our experience insofaras it relates to us personally and our marriage.

Just a reminder to join us both this evening for our weekly marriage ministry call starting at 7pm (pst). Just dial 512.716.6531 and enter access code 981128#. As always it's completely fine to just mute out your phone and listen in though we encourage everyone to speak up and ask questions to get help for their marriage. Please note that Michael and I (nor any of the other people who help out on the calls) aren't licensed councelors or coaches or anything of the like. We've just been where you and your spouse may currently be in your marriage and we want to share with you the knowledge that helped us to get on the other side.

Our November 19-22 Marriage Intensive is filling up! Yay!!! We have two openings still available and would be thrilled if you're one of the couples who signs up for one of these spots. Our Intensive isn't just an 'out patient' procedure for marriages...it's more like open heart surgery because we found that that's what it took to get to the real issues that were at the heart of our crisis days. You can register by clicking the Marriage Intensive tab at the top of our blog, by emailing us at yourmarriagerestored@gmail.com or by contacting us directly at 562.438.7248

Remember: if we can do it....You Both Can Do It Too!