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.