Monday, November 10, 2014

Who's On Your Boat?

I have been offline for a bit due to an amazing opportunity Ryland & I had to serve as hosts for a marriage sailing adventure in the British Virgin Islands. A year and a half ago when we took our first journey with Winshape Marriage we had no idea it would lead to this. I am grateful! 

Prior to last week, I had never been on a catamaran--and yet, ten of us lived onboard one for seven nights. As hosts, our role involved serving guests via meal preparation and dishwashing duty in the tight quarters of a "two booty kitchen." (Quite an adventure some days on rough seas and with a limited water supply)
 You certainly won't find me complaining about the chance to 'serve' with this view!

Our days were filled with adventure and our evenings included small group discussion from The Art of Marriage.  We were urged to completely unplug and spend the time we would normally be tethered to devices and distracted by the pull of daily life to invest in each other.  We snorkeled, sea kayaked, swam, hiked, lounged, laughed and took life at a slow pace. 

It was the most refreshing week of my life. 

(This pic just makes me giggle. Rebecca, on the end, sacrificed her hubby/our boat captain to photographer duties.)

And the time with this fella was life giving.
The study materials were full of reminders of foundational truth. My favorite was actually a quote from a woman whose marriage was in a desperate place. She gave up, turning to an affair and moving out before she felt a conviction that said, "Do you not think the God who raised Lazarus from the dead is capable of resurrecting your marriage?" Wow. I just know there are people who need to be reminded of that. This life can be hard, but we serve a BIG God. 

 Though we were there to serve, kitchen duty helped Ryland & me smoothe out some of our marriage's rough edges in working together as a team instead of our typical mode of 'divide and conquer.' Nothing like sequestration in the middle of an ocean with lots of witnesses in close quarters to make you work it out. :)

We truly had a great cloud of witnesses on our boat...dear friends from college and people we really do life with here in our town. Over 50 years of marriage and lots of shared history between us...a beautiful depiction of community and intertwined lives. As we lived 8 days in the close quarters of a 52 foot boat, I basked in the gratefulness of WHO God has put in our figurative life boat.

I realized that I've been intentional about who I parent with, work out with, study Scripture with, etc. Yet, who we 'do' marriage with seems to all too often happen by default. It really matters who we choose to give a voice into this most intimate part our lives. Will they be those who edify or those who invite us to pull away?   
I choose these people (and others like them).
Brave people who walk authentically,
Laugh a lot, 
Cheer each other on, 
Challenge us to live out the fullness of God's plan,
Pitch in without being asked,
Keep short accounts & 
Love well. 

The journey really is marked by the people with whom you travel. I am so grateful for the people on our boat...and especially this one.

And guess what? The kids were fine. They grew in our absence. They welcomed us home with open arms. And they are already benefitting from rested parents whose love tanks returned full and ready to overflow into their hearts.


Perri said...

What a wonderful opportunity. So glad you got to go!

Denise Ross said...

I love that you're investing in your marriage. Too often the thought is that when you get married you just let life happen, but in my view if you don't invest in something you won't get a return. I've been married 21 years to my best friend, but he's only my best friend because we have had to work together through everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, but yet we are still together because we work together as a team, we are committed to making our marriage the best it can be. Yes we are very busy, what with my husband having a career change, my son finishing school and beginning university as well as health and financial issues, but we have a third one in our marriage and that is God and He is the one who keeps the right perspective and is the centre of our marriage and our family life. In the town where we live now, we were astounded how many persons were divorced. It was very sad and I still get sad when I hear of the breakdown of another marriage. To my way of thinking if you don't value and invest in your marriage then really you should expect it to fall apart.