Welcome to the fifth installment of “Experiencing God around the Kitchen Table” by Marilyn Blackaby. I’ve been using her book to facilitate a monthly scripture study for my Wednesday night women, and documenting our sessions in my blog. (Click here for the first post if you are interested in doing this in your women’s ministry). Using this book along with planning interactive sessions have provided our ladies with some unique learning experiences.
Chapter 5 of Experiencing God Around the Kitchen Table is titled “Survival Training for Marriage”, and who doesn’t need that, whether married or not???
So what I decided to do with this chapter for the experiential part was to host a MARRIAGE PANEL.
I assembled some women from our church whom had varying back stories to their marriages. I knew from hearing their personal testimonies in the past this approach could be very powerful.
The women I chose for the panel had these stories to share:
1) A grandmother whom had lost her first husband at a young age after their son was born. She did later marry again. She shared her experiences of blended families, and the difficulty of being married to an unbeliever. Thankfully, her husband is now a Christian.
2) A mom whom married her high school sweetheart, and why their romance is still going strong after all these years.
3) A mom whom married a man with children, and how she has an exceptional relationship with his ex-wife (yes, it can be done, and done well!)
4) A grandmother whom has had a very rewarding and loving marriage for many years with some real words of wisdom.
5) A mom whom had been in an abusive marriage, but is now in a happy marriage.
So often we look at others in church and think that we are the only ones having problems. It is important to know each others’ stories and hear the faith and wisdom that pours forth from them.
The panelists shared a brief summary of their marriage, including high-lights and low-lights. Some shared difficult season that they had overcome in the past, while others shared stories of current trials. It got very REAL, quick!
Their testimonies were real and God-honoring. They candidly spoke about how God had intervened and helped them through difficult situations numerous times.
After their testimony, I went through some of the major points of Ms. Blackaby’s chapter and used them to prompt some questions for the panel. For instance, when Ms. Blackaby talked about decision-making in marriages, I asked the ladies to share some of their decision-making experiences and practices.
“By God’s design, a married couple can no longer function as individuals; they must learn to function together as a unit. When we join together with someone in marriage, we give up our independence to become one with our spouses. Decisions we make must be based not merely on what we want or think we need but on what is best for the family. Every decision we make affects our spouses.” Experiencing God Around the Kitchen Table.
Ms. Blackaby also shared a handy tip in this chapter: “Never go to bed unless you’ve laughed about three situations that happened during the day”. From this excerpt, I asked the panel to share a quick tip that enhanced their marriage.
The scripture that I imparted for this session was:
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
I ended our session by opening up the floor for more questions. At the end of our time, I encouraged the women to stay afterward if they had any other questions for the panel. This was the neatest part of the night to me. Several ladies had lined up to speak to each of the panelist. I also noted other moms having conversations. Sometimes we are prone to run out of class, grab our kids and head home without ever partaking in real fellowship as God intended.
“These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” Titus 2:4,5
I love our experiences from “Experiencing God Around the Kitchen Table”.
Our attendance for this session tripled that night. Why?
Was it the topic of marriage?
Was it how we advertised for it?
We had announced it in our church bulletin, but we also sent a personal invitation to women in the 20-30 age group.
Was it our “catchy” title?
The team of women who handle our women’s ministry event marketing decided that we she should give this event a “catchy” title to help draw the women in, so we called it…
This event had tearful moments and moments of laughter, but more than that it had encouraging moments.
“Yet God had something special in mind when He created marriage between a husband and wife.” Marilynn Blackaby
Here are some other blog posts you may like from this series – posts about cost-savings ideas for families, healthy eating recipes for your family and some summer-ready workout ideas for you!
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Author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. If you would like to schedule Gina to speak on prayer or host a prayer journaling workshop, click here for more inormation. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.
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