Updated: Sep 16, 2019
One year ends and a new one begins...
A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. -Proverbs 16:9
As this year comes to a close, thoughts come rushing into our minds about what we've done and what has been left undone. New Year's day can be a time of excitement for many, as new plans, resolutions, and goals are thought about and established. I think we would all admit, we love to leave the past behind us and look on to what lies ahead, but if we're honest, the past must be dealt with in order to effectively move into the future plans God has for us. As the New Year quickly approaches, JR and I put aside all of our plans, dreams, and goals to set out on a vision retreat. With all the hype of New Year's resolutions, we've found it to be an absolute priority to intentionally set aside time every year, to get away for some alone time with God and each other.
As much as we love to plan out our life, let's face it; it rarely goes as planed. Years ago, we threw out this idea of making plans for our life. We decided that instead of having a bunch of goals and New Years resolutions, we would commit our ways, wills, emotions, dreams, goals, marriage, and kids to God. He is the Author and Director of life isn't He? Well, He is if we LET Him be.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. -Proverbs 16:3
During this time away, we always spend much time in prayer together, starting by surrendering our marriage to the Lord. We reflect on the previous year and seek the Lord for a UNIFIED vision for our marriage and family for the upcoming year. This has been life changing in our marriage. We know prayer can be intimidating to some, so if your struggling to know what or how to pray for your spouse, we will attach a sample prayer sheet we created years ago to get you started! You can find our Couples Connect prayers for your husband/wife under, the Marriage Resource Tab or simply click on the link: https://www.couplesconnectnlc.com/blog/prayers-for-your-husband-wife
Where there is no vision, the people perish... -Proverbs 29:18
Pursing a unified vision is letting God tell you what the purpose and mission of your marriage is. Notice we say, "unified vision," not seeking your own separate vision, but together, coming into agreement with the Holy Spirit so He can reveal to you a "unified vision." The word division means, "the act of separating..." Division begins when you have two SEPARATE visions and it's impossible to succeed when you are divided. Division is the breeding grounds for conflict and strife. Work on identifying and eliminating this type of friction immediately. Don't allow matters to tarry unresolved for too long, as this will create a destructible wedge. (Read Ephesians 4:26-29)
"Many marriages separate right before they terminate" -JR Gonzales.
"Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" -Amos 3:3
When you are in agreement you are walking and looking in the same direction. Your gaze is at the Father looking and waiting in anticipation, rather than at each other. The idea is to seek the will of God and not your own. Start by praying, His kingdom come, His will be done (Matthew 6:10). "Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you" 2 Corinthians 13:11. As it has been said, "We may not always see eye to eye, nevertheless, we choose to walk hand in hand."
Some questions to reflect on as you begin your vision retreat...
Where are we now? Where are we going? What is our vision? –Jimmy Evans
1. God, why did you put us together and what are we here for? (And yes, He did PUT you together!)
2. How can we impact our world for Christ together?
3. (If you have kids) Lord what do you have for each of our children this year and how can we come into agreement with You to steward these precious treasures?
We encourage you to join us and set aside time, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a few nights out (without kids) to seek the Lord together in prayer and in the Scriptures. Earnestly ask Him to impart HIS vision on behalf of your marriage and family (His will). The idea is to create a vision so that you have purpose and a more meaningful mission in marriage. Vision is vital for the health of your marriage. Identify any current stumbling blocks, come into agreement with the Lord and with each other, and work toward a unified vision for your marriage and family. Knowing God's design and purpose for your marriage will help you stay focused as a team and fulfill the Great Commission! His will for your marriage and family is far greater than the burdens that threaten your marital union.
***To find out more about creating your own vision retreat, we encourage you to check out Jimmy and Karen Evans Vision Retreat Journal. You can purchase a copy on MarriageToday.com.
We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to share with us the vision God has given you for your marriage and family!
All for His glory,
-JR and Becca Gonzales