2017 is here and I can’t thank you all adequately enough for your notes of encouragement, gifts and prayers for this ministry.
Fifty Shades of Grace…hmmm, that was completely GOD GIVEN and has come with much controversy. The last 2.5 years have been some of the greatest moments I’ve had in my spiritual life since I got saved at 12. I’ve been doing this a long time. Music was always what initially got me “in the door” but it was always the message that changed lives. The message of Jesus Christ and how He saves people. It NEVER gets old. The thrill and the peace of seeing Jesus save a person who is lost is one of the greatest things in my life.
I’ve had great days and I’ve had really really hard days. Usually the hardest criticism came from those that claim to follow Christ themselves. No matter what, the Lord has taught me that HE is the ONLY one that I need to please. He gets to say who I am. He made me! Each and every day…ALL were important. Let me say that again. ALL WERE IMPORTANT. I can’t do anything apart from Jesus Christ and it’s Jesus who gets the credit, the glory and the accolades.
I deal with evil almost every single day. Sin that has suffocated us and removed us from a right relationship with Jesus Christ. And CRUDwhich buries us deeper and deeper underneath the true life of freedom that we crave. The amount of comments I receive each day is overwhelming, to say the least. You understand that there are tons of comments that I can’t even post because of the gravity of the words that are written, right? Satan is relentless in his goal of decimating our focus. He’s not letting up. In fact as his influence ripples through this world, and we as Christians complacently stand by as people go to hell, satan is just ramping up his assault. Even in my own CRUD, I’ve tried to be encouraging and point others to Jesus. What else do I have of any significance besides Jesus?
As we enter this NEW YEAR, the Lord has continued to open doors and to grow the depth and width of the ministry of Fifty Shades of Grace. As some of you know, my husband Rick is a pastor and loves to share God’s word and truth with people. We’ve been doing ministry together for most of our marriage. The Lord has given us an avenue to reach couples who want to deal with their crud and deepen their relationships to each other AND to Jesus Christ.
Beginning in 2017 we will launch a new paradigm shift of the ministry called “2R1”. It’s taken from the verse in Genesis 2:24-25 – “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined TO his wife; and they shall BECOME ONE flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were NOT ashamed.”
If you read my blog or any of the articles that I write, you know first hand that there are tons of couples that are barely holding it together. There is CRUD that hasn’t been confessed or dealt with and communication, intimacy and sex is NON-existent or dissatisfying. Because of my past, Jesus has allowed me to navigate conversations with people regarding difficult topics like sex and abuse. Things that are hard to discuss in a sunday school class, can be more easily expressed through a comment on a website. But it’s more than that…over the years, the Lord has placed me in the paths of people that wanted to TALK through their pain and their CRUD.
So for the last 20 years, through speaking and singing, I’ve been sharing openly about my story and the struggles that I’ve been through in all areas of my life. Marriage and sex, included. I always thought it was odd that Jesus allowed me to have this kind of ministry when I had such a horrible introduction to this topic. But the more I’ve trusted Jesus, and as He’s walked me through this ministry, He’s shown me over and over again that He uses anyone that He chooses to share His story and His word as He sees fit. For whatever reason, people feel like they can openly share their hearts with me. I think it’s because I don’t judge. How could I? With everything I’ve been through, everything I’ve done, how could I judge another person for anything? Over the years, I’ve talked to thousands of people about their pain, their CRUD and their relationships. I don’t have my “ACT” together. In fact, I need the mercy and grace of Jesus every second so that I don’t do any more STUPID things. I mean, He used a DONKEY to accomplish His will. I guess I fit right in then. 😉
Rick is a pastor and has served in the local church for over 30+ years. He’s been involved with Men’s ministries, Youth, Families, & Kids for many years. He’s mentored, encouraged, prayed with and counseled all ages of men and has a vulnerability and grace that allows people to know that they can trust him to listen and to share the truth of God’s word with them. We enjoy doing ministry together and that’s the only way that we will do it. It’s what our entire marriage has been about. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for Rick’s wisdom, guidance and support through everything that I’ve been involved with.
Rick offers a perspective that many men and women find themselves in, being married to someone that has very messed up ideas about family, marriage and sex.
Are we the EXPERTS? Sweet-mother-of-Abraham-Lincoln- NO! Do we have some magic formula? No. What we do offer is an opportunity to talk openly about the REAL CONDITIONS of our marriages. Where we’re at, what we’re doing well and what’s not going so good. Pouring through biblical thoughts and ideas in a way that is not traditional, not judgmental and will not feel “churchy.” I say that because ALL people have CRUD. Even “church” people. There are excellent resources for marriages out there. But let’s call it what it is…MOST of us are NOT reading books that will help strengthen our marriages. We’re not even going to conferences. If we have attended a marriage conference, it’s not enough just to know that we must DO IT!
We need to deal with WHY we aren’t doing it! We need to know HOW to do it – BETTER! There’s got to be a way that we can create an environment that is safe, healthy and bible-based that will allow us to communicate truthfully about ourselves and our marriages. We feel that God has given us a plan and platform to do this.
Rick and I have NOTHING of value to offer you, other than a listening ear, a cheerleaders heart, hard fought battles in our own lives, marriage victories and failures and GOD’S WORD. We want to create environments where couples can openly share what is REALLY GOING ON. The truth. And nothing but the truth. Sometimes all we need is a white flag, a push, a nudge to allow us PERMISSION to DEAL WITH THE CRUD.CRUD. I hate it! But we ALL have it! Crud isn’t sin, but it’s the emotional pain that we feel when someone hurts us.
It’s not ALL about sex, but what’s happening in the bedroom or NOT…is a HUGE indicator of the health of the marriage. Sex is about trust. In order to trust, you need to KNOW that person. In order to KNOW a person we must COMMUNICATE. If there’s other things going on that break that trust (disappointment, betrayal, loneliness, SIN) sex is the LAST thing that will be happening.
Nike is GREAT but with sex we can’t just “DO IT!”
There’s SO much more to it then “wham, bam thank you mam!” There’s our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Do we even have one? If so, how are we doing on that journey? Are we spending time with Jesus every day, in His word, in prayer? How’s our life doing physically? Are we healthy? Are we taking care of our temples? Or have we neglected our bodies? How is our mental health? Is there behaviors going on that are not okay in a committed marriage? Pornography, affairs, laziness, emotional abuse, idolatry? What about COMMUNICATION? Do you talk to each other? Or are you just surviving as “roommates?” What about intimacy? Is SEX pleasurable? Or is it a chore? Do you enjoy it or do you dread it? Are you afraid? Maybe something from your past? Do you have guilt that stops you from giving yourself fully to your spouse? Remember…TRUST.
Trust allows the heart to submit completely to a committed marriage.
It’s not that this is new to us. We’ve been sharing with couples for years. It’s now been packaged with “2R1” as our brand and logo. A label brings definition and legitimacy. And the pressure and our human criticism begins…
But I don’t see labels OR expectations. What I do see is OPPORTUNITIES! Opportunities to share the TRUTH of Jesus Christ. His love. His forgiveness of sin and His power to change EVERY HEART. Every marriage. 2R1 is a ministry based on creating an atmosphere where it’s okay and encouraged to talk about the hard stuff. To pour into God’s word and see His truth and how it applies to our marriages. And to begin healthy ways of COMMUNICATING to each other when we’re hurting, angry, disappointed, unfulfilled, lonely, afraid, happy, and aroused. We must not be afraid to deal with our crud. As life happens, CRUD happens. It’s how we trust in Jesus, as we learn to trust our spouse, that makes all the difference.
So what can you do? I’m glad you asked. 😉
We need you to pray. As we continue to get invited into churches and other venues to speak, we need PRAYER! Lots and lots of prayer. I’ve been blessed with having wonderful prayer warriors throughout this whole process. We have no idea what will happen but we trust Jesus in the process. With so many people, couples, hurting, how can we not give them the answer?
If you won’t tell who will?
2R1 – creating an environment that gives permission to married couples to TALK about the hard stuff and DEAL with their CRUD.