Dave and Velia
We have often told the story of us receiving the little orange book from my sister-in-law, Jan, "Jesus Calling", and how it sat on our coffee table and we didn't pick it up until 6 months later. Since then we have our "Coffee and Jesus" time early in the morning, and how it has changed our heart and mindset!
Prior to this year of prayer, we have had various challenges. In 2007 Dave's company downsized and he was part of that group: the recession began and jobs were scarce. Dave was a stay-home-Dad until 2010, when our youngest son graduated from high school and was transitioning to college.
I have learned this year in spending time with God and Dave, that I don't want to return to the old practice of sporadic and haphazard prayer time. In this new training I have learned to run to God instead of run from God. In the midst of trials and joyful events I have learned to practice consistent and strategic prayer. There are times of Adoration, Confession, Thankfulness, and Supplication (ACTS).
In these last 36 yrs we have a love story. How did we survive in the evolution of this relationship, and the evolution of our relationship with God?
Prayer has been the glue that keeps our marriage together.
"We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there's nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all."
I have come to understand this past year that our relationship has deepened because we have been open, vulnerable, truthful about what we think, how we feel and what we struggle with, and why we should go on with this life...
These times of studying and reflective analysis - these times with Velia and God - have been a safe harbor for me to expose my inner being. You know us guys, we have a tendency to shut down and shut out our wives when it comes to being vulnerable and exposed. The hardest lesson I had to learn was to allow myself to trust Velia with this personal information and to trust God fully. I had not allowed God to be in control. And these times help me to relinquish control. Since then I have experienced a peace and presence that amazes me. Prayer is the glue that has kept this marriage together and allowed it to grown and deepen in ways I have never thought possible. It is the prayer that brings the bonding and solidifying of our relationship.
In our journey we have learned that God has never abandoned us even though we have felt at times He has.
"Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don't want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of 'good time' is seldom in sync with ours."
I have been Mr. Fix It. In my career, in business, my marriage and life. I have jumped the gun on decisions because I wanted to be in control or thought I should be control. So when situations arise and go south, I struggled immensely with God: "Where are you in this? Why?"
I have had some very dark times where I have struggled with this question. When I thought God had abandoned me, He had not. He had mercy, compassion and love that surpassed my comprehension when a prayer was answered and revealed to me and Velia. These morning prayer times with Velia have revealed to us how through the years in retrospect that God never abandoned us. It was I who left him in doubt and skepticism. I wanted God to resolve the issues or problems in my time frame, not his!
God is never late, never early, but always on time. We have learned to rest in His time, we have learned to reconcile ourselves to the fact that it is not our timetable, business plan, our projections. God is a God of economy and provision; He brings other lives into the equation from our prayer. They are impacted in a significant way, it increases their faith in God, it makes them take pause to find out who God can be for their lives, it spreads to others in their life; God does that.
In closing we hope that we have given you a glimpse of how this "Coffee and Jesus" time has changed to a Jesus and Coffee time. Because we've allowed Him to be first in our day, we've allowed Him to be in control of the outcomes of our prayers, in His time, and it has strengthened our marriage with a decision to include Jesus in a covenant relationship with us. We hope and pray that you start a Jesus and coffee, tea, or lemonade time and allow Jesus to amaze you and develop your own story.