Our “Egg-Cellent” Love Marriage Retreat
This is really long, I apologize for that but I had to share it all.
We were invited to a Christian marriage retreat at the house church that my kids have been attending for the last month. This is the last place I would think I needed to go, but I was drawn to it. We didn’t NEED help in our marriage, for the most part, we were good. Time has worked out most of the kinks and we were at a content place now. These are all the things I told my introverted self as I wrestled with the idea of going. I talked myself in and out of it until literally the day of the retreat.
The pastors are childhood friends and I had already met the wonderful lady evangelist, that was leading the retreat a week ago when my daughter had me attend a ladies meeting. So I wasn’t awfully shy about going, but generally speaking, I avoid groups. That morning, I got up and said to hubby, “Are we going to do this thing or not?” He said, “Yeah, sure!” I reminded him part of the project was, we had to get eggs and carry them around with us all day.
The Mission: The egg represents our spouse’s soul, we must protect it, and cherish it and keep it with us at all times!!!
So he ran to the store and bought a carton of white eggs. I got a little glass dish for each of us and lined them with tissue and set the eggs in the little nest. Hubby said, “Hey, I need a marker! I need to draw you on it!” So I pulled out my permanent markers and we got busy drawing faces on our eggs! After I was done, I started thinking, maybe it is a bad idea to draw on them, maybe the white egg was supposed to symbolize purity and such. (Over thinking everything as always) My confident husband reassured me it was fine and he left for work.
Stewart always texts me when he gets to work to let me know how much mail he has that day so I will know how late he will be. This time, he texted me this picture of my little eggy perched on top of his stacks of mail.
Just so you know when you read the texts in the pictures, the green texts are from me, the gray ones from hubby!
So we started texting back and forth pictures of our eggs with us as we went about our day.
I had breakfast… my hubby’s eggy soul was there with me and no, I’m not eating eggs (everyone thought that at first) it’s chips and a burger from the night before (I’m not big on traditional breakfast foods.)
The kids and I had to do the shopping today, so I had to get a shower and dressed. I didn’t leave Eggwart behind, he chilled on the towels while I showered. “No peaking!”
Dressed and ready to go…
Or so I thought, I remembered I had to pay the bills first! Eggwart seemed pleased with my bill paying skills.
The kiddos and I hopped in the truck… I hate driving…. but sadly Eggwart couldn’t drive… no legs, so behind the wheel I sat, Eggwart back safely in his dish.
I got a text from hubby… he was ready to head out on his mail route! Wait! What is that I saw on top of the stacks of mail? There was Eggecky on top of the mail again! So dangerous!
Then next text I got was this picture!!! “Wow, hunny, just wow!” I fussed about the danger again, his reply was “You’re always safe.” Those words made my heart smile. I kind of liked the idea that my hubby was assuring me that I was “always safe” with him, what a wonderful feeling!
We went to the store, I had to fuel up. And again, Eggwart’s lack of appendages proved he wasn’t much help at doing his normal hubby duties. These little moments made me appreciate all the things he normally does for me, things that apparently I generally take for granted.
I have to admit, I was a little embarrassed to pull my Eggwart out in the middle of Wal-Mart… So I kept him safe and tucked away in my purse! But this made me think, am I ever embarrassed with my husband. Sadly, the answer is yes. I am fairly introverted and my hubby is not. Sometimes, because of my own apprehensions in public, his out going nature makes me feel uncomfortable. The idea that I am sometimes embarrassed by my hubby convicted my heart. I should never be embarrassed by him no matter how silly he acts sometimes. I have an amazing husband, I should always be proud to be with him, his silliness is what balances us (because I am often too serious.) **Mental note: Remember this next time he is being silly**
Hubby sent me this text, my heart melts… he is so romantic… The time he is taking to do things to show he “cherishes” my “soul”… just so sweet! See what I mean, he is just simply amazing!!
He texted me pictures of my Eggcky as he passed by the different landmarks along his country mail route like a nice little spot we have hiked, Bouton Lake. I have to say I missed him, even more, that day that normal because I wanted nothing more that to be with him while he was at all these places. Mental Note: **Cherish the time you have with him**
He got out a few times to pose with Eggcky… and well… He is so silly, I love that he made me smile more that day than I had in a long time!!
The pretty gate to the Blue Hole! Such wonderful adventures my “soul” was having with him. To know he thought of me that often throughout the day just made my heart swell with joy… Mental Note: “I am loved.”
Sadly, his poor little “soul” just ran errands and did chores while he was with me. But sometimes it is in our daily lives that just knowing our loved one is there with us makes the chores more bearable, and it seemed hubby was happy I was playing along, trying my best to send him texts of our day together too.
At first, my kids thought we were nuts toting around eggs. Then they (especially the teen girl) thought we were really nuts when we started taking pictures of our eggs and texting them back and forth. But it wasn’t long before Adam wanted to be part of it and pose with dad and Anna (after a roll of the eyes when she heard the next “PING!” from my phone) would ask, “Where did he take you now?” The kids were all into this as much as we were! It was good for them to watch us do this. I pray they carry some of the lessons into their own marriages one day! Mental Note: “They watch, make sure you are a good example.”
There are a lot of pretty farms along the route, I visited several of them that day… such a busy little “eggy soul.”
A sign that says Fresh Farm Eggs… Surely he wasn’t shopping to replace my soul !? When I asked him that evening, he said, “For $4.50 I could have gotten you 18 more souls!” Well… I suppose MORE soul is better than replaced! Maybe I can take it as 18 more chances at a restored soul?! Haha!
And more farms… I look happy about it, though!
A pretty flower… I am still marveled at how many times he stopped to take my egg out of the container and pose with it! Again, I smile!
An old-timey maintainer that we have hid a geocache nearby… It is neat to see all the places he sees every day while he works!
I sure hope he was stopped on the side of the road for this… Knowing I like birding, he was trying to get a pic of the birding sign before one of our favorite places to visit, Boykin Springs.
His route crosses over county lines… What I see in this picture is that he pulled over once again taking time out of his busy schedule to put yet another smile on my face. Gosh, I love this man!
Back at home, again I am paying bills and taking care of business… so much FUN! Not really but this is the normal routine. I wonder, in real life, would he want to set beside me while I do bills? Would he want to help me take care of business or is he happy that is one less thing he has to worry with? I suspect the latter of the two. Mental Note: “He is happy I am his helpmeet.”
He had Eggcky pose with Celine Dion… well… a magazine with her on the cover anyway. With his silly sense of humor, he said he got such a kick out of this one! All I thought was, “My heart will go on…” simply a perfect song for the day!
My nephew is a longhorns fan… so a shout out to him with my Eggy posing by the longhorn themed barn!
The thing that kept resonating with my heart was how often he told me I was safe or that he saved me. Trust is something I often struggle with and him telling me that I was safe on several occasions actually made me FEEL safe with him. And frankly, I loved it! Mental Note: “He is careful with me.”
I had very few events happen that day that he could “be a part of” but Turtles Candy is my all time favorite and I shared. But the fact that I really don’t have much going on that I could call “fun things to share with hubby” made me take a little glimpse at my life… maybe the lack of things to do is a problem, maybe it is the source of my melancholy days… will have to look into that one later. This project is ministering to my life in so many ways. Mental Note: “Life is what you make of it, make it great!”
My sweet hubby took me to the lake again… this time admittedly took me “skinny dipping” he is such a goof… he has a man’s mind. (Insert eye-roll here)
His “Sniffing face!” I sure am glad he has tolerant customers on his route… or maybe a vacant house with a rose bush? Who knows… he is just a little “special!”
At least by the end of the route he had a chance to bring our adventures back to God!
After work, we had to finish running a few errands and hubby took me out to eat … of course, it was a double date with Eggwart and Eggcky! I was a bit shy to take out our eggs and pose them… but with hubby doing it with me I was a bit braver and had the, “Who cares! This is OUR business and they need to mind their own!” attitude. Metal Note: “My husband gives me confidence!”
It was so nice to be together after the fun day of texting each other back and forth feeling thought of and loved. Even our eggs looked happy to be together again!
Back at home hubby took Eggcky out to check around our little farm which is part of my hubby’s normal daily routine! I was going to tell him he didn’t have to do all that but then I thought, “No, these are all parts of his life and I want him to think of me, share with me, include me in all the things in his life.” So I just smiled and allowed myself to feel loved. Mental Note: “Relax, Let Stewart be Stewart, just as God designed!”
So after a fun day of texting back and forth, hubby making me smile way more than I am used too (my cheeks literally hurt) it was time to head to the first of the two-night Marriage Retreat!
When we arrived there were couples ranging from 5 months of marriage all the way up to 28 years of marriage, we fit somewhere in the middle of that.
We prayed, listened to testimonies, listened to scripture, and received our assignment for the next day. We were to buy each other a meaningful gift and write each other a love note, one that was supposed to show what we see in each other through a Godly lens.
Hubby had to work the next day so we were hard pressed for time to accomplish our homework. The only option for us to buy a gift was the local dollar store and it was 10 minutes from closing time. I stayed in the truck thinking of what I could get him while he attempted to shop for me. He made a purchase and God gave me an idea for hubby.
We were supposed to go home and talk about the night and have a meaningful night together. A new beginning sort of moment. Ours lasted about 10 minutes. The kids came home from their youth event and that was the end of alone time for us. That is always how it goes. I was disappointed but I knew that Sunday would be there soon and hubby and I could spend the day together then.
The next day hubby had to work. I got busy getting the kids off to their other youth group event. Finally, I had a rare moment to myself. I got down and prayed, I anointed our home, a symbolic gesture where the oil represents the Holy Spirit and you are consecrating (in my case) your home to Him, to be set apart and rededicated to Him… spiritual cleansing of sorts. I prayed over my marriage, my family, my home, and felt really good about this refreshing we were going through.
I went and bought what I needed to get his gift ready, wrote my note to him, and prepared for the second night.
The second night, there was more testimony, more scriptures, more relationship exercises, and more prayer. By this time, I had shared our eggy adventure pictures on Facebook with my friends. Several of the couples had seen my pictures and thought they were the funniest thing ever. This all made me feel good but a bit self-conscious about sharing that much of our weirdness to people. The evangelist had encouraged me earlier to stop isolating myself and I was trying hard to do just that. She also told me that she used those pictures to share with some of her people back home in Ohio so they would see what was going on down here and how God was moving. She said that God was going to use this as a witness to others, which is the biggest reason I decided to blog in detail about it.
The Egg is Your Spouses Soul, You Must Protect it!
Now, the pastors had an interesting egg set up. From what I understand, he researched the best way to protect an egg and found this is how they shoot eggs off in rockets. He bought a regular sponge like you wash a car with, cut it down and shaped it to fit inside a large Styrofoam cup, cut a slice in it to have the hinge effect so it was easy to open and hollowed out a perfect sized place for the egg to fit in.
So when it came time for him to explain his egg protector cup design it was absolutely beautiful! (I can’t explain it as beautifully as he did but I will try to at least get the gist of the idea to you all)
The correct order of marriage is God – Man – Woman. There is a reason for this design. God covers and protects the man and the man, in turn, covers and protects the woman.
Pastor then read the following verses:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
He explained that the wife needs to allow the husband to lead and by doing this, as the husband leads, he is in the front to take all the hits from the “fiery darts” that the devil directs at them. The husband takes the lead, not as a tyrant trying to boss but as the man on the front line, clearing the path for his bride, willing to lay down his own life to protect her.
The cup represented God, the sponge: the man, and the egg: the wife. The wife is the man’s center, she is his life, his love, he covers her and is her protector, and God covers them both.
The sponge was a perfect symbol for the man. He demonstrated this by holding up a tissue and asking another man to punch it. The tissue tore in half. He told the men they can not be like that tissue. They have to be like a sponge. He took the egg out and let the man hit the sponge, it bounced right back to its original form. He told the men they needed to be like the sponge. It is flexible, resilient, takes a hit and quickly recovers. It is also formable to fit into the image of God (the cup).
He put the egg back in the sponge and the sponge back in the cup. He then tossed it around with two other men. They were letting it spin and spiral out of control. Not worrying much about harming the egg because it was inside the sponge which was inside the cup. But then he took the egg out and told the other man to get ready, acting like he would throw the egg to him. The man was all of a sudden very attentive and cautiously awaited the toss. He smiled and asked why the change? The man said, “Because it isn’t protected.”
“Exactly. But I am not throwing this egg like this! It’s my wife’s soul!” And he went on preaching about cherishing our spouses and protecting them. If the woman submits to the protection of her husband and the husband submits to the protection of God and forms himself into the image God has designed for the man, then the marriage would be safe.
I wish I had recorded the explanation because I just do not do it justice at all, but it was beautiful!
The evangelist then asked us to wash our spouse’s feet.
The foot washing was a sign of our love and service to one another. We washed our spouse’s feet as a sign of a life of humility, devotion, and complete surrender to each other. We prayed over them as we scooped the water in our hand and gently poured the water over their feet. Then we took the towel and dried each foot with care. I glanced around the room and everyone was so deeply moved by this gesture from their spouses, it was so precious.
We then stood face to face with our spouse and read our love letters to one another. There was a low hum of voices in the room, no one able to hear the other people but it was sweet to hear love being poured out in the midst of the couples.
Our letters were not supposed to just be “love notes” they were supposed to be something our spouses needed to hear to help open them up to a more spiritual walk in our marriages.
I read my husband his letter first. The night before, he was talking about how he didn’t feel like he had any faith at all. So I wrote to him about how much faith he actually had… by faith, he came to this retreat, by faith he did all the things asked of him by the pastors, by faith he was expecting to feel something. He had plenty of faith, he just didn’t realize it. I also told him that one of the biggest things I loved about him was that as a natural man he exhibited so many qualities of the fruits of the spirit, longsuffering , kindness, gentleness… and faithfulness. I then encouraged him explaining that things which are present in the natural man can be magnified in the spiritual man.
My husband wrote to me about how he admired my walk with God, he loved my knowledge of the scriptures and that I prayed for things like scriptural knowledge and understanding. He said as he drove the route he was thinking of what he could say, just then a song came on that he had dedicated to me a few years back. He said, “Everything that song says, is what I want to say.” This song has a very deep personal meaning to me from some things that went on years ago. So if you think this isn’t a “love song” that’s ok… my hubby knew exactly what it meant to me and why I needed to hear it!
Beautiful by Mercy Me
Remember, we had no time to shop for each other. While I was waiting in the truck while hubby looked for a gift for me God pressed on my heart, “Give him faith.” So while he was at work the next day I ran to the store, bought some mustard seeds. I found a tiny bottle and filled it with the seeds. I wrote another note, this time with scriptures regarding the mustard seed and how it is the tiniest of seeds but grows into a large plant. I told him, that he, being a gardener, could relate to this parable best. That each day as he worked in his garden, I wanted him to think on these things: All he needed was the tiny seed planted and with much care, watering, tending, and enriching the soil that it would grow into this great and wonderful plant. That is how the faith thing works. We just need a small amount of faith and if we care for it, just watch how God give will the increase. I wanted him to have these seeds to remind him of the bits of faith he does have, to be attentive to care for it and watch it grow!
He was thrilled and moved by my gift. He carries the seeds with him everywhere he goes!
Then hubby gave me my gift and told me that when he was shopping for my gift the night before, he walked up and down the isles looking so hard for something to give me. He was getting annoyed that there was nothing there that was “good enough.” A clerk came to him asked if he needed help and he told her his dilemma. She said, “Give her something from your past.” He thought that was kind of cheesy and finally picked out these two plaques although he wasn’t completely satisfied with them. He figured I could hang them in the corner where I pray.
When he gave the gifts to me, the first one went perfectly with what I had felt about him! He also knew I have dreams that I don’t follow because I am so busy being mom and wife I rarely take the time to just be me. He knew this makes me sad sometimes and he wanted to encourage me to follow my dreams. These plaques were beautifully perfect, representing the both of us.
He also remembered what the clerk said about something from the past. So when he heard the song he felt that song was what he should give me. It was a song from our past and it still very much meant the world to me in this as well. God never ceases to amaze me how much He does speak to us if we would only learn to hear His still small voice.
So I sat thinking about my weekend and the marriage retreat and how a lot of people would avoid going to a retreat for fear people would think there was something “wrong” with their marriage that needed help…
If any of you know Stewart and me, we have a great marriage! We have bickery fights, yes, but we are solid and we are crazy about each other. But that did not stop me from wanting to go to a retreat. Why? Because there is never a single day that goes by that I do not want to become closer to my husband on every level. There is ALWAYS something that can be better, something that can be learned, something to be discovered, something to draw us closer to one another… and the retreat surely did all of those things!
I decided I couldn’t part with our eggys so I blew out the yolk, dried them, and placed them in a display case on our TV cabinet to be a constant reminder: love, honor, and cherish… and protect each other always.
Love and blessings,
Scriptures on marriage:
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