Saturday, August 22, 2009

Just the Same

It's been a while since I've posted here. It seems life has taken over and I don't have as much time as I would like to write about our dream... But, have no fear we are still believing and dreaming! We are.

Today is our anniversary and I thought I would share my memories of our wedding with you today!

August 22, 1998

Eleven years ago this very day, Saturday - August 22, 1998, Scott and I left Justin, Texas in separate vehicles headed to Granbury to spend the day preparing for our wedding. We married in a quiet little bed and breakfast just off the square called "The Secret Garden." It was an enchanting old house with a loft bedroom upstairs, a large bedroom suite downstairs and a private hide-away cottage where we would spend the night out back.

That day we were surrounded by our children - Justin, Brittany, Travis, Taylor and Megan- who were dressed in our colors of blue and white western w and stood with us as we vowed before God, our family and friends to join our lives together in marriage. The faint sound of doves can be heard on our wedding video as they were caged in the arbor just out of sight. I still count it as one of the most exciting and blessed days of my life.

Back then, I hoped we had what it would take to stand the test of time, but I really didn't know. I was hopelessly romantic. Couple that with a tattered, torn and broken heart and life and I just felt lucky to be there. Like I was living a dream. And, I was. The fairy tale I had dreamed of my whole life. Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome with his hat, his boots and his Wranglers ride in to rescue me and take me off into happily ever after.

If someone would have told me then what happily ever would have looked like I might have run for the hills... But, as I said, I'm hopeless in the lofty dreams of fairy tale endings. My friend, Cheryl took me to my mother's home and we visited her hairdresser where we laughed and talked and I felt the first jangles of nerves dancing around inside of me. When she spun me around and I saw the exact hairstyle I had selected from the magazine I knew it was going to be the perfect day.

Once we arrived back at my parent's home, Momma took me downstairs and opened up her small cased of precious jewelry. She handed me a pearl necklace and a pearl earrings before slipping off the first wedding ring my father gave her for me to wear on my right hand. I gathered up the other miscellaneous things, kissed my family goodbye and ran off to the bed and breakfast to decorate, to bathe, to try to relax and to wait.

The afternoon began to wane as we finished afixing the simple bows and swags of blue and white roses to the arbor and the railings in the back yard. It was, after all, August in Texas and the sweltering heat was at an all time high. Cheryl hussled me into the suite where we assembled our baby girls with coloring books and crayons while their hair dried on the sponge rollers I'd placed in them earlier that day.

Cheryl finally talked me into soaking in the bathtub and letting her take care of the last few details for the day. I remember laying back in that warm, sudsy water and thinking it was absolutely too good of a day to be true. It may not sound like much to you, but for me it was a day I had dreamed of all my life. I was marrying a man that I loved with my whole heart, a man who helped me to feel safe and beautiful - a man to share my life, my dreams and even my sorrows with. A man who would love me in spite of me. And at that moment I realized I was only hours away from marrying Scott Edward Bentham and pledging my life to him. Sweet tears of joy fell in those moments of quiet realization.

I sat there for a long while before getting out and beginning to dress for the ceremony. I pulled out the dress I had hidden away under a garbage bag. It was a light linen sundress that I (and now this is telling) had picked up off the clearance rack at Wal-Mart for $15.00. It was not a high-end bridal gown, but a simple reflection of the life I wanted to live. The dress made me feel beautiful, and that is all I wanted to be. Beautiful before my groom. I allowed the whispy fabric to caress my fingers before turning to the vanity and applying my make-up. The finishing touches were in place when I heard a car door shut in the drive outside.

My heart began to beat with anticipation as I heard the voices of men echoing on the hot summer breeze. I climbed up and poised myself to spy a quick glance through the window set high in the wall. And that is when it happened... He walked by. My head felt light and my heart danced in my chest. I couldn't even breathe I was so captivated. I whispered, "Soon... Baby... Soon." And felt the warm tears of joy begin to course down my cheeks once again.

It was within an hour that people began to arrive and filter into the back yard where they took their seats and awaited our arrival. My babies and my best friend from Dallas, Brenda, preceded me down the aisle and I walked on the arm of my father to where Scott waited for me on the lawn. The Justice of the Peace asked, "Who gives this woman to marry this man?"

And my father's voice broke as he said, "Her children, her mother and I do."

1 Corinthians 13 was read and a simple ceremony observed before the words, "I now pronounce you man and wife, you may kiss your bride," were spoken. And that was it... I was now and evermore would be Mrs. Scott Edward Bentham. At around 7:30 PM we were married. And lauded with the cheers and applause of our family and friends.

Later, my cousin who was also divorced whispered in my ear - you give me hope for myself. I also saw my dad walk up and put an arm around Scott's neck and welcome him as a son. My joy was truly complete that day. Our reception was full of laughter and sweet moments of mingling with family and friends. I would often find myself separated from him, but a quick glance across the room made me smile. At the end of the night, Cheryl put on a sweet song about a man and his wife and how beautiful she was in his eyes. Everyone backed up against the walls and Scott and I danced there under the ceiling fan on the hardwood floors our first dance as husband and wife.

I treasure the memories of that day. The day a little girl's dream became true. I had married my prince, even if sometimes he seems like a toad, and we have truly found a place where we are more happily ever after than not. I love you, my sweet man. Happy Anniversary Scott... I'd choose you again. I love you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch...

Since we are running a ranch theme... I thought I'd share this commercial. This is currently running as a commercial for Jack-in-the-Box and it makes me laugh every single time! I have not tried nor do I recommend the Mini Sirloin Burgers, but if you need a good laugh - I recommend the commercial. My husband just laughs at me when it comes on... I giggle so hard!

"Way out west (way out west),
this story's told, (this story's told),
'bout a bunch of cowboys,
tiny and bold (tiny and bold).
Riding tall (riding tall),
tall in the saddle,
herding cows the size of schnauzers,
but their cattle.
Yippee-i-ay mini sirloin burgers,
yippee-i-o mini sirloin burgers,
yippee-i-ay mini sirloin burgers, YAH!"
We do love us a good commercial! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Got An Email Today...

A few weeks ago I was sharing with a friend about our marriage journey that we are currently tracking when she said, "Have you been through leadership Presbytery?"

The answer was NO.

We had not.

She said, "I would love to see what is spoken over him in that situation."

I said... HMMM.

This afternoon as I was bringing in comments for my personal blog I got a blip from Yahoo.

From: Pastor Angie

Subject: Leadership Presbytery

Phone call.

"Sign us up."

OH YEAH! God is so gloriously good I just don't know what to do with myself.

Now... Calling all prayer warriors. Within the next few months hubs will be attending his first ever Freedom Event called Kairos, a weekend intensive focused on inner healing and deliverence. (I've been twice and am attending again in May.)

Then a few weeks later he attends his first ever MEN's Conference at our church with a who's who line up of cutting edge pastors and men's ministry leaders bringing down the house with God's Word.

And then... Leadership Presbytery. I told him a few weeks ago I really think God is orchestrating this season of his life for a purpose... Now I'm convinced. Please pray for God to prepare both of our hearts for what is coming. God is doing a new thing in our lives.

On my husband's behalf...

Monday, March 16, 2009

When God Speaks...

I love it when God speaks and I am not the only one who gets the message! Last week Scott and I attended our weekly Freedom Foundation class on Monday night which led to some soul searching conversation. Mostly I was asking where he was and he was saying - I got a little of the message.

Our relationship has been like this for quite a while. We'll attend a service or listen to a message and my hubs is vague or uncertain about exactly what God is saying to him, specifically. I'm like on "download" mode struggling to write fast enough and pressing to move ahead with God. It is like opposite ends of the spectrum colliding in not so fashionable glory.

After he admitted he saw himself a bit in the lesson I asked, "What do you think God wants you to do about it?"

He shrugged. "I don't know. I didn't get that."

My head swivels around and almost pops off into orbit because I'm really frustrated. Okay, so I didn't have an "Exorcist" moment really, but realizing it's not my job to judge or to make assessments or even to drive home the message... I'm frustrated. I start praying and get really quiet. He knows my frustration threshhold has been met and settles in for the remainder of what has become a stalemate ride home.

I must admit my worst fear is that we will end up back to where we've been these last couple of years - my attempting to move ahead in my relationship with God and him standing still. There is a huge trut and control issue in this that I am having to lay down before the Lord every single day and especially in moments like this.

At home, I'm calmer. I admit that my frustration stems from the fear I have that when I stop inviting him to classes or to morning devotion with me that he will quit. I confessed that I was concerned that as long as I am reading the Scriptures to him and he is not reading for himself there will never be a connection for him. I don't want to be the one standing between them mediating their relationship. Christ is supposed to be the mediator. Then I make this profound observation related to our previous troubles:

"In the last couple of years, I came to the conclusion that if your relationship with God was never right, then mine would not be either. But that was a lie. I can have an excellent relationship with God whether you ever do or not. That truly has to rest with you and God. But, Scott you must choose for yourself who He is to you and what priority you are going to give Him in your life. The mistake I made was in giving up on you because I didn't see anything changing - Because I believed the lie. But, I need you to know something. I know I can't do this for you - there are parts of this journey you are going to have to figure out how to walk by yourself... But, I'm not giving up on you either. I did that before and I was wrong. I love you, and I'm praying for you and I'm in this with you - whatever it takes. Now, you have to decide where you are in this."

We went to bed and weren't angry with one another. We awoke and did our early morning devotion. He engaged more, his prayers were different and God truth seemed to be resonating. I was okay. The week went on by, we negotiated some difficult waters and came through well.

Fast Forward to yesterday morning. Our pastor, Robert Morris, began a new series on "My Best Friend, The Son." He is sharing with us how and why Jesus should be our best friend. He called the first message "THE CARPENTER." (You can listen to it HERE.) I was so blessed by the message, but I saw that Scott seemed to really be grasping the heart of it as well.

Afterward he admitted that he never realized God wanted that kind of relationship with him. He seemed to really be weighing what Christ went through to build the relationship with us. Oh, what a joy that moment was. Then we went to church last night and received another great message about entering the rest of God and not carrying burdens we were never meant to carry.

He said he recognized he was really carrying things he shouldn't be carrying and not resting in God. These are major breakthroughs.

Fast Forward to this morning. The morning devotion time had him thanking God for the messages we received and how they spoke to us. (WOW! I'm still savoring that moment.) Then we talked about how we slept and if we felt rested. He said he really didn't and I said I didn't either. Then I said, "You know maybe we didn't do what we were supposed to last night."

After a couple of seconds, "Maybe we should revisit that again tonight."

"I think you're right."

I love it when God speaks in concert and my hubs and I are on the same wave - length.

That may sound like a round about way to report Progress, but... It's progress. PRAISE. THE. LORD.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The Marriage Survey is up at my personal blog. Please visit BECAUSE I LOVE YOU and print off the survey. The post is a "Sticky Post" and will be on top of my blog until the 11th. Please post anonymous comments and share as honestly as discretion allows. I'm praying for God to be huge.

Thanks a bundle.


**STICKY POST** Scroll down for newer posts. This post is stuck to the top! Kind of like Peanut Butter. I pray you are blessed.

Would you help me? Please pray and share as the Lord leads you.
I need testimonies or stories of how redemption has worked in your marriage. The following Four areas are the Segments in which we will talk about "REDEEM" - 1.) Covenant, 2.) Time, 3.) Tears, 4.) Harvest.

How has God worked redemption in any of these four areas in your marriage? For instance, has there been a time when you believed that nothing good could come of your experience because it was so painful and ugly but then God totally redeemed the experience and used it to bring healing, restoration and even better His glory to the situation?

By submitting a comment you are agreeing to allow me to use your testimony - if you would prefer to submit it anonymously I would welcome that - and would be willing to protect your identity.

Please make sure you have your spouse's permission and input before you share your testimony.

Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I have a survery posted here... I may sticky it to the top. I'm also posting a survey at my BECAUSE I LOVE YOU blog since it gets a little more traffic. The survey at Because I Love You is for wives... and so I ask you to prayerfully consider answering the questions and helping me to understand where all of you get hung up in the whole godly wife issue...

I read Ephesians 5:33 in the Amplified and said, "Oh Come On..." My husband laughed at me. But go on and read it yourself. If you don't have an amp Bible then hope on and CHECK (a) IT OUT!

Then check out my survey tomorrow and give your most heartfelt response the questions there.

Love you guys!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Okay, I'm crying...

Here is the deal:

I really have been having to surrender this dream to God and surrender to the time it will take to work through the process...


You might ask, and rightly so.

Well, because I've prayed for years and months... and did I say Years? Years for God to make me into the wife He created me to be and for Scott to grow into the man He created Him to be. After so much time, and coming to the end of myself. FINALLY. I have had to deal with the fact that some things are not going to happen on my time table. GRRR!

I am, in my flesh, an instant gratification kind of girl and let me tell you - I want to jump start this thing and get moving on it. But, God is working patience on me in every way and I am learning to enjoy the journey. Learning.

And what does God do?

He gives me a glimpse of His glory in that man of mine tonight. Saturday, I wrote out the first lesson in an hour. I had studied several hours a couple of days this past week sorting it out God just finished it up for me nice and tidy on Saturday night around 11:30 PM. So, when Scott came to bed I unloaded the download on him in a big way. I felt like I might explode.

Scott listened, he asked questions and seemed to engage the entire conversation. All this while we were both tired and awaiting an early riser call from the alarm clock for church the next morning.

So tonight as he was climbing into bed, I pulled out my notebook and said can I share a few things from my notes with you. He said, "Yes."

I almost didn't because I thought I was pushing the envelope and his patience. But, he assured me he wanted to hear what I wanted to share. He listened and when I finished he said, "Baby, that was really good."

I could hardly believe my ears. God is so good, and so is my husband. And He's growing us up every single day! I love both of them so very much.

(The signature says its from both of us, but this one is really just from me... :o))

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How Can You Join Our Journey?

Pray! Pray! Pray!

We are going to need all the prayer we can get. I've been looking up old prayer partners and enlisting their services. We've been standing on His promises and today my precious man thanked God for giving us the ability to dream, my hubs acknowledged that He is the one who gives us our dreams and our future. It was so beautiful to hear those words.

I have seven retreat overviews with four segments each, and I've already had one person who said - "Sign Us Up! We'll do one here." It is the small Baptist church where Scott and I began our journey with God nearly nine years ago. Oh the Glory of it all... He will bring us full circle.

My husband saw me feverishly writing the notes for the first lesson yesterday and asked, "What's that?"

I said, "The notes for the first series of lessons. I've been on auto download all day."

He smiled. "So, this means that you are going to teach and I'm going to take care of the horses?"

"Well, not exactly. I know you aren't comfortable talking in front of people, but there will be things you can do up there with me. You'll never be up there alone and neither will I. This is all about us and God - not me or you."

My husband gets the deer in the headlights look on his face everytime he is asked to pray. He does it well, he has great insight... He just lacks confidence. He prays everyday for God to make him more like Him. And I know that He is. In time my man will be everything He has called Scott to be and I am so grateful to just be a part of the journey.

My husband smiled, seemed a little easier and listened as I told him all about the lessons. Because I want ALL OF YOU to come to our Restoration Ranch ... I'm not going to write about the lessons here. But truthfully... They are so good - I am learning a ton. WHOO HOO!

Love you and thank you so much for coming along this trail ride of life with us. The everything we've been through is so worth the promise we have in our hearts. Love you again! Be Blessed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is Anything Too Hard For God?

I included Jeremiah 32:6-27 in my post yesterday. I was sitting at Chik-fil-a drinking lemonade and trying to wrap my mind around the thing while flipping to Jeremaih 33 when I saw Jeremiah 32 and this "heading:" Jeremiah purchases a piece of land. I thought.... HMMMM!
So I read the chapter and my heart started racing and my head felt as if it might spin. This passage is for us. When I came to the last two verses, I just felt like jumping up and down. I didn't because that in Chik-fil-a might get you asked to leave.

26 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying,
27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?

Jeremiah 32:6-27 (AMP)

Jeremiah receives word from the Lord to buy a piece of property from his cousin in the land of Benjamin. Jeremiah does as the Lord bids him to do. He purchases the land without any trouble at all. Then he has the documents placed in a jar to be preserved to mark out the great thing the Lord had done.


Why was Jeremiah buying a piece of property that he had a familial right to purchase and possess mark such a remarkable occasion?

Because it didn't make sense. No one was buying property in Judah and Jerusalem at that time. Most of the people were being carried off to Babylon for exile and captivity. But, Jeremiah was granted the privilege of purchasing property in a nation under seige. Furthermore, there was no guarantee that Jeremiah would get to keep and possess the land with the Babylonians coming against the Southern Kingdom as they were.

So Jeremiah prays and says "Lord you are so awesome, so amazing and wonderful, but surely you know the entire nation is going into captivity yet you had me go and buy a piece of land?" (My paraphrase)

God's reply, "Behold (look here I want you to see this) I am the Lord God of everyone and everything - is anything too hard me?" (my paraphrase)

Is anything too hard for God. If He places a dream in your heart, can He not fulfill it?

Yesterday morning as Scott and I prayed together I confessed to God we wanted this dream only if it was His dream because our dream doesn't work without Him. It was near lunch time that I was reading Jeremiah 32. And when I was leaving Chik-fil-a Scott called to ask me about where we were going to put all the people! Confirmation, confirmation, confirmation.

I was rehearsing the ranch in my mind all the way home and getting a bit overwhelmed. So last night at church we went to a class on hearing God and I heard Him say, "Stop trying so hard. I got you. You're mine."

We are the sheep of His pasture and nothing is too hard for Him. Has God given you a dream in your heart that you long to fulfill? Please share one paragraph in the comments and tell us about your dream.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Welcome to the Dream!

I pray that you are blessed and join us as we pray through this dream and journey with God. My husband and I lay looking into one another's eyes by the soft light filtering in through our bathroom door last night as we began to envision this dream.

The Ranch.

A place to be renewed, restored, refreshed, revived, resurrected, rescued, related to as well as a place to remember, reconnect, recommit, renew, reconcile, rediscover, and retreat with your spouse or family to new levels of relationship with one another and God, as well as see God begin the work of healing through intensive retreats designed to facilitate reconnection, recommittment, restoration and Revival in your lives. I pray you are blessed and pray God brings light to the darkness as we seek to do His will with what He has given us.

SIDE NOTE: Last night we talked about all the couples and families whose lives could be changed by coming to a retreat facility built as a place of worship where God's presence is invited to minister and heal them. This morning hubs called:

Him: About the ranch?

Me: Yeah?

Him: What are we going to do with all the people?

Me: What do you mean?

Him: When they come where will they stay?

Me: I had in mind a large house so they could stay with us.

Him: Oh.

Me: Why?

Him: Well, I was just thinking if we build a place with classrooms, and you know more rooms for them to stay then we could start hosting the family reunions for your mom and dad, too. Get those started again!

Me: Well, I had thought of that. I was actually writing about the dream just now. I wrote - Full service, commercial Kitchen.

Him: Well, I just thought about that.

Me: I'll write it down. Maybe we can start by hosting three or four couples to our home for the retreats and then build it out from there.

Him: Yeah, maybe.

We concluded our conversation by acknowledging that we must begin sowing toward the dream God has given us and understand that what seems too big and impossible for us based on who we are and have been - is nothing compared to what God can do with those who are diligently seeking what He has called them to do. We are seeking.

"Jeremiah said, "God's Message came to me like this: Prepare yourself! Hanamel, your uncle Shallum's son, is on his way to see you. He is going to say, 'Buy my field in Anathoth. You have the legal right to buy it.' "And sure enough, just as God had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me while I was in jail and said, 'Buy my field in Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin, for you have the legal right to keep it in the family. Buy it. Take it over.' "That did it. I knew it was God's Message. "So I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I paid him seventeen silver shekels. I followed all the proper procedures: In the presence of witnesses I wrote out the bill of sale, sealed it, and weighed out the money on the scales. Then I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy that contained the contract and its conditions and also the open copy— and gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. All this took place in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and the witnesses who had signed the deed, as the Jews who were at the jail that day looked on. "Then, in front of all of them, I told Baruch, 'These are orders from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel: Take these documents—both the sealed and the open deeds—and put them for safekeeping in a pottery jar. For God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, says, "Life is going to return to normal. Homes and fields and vineyards are again going to be bought in this country." ' "And then, having handed over the legal documents to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to God, 'Dear God, my Master, you created earth and sky by your great power—by merely stretching out your arm! There is nothing you can't do. 18 You're loyal in your steadfast love to thousands upon thousands—but you also make children live with the fallout from their parents' sins. Great and powerful God, named God-of-the-Angel-Armies, determined in purpose and relentless in following through, you see everything that men and women do and respond appropriately to the way they live, to the things they do. " 'You performed signs and wonders in the country of Egypt and continue to do so right into the present, right here in Israel and everywhere else, too. You've made a reputation for yourself that doesn't diminish. You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders—a powerful deliverance!—by merely stretching out your arm. You gave them this land and solemnly promised to their ancestors a bountiful and fertile land. But when they entered the land and took it over, they didn't listen to you. They didn't do what you commanded. They wouldn't listen to a thing you told them. And so you brought this disaster on them. " 'Oh, look at the siege ramps already set in place to take the city. Killing and starvation and disease are on our doorstep. The Babylonians are attacking! The Word you spoke is coming to pass—it's daily news! And yet you, God, the Master, even though it is certain that the city will be turned over to the Babylonians, also told me, Buy the field. Pay for it in cash. And make sure there are witnesses.' " Then God's Message came again to Jeremiah: "Stay alert! I am God, the God of everything living. Is there anything I can't do?" ~ Jeremiah 32:6-27 (MSG) (Emphasis Added.)