As some of you may know, God has moved on my heart to start teaching group fitness classes right here in our town of Ephrata, PA. What a journey the last year has been! God has moved quickly and Vibrant Fitness has been birthed. I was asked to share some of the story for a recent ladies retreat and decided to record it to share here. This is only a snippet of what transpired over the last year. If you want to ask more questions, lets get together over coffee and chat! You can also check out the Vibrant Fitness tab above to find out more information on these classes. We just finished up our first month of classes and are excited to move into a new month fully expectant to hear from the Lord and of course laugh our way through exercising!
Josh and I will also be leading and hosting a home group for the next 14 weeks. We are eager to see all that God will do in and through those who will be attending. I am most excited to watch my husband dig deeper into the Word as he spends time with the Lord to prepare to lead our group. There is something so attractive about a man seeking diligently after the Lord. :)
Our hearts have been moved in a mighty way over the last couple of years to see the church body walking in unity and true freedom with God and each other. We would covet your prayers as we take each step of obedience to walk out this call He has placed on our life. We will post more about this exciting adventure we are on over at our Team Shuman Facebook page. Thank you for all the encouragement from our dear friends and family!
May is known for spring flowers and showers. It signifies the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. May also includes one of the top 5 highest grossing holidays: Mother's Day. Over the years, this special day's meaning has evolved into different levels for me.
Up until the age of 17, this day consisted of me giving handmade and eventually bought cards and/or flowers to my mom. At the young age of 18, I became a part of the mom club myself. I continued giving cards to my mom, but now I was on the receiving end as well. Given the fact that "receiving gifts" is one of my top love languages (didn't know this at the time), I grew fond of this special day. After getting married, I gained another mom to celebrate.
Over the years, I started to have an expectation when May rolled around. You see, Mother's Day weekend is also my anniversary weekend. (Double whammy for Josh) How was I going to be made a big deal of? What was Josh going to do for me? I began to set myself up for disappointment and Josh up for failure.
I learned a difficult lesson a few years ago after Josh's mom had passed away. It was May. Mother's Day/our anniversary weekend was upon us yet again. And my expectations were not met. I was upset. Angry. Bitter. It was then, God spoke to me sternly. He said two things to me that wrecked my heart and forever changed my perspective.
1. Are you the only one who got married that day? Did you stand at the alter and marry yourself?
2. What about Josh? He doesn't even have a mom around to celebrate anymore? Have you ever thought about asking how he handles Mother's Day without his mom? Without having the ability to hug her?
Ouch! I know, right?! I was so consumed with selfishness, I ended up neglecting the needs and well-being of my spouse! I know I am not alone when I share that I was waiting for Josh to serve me. Put me first. Surprise me. Alone or not, my behavior was wrong.
Now, when May rolls around, I remember how special our wedding day was and how blessed I am to have Josh by my side. I am also reminded that his momma played a very important role in molding him to be the man he is today as well as the woman I am today.
We need to honor those God has placed in our lives, deserved or not. Husbands. Mothers. Fathers. Friends. All of them. Allowing selfishness in my life prohibited me to honor mine. Not anymore.
Humble yourself before God; let Him show you any hidden place that needs the Light. Allow the darkness to be overcome and shine bright with Light. Then be intentional to honor and serve.
Josh and I believe in cultivating a strong marriage. This is not something that happens overnight or with little effort. Having this kind of relationship with anyone, including God, requires invested time and communication. As you unselfishly spend time seeking the heart of the Father, you soon experience the rewards of your efforts. So, it is with dating your spouse. When you make the decision to unselfishly sow into your spouse WITHOUT expectations, you WILL see the rewards of your efforts. They may not come as quickly as they do with the Lord, but in time, you will see them!
Galatians 6:9 "And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint."
Colossians 3:17, 23 "And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him. Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,"
However, if choosing to be selfless or sowing without expectations is new in your marriage, there may be some hurts that need to be addressed, forgiven, and forgotten. (But that's another blog post!)
Setting up Date Night:
1. We chose Thursday night for several reasons:
a. There were no recurring events on Thursdays
b. We knew weekends tend to fill up with family or other social events.
2. NOTHING gets scheduled on this evening.
3. First & Third Thursdays of the month are at home or close to home (do not require a sitter). We explained to the kids that this night is for Mommy and Daddy to spend together and they can play on their own. (Family Nights are Wednesday nights, so we will have just spent an evening with them.) If you have little ones (under 5), date night in may have to happen after bedtime (and perhaps bedtime is a little earlier this night.)
4. Second & Fourth Thursdays of the month are out of the house (will require sitter if no kids are of age to babysit). This does not mean we spend money outside of a sitter.
5. Set a monthly date night budget and stick to it. This may start out very small in the beginning depending on your season of life and finances. Ask for gift cards for birthdays and Christmas. Sowing into your marriage is more important than the other "things" you may want.
6. Schedule your date night details and line up a sitter (when needed). Plan out at least a month in advance. (We do it quarterly.)
20 Date Night Ideas:
Think outside the box, have fun and go on an adventure with your spouse!
1. Window Shop at your favorite home improvement stores (dream about future home or projects).
2. Coffee Shop/Mall/Book Store: (make & take your own coffee if needed) Share vision for your future as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. Talk about what God has been teaching you. Plan future date nights/days.
3. Try a new place to eat! If it turns out to be a dud, do not look at it as a waste of time or money, but as an adventure you took and time well spent together! Then head home for some better grub!
4. Take a day trip! Do some research (google and/or friends).
5. Go yardsaling/antiquing (is that even a word?!)
6. Brunch. Breakfast is a cheap date and (in my opinion) able to be eaten at any time of day or night!
7. Walk/Run together.
8. Motorcycle/Bicycle Ride.
9. Hiking and a picnic.
10. Try/Attend a teambuilding activity.
11. Test Drive a New Car.
12. Target Shooting at a Gun Range.
13. Create a scavenger hunt for the other person!
14. Send the kids away for the evening. Plan, shop for, and make a meal together.
16. Exchange massages.
17. Roller/Ice skating
18. See a local Play/Musical
19. Progressive Supper (Appetizers at 1 place, Soup & Salad at another, Entrees at another, dessert at another or home)
20. Wii Tournament