Wishing You a Blessed
and Harmonious Holiday...
I trust you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We continued a long-standing tradition of spending the Thanksgiving holiday with our family in Charlottesville, Virginia, enjoying Uncle Max's smoked turkey and Aunt Arlene's homemade pies and desserts. We feel tremendous gratitude to God this year for all He has done for us. This year brought celebrations and challenges. Gil, my husband, and I have the privilege this year of celebrating both of our parents' 50th wedding anniversaries. We celebrated Gil's parents' 50th anniversary in Texas this summer at a very special family dinner. My mom and dad's anniversary is this December 25, and we will be celebrating with family and friends on December 23. We are grateful to God that our parents are healthy, and also that they have chosen to honor God through their commitments to Him, each other and us as their children.
I experienced the great privilege this year of being accepted into Dallas Theological Seminary's Doctor of Ministry program. I am working as the Lord leads me to build a ministry to support pastors and church leaders with leadership and management issues, and to support female leaders in their ministries. This is a dream I've had for years, and I am thrilled God is giving me the opportunity to do this. This year also brought challenges, as we discovered my husband's identical twin brother has developed Parkinson's disease at a very young age. We are learning in each of these circumstances to trust God at a deeper level and to give thanks to Him in everything (1 Thess. 5:17). We appreciate your prayers, and we will pray for your ministries and personal lives, too.
'Til Death Do Us Part
How many have failed to remain committed to their wedding vows these days? While there is disagreement regarding the precise calculation of U.S. divorce rates - the most conservative estimates are at 40%, while the most alarming are higher than 50% - I believe we would all agree that the dissolution rates of U.S. marriages are far too high. For those of you who are married, you personally experience the difficulties involved in maintaining a harmonious relationship day after day. Marriage involves a relationship with two imperfect people who live in very close proximity to one another and who have to navigate in partnership through all of the vicissitudes of life. We might wonder why this can be such a difficult relationship at times. Yet if we go back to the beginning, we will find the key to this struggle.
The painful result of Adam and Eve's disobedience of God's command in the garden was a curse. The curse contained different implications for the man, the woman, the serpent, and even creation. Part of the curse for Eve involved a curse on her relationships. As I studied Gen. 3:16 in more depth to understand this curse, I learned that the Hebrew word for desire, teshuqah, does not mean sexual desire, as one would think, but rather, a desire to control.
In Gen. 3:16, we are told Eve would now teshuqah (desire to control) Adam, her husband, but he would now mashal (a word that means to rule over, powerfully dominate or master) her. As we understand the implications of the curse better, we can see the built-in power struggle between men and women. Yet, even in the midst of the curse, God always provides for us. He gives us instructions to protect us and to instruct us in the areas where we are weak and will tend to make mistakes. Therefore, he instructs husbands in Ephesian 5 to "love" their wives, rather than dominate them, and wives to "submit" to their husbands, rather than try to control them.
Yet the curse has implications beyond marriage as well, affecting all men and all women and resulting in a power struggle between them. The next time you find yourself in a conflict with a member of the opposite sex, whether it is your spouse, or a co-worker, remember the curse! Instead of engaging in the power struggle, try submitting, or deferring to their wishes, and treating them with agape, the Greek word for biblical, godly love. Recognize the power struggle for what it is, and seek to cooperate instead. I predict you'll see some amazing results!
Finding Joy and Fulfillment
in our Relationships
One of the things we talked about at the retreat is that we will never experience true joy and fulfillment apart from our relationship with Jesus Christ. For those of you who did not attend the retreat, I wanted to share a special love letter from Jesus I shared with the ladies there. I received this from a dear couple, O.H. and Averil Peters of WoodsGift Farm in Greenville, TN. They said they heard this poem at their church and were happy for me to share it with you. They have wonderful products - jellies, jams, biscuits, cookies, etc. You may want to check them out by sending them an email for their products listing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Precious Friend,
I am sending you this letter by way of one of My Disciples. I just wanted to let you know how much I love and care about you and how I greatly desire to become a meaningful part of your life.
This morning while you awoke, I was already there with you in the light of My beautiful sunshine that filled your room. I was hoping you would say good morning to Me. You didn't. So I thought maybe it was just a little too early in the day for you to notice Me.
Again, I tried to get your attention when you stepped out of your door. I kissed your face with a soft gentle breeze. I breathed upon you fragrant sweet breath, scented with flowers. Then, I gave you a love song through the birds in the trees. You just walked right past Me.
Later on in the day, I watched over you as you were talking with some of your friends. Oh, how I wished you would talk with Me, also. I waited and waited, but you just went along your way.
This afternoon I sent you a refreshing shower and glistened to you from each rain drop. I even shouted to you a time or two with thunder trying to get your attention. Then I painted you a lovely rainbow in the midst of My fluffy white clouds. I just knew you would see Me then, but you were unaware of My presence.
This evening, to close your day, I sent you a beautiful sunset. After that, I winked at you a thousand times through My stars hoping you would see Me, and wink back. You never did.
Tonight, when you went to bed, I spilled moonlight upon your face to let you know that I was there with you. I was hoping you would talk to Me a little while before you went to sleep. You never said a word. It hurt Me deeply. However, I continued to watch over you all through the night, thinking that, maybe, you would say hello to Me in the morning.
Each and every day, I have revealed Myself to you in many strange and wondrous ways, hoping you would accept Me as your Shepherd, for I am the Only One who can supply all your needs. My love for you is deeper than the deepest ocean and bigger than the great blue sky. I have so very much to give to you and to share with you. Please let me hear from you soon.
Your loving friend forever,
May each of you nurture your relationship with Jesus each day and allow Him to give you joy and fulfillment.
Many blessings to you as we celebrate our Savior's birth,
What Others are Saying about "Reversing the Curse..."
What a blessing you were last weekend at Urbanna Baptist! I very much enjoyed meeting you. You are so gracious and easy to listen to. I loved your illustrations, which help us remember the message. Your unique presentation shed new light on familiar scripture for me, which I plan to implement with more trust. I bought your workbook to review again in my quiet time so that the devil can't steal away what I learned. The ladies I brought enjoyed themselves immensely also. Hopefully, they will want to do it again as a small group, and we can entice some others to join us. Thank you for your prayer. Jana was a great encouragement also, by her sharing. She and Cathy did such a great job. And wasn't God good! as always. Faith can move mountains. God Bless you.
Relationship Tips is a monthly e-zine written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize individual and organizational performance.
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December 1, 2006
Volume 1, Issue 1
E-Store is now Available
I recently served as the keynote speaker at a women's retreat at Urbanna Baptist Church in the beautiful Tidewater area of Virginia. The retreat theme was "Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships." We discussed the power struggle that is now a part of male-female relationships, particularly in marriage, as a result of the curse. We looked at practical tips to help reverse the effects of the curse and rediscover joy as we relate to one another.
Here's what Janet and Faye had to say...
Hi, Suzanne... Thank you so much for blessing us with your presentation at the weekend retreat. Well Done!
Janet the chocolate lover
Suzanne, Thanks to you for revealing God's awesome directions for Reversing the Curse...I'm sure [these principles] will be of much help in other relationships!!! He has gifted you in so many ways...
In His love,
"Are you Locked in a Power Struggle with your Spouse or an Opposite-Sex Co-worker?"
Discover 3 secrets to help you gain victory and reverse this powerful, negative dynamic in your relationships. This 4-week study guide will reveal the keys to help you reverse the curse and rediscover joy and fulfillment in your relationships. Order extra copies for your small group or women's ministry at www.suzannemartinez.com/shop
Men need respect!
In so many ways, society has focused on women's need for love, while ignoring men's tremendous needs for respect. Most women don't understand how men view certain things women say and do as disrespectful. Dr. Emerson Eggerich's groundbreaking book, Love and Respect, helps crack that code for women, enabling them to communicate with men in ways they will hear and understand. These make great gifts, too. Order yours today at www.suzannemartinez.com/shop
How to Energize your Relationship with Christ and Experience Joy and Fulfillment in your Life
"Has your relationship with Christ lost its fervor? Have you gotten caught up in the stresses of life and allowed your time with the Lord to be placed on the back burner?" These two devotionals will help renew your focus on Christ, gain strength for the trials you face, and enable you to give praise to God amidst whatever difficulties you encounter.
Preview of January Issue:
How to Communicate so that You Experience more Harmonious, Joyful and Fulfilling Relationships
Do you need less conflict and more peace and harmony in your home? Our words are powerful, and we can learn to use them to either build up or tear down our relationships. In January's issue, we'll learn tips on wise ways to communicate to build and maintain joyful and fulfilling relationships.
Suzanne France Martinez
Founder & Principal
During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting. Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize both individual and organizational performance.
Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.