The First Time We Met in Person!

6a00d83451ee9f69e201bb08f36fa0970d-320wiSee that picture? My friends, that picture represents THE very first time Lynn and I met in person. We’d been writing together for nearly a year at this point, exchanged innumerable emails and had talked regularly at the phone, but we hadn’t actually met in person yet.

Until April of 2007. We found out we would both be attending the Deeper Still event in San Francisco and excitedly made plans to meet and at least chat for a minute. With the plan in place, we both headed up the San Francisco. Separately.

Now I tend to be a little on the shy side (although a surprise post coming this Saturday may make you think otherwise) so I will admit I was a tad bit nervous to meet Lynn. But my excitement far exceeded my shy nerves. 

We connected by cell phone at the event and set a place and time to meet during a break. We didn’t have our pictures on the blog at that point (thank goodness!) and video calling wasn’t really a thing yet (did I just age myself?). So we exchanged some appearance details so we could find each other. How funny is that?

And there she was, this bubbly, “little” blonde powerhouse! I knew right away that she was a brave woman because she wore all white. I’d have to buy stock in bleach if I did that. As soon as we saw each other, we laughed and hugged. I can’t even imagine what she thought when she saw this nearly six foot woman with curly hair coming her way.

Just minutes! That’s all we had to connect and see each other person.

After that we continued to work together, write together and watched God grow this ministry He’d brought us together to lead. When I think back to that and how He continued to work and grow us together, and how He continues to do that, my friends, I am utterly undone by His wisdom and goodness.

It would be nearly three years later—three years!—before Lynn and I would meet again, and the circumstances of that meeting started with you, SUMites.

That’s the next part of this story that I’ll share on Tuesday. In the meantime, be sure to tune in for more. We have some surprises coming!

Love you, my SUM family! 
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


Celebrating 10 Years - God works in Mysterious Ways

IMG_0369It was September 2012. I had always wanted to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference and having a publisher for Angelguard I thought it a useful way of building some momentum for its release a few months later.

Fiona and I combined it with a holiday to the US with the plan to attend the conference in DFW on our final leg before heading home. The conference had started and I was having a ball meeting lots of fascinating authors including some of my heroes plus gaining a lot of useful information. There was one particular workshop titled “How to Market Your Fiction Like a non-Fiction Pro” that featured four presenters: an agent who I knew of, an author who I was a fan of and two other authors who I didn’t know.

It was an excellent workshop spread over two sessions. One of the non-fiction authors shared a little of their journey on writing a non-fiction book about being married to a pre-believer. All of a sudden this workshop now had added meaning.

Yes, you guessed it that author was none other than our own, Dineen. Dineen, of course, is a rarity in publishing, being both an author of non-fiction and fiction. Her award-winning novel, The Soul Saver, is tremendous.

On the workshop ending, I was on my way to an appointment with an editor when I happened to notice Dineen waiting in the same area. She was by herself so I introduced myself and shared how I too was married to a pre-believer. We chatted very briefly, Dineen mentioned the SUM community and to my delight gave me a copy of “Winning Him Without Words”. She only brought two to the conference and I was the fortunate one to receive the second one. Talk about a blessing.

The Lies of the Enemy

Up to that time, one of my struggles in church life and faith was a belief that any ministry I undertook including through my writing would not be blessed because I was in a spiritually mismatched marriage.

As I sat in the workshop listening to Dineen, I was struck by the revelation that what I’d believed for so long was a lie. The scales of deceit shattered on reading the first few chapters of Lynn and Dineen’s book.

A few weeks later having read both books and explored this community’s blog, I genuinely felt a changed man. Have you ever experienced that? Having a lie that you convinced yourself of for years being zapped.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6 NKJV)

The above verse took on new meaning and continues to. Our perceptions can be so misleading. Hey, I’d carried that chestnut around for many years. In some ways I had come to believe my marriage and I didn’t deserve to be blessed. But no longer! 

God is good. Meeting Dineen and the Lord using her in that workshop and enabling us to bump into each other so soon afterwards was one of those moments I so cherish.

He certainly is mysterious.

10 Years

I joined (do we join?) the SUMite gang less than four years ago now. I’m a little envious of all of you who’ve been with Lynn and Dineen for longer. Our two dear friends are anointed. They share their anointing with us each and every week.

Reading the posts through the week is like an oasis. We all experience that loneliness of being the “single” one, not only in our church communities, but also often within our other various friendships and associations. Even though we’re mostly a virtual family it’s always special being able to hang out in a warm and safe place where there is much love, understanding and discernment.

On behalf of your SUM family, dear Lynn and Dineen, thank you. Thank you for honoring the Lord through your obedience in caring for us these ten years. We love sharing this journey with you both and each other and look forward to what the future holds.

And to all the SUMites, thank you for sharing your heart with us all. This family wouldn’t be what it is without all of our contributions.

I so look forward to reading more of your stories in weeks ahead.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


How God Brought Lynn and I Together

SUM10AnniversaryGod, am I hearing You right?

That was my question in early 2006. For nearly two years I’d been writing fiction and pursuing publication along those lines and doing all the things a newbie writer was supposed to do to build craft and make connections, including blogging. Yet I felt this distinct nudge to share what God had done in my mismatched marriage to help others. That brought my next question. 

How do I do that on a blog and still honor my husband? 

During this same time I went to lunch with a dear friend and fellow fiction writer, Camy Tang, and poured out my heart and thoughts on the subject. My biggest concern was what could potentially happen in the comments. Could I handle that? And again, how did I do something like this and honor my husband and marriage?

Camy (who’s an amazing multi-published author now, by the way) listened with great care and made suggestions. I left our lunch date more committed to following God’s lead and belief that He would show me the way.

About a week or so later I received an email from Camy, telling me to check out this link to a blog. She’d just returned from attending the Mount Hermon’s writers’ conference that March and had met a woman there who wanted to know more about blogging. Seems she too felt the nudge and calling of the Holy Spirit to share about her mismatched marriage.

Bet you can guess who that was!

I clicked on the link and there it was. The Spiritually Unequal Marriage blog, newly started with a message of hope to encourage others living in a mismatched marriage. I was honestly floored and amazed that God was moving in someone else like He had me.

So, I crafted up an email to this Lynn Donovan and told her a little about who I was as a writer and feeling led to write about living in a spiritually mismatched marriage. I humbly (at least that’s how I remember it! LOL!) offered to write some posts for her blog on the subject. 

Then hit send. I figured she’d either tell me she had it under control, or she’d welcome me with open arms. And as you know, it was the latter. I was ecstatic! God had shown me the HOW of what He was calling me to do. 

My friends, when I think back to that time and my concerns over how the subject matter would be handled and comments from readers, I am even more astonished at what God has done in the last ten years. He’s created a safe place where we’ve had the freedom to be honest and grow together. God’s hand has rested mightily on our SUM Nation faithfully and continues to do so. 

Just…wow…

And we carry on, grow and have learned to thrive—the very intent of this blog all along. So, my friends, with you here today I want to say a very profound THANK YOU to my wonderful, amazing, inspiring best friend Lynn Donovan for inviting me to partner with her ten years in what would become an amazing family of God that gives Him glory every single day. And I want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives. Lynn and I are so honored and amazed by that every single day. God is SO GOOD!

Woohoo! Let’s celebrate!

Love you!
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


10 Year Anniversary

10 Year Anniversary

SUMite Nation:

Wow, can you believe we have become a nations of God’s people? We march together to bring the love of Jesus to a world that is dark and desperate.

AND, today we are going to celebrate.

Look at this photo:

May 2006

In my Daily Bible, on May 1, 2006, I wrote down in the top margin the date that it all began, Spiritually Unequal Marriage blog.

My friends, 10 YEARS!!!!!

Who knew.

The following is what I wrote on that very first day:

This website is dedicated to our Lord and to men and women who live every day in a spiritually mismatched marriage.

It is my prayer that this forum will be the place where Christians can find support, encouragement, and practical resources to thrive in their unequal marriage.

I pray that when you visit this site you will be inspired and offer your own insights into God’s design for a healthy marriage in the midst of different viewpoints.

How I hope we have lived up to this mandate over many months and months, a decade of writing.

Goodness! First, I guess we aren’t just another fly-by-night blog, here today, gone tomorrow. We actually grew into an amazing ministry… And more important than that, a family.

Throughout the month of May, Dineen and I are celebrating. We are going to share some stories about how we met. We will be posting testimonies from all of you. We want you to share how you found us and what being part of the community has meant to you and provided to your faith, marriage and life. (If you want to share your story, click here to read our guidelines and then email your submission to me here: email me Lynn.)

We are working on a LIVE online class to chat together about how to hear the voice of God better. Also a live Q&A, if I can figure this all out. Watch for more info later in the week.

We want to give away some books and share the love.

Humbly, Dineen and I are so very thankful to be worthy of your time. We are grateful for the Lord’s hand upon this ministry and upon the people who visit here. So many emails and letters have arrived over the years that keep us writing. Because through the love of Jesus and by loving one another, marriages have been saved. Men and women are walking in greater faith and victories. Children are walking in faith and courage in the Lord.

We know there is always more work to be done, but for today, THANK YOU for allowing us to celebrate this milestone in our lives. We love you so much SUM family, Lynn & Dineen

Lynn & Dineen
See this photo? We have a story about this moment... Stay tuned!

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith


How Do We Become Free Of Offense?

SUM Nation:

This post is going to challenge you. However, working through the steps I discuss will, indeed, free you from the ugly snare of the enemy’s weapon of —offense.

Surrendering the offense is the first step. Well, perhaps recognizing that you feel offended is where you begin. Recognize it and name it. Then say, “I’m determined to give this offense to the Lord.” Then pray, pray and pray and surrender the need to respond.


Sometimes let goIt IS appropriate to respond in relationships when boundaries are crossed or broken. However, there are many times where we need to just….. let…. it…… go. Learning to discern those instances I believe comes from praying Ephesians 1:17 over our minds and heart. I have prayed this passage so many times, I’ve lost count. And I frequently pray this verse over others.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. —Ephesians 1:1 NIV

Praying for wisdom and revelation to know God’s thoughts and will in the matter is very powerful…. And extraordinarily helpful and healing.

I understand that it’s easier said than done. But with the Lord’s help, through our prayer time, we can learn to see above the situations and the people and truly let offense just roll off our backs.

Over time through prayer and forgiveness we will find we come to a place where we forgive and let go of offenses. I don’t even fully understand how this happens. It completely, doesn’t make sense especially in our culture to forgive and to release an offense. Our culture will encourage you to hate that person. Seek their demise through gossip behind their backs. To cause pain through escalating the offense and making it even more personal.

In my life as I’ve practiced recognizing and surrendering offense, I’ve discovered that forgiveness and release of the offense and offender comes more easily and quickly. And part of our freedom it to release offense as quickly as possible.

Now here is the final step. Are you ready?

Bless them.

From your heart speak into your prayers a blessing. “I bless ____________ with joy and peace and everything they need. In Jesus name. AMEN

Gulp!

Here is an example.

I pray with people through my church. And often people come in for prayer because they are really struggling in life with all kinds of emotional issues. Recently a man came in for prayer and through some prayer time and questions, we arrived at his divorce. He had been divorced for many years and assured us he had worked through forgiveness of his ex-wife. And he had.

However, he had never taken that extra step to actually release her from all the past pain, by blessing her to receive everything the Lord had for her.

So, in that moment he began to pray, out loud, and blessed his ex-wife. He blessed her with joy, happiness, contentment and everything good that the Lord has for her.

THAT was his freedom moment. His face changed. He experienced a lightness in his spirit and joy rose up from within. He was finally free.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1 NIV

This passage says it all.

Practice releasing offense as quickly as you can. Surrender it to the Lord. Something supernatural begins to occur that empowers your heart to truly forgive and even bless.

Wow, the miracles and workings of the Kingdom of God… It simply blows my mind up at times.

SUMites, we are often the target of offense. Our own family members can speak persecution and offensive comments to us about our faith. There are times to respond and times to let go. Pray Ephesians 1:17 so that when those moments arise, you will be filled with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will know what to do and what to say, if anything.

Thus you will walk in peace. And peace, joy and righteousness is your inheritance as a child of the One True God and His son, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit.

I love you. We have some BIG surprises coming next week and throughout the month of May. I intend to discuss the fear of man challenge later this summer. Stay tuned… Much, much more coming here to the House of SUM!

It’s a blast living the believer’s life! Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Winning Him Without Words

Not Alone; Parenting Kids To Faith