A Past and Present Story

Hello, SUM family. I'm with Lynn in wondering how this month has gone by so fast! Here I thought I'd run out of stories only to find I needed to pick and choose the best ones, because there are so many. And I will say they are truly God's stories—the evidence of His love and presence. We all have His-stories to tell, my friends. They are our testimonies.

My story today has it’s roots in the past and is blossoming in unexpected ways today today. I never expected to be ordained. In a way that truth is still settling into my heart and mind, because it's not something I ever felt worthy to aspire to. But we know our worth is determined by what Jesus did and not what we do. I find I must remind myself of that daily. I trust God daily to free me from that performance mentality.

But you know what I love most about this. I was ordained by this ministry—our SUM ministry. I never imagined such a thing possible ten years ago. Or even five years ago! It's just “right" that it comes from this beautiful place. You know what I mean? There simply aren't words to express the joy that brings me.

And there is a humorous side to this story, SUMites. I wondered what my hubby would think of this so I explained I was going to be ordained and then asked him, "How do you feel about being married to a pastor?"

He laughed. In a good way. You know what's so funny about this story? Only a week or so before this, he and I were talking about the churches I've been visiting with a my best friend who just moved here in January. I've been helping her find a church home. The thing is, I'm still in this church search myself now that we've settled in Florida year round. I love the church I've been attending, but it's a big church and I'm not sure that's where God wants me to stay.

Do you know what my hubby said to me?

"You should start your own church."

And he was serious! SUMites, I'm just stunned at how God works in our circumstances. That is the last thing I ever expected my husband to say. 

I shared this story with my friend and what she said stopped me in my tracks. "How crazy will it be when you're both pastors of a church."

SUMites, I don't aspire to pastor a church, and I still don't. I feel like I'm already doing that right here, which still blows my mind. But that statement fueled the tiny seed simmering in my heart to one day serve God with my husband, to be united in that calling, whatever it looks like. I know you understand that dream too, because it's a hope we all hold close in our hearts.

You see, the story gets a little more interesting here. I asked God a few months ago what spiritual gift(s) he'd given my husband, and He opened my eyes to see it was evangelism. God also showed me how Mike is already operating in that gift, which is absolutely mind boggling. 

Why? When I met my husband, he was one of the shyest people I'd ever met. He didn't like crowds and kept to himself. Even in the early years of our marriage, if we went to an event, he mostly stayed with people he knew. 

Now I watch up him go up to complete strangers on the beach, in a restaurant, or a store and strike up conversations all the time. Complete strangers! And he seems totally at ease about it. I watch, and I'm in awe of how God works in our spouses even when they don't know or want it. Even when we don't know or can't see it. He does, my friends. He truly does.

SUMites, God has planted and is watering this seed in my heart—a dream of possibility. A dream I realize I'd put in the impossibility column early on, even ten years ago, and now God has moved it not just to the "all things are possible with Him" column, but to the "DREAM BIG" column as well. God has done a great work in me too on that one!

How about you, my precious SUMites? What dream is God seeding in your heart? What hope have you held close, yet been too afraid to share with your Great Big God? Share in the comments—I'd love to pray with you for this dream or for God to seed a dream in your heart.

On Friday's post, Lynn shared Karen's one minute prayer idea and 78 of you left comments with your hubby's name. Seventy-eight! Many of you replied to other SUMites that you would pray for her spouse and have partnered up. I've compiled a complete list and will continue to update it. If you'd like a copy, email me

IMG_5046
My Bible at Leviticus 24:7. I have a hand written version of the list too. Started the list by hand and Holy Spirit impressed upon me to keep doing it. So now I have both!
 

SUMites, I am standing on the word and Scripture God gave me for our community in January, and I am placing this list in my Bible at Leviticus 24. I declare this over our spouses nearly every day and I believe like I have never believed before that God is and going to do this.

He is faithful and He will do what He says! Amen? Amen!

Love you so much, my SUM family!
~Dineen

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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


God Joined Our Celebration! Let Me Explain!

Greetings SUMite Nation:

Well we are in the last week of our 10-year, month-long celebration. Can you believe it went by that fast? I’m in my office on a Sunday afternoon. I feel the Lord’s Presence and it is peaceful. I pray all of you are filled with His peace, love and joy as you read this.

My affection for our Papa God has been the highlight of all that I write, speak and share with others over the past 10 years. I love the Lord with all that I know how. But what remains utterly amazing STILL, is to be adored by Him in return.

And He continues to overwhelm and surprise me in ways I can’t even dream up.

So…. This is what He did.

The Lord knew that Dineen and I have been planning this 10-year celebration for several months. We began talking about it months ago. And wouldn’t you know, God decided to participate.

So unbeknownst to me, in March a local ministry with which I serve on the Board of Directors, well they, ahem, officially ordained me into ministry.

I’m a reverend. A for-real pastor.

Say What????

Who knew?

When they presented my ordination certificate to me I literally bawled, look for Kleenex in the purse frantically, kind of bawling. Tears of joy.

It was as if the Lord said to me, “Lynn, I have walked the long road with you. I have stood by as you faithfully served people who arrived at your website fearful, broken and lost who were seeking My love. You served and gave your time, your money and you gave your heart. You have loved my people and helped many, many who needed a voice of hope and a word of encouragement. You have faithfully served My Kingdom and my children. I want you to receive the recognition that you deserve as you reach this 10-year milestone.”

Gulp!

Hold on a moment. Where’s my Kleenex box around here, sheesh.

I’m undone. I’m utterly undone by this kind of love. I’ve been undone all month as I read through the comments and feel your love for this place, this weird church without walls, this place where we are real with one another. Where we cry over brokenness and we pray down heaven over our children. Where we pound the carpet pacing and praying in unceasing spiritual warfare for our home and spouse's soul. Where we live and love and walk toward heaven. I’m undone by the love of God in your faces, your voices and your lives.

I’m undone. In every amazing good way.

Sumites, I’m just an ordinary, broken, yet redeemed, 5 foot 4 blonde woman who is loved by Papa, God! Oh how His love redeems everything I thought was missing in my marriage, my home, my life. It was all a lie, that perfect picture of love and marriage in my head. It was a lie.

The truth is, I have EVERYTHING IN HIM. My Papa God, His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit!

And SO DO YOU!

Thank you for walking this journey with me and Dineen. You are our forever friends. Truly

Also, this month our ministry ordained, Dineen Miller. God’s kinda cool that way!

Live for the Kingdom my friends. Live with expectation. Live with love and with purpose. It’s a blast living the believer’s life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hallelujah AMEN!

Lynn Ordination 2016
Here I am with the certificate that is on the wall in my prayer room.

*****

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


Can A Single Minute Bring Our Spouse To Christ?

SUMITE NATION:

In February Karen Le from Ohio, emailed me with a fantastic suggestion. And so today I want to share it with you. As we celebrate our 10-year anniversary, I want to challenge you to a 30-day, One Minute Prayer. Here is what Karen wrote:

Several years ago a Christian leader urged churchgoers to choose one person whose salvation they could pray for through the season of lent at 1:00 PM, every day, for One Minute. 

ONE PERSON FOR ONE MINUTE AT 1:00 PM.

Wherever they were, those participating, prayed at 1 pm. It wasn't long into the daily prayers that those being prayed for were repenting and being saved. Hallelujah!

I'm wondering if, as a group of SUMites, we could do this?

I'm excited to see all that would be possible if we came together as a group and prayed daily at 1:00 pm. Thoughts, Fondly, Karen from Ohio.

Karen BRILLIANT! I've saved your email specifically for our May celebration. 

Okay SUMITES... UNITE!!!!

Begin today. Here are the rules. Every day at 1:00 PM, no matter where you are, be intentional to pray for someone by name and for their salvation. Rule #2, You can't pray for your own spouse. Pray for another SUMite's spouse, even it you don't know their spouse's name. Rule #3 - pray for one minute.

We will pray daily from May 20th through June 20th. 

Leave your name and that of your spouse, or anyone you want prayers for salvation in the comments. Let's make this 10-year anniversary soar to heaven and be participants in the Great Harvest!

 

Karen LeHello All. My name is Karen. I am happily married to Vinh and we will celebrate 19 years in June! We have two beautiful teenagers that I homeschool. Homeschooling was God's calling on my life - a desire I just couldn't deny. I have enjoyed every single moment of this journey.  My days are spent in extracurriculars with my children, gardening with my husband, time at the gym or a walk in the neighborhood and always a good cup of coffee.  I try to be mindful of God's presence in each day, whether it be a sunset, wild flowers, or a kind gesture from a stranger - He is always there.  I am grateful I can have peace in His promise to never leave me or forsake me and that if I trust Him, He will make my path and the path of my family clear. 

 

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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


LIVE Web Classes were a BLAST!

Lynn&Dineen

SUMites, Lynn and I had a blast with you during our LIVE Web Classes! A BLAST! Wow, does an hour go fast or what? We so enjoyed being able to pray over you, bless you and teach about hearing God's voice for yourself. And telling you stories...and the Q&A session—getting to hear you—hear your hearts—was huge. Thank you, SUMites, for spending that hour with us—two ordinary women who love to go on adventures with God. And you're part of the adventure too!

If you weren't able to attend, we plan to do more! More opportunities to participate are coming. In the comments (whether you were able to attend or not) please leave suggestions of topics you’d like to see covered so we can plan and schedule future sessions.

If you attended one of the classes today, please share in the comments which session you attended, what you learned and what you took away that helped you most. We are excited to hear your input and comments. And what you share could very well be what will minister to someone reading and in need. We see that happen all the time in this beautiful community.

We love you so much, SUMites! Thank you again for making us a part of your lives.
~Dineen & 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


Celebrating 10 Years: Waiting for Lynn and Dineen to Grow Up

“Mama, you are the Christian in your marriage, but you are not showing respect to Daddy,” my two daughters said to me,” as they detailed times, places and events that covered several years. 

And with that, my two grown daughters, Crystal and Heather, shoved a book in my hands, called Love and Respect, and said, “You need to read this, and get your act together!”

In that moment, I started having hot flashes (not from menopause, but anger) and I silently whispered, “Girls, I brought you into this world, I am a-fixing to take you out!” After their monologue of disciplining their Christ-like mother, I picked up my halo, walked out of the room and pouted with them for two months. 

During my two months of pouting, I walked my neighborhood crying and sometimes yelling, scaring the dogs and leaving people gazing at me in bewilderment. My heart became like a water pitcher pouring out years and years of complaints stored up inside of me about raising two girls in church without my husband, along with other things “HE” had done. When I had coughed up everything I could remember about him, I then poured out how angry I now was with “Daddy’s precious little girls” for confronting me about not respecting him, of all things.

“God, my husband doesn’t deserve respect for putting me through all of this.  Don’t you agree?”

Instead of agreeing with me (does He ever?) He gently nudged me to go to the internet and see what I could find out about living with an unbeliever.  Say what?  Never in all my years of reading books on marriage had I ever read anything on that subject. But, somehow, I found a site advertising a book called Winning Him Without Words, so I decided to order it.

My first night’s impression with “the book:” Not bad.  Pretty interesting.  Finally, I came to Chapter 4 - The Essentials of Love: Hope, Joy, Peace and Trust (Oh, Yeah, and Respect)

Oh, my goodness!  Now, I have some author, what’s her name, Dineen Miller, telling me to have respect for my unbelieving husband.  What does she know?  She is probably married to a Christian.  Oops, no!  It says right here she is married to an Atheist! And her co-author, Lynn, is married to one, too.    

My heart slowly began to melt as I kept reading through the night.  It was as if these two authors were seeing into my heart something that nobody else had ever seen.  They understood what it was like being married to a nonbeliever, but were also providing ten keys to thrive in the midst of this type of situation.

By morning, I fell on my knees and repented of not living up to 1 Peter 3 in the midst of an unequally yoked marriage.  I also knew I was to start a group at my church in Orange, Texas for women “like me,” which is now in its 5th year.

 “Where had these two women, Lynn and Dineen, been all my married life?  Why had I not heard of them before,” I wondered on that first night of meeting them on the pages of their book. Well, duh!  They were just babies when I got married; I had to wait years for them to grow up to teach an older woman like me how to live with this man I married!” 

Meanwhile, on their website, I started meeting women from around the globe (and Ian, too) as Lynn and Dineen pulled us all together as a community to walk through the maze of a spiritually mismatched marriage according to God’s Word. Wait! Wait! We can’t leave out what The Chronicles of the Donovan Clan has taught us, too.

In fact, everything that I have learned from this ministry has so impacted my life that I have decided to keep my husband around a few more years, and “Oh Yeah, Respect Him, too.”

As I think back to that night in 2011 when I had my first encounter with Lynn and Dineen on the pages of Winning Him Without Words, it reminds me of something Sister Mock, my childhood Sunday School teacher of long ago used to do.  When things got to going really good in a church service, she would stand up, whip out her handkerchief, wave it in the air, and shout:  Whooooooopeeee!  Glory Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!”

Knowing Sister Mock like I did, I know she is on her feet in heaven right now, ready for us to join her in a shout-out.  Are you ready, Sumites?  If so, get your hankie out, and start waving it. 

All together now------ 

“Happy 10th Anniversary, Lynn and Dineen!!

Whooooooopeeee!  Glory Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!”

 

About Martha Bush: 

Martha-031-Lite-WebMartha's love for teaching led her into areas outside the school system as she began teaching Bible study courses in jails, prisons, and at her local church. She also writes a monthly inspirational post at Created Woman and is a contributing editor for Created Woman Magazine.

In addition, Martha is a contributor to Girlfriends Coffee Hour and a member of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild.

Through her years of teaching, as well as being an avid reader of human behavior and grief counseling from noted Christian psychologists, she recognized how a team effort can help build a foundation in children at an early age that will enable them to cope with the losses in their lives. Modified-Front-CoverShe believes this team, made of up parents, grandparents, educators, and spiritual leaders, can guide a child to healing from losses he or she might experience. They can do this simply by recognizing his pain, listening to his pain and then teaching the child how to apply the principles of God’s Word to his hurting heart. This led her to write Helping Hurting Children: A Journey of Healing.

 

*****

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