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13 entries from June 2006

What is a stumbling block? Part II

Christ spoke to me! I heard a voice, not audible, but deep in my spirit. He gently said, “Lynn, your husband’s salvation will be for my glory, not for your glory.” I was humbled! I guess I had believed for many years, it was my personal responsibility to save my husband for Christ. Was I arrogant or ignorant?

I know now that my futile efforts, such as forced discussions of faith, manipulation by anger, pouting, or the infamous cold-shoulder were a waste of time besides being emotionally exhausting and upsetting. (A subject for another day) On that day, I realized God would meet my husband in His timing and by His terms. My responsibility was to just relax and persue in my own relationship with Christ. That morning I prayed, “God I honestly give my husband over to You, right now and forever. Help me to never take him back. It is a task too great for me.”

My life changed forever! Freedom is how I describe it. My fears and worries about living in our mismatched marriage melted right away. They have not returned. In fact, our marriage relationship is full to overflowing. Rich in trust, love, fun, adventure and comfort.

More amazing still…. Several months after praying that prayer, my husband, called a neighbor who attended our church. He asked to meet him for lunch to discuss his faith. I didn't know of this call until the day of the meeting.

Since that time, my husband has willingly attended a seekers class offered through our church. If you knew my husband, you would know what a miracle this single step was. Today my husband is still trying to work out who Jesus is to him. He has not crossed the line of faith, but I am not worried. Everything is in the capable hands of a God who loves us both.

Hebrews 12:13
Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.

*****

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What is a stumbling block?

Several years ago, it came as an enormous shock to me that I was the stumbling block in my husband’s path to Christ. I stood purposefully right in the middle of my spouse and Jesus. This revelation became acutely apparent one morning during prayer. It is as if God said to me, “You are in the way, now MOVE”.

I had no idea that I was inhibiting my husband’s discovery of the God of the universe. I was. I will share with you tomorrow how that realization came about, what God did in my life and once I removed myself as the stumbling block what God began to do in my husband’s life.

Take a minute now and ask God if perhaps you might be a stumbling block for your husband or someone else in your life. I will meet you here tomorrow to share. Be blessed!

*****

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Daisies_5Thank you, Dineen Miller for your willingness to share your heart and story. You have inspired us to persist in prayer for our children, no matter their age or struggles.

I am grateful for all of the guest writers at Spiritually Unequal Marriage: Dineen Miller, MaryLu Tyndall and George Tyndall. Their personal stories are powerful and encouraging.

Lord, I lift these servants before your throne and ask that you would bless them intensely. Let their words offer us hope and healing. In Jesus name, Amen.

*****

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A Two Year Test of Faith

by: Dineen Miller

Sundays have never been easy. Getting two small children to church was not a simple feat. Yet there was more to this predicament. Not only was my husband an atheist, but also I would realize later on that this was a major target for enemy attack. The difficulties would start Saturday evening and would often escalate by Sunday morning. I can’t tell you how many Sundays I went to church near tears or didn’t go at all.

Time taught me to prepare, to pray in advance, to recognize the attacks for what they were, and to don the full armor of God. I wanted my children to grow up knowing God, but I worried. I knew full well the weight of influence I had over my daughters’ lives, and I knew that was true of my husband, as well. What would they think of their father’s decision to not attend church? How would it influence them? Would they one day make the same decision?

My only recourse was to pray and continue on. While we lived in Europe, both my daughters prayed for Christ to come into their lives at different times. My youngest while with me, and my oldest on her own. She was the one I worried about most. She seemed unsure with her decision, but I continued to pray that she truly had made that step. I had to leave it in God’s hands.

As they grew and got older, my oldest daughter began to balk more and more about going to church. The struggles grew and at times were overwhelming. Sometimes I would share this with church friends, but I don’t think they truly understood. They had husbands who were the spiritual leaders of the family and their children fell in line with that. Mine didn’t. Advice usually came in the form of, “Who’s the parent?” or, whether real or perceived, I felt judged as inadequate.

Finally, at the time my daughter reached fourteen, I quit fighting. She didn’t want to go to church anymore. Her attendance had already been dwindling, so I let her to make this decision. My husband had been clear in the past about them being allowed to make their own choice. Plus, I saw absolutely no benefit to forcing her to go. I knew my daughter and pushing her one way usually resulted in her running in the opposite direction.

People at church finally quit asking me where my oldest daughter was. I don’t know if they understood or if they agreed. I felt like a failure, yet I didn’t see any other choice. I had to have faith that she was in God’s hands and that I had made the right decision.

For the next two years I prayed everyday as she left for school. I would bless her as I kissed her goodbye and pray for her protection as she walked out the door. I prayed for God to fan the flame in her heart, that she would come to claim her own faith in Him, and maybe one day choose to return to church.

One week I was away at a writers’ conference. After I returned home and I was alone with my daughter, she told me she went to a youth service with some friends. I stayed quiet as she told me about how the youth pastor had made a call during the service for people to come up and commit or recommit their lives to Christ. I began to cry when she told me she had gone up, alone, and recommitted her life. She said she cried, but she knew she had to do it.

She’s never been comfortable with my fussing over her. I kept that in mind and told her how happy I was and how excited I was for her. I tried not to make a big deal out of it, because I knew she wouldn’t like that. Later, when I had a chance to be alone, I praised God for his amazing faithfulness. He’d heard my prayers, and He’d answered them.

My daughter still struggles at times to go to her own church, but it’s different this time. Now her struggle lies within herself and not with me. I don’t worry anymore. I see God’s hand in her life, I see her desire to follow Him, and I see she has now claimed her faith as her own.

And I rejoice.

*****

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George Tyndall – My miraculous conversion- Part II

When I got up to return home, I pulled out a cigarette and lit it. I took 1–2 puffs of the cigarette when I heard the Lord speak to me saying “put out that cigarette”. I did not immediately obey His voice, but rather I began to argue with Him. I remember thinking that it was silly to throw away a perfectly good cigarette. God patiently, and just as quietly, repeated the same thing “put your cigarette out”. Thankfully, I obeyed the second time. I say thankfully because as soon as I discarded the cigarette, the Holy Spirit began to vividly reveal to me a number of truths concerning the nature of “good” and “evil”. First, He showed me that in His eyes all people are either “good” or “evil”. Furthermore, He showed me that this delineation is black and white, i.e. there is no grey, you are either 100% “good” or 100% “evil”. He also revealed to me how those that are “good” cannot easily be around those that are “evil”. As soon as I saw this latter point, I realized I was on the wrong side, namely I was “evil”. This then explained why my “good” Christian wife had so much difficulty being yoked to a non-believer. Once I acknowledged in my heart, my acceptance of the fact that I was indeed a sinner, the vision I was having became even more intense. In particular, I was then shown that the battle between “good” and “evil” was one that is currently on-going and is being fought both on the earthly plane, and in the spiritual realm.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this work, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies.” (Ephesians 6:12)

The focus of the vision then shifted. Upon looking out over the Santa Clara valley, I saw a multitude of light beams (like a series of small flash light beams). The Holy Spirit then told me that these lights represented those people that were “good” in the eyes of the Lord. I suppose the Lord was showing me what He wanted me to become, a light in a world of darkness. I note that it was only later, when I started reading the Bible with regularity, that I realized that this was very biblical. In particular, it is stated in scripture that those who believe on Him are “children of Light” (Ephesians 5:8). Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount also taught of the light,

“You are the light of the world…..let your light shine before men in such that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16)
and finally the apostle John writes

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4,5)

With this final vision, my initial encounter with Jesus Christ ended. In total it lasted about 40 minutes. I then returned home where my wife immediately saw that something had happened in me. While trembling, I explained to her what had just transpired.

Since my rebirth, God has blessed me mightily. Ten days after my rebirth, on Palm Sunday (4/4/04), I was baptized. Seven days after this, I had my last cigarette (after having smoked for 20 years, praise God!). Within a month, the Lord provided a job for me at Samsung electronics. Four months later, three of my daughters accepted Christ into their lives, and after approximately 9 - 10 months, my teenage son came to the Lord and was baptized.

The Lord continues to do a great work in my life. I thank Him daily through both worship and prayer. I also look to Him on a daily basis to teach me, through revelation and through the reading of His Word, what I need to know in order to follow Him. While not always successful, I try to remain attentive to His “still small voice” (1Kings 19:12) for “to obey is better than to sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22).

*****

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George Tyndall – My miraculous conversion - Part I

I came to accept Jesus Christ into my live as my personal Lord and Savior on March 24, 2004. This is the story of the events leading up to my conversion.

I was raised in a Christian family where both my parents were firm believers. We attended a variety of Protestant Churches as I grew up as an “Air Force brat”. At a relatively young age, however, I rebelled against God and stopped attending Church. I thus lived my entire adult life without Christ. I do not know quite why, but I never really felt the pull of God on my life during this time. I attended college and graduate school, got married and had children. I also worked at the most prestigious industrial research laboratory in the world. To most people in the world, I had it made. I was “a rich man” in that I did not believe I needed anything from anybody (including God). I note, in retrospect, that my situation at this time was not unlike the rich man spoken of by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke,

“How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.” (Luke 18: 24, 25)

Then two major events occurred in my life that brought me to my knees. First, I lost my research position with IBM that I had held for 17 years. This coupled with a serious deterioration in my relationship with my wife brought me to the point where the Holy Spirit could work in my life. One morning following a particularly bad argument with my wife, I went to her with hostility in my heart. Before I could open my mouth, however, I saw in her a radiance that I had not seen before. She appeared so peaceful that I just gazed at her (without her knowledge) in amazement. I later approached her to ask about her “secret”. She immediately responded that the peace and joy she was experiencing was the grace that comes from having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. She furthermore stated that I could also receive this same grace if only I would believe in Him. Much to my surprise, I asked how I should go about receiving Christ. Her suggestion was to approach God with a simple prayer that went something like this: “Lord I do not know if you exist, but if you do, can you please show yourself to me”.

At approximately 11:00 am on the morning of March 24, 2004, I went for a walk along the side of a hill that runs behind our house in San Jose, CA. It was a wondrous spring day, the sun was shining brightly, the sky was blue and wildflowers dotted the side of the hill. After walking about ½ mile, I asked the Lord, “God if you exist, could you show me a sign?” And as you might guess, God responded.

“Call unto Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know”. (Jer. 33:3)

While not knowing what to expect (if anything), I was surprised that immediately upon asking God to reveal Himself to me, I began to feel a tingling sensation that started in my thighs, ran up the entire length of my back and neck and ended at the very top of my head. While these “goose-bumps” certainly grabbed my attention, I didn’t quite know what to make of them. This continued for about 5 – 10 minutes. I then sat down and prayed. While I do not recall the essence of this prayer, this may not be as relevant as the fact that this was the first time I had spoken to God in decades.

Tomorrow, the amazing conclusion to George Tyndall's story. Stay tuned....

Continue reading "George Tyndall – My miraculous conversion - Part I" »

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My husband’s conversion, by MaryLu Tyndall. Part II

One day, as I was heading to work, he wasn’t feeling well, and we chatted briefly. I don’t remember anything unusual happening, but my husband told me later that he had seen the love of God in my eyes—something he wanted. While at work, I felt led to send him an email. We had been discussing (more like arguing) about God recently, and I told him in my note that if he really wanted to see if God exists, why not ask Him. I worked close to our house, so I often came home for lunch. That day, I came home and my husband said he was going for a walk. Relieved that I wouldn’t have to deal with him, I lay on my bed and rested before I had to go back to work. About forty minutes later, my husband came into the bedroom. He was shaking. His face was white and his eyes were glowing. I jumped from the bed and asked him what was wrong? He told me he had done what I suggested—he had asked God if He existed, and the Lord had revealed himself to him in a powerful way. As soon as he had posed the question, his body started tingling all over, and God clearly showed him the difference between good and evil, dark and light. He heard the voice of God telling him to stop smoking, and he threw his cigarette down, and ran home. There at the foot of our bed, we held hands, and I led my husband in a prayer to give his life to Jesus. I cannot tell you how awesome it was.

The following week, after eighteen months of being unemployed, the Lord gave my husband a great job. A week after that, he quit smoking. (He’d smoked 3 packs a day for 20 years). It’s been two years now, and our marriage has gotten so much better. It hasn’t been easy, but I have to say I love my husband now more than I ever did, and it’s so wonderful to be able to talk about the things of God with him. We are both growing in the Lord, and we both have a lot to learn, but Praise God, we are on our way.

Everybody comes to the Lord differently. For my husband, because he was so stubborn, so intellectual, and so arrogant, the Lord had to bring him to the very bottom of the pit and then give him an incredible Spiritual experience in order for him to believe. For your husband, wife, or kids, it may be completely different. The key is, don’t ever give up praying for your unsaved spouse or your kids. God is a Father. He understands the love of families, and He has made provision for the whole household to be saved.

The nest post will be George's story. Bookmark this page and check back later this week. Be blessed!

*****

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My husband’s conversion, by MaryLu Tyndall.

When my husband and I got married, we were both unbelievers. As a blended family with six children, our marriage was quite difficult and we were not very happy. About five years into the marriage, I gave my life to Jesus. How this happened is another story, but suffice it to say, my life changed dramatically. I had joy, peace, and purpose—things I had never experienced before. I shared my newfound faith with my husband, but he wanted no part of it. In fact, he told me never to talk to him about God.

As the years went by, and I got involved in church and grew in my faith, our marriage deteriorated. We grew further and further apart. My daughter got saved, and then two of step daughters took an interest in going to church with me. When I asked my husband if they could go, he emphatically said no. He also told me that it would be a cold day in Hell when he’d ever step foot in a church. Fortunately a few weeks later, he allowed me to take his girls, and that day in church, they both went forward to receive Jesus.
The Lord was working mightily in our house. Day by day, I was involved in a fierce battle for the souls of my family. Arguments broke out frequently, and Satan tempted me to lose my temper like I used to do and to get revenge like I used to do before I came to Christ. Sometimes I failed and stumbled into his trap. So many times I felt like a failure as witness of the love of God. But each time, the Lord forgave me and picked me up again. I kept moving forward, growing in my knowledge of God and allowing Him to change me from within. My husband is a scientist, a man of great logic so I decided to take a course in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, hoping that I could learn enough to be able answer his questions and present the gospel to him in a logical way. It took me six months of listening to over fifty tapes from some of the greatest minds in Christian Apologetics. I was ready! When I asked my husband to listen to a tape, surprisingly, he agreed, but afterward, my expectant heart dropped when he said it did nothing to convince him. Little did I know that all this time, the Holy Spirit was working on my husband’s heart, softening it to see God.

In the months preceding his conversion, he came to me with questions, all of which I answered as best I could, but he would just shake his head and tell me it didn’t make sense to him. He is a scientist and he needed proof. In the meantime, our relationship had gotten so bad that I was considering moving out of the house. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7 that we should stay with our unsaved spouse, hoping to convert them, and I had done that for seven years. But he also tells us in the same chapter to live in peace. My husband and I were not living in peace. We were fighting almost every day. There was constant tension in the air. Our marriage was practically non-existent, and I thought it better for our sanity and for the kids to separate for awhile.

During this time, my husband got laid off from a job that had given him a great deal of security and prestige. Suddenly, he lost everything that made him who he was. After months of searching for work, he was unable to find a job. His ego took a horrific blow. God had taken my husband to the bottom of his pit. He had nothing left. No job, no title, no money, no prestige, and his wife (me) wanted to leave him.

Continue reading "My husband’s conversion, by MaryLu Tyndall." »

*****

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Guest Writers: MaryLu and George Tyndall

It is a privilege to introduce two guest writers to Spiritually Unequal Marriage: George and MaryLu Tyndall.

George and MaryLu lived for many years in a spiritually mismatched marriage. Then one afternoon it happened…..God’s supernatural intervention.

The retelling of the Tyndall's encounter with God is the MOST compelling story of conversion I have ever read. Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, their profound story will inspire and encourage you and it may even change your life. Get ready for a wonderful read. I promise you, this couple and the God they serve will affect you.


INTRODUCTION:

George and MaryLu have been married for thirteen years. Between them, they have six children all from prior marriages and ranging in age from 16 to 25.

George was an air force brat who spent his early years out of the country before settling in Seattle, Washington. He holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry and worked as a Research Scientist for IBM for 17 years. He now is a Senior Manager at Samsung Electronics in San Jose, CA., although his ultimate desire is to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He designs. MaryLu grew up in Florida, spent many unhappy years as a computer Programmer at IBM, but recently, the Lord has led her into fulltime ministry as a Christian Author. Her first novel, The Redemption, an historical pirate adventure/ romance, will be released this July. MLTyndal.com

Tomorrow will be part I of IV. Get ready for a fantastic adventure with the Tyndalls.

Lord, I lift up George and MaryLu. Thank you for their willingness to share. Protect them and let their story change the world. Amen

*****

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Is it a Lie? Part II

The posting of June 4, 2006 brings to light a common scenario that occurs in Christian and non-Christian homes. It is often referred to as a little white lie. Regardless if you live in a believing or non-believing household, most parents strive to teach that lying is wrong.

An honest conversation with your spouse about telephone etiquette is your best option. Strive to come to an agreement that everyone who answers the phone, children included, should be honest and use their intellect to handle callers.

Give your children specific direction in this area. For example, Susie could say:

“Dad, it’s for you.”
Dad is busy working calls back to Susie, “Please take a message.”
Susie who has been coached by mom and dad says, “May I take a message, my Dad cannot come to the phone at the moment.”

If the caller persists and presses Susie for more information, it is then the Parent, who should pick up the call and use their intellect to handle the caller. Do not put your child, ever, in a place where they must lie for you.

My advice, let the machine get it!!

Be blessed!

*****

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Is it a Lie?

Parenting in a spiritually mismatched home comes with some unique attributes. United parenting is often a considerable challenge when mom and dad do not hold similar views. Personal decision-making stems from our core beliefs. Obviously, when one parent holds a Biblical viewpoint and one does not, conflict can arise over seemingly simple parental decisions.

For example, has this happened to you?

Susie answers the phone and says, “Dad, it’s for you.”
Dad who is busy working in his home office calls back to Susie, “Tell them I’m not home.”
Mom, who is listening to this exchange, cringes and this question springs to her mind. Is my spouse teaching our child to lie?

Yikes, how does a believer handle this scenario?

I welcome your suggestions.

*****

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Thank you Dineen Miller

Thank you, Dineen Miller for stepping out in faith to share your story. I know that many who read it have been encouraged.

Dineen has offered to write another article about how spiritually mismatched couples differ when it comes to church attendance and how this difference can affect or influence their children. You will be encouraged by God’s faithfulness. Stay tuned.

*****

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Free to Love, Despite the Circumstances

By Dineen A. Miller

It was 2 a.m., and I was tired. What I’d thought would be a simple disagreement had turned into a two-hour discussion. Yet despite our attempts to find common ground, something we’d usually accomplished quite easily, my husband and I still hadn’t found a solution. I sensed something deeper stirring the waters of our marriage.

I prayed silently to myself, leaning on my new faith for guidance. I’d recommitted my life to Christ six months earlier and had embraced my decision with my whole heart. I knew I had changed to some degree. My depression was gone and each day held new promise. And my hope was that my husband would join me in this faith walk I’d undertaken.

Then he said something I never expected. He’d decided he didn’t believe there was a God. The air left my lungs as he said it. The physical sensation was like being punched in the stomach. I struggled to breathe as tears coursed down my cheeks. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. Later I would learn the term for this was atheism.

As I tried to grab what sleep I could that night, my tears finally dried. My husband’s steady breathing told me he was asleep. My heart ached so deeply I didn’t even know what to pray. Silence pervaded not only the room but my mind as well. What did I do now?

I remember hearing a moaning, a soft cry, but it wasn’t my own. I listened more intently. Awe spread through me as I realized what I heard was the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (NIV Romans 8:26) I believe God allowed me to hear the Holy Spirit to comfort my spirit. He knew my pain and understood it more deeply than I could.

The next day played out as any other day. Our kids went to school. My husband went to work. I forced myself to meet my mother for our planned shopping. All I really wanted to do was to hide. How could I face the world? What had I done wrong? Amazingly, in the midst of such turmoil, I knew peace.

The evening was awkward. My husband feared I wouldn’t accept him anymore. I feared he wouldn’t’ accept me and my new beliefs. We shared our fears and found each other again.

That was ten years ago. I still pray every day for my husband to come to know God, to know his great love and majesty. I still wait. Yet everyday God has blessed my marriage and kept every promise. Our marriage has thrived and grown despite the trials of being a mismatched couple.

I know my husband will one day embrace his Creator, but in the meantime I am free to love him just as he is. God has shown me He doesn’t withhold his blessings in such circumstances. He rains them down even more in reward to my faithfulness—to Him and to my husband.

*****

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